This recipe inspiration came from a very recent Sweet Simple Vegan Recipe (link here) and then fused with an all time favourite Vegan Pot Pie recipe that I have been using for years from Sarah Kramers’ La Dolce Vegan cookbook. Today I figured out why so many Americans eat biscuits and gravy – because it is saucy and bready and starchy and delicious.
I think you could really use any super saucy stew recipe – I like recipes that are forgiving – swapping out veggies should be easy. However, this combo makes the colors look vibrant and that, Friends, is what I like my food to look like.
What you will need:
Pillsbury Oven Ready Biscuits
1 medium Onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced
½ a Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 cups Veggie broth
2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup frozen Peas
1/3 cup frozen Corn and Jalapeño mix
¼ cup dried Red Lentils
¼ tsp Cayenne
½ tsp Sage
½ tsp Thyme
2 tablespoons Corn Starch
3/4 cup Plant Milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Fire up the oven to 400F. Start by sautéing the onions, after a couple minutes add in the carrots and red pepper. Once the onions start to look translucent add in the veggie broth, potatoes, peas, corn and jalapeño, dried lentils and the spices. Bring to a boil and then let it cook for about 6 minutes or until those lentils are soft. Add in the plant milk and corn starch. Transfer the stew mixture to a baking dish. Cover with tin foil.
Timing is now SUPER key. You want to get out those oven ready biscuits. You want the stew to be in the oven for about 20 mins total – so now you need to do the math for the biscuits to cook and the stew to cook together. You want to half cook the biscuits before placing them on top of the stew. Since my oven ready biscuits only needed 10 mins in the oven. I cooked the covered stew for 10 mins. Then I put the biscuits on a tray in the oven and let them both cook for 5 mins then I removed the cover on the stew and put the biscuits right on top in the dish to finish cooking for 5 mins. This lets the gravy get into the biscuits without it being mushy.
Once done, serve up. I added a bit of vegan butter to the biscuits and sprinkled some chives on top.
This was bomb-diggy! So hearty for this cold weather we have been having. This would feed about 4 people – with a couple extra biscuits.
Please tag me if you make them so I can see your creations.
It actually feels kind of strange to be on the ground this long. When all this chaos first start I volunteered for a leave of absence. That 2 month period is quickly coming to an end. On May 8th, 2020 I got officially furloughed starting June 1st – not that I was not expecting this, I was. I knew it was going to happen but seeing it there in the email – “my services are not longer needed” due to this crazy Pandemic was a feeling I wasn’t prepared for. I have come to the realization that very likely I wont be flying for the remainder of this year.
For me – the only way to deal with all of this stuff is to just stay kind of busy. There are many lessons I have learned in this life and one of them is that sitting around doing nothing on unemployment is literally THE WORST THING I can do for my mental health. The problem I have been having is discipline and focus. Literally if you saw my journal, planning book, day book, bullet journal and online course note taking book – you would know that I think up more ideas than I can even handle. But executing those ideas is a whole different thing.
I know – Everything is insane right now. But I also can’t help but feel like this is a gift from the universe. A gift of time to work on anything I ever thought would be a fun creative job – while I am getting paid and have endless time. I therefore can only see this as almost wasted time if I don’t pursue these passions.
Here is a little catch up of how I am keeping myself busy while being grounded from flying but also a list of ideas of things that you could do to keep yourself busy:
I started making a vegan cookbook. This is a project I have been wanting to do for YEARS. I was really excited from the get go but writing out recipes is kind of boring and I definitely waiver in what kind of things I want to include. I also sometimes feel I need to test the recipe – which means a lot of the same foods for me to eat and a WHOLE lot of cooking. I really need to invest in the equipment for the next stages of the creative process and that equals daunting. I often get lost in the idea of how I would present the book. Then I decided to needed to start posting Meatless Monday recipes to garner interest and then the entire project just got really overwhelming. When things feel overwhelming I have a tendency to quit.
I started an outline draft for a book I want to write and for the first time this idea seems like the winner or more so it seems like I finally figured out a way to organize my thoughts. I will continue to map that out as social isolation drags on – and soon will start my chapter breakdowns. This is going to be a long process but something that will be so validating.
I have committed to a few knitting projects for some friends – they are in the works but not completed. I do that while I am watching Netflix as part of my evening routine. Knitting socks is complex.
I have started brainstorming ideas for YouTube because for the last 5 years I have been telling people I want to do this (imagine where I would be had I just started) – I have actually tried to create videos but I rarely get the gumption to post the video for anyone to see – which I need to do if I want to get some viewers. I think it is a really cool creative platform that I want to explore more. Plus filming is fun.
I started the MLM experiment where I thought I would join Arbonne and actually try and make money that way – but that is just sitting there and I have a series of blog posts half started that I never finished. The thing is now I just mostly order products for myself because I quite like them and then I don’t even mention it to anyone.
I started a blog series called #grounded (this series that you are reading) that I have essentially not written a post in a month because I thought my days weren’t interesting enough – because lets face it – what are we all really doing at home. Pressuring myself to write posts about doing nothing all day got slightly daunting.
I have bought many, many random things online that I don’t actually need. And now I am wondering if I will need to return most of them.
I spent a lot of time in my car with a backpack, my laptop, a handful of journals and a couple of books thinking I am going to pull off some sort of creative miracle in terms of creating content but I never actually do anything but drink coffee and stare into the park – kind of planning but not doing.
I have reorganized my space to try and un-stifle my creative energy. It has kind of worked.
I start working on a vlogging – travel videography course – still plugging away at it – one lesson every few days. It is actually why I want to start filming YouTube Videos because I can – inspiration for travel video isn’t really my top priority during social isolation times.
I have been to a couple webinars on artists at the Glenbow Museum which quiet frankly is really cool and I can’t wait till the gallery can open up so I can by a membership.
Well that is it – that is what has been keeping me busy. I feel like while I am sad that I am not flying I am really trying to use this time to work on things I always wanted to work on but never, ever, ever made time. I think it is pretty cool to have this time to really explore my creative energy. It is really exciting.
What kind of creative projects are you working on while cooped up at home?
I am absolutely looking to build my creative community so if you are doing any of the above ideas please message me so we can create together.
If there is one go-to meal I have had for the last few years it is chili taco salad. It pretty much works spring, fall, and summer and to be honest it is a great way to use up things in your pantry and veggies that look less than stellar in the fridge. Chili never gets old with the endless number of combos to try out. I extra love that I can have leftovers for days – chili tastes better with time, it freezes well and honestly you can have chili and corn bread, chili in a bun bowl, chili on salad and my personal favorite chili as a taco salad … the options are there. I know, I know – you think of hot chili as a fall food. Well damn it – I am using up things in my pantry and this is literally one of my favorite things to eat. Also, you probably have nothing but sweet, sweet time to let this simmer.
In this veggie version we are using 2 different kinds of beans (lentils would also work well) – nothing aggressive; kidney and black beans + the odds and ends that are lurking in my pantry and in my kitchen. I even thru in a can of pumpkin puree (actually recipe inspiration photo below) – this adds thickness to the chili without making it taste like pumpkin.
Chili is VERY forgiving if you have more of one thing and less of another – buttttt to make my recipe – you will need:
I medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ bag of tri color frozen mixed peppers
28oz can of Tomatoes (mine had Italian spices because that was all I had in my cupboard)
2 cups veggie broth
14oz can of pumpkin puree (BE VERY CERTAIN TO NOT PUT IN PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
2.5 Tablespoons of what ever chili powder you like
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp Braggs liquid amino
I sautéed the first 5 ingredients until lightly browned and then added in the spices and let the flavors get all warm and smelling delicious – then I dumped the other stuff in the pot. Brought it to a boil and then let simmer for 20 mins.
(NOTES: use the veggies you have on hand that is what chili is for – out of celery skip it. Also if you don’t have pumpkin don’t add that – but you might want to lighten up on the broth OR add in 1/4 of dried red lentils OR add cornstarch 1 tablespoon at a time and let it thicken up. Yes you can put in soy sauce instead of liquid amino OR leave it out)
How to make the Chili Taco Salad:
Roughly chop up 2 cups of lettuce of your choice – I use romaine. Spread out over a plate. Then add about 1 cup of chili on top of the lettuce. On top of all that add – Green onion, Cilantro, Pineapple, Corn chips.
Let me just start out by saying – I have zero problem with the fact that Rachel Hollis is a success. I think anyone can do anything they put their mind to – hustle, heart and a whole lot of ambition can get you anywhere you want to go. To a certain extent it really is motivation and consistency that can get you anywhere. It is abundantly clear that Mrs. Hollis has all of that in spades. Looking at the way we are in 2020 with an abundance of people making careers as influencers we are in a different time. Digital careers are saving the world during the COVID crisis. Digital nomad life is going to hit the globe strong when we can all start travelling again. This is more about the claim that all you need is high school and Google for success. Because Rachel Hollis is now very wealthy it appears that she figures that her opinion and her way is the smart way to see this type of success – making lots of money does not mean you are smart. Her privilege as a white woman blogging in and from the USA is rarely discussed.
Free information on the Internet does not teach you how to do business properly, think independently or how to interpret information and make it your own.
Perhaps I am butt hurt because I have been formally educated in a University and a College but when influencers talk about how their success with only a high school education it makes me irrationally furious. It is not so much that they are successful because anyone can hustle – but it is that they make glaring mistake on citing sources and crediting other authors. They are stealing people’s thoughts and using them as their own. Anyone in any area of post secondary education knows the importance of citing sources and influence. You simple can not steal other people thoughts and call them your own. We all know that we learned from the thoughts of other people, it is how we evolved, it is how we got here – there aren’t really original thoughts anymore – things have been done before but not interpreting the information and making it your own – this is the problem.
Since quarantine has started, I have been trying to fill my time by catching up on my podcasts and half-finished books. I have been subscribed to the RISE podcast for months because there is some great information in the podcast and Rachel Hollis is an amazing speaker – she interviews with elegance and has amazing guests and at times has some great advice. In general her podcasts are great HOWEVER in the intro she has made it clear that her brand is being successful came solely from the “ free information she got on the internet”– and while yes she did learn a lot from the internet she really hasn’t quite figure out that she can’t steal people words and call them her own. She needs to site her sources. She has been accused publicly of plagiarism and it seems to me that the posts are taken off her social platforms but there is zero discussion about it. Just a couple of days ago – her media team actually posted on Instagram a post that read “still … I rise” which is a quote from Maya Angelou – at least in 2020 she has learned to take it down and to credit the source which she did in a follow up post where she blamed her team. However, has she learned how to properly source and credit other authors from the “free information she got on the internet”? It does not look like she has.
I own a copy of ‘Girl, stop apologizing’ and ‘Girl, was your face’ … Both okay reads. Both glaringly have stolen information from other self-help leaders and turned into her own work. It wreaks of privilege and this is my problem with Rachel Hollis. I want to like her because I LOVE motivational, personal development books. But I cannot get passed her arrogance.
SHE. IS. PRIVILEGED.
Yes, she worked hard but also yes she had an abundance of white privilege. Why can we never discuss how privileged she really is? How her connections got her where she is? How she did not build this business alone?
Love her or hate her Rachel Hollis has really become someone to pay attention to over the years. But do not fool yourself into only seeing her overnight success because that does not exist. It took years to grow her brand and her business. The idea of on overnight success is an illusion – spending 10 years working at her business with no success to finally have that one post, that one viral sensation to reach you to success. That is basically how it is all done. The one viral post that took you 10 years to figure out. Along the way Rachel has been accused of plagiarism. Stealing quotes and stealing concepts and basically not knowing how to site a source for her information. It boils down to being ACCUSED of COPYING AND NOT CREDITING PEOPLES WORK. This is NOT the way to do it, Friends. The issue here is not being about to critically assess where the information is coming from and whether it is a credible source. She is sharing stolen information and is misguided about crediting sources and using quotation marks – she is trying to pull it off as her own. Basically, she is taking the spotlight from people that earned those credentials.
Rachel Hollis pretending like privilege did not help in getting her where she is and that it was all from the free information on the internet is absolutely a false claim.
Nobody wants to read the long ramble I-made-this-because blog post before getting to the recipe so I won’t bore you today – but if you need some hot and delicious pasta/soup inspiration for meatless Monday I am going to just leave you with this treat that I seriously can’t stop making!
I wake up everyday roll over and take my thyroid pill. Spend 20-30 more mins in bed while my body shifts into being awake. I get up. I pee. I stumble to the kitchen and I make myself a coffee in my white YETI mug with 2 tablespoons of soy creamer and 1 tablespoons of hazelnut almond creamer. I go back to my bed and do my 5 minute gratitude journal.
Once I am done writing that I aim for a meditation. I either read a raise your vibration meditation and meditate on that, or I listen to a guided meditation, or I just sit there and think and let my mind wander where it wants. I accept that my mind is busy with uncertainty and right now that is okay.
As this pandemic unfolds – it is hard for me to really process that it is even happening. 1000s of people around the globe are dying – even more are sick. Most of the world is in some sort of isolation or quarantine. People are so used to not really dealing with their thoughts that when thrust into solitude or suddenly not being able to get super distracted they feel the discomfort. I am no different.
I am here to tell you that the best thing you can do right now is WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU NEED TO DO. But also to say – if you are struggling with getting your mind right here are some useful tips for trying out meditation and why gratitude might be a good place to start. We all have time to carve out new routines so why not start now?!
There are plenty of reasons to get into mediation right now. We have a lot of thoughts swirling around these days and sometimes I can admit it gets a bit overwhelming. This is why I have been leaning into some meditation time. Meditation helps with changing our thought processes. It helps us slow down, relax and manage our stress. It really is a time to check in with yourself. Dive into your inner Buddha and just make sure you are okay. There are plenty of studies that show that meditation helps to improve anxiety and depression and certainly in this time – we are feeling a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.
If you are just diving into this kind of practice – a few helpful tips. It takes time to build up mediation practice so start with 3 mins or 5 mins or something manageable. There are TONS of apps out there and youtube videos that can walk you through a guided meditation. Commit to trying a few out. It is okay if you get distracted and your mind wanders. It happens to the best of us. Notice it and move on. Realize that meditation is a way to check in with yourself – do that how you want. You don’t need hippie music and zen candles. You can do this however it works for you.
Are you thankful for the things in your life? You probably are. Why not spend some time acknowledging it?
There are lots of scientific studies that prove the benefits of expressing gratitude. Taking a small portion of your day to hone in on things that you are grateful for can really shift the way you think. Sometimes I think we get so busy that we forget to focus on the things we are grateful for. Why not make a list of things that you appreciate in your life or a list at the end of the day of 3 things that you were grateful for that day. Heck some days I am just grateful that the barista made my order correctly at Starbucks – – my point, it does not need to be massive things each day but just a way to shift yourself to think about the good things that happened.
Appreciating things in your life is not forgetting or dismissing things that are not good right now. I am not saying we need to forget that what we are all going through sucks. It is just a way to shift your thinking for a small portion of your day into something different.
What kind of information are you consuming right now? Are you glued to the TV watching updates on the spread of the pandemic? Are you at home paralyzed in fear that going outside most certainly means death or sickness. If you are – maybe it is time to really start some mindful thinking.
Someone great once said that ‘thoughts become things’. If you spend all your time worried and stressed about the worst case scenario – that is likely what is going to happen. Have you ever noticed when you start to truly believe something horrible is going to happen that eventually that is what happens? Crazy, right?! Well maybe not so much – maybe there is some serious connection between what we believe to be true and what is truth. Next time you catch yourself thinking really negative fear based thoughts try and switch up your thinking. When you are scrolling on Facebook or Instagram and you see those posts that are just plain shitty – unfollow, disconnect. You control you. You control your social media and you control the content that you chose to fill your head with. So choose wisely.
Choosing how to spend your time while socially distanced from your friends and family is all about what feels good to you. After I spend my time reading, watching YouTube, watching Netflix and maybe going for a walk or getting some sort of exercise. It is time for me to go to bed. I have easily been losing track of my days and time in general but I always finish my day with a small reflection on things that made the day great. And one thing I could have done to make the day better. Starting and ending my day with a small moment of hopefulness sure has done wonders on shifting my mindset to things I really want out of this life. And, in a time like this – it is pretty much what I am relying on to get me through it.
How are you making your time at home manageable during one of the most catastrophic times in our lives?
Hey all you Cool Cats and Kittens – another Carol B here just checking in to see how you are all holding up?!
It Is Friday the 10th – my last blog series check in was 5 days ago. I literally have no idea where the time went.
So much has happened this week and then also nothing at all.
This week has been a gauntlet of emotions and sometimes when that happens it really is hard to put things into words. There are moments when it feels like there isn’t really much to say – and then days where I can’t stop the chatter.
Here is the thing – I work for a fairly large well known company and I am technically on a leave. Now instead of learning my fate from my company I am learning my fate while watching the news or learning from other people sending my articles. So while we are all going through similar things – my work thing is very public and lots of people not related to my company are talking about it. Today it just seems like it is a lot to take in.
I feel like I am mentally preparing for a plan B – I can’t decide what that plan b should be. Do I go to journalism school? Do I get certified to teach in Canada? Do I plan to go and teach abroad? Do I even want to do that? Hard to plan when you don’t know what the fate of the world is going to be.
Anyway here is 20 things week I have done this week:
Successfully avoided publishing anything I wrote because I couldn’t get my thoughts sorted and organized.
Cracked off the remaining 7 gel nails – my hands are looking fucking stellar.
Purchased 4 containers of super colorful hair dye – still looking for gloves so I can dye my hair without dying my hands.
I just turned the heel on the sock I am knitting – pretty soon I will have a pair.
Looked on the Government website at my tax forms. Did nothing with said forms.
Drank coffee in a parking lot with my friend at a socially distant appropriate distance.
Logged into my Arbonne site and then did nothing with it. Thought about doing things but then did nothing.
Got really into Ozark – because what a crazy fucking ride that shit is.
Cleaned my room, put on candles, made a mess, burned out candles
Read books, meditated and did that again.
Wondered when I was going to start feeling the way other people are feeling all overwhelmed and shit.
Tried on every one of my toques.
Drove up to Nose Hill more than once to have coffee in my car.
Drank a lot of fizz (Honestly if no one has given you any of these to try – please let me know they are so damn good – they are going to replace my Diet Coke addiction)
Made an appointment to get the drivers side door handle fix on my car, and the running light that burnt out months ago
…. really assessing my life – I have had time to look in and dig deep and consider so many things. Who really knows where this journey is taking me but I have all the time in the world to figure it out.
That is what I have been up to the last few days #grounded. My emotions are raw. My mood is good and bad and good and bad and mostly I feel very hollowingly lonely and single. And that is just where I am at.
Well we are almost finished day 5 and I thought I would jump on here an talk about my amazing accomplishments for today:
For probably as long as I can remember I get an email notification that April 6th is Margaret’s birthday. I have no idea who the fuck Margaret is or when I added it to my hotmail calendar for reminders or why I added it. Today I figured out how to delete that reminder. A very happy birthday to the mystery Margaret person. I probably added you to my calendar when I was high at some point thinking it was important. If you are reading this, you are Margaret and it is your Birthday – we should probably touch base.
I logged in to get my hit @ home kickboxing online workout today – wasn’t my best workout but I got it done.
After taking at least 6 Midol and 6 extra strength Aleve – eating 2 chocolate chip chocolate muffins, some Reece peanut butter big cups & some mini eggs – I think my cramps might be slowly disappearing into the heavily medicated space.
I have now effectively cracked 3 of my gel nails off – only 7 more to go. I got this. Who needs a nail Lady anyway?
I started looking for a van to buy to convert into a camper. I don’t have money for this – but by gawd I am going to figure this shit out.
That is all for today Friends – Stay Safe, Stay Sanitized and Stay Home
Welcome to my new series about what I am doing now that I am grounded.
I am 1) grounded from flying, 2) feeling like I am a teenager grounded at home and not allowed to go out, 3) trying to figure out how to be spiritually and emotionally grounded.
Tune in for frequent posts about how I am dealing with it all: #grounded: a blog series
I said to my roommate in recent days that we are in the endless space time continuum of nothing and I really, really meant it.
Certainly we all know it is a strange, strange time. The unknown is crazy and very uncomfortable – the world as we know it is dramatically changing and we have no way of knowing how. What will our world look like in 3 months time, in 3 years time? …. Will we go back to things as they are? Will entire Countries collapse? Who knows?
The days are trucking on and on; this cold weather here in Calgary definitely has me feeling unmotivated and blue. I go through phases of productivity and fear. I go through the gauntlet of thoughts – like I guess it is time to figure out my life. Will I find a partner? Will I find a house? Will I travel forever? Is our world reverting to olden days and we will need to start canning and pickling and gardening to survive? Will we be the same? What do we need to prepare for? It feels a little bit like if you just told me – I would just get ready and make it happen. But no one can do that – no one has the answers.
Is it actually making me regret things that I didn’t ever do even though I wanted to, Things like:
Why did I never take journalism?
Why did I never move to Dubai to teach?
Why haven’t I traveled India yet?
Why did I let my life be chaos for so long? Why am I so boring now? Why am I eating bags of Doritos when no one is home but eating health drinks when people see me? When did binge eating become my norm? When did I become such an emotional eater? Can I fix this?
I guess it is just to much time to think? And Lordy knows – I am a thinker. Today I took the time to turn off the laptop and watching Netflix and Youtube and started with some podcasts (change it up, right?). It led me a a journey of micro dosing psychedelics and wondering if micro dosing on mushrooms would be a good idea during this time. Then I wondered if I had any connections to do this? Then realized how much my life has changed.
I started to dive into Arbonne’s 30 days to Healthy Living. I am not entire sure my gut can handle the sheer amount of detoxing – but it had me questioning my eating beliefs. Why am I so against eating eggs but I can wolf down some (enter some strange, really bad vegan junk food here)? When did my eating get so disordered?
I pulled out some jewelry bins and realized that I have lost my identity over the years. I stopped expressing myself with clothing and scarves and jewelry. Where did my creative identity go? – I assume it left when I moved back to Alberta and systematically gained weight working so hard to get myself out of debt.
As you can see – I am all over the map – day 3 & 4 have been me really evaluating my life. like really diving in – asking millions of questions with very few answers. It is crazy how the mind works in a time of limited stimulus. In the end, I continue to ask myself the same questions I have asked for years but then got to distracted to answer. What do I actually want? What is the vision?
Today’s plans – there is no list. There is no expectation. There is just me – spending time writing, reflecting and trying to figure it out. Times are changing hugely. I am just trying to keep up.
What phase of isolation/quarantine are you in today? Productive? Questioning? Pensive?
I wouldn’t say excessively but a few glasses of red wine and then a couple rum cream/espresso vodkas …. I definitely had an Advil, and other vitamins to try and curb a hangover before bed. Because let’s face it – I don’t actually drink very often and that kind of alcohol combining is not good.
Yesterday I spent all sorts of time trying to get a morning routine sorted. Starting with an 8AM wake up time. I went old school and put together my April wall calendar of all my isolation activities on a map for success. I even went so far as to highlight and color code – then made a lose day routine of what I want my days to look like – I felt so accomplished.
This morning – that routine got washed aside for sleeping. Somethings happened but not as early as I wanted to start. What did happen was my morning coffee, and morning smoothie. Also – my writing routine – so while I am late to start at this today I am still doing the things I set out to do. Progress, Friends – not perfection!
Things I want to accomplish today:
Make the most perfect carby hungover masterpiece of roasted red pepper pasta (yes, I figured out some things to do with red peppers yesterday and I even roasted 4 peppers for use today)
Attend a zoom meeting
Spend some time prepping for my 30 Day to Healthy Living Program
Master the Phone App Application for VIP Kid – find some props for a demo lesson
Walmart Mission for box dye for my hair and other supplies