Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe to Share – Simple and Delicious!

Best vegetarian chili recipe

I was recently inspired to create a vegetarian chili recipe using items I had on hand, including a beautiful red pepper and fresh cilantro. This will become your favorite chili recipe.  A video with complete instructions is on my YouTube channel here/below.  Keep reading for ingredients and directions.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 small onion and 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 -15 oz cans of your favorite beans. I used chili and pinto beans.
  • 1 – 8 oz can of tomato sauce, preferably without salt added
  • 1 – 32 once carton of vegetable broth.
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 large carrot peeled and sliced
  • 4 extra ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (or less if you’re sensitive to salt)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

To start, put about a tablespoon of olive oil into a saucepan on medium heat. Once warm, add your onion and garlic, stirring until they are semi-translucent. Set aside.

In a large pot, pour in your vegetable broth and tomato sauce. Add in your onion and garlic. Go ahead and put on medium heat as we begin to add the remaining ingredients, including our red pepper, carrots, corn, cilantro, beans, maple syrup, sriracha, diced tomatoes, and our salt, pepper, coriander, and cumin.

Stir everything together and increase your heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 7-10 minutes. Then reduce heat to medium low and cover for another 15 minutes. Check to see that your chili is near the desired consistency, knowing it will thicken just a bit more as it cools slightly.

This recipe should provide 6 hearty servings. Add vegan sour cream, vegan cheese and a side of crackers if desired.



2015 Vision Board | Renewed Hope, Letting My Walls Flower


In my last post, I said goodbye to 2014 and set out to embrace 2015 with a courageous and open heart.  I was finally feeling a tug to make a vision board for the year, and when one of my favorite friends said she’d be stopping by to share a cup of coffee, I pulled out a few things so we’d have the option to each make one if the moment was right.

The Keurig was stocked, the apartment was clean and felt nice and light, candles were lit and the supplies were set out.  Nothing too fancy, but magazines, glue sticks, scrapbook paper, a sweet embossing kit my mom gifted me, and tape.

I’d recently read an article about being the kind of friend who is a mood elevator…someone you want to be around, who leaves you feeling refreshed and optimistic.  I decided I wanted to be that kind of friend this year, and that kind of wife and mother as well.

The soundtrack to our session was Melody Gardot. A year or so after coming across her music on Spotify, I’m still hooked.  Seriously add her to your Spotify/Pandora or Soundcloud mix!

After this experience, I’m convinced making vision boards is something that is made better with a good friend.  The conversation is just enough of a welcome distraction that you don’t have time to over think everything you’re cutting out.  No space for over-analysis!

We added a few embossed touches when we were nearly finished. I added the black butterflies, flower and leaves you see in my photo.  The “You’re Invited” stamp symbolizes the opportunity I have to make the most of my time in this life.  She embossed out the word “P R E S E N T” at the top of her board.  I wish I had snapped a photo!

When my board was complete, I hadn’t taken it all in just yet.  I began to look over the phrases and images, and couldn’t help but notice “hope” was on the board twice.  Not just “hope”, but “renewed hope,” in fact.  There was also “reclaim her free spirit”, “let your walls flower”, “walls have nothing to be shy about” and “live with optimism”.  Something that stood out to my friend was “because I want to, not because I have to”.  I later shared the board on social media and multiple friends immediately went to that phrase as well.  It’s a timely reminder for many of us, to recognize how blessed we really are.

We talked about how life, at times, seems to whirl by.  Especially when it comes to looking back on the younger years spent raising little ones. We thought about the time that was already gone, and how we were more than the moments we’d missed.  A song playing at the time mentioned “pieces of the dream left behind,” and oh how that made us pause.

I can’t say enough about how good it felt to connect with her and look ahead together.

If you make a vision board, I’d love to see it! If you have a word of the year, or verse of the year, please do share it with us! Either in the comments below, on Instagram, Twitter or my Facebook page.



Saying Goodbye to 2014: Celebrating Wins and Acknowledging Challenges

Each January, I get just a little excited about creating a fresh vision board for the New Year.  I love setting goals, picking a “word of the year” and challenging myself creatively.  Even if it seems a little cliché, I enjoy the exercise and tradition of it all.  I use this space as a place to check-in on my goals, have reminders for our core value words and tape my board somewhere I can see it daily.

A look back at my 2014 board. 2015 board reveal coming soon!
A look back at my 2014 board. 2015 board reveal coming soon!

All that said, I’m still settling into a new normal/new routine since my car accident last summer that changed my health and perspective in so many big and sometimes scary ways.  When it came time to break out my magazines and art supplies for a 2015 board, I noticed I had quite a different attitude about the process.

I was surprised at the range of emotions that popped into my head as I sat down to begin a new board.  To be frank, I had to move through some pretty negative thoughts.  I didn’t even want to look back at my 2014 board.  I thought to myself, “I had no idea what a rollercoaster 2014 would turn out to be…the emotional and physical pain that would become a part of my ‘new normal’…the feelings of intense sadness and anxiety that would come along with the unwelcome experiences….and how difficult it was to express what I was going through to family and friends.”  I wanted to “forget” the tough moments from the year, and I wanted to throw away the whole vision board/goal setting process.

But, I knew if I wanted to continue to grow and stay O P E N and J O Y F U L instead of closed and negative, I needed to keep going. I needed to choose L O V E, F A I T H, and M I R A C L E S. I don’t want to become jaded and brace myself for the worst; I want to be spontaneous with a sunny outlook on life.  I love the phrase “momentum is the key to longevity” because it rings so true! We must continue to stretch and reach and grow.  To pick ourselves up, be gentle and forgiving with ourselves and others, and keep going.

Without further ado, let’s take a look back so we can declare 2014 C O M P L E T E and get on with the business of making my 2015 board the best one yet. These questions are via the fabulous Kelly Rae; you can read her post saying goodbye to 2013 here if you’re interested.

  1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2014?(What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)What a year! In looking back through the posts from 2014, I was once again so thankful to have the time and space to document the many baby steps and big leaps I was blessed to take in 2014. Here’s a quick look month-by-month:
    Januaryappeared on Lowcountry Live to talk about (guess what?!) Vision Boards (link here to the post and clip). Began to live with intention when interacting with strangers. Many incredible things happened with this simple shift! Painted my “World Traveler” sculpture from Kelly’s workshop and made a video of the process. Started a monthly book club gathering as we learned about Core Values together (met through May 2014 and grew so much)clay-cover-youtube

    February –  Led a vision board session at Center For Women, created a vegan cheesecake video on YouTube, a vegan soap video, plus my held first ever art sale with a Valentine’s theme. Also continued the yoga practice I began in January, meeting a friend for Saturday sessions and going other days when I could.

    Center for Women Vision Board Workshop...
    Center for Women Vision Board Workshop…

    MarchWrote/shared about working through life changes after our cross-country trip and new dynamics in our family. Went to a Fashion Show and made a crafty video about upcycling candy boxes.

    AprilBreakthroughs and thanks to so many of you for reaching out after my March post about climbing out of sadness, and, a video about organic beauty loves.

    MayExperimented with vegan bread recipes and made a fun video with one of our favorite new recipes.
    vegan bread recipe

    JuneCreated digital downloads in my Etsy shop of several watercolor works, set an intention to give away something each week (either online or offline).

    JulyTook myself on a date and shared my experience in this post/video. Said goodbye for now to a dear friend who moved to Bend, Oregon.

    AugustPerfected a Plum Sorbet recipe, completed several DIY projects including a cute blanket, created a deck of Watercolor Encouragement Cards for two sweet friends.

    Septembera low point in the year with neck/back pain (prayers went up for gratefulness). It was the perhaps the longest stretch without a post on this blog.  Gave myself permission to rest and work through the sadness.

    OctoberBegan to re-emerge and played with make-up and décor to brighten the days. 

    November Received much encouragement from my sister and followed her prompting to create a monthly favorites video over on YouTube.

    DecemberContinued to heal and was able to craft several holiday gifts as long as I rested often. Signed a contract to build a new home…a dream come true and answer to much prayer. Posted three videos to YouTube and ended the year at nearly 50,000 views and 500 subscribers (thank you!)

  2. What is there to grieve about 2014?
    (What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?)  
    I feel like I covered a lot of this in the introduction to this post. The scariest parts of the year were related to my accident and taking the huge baby step of driving again after being hit so hard. Though I am forever changed, I refuse to stay stuck or scared.  I’m getting stronger every day and commit to remaining courageous in faith and action.

  3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete?
    The next step is to say out loud, “I declare 2014 complete!” How do you feel? If you don’t feel quite right, there might be one more thing to say…
    Thank you, each of you, for loving and encouraging me this year! I’m stronger than I was 12 months ago, and am truly looking forward to sharing 2015 with you.  In just a few months, we’ll be moving into our new home and continuing our pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.  We commit to living generously, spontaneously and with much love and compassion.  I suppose it’s time for me to make my 2015 board!InnerFireEtsy

Holiday Updates and Three New Videos to Share…

Hi friends,

I hope you’re savoring the holiday moments sprinkled throughout the days and cool evenings as Christmas approaches! In my spare moments I’ve been crafting, wrapping and shipping, but being careful to leave time for rest as my neck and back continue to heal.   I’m so glad my doctor felt prompted to tell me to start early, shop online and give myself extra grace this holiday season.  The last gift is being mailed this afternoon, and the last two projects are near complete.  If she hadn’t encouraged me to approach this Christmas with care, I wouldn’t have been so mindful of doing so.  She was my Christmas angel.

I’ve also been processing recent events, as I regain my health and strength.  I’m reminded of Glennon Melton, when she says that life is brutiful.  I’m thankful to be here and to be able to watch as something beautiful can take root, knowing all is being woven together for good.

I’ve been careful with my time spent online, so most of it has gone towards making videos for my YouTube channel.   As the year comes to a close, I am celebrating the fabulous little community we have over there, approaching 500 people.  I am also so very thankful for approaching the 50,000 video views milestone!

Here are three videos I’ve uploaded since my last blog post.  I hope you enjoy.

Favorite 2015 Monthly Planners under $15 (YouTube link here for those on mobile)

How to Organize and Declutter Kitchen Cabinets (YouTube link here for those on mobile)

Lastly, my November Favorites (link is here).

Christmas blessings…

Monthly Favorites {October 2014} Beauty, Healthy, DIY

It feels so wonderful to be making videos again over on my YouTube channel.  With the car accident and changes in my workload, I had to put a few passion projects on hold, but am excited to report that I was able to carve out a little block of time one afternoon this week to create a new video.  At my sweet sister’s suggestion, this is my first “Monthly Favorites” format.  I’m loving this approach, since the category leaves plenty of room for an eclectic mix of products/projects/recommendations.

Click here to watch over on YouTube or via the preview below.  I’m passing along links to the items mentioned as well.

Thank you for watching, and for all of your love!

The Beauty is Often Found in the Details (What I’m Loving Lately)

This is my favorite time of year, when opening the windows brings in a cool, fresh breeze and inspiration to make savory soups and sweet treats abounds.  The changing of the seasons also ushers in an ideal opportunity to refresh home décor and infuse lovely layers and textures into outfits.  There is a comfort and joy in bringing out favorite items and making something fresh and new. Here are a few fresh details that have brightened my recent days…

  1. Whimsical packaging (polka dots are always in season).  It’s just about time to think about holiday gifts, and most of us will agree the thought that goes into the presentation of gifts is such a sweet cherry on top! Here’s a photo of a recent gift my mother gave me. I had to pause and take a photo, because it was so beautiful! Bonus points for those who dread making bows…this ribbon is too sweet and isn’t tied! IMG_20141004_121201 This talk of pretty packaging led me to a search for DIY bows and finishings. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about these darling printable bows from Printable Weddings.  I may or may not have printed every bow she had available, and saved them as PDFs for later.  Ha! Here’s the first one printed, cut and assembled.  All you need is paper, a glue stick and scissors.  Assembly takes less than a minute.DIY free printable bows
  2. Uplifting interiors. Exploring the idea of buying or building a house meant there were in plenty of model homes recently. I got into the habit of capturing the setup/decor as we toured new spaces. Of course, this fed into a rekindled relationship with Pinterest. We’ve all been there. As my cousin says, “Pin all the things!” Here are a few favorite looks:dresser
    via Better Homes & Gardens
    via Better Homes & Gardens

    And this cottage featured on The Old Painted Cottage…

  3. Seasonal flavors.  Spicy pumpkin pizza at EVO in North Charleston…making a batch of my favorite vegan corn chowder for new friends who’ve just had a baby…embracing the pumpkin craze by making pumpkin blondies with maple frosting.
  4. Giving my workspace a cheerful and calming look. You know by now there would be birds incorporated into the design!
  5. Playing with makeup + jewelry. Discovering a favorite new cruelty-free eyeshadow palette and having too much fun playing with it! Embracing my love of bling through a variety of statement necklaces and earrings, thanks to a few sweet birthday gifts! And bringing out my old favorite costume pearls that were a DIY project last year.

    My favorite new earrings from the exquisite Sarah Swingle. She tells me they're from Vestique Charleston.
    My favorite new earrings from the exquisite Sarah Swingle. She tells me they’re from Vestique Charleston.
  6. Neat + chic. Organization can be Bringing personality into staying organized, thanks to a few gorgeous gifts from Diane.

Thanks for reading along as I share my fall favorites! What have you been enjoying most about this time of year? Leave me a comment on this blog post, over on my Facebook page, or via Twitter/Instagram.

Homemade Plum Sorbet {Recipe to Share}

Plum Sorbet Recipe
Summer is coming to a close, but with temps in the 90s here in the Lowcountry, this delightful sorbet remains a welcome treat! Did I mention it’s just ONE ingredient? You won’t believe me until you try it for yourself.  This sorbet came about when I wanted to make good use of our abundance of plums.  At first, I wondered if I should run them through our high-speed juicer and use the juice in smoothies, since it didn’t seem we’d eat them in time.  But then, something else came to mind.

Plum Sorbet Recipe & Directions
Gather the following:

  • Extra ripe plums (I used 7-10 but use what you have)
  • Mini-muffin tins or popsicle molds
  • A strainer
  • A blender – That’s it!

1. Remove the skin and pits from your plums.  Do this over a bowl so you can save any juice that may result during this process.

2. Place the flesh of your plums (and any juice you collected as you removed the pits) in your blender and pulse, then blend well.

3. Pour your mixture through your strainer (with a mixing bowl below), using a spatula to stir and press it gently to get the juices out.

4. In your mini-muffin tins, divide the plum mixture evenly. Then place into your freezer and allow to firm completely (2-3 hours).

5. Flip your muffin tin over to run warm water for under a minute, just enough to allow the plum treats to loosen from the mold.  Remove your plum sorbet tarts and store in freezer-safe container. Zip loc bags also work well if needed.

Plum Sorbet Recipe

When ready to enjoy, remove a tart (or two!) from the freezer and allow to soften for just a minute or two.  You’ll have something that looks and tastes like Plum Italian Ice if you enjoy right away, or a texture closer to sorbet as you allow it to soften.

Note: To achieve the pinkish hue, leave the skin on 2-3 plums as you blend (you’ll strain it out later).  It makes the end result more appealing in color. 

This sorbet is free of processed sugar and is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy! In the mood for something else? I have a variety of smoothie recipes on my YouTube channel.  The watermelon-strawberry smoothie remains a favorite.

Creative Inspiration: Completed Projects and Wish List!

Sweet friends,

I hope your week is off to a great start! It’s back-to-school time, and that brings much excitement.   I wanted to share a few projects I’ve wrapped up recently, along with projects on my wish list for Fall.

{A Soft Blanket To Share}

It was Christmas in July, as I finished a flannel blanket for my sweet niece recently.  They live in Colorado and keep their home nice and cool, so thankfully it will be put to good use right away.  I am so thankful that I learned how to sew a simple ruffle; it makes ordinary projects look so much more playful and feminine.

{DIY School Supplies}

We’re approaching school supplies differently this year, taking a close inventory of things we already have, and reusing/upcycling where we can.  Instead of buying bland dividers, we decided to tackle the project ourselves! The result was 4 sets of 8 dividers with watercolor touches!

We’re also refinishing the covers of composition notebooks and redecorating binders with supplies we have on hand.  Here is one of the covers we put together last year using scrapbook paper and cut outs from magazines. All that’s needed is paper, a glue stick, scissors and mod podge! This is after a year of wear, so you can see the mod podge did its job well (we covered the entire front surface in light coat of mod podge to seal).  You can also use colorful duct tape or washi tape.


On our back to school wishlist is sewing this pencil case.  I have everything needed, and can see many uses for these, including tucking one of these away in my purse!


Another gorgeous pencil case is here via See Kate Sew.

{Fall Kitchen DIYs}
Not related to back-to-school, but certainly a one-of-a-kind project that isn’t permanent…this creative kitchen makeover using contact paper and sharpies.  Alisa Burke has the best ideas, I tell ya!  The instructions are on her blog.


Last on my sewing list is learning to sew a bow tie.  I had success with sewing a “little man tie” for my nephew (using this tutorial, result is below), and know with the right pattern (and a bit of patience), I can master the bow tie as well! This would make gifts for the Southern men in my family so much easier.


Here’s the bow tie tutorial and pattern I’m going to try:

What’s on your to-do list for Fall? Any simple and fresh do-it-yourself projects? I’d love to hear about what’s inspiring you.


A Better Batch {Vegan Ready-To-Bake Goodies} Launches in Charleston, SC!

Two of my family’s courageous + compassionate friends, Sarah and Hanes Swingle, launched their ready-to-bake vegan goodies company this week, A Better Batch! I think you’ll agree their love story, and launch story, is inspiring.


Hanes has long-dreamed of owning his own business, and bringing A Better Batch to life has been an incredible accomplishment! I can’t think of a more kind, supportive, and enthusiastic co-captain than Sarah.  It’s no surprise that they are both active in not only the Charleston community, but far beyond as they advocate for animals and demonstrate for us how delicious and fulfilling a compassionate lifestyle can be.


My family (veg and otherwise) adores ABB cookies!  My favorite is their Lemon Poppyseed Cookie Dough. It’s so zesty and so much fun with little bursts of flavor.  Organic, fair trade chocolate chips are used in their signature Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Brianna’s favorite).  Their third variety, Mocha Oatmeal Cookie Dough, includes “double doses of chocolate” and “hints of espresso” – Brian has been known to eat more than one with coffee.

Charleston friends, local pick-up is available on your order, allowing you to avoid shipping costs! For my out-of-town friends, I am happy to pick your order up for you (the dough keeps for months in the freezer, and it gives you another reason to come visit).

Let’s send our love and support over to Sarah and Hanes! Shop online, say “hello” with a note of encouragement over on Twitter (@abetterbatch), Instagram (@abetterbatch) and Facebook.

All images courtesy Rebekah Collinsworth Photography

How to Create A Deck of Watercolor Encouragement Cards

I’ve been quiet on the blog these past few weeks but have lots to share soon in the hope of inspiring you and catching you up! My last vlog took a snapshot at a sunny Charleston afternoon, where you may have caught a glimpse of a batch of encouragement cards I’d just finished putting together.

I’d never made anything quite like these before, but the idea came to me when I thought about how much a morning encouragement/empowerment reminder could be a benefit to my compassionate and courageous friend Sarah as she and her husband launch their vegan ready-to-bake goodies company, A Better Batch.


I also created a few of these cards to include in a gift for my beloved friend Kelly, as she and her family made a HUGE move from Charleston, SC to Bend, Oregon.


The steps are surprisingly simple and outlined below.  I hope to make a video tutorial as well, but that may have to wait just a bit until I make a second set!

How to Make A Deck of Encouragement Cards: 
1. Trace a large card outline on the paper of your choice, then cut. I chose my own watercolors to serve as the front of the card and cut out 14 cards.

2. If needed, create a second set of cards at the same size to serve as the back of the card, where you’ll include your messages of encouragement.  For example, for a deck of 14 cards, I had 14 watercolor fronts and 14 solid paper backs.

3. Print out or hand write notes of encouragement for the back of the cards.  Choose from inspiring quotes, favorite scriptures, power phrases, and more.  Cut to desired size.

4. Glue papers together with design facing outside, colored paper on the back with a quote.  I used a glue stick to avoid bubbles.  Press firmly and carefully.

5. Take your finished cards to be laminated.  Office Depot was able to fit 4 cards to a sheet.  The cost to laminate 14 cards was under $8 and made them so much nicer to the touch, plus protected the design!

It didn’t occur to me when I was working on this gift, but it fit nicely into my plan to give something special away every week.  In fact, I love how little gifts are coming into place without me planning them.  It’s much more fluid and genuine that way!

I met Sarah at met at a new coffee shop in West Ashley that impressed us both, called Classic Coffee (27 Magnolia Road in Avondale) to chat and pass along these cards.  The owner and staff were so friendly and helpful in offering dairy-free options/recommendations.  They even have a beautiful area outside where you can sit and enjoy the scenery; I’ll be returning soon!


I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial. It’s such a personalized gift, and one that can be done in a few hours.  Another idea is to create a large set of these and slip one into birthday or thank you cards throughout the year.