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December 15, 2009

Many updates and White Chili with Tomatillos and Roasted Mushrooms

We are officially at the halfway mark of the month of December and I find myself a few steps behind.  Each day I inch closer to catching up with all things Christmas, but today I had to admit to myself that my ambition exceeds my capabilities. This December has been so much more action packed than I am used to, but in a good way! Before I get to what I cooked up for dinner tonight I thought I'd take the opportunity to fill you in on the recent excitement around here, I do hope that you will indulge me.

First up, I won my first giveaway! In late November Alisa at One Frugal Foodie hosted a week of cookbook giveaways. I was lucky enough to win on the day that she was giving away her own cookbook, Go Dairy Free. I was giddy when the package arrived, and even more so when I opened it to find not just the book I expected, but also a copy of My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminksy. Double score! I dove right into both books and started making plans on which recipes I would be trying first. I also made plans to write up both books in time for the holidays, but this is where the whole ambition exceeding capabilities comes in. If you are still looking for last minute gift ideas these are both great books, but regrettably I won't be able to share my experiences with them until after the holidays. Stay tuned!

Another reason that this December has been more awesome than the average December, I had the opportunity to host a weekend for these three lovely ladies from Tennessee. This is my cousin, Aunt, and Grandma bundled up in front of "The Bean" in Chicago's Millenium Park. I took them downtown for a day of shopping at Macy's, including a visit to the seventh floor for some fine dining at The Walnut Room. Despite not living far away, this is a Christmas tradition that I haven't experienced in many years.

Here are some Walnut Room shots of the famous tree in the dining room and my yummy butternut squash tortellini. 

What a special treat it was to spend the whole weekend with some of my favorite relatives from afar, but they did not come just to see me, they came for a much bigger occasion. After having lots of fun in the Chicago area on Friday and Saturday, we packed up the cars Sunday morning and headed to Valparaiso, Indiana to see my little brother, Tim, graduate from college! It was a wonderful time surrounded by family and celebrating his great accomplishments. Now he will be moving home for one short month and then it's off to Arizona, where he landed his first job! We are all so super proud of him, but I am going to miss him like crazy!

So I do hope that you will excuse my absence in posting so far this month, but I have not stopped cooking and baking. I have a backlog of goodies that I will share as soon as possible. For now, here is a super yum white chili that I had for dinner tonight, that is perfect for the 10°F nights such as these.

White Chili with Tomatillos and Roasted Mushrooms
(adapted from The Chubby Vegetarian)

3-15 oz cans of white beans, I used 2 cannellini + 1 great northern
1 large white onion, diced
2 shallots, diced
2 tablespoons cumin
2 "Not-chick'n" bouillon cubes
1/2 cup white wine
1 large yellow bell peppers, diced
6-8 tomatillos, peeled and washed
20 oz white button mushrooms, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed
1 serrano pepper, stem removed
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss mushrooms with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for 15 minutes. Set aside. In a large pot sauté onion and shallot with olive oil, cumin and bouillon cubes. Once the onion is translucent, add the peppers and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Pulse tomatillos and hot peppers in the food processor until finely chopped. Add mixture to the pot along with the beans and mushrooms. Add enough water to cover and simmer for one hour. Whisk chickpea flour with some of the broth and add it all back to the pot. Cook for another 10 minutes. (This will thicken the chili.) Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Congrats to your brother, yay for your win, and yum, I love chilli.

  2. Oh this recipe sounds so good. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Congrats to your brother, congrats on your win! That chilli looks so good, I had a bunch of tomatillos from my co-op awhile back, wish I had this recipe!!

  4. Sarah,

    It sounds like you have been having a great holiday season. Congrats to your brother.

    I hadn't thought about Valparaiso in years. I grew up in Portage, Indiana so I know Valparaiso well.

    Your chili looks great. I love white bean chili.


  5. Oh! What a wonderful post! Congrats to your brother and yay for winning the double giveaway! Your chili looks and sounds absolutely delicious, I can't wait to try this recipe, YUM!

  6. Love the update! So much exciting going on in your life right now, friend. I am so happy for your little bro!!! Your pic and talk of downtown is getting me mega excited for my own shopping day downtown at Macy's and beyond on Monday. :) Ahhh, now I simply cannot wait!

    Looking forward to your after holidays posts of goodies. :)

  7. Congrats to you brother--well done... And congrats to you too, Sarah on the fun win! Your white chili beautiful! I've been looking around for a good veggie white chili--I have to try this one. Hubby & I are soon leaving for a Christmas trip to the USA to see my family, so I may not get to visit for a couple weeks... so will take this chance to wish you & yours much love, peace and joy during the holidays and in the New Year! Look forward to catching up with you in 2010! :o)

  8. I'm glad your absence has been because of good things. The chili looks great. I think everyone is making chili this week it seems--myself included. Happy holidays!

  9. I'm so with you on that backlogged bit! Xmas has me overwhelmed this year...I swear I've had some social obligation every night for weeks...and I can't anything done! I also got those two books to review, and while I've found time to make one recipe from My Sweet Vegan, I've yet to try anything from Go Dairy-Free...though I have a few things bookmarked.

  10. First off, how come whenever I post a comment here, I'm right next to Arnie Kitty? Hello, again, Cat. Yes, your chili looks wonderful, and it's awesome that your family came to visit. I love that, too. But, jealousy is oozing over here from your two cookbooks bonanza! Have fun cookin'.

  11. Hey lady! Hope you get that copy of Veganomicon you're wishing for!!!

  12. What a fun month you are having! Happy Holidays!!!

  13. Looking forward to your posts on your experience with the books, congrats on your win. That's a nice pic of you and your brother! And the chili looks great, love the addition of mushrooms.

  14. Congrats on your winnings! I sure hope you enjoy both books, and I'm especially curious to hear your thoughts on mine. ;) If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line.

    Happy holidays!

  15. holy smokes, that chili sounds great. i happen to be cold and hungry right now and reading that ingredient list over and over is giving me warmth...


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