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
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.