My Favorite Grocery Store

Trader Joe’s, hands down. At least for awesome vegetarian options. They don’t always have everything I want for baking, but they never let me down for dinner.

A little while ago I picked up a package of TJ’s Soy Chorizo to try. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with it, and then I found this amazing website, Cooking with Trader Joe’s. I’ve seen Trader Joe’s cookbooks before, but as a vegetarian I found most of the recipes useless to me. But a website, where you can search for recipes with specific TJ’s products? This is the greatest thing on the internet, my friends. Besides this gif I made of myself morphing into Beyonce for my computational photography class.

This recipe is super easy. Like, 10 min prep time, 15 min cook time, eat leftovers for days easy. And it calls for no spices. What?! WHAT?! I know. Because the soyrizo is just that delicious enough on its own.

Soyrizo Chili
Vegan. Serves 3-4. Adapted from Cook TJ.

Ingredients
half package Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can corn, drained
14oz canned diced tomatoes
1/4 red onion, diced
~1/3 C carrots, diced
olive oil

Instructions
1.
In a medium saucepan, saute onions and carrots in olive oil until softened.
2. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 min.
4. Serve hot, topped with cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, etc.

Look at how chunky that chili is! Just how I like it. I wish I had thought ahead and bought Frito’s to make Frito Pie!

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“Healthy Week”

My friend decided that this week is “Healthy Week.” What does that mean exactly? Working out, no junk food. That means no peanut butter, no Nutella, no delicious Fig Newtons hiding away in my cupboard, and NO COFFEE. Coffee isn’t exactly a junk food, sure, but I’ve gotten to drinking it every morning and I really should cut back. Both of us are going coffeeless for the week.

Unfortunately this is proving to be pretty difficult for me. I try to eat healthy, sure, but if you’re going to restrict what I can eat I need some warning. We decided last minute on Sunday night that this would start Monday morning, and of course I’m almost out of spinach, so salads are out. I’m also almost out of hummus, which is another one of my go-to ingredients. Next week we’ll be back on our regular diets, and then the week after that is no junk again, so at least I’ll have time to prepare.

I don’t know if this really counts as healthy, but it’s certainly not unhealthy. I made a big pot of it Sunday night, and I’ve been eating it nonstop since. If you know me, you know that this is my #1 favorite food in the entire world. It is always at the top of my food request list when I get home after being away for a long time, and I talk about it way more often than any food really needs to be talked about. Also, until now, I had no idea how easy it is to make. Sure, I suppose some of the magic is gone, but since I get to eat it more often now, I don’t really mind. So, without further ado…

Tortilla Soup
Recipe courtesy of my mother

Ingredients
I actually made a half batch, but I’m posting the original amounts.
~6 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 corn tortillas, cut into pieces (cut tortilla in half, then cut into 1/2in strips)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro (coriander leaves for you silly non-Americans)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
3 bay leaves
6 cups vegetable stock
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions
1.
 In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro, and onion; saute 2-3 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil.
3. Add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, vegetable stock, and return to a boil.
4. Reduce heat. Add salt and cayenne pepper.
5. Let simmer 30 minutes to thicken. (The photo above was taken pre-simmering – this stuff gets thick!)
6. Remove bay leaves. Serve with cheese, avocado, sour cream, fried tortilla strips, etc.

Magic. In a bowl.