The Mallory Project

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it." – Julia Child

Vegetarian Chili

I just watched Julie and Julia again. For (probably) the 700th time. And like always, it inspired me to cook, and to blog about my cooking.

Because of my health issues, and my mom’s health issues (which I’ll talk about in more detail in a different post), I am attempting to eat healthier, and to make recipes that I like healthier.

I started off with this recipe because I was craving chili. My mom’s friend gave me this recipe. Every time I make something new, I try to follow the recipe exactly. Then I start to add my own stuff. With this one, I basically followed the recipe, but I messed around a little with the spices. I didn’t measure how much of each I put in, but it was fairly close to what the recipe called for. Except garlic. I love garlic. Love, love, love it. (I kept accidentally typing “live”, which would fit, too. I guess I do live garlic.) And I used a salt substitute instead of regular salt.

I also forgot to add the corn, which I just realized… Oops!

Next time, I’m also gonna add some celery and carrots, to give it an extra crunch.

I ate it plain the first night, and it was good. But then I mixed it with rice and it was even better. Next I’m planning on making gluten free cornbread to go along with it. I’m sure that will be almost heavenly.

(Oh, a note: this makes a HUGE amount.)

Below is the recipe:

1 can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp (or a bit less) cayenne pepper
A couple splashes of soy sauce I used gluten free
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper and paprika to taste
Step 1: Chop the garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil. Meanwhile, wash the beans until all of the canning liquid is gone.
Step 2: Once the veggies have sauteed for about 5 minutes, add everything else into the pot (tomatoes, beans, spices, etc.).
Step 3: Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed to get to consistency you desire.

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A semi-urgent fibro question

Short post today, guys.

To those of you who are unlucky enough to have fibro like me, have you ever gotten a weird rash that looks and feels like sunburn, but you haven’t been outside in the sun in days?

I can’t see my regular doctor this week, and I’d like more info before I head to an urgent care center. I looked it up, and some websites were saying that about 10% of fibro patients get similar rashes. But several other sites said it could be TSS, Scarlet Fever, and several other options.

Anyone have any experience with this?

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Today’s Cute Baseball Story

I love baseball. I especially love the Oakland A’s. This season, I’ve listened to most of their games on the radio via my iPhone (I can’t watch the games on TV when I’m at work!)

I was listening to yesterday’s game (versus the Brewers) and I heard the cutest baseball story ever. I just have to share it.

Ryan “Scooter” Gennett, who was just called up from the minor leagues three days ago, is, apparently, the new crowd favorite in Milwaukee. The A’s radio announcer told the following story about how he got the nickname “Scooter”.

When Ryan was 4, his favorite show was Muppet Babies, and his favorite character was Scooter. He also had a habit of not using a seat belt in the car. To break him of this habit, his parents took him to a police station to talk to some cops; have them teach him how dangerous it is. When the cops asked him what his name was, he didn’t want to tell them his real name. He was afraid he’d get in trouble. So he said “Scooter”.

And that’s been his nickname ever since.

It’s just too bad he’s not on the A’s. they’ve already got Coco Crisp, who goes by a childhood nickname. Wouldn’t it be awesome to root for Coco and Scooter?

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I love baking

I really do. Cooking, too. I love being in the kitchen. I’m an artistic person by nature, and cooking is one of the best way I showcase my creativity. Because, let’s face it, there’s no more satisfying way of enjoying art than by eating it, right? Standing in front of the Mona Lisa was amazing, but what was even more amazing was the boeuf bourguignon at sidewalk cafe I went to afterwards.

I’ve been cooking and baking my whole life. I come from a family of cooks. My nonni makes an amazing pesto sauce, and holidays at my other grandma’s house always involve spectacular food. My father used to work in a restaurant, and he knows his way around a grill. And my mom has never made a bad dessert in her life.

My youngest brother’s birthday was last week, and I wanted to do something special for him, so I decided to bake the cake. The only problem is that his favorite cake is Funfetti, and I haven’t quite figured out how to make that gluten free. So, I made two cakes instead. A Funfetti for the “normals”, and a gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar red velvet for the “Others” (which was basically only me.) I found a recipe and set to work. Now, I’ve never made red velvet from scratch before. So attempting it vegan, and gluten-free, and low sugar, all at the same time? Very ambitious.

And it turned out probably how you’d except a first time red velvet cake might turn out. It wasn’t red, and it wasn’t velvet.

I added too little red food coloring. Which is easily remedied. Plus, I frosted it with swirls of red and white frosting, so at least it looked really pretty.

But it was dry. It was like biting into week-old donut. The flavor wasn’t bad at all. You just couldn’t get through one whole slice. And the frosting was way too vanilla-y. (I expected that; the recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of vanilla. That’s an entire container of vanilla extract.) So for the next time I make the cake, I know how to fix the color and the frosting. I just don’t know how to fix the moisture.

The Funfetti cake was easy. All I had to do was buy the mix, mix it, and plop it in the oven. That cake was gone almost right away. (There were four 19-year-old boys and a 23-year-old boy eating it.) But I wanted to make it even more special, so I tried decorating it.

Usually when I bake cakes, I just spread some frosting, write “Happy Birthday” and throw some candles on. Sometimes I’ll use some sprinkles. But this time, I drew a picture. It’s not the best thing. It would certainly never win me a prize, and I doubt anyone would want to buy it (though it is better than some of the things you see on CakeWrecks…) My brother is really into motorcycles and heavy metal. So I drew the first thing I thought would be appropriate: a motorcycle jumping over flames. Although I drew the motorcycle a little too close to the fire, so it looks like it’s driving <i>through</i> it. But it still looks cool. And I found these awesome skull sprinkles, so I put those around the edge. It looked pretty cool, I┬áhave to say so myself.

My cakes!

My cakes!

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Good Enough To Eat book review

It’s an easy read, something that would be on a plane ride or next to the pool. It’s well written, the story is interesting and the characters are well developed.
But I’m not sure whether I liked the book or not.

Like I said, it’s well written. Author Stacy Ballis has a way with words. The reader really gets inside the protagonist’s head. You understand what she’s going through, and you feel almost like you’ve gone through the exact things she’s gone through. You may not be a former fat girl, like Melanie, but you know how she feels. Everybody has a part of their past that they’ve worked hard to overcome, and Ballis celebrates the hard work that it takes to do so.

In Good Enough To Eat, Melanie is a former lawyer who has recently lost nearly 200 pounds. She opened a health food cafe, where she makes food that is good for you and tastes good too. At the beginning of the novel, Melanie’s husband announces that he’s leaving her, for a woman who weighs the same that Melanie did at her heaviest.

The book chronicles Melanie’s journey to “live right”; how to be happy and fulfilled after everything is taken away from her. (Ok, that’s an exaggeration. Only her husband left, she still has her cafe and her friends. But sometimes it does feel, to her, that everything has been taken away.)

The book is very much about food. Each chapter starts with one food item and Melanie’s relationship with that food. For example, apple pie reminds her of her sister. Chili reminds her of happier times with her husband. Ballis includes about twenty pages of recipes at the end of the book, both traditional and “better for you” versions. I can imagine Ballis reading Nora Ephron’s Heartburn and thinking “hmm…I like this, I wanna try it out.”

But she went overboard with the food descriptions. When I read about creamy mashed potatoes, I can taste them just fine. You don’t need to tell me that they are white, silky, creamy, smooth and piping hot.

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