Jim’s Vegetarian Chili (yes, really)

This is a vegetarian Chili recipe that I’ve been perfecting for years. It’s really tasty, stupid healthy and will definitely warm you up on a cold day. Best served with a pan of cornbread – the non-sweetened kind!

My preferred cornbread recipe is here, though I add 1/4 shredded cheddar cheese and a diced jalapeno for interest.



  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or 3 teaspoons pre-chopped garlic)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I like the Penzeys Spices Soup Base)
  • 1 15oz can whole tomatoes, cut up with juice (diced tomatoes work just fine, but get good ones)
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 15oz cans pinto beans, drained (1 ⅓ cups of dry beans, rehydrated)
  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained (or ⅔ cup of dry beans, rehydrated)
  • 2 cups frozen corn (don’t bother to thaw, Trader Joe’s roasted corn is very good)
  • 1 bottle of beer (optional – any beer works, but a bock or stout is best – you want something sweet and heavy. I prefer Shiner Bock and use 1 bottle for the chili and 1 for the chef)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (start with 2 tablespoon and increase until you get the heat right)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar (may need to increase to 2 depending on the cocoa and other flavors)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dark, unsweetened baking cocoa (yes, REALLY)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (start at ½ teaspoon and increase if you want more heat/smoke flavor. BE CAREFUL here – some chipotle powder is pretty mild and some is pretty hot)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (increase later to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (white or cider)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter (yes, really)


  • In a 4 quart saucepan simmer onions and garlic in 3 tablespoons of vegetable stock until translucent.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for beans and corn and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add beans and corn and simmer for 15 minutes more.
  • Check spices and adjust to taste. Salt, sugar and pepper are the most commonly required spices.
  • Increase to 2 cans of each kind of beans to stretch a bit. May require a bit more spices if you do this.
  • Serve with cornbread, cheese and sour cream.

Pumpkin Spice FrankenPancakes

Today’s Dirty Deed: The Pumpkin Spice FrankenPancake!

What is a FrankenPancake, you might ask? Well, it’s a mashup of a couple different recipes that ultimately provided one of the tastier pancakes that Laura and I have eaten – ever!

I started with a half a can of leftover pumpkin mix that Laura used to make me some Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls for my birthday (yum! give them a try), a desire for pancakes and, more specifically, a desire for buttermilk pancakes. The interwebs failed us on a recipe for all of the above, but I figured “what the hell:”  we have a buttermilk pancake recipe from The Joy of Cooking that is known to be good and we also have a good recipe for pumpkin spice waffles from Epicurious, so how hard could it be to mash them up. The answer: dead simple!


  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 can pumpkin


  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and make sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar
  • Whisk wet ingredients together in a second bowl
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing until just combined
  • Spoon 1/3 cup of mix onto griddle for each pancake and cook as normal for pancakes
  • Stash in a warm oven until all pancakes are done
  • Serve with butter, maple syrup, sausage and/or bacon



A few weeks ago we were gifted with a large box of peaches. (Thank you Betsy!) It looked this (but full):

It was pounds and pounds and pounds of peaches. So we got cooking.


Queen Anne and Fremont

Or, “Let’s walk until our feet fall off and then walk some more”

Saturday morning we decided to go do some exploring. The original plan was to “wander over to the Seattle Center, grab a pastry on the way, look at the Chihuly Garden and then maybe wander up to Queen Anne for lunch – maybe 3 miles of walking all in. We also debated going to Fremont, possibly by bus. This turned into a 9+ mile hike, of course.

NOTE: There are links to related web sites in the titles of each section below. Click on the blue text.

Map of our Tour

There’s a link below the map that will show a larger version.

View Saturday, September 22, 2012 in a larger map


Great American Road Trip: Day 5 – Fair Preview

We’re writing this after spending all of Day 6 on the road (that would be 13 hours and nearly 650 miles) so we’ll be brief. The pictures below are a preview from the Minnesota State Fair, which we attended with Marta, Mary, Rawson, Jenn and Willett.

Fried Cheese Curds!

Seed Art: Gnomes for Marriage Equality (gotta love it!)

Seed Art: Zombie Corn

All You Can Drink Milk!

Concert (Dawes)