Easy Recipe: Veggie Chili

There are times that I love the cold and dreary weather. When I’m wrapped in a furry blanket, nestled into my couch or eating piping hot, comfort food like chili, I actually don’t mind winter. One of my favorite seasonal foods is a satisfying veggie chili. A bean-filled, spice induced vegetarian chili is a good, ol’ comforting meal that provides a ton of nutrients. It’s easy to prepare and cook, plus it’s satisfying with just a small serving. Dump these simple ingredients in a crock-pot before work. Then return home early evening to a ready-made meal. Plus, there’s often enough to freeze, so chili leftovers are a breeze.

chili spices II

Image of chili spices

Veggie Chili II

My not-so-secret ingredient is the cacao powder. What special ingredients do you love in your chili?

Simple Chili Tools

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Recipes: Wellness Smoothies & Green Juice

It’s Wellness Wednesday and I typically post our latest Pretty Wellness Health Minute YouTube episode today. However, it hasn’t been such a well week for us. Was it the after effects of the flu shot? Too little sleep due to our ever-so-busy schedule? Or just a little bug that will eventually go away without really harming anyone? Nobody knows (yet). Nonetheless, our energy is zapped, so our regularly scheduled program will return next Wednesday. And while we may be down and out, we still embrace wellness, so I thought I’d share our latest healthy drink favorites. Here are some nutrient packed smoothies and my latest zesty green-juice. In case you missed them on the Pretty Wellness social media accounts, I wanted to post them on the blog.

Be well and feel well.

Easy Recipe: Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Open a health book, read a wellness magazine or talk to any doctor about which foods are valuable to live a long life and the answer is often a well-colored mix of vegetables. As a cancer survivor and fitness magazine lover, I adapted to a plant-based diet easily. For my family, however, this has been more of a challenge, especially for my 5-year old. So when I heard about the #ONENEWFOOD challenge, I jumped on board. I’m the mom that makes her son try everything, so this is right up my alley. Since we get stuck in a food rut often, the initiative motivated me to be creative and re-introduce foods we don’t eat often. Last week, we enjoyed kale chips daily. This week, we made zucchini three different ways.

Knowing that raw vegetables contain a ton of nutrients and antioxidants, I started there. I figure if my son likes them raw, it’s an easy snack. I cut the zucchini in chip sizes and added a scoop of sunbutter (sunflower seed butter is a great alternative for those with nut allergies) and ketchup as dips. I wouldn’t say he devoured it, but ate enough to call it a minor success.

The following day, I tried shredding the zucchini and roasting it. He dilly-dallied, leaving the veggies for last, but did take two bites. He claimed it was “disgusting” and gave it a thumbs down while he strung it across his plate.


So lastly, I opened up a cookbook of old family recipes, one of which was for zucchini muffins. I tweaked my mother’s original recipe, making substitutions like whole wheat flour, coconut sugar and blueberries. I knew this would be a hit because frankly, muffins are just little healthy cakes. However, knowing that a home-baked healthy cake is healthier than store-bought, packaged waffles, I figured I could sell this as a breakfast item. Of course, he loved it. My husband even thought it was sweet and tasty.

Easy Recipe: Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Easy Recipe: Healthy Zucchini Muffins
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This zucchini muffin is filled with wholesome ingredients but tastes like a sweet treat for kids of all ages.
Recipe type: Snacks
Serves: 16
  •  3 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups zucchini (with peel)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or ½ cup raisins)
  1. Grease/spray cupcake pans
  2. Preheat oven to 350-degrees
  3. Whip eggs until fluffy.
  4. Add other ingredients in order mentioned until moistened. Do not over beat.
  5. Bake 25-minutes on 350 degrees. Cool for five minutes.


Please comment below on your favorite homemade healthy goods? 

Join the #ONENEWFOOD challenge. Check out the other trials and tribulations of mother’s encouraging kids to try new foods, many recipes are included.

Easy Recipe: Kale Chips

After any health scare, it’s fairly easy to adopt new healthy habits. Now 11 months into my plant-based eating diet, I continue to stay focused because I understand the health benefits and feel vibrant within my own body. While I’ve found some new nutritious cravings, it’s not necessarily easy to entice my family to drink green juice, veggie-packed smoothies or daily salads. My family eats a lot cleaner than it did a year ago, but I’m still working on adding more vegetables to their meals without them kicking and screaming. So when I stumbled upon the #ONENEWFOOD initiative, I jumped on the bandwagon. The goal is to introduce kids to one new food a week with the hopes of finding a few favorites. This week, I reintroduced kale by making these kale chips. It was a grand slam … so much so, in fact, that we’ve eaten them the past few nights.

For those who don’t like to cook, this is easy to prepare and takes only a few minutes. If I’m in a rush, I take bagged (and washed) kale salad, throw it on a baking sheet, drizzle oil and salt to taste. Oftentimes, I just put it in the oven at whatever temperature my main dish is cooking. For higher temperatures, I cook for about 6-8 minutes each side flipping once. The best kale chips, however, follow this recipe.

Easy Recipe: Kale Chips
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Kale chips are really easy to make with little prep time and few steps.
Recipe type: Snacks
Serves: 2
  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan sea salt
  1. Wash and dry kale, then remove the stems and rip into pieces
  2. Spread kale in a single layer on a baking sheet (I use a 9x16 baking sheet)
  3. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes
  4. Take out, flip and drizzle 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and add 1 tsp of salt
  5. Bake (at 300 degrees) for another 10-15 minutes
  6. Take out and cool for 2 minutes

Join in the #ONENEWFOOD initiative. Please comment and let us know what new foods you plan to share with your kids.



Easy Recipe: Chickpea Miso Soup

The northern girl in me loves big sweaters, high boots and soup. All bring comfort and put a smile on my face. So, whether it’s January or July, finding a great soup recipe is not only exciting, it’s practical. As a meal, it’s easy to prepare. It’s also hearty enough to curb cravings, while packing in many nutrients.

I prefer bean-based soups because when defrosting, it maintains its fresh taste. So when I stumbled upon chickpea miso, I started to play around with some additional ingredients. I found this one super easy and filling.

Easy Recipe: Chickpea Miso Soup
Prep time
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This is an easy soy-free miso recipe: Chickpea Miso Soup.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 medium leek
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 tbsp. chickpea miso
  • Optional: fresh parsley
  1. Wash and cut vegetables. Add all ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 45-minutes.
  2. Turn off heat and let cool for 15-minutes.
  3. Blend 5-seconds for a chunky smooth consistency, blend longer for a smooth liquified soup. (I use my Vitamix, but a hand blender works, too.)
  4. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.


Images courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ m_bartosch/ Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Things to do with Strawberries including a Pie Recipe

After a lovely Saturday afternoon at the strawberry patch, we carted home with a gazillion sweet-smelling berries. A day later, they unfortunately looked a little over ripe. Trying to be creative, I searched for a list of things to-do with strawberries for my 5-year old and found a variety of ideas that seemed fun to me.  But after each suggestion, he just said, “Momma, I want pie.”