Thursday, March 14, 2013

Back in business

I'm back!!!!  Thank you all for checking in on me during my time away.  And thank you so much for coming back and joining me again!

I told you that my oldest mini had surgery.  I am not going to go into details today, but I will say that my oldest mini had a life-altering operation.  He has faced a huge loss, both physical and emotional, that was (and is) very painful.  As his mom, I have been (and will be) by his side through every moment.  He is doing ah-may-zing.  He is flying through recovery and is anxious to get started on his rehab.  And in the moments where most people would give up and cry, he has pushed through and found something to laugh about.  I feel like he's kind of the best person in the whole wide world.  

So what I am trying to say, is that I am coming back to this blog a different person than I was a month ago.  This blog will still be filled with my favorite yummy recipes.  This blog will still be filled with funny stories of my crazy minis (my oldest mini's operation has supplied me with tons of new material).  And this blog will still  serve to encourage you to take care of your health and to love and respect the body that you have.  But I don't think you go through what we have gone through and not come out a changed person.  So, just a heads up....I may more sensitive and emotional that I used to be. 

Today, I want to do something a little different.  I want to talk about how you can support someone when they are going through a difficult time.  The McGhees were overwhelmed by the support we received from our family, friends, and community this past month.  Like, way way way overwhelmed...many times to the point of being uncomfortable by how much other people wanted to help us out.  I know personally whenever I hear someone has suffered a loss or is going through a rough time, I always want to do something to help, but I never know what to do.  This is what I've learned.....

Do something.

If you are a gifted letter-writer, write them a letter.
If you are a gifted cook, make them a dinner.
If you are a gifted fitness expert, come to their house and help them workout.
If you own a shovel, shovel their driveway.
If you can hold hands and listen, hold their hand and listen.
If you are a gifted shopper, send them a gift.
If you can drive, help transport children.
If you can walk a dog, walk their dog (and lie when they ask how she did on the walk).
If you are a gifted beer-drinker, bring over a case 6-pack of beer and drink it with them.

Get my point?  When people are going through a tough time, reach out to them.  They'll never forget what you did.

One thing that people did for us was set up a meal train.  It was incredible.  For three weeks, I had someone deliver dinner to my family every single night.  Talk about a gift!  We appreciated every single meal and some of the dinners have become our new family favorites.  I will try and share as many of those recipes that I can get my hand on.  Today, I am sharing one that I loved, Emeril's Vegetarian Chili.

Emeril's Vegetarian Chili


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespooon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, or water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
  • Diced avocado, garnish
  • Essence, recipe follows, garnish
  • Chopped green onions, garnish
1.  In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. 
2.  Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. 
3.  Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
4.  Add the tomatoes and stir well. 
5.  Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. 
6.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with Essence and green onions and serve.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

My favorite corn bread recipe would be perfect to serve with this chili.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup milk

1.  Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium bowl.  

2.  Add the eggs and beat well.  
3.  Combine the dry ingredients and alternately add the dry ingredients and milk. 
4.  Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan.
5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until center tests done.