Monday, January 31, 2011

Favorite Vegan Chili Recipe

Is this not the perfect weather for chili? And why not be healthy while you are at it. I snagged this recipe from and we LOVED it. It is completely vegan, but don't let that stop you from at least trying this recipe or even switching a few things to make it your own. We would be having this tonight with some hot cornbread if we weren't going to the Melting Pot instead :)


Ultimate Vegan Chili Recipe
Serves 8

* 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
* 2 Tbs. olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
* 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
* 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
* 2 8-oz. pkgs. seitan, chopped (3 cups)
* 3 Tbs. tomato paste
* 2 tsp. paprika
* 2 tsp. dried oregano
* 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
* 3/4 tsp. celery salt
* 3 15-oz. cans chili beans, such as Bush’s Best Chili Beans, partially drained, or 1 can each black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans, partially drained
* 1 cup chopped carrots (2 to 3 large carrots)
* 2 Tbs. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
* 1 Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown, stirring often. Add garlic and chipotle chile, and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Add seitan, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, chili powder, celery salt, and 1 cup water; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add beans, carrots, tamari, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 hour, or until carrots are tender.

Note: Be sure to drain the chile in adobo sauce-we forgot and it kicked the spiciness through the roof! Still delicious though.

Friday, January 28, 2011

An Early Birthday Present

I have the sweetest, most thoughtful and best gift giver for a husband! He knows I like all things vintage, birds, and simple jewelery so take a peek at what he got me for my Birthday, which is officially tomorrow but he thought I needed an early present :)

My necklace has 'R + C' on it...isn't it beautiful?? He bought it at a store called The Vintage Pearl, which is a company run by women who love the Lord and are obviously very talented at what they do - what a sweet combo! Check out their website to see some of the other fabulous pieces they make! So far it has been a blessed and very happy birthday weekend celebration! Thanks Husband!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Precious mineral-herbal-fresh-spring-mountain rush bottled water!

Don't you just love how bottled water companies hook you in? I mean, I want deliciously refreshing pure water that will make me cry out in sweet ecstasy (try not to picture me pouring water all over my body!). Who doesn't?

It's turns out I am pretty passionate about water. I studied it in college and grad school and I need to tell you... bottled water in the US just doesn't make sense in most situations.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying there is some incredible scandal going on behind closed doors, but I am asking you to consider a few of these next points.

1. Bottled water is no "purer" than US tap water

In fact, there are higher standards for US tap water than bottled water. The FDA regulates bottled water as a food product, whereas the EPA has developed strict health and aesthetic standards that deal with the quality, production, and distribution of tap water. Believe me when I say that "pure water" hardly exists. I will choose EPA regulated water any day.

2. In debt to bottled water?

I am an engineer. I think numbers can tell you a lot. A 20 ounce bottle of Dasani or Aquafina sells for about $1 in most vending machines. That's about 5 cents / ounce. Gas sells for about $3 / gallon in Colorado right now. That works out to about 2 cents / ounce. Boom roasted! Except that I am not joking. From another side, the $1-2 you spend on a liter of bottled water will get you about 3700 liters of tap water.

3. Does bottled water really taste better?
Consider 'that guy...'
a)'that guy' shows up at a restaurant and orders bottled water
b) waiter fills up empty bottle with tap water
c)'that guy' precedes to tell his friends how much more delicious bottled water is over tap water

Case and point!

4. Trash

Bottled water produced TONS of waste. Over 1.5 million tons of plastic every year ends up in some type of landfill! These bottles could easily be recycled, yet they don't. Chap our lives.

I am no hippie, but if we have developed water treatment infrastructure, why are we not using it? Especially when some people around the world don't have the privilege of having quality tap water and are forced to either buy expensive bottled/trucked water or drink the nasty stuff.

As for me and my household, we will choose to drink tap water. And serve the Lord.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Uncle Ryan & Aunt Carly

It won't be long before we officially will be Uncle Ryan & Aunt Carly!! Any day now Tyler & Anna will be welcoming a tiny new Decker addition to the family and we all couldn't be more excited!

The undoubtedly anxious and excited a borrowed picture from their blog :)

We are praying for a safe delivery, healthy baby and blessings over Tyler, Anna and their tiny new addition. We'll update soon when we have a new niece or nephew to spoil and kiss and love!!

And if we get a vote, we would like to dress up Baby Decker like this for Halloween next year...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Avocado Obsession

We are obsessed with avocados. We put them on sandwiches, salads, tortilla chips, burritos, wraps, toast, make guacamole, eat them by the spoonful plain and I personally like them in a fruit smoothie.

We have been stocking up from Vitamin Cottage (our favorite store!) where they are 79 cents for organic avocados! Loving that. They were SIX DOLLARS each in Saudi Arabia-definitely not worth the money because they were hard and bruised. In Uganda (see picture above) they were the size of two softballs and about 10 cents each. That was the best deal we've ever found!

For now enjoy Ryan's Guac Recipe when you are dreaming of warmer summer days...

Mash 1-2 organic avocados in a small bowl
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the mix
Mix in about 1-2 heaping spoonfuls of plain organic yogurt
Season with salt and pepper to taste
And if we are feeling it, we chop fresh garlic and tomatoes to throw in there too


Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Are NOT Yuppies

Have you ever heard of the word "Yuppie"? Well let me give you a definition. Wikipedia defines them as "a member of the upper middle class in their twenties or thirties". That isn't so bad right? Well not exactly. Wikipedia goes on to say that yuppies are: "a late-twentieth-century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with...a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America". Oh kill me now if I'm really a yuppie.

You have to understand that Ryan and I have discussed with our good friends the Malones to great lengths what yuppie means and if we are indeed such. Moving back from Saudi Arabia sparked the interest because we knew we would likely be labeled as something. So before any research the four of us had, perhaps naively, agreed that the term referred to organic-eating, bike-riding, apartment- living, preppy-wearing, young working professionals. I'll take it that harmless description.

However in light of what Wikipedia offers up about yuppies, this post is to set the record straight: that the Deckers (and the Malones) are most probably NOT yuppies! Not by the standard and definition that Wikipedia or the world uses. I'll take the organic-hippie-biking-professional title any day. But a label that implies I'm out of touch with those hurting in America and a self-absorbed overly paid young professional. That I can't take. But the truth is we have had a lot of fun deciding what our new labels or cultural status is according to America and it challenged us a lot in the ways we will choose to live now that we are settled back in the States.

Christ calls us to something bigger anyway. To be in the darkest parts of our neighborhood. To serve in our community. To share the gospel. To labor for Him to make ripples in eternity. To give our money away. Although we are not perfect at it we are trying. We are striving for Christ daily, not for ourselves, and hopefully living above mediocrity that the world sets for us.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
Psalm 89:15

Saturday, January 1, 2011

תמונות של ישראל

Title Translation from Hebrew: Israel Pictures!

And very importantly HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!! Yea 2011!!

We are so pumped to share pictures of our Israel trip! This was an unique trip for a few reasons:
1) We traveled with The Deckers and had a blast!
2) We were just moving from Saudi Arabia to America when we made this stop so we were super sketchy and a real burden to the security people at the border!
3) This place rocked us spiritually because we got to see places that the Bible lives and breathes today in real life!

We stayed for 5 days in Jerusalem right outside of the Old City. We were walking distance to the Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, the Wailing Wall and many other historic places. While this was clearly a holy place and a super religious place (not a fan of that though...) I was startled by the "tourist-y" aspect of Israel. Surprised? I was. Everybody offers you a tour, everyone wants to make you a deal and my favorite part was the loud, obnoxious BRIGHT red cable car that will conveniently take you up to the Mount of Temptation for probably no less that $20 American dollars. *sigh*

Learning to worship Jesus and not man made things was an immediate challenge during our time to Israel. How easy it could have been to worship the place of Christ's birth or forfeit our praise to the Nativity Church. We are challenged more than ever to live out our faith authentically, following JESUS and not anything that this world can create or sell or make an industry out of. Overall message here: LOVED Israel, didn't really love the tourist part of it all. Praise God that He is bigger than what this world can offer us!

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands
Act 17:24


Ideas for 2012 living have been brewing for several weeks in my brain. But I'm not a big fan of the typical "resolutions"-they seem so set in stone and no room for error. Yuck.

But that is where it's at!

goal (my definition); a God-inspired plan to passionately labor for with the resolve to offer yourself plenty of grace along the way

So here are my two 2012 Goals. And since they are shared here with all of's official!

1. For 365 days choose to live out of appreciation for the blessings around me. Quite honestly, excess, surrounds me. So my challenge is to go 1 year without the purchase of anything new. AHHH!!! Hoping this fosters creativity, recycling, and simplicity. Is this crazy talk? Yes. Will I regret this later? Maybe...but it's not impossible. (The only exception to this is buying items to create a gift-fabric, buttons, wax, thread, etc).

2. Right along the same lines, it is my hope in 2012 to record and share over 1000 gifts. Have you heard of Ann Voskamp? She wrote a book titled one thousand gifts "daring you to live right where you are". She invites us to live with eyes wide open and record our own journey to 1000 gifts. I will be sharing them here and cannot wait to become more aware of the simplest and most extravagant of gifts from the Lord!

So those are the two simple goals. I hope this time next year I can say it drew me closer to who God is. I feel so encouraged and led into these decisions. Not every post is about goals but still looking forward to sharing the journey with our blogging community (yes, YOU Casey!).

Did you set up any 2012 goals?

Happy New Year Friends and Family!

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14


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