It’s been two years (and a bit) since I wrote my first blog post on this site, a diatribe against new years resolutions. And I’m happy to say that while I like to think my photography has improved, I’m still of the same opinion that new years resolutions are too restrictive and perfectionist, especially for someone like me who can slip into perfectionism very easily.

As an alternative to new years resolutions, let me propose something I’ve decided to take up in 2018: intention setting. While resolutions tend to focus on things we need to remove, fix or problems we need to solve, intentions are things we’d like to do more of.  I like Lee From America‘s habit of doing monthly intentions, rather than yearly, as it feels like each month is an opportunity to check-in with yourself again and what you actually need. Examples of intentions that I’ve thought about:

  • Trust my gut more (without having to lean on others to validate it)
  • Make time for my daily meditations
  • Drink more water during the day
  • Read a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while

If you were feeling iffy about all the pressure to start setting resolutions, this might (or might not) be something you’d be into.

Another great way to welcome the new year is not to eat salad, which frankly feels like the last thing my body wants in -17 degree weather, but to instead eat chili. In January, I intend to make this chili at least 2 more times.

Vegetarian chili with jalapeno, scallion and cheddar cornbread muffins

Vegetarian chili

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

Tip: I store the leftover chipotles in individual zip lock bags in the freezer so I can just defrost for future use.

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion (red or yellow), diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 small to medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 pint of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can of black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted, but not necessary)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (from a can)
  • Vegetable stock or water
  • Salt and pepper
  • For toppings any combo of the following: chopped avocado, grated cheddar, finely sliced scallions (greens only), fresh cilantro, sour cream.
  1. Start by doing all your mise en place prep (it helps things go a lot smoother).
  2. In a dutch oven or large pot head a few glugs of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the onions and red peppers and sautee until onions have turned transcluscent.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, chopped chipotle and bay leaf and sautee for 30 seconds until spices and garlic are fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped sweet potato and mushrooms an stir until well coated in the spice mixture.
  5. Stir in the 2 cans of tomatoes, then fill one of the cans with stock or water, swish around to get all the last bits of tomatoes left in the can and add to the pot. Add the black beans.
  6. Put on the lid and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Serve with garnishes and muffins (recipe follows). Leftover chili keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days (and the flavour gets even more enhanced).

Jalapeño, scallion and cheddar cornbread muffins

Barely adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded
  • 3 scallions, greens and light greens thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin (you’ll only need enough space for 9). I find muffin liners don’t work great here so just grease the pan well.
  2. Finely chop half of the jalapeño and set aside. Slice the other half into 9 thin half moons.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, corn meal, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  4. Add the milk, butter and eggs and stir until you can still see some flour. Then stir in the cheese, scallions and finely chopped jalapeño.
  5. Using a ice scream scoop or spoon spoon in the batter into 9 of the cups. Top each with a half moon of jalapeño.
  6. Bake for  18-22 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin until ready to serve, warm or at room temperature. They’re best eaten the day they’re made but are still good the next day.