Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dat's Life Doe

I remember the sound of gravel groaning underneath my Doc Martins as I dawdled behind my mom.  Whether the lady was getting something or not, she enjoyed walking aimlessly up and down the aisles of nurseries. Sometimes we would roam around some stranger’s yard who was selling an abundance of fresh blooms in reused plastic containers and milk jugs. Those I’d like to call the “underground” nurseries. Unknown nurseries except to those who were on the lookout for other enthusiasts, specifically in the PennySaver. I remember how she would stand in the aisle with her curled index finger on her chin, hemming and hawing over a flower. I knew then I should set my expectations low and consider this trip was going to be an extensive one. At times, my mom would casually lean over me and point out to a flower and explain their properties to me. I learned what annuals and perennials were before I knew how to add and subtract properly.

I remember in the beginning, our yard was pure crap. I mean the crappiest. My mom worked hard in her “garden” that was inclusive of the entire perimeter of our house. Planting anything was a challenge. We lived on undeveloped horse land that consisted of rock hard, compact clay, everywhere. If anything grew, it was foxtails and tumbleweeds. Every summer the Fire Marshall would site our property and we were required to have our land cleared from fire hazards. There was no watering system except for the four hose outlets coming out of the ground, in four inconvenient places. My mom frequently asked me to help dig whenever she had to plant something that required a depth of 12” and a diameter of 24.” With a deep sigh, I’d lean on the warped wooden handle of my shovel, and listen to the lady talk on and on about her newest find, or her current idea for the yard as she poured potting mix into the hole. She was determined to make something of her “Tara.” Eventually, each of us slowly got wrapped up in her ideas.

Her plants came and went multiple times throughout the years, and yet she held strong to her belief of attaining an ultimate rose garden. Her ideas were highly influenced by clippings she  kept from numerous sources, specifically from Better Homes and Gardens. She would save these pictures and articles of inspiration in her pink binder that had a glossy picture of a yellow rose on the cover. If any of us argued that her newest idea would take a lot of time, she would chime in brightly, “I’ve got time.” Completed with a look that said, “I’m not going anywhere soon.” By this time, I’m in 7th grade, and my entire family was involved in her master plan. My older brother and I spent a couple weeks digging out tiers on the side, of that rock hard slope, so mom could plant her heart's desire of rows upon rows of roses. Next to this, my dad, not a craftsman by trade, built her a wooden arch that she wanted for so long. It took all four of us to set that bulky, 8’ tall arch down into the ground, only after a few obscene words were said under our breaths. By the time I went off to college, my mom successfully grew a glorious trumpet flower on one side and a climbing rose on the other. Her vision was coming to life, and silently, we were just as pleased as she was.

The first year and half of creating a small, dedicated butterfly garden in my own house, was difficult.  A plant can bloom one day and then die and give you the middle finger in the same week. I can work so hard, and sweat so good in my garden, and have nothing to show for it. I also didn’t realize how much more involved a garden was, rather than having someone tell me what to do and where to dig. To fly solo rolls in this combination of liberation and the gnawing burden of self doubt. Did I prepare the soil well enough to drain? Did I separate the herbs far enough from each other? Did I mix the right ratio of water to fertilizer? I always ask myself a ton of preparatory questions so I can have a plan for the setback. However, when a delphinium dies when I thought I exhausted every option, I am reminded that I can only fully control my perspective. I’ve always wanted an English garden, complete with a fully blooming rose arch. In my mind, I cling to this image of what I want my end result to be. I learned from my mom’s crappy yard, there is more than one path to create a fulfilling garden. It just needs a bit more work before I get there.

- Melanie Dyogi

Friday, December 4, 2015

Gear Review: Miiego AL3 Freedom Wireless Headphones

Lucy Radford from Miiego, pronounced Me-AY-go, contacted me from Denmark and asked if I would be interested in testing out their Award Wining Headphones. I was quite hesitant and didn't respond right away until I did my own research on the company and their products. Finding information was quite hard since I do not understand Danish. A lot of translating was done as well as going off on a tangent and learning about Legos, Fairy Tales, and the special elevated roads for bicycles in Denmark... Someone take me to Denmark please...Back on track...Miiego is a 100% sport focused company founded in 2010. 2015 is their big year as their particular headphones, the AL3 Freedom, has been gaining awards and quite the spotlight.

  • Miiego AL 3 Freedom wins second place in Women's Running magazine in the UK.
  • Miiego AL3 wins second time "Test Winner - Most value for your money" in
  •  Miiego has been spotlighted in various magazines in the UK. Check out to see the list.
  •  To put into perspective for us Americans, Miiego is out there with the big dogs. Miiego hosted a booth at the world's largest sport convention at the ISPO in Munich, Germany - "The leading international platform for the sport business elite." For Americans, dependable, high end outdoor brands we are familiar with would be Mountain Hardwear, Black Diamond, Mammut, etc. This event allows all sport based companies to showcase and discuss their innovative product line up for the year. As an athlete with an engineering background, this event has been added to my bucket list...
 "No Wires. No Worries" -Miiego slogan

All the headphones in the Miiego line are wireless. There is no fussing aorund in a pouch or Camel Bak. Hence the athlete is capable of focusing on the challenge set ahead of her. We're too busy breaking PR's, or hitting that last rep with full force. Truly apprecate wireless. You don't have to be concerned about getting your wire snagged on the end of a barbell when you rise up to re-rack your weight. Yes. y.e.s. Life just got easier.

Break Down

The AL3 Freedom wireless headphones comes in one color, matte black. I was sent to review the AL3 Freedom - Woman Fit. The only difference for the woman fit is the neck band is much smaller, compared to the original.The headphones are over the ear, and both earpieces are connected together by a glossy, flexible neckband. The neckband provides enough tension that allows the headphones to stay comfortably in place during a workout, no matter how rigorous! The foam ear pads are extremely breathable and sweat proof. In addition to having a built in microphone, and an LED indicator, controlling the unit is easily accessible on the right side of the ear piece.  The 5 button remote is aesthetically and ergonomically arranged in order for the athlete to easily: power on/off, play music, mute, skip/return, increase or reduce volume, make a call or reject. Frequency Range is 20 Hz - 20 KHz.

Micro Usb Cable. Replacement foam earpads. Waterproof Storage Case. Quick start manual. The storage case is not a hard solid case. The headphones could accidentally turn on when there is enough pressure applied to the case. The sleeve inside the case could only store the extra pair of ear pads. Was not able to store the micro USB cable

The flexible neck cable provides adequate tension around your cranium in order to keep the headphones in place. The pressure applied could only be felt after 1.5 hours of training. I have used the headphones for 5 hours straight and I would readjust to alleviate the pressure. I don't believe the pressure was solely due to the cause of the headphones, yet the combination of my sunglasses and headphones being used. Once I was done with my workout, I could let the headphones sit comfortably wrapped around my neck, or fold them up and store them in my pocket.

Charging the unit is done by using a micro USB cable, which is included in the kit. Charging time is listed to take 2-3 hours. Realistically, the charge time was not a burden. I just spent my day with my headphones, rigurously trainining on my mountain bike for 5 hours. My headphones need to recharge for the next day just as much as I do. We need to be ready to take on the challenge tomorrow. So just think of your headphones as they are getting their much needed R.E.M. and say goodnight.

The headphones were created to allow an athlete to have situational awareness, therefore, this is not a noise cancelling headphone. Thankfully, the quality of sound was not compromised. I was truly surprised of the bass quality not being lost, yet rather complimenting its counterparts. The treble was just the perfect pitch, warm tones, and the bass was not overbearing. I have to pedal on the street to get to the trails, and being able to hear my music and the traffic around me was a great and safe experience. Unlike my earbuds I have to keep my music really low so I may hear the surrounding traffic. I don't really know exactly what the singer is saying, but I have heard this beat before at my desk, I'm pretty sure it's a good song...I'll make up the lyrics as I go...yeah, none of that ridiculous nonsense with these headphones.

Krone 599,00 = $87.2979
EU 59.95 = $65.70

Shipping to San Diego
EU 9.99 =$10.86

If you're from the United States, use the European form to check out ;)

Thank you Lucy for this opportunity to try out some rad Denmark headphones!

Melanie Dyogi

Product Sheet from

*Lucy from Miiego sent me the AL3 Freedom - woman fit, to try out. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

*This blog post is not sponsored.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Dad's Questionable Choices | SpiceyBok Choy & Mushroom Soup, Vegan


With mom working late again at the hospital, dad cooking something random was always expected.  He came up with a rule as he stood over a pot of boiling water, and pulled baby octopus legs from a plastic bag, "You're not allowed to say no until you have tried it at least once." As an 8 year old, I watched in awe as he dropped each tentacle into the pot. At this age, I was accustomed to trying new things because of dad. After eating squid in the past, which I turned out to like, I thought octopus legs were a stretch of my bravery. After sliding my tongue over the row of suckers, I fearlessly chewed down on the rubbery leg. One hand picking up another, and a peripheral view of my older brother to my right, we silently dared each other to be the first to repel. 

Mom worked late often, so dad cooked often. My stomach wasn't as appreciative as my eyes were when I would watch my dad help and get creative in the kitchen. His eyes would crinkle at the corners as he would say with a quavering laugh, "Just try it," while sliding a plate of mashed corned beef, cooked with raisins, walnuts, and diced carrots, across the counter. I remember on some nights I would witness from the hallway, all the lights off but the kitchen, and his slender silhouette bent over a simmering pan. He would click on the overhead light and lean further in for a closer inspection. I could see his long eyelashes casting wavering shadows on his cheeks as he flicked them back and forth from pan to a slew of randoms to choose from on the counter. After throwing a handful of raisins into the pan, and a sprinkle of wheat germ, the right corner of his lips would bunch and he would tilt his head to the left thinking if what he just did would save his creation. Two seconds would pass, and he would shift all his weight on his left foot. "Hmm." Ah yes. The ceremonial sigh to experimentation.

I am very grateful for my dad's efforts, yet my stomach yearned for a normal meal, and mom was home from work earlier than usual. She had dinner simmering on the stove and it smelled great. I spooned the steaming contents from the pot into a bowl and got a plate of rice as directed. After saying grace, I sipped the broth. A savory, wholesome taste swirled in my mouth before I swallowed. I bit into the vegetable cautiously. "What vegetable is this?" I asked mom intrigued. I was introduced to bok choy for the first time. In the pot my mom had added pieces of chicken which I ate only once since I had spooned it already into my bowl. The second serving I would scoop out only bok choy and broth into my bowl. I never really liked the taste of chicken and I still don't.  By my thirds, I had picked out all the bok choy and left pieces of chicken for everyone. Mom was not happy. However, the next time she cooked this soup, she added triple the amount of bok choy and cooked it all. Just. For. ME. Aww gee. I felt really special. Bok choy makes me feel really special. My mom thought about me, within her busy schedule, while on her way home, at the store, she picked up extra amounts of bok choy. It is my favorite wholesome, warm feeling meal, that she would  make. When I was sick, when it was cold, and when I would come home from college, she made it.

Which makes me think, what the heck mom? I may be out of college now, but I still would like my bok choy soup on my next visit please.

I haven't had mom's bok choy soup in a very long time and recalled these memories after having my first sip from a recipe written by Rose: Spicy Ginger Lemon Soup with Mushrooms. This recipe is a great introduction for a dish I grew up with and it was easy to follow. Not to mention easy to cook in minutes for dinner time and needs only 4 fresh ingredients. Since I picked up a lot more bok choy than the recipe called for, because I really love bok choy -- in case you forgot -- I doubled the recipe.

After recreating, for a doubled recipe, I would add an extra 1/4t sp red pepper flakes and only use 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.  I used the Bragg's liquid aminos soy sauce. I would also saute the garlic and green onions with toasted sesame oil before pouring in the broth to give it an extra Asian flair. I would also add a few more ingredients, yet I cannot divulge what they are. If I do, I would give away my mom's recipe. I am not ready to do that yet ;).

Rose's recipe is good by itself and I definitely recommend you, the reader, to try recreating this. It is VERY simple and tasty. Create it both ways if you like as well and expanding upon it. Don't be afraid to get creative with this recipe. Post a picture if you do! Non-vegan or vegan, what is your fondest, or even most questionable memory based off a recipe you have created or had?

-Melanie Dyogi

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Eggplant reminds me of mom | Vegan Gujarati Dish

Melt-in-the-Mouth Burnt Aubergine and Spinach Curry Recipe by Sanjana for K.O. Rasoi

The only eggplant recipe I know of, disregarding grilling, is the simple one my mom would make when I was a child. At that time, my mom was rarely home during the week because she was always working at the hospital and always studying for something at home. I would relinquish the fact I loved this recipe so much because my mom was home spending time with me. I remember when my mom would smash the vegetable with a fork, coat the "eggplant pancake" in an egg mixture and fry it, and slather it with Ketchup. I am unsure if this is a typical Filipino dish...or even remotely healthy. Regardless, to return to the experience of sitting at the kitchen counter with my superhero mom over looking the stove, I loved that dish so much, I remember the phone call I made home asking mom for the recipe when I was in college...

In search of expanding my culinary eggplant knowledge, Sanjana, you have won my heart with another recipe of yours. From a vegan dish, my palate and my full stomach thanks you too. If you, the reader to my blog, have not read my last post, Sanjana is a fellow blogger at K.O. Rasoi, and a Content Producer for Food Network UK. After recreating her Vegan Marsala Taco Dish, I went through her blog and picked out another recipe to recreate and review as promised.

Aubergine. The French kindly created a facade of eloquence with their term toward the glossy bulbous vegetable that which hangs off of a spiny stem and capped with coarse leaves. I have met a few people who could not stand the taste of eggplant. One of my friends, Scott J, claimed the purple vegetable was about the same as,"chewing on a sponge." If I could be so bold to test the waters as I write...this recipe could change this Scott.

This dish was exactly what Sanjana mentions in her blog, "...smoky, spicy, punchy and tangy." She mentions to not be scared to roast an eggplant to a crisp on an open flame.

I tried not to be afraid and I followed her rule to at least 8mins on each side. This allowed me to scrape a few pieces of the peel, yet just not enough. I had to take a knife and cut some pieces. I also had to give the vegetable a few spins through a food processor.

Even so, the dish tasted wonderful and not as if I was chewing on a sponge mind you. However, I wish I listened and kept that eggplant on the grill till it was scorched. The 8 minute tip did give the dish a light smoky flavor, yet I just wonder how much more of a punch I could get if I listened. How much more creamier?  How much more smokier? How much more of the "melt-in-your-mouth" taste could I gather?

Give it a try, you, the reader, and dont be shy in leaving the eggplant on the grill till the vegetable skins are scorched, crisp, and fraying in the wind. Haha, maybe not the last bit. The dish is easy to make, just needs some time and hand work to chop all the vegetables as well as your attentiveness. Sure it's important to stand watch when your're creating layers of taste for this dish by adding each vegetable at a given time, specifically though, be attentive when you're roasting them fancy aubergines on an open flame ;)

Much Love and Bear Hugs,
-Melanie Dyogi

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

K.O. Rasoi Dish | Taco Tuesday: Vegan Masala Cauliflower and Broccoli Tacos With Avocado and Coriander

Taco Tuesday in my household was celebrated with a taco created in layers which taste good by themselves, and then a dance party in your mouth when eaten together. The recipe contains a tangy radish and onion salad, which is balanced with a dollop of savory pineapple chutney, topped with broccoli and cauliflower enveloped in a crunchy chickpea flour jacket, and then completed with a drizzle of an aromatic avocado and coriander sauce. Sanjana of K.O. Rasoi, I and my taste buds want to thank you for creating and sharing your recipe with the community. I hope my recreation, shown above, meets your approval.

Sanjana is a fellow blogger and U.K. content creator for Food Network. I stumbled upon her recipe while trying to address my least favorite vegetable. I was looking for recipes incorporating broccoli. If you read last week's post, you know I found one broccoli dish that turned out to be the favorite of my husband and I. 

Creating each layer from this recipe made my mouth salivate as each layer had a distinct charismatic aroma. Creating the seperate layers is not tedious at all, yet the long list on the recipe may sway some. Once attempted, I could assure you the process was not at all meticulous. The ingredients are either thrown in a food processor, chopped and put into a bowl, or softly mixed in a blender and then left on the stove to simmer until the water evaporates. The only step a cook would have to constantly watch and move items back and forth is during the frying process.

This recipe was quite simple and I recommend you, the reader, curious vegan or non vegan, to give this recipe a shot. I am curious to try more of Sanjana recipes as this first one from her delivered. I could imagine what else she has in store for her readers. I have to catch up as she has been blogging her food journey for 7 years! Here is a direct link to her recipe: Vegan Masala Cauliflower and Broccoli Tacos with Avocado and Coriander

-Yogi Zanutto

Monday, August 31, 2015

Vegan Eating: Yummy Meals for the Week


~~~Here are the details about the dishes I found online to try.~~~

Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats

My mom says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. She never let me eat sweets in the morning. She'd keep a good eye on me in the morning as she ate her chocolate cookie with warm milk. "What the heck mom!? Why do you get to eat a cookie and I can't." "I'm old. You need the nutrients to grow stronger." We had this conversation many times growing up, I'd always mutter quietly into my mini wheats, "That's a whole load of crap mom..."

Could anyone guess where I inherited my sugar addiction? From the womb kids...started from the womb...

The chocolate shavings as a topping sounds like a justifiable, sneaky way, to have sweets in a meal. Wish I knew about this recipe when I was living with my mom ;)

  • I used Coconut Almond Breeze Milk - Unsweetened, Great Value Chunky Peanut Butter
  • Recipes makes 2 servings - 1 cup each
  • Important nutrient facts:  
    • Calories : 443
    • Protein : 13
    •  Potassium : 782
    • Calcium : 28
    • Magnesium : 135
    • Iron : 21
    • Vitamin A : 7
    • Vitamin B-6 : 7
    • Vitamin C :18
    • Vitamin D : 13
    • Vitamin E : 27
    • Zinc :  2

Sunrabbit's Vegan Sweet Corn Bread

I LOVE CORNBREAD. Let that show on record. I made this recipe twice this week. I did not include the topping this recipe called for, honestly, the bread didn't need it for my taste.
  • Instead of wheat flour use white. I know, a bit unhealthy, but let's be real. The minute you drop extra virgin olive oil into this recipe, the health factor is out the window. So let's commit ;).
  • Add 2 tablespoons of honey with the wet ingredients. If you want that sweet taste that also makes the bread have that sticky crust on the edges. Do not skip this step. Personally, I love honey and this was just the icing on the cake. THIS step made the cornbread perfect.
  • Makes 12 squares.
  • Important Nutrient Facts:
    • Calories : 289
    •  Protein : 29
    • Potassium : 2
    • Calcium : 8
    • Magnesium : 4
    • Folate : 4
    • Cholesterol : 0
    • Fiber : 1
    • Iron : 5
    • Vitamin A : 0.8
    • Vitamin B - 6 : 2
    • Vitamin C : 0
    • Vitamin D : 1
    • Vitamin E : 2
    • Zinc : 1
Quinoa Corn Edamame Salad and Crispy Sea Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

Loved this recipe with the two together. Edamame salad by itself was a bit much for me because of the dry texture of the edamame.
  • Add an extra lime to the edamame salad.
  • Cut back on the edamame use to 1.5c. I thought 2 c was a bit much for me.
  • Use about 2 tablespoons of rosemary on the potatoes... or enough that they are evenly coated with the awesome herb. I am a huge fan of rosemary potatoes. If you are ever in San Diego, and have a hankering for some good grilled potato wedges, try eating at The Mission in downtown San Diego. They also make delicious rosemary bread. mmm...I can still smell the inside of that small warm and inviting.
  • Important Nutrient Facts: Edamame Salad / Sweet Potatoes - each 1/2c serving
    • Calories : 170/75
    • Protein :1/16
    • Potassium :141/16
    • Calcium :3/17
    • Magnesium :2/9
    • Folate :3/19
    • Fiber :2/10
    • Vitamin A :261/69
    • Vitamin B-6: 0.75/9
    • Vitamin C :54/25
    • Vitamin D :0/0
    • Vitamin E :0.25/1
    • Zinc : 0.62/1
 Lentil + Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Easy to make, throw each of the solids in a food compressor, then transfer each into a big bowl to mix together. Then dunskies...ready to eat. Raw. All the nutrients are intact.
  • Instead of lentils I used 2 Hass Avocados
  • Great Value Wheat Hamburger Buns
  • I sprinkled about half a tablespoon of lemon pepper in the mix and let it sit overnight before eating.
  • Added juice from two limes. 
  • I coated the top bun with Pesto and added 2 golden cherry tomatoes, sliced, on top of the alfalfa sprouts.
  • I used hamburger buns not because of preference unfortunately, haha, yet it turned out tasting great! My birthday party was in mid July and we had a grilling frenzy with out Traeger smoker which my husband is a master chef with. All the meat was gone...and we were left with so many buns.
  • Important Nutrient Facts:
    • Calories : 359
    • Protein :16
    • Potassium :16
    • Calcium: 17
    • Magnesium :9
    • Folate :19
    • Fiber :10
    • Vitamin A :69
    • Vitamin B-6:18
    • Vitamin C: 92
    • Vitamin D :0
    • Vitamin E :1
    • Zinc :6

 Roasted Teriyaki Mushrooms and Broccolini Soba Noodles

This recipe was the favorite in the household and will be made again...and again....and again. This one receives the approval from the husband which he took to work and ate for dinner. If you love a salty and asian flare, this dish is for you.
  • Substituted brocolini with a head of broccoli.
  • Used liquid aminos soy sauce
  • Important Nutrient Facts : 1.5 c
    • Calories : 425
    • Protein :22
    • Potassium :2092
    • Calcium: 24
    • Magnesium :85
    • Folate :12
    • Fiber :10
    • Vitamin A :554
    • Vitamin B-6:29
    • Vitamin C: 227
    • Vitamin D :0
    • Vitamin E :11
    • Zinc :4
**How I calculated the amount of nutrients each recipe contained:
I used the nutrient counter from Really great app and website. To log your daily intake, just scroll through the list to find the item. If it is not on the list you could add it. This was time consuming, I'll admit, to plug and chug for each item, yet I was curious if I was getting enough nutrients in a day. I would first calculate the nutrients in the dish entirely, which means finding each item and the amount used to make the dish, and then divide it by servings.

If anyone knows or would like to recommend another app I should try, or a vegan dish, comment below to let me know below. Also, let me know how this works out for you if you try to recreate these dishes.

All recipes will be pinned to my Pinterest Board LuckyYogi:Vegan Diary.

I hope this weeks vegan diary helps current or curious vegans for this weeks meal prep :) Out of all the recipes...I recommend the Soba Noodle Dish!

-Melanie Dyogi

Monday, August 10, 2015

Carnivore Creations: Vegan Chili


WAIT. WAIT. (Palms up, in your face.) WAIT. 

Before you roll your eyes with exasperated groans of disagreement. This dish was created in a house of meat lovers and licensed hunters, and AND a Traeger smoker. When my husband -- a wonderful cook -- bought that Traeger smoker, their powers combined made me have a legit affair with tri-tip and bacon. I have chosen to cut back on meat intake greatly by doctor's reccomendation and have been experimenting in the vegetarian world since 2012. My husband recently joined me after I asked him to watch "Forks Over Knives" with me. Once the documentary brought out testimonials from long term athletes, I could see the gears turning in his head. Thinking how he could beat me at vegetarian cooking. 

Which he hella did. 


This recipe is his FIRST damn creation into the vegan world, and it is glorious. I must point out Eric did not do any previous research, or read any example recipes prior to creating this. A day after watching the documentary he cooked this up. I had to share this with the community. 

Eric Zanutto's Vegan Chili

½ c kidney beans (dry)
½ c black beans (dry)
1 c pearl barley (dry)
2 medium green bell peppers
1 medium yellow onion
2 jalapenos w/ seeds (remove seeds for mild flavor--Eric kept the seeds)
3 garlic cloves
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 avocados
½ c fresh cilantro

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbl lemon pepper
½ tbl sesame seed oil
1 tbl chipotle Cholula sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tbl Vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tbl Sriracha (optional)
1 full juice from lime
½ tbl chili powder
½ tbl crushed red pepper
½ tbl rosemary
1 tsp cayenne powder
½ tbl chipotle chili powder
2 tsp liquid smoke (1 tsp in barley, 1 tsp in whole pot)

1. Put all into a large Pyrex dish or tempered glass dish:
          - Dice tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper, jalapenos.
          - Mince garlic.
          - Chop cilantro.

2. Traeger Smoker:
          - Smoke at 225 for ½ an hour. Raise temp to 300 for another 1/2 an hour. During both temps,    stir every 15 minutes.  

3. Beans:
          - Soaking beans overnight is not necessary, however you could soak them to save time.
          - Combine beans and water together in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower flame to allow mixture to simmer for an hour or until soft. Stir mixture every so often until you get the texture you want.

4. Barley:
        - 1c, with 3 c water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until it turns into the consistency you want.  As a tip, leave about 1/2 cup of water behind.  While pot is still on low heat, mix in all the spices into the barley except the Sriracha and only add 1 tsp of liquid smoke. Mix until ½ cup water is gone. This mixture should still be moist, not dry. The whole point of doing this is to try and replicate the taste similar to meat.

5. Putting it together:
      - Mix barley mixture into the beans in one large soup pot.  Pour all the smoked vegetables from the pan including their juices into the soup pot as well. If mixture is dry, Eric's was, add 2 cups of water, Sriracha, and the last 1 tsp of liquid smoke. 

Simmer for an hour. Stir every 15 minutes. While chili is simmering, chop avocado.

When serving chili, put ¼ c of avocado on top.

Non-vegan: Add shredded cheese of your choice on top to melt then the avocado. I understand if you cannot commit to a full vegan dish. I gots you. ;)

Thanks for reading and please comment below if you created this dish. Thoughts? Opinions? Changes you made? Comment below to share with the community!

-Melanie Dyogi

Dat's Life Doe

I remember the sound of gravel groaning underneath my Doc Martins as I dawdled behind my mom.  Whether the lady was getting something ...