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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in healthy (2)


Recipe: Vegetable Chili


This recipe is from Chef Jenny Brewer, guest contributor to the Tender Palate.  See her meal planning article that includes this Vegetarian Chili, and how you can plan your week around it.












 Serves 6

This chili is easy to make, low in fat and loaded with protein and fiber.  It is inexpensive, filling and makes great leftovers.

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 1/2 cups (about 4 ounces) fresh mushrooms, chopped

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 Tablespoon cumin powder

2 Tablespoons chili powder

2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo, minced

2 Tablespoons tomato paste (save rest of can in another container)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained

Salt and pepper to taste


Put it Together


Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add garlic and onion; saute for a minute or two, then add peppers, mushrooms and zucchini, saute for a few more minutes, then add seasonings and tomato paste, stirring to make sure tomato paste is dissolved.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes (or longer, this is a great recipe for a crockpot!) and serve.


About Chef Jenny Brewer


Chef Jenny Brewer is passionate about making healthy foods flavorful and fun. For free recipes and more meal plan information, visit







More from Chef Jenny

Not Your Mamma's Chocolate Mousse Tart (super allergen-free)

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup (Vegan, DF, GF, Soy-free, Nut-free)

Plan Your Meals, Change Your Life! 




Is Buying Local Better? When it comes to Food, Yes.

A 10% Shift Brings Local Communities Millions

There are a few chains that I adore, like Target.  I also like the convenience of Walmart.  It is wonderful to have the products and cost savings that come with mass, global production.  Do I rage against the long-distance commerce machine?  No.  Buying local is not a panacea for every problem and it is not always possible.  But we are consumers who live in communities that need our business and support.  And there are many reasons why (and occasions when) mass, global production is not a wise or cost-effective use of our hard-earned dollars.  Try this statistic on for size:

If the people of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 MILLION to the community's economy. has an incredible map that illustrates the costs and benefits of investing in our local economies -- from reducing pollution, to improving food quality, to increasing employment.

There is a simple, often missed wisdom in buying from local sources.  Especially when buying food.  If you have food allergies, buying local can also help us become a healthier Tender Foodie community.


Food Allergies:  The Benefits of Knowing Where Your Food Comes From

When I first started reading labels to ferret out wheat and dairy ingredients, I was pretty shocked to see how many "whole" foods from national food producers were laden with words I could not pronounce.  Many of those preservatives secretly house milk products like whey, and wheat derivatives disguised as anti-caking agents -- even in spices. Food labeling is slowly improving, but it is still tough to discern what potential allergens might lurk on grocery shelves.  On the flip side there may be foods that are perfectly safe, but manufacturers prefer to add "may contain X allergen" on the label, rather than put proper testing in place.  And in their defense, the FDA has yet to let manufacturers know what is "safe".  That's another story.

Buying local can help the food allergy community as well as the local community.  If you know your farmers and local food sources you can:

  1. Avoid many of the preservatives needed to add shelf-life to foods that are warehoused for long periods of time and shipped long distances.
  2. Know how your food is grown, made, processed, and delivered so you can reduce the possibility of cross-contamination from farm to factory to table.  You can ask questions of the people who actually handle your food. Questions like, "do you use GMO seeds or products?", "does your production facility also produce nuts or wheat?", etc.   
  3. Influence you local producers and help them become aware of how many food allergy sufferers there are in their customer community.  Each voice adds to the next.  Smaller, local producers can make some (not all) changes more easily.   If food producers can serve a market that needs and wants organically grown products without cross contamination, they are more likely to work with their vendors to make that happen.  And do it more quickly.
  4. Give your local producers power.  Many local farmers and producers of food have a huge amount of pressure from large distributors to produce food more cheaply.  Often this means adding antibiotics, hormones, cheaper feed, and more.  Buying from our local food producers who have the knowledge to raise our food with healthy, not harmful practices, actually encourages those practices, helps those food producers thrive, and influences the overall market.
  5. Keep more nutrients in our food.  According to, a typical carrot is picked up from the farm a week in advance and travels 1838 miles before reaching a store.  Then it sits on the shelf of the store.  Nutrients are most potent when fruits and vegetables are eaten as close to their harvest as possible.  Buying from your local farmers' markets is just better for your bod.

The "Buy Local" movement is often seen as elitist.  But the consumer community forgets how much power we have to influence products, pricing and the healthfulness of our foods.  If just 10% shift to local vendors equals $235 million dollars, think what else we can do to make our community better.