Garden Envy and Chili Con Tempeh Recipe

I admit – I have total garden envy!  My two Earth Boxes are kicking ass right now.  I even have the first sign of fruit on my cherry tomato plant at Week 2 (remember, I planted from seedlings though).

Tomatoes with Fruit! Yeah!

That is pretty amazing!  BUT… I see lots of gardens springing up all over my neighborhood – that are bigger (not really better) than mine, and I need more!

Being a vegan whose diet consists of 95% of only fruits and veggies, growing my own just makes sense.  Three weeks ago I thought I couldn’t grow anything, but now I’m feeling my garden goddess powers come out.

Lydia, my neighbor with the best yard in the whole neighborhood, was talking to me this morning as I was eating an orange on my patio admiring my babies.  I’ve heard from some other neighbors who also have garden envy (although they don’t have anything growing!), that Lydia has herself a pretty sweet garden.  I didn’t doubt it since her yard is amazing.  I walked over there to check things out and she started showing me her goods – squash, zucchini, tomatoes, a lime tree, avocado tree, tangerine tree, and numerous other plants that are just sprouting from seed.  All her plants were started with seed!  So imagine my garden envy after visiting her!  Not only do my husband and I need to get on board with some back yard landscaping, but I need to plant a garden in the ground and get some more plants going!  I just ate a mango, so that seed is outside drying so I can plant that.  And the avocado I’ll have for lunch, I’ll go ahead and start that process to plant that as well!  If you are feeling like you need some skills to plant from seed, check out these youtube videos – How to Grow Avocado Plants and How to Grow a Mangos from Seed…. Next on the agenda is a Pineapple plant.

On another note, here is an update on how my garden is doing so far!  I think pretty damn well.  (And on my walk this morning I picked up a stick to prop up the guy on the left there)

Tomatoes after 2 weeks

Peppers after 2 weeks

I hope Dave, my hubs, is okay with all this.  Landscaping is “his thing” and I’m about to take over part of the yard for my garden!  I’ll keep you all posted.

How is your garden doing so far?  Have you planted anything this spring?  Please share your trial and tribulations with us here!

On another note, I’m going to keep the SweatyBand contest open for one more week, and then I’ll announce the winner.

And a recipe…

Chile Con Tempeh
from Vegetarian Times

Cooking the tempeh separately from the liquid infuses it with flavor without overpowering the chili with spices.

ingredient list

Serves 8

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp.), divided
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes with juice
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, divided
  • 2 8-oz. pkgs. tempeh
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 12-oz. bottle dark amber beer
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped


  1. Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and 1 Tbs. garlic, and sauté 5 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add celery, bell pepper, and jalapeño, and sauté 5 minutes more, or until bell pepper is crisp-tender.
  2. Meanwhile, purée tomatoes and juice in blender or food processor until smooth. Add puréed tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, 1 tsp. chili powder, and 2 cups water to onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pulse tempeh, red pepper flakes, remaining 2 tsp. garlic, and remaining ½ tsp. chili powder in food processor or blender until crumbly. Season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh mixture, and sauté 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir beer, maple syrup, and tempeh mixture into tomato mixture. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes more, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Fold in cilantro.

Nutritional Information


Calories 209
Protein 13g
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 2g
Carbs 21g
Choelsterol 0mg
Sodium 574mg
Fiber 3g
Sugar 7g

Live well,


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