I’m Mercedes and I’m a twenty something, veggie loving, two time cat mom happily married to my soulmate of a husband.

I work as an engineer in Pittsburgh, pretending to be an adult and spending a solid 20% of my time trying to remember to not reply all.

I wanted a platform to share my wealth of equally positive and negative experiences as I attempt to navigate my twenties, and maybe get a little preachy here and there about veganism, mental health and LGBTQ+ rights.

At the very least, I hope to make you laugh.

Super "Meaty" Vegan Chili

Super "Meaty" Vegan Chili

You know that feeling you get when you hear a song and it immediately takes you back to a specific place ten years ago and it feels like you are reliving that moment all over again?

Well for me, those moments usually come with smells. And more often than not, the aroma of certain foods. Every time I smell a fresh baked cinnamon roll, I am instantly brought back to one specific winter white morning in 2004. I was sitting on the counter top kicking my legs back and forth, watching my mom pipe icing onto a circular baking dish filled with twelve puffy golden brown swirls of dough. The memory alone is enough to warm my belly.

When the scent of macaroni and cheese comes up through the vents from the downstairs neighbor (because you KNOW I do not have time to replicate one of those ultra complicated 900 ingredient vegan mac n' cheese recipes on Pinterest), I'm immediately taken back to my childhood in northern Michigan, waiting eagerly at my grandma's dining room table as I watch her stir in the Kraft cheese powder packet with her wooden spoon. I used to love hotdogs cut up into little pieces and mixed into my mac n' cheese. The entire memory is equally comforting as it is disturbing (hotdogs in mac n' cheese? is that a thing? or just 6 year old me?)


One of my all time favorite foods that is pretty representative of the majority of my life thus far is chili. Both of my parents worked while I was growing up so the amount of time to cook was limited, but my mom always managed to put a home cooked meal on the dining room table every night. I also spent the first 10 years of my life in northern Michigan where it's basically always winter, so chili was a dinner staple. Not only was my mom's chili delicious, but it was simple to make and not too dangerous for a child to help out with.


I've been missing my mom a lot lately while I'm 8 hours away from her and am going through some typical (and not so typical) 24-year old struggles. Something that always helps ease my mind when I'm feeling homesick is cooking something that reminds me of home. When I say home.... I truly mean my mom. So last night while I was feeling some humpday blues, I realized I could do one of two things: feel sorry for myself and continue to feel low, or do something to proactively try to lift my spirits. So what did I do? I whipped up some vegan chili! And it was DELICIOUS.



Super "Meaty" Vegan Chili


  • 28 Oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 15.5 Oz. can pinto beans
  • 15.5 Oz. can light red kidney beans
  • 13.25 Oz. can sweet whole kernel corn
  • 15 Oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 Cups Gardein beefless ground
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1 Tsp onion powder
  • 2-3 Tsp chili powder (depending on how spicy you like it!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Can opener
  • Strainer
  • Large stock pot + cover


  1. Take the Gardein beefless ground out of the freezer to begin thawing.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce to the stock pot.
  3. Using the strainer, drain and rinse the pinto beans, kidney beans and corn.
  4. Add both beans and corn to the stock pot.
  5. Heat the stock pot on medium heat and stir contents to combine thoroughly.
  6. Add the beefless ground to the stock pot and stir to combine.
  7. Add the garlic powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  8. Stir to combine and cover.
  9. Turn heat to low and let sit for up to two hours

*The chili will be ready to eat after about 15-20 minutes but the longer it cooks, the better it gets!


You can store the chili in a Tupperware container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Happy cooking!

Chili Nutrition.JPG
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