Opening CitizenM Hotel, Times Square

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Just a few blocks away from the epicenter of New York’s Times Square, the Citizen M hotel opened it’s doors and we were invited to come check it out.  As we strutted down the red carpet beautiful hostesses welcomed us into the spacious lobby. Seconds later we found ourselves with a glass of wine in our hands, mingling with the eclectic crowd that had gathered around the lobby bar. For a moment we just stood there, taking in all the beauty of the hip and playful art displayed in gigantic bookshelves. The space gave us Dutchies a homey feel, especially after we spotted a bicycle mounted the wall and a painting of our former queen Beatrix.

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The lobby was quite impressive, but when Evelyne and I stay at a hotel, we rate it on the quality of the bed and shower. We decided to take the elevator up to the rooms and explore. Every room had a fun quote on the door which somehow helped to unleash the inner child in us. We played with the curtain remote, the digital art on the wall and felt compelled to do some rigorous bed testing! And what better way to test a bed then jumping up and down the mattress? The pillows withstood a proper pillow fight and we just had to sing a song in the luxurious  and futuristic shower.

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun and came to the conclusion that we would totally stay here and recommend this hotel to our friends. Our excitement must have been infectious as one of the guests asked if we were paid actors. We laughed and answered; “Nope, we are just here to give our unbiased opinion and we both agreed that this hotel makes us happy and is officially “Model Approved”.

XO Jill & Evelyne

 

What if pesticides were visible?

I-love-organic-Keep-Life-SimpleWould you still buy conventional produce if you could actually see the pesticides? What if you would see up to 42 different toxic pesticides on the conventional apple that you’re about to eat? You wouldn’t eat it right? But since the pesticides aren’t visible and conventional produce look no different, or sometimes better than their organic competition, why pay extra?

A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the nutrient content of organic vs. conventional foods. The result showed no evidence to support organic foods having higher nutrient content than conventional. Does this mean we should not bother buying organic? NO! It might not have higher nutrient content but don’t forget the harmful chemicals that outweigh the benefits of the nutrients of your food!!

I personally think organic food is much more flavorful and it’s only normal to eat food that is chemical free. But unfortunately the majority of products that are available aren’t organic. It’s so crazy to go to the super market nowadays and having to choose chemicals versus no chemicals.

Yes organic food is certainly more expensive than convention. Many of us can’t afford to buy all organic all the time, but you can reduce the risk for health problems related to these chemicals if you buy the most contaminated produce organic; Use the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen+ to make informed choices. And ALWAYS avoid GMO’s!

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Did you know that you can detect the origin of the produce you’re buying by looking at the PLU code?

Conventionally grown: 4 digit code; starting with 3 or 4
Organic: 5 digit code, starting with 9
GMO: 5 digit code, starting with 8

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Every dollar you spend on organic food helps create a larger demand for chemical free products and therefore change the industry!

Spring fever!

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It’s official; I have spring fever! I’m cleaning my house, I’m taking my winter clothes out of the closet, I’m organizing every drawer and on top of that I started doing my taxes! My hubby is on a trip this week, and I’m sure he’s happy to be gone when I’m in OCD- cleaning mode. I don’t blame him, I’m a whirlwind and like to throw everything out, and I’ll ask him constantly if he still needs this or that, needless to say it’s a bit much.. Now he’s not home, does that give me permission to decide for him? I think it does… haha. I’m sure he’ll be grateful when he comes back to a happy wife in a clean and organized home ;)

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Don’t you think we are kind of like squirrels in winter time? We collect stuff, we move less, make our home really comfortable and maybe gain a few winter pounds.  Then when spring is around the corner we follow our instinct; we feel the need to clean up, to go outside  and shed some weight. It feels like a new beginning,  we are ready to sow new seeds.  I like to make a priority list  of the things I’d like to invest my time in and manifest and then I ask myself if I have room to receive this in my life? Sometimes we ask for things to manifest but we don’t even have room for it in our busy minds and life. So we need to make space… Space in our mind, our body and our home!  What do you want to attract in your life?”

 

TAYLOR_W_1On another note; A week ago I was on a fitness shoot and worked with this great girl, Taylor Walker. At lunch time we started chatting and we had this instant connection. We have a lot in common and couldn’t stop talking about our passion for health, nutrition and sports. Taylor is the Winner of the “Wilhelmina Fitness search 2013″ and recently started blogging and I wanted to introduce her to you. She’s real, she’s fun and has a wonderful upbeat personality! Watch her make this delicious and healthy  “Curry shrimp with snap peas” dish, and check out her website www.taylorwalkerfit.com.

Have a great start of the week, and don’t forget to make room for the things you want in your life! :)

XO JillScreen Shot 2014-03-17 at 3.18.28 PM

What blood type are you?

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Have you heard about the blood type diet? Dr. Peter D’adamo,  author of the best seller “Eat right 4 your type” claims that when you eat right for your type, your body responds the way nature intended. You’ll lose weight, have more energy and it helps prevent disease.  It makes sense to me and I’ve always been curious about this but I didn’t know what blood type I was until a few days ago.

I ordered an “Eldon home kit” online; a test you can do at home which reveals your blood type. I get super excited about stuff like this, there’s a nerdy scientist living inside me who loves experiments like these. The test is really simple; with a small lancet I pricked my finger and I happily squeezed out four drops of blood, every drop on a different stick, which I smeared out on the designated area of the Eldon card. Forty seconds later I find out for the first time in my life that I’ am A positive!  Blood Type A thrives on a primarily vegetarian diet… interesting… I do eat meat but only every now and then, only when my body craves for it.  I mostly eat a plant based diet and only eat meat when my body asks for it. It seems like I was already tuned in with my body needs, that’s great to know. I’m now going to order another few test kits, my hubby and friends are also curious to find out what their blood type is.

If you do know you’re blood type:

Blood Type O thrives on a lean, high protein diet.

Blood Type A thrives on a primarily vegetarian diet.

Blood Type B thrives on a mixed diet of meat, fish and dairy.

Blood Type AB thrives on a modified vegetarian diet.

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What also intrigued me is that there’s a connection to personality based on your blood type. I was surprised to find an accurate description of my personality; sensitive to the need of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative and inventive.  In Japan it has long been believed that blood type is an indicator of personality, it’s not unusual to be asked your blood type in a job interview or while out on a date with a potential mate! I don’t see that happen in the States  but who knows what the future behold. I’ve heard crazier things ;)

For more information go to  Dr Peter’s websitehttp://www.dadamo.com

Have a wonderful day! Take great care of your body, you only have one.

XO Jill

Time for yourself

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Do you have kids? Do you have a demanding job? Do you study? Are you in a relationship? Or maybe you have kids, a demanding job, you study AND you’re in a relationship. Needless to say you work hard and give from the morning until the time that you go to bed your energy to what’s important to you. Often times there’s little to no time or energy left to do something for yourself and you wish there were more hours in a day. Sounds familiar? Yes for me too, I don’t have kids yet but my days are packed. I admit I love being busy, It makes me feel like superwoman when I manage to get the max out of my day (work/study/social life) And especially when things go well;  it boosts my energy and I’ll do even more. I sometimes think my energy is infinite, even when I’m tired I push through, I go to bed late, wake up early again and do that over and over again until my body is ready to shut me down.

When I don’t listen to the signs my body’s giving me to slow down it will pull the plug eventually. And what better way to stop me then getting the flu? Saturday evening I walked across the Williamsburg bridge and went to do AT&T store to get some information on a phone plan. As the representative is talking to me I feel the chills running from my tailbone to the back of my neck, suddenly my energy is gone and I feel completely spaced out. Oh noooo… I know this feeling, this is not good; It’s time to go home. I cancelled my evening appointment and went straight to bed with a good amount of vitamin supplements: Oregano, garlic, goldenseal and l drank lots of water with Apple Cider Vinegar (antibacterial properties)

After ten hours of sleep I woke up feeling much better already, just felt a bit weak.. Normally I would continue the weekend as if nothing had happened but this time I listened to my body and took it easy. I was so grateful that my body recovered overnight that I decided to give my body a gift. The gift of massage:

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I booked a 90 minute massage, and it was incredible. The massage therapist was super intuitive and went straight to the knots. It was intense and had to bring my breath to where it was tight and sore. His hands were like a pizza dough roller on my body; getting rid of all the stress I was holding on too. And a bonus ; a s small bone in my shoulder popped back into place when he massaged my shoulder, which relieved the tension.  Boy I must say this was the best massage of my life! I promise myself to go once a month at least instead of twice a year..:)

imagesWhen was the last time you got a massage? Or took the day off just to do nothing? You are probably good at fulfilling other people’s needs but what do YOU need to recharge?

It’s not selfish to think about your needs, it’s an act of self love. When you take time to recharge your batteries you’ll be able to give more too. At work you’ll be more productive, you’ll be a better friend and partner by investing time in yourself. It’ s well worth it! Treat yourself on a massage, go have a fun night out, go for a run, do that yoga class you’ve been wanting to do. Do something just for you.  The laundry can wait, and yes switching your phone of for a bit sounds like a good idea ;)

XO Jill

A recipe for self-confidence

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Hello sweet friends!

How are you doing? How was this first month of the year for you? Are you still as excited as the first days of the month? Have you been working towards your new goals?

It’s great to set new goals and have new years resolutions, simply to have a guideline for where you wanna go, and plan actions towards that. But it can also make us feel pressured and discouraged when things aren’t going the way we like.

I have a competitive edge to me, which drives me to constantly challenge myself. When I commit to a new goal/project I bite into it and won’t let go until I’ve accomplished it.  My determination has not only made  things happen but also gave me self-confidence.

Nowadays it seems like self-confidence is something you can buy; expensive sunglasses, clothes, handbags, cars cosmetics, surgery etc. The more beautiful you are the more confident? I’m not so sure about that. I know many gorgeous models that are insecure about their looks. It might sound ridiculous, since models have some of the worlds most desired bodies. But how would you feel going to work every day and being judged on your looks from head to toe?  For one client you might be perfect for another you’re hips and breasts may be too small or too large. Your hair might be too thin, you can be too short/tall etc. It’s a business and the clients have the right to get their perfect model, and models learn to see it as a business and therefore not take it personally. But that’s not always easy.

I personally think that looking good certainly contributes to feeling good, but self-confidence to me is to be found within.

The dictionary states that confidence is   images-1

1. Trust or faith in a person or thing,

2. A trusting relationship

The trust/faith in a person and the trusting relationship is the one you have with yourself! If you trust yourself your confidence will grow! But how can you learn to trust yourself?

What has worked for me is that I keep promises to myself.

When I want to do something/achieve something and I do/ achieve it, it makes me feel good about myself.  And because I feel so good about myself I take on something new and do more things that  make me happy. It’s like a positive snowball affect; it quickly builds a strong relationship with yourself.

Three rules I go by before I commit to something:

 1) Do it for the right reason; Ask yourself why you want to do this and for who? Do things that come from a heart’s desire, not someone else’s expectation.

2) Be realistic of the time you have.Don’t over commit!  when you feel overwhelmed it’s less likely that you’ll stick with it.

3) Have fun while doing it.  Enjoy the process! Reaching your goal is fantastic but the road to it is where the magic happens.

And something I keep reminding myself:  Don’t take yourself too seriously!  Give yourself some slack and go play outside :) Very important too!

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I believe in you!

XO Jill

What’s in your water?

Hello, I hope you’re having a great start of the New Year, with new energy to start a project, to finish some others and to work towards your dreams and goals!

I certainly feel rejuvenated; I spend lots of time with my husband a.k.a “The director of Happiness” (his real work title ha-ha) Needless to say that makes me very happy :)

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A new year in a new home in a new city, with lots of wonderful friends close by and exciting new job developments = a recipe for a great year!

I really enjoy being in the city again, there’s something to say about being part of the energy that human beings create ;) It’s fun to be surrounded by people from all different ethnicities, to chat with a young Jewish Orthodox woman and share details about the relationships we have with our husbands, and to listen to a school bus driver concerns about the upcoming snow storm. People in New York City can come across cold at times especially in winter but when you take the time to connect to a person, the city instantly feels warmer and more human.

The weather has been slightly different than in Miami LOL. It was surprisingly easy to adjust to.  Never thought I would say this but after living two years in the heat It’s actually great to wear boots, sweaters and jackets again.

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Ever since I moved to New York I noticed my hair has become dry and unruly. It looked like I needed a trim. But I just had a trim before moving and it was in great condition. What happened? The quality of New York City water is terrible, there’s so much chlorine in it, which dries out my hair and skin. After doing lots of research on water filters I ordered this shower filter on Amazon and can’t wait to install it.

(Read this article for more information on why you should consider a shower filter)

In the meantime I wanted to find an all-natural way to make my hair feel and look healthy again, I went online and read many great reviews about Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water.  As you might know I’m a big fan of ACV but I was a little skeptical because I have a lot of hair, fine hair that gets entangled badly. Without conditioner my hair wouldn’t survive.

But I’m always up for a little experiment; I had nothing to loose. After washing my hair I poored the ACV mixture all over my hair, left it for a few minutes and then rinsed it out. Read; I did NOT use a conditioner; the ultimate test! I towel-dried my hair and started brushing and noticed it was much easier to comb through… I then blow-dried it and the results was IMPRESSIVE, the ACV left it shiny and soft! This really works; my hubby even noticed the difference! Wehooo, I found a new secret weapon for gorgeous hair! You should totally try this; I part ACV and 2 parts water ( I used about 1/4 cup ACV and 1/2 cup water)

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I’ve been filtering my tap water with a “Brita” filter for years but stopped using it recently when my dear friend Dr Nikki Noce explained that the Brita filter doesn’t filter out the fluoride. And fluoride happens to be damaging to our body.  (Read more about this.) Aaaarghhh.. Allright, with this new knowledge I figure to invest in a Alkaline Water System Drinking  Reverse Osmosis for the kitchen. This filters everything out and makes the water alkaline. It costs $175, not cheap but also not expensive when you think about the tremendous health benefits.

If I may suggest something to invest in this year? Your health! It’s the most rewarding investment; looking and feeling great is priceless! I wish you the best of health and happiness this year!

XO Jill

Positive Thoughts & Lamb Shepherd Pie

May all your dreams come true.

I was at a great event last week, called “Create your Dream Year in 2014” hosted by motivational speakers Patricia Moreno and Terri Cole. All female speakers shared their personal journey, some of the struggles they’ve dealt with are; alcohol and drug addictions, broken marriage, low self esteem and fear of ending up alone. It was touching to hear their stories, very brave to open up to all these strangers in a room, and very powerful to hear how they changed their life. Even though their life experiences were all different, they all changed it the same way. How? By changing their thoughts!

By shifting their perception from “not feeling worthy” and “not having enough” to “I AM worthy” and “I have everything I need”.  Putting fear aside and filling the space up with love. Your thoughts create feelings and those feelings create actions that ultimately determine your reality. If you want to live a happy life, it’s important to have happy thoughts.  Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, even if you don’t fully believe it yet; fake it until you make it :)

This might not be a new concept to you but it’s always good to be reminded again. I left the event inspired and excited about the new year. What do you want to manifest in 2014?

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When I woke up saturday morning it was snowing!! It was magical and I couldn’t wait to go outside. A perfect day to go ice-skating in Bryant Park with a bunch of awesome friends.  I hadn’t been ice skating in about seven years, but quickly got the hang of it again. Boy we had so much fun chasing each other, skating backwards and dancing on ice  :)  Isn’t it the best feeling to come back home after a fun day out in the cold; tired and hungry. And all you want to eat is comfort food… oh yeah! This Shepherd Pie recipe is a real treat, I made it twice now and the original recipe says it’s eight servings but I can tell you that both times the four of us cleaned out the oven dish :)

I found this recipe on food network and thought it was close to perfect. I couldn’t resist making it healthier; I added some extra veggies, replaced heavy whip with whole milk and used a little less meat.

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Shepherd Pie 

Serves 4 hungry adults :)

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For directions click here  (Just keep in mind that I changed the ingredient list a bit)

If you have any great winter recipes you’d like to share with me, please do! I would love to know what you eat this season!

Lots of love,

Jill

Euphoria & vegetarian split pea recipe

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Euphoria= a mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy.

That’s how I feel since I arrived in New York City :)

unnamed-2I just got  back from an appointment and on my way home I passed the Union Square farmers market. I picked up a shot of wheat grass, bought my favorite fresh baked bread and got a hold of a piece of organic chicken. Boy I felt like the happiest girl on the planet with my purchases and I think it showed. I walked into the subway station when a homeless person looked up at me and the biggest smile appeared on his face. He started waving at me and we locked eyes. I took a moment to smile back and to greet him, it was a beautiful moment. A smile goes a long way!

Living in a new place brings wonderful and exciting new energy. I think of us as modern gypsies, we move around the country, lived in many places and love traveling in our RV. Before we can get bored we are already onto something new. Never a dull moment in our lives. We make bald decision, when things feel right we move forward without hesitation, and it’s magical to see everything fall into place. I never thought we’d be moving back to NY but I’m SO happy we did. We are in a new phase in our lives and this city has so much to offer!

We moved from a big house + yard to a one bedroom apartment and got rid of a lot of stuff. It took weeks to go through all our belongings, it was a lot of work but it felt great to shed of the things we no longer need; cleansing!   Surprisingly living in a much smaller place is so much fun. It’s cosy, easy to clean, and what I love about this apartment is that the kitchen is part of the living room, great for entertaining.

The weather here is slightly different than in Miami ;)  I’ve been craving potatoes, soups, hot cereal; everything that makes me feel warm and full. I love this very-easy-to-make Split pea soup, it brings back a lot of childhood memories and after eating a big bowl I feel satisfied and full for many hours afterwards. This soup is laden with veggies and nature’s antibiotics; onion and garlic. A great way to keep the flu and cold symptoms at bay. My hubby isn’t a big fan of split pea soup, so when he asked for seconds I knew I nailed it!

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Split pea soup 

4-6 servings

Prep time: 15-20 min. Cook: 1 hour

ingredients

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Garnish with shredded carrots and green onions. Add salt to taste.

I highly recommend finishing  this dish with some nutmeg; it’s delicious!

Enjoy & stay warm!

XO Jill

Exercise and Vegan Thanksgiving recipes

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The past five days I was in Bogata,Columbia. Bogata the second highest capital in the world, lying at approximately 8,646 feet (2620 meters) above sea level. At higher elevations it is more difficult to get the amount of oxygen from the air that your body has become accustomed to (from living at lower elevations) Less oxygen in the blood means less oxygen getting int your cells , it made me feel dizzy, fatigued  and bloated. It took a few days for my body to adjust. Yes, it influenced my mood.. at one point I felt so cranky. I was laying on the bed in my hotel room and didn’t know what to do with myself. It was too early to go to sleep and I was too tired to do anything. Even though I felt heavy headed and I had no energy I decided to go to the gym anyway. I had the feeling that would do me good. When I arrived at the gym I was happy to find a spinning bicycle , riding a bicycle felt like a better option than running. Soon after I started peddling my body warmed up, my mind cleared up; I could think straight again and positive thoughts entered. I felt so good afterwards, the difference was day and night. I felt like myself again, happy and energetic.

Often times we come up with a lot of excuses why we can not go exercise. But has there ever been a time that you feel less good about yourself or less happy when you finish exercising? No right?! Why then not just do it, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Don’t let your mind trick you!

Interestingly enough we seem to take better care of ourselves when we feel good than when we don’t. But don’t we need to take a bit more care of ourselves when we are not feeling great?

Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome”

Vegan Thanks giving recipes:

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I was really excited when Slenderbread magazine asked me to develop recipes for a Vegan Thanksgiving.  Even though I’m not vegan, the vegan cuisine certainly inspires me to eat cleaner and to be more creative.

Brussels sprouts and quinoa both deserve a spot in the “superfood” category, they are insanely good for us but they need a little help to make my taste buds dance. With only a few ingredients I turned the Brussels sprouts into candy tasting veggies and I cooked the quinoa in fresh carrot juice to give it a festive color and a sweet flavor.

But what to make for the main course? I called my fellow model blogger and vegan friend Emily Nolan (mykindoflife.com)to ask if she could help me with that. She didn’t have to think long, spicy chili; her husbands favorite!

What makes this recipe different than most chili recipes is that the soup includes cacao powder and coffee; most people love both and are somewhat addictive, so how could anyone turn down a bowl.

Sweet Brussel Sprouts (4 servings)

Brussel sprouts

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Trim the stem ends and remove the outer layer of the sprout. Rinse the sprouts with water and cut them in half.

Boil an inch water in a pot into which your steamer basket fits. Steam the Brussels sprouts for 10 min.

Heat up a frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. When hot transfer Brussels sprouts to frying pan, try to lay the sprouts on the flat side first.  Keep an eye on them, they’ll get nice and brown quickly. Turn them over and stir for another minute. When they are almost ready poor in the maple syrup and toss the sprouts until evenly coated.

Place the sprouts on a dish and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on them. Mix in the cranberries and hazelnuts and enjoy this Sweet Brussels Sprouts dish!

Side dishes:

Carrot Ginger Quinoa (Serves 4)

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Heat up a medium size saucepan, add oil and unions and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes)

Stir in the carrot juice, ginger, and quinoa. Bring to a boil and when it boils let it simmer (reduce heat to medium-low) until all liquid is absorbed (15-20 min).

Let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

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Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic (my husband likes mucho garlic) and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the coffee (I use decaf if I’m going to be eating this at night) and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, cacao powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook the chili for 10 minutes with the cauliflower in it and then remove it from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and add scallions and sour cream.

If you’re feeling cheesy, serve it how my husband likes it and add a handful of Daiya cheese to the top of a piping hot soup bowl. Mix the cheese into the bowl until it gets gooey and stringy (this is important because this particular cheese tastes exceptionally good when it’s melted) and serve with a side of homemade cornbread or crunchy tortilla chips.

You can also make this soup into an amazing dip by adding less water and mixing the entire bag of Daiya cheese into the pot of soup to cook down. This makes for a fantastic chili queso recipe.

Emily and I wish you the most tasty and fun Thanksgiving ever!

XO Jill