Vickie Howell: Rock on! in the Kitchen

In her Parenthook column in the Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Crochet, Vickie Howell designed a fabulous apron to make cooking even more fun. As a bonus, she’s sending along her secret family recipe for Vegetarian “Beef” Chili. If you haven’t made it yet, you can whip it up while the chili simmers in the slow cooker! Here’s Vickie to show you how to Rock On! in the kitchen.

Now that you’ve made our Apron Strings project, it’s time to wear it! Vegetarian “Beef” Chili is a staple in our house. It’s hearty, low in calories, easy to make and super delicious. It’s also one of the recipes that consistently opens non-vegetarians’ minds to incorporating some meat-substitute options into their regular, meal line-up.

Our chili recipe has evolved over time and is by no means an exact science. Experiment with spice amounts and enjoy!

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I *heart* slow-cooker cooking? Well, I do. Why, you ask? Because less time in the kitchen cooking, means more time crocheting!

Super Yummy, Vegetarian “Beef” Crockpot Chili

1/2 of large onion
1 Tbs minced garlic

1 bag Morningstar Meal Starter Grillers Recipe Crumbles (75% less fat than ground beef!)
2 Tbs chili powder, or to taste
2 tsp cumin, or to taste
1/2 Tbs dried basil, or to taste

1 Tbs dried oregano, or to taste

2 (10 oz.) cans Rotel
(pick the heat and flavor you like!)
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans
1 (15.5 oz.) can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
Pinch of salt
2 dashes cinnamon (optional)

In a slow cooker, combine garlic, onion, Crumbles, chili powder, cumin, basil, and oregano. Stir.

Add Rotel, beans, and corn, including all of the juices in the cans. Add tomato paste, ketchup, and wine. Stir.

Add a pinch of salt and a couple more shakes of cumin, chili powder, and oregano.

Let cook on Low for 5-7 hours or high for 3-4. Stir occasionally (you need to take a break from crocheting to stretch your hands!), adding more spices, wine or ketchup to taste, if desired.

Serve topped with skim milk shredded cheddar.


Interested in more, yummy vegetarian meal ideas? Check out Vickie’s collection of recipes from across the web-o-sphere on her Pinboard.

Need Bernat Handicrafter yarn to make Apron Strings? Order it here!

Get more kitchen related pattern ideas from

btw: Vickie Howell is a designer, author, on-air personality, founder of Purple Stitch Project and International Spokesperson for Bernat Yarns. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband, 3 children, 2 cats and dog. For more information on any of her projects, go to and


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