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My Mom’s Vegetarian Chili Recipe (And Other News)

About 10 days ago, literally the day all the social distancing was announced, my Mom and I were on a plane to Cancun where for 7 days we were an a (warm) bubble while we watched everything go down from the beach.

We were on one of the last planes to go back home before the travel restrictions were imposed.

Since Terreeia didn’t come with us, I’m now quarantined for two weeks with my Mom in her home.

Hellen Junttila and Maria Killam

And I’m sad, and most of all worried for all the small businesses and livelihoods that are at stake. Restaurants who can’t survive even one month without customers.

And, I find that I’m suddenly at a loss as to what I should write about here. I miss interacting with you, so I thought I’d ask you, my lovelies, what should I write about?

I spoke to a designer friend of mine when I returned home and she reported that all the stores in her neighbourhood are sold out of vanities, toilets and sinks because now that everyone is home, they are getting to all those projects, that they haven’t had time to work on until now.

When I worked in a paint store years ago, I remember hearing that the paint business is recession proof because when times are tough, instead of replacing the kitchen, we paint it instead.

So over to you my lovelies! How are you? Are you working on projects around your house?

How can I help? What would you like me to write about?

I want this blog to be a place where you can find joy and inspiration and best of all, to help you create a space that fills you with happiness when you walk in the door.

And that, more than ever before, is so important since we are spending this much time AT HOME.

P.S. Here’s my Mom’s Vegetarian Chili recipe since beans and rice are the first staples that everyone buys when they worry that the stores might run out of food:

For a big pot of Chili
2-3 Cups Pinto Beans
1 can of chick peas
2 Large Onions
4 Garlic Cloves
4 Carrots
4 Celery Sticks
1 or 2 Red or Yellow Bell Pepper
Chopped finely
1 cup of chopped mushrooms
28 ounce can of diced tomatoes including juice
1 tbsp Oregano leaves
1 tbsp Chili Powder or to taste
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds coarsely chopped
2 tsp salt
Soak Pinto Beans in water overnight
Rinse well
Fill pot with enough water that there’s approximately an inch on top
Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for one hour.
After one hour, add a 28 ounce can of tomatoes including onions and garlic sautéed first in two tablespoons of coconut oil.
Add the rest of the vegetables and spices and add more water when necessary, you don’t want it to dry out.
Add the salt last, in the remaining half hour of cooking.
Beans are an easy meal to make. Don’t overthink it, add the vegetables that you have in the house, or no vegetables. They are hearty and delicious.
You can also just boil pre-soaked beans for one hour and then freeze them and they’ll immediately be ready to use for any recipe that calls for beans!

What do you stock up on in your home?

And hey, don’t forget to tell me in the comments below what you’d like me to write about!

Related posts:

Refresh of My Mom’s Kitchen and Sitting Room; Before & After

Could a Scandinavian Eat-In Kitchen Be for You?

3 Ways to Love Your Home Again; Before & After

16 pins


  • Rita says:

    Thank you for sharing this sweet video of you and your mom cooking her great bean recipe! You brighten my day! Please both be well!

  • Angela says:

    Good to hear from you Maria. Thank your Mom for her chili recipe too:) As far as suggestions for your blog go, maybe organizing tips would help as this is something a lot of us put off. Sharing your recipes would be a good thing:)

  • Sandy Beaty says:

    We’ve procrastinated painting the master closet too long. So that’s what we’re doing. Of course, that means throwing out a lot of unused clothes – something that is also overdue. Revere pewter paint since the closet is a crisp white. And cooking, of course.

  • Yep, painting is the elixir when times get tough. Just put a fresh coat of SW Pure White on the trim of my coastal home in Florida. Freshened it up in a day and used only 1/2 gallon of SW Resiliance Exterior paint. Stay safe. Here’s to good health!

  • Kari says:

    So glad you’re home. We were supposed to fly to Cancun last Thursday but canceled our flights that day. Then, on Friday, literally the next day, the US State Dept issued a notice for all US citizens to return home or chance being stuck wherever. I should be enjoying 85 degree weather today but am inside looking at the snow in my yard!

  • Cornelia says:

    Hi Maria, believe it or not a simple jump rope is making my life much more bearable. It seems elevating the heart rate a few times a day makes it easier to stay in a positive mindset. I am looking for advice on choosing blacks for exteriors. How do you tell if it is too black or not black enough??Stay well, and best to all!
    I always look forward to your wonderful posts!

  • Emily says:

    Glad you are safe and with your Mom. Love that you are thinking about what people need.

    Some ideas from my own week of hibernation / quarantine.

    1) we had planned to hire Pros to paint but now we are painting multiple rooms ourselves. Thankfully you already helped us pick colors (via a virtual design package) so all we had to do was order and pick up. We called our local BM store , ordered paint and supplies and are good to go. So any way you can make your color advice more accessible would be welcome and also pointing us new DIY to some helpful how to videos would be most welcome.

    2) how to create a calm space for reflection or exercise. color, light and smell
    We’ve cleaned up the basement ( it was on our list but now it’s a priority). The brown walls need to be painted but what color – we will use the space for exercise and yoga. Trying to decide between calm blues or something more cheerful. A post on that would be welcome.

    Ditto – how to add light on a budget from things we can order online.

    3) how to make your overall home feel peaceful with a focus on budget friendly ideas – getting rid of clutter, adding light, simple styling.

    4) setting up home offices and /or school areas.

    Hope these are helpful

  • Joanne says:

    Love your mom’s cooking show! I suspect we cook the same way – measuring optional! 😉 I love to cook, but recipes are just a springboard and I love to throw a bit of this and that as I go along. When I bring something to a party, I cringe a bit when someone ask’s if I will share the recipe!

  • Adriana says:

    How cute is your mom!!! She reminds me of my mom! Thanks for the timely and delicious looking chili inspiration. We have been going through food like crazy with five adults and semi adults hunkering down. I will definitely be making this tomorrow after soaking my beans overnight.

    As for your blog, I would love to see more recipes from your mom and ideas for inexpensive home office ideas for an small open basement.

  • Bonita says:

    Thanks for the recipe Maria. First week of self-isolation down. More to go…
    I really like those posts when you ask us what is wrong with a home’s exterior. I find when I am out driving, thinking Maria could really fix that place up.

  • Nancy says:

    Maria I’m hoping both you and your mom remain healthy!
    Thanks for the recipe .
    I would love hearing positive uplifting .
    Not sure how many saw the Europe families in lock down singing on their balconies!’
    I loved seeing the acts of kindness in our sad time.
    Loved hearing the support that is being giving to others lifts my spirt !!!
    It’s a time to come together support one another and lift each of us up .
    Reach out a with a note that you are thinking of your friends .
    Think of that person that is alone check with a call to make sure they are okay .
    Leave food on a door step …
    I find the more I can lift up and think of others the less I stress on this …
    To all readying this I hope you and your loved ones all remain healthy !!!
    We are all going through this together ….

  • susan says:

    Your Mama is precious! I cook my chili beans like your Mama does, but dare I admit that sometimes I add a little good quality dark chocolate?! Mmmm… good!!!


  • Fran W. says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Maria. It sounds delicious! Take good care of yourself (and your mom)! We’ll all get through this. As far as topics, I find it’s a nice distraction to read about home design. It takes my mind off the constant coronavirus updates.

  • Arlene says:

    Great recipe but at the moment I am not purchasing vegetables or fruits that are opened as peppers, celery, apples etc. Did someone sneeze on them?
    I am contemplating changing the carpet upstairs and up the stairs to a firm solid fibre. Any suggestions?

  • ZZ says:

    Thanks for your Mom’s recipe…it will go on our menu plans soon. Enjoy this shared time together!

    Please consider a series of posts on the “creamy” trend. Share your favorite creamy paints, show us pictures, and help us get ready to implement this welcome change from gray. I am so ready to put this neutral in my home.

  • Karen says:

    Honestly, I think you could just carry on as usual writing about things you normally would. For those of us who love to read your blog entries, this will be a comfort and a way to maintain a bit of normalcy. Plus, those of us in quarantine who are not renovating have all kinds of time to read and learn. (My husband and I returned last week from Nuevo Vallarta and, of course, are self-isolating.)

  • Heddy says:

    That was so cute…loved it!

  • Charlotte says:

    Thanks for the recipe!! My husband and I too are self quarantined from Mexico (we got the second to last flight out of Puerto Vallarta yesterday). My head is spinning with the list of household updates we can do to keep busy – starting with paint! So any articles on that topic are always welcome. I love your style and use of bright clean colours.

  • Laurie Wise says:

    I would like to know your opinion on Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring? We are on a concrete slab and would be putting it throughout the entire first floor. Engineered hardwood is also a choice but my husband would be installing it and glueing it down would not be as easy! I just want to Love my floors!

  • Mary Anne says:

    Home office ideas would be great given a lot of people (me included) are working from home ! Thanks! I enjoy seeing your stories/posts

  • Nagle Gaile says:

    Welcome home. Write about what you usually do . You could also write a little about decorating or staging too.

  • Liz in Oregon says:

    Your Mom needs her own cooking show! The recipe looks yummy.

    We have been on self-quarantine here in Oregon for about 10 days because we are in the risk category in our 70’s. We just do quick runs to the store for perishables or the pharmacy. But as of this morning, Oregon’s Governor has made “stay home, stay healthy” official for everyone.

    I made a list of friends and family to get in touch with so we won’t all feel so isolated…especially ones who live alone. I’m also trying to get on my treadmill more often.

    As for your blog, Maria, maybe a little bit of everything…color and design tips, ideas for staying home and your Mom’s new cooking show. 🙂 It’s all good.

  • Anita says:

    I got an e-consultation from you last year. I painted most of my house but still have a couple of rooms to complete. Being home, I have no excuses and am finishing up. The thing is, the colors you gave me were all BM. All the BM stores in my region are closed. But Home Depot is open. Again, Maria to the rescue. I contacted Tricia. She gave me a couple of Behr colors to try that are similar to the BM colors you recommended. (I wouldn’t want blue or purple walls). I’m now finishing up my painting.

    Please keep the designing blog going. You might think it’s frivolous but I can’t listen to Covad news 24×7. I look forward to my happy time which includes your blog. I love the color information I also love the e-consulting. What people are facing and your solution along with before and after shots.

  • Susan says:

    We are spending the Winter in Arizona and not sure when we will get back home to Wisconsin. Most people keep the washer and dryer in the messy garage so my handy husband is building a dedicated laundry/craft room, with walls, new ceiling, new cabinets, door, etc. It will be fun to paint and decorate/style this new space!!

  • Marsha says:

    Hi! Your blog helped me over many hurdles in planning and finishing our new build. Thank you!! Now my combined dining and living rooms have a lot of windows with stained wood trim that, in my opinion, are lovely as they are. They face east, south, and west. The problem is when we are sitting at the table and the sun happens to be in our eyes from the east or west. We’re rural so don’t need privacy blinds, besides the fact that they would cover up some beautiful windows even when closed. I think hanging curtains/drapes would fill up the room too much. I have some vintage lace tablecloths from my mom that I thought of hanging from a tension rod and that might be enough to cut the glare from the sun. What are your suggestions?

  • celestial says:

    I would like to see posts about updating older homes (by which I mean those built prior to 1970). Almost every blogger posts about their very “troublesome” 1980 decor and I have to laugh because to me, that is a fairly new house without some of the issues that plague those of us with different needs, like 7 foot high cellar ceilings with really questionable footings, or lovely big bedrooms with a 1 x 2.5 foot square closet (it did have a 10 foot high ceiling, however.) I think my favorite posts were the ones where you did your nephew’s apartment and that of your Scandinavian relatives; those were REAL to me.

    Whatever you choose, thank you!

  • Karen says:

    Hey – Your Mom can hold her own as an instructor – a natural. No need to prompt! Her wisdom and experience shone through this video and I loved her (Marimekko?) apron.

    Since you are quarantined with her for 14 days, why don’t you two show us ( ie cook up) some traditional Finnish recipes. And have your mom explain some of the traditions, habits etc of her homeland. Doing this will leave her freezer full of food for her after you leave.

    And later ( and there will be more of this) perhaps Markus and William could put on some theater/plays/storytelling for us. They are home-schooled – this could be a project.

    You could lead those of us who think we are going to tidy up our houses – not full on Kondo like – ha ha. You could say to us – ok – kitchen drawers today- and then we can write in with our experiences – hall closet shelves – excessive shoes, etc etc we need support ……..and you can give us ideas how to arrange things. We need to laugh. # 1

  • Sam Mills says:

    I love reading about the colour advice you give when people ask questions and seeing the room makeovers for family. It is very inspirational to see how to combine colour and use of bold colour. I loved your nephews homeschooling room in particular. I might have to do dig out the paint brushes.

  • Kay says:

    Hi Maria,
    You’re right about the beans and rice—the shelves were stripped of dried beans when I was last at the market. I order heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo and have lots on hand, but they’re probably running out too. Your mom’s recipe looks delicious, and I agree about the addition of dark chocolate. David Leibovitz recommends Mexican chocolate as a chili addition. It’s a lot grainier. One of the natural chocolates, such as Taza, might also work well.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you have material for posts you could have written but for some reason never did. Why not go through your records and see what you find? I’d love for you to go on doing what you do so well. I read other people’s blogs, but there is no one else like you.

    I hope you enjoy the extra couple of weeks with your mom!

  • Kay Perret says:

    Awesome recipe. Love seeing your mom!!

  • Nancy says:

    Lovely idea but I am not into your posts for recipes. Plenty of that around. I want more of the same, dos and don’ts, what color is wrong, how to make it better ideas etc. Keep on keeping on. Don’t reinvent. Not necessary. That being said I would love little fix ideas. Like “this room’s good” . “But change this and that one thing and it’s perfect”. That is something I don’t see a lot of but is within the scope of what you already do. No recipes. And no offense.

  • Norma says:

    Let’s talk about renovating small houses that we find all over the Lower mainland area…usually built around the era of the first world war.

    There are stainglass windows, and paneled walls. Three panel doors and small kitchens and bathrooms.

    Often there is a porch, if it has not been incorporated into the house area by earlier owners. Often these houses sit on small city lots with neighbouring houses close beside them. Therefore there is little light in the rooms and views are more often the side of the neighbours house.

    This type of situation can also be what is facing owners of new condos, housing complex buidlings, and apartment dwellers. It can be a bit depressing given the lack of natural light, but it also affords a great deal of privacy.

  • Katherine Burnett says:

    Hi Maria. 10+ year fan here. Thank you for reaching out. I have a contemporary craftsman, new build home with a cute front porch. I saw recent suggestions to get out the string lights and create a cheery front porch for all to see during this difficult time. Most of my neighbors are 60+, and could use a bit of cheer. How about a post about creating a cheery outside entry?

  • Deb Kierstead says:

    How do you find the right balance of accessories? Now that I am stuck in the house all day, I wonder if I have too many accessories. The images on your site and others are full of eye candy. Is it a mistake to try to replicate that look in real life?

    Thank you for your common sense advice. I’ve learned so much and become a much better decorator by applying your principles.

  • Nancy says:

    Maria just had to say , “I just love your mom she is priceless !!”
    Made the chili had canned beans very good !!!
    Thank you and thanks for today’s up lifting post and all you do for all of us !!!
    Stay healthy

  • Karen H. says:

    Hi Maria, this idea may sound crazy to you, but here goes. I love your sense of color and style in your wardrobe. Maybe you would be willing to share tips on accessories, color and how you put your wardrobe together. Stay safe and healthy with your adorable mom.

  • Vanessa says:

    Would love to see a post on best moody colors for rooms, like darker greens and blues when we don’t want to use off white, greys or lighter colors. Do’s and dont’s of using it it in any room.

    Well wishes for healthy weeks ahead for you and your mom!

  • mrsben says:

    Your Mom is such a sweetheart, Maria. Beans and rice are something that my mother always had in her pantry to feed her brood. Made two pots of baked beans just the other day myself (still winter weather where I am) that will go a long way and perhaps just like your Mom’s Chili, freezes up exceptionally well. In fact, I always think they even taste better as flavours have chance to blend. Also shall add, I reserve the water the beans have soaked in and put it through as sieve as feel it is full of nutrients, so just top it off with what is required. In respect to ideas for your blog; besides what you normally write about is there a possibility that your sister who home schools her children can offer some input to those that may now be proposing to do the same? i.e.: Routine (Just a thought.) Before signing off; please take care and ensure you ‘practice social distancing’ if and when you are out and about. -Brenda-

  • lynda bell says:

    thanks for the recipe!! On it today 😊. I ordered the large samples last week – given the situation, will they still be delivered? And I’m waiting on my color wheel as well. So excited to be starting t on work with your system. Thanks!!

  • Molly says:

    Topics I’d appreciate
    -refreshing high end natural cherry kitchens without painting orangey natural cabinets. Online blog posts seem to be about choosing the right cabinet color rather than updating the look without painting cabinets.
    -classic timeless kid baths to carry from toddler to college (is colored tile a mistake?)
    -painting for home sales (what to paint, suggested wall colors for white, off white, etc trim colors)
    -small budget big impact projects (how to get the biggest bang for less)
    -resources for great “how to” videos for painting rooms, trim, furniture
    -reviews of different kinds of paint & brands (when to use which & why)
    -kid rooms/study rooms for students elementary to college without huge budgets or custom pieces
    -with your love for lamps, how you determine which kinds are needed and where you find them (plus any favorites you use again & again)

    Thank you, Maria. I welcome your color & design posts. Thank you for keeping us learning & distracted from tough times. I love when a new post pops up!

    With a family of 6 (kids 18-25) all working & studying from home in this quarantine I’m in the kitchen a lot right now. I look forward to playing your mom’s video as I work. Thank you! I wonder what you use for a microphone and phone holder. I am in the market for these items.

    Best wishes for health. I’m sorry you cant be with Terreeia.


  • Paula Taylor says:

    I would love a post on coordinating new lighting(including ceiling fans, possibly), throughout a home. Our house was built in 1981. I replaced a dated, typical 1980’s style fan in the living room with a beautiful, beaded, white-washed chandelier. Now I’m not sure how to proceed with updating other light fixtures. I don’t want a “matching set”, like you usually see in builder model homes. But, I would like continuity and coordination. I will probably replace one room at a time for budget reasons, but I’d love to have an overall plan or vision for each of the following rooms: entry way (which opens to living room with new chandelier), dining room (also visible from living room), breakfast area (currently a dated ceiling fan/light kit) , master bedroom (currently same ceiling fan/light kit).
    Thanks for considering this idea for a post!

  • Connie says:

    I love when you answer questions.

  • Jennifer Hanes says:

    Hi Maria,
    Sorry to read you have to be separate from Terreeia. Way to make the best of it. Thank you for blogging.
    I’d love to read…
    1 – Tips on working from home office
    2 – How to restyle Vinnettes
    3 – Thoughts on repurposing rooms
    4 – Any of your usual “ask Maria” or other items.

    Your website and books are a great retreat. We thank you so very much.

  • Marina says:

    Hi Maria,

    Thank you very much for your cheerful post and the recipe!! 😋 The recipe includes mostly the ingredients that I usually use in my cooking .. 😄🍲🍫 I love the beans and chickpeas with spices and can’t live a week without them!! I used to stock up on mostly books which I wish I could read .. 😭 I agree that it’s is right time for DIY, and you could give us modern ideas on hand made interior elements .. 👩🏼‍🎨 😍 I also always look for new ideas of plant compositions 🌿🌿🌿 Stay safe and have fun!! 😁🍿

  • Sylvia Ovitt says:

    Hi Maria, I love how you include your family in your blog, they are all sweet and you are lucky to have them!
    My design problem is in my bedroom. I have a wall of orange wood stained louvered closet doors. The other wall has two doors and another louvered closet all with the same orangey wood stain. I am surrounded and I can’t stand looking at it anymore ( after 30 years) I know DH won’t want to buy new doors so I am planning on painting everything.
    What do you think about painting the trim, doors and walls all the same color?
    Since I have actually two walls of doors and louvered closets with two windows on the other side wall there is very little wall to paint.
    I love your before and afters and I hope you will include bedroom updates in future blogs.

  • Amy Armitage says:

    Maria, could you write about moving one’s color consulting business online? I started an exterior color consulting business in the Pacific NW last summer. I believe many people will refrain from spending money on house painting now, secondary to the economy. I’m hoping to change from local consultations to online consultations to cast a wider net. I’ve bought both your exterior painting courses and have loved them. Thank you.

  • Trish says:

    Dear Maria,
    I made your Mom’s vegetarian chilli.. it’s delicious, thank you! So nice to have a big pot of comfort food on the stove.
    I also watched your webinar this afternoon.. what a great break from our present circumstance. Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas.
    Stay well and safe, Trish

  • Carly says:

    I know I’m late replying to this, but I would love to get tips on how to buy the right colors online. I feel like everything I buy to decorate my house, I have to order online since stores don’t seem to have very many options anymore. However, that makes it difficult to match the right colors together, especially neutrals. The descriptions always say beige, grey, or tan, but I can’t tell what the undertone is! Any tips you can provide would be great. Thanks!

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