Author: Gina Mueller


Healthy Hearty Chili

Healthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & Velvet Fall has not quite swept through Atlanta like I'm use to up north. However, temperatures dropped down to 60 over the weekend and our recent trip to the smokey mountains reminded me that fall is here. And that means chili season is here! Have you ever noticed that people are picky about chili?  Personally I want it to be similar to the version I grew up with and corn is a must.  No corn in your chilli?  I'd say I've had better.  Today I am sharing my go to chili recipe - I always stick the basics but often mix up the beans and meat to whatever I have on hand.  You will notice I go a bit crazy when it comes to the beans - pinto beans, black beans, AND green beans.  Just trying to squeeze in our veggies and protein- try it out.  I bet you don't even notice.
Healthy Hearty Chili
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Gina Mueller
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup masa harina ( corn flour, found in the Mexican food section of many supermarkets)
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can pinto beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can corn, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded Cheddar, for serving
  • Chopped onions, for serving
  • Oyster crackers or your favorite noodles, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic.
  2. Cook over medium heat until browned.
  3. Drain off the excess fat, and pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of water as needed. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 2o minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
  5. Place the masa harina in a small bowl.
  6. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork.
  7. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and /or water to get the chili to your preferred taste.
  8. Add the beans and simmer for an hour minutes.
  9. Serve with shredded Cheddar, macaroni noodles, and hot sauce-- or any of your favorite chili toppings.
Healthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & VelvetHealthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & Velvet Healthy Hearty Chili | Vanilla & Velvet


YOGA TEACHER TRAINING WEEK 2 | vanilla & velvet This week we did a lot of “the same but different”, as my teacher likes to say when we are moving through similar postures with slight tweaks. We continued to move our way up the bodies anatomy, broke down several more postures and learned more about the history of yoga. There is so much information to absorb that it is clearer to me now than ever that you really are a yoga student for life.  As I learn new information I keep trying to remind myself to enjoy this moment of new learning’s and to be ok with not knowing everything.  We often reach to place a check mark next to one of our goals that we miss the moments in between This week we were given 2 new challenges Challenge 1: thirty minutes of home yoga practice a day + journaling. My teachers assigned us this new challenge to get us on the matt and experimenting with our own practice. I am excited to do this challenge because I would say my home practice is one of the weaker parts of my yoga practice. I find it difficult to not get distracted in my own home and to just be still. So this extra motivation is exactly what i need to make my home practice a habit. To help myself with this challenge I signed up for an account with YogaGlo. I can’t believe I didn’t have an account sooner and highly recommend it to anyone, beginner or expert. I follow several of the teachers on Instagram, like Karthryn Budig, and am very excited to start practicing with them at home. Challenge 2: Record myself in different postures and sequences. Oh boy, this one is out of my comfort zone. I’ve never spent much time in front of the camera, but I guess this is the perfect time—in my own home... alone. Let’s see how this goes and maybe one day I will share some with you. Or who knows I might love it and share lots!


WANT, LOVE, DO, WEAR, READ – 9.29 | Vanilla & Velvet
  • Want: I heard about the Omorovicza skin care products a few weeks ago from a trusted friend that worked as an Esthetician for many years and he swore by this brand.  Ever since I can't stop wanting to try their products. I failed to find them in store, so I might splurge and order the introductory package online.  Who wouldn't want the healing properties of Hungary’s thermal waters nourishing their skin?
  • Love: My friends hidden secret to jamming on the cheap in Atlanta.  The website Concrete Jungle, it features a Food Map that tells you where you can find fresh fruit in Atlanta!
  • Do: A new yoga teacher training challenge-- 30 minutes of yoga at home every day + journaling about it.
  • Wear: Athleta Go Time Tank in black to yoga class, casually during the day or out at night... pretty much any excuse I get.
  • Read: I am a bit late to the game, but finally reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green -  a beautiful story thus far.

Yoga Teacher Training Week 1

Yoga Teacher Training Week 1 | Vanilla & Velvet I have been receiving a lot of questions about how yoga teacher training is going.  So I am going to introduce a special weekly series for the duration of my yoga teacher training.  To keep you all updated and hopefully  inspire some of you to pursue your own practice or even your own teacher training! Yoga teacher training started this past Friday and so far my excitement for the training is trumping all other emotions. I have been trying to take  teacher training for a couple years now, but as we walk through the syllabus and dig into subjects I know that now is the right time -- each year my practice and knowledge of yoga has grown and i'm afraid if I would have taken training earlier on I would have been overwhelmed by all the content. A glimpse of yoga teacher training week 1:
  • Started each class with a 2 hour asana (posture) practice
  • Ended each day with a meditation or light practice
  • Learned about the history of yoga - with a special emphasis on the roots of Iyengar and Ashtanga and how it came to the US.
  • Broke down a handful of different poses including proper alignment, lines of energy, benefits of the posture, common injuries, adjustments, alternatives for different levels, use of props and more.
  • Began covering the basics of anatomy - learned about our bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and how they all work together
  • Lots of reading from handouts and the lovely books you see above
  • I started a yoga journal
 Favorite quote from week 1:  What is Yoga? "The yoking of all the powers of the body, mind, and soul…It means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will… it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly” Mahadev Desai describing what yoga is.
Beauty Routine

Beauty Routine – Nails

Beauty Routine – Nails | Vanilla & Velvet
  • one. 800 Acres Olive Oil Body Balm in lavender, I love using this body balm on my hands and feet before bed, not only is the lavender smell relaxing to fall asleep to, but it does wonders keeping my nails and cuticles healthy.
  • two. OPI Nail Lacquer in Scores A Goal, I love dark nails, and this is my current favorite for fall
  • three. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat is my go to top coat - dries fast, easy to apply and keeps polish on for a long time.  What more could you ask for?
  • four. Tweezerman LTD Cuticle Nipper is my favorite tool, a little snip snip and your cuticles are in the right place and the awful dry skin around nails is gone.
  • five. Essie Nail Polish in Dress Kilt another favorite color for fall, more of a classic red but still with some dark hues.
  • six. OPI Ridge Filler a wonderful base coat, especially when it comes to painting my toes.  Things always look questionable down there, but this ridge filler does a great job of disguising imperfections and providing a smooth surface to work with.

3o Day Meditation Challenge

3o Day Meditation Challenge | Vanilla & Velvet Join me in a mediation challenge for 4 minutes a day starting this Monday, September 8th for 30 days. You will receive a daily message and short guided meditation so you can practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime. All you need to do is subscribe at Mindfulness Based Achievement for their 30 day summer challenge - subscribe here. Why Meditate?
  • Decrease Anxiety & Stress
  • Improve Creativity
  • Increase Your Ability to Focus
  • Increase Self-control
  • Improve Memory
What is Mindfulness Based Achievement? a set of tools that will revolutionize your life and give you the ability to achieve your goals with ease and joy.  Lisa Abramson and Vanessa Loder, Mindfulness Based Achievement founders, strive to have an impact on woman by making meditation easily accessible.  They have a toolbox full of mindfulness techniques and are setting out to create a revolution in the way we pursue and attain our goals.

The Basic Styles of Yoga

The yoga section of the blog is getting stronger each month as I continue to develop my own practice.  I know yoga can be overwhelming, especially if you are new or have only attended a couple classes.  So I thought I would introduce a few of the basic styles of yoga.  If you are thinking about starting up yoga I recommend…

Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt

We had the best tuna melt the other weekend at Savi Provisions in Inman park, a cute little neighborhood grocery store. I think the magic ingredient  was some sort of pesto spread. It was so delicious I was inspired to play around with a new tuna sandwich recipe. We had sun-dried tomatoes at home so I decided to go the route of sun-dried tomatoes vs pesto and with some help from a Tasty Kitchen recipe I created this yummy sandwich. Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & Velvet
Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Sandwich
Author: Gina Mueller
  • 1 can Tuna, Drained, 6-7 Ounce Can
  • 1 Tablespoon Sun-dried Tomatos
  • 2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pinch Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices of gouda cheese (or enough for 2 sandwiches)
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard
  • Lettuce or spinach(about A Handful)
  • Sandwich Bread (my favorite is sour dough)
  1. Combine the tuna, sun dried tomatos, vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper in a small bowl; mix well.
  2. Spread a little mustard on one slice of bread . Top with lettuce, half of the gouda cheese, and half of the tuna mixture.
  3. Place another slice of bread on top and repeat with the other sandwich.
  4. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, tilt the pan around to spread the butter.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 3-4 minutes or until bread turns golden brown and the filling becomes warm.
  6. Remove sandwiches from the pan, place remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter in the skillet and cook the other sides of the sandwiches, covered, for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and the filling is hot.
Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & Velvet Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & Velvet Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & Velvet Sun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & VelvetSun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & VelvetSun-dried Tomato Tuna Melt | Vanilla & Velvet