My Date with Chris, and a Meatless Monday Nightshade-Free Paleo Chili Recipe


This post was supposed to go live on Saturday. Today is Monday. Clearly, it did not go live on Saturday.

I had a delightful weekend in which I was far more social than usual, and I think getting out of the house and out into the sunshine did me a world of good.

While home, though, I did none of the writing I had intended to complete over the weekend. Instead, I was 100% absorbed by Jane Austen’s Emma.

The story is one I know well, although I can’t recall ever sitting down to read the book. During the flight back from Boston last week, I noticed the audiobook was one of the available entertainment options on my flight. Emma Thompson and Joanne Froggatt‘s names were featured prominently on the listing. Either one alone would have been impossible to resist, but both of them? I didn’t stand a chance.

I gave it a shot and loved every second of it, even though in the past I have not been a huge fan of audiobooks.

The book purchase occurred shortly after I got home and I completed my listen a few moments ago, and only now I am finally getting around to writing the post I meant to publish on Saturday.

Incidentally, though, my house is cleaner than it’s been in ages. I was incapable of simply sitting and listening while the book played. This audiobook thing might be worth exploring further; it seems to help me get chores done!

Meeting Christopher Gorham

I’ve mentioned the Christopher Gorham lookalike I’ve been chatting with on OKCupid a few times recently. On Friday, he and I finally met up for drinks.

Good grief is he ever adorable. From henceforth I shall call him Chris, though, because I’m starting to feel some concern about my posts coming up when folks search for info about the real Christopher Gorham, who I have, of course, never met, harbor no hopes of actually meeting, and to my knowledge, am definitely not chatting with on OKCupid or anywhere else.

Dear Real Christopher Gorham

Should you ever read this, please know I used your name only because another man bears some resemblance to you. I hold you in the highest regard and meant no disrespect. Please don’t sue me.

Yours truly,
Suzanne from A Twist on Life

It was surprising how easily Chris and I were able to talk. I was relaxed and authentically me, and didn’t catch myself doing any of the stupid things I often do when I am a little nervous. There was no accidental false front. I was completely myself.

Chris is a sweetie. He’s quiet, smart, and kind. He’s a little shy and I noticed when talking about himself he often had trouble making eye contact. He looked off to the side instead. But when he was animated or passionate about a topic, he spoke straight towards me and maintained eye contact well.

When he laughed, which he did a few times, it was a pure visual treat.

More unbelievable than anything else was that he liked me, too. I could see in his eyes that he admired my appearance. (Sidebar: the voice in my head wants to me to mention the bar was dimly lit and he couldn’t see me well, so if he liked my appearance that was probably the cause. Shut up, voice.)

First Date Conversation Topics

A first date is always such a gamble. Even if banter flows easily via written communications there’s never any assurance it will do so in person.

Thankfully, Chris and I had tons to talk about. Growing up splitting time evenly between urban and rural locations. Travel. Art history. Each of our careers and career paths. Goals for the future. Goals of the past. Conversation flowed easily, topics flowing from one into another without any effort.

As we each began sipping our third beverage of the night the conversation turned to non-monogamy, each of our current situations, and what we’re currently looking for.

He’s married with two kids and isn’t currently seeing anyone. He and his wife have been non-monogamous for about three years and married for almost twenty. His wife had a girlfriend for a year or so. They broke up a few months ago and now she’s seeing someone new. He had a girlfriend for a while but they broke up last fall, and he’s done some dating since then but hasn’t gotten involved with anyone else.

He likes to take things slow, which is one of the reasons my profile appealed to him. In it, I stress repeatedly that I’m not looking for a specific kind of relationship. I want a mature, measured approach to getting to know each other, and to see what kind of connection, if any, evolves.

It’s rare I meet someone that has appeal for, and it’s valuable to me when I do.

We spent a good 3+ very enjoyable hours together and hugged goodbye. He texted me later in the evening to reiterate having enjoyed meeting and mentioned an art exhibit we had discussed earlier. We made plans to go check it out next week.

I kind of can’t wait to see him again.

Today’s Recipes

Meatless Monday: Paleo Vegetarian Chili

I confess I haven’t actually made this recipe yet. I meant to go to the store and get the ingredients after work, but somehow I wound up at Walgreen’s buying get another bottle of nail polish (Essie Ballet Slippers, in case you’re curious) and then painting my nails while listening to the end of Emma.

I don’t know how plans derail like this so frequently. These things just sort of happen on their own while I observe the proceedings and try to remember what the other things I meant to do were.

Dinner tonight wound up being some onion, garlic, zoodles, crushed red pepper, lemon juice, and leftover chicken all thrown into a wok and cooked up together. It was a makeshift meal that wound up being surprisingly delicious.

The meatless chili recipe looks terrific, though. I had thought I might make a tried and true favorite again, a turkey pumpkin white bean chili recipe (I’ll link to it below, separately), but honestly, it was heavier than what I was in the mood for.

While on my trip, and all weekend, I ate quite rich meals. I am craving lighter fare now that I’m home. I’d love to make a big pot of vegetable soup, but doing so is always such an undertaking, with so many vegetables to chop, and the idea of doing it made me feel worn out.

And it’s been less than a week, and I’m already sick of salads.

Thus, after a bit of creative googling, I was excited to find this recipe. All the ingredients except the vegetables are staples in my pantry, so I only need to buy a couple of things. Here is the link:

Low Carb Meatless Chili (Paleo, Whole30, Nightshade Free)

Photo credit: The Castaway Kitchen

A hot, mouthful with lots of texture and warm spices, I promise you this low carb meatless chili will deliver that. Beyond that promise, I use the term chili loosely!

I mean, come on, no beans, no meat, no tomatoes… however, it delivers a good dose of protein, Vitamin D and Vitamin A, plus some Omega Fatty Acids so if you’re down for a meatless meal, this low carb chili is it!

The Castaway Kitchen, Low Carb Meatless Chili

I’m terribly curious to find out how it is. I’ll likely make it tomorrow and will update this post to let you know.

Bonus recipes: Turkey Pumpkin White Bean Chili and Vegetable Soup

Turkey Pumpkin White Bean Chili

Photo credit:

Not all my crock pot experiments get me excited, but when they do they wind up here on Skinnytaste. The pumpkin is not sweet at all, in fact, if you don’t mention it, no one would even know it’s there but it does add beautiful color and creaminess to the chili and for picky eaters, a great way to sneak in vegetables.

Skinnytaste, Turkey Pumpkin White Bean Chili

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love

My tried-and-true recipe for a good 15 years was a three-bean chili that made ample use of unsweetened cocoa powder. I forget where the base recipe was from but through the years, I tweaked it here and there and ultimately made it into a thing of beauty.

When I started trying out Paleo and stopped eating beans, I stopped making the recipe. That was almost nine years ago. Now, I can’t find that recipe, with all my hand-written notes, anywhere.

This turkey pumpkin chili is as close to the hearty fabulousness I used to make as I’ve found so far.

The reason I was thinking of it was because of a conversation with a friend yesterday. This is a recipe both she and I love. Previously, both of us had only made it using a slow cooker. She mentioned she made it in her Instant Pot the other day, and now says she’ll never make it in the slow cooker again. The texture and flavor of the recipe, when made in the Instant Pot, was far superior to when it is made the slow cooker. I pass that opinion along to you, to do with what you will!

Vegetable Soup Recipe

There are a gazillion vegetable soup recipes out there, but this is the one I always wind up coming back to. It’s easy, filling, simple and yummy. I’ll add different spice blends to each bowl of it as I serve it up; generally, a pot will last me quite a few days. Harissa, Italian seasoning, Herbs de Provence, it doesn’t matter. It’s always good.

I originally found this recipe here, and I include the link so the recipe writer gets their due, but I will not post a photo or a quote. The writer is not body positive and I am not a fan of their writing.

The recipe, however, is a good and delightfully easy one, and easily modified for a variety of dietary constraints/preferences:


  • 3 cups nonfat beef broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1⁄2yellow onion
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1⁄2 cup green beans
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped zucchini yellow or green
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon basil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt & pepper


  1. Spray pot with nonstick cooking spray. Saute onions, carrots, and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add broth, tomato paste, cabbage, green beans, basil, oregano, and Salt & Pepper to taste.
  3. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are tender then add the zucchini and simmer for another 5 or so minutes.

Happy eating!

UPDATE A Few Days Later: Verdict on Low Carb Meatless Chili

Am updating this post a few days after the original publish date. I’ve now made the Low Carb Meatless Chili recipe.

Guys, this is a weird recipe. It’s an interesting and flavorful mushroom stew, more than anything else. It’s hearty and filling. It’s also incredibly salty; I’d cut down or omit the salt completely if I make it again. I’d also cut down or omit the nutritional yeast because in the quantity recommended it’s a little overpowering.

Served alone or just with avocado, this recipe doesn’t do it for me. But with some shredded chicken… well, it negates the meatless aspect of things but cuts the intensity of flavor in a nice way.

Still, I’m not sure I’ll make it again. It was fun trying, though!

Featured Photo by Mareefe from Pexels

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