Thursday, 28 November 2013

Soul Warming Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

There comes a time when you have to accept that it is officially winter. Yesterday was that day here in Ottawa. We got about 30 cm of snow overnight, which cast the entire scenery in a cold white glow, which I do admit is quite beautiful to look at from the warmth of the house.

It's not that I hate winter. I love the snow, at least in theory. When I'm bundled up and all, it's not so bad. But the cold winds and dirty slush aren't my idea of a good time.

I do have to say that this year I am very lucky to only having to endure live through a small part of it. My lucky partner on the other hand left this morning to the sunny and warm Costa Rica, where I'll be joining him after the holidays.  He only got about three days of it all, of which I am slightly envious.

Nonetheless, this cool weather has me in the kitchen concocting warm comforting dishes, without all the fat that is. I find that most people find themselves reaching for the higher fat food this time of year, probably because our bodies are searching for more energy to keep warm. Really, it's because our society chronically under eats carbohydrates, the fuel our body truly needs. The easiest way to fill that void is with very calorically dense, but not so optimal, foods.

This chili is a bit more protein dense than I usually go for, the bean provide more than enough for most peoples daily quota, along with a healthy dose of fiber to keeps things running smoothly. (pun intended!) Add some rice or quinoa to boost the carb load of the meal.

Soul Warming Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili


- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3-4large tomatoes diced, or 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 2 can each black beans and red kidney beans
- 1 package org. non-GMo frozen corn.
- Cumin
- Cayenne
- Black Pepper
- White pepper
- Paprika
- Chipotle chili flakes

In the biggest pot that you own, or well a large one in case you own any of those ginornmous ones used for extra large batches of foodness, sweat the onion with a little bit of onion. 

Add the peppers and sweet potatoes and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

Now add the sauce, the diced tomatoes if you are using canned, if not wait until the sweet potatoes are almost done to add the fresh ones. Throw in all the spices as desired. Simmer on low heat.

When the veggies are half done, add the beans and the corn. Bring back to a low simmer and cook long and slow until everything is cooked through.

This stuff is even better the next day so I tend to make it beforehand if serving at an event. It's just one of those things that gets better everytime you reheat it (well within reason...). 

Serve as is, or over rice of quinoa.


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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fiery Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

There is no doubt in my world that soup is the ultimate cold weather food. Seeing as fall has sunk its toes into the ground, and winter is peeking from behind the clouds, I figured now was the perfect time to post this recipe. It used to be a constant in my world this time of year last year, I'm pretty sure I made it at least once every two weeks, always a batch that lasted me a few days.

During my 4 month 100% raw stint, I do have to admit that it one thing that I was missing until I discovered the awesome world of raw soups blended until warm. But that is subject matter for another post!

The greatest part of this soup? I got to eat the whole pot to myself. 

Somebodyyy wasn't the biggest fan of it. Which is fine by me when it comes to this soup. 

This somebody is also leaving for Costa Rica in just over a week, which leaves me with some time to fill until I join him in January. At least I have a few replacements to use as my testers, which is good since I plan to fill up my camera with a bunch of new food porn so that I have a bunch to tide me over this next big move, especially since I plan to eat a whole ton of fruit in Costa Rica, and not too much cooking will be happening so expect a ton of amazing raw food dishes!

I will, however, be working on some books to be released sometime in 2014, so keep an eye out for those.

Now, feast your eyes on this delicious pot of orange gold.

Sweet and spicy, it's simplicity betrays it's delicious flavours from the roasting that caramelizes the squash so that the spice perfectly balances the taste. 

Fiery Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


- 1 whole butternut squash
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, diced.
- 1 onion, diced.
- Water or veggie broth, to cover vegetables.
- Hot sauce, to taste.
- S/P

Put your whole squash in the oven at 400F and roast that baby for about 40 mins, or until a fork goes right through.

When that's done and cooled, dice your onion and cook it in a large pot with a bit of water to prevent sticking until translucent.

Add the sweet potatoes and cook for a few minutes, then add water to cover. Bring to a bubbly boil then simmer for 12 minutes or until almost done. Cut your squash in half and scoop the seeds out into the compost. Then scoop the yummy flesh into the pot of simmering goodness. 

Once everything is cooked through, using either a stick blender or in batches in your blender, whirl until smooth.

Back in the pot, season with S/P and hot sauce until it's just as you like it.

Serve nice and hot.


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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Super Simple Collard Burrrrritos and Guilt Free Tortilla Chips

Sometimes you just have to take it as it comes and find a way to make it all work.

After a rather uneventful move from Toronto to our temporary home here in Ottawa, I came to discover that we don't have high speed internet, just an internet stick that quite frankly reminds me of dial up after having a crazy fast fiber connection at our condo. But hey, it's better than nothing.

With adjusting to my temporary life here, I've been struggling to get organized and get everything rolling again. Between prioritizing schoolwork so that I graduate before our big move to Costa Rica for the winter and working a new job with more hours than I had at the restaurant in Toronto, blogging has been a constant on my mind, but not something I've been very successful at apparently.

Hopefully I've gotten all under control now and post will return to their normal frequency.

Today's recipe is warming, simple and comforting. The three main things on my mind lately when it come to nourishment. Fruit quality and availability isn't really comparable here in Ottawa to what it is in Toronto, especially with the access we had to the Ontario Food Terminal. So we've been eating a bit more rice, potatoes and other whole food carbs to fill in the blanks.

When avoiding gluten and most flours, it may seem difficult to make certain dishes that used to be staples. When it comes to wraps, most ones on the market that are conveniently pre-made are either not to my taste or just full of things I'd rather not consume. The best part is that you don't have to settle if you feel the same way. Collards are the perfect replacement that are just as easy to use, plus you get a serving of greens in. There are a million ways that you can fill them, this one is easy, fast and bursting with flavor.

I chose to also include in this lovely meal, a side of home-made fat free tortilla chips that are so easy to make that they barely warrant a recipe. All you need to find is some 100% corn tortillas (I bought mine at Whole Foods) and cut them into triangles, bake at 450F until crispy. If you want them flavoured, you just need to toss the triangles with desired spices (maybe a bit of liquid to get them to stick, although I haven't tried this, so experiment at your own risk).

Super Simple Collard Burrritos


- 4 large collard leaves, stem cut off.
- 3-4 cups of cooked rice
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- Salsa, as desired.
- Chili powder
- Cumin
- Hot Sauce

Optional Toppings:
- Guacamole or avocado
- Chopped red onion
- Cashew Sour Cream

Rinse collards well and pat dry with a kitchen towel, then gently slice off the thick part of the stem that runs through the leaf, being careful not to tear the leaf. Then at the top, where the stem was cut, slice off a bit of each corner of the leaf. 

Pile on the toppings, starting with the rice, spices, hot sauce, beans and finishing with the peppers and salsa, leaving a third of the bottom and sides empty

Fold closed as follows: 

Grab the bottom third and fold it over the toppings, then grab the sides and fold over, keeping it closed with a toothpick threaded through.

Serve with guilt-free tortilla chips and dip of choice.


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