Chili with sweet potatoes & quinoa

Mmmm who doesn’t love chili? A simple hearty meal that is incredibly comforting and delicious.

This chili has quinoa added for extra health benefits! Yum! You can leave it out though if you want to save a little money.

I had some leftover vegan sour cream from another recipe, and I highly recommend adding a dollop of that to the top of your chili. Also very, very delicious.

This chili is crazy simple and very yummy. Enjoy!

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Chili with sweet potatoes & quinoa (adapted from Fort Mill SC Living)
3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp vegetable bouillon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp  oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

Other ideas for extra veggies: zucchini, yellow squash, corn, mushrooms, eggplant, carrots

  1. Make quinoa – 3/4 cup quinoa + 1 1/2 cups water.
  2. Meanwhile, saute sweet potato & green pepper with some olive oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add in all ingredients except quinoa. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add in cooked quinoa and simmer just until warm.

Super simple black bean soup

So, I’ve made a lot of crazy complicated recipes in the past. But, I’ve had a busy/stressful week, so decided it was time to scale back a bit. Recipes can be both delicious & easy!

This soup was probably the simplest thing I’ve ever made. Just, wow. And it was quite yummy for the 20 minutes or so it took to make!

Fun fact- apparently you can freeze avocados! I bought my avocado a few days before I wanted to make this soup and it got ripe very quickly. I was worried about it going bad before I had a chance to make this soup, so I threw the whole avocado in the freezer, just to see what would happen. And hey, it didn’t go bad! I just pulled it out of the freezer an hour before making dinner & used it as usual. I can’t believe that worked. Ha. =)

Also, bonus recipe: instant healthy garlic bread. This is a perfect quick side when you need just a bit more to fill you up!

A note on buying bread – make sure to buy 100% whole wheat bread! Phrases like “wheat bread” or “multigrain” sound nice, but aren’t necessarily healthy. If you aren’t sure, check the label. You want “whole wheat flour” to be listed as the first ingredient. “Enriched flour” of any sort is not very good. Stick with the whole grains for the healthiest choice!

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Garlic bread
A few slices of whole wheat bread
Olive oil
Minced garlic
Dried minced onion
Italian seasoning
Salt (if desired)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil. Lay slices of bread on it.
  3. Drizzle olive oil generously on slices of bread.
  4. Sprinkle bread with spices & garlic.
  5. Bake a few minutes until crispy!

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Black bean soup (adapted from One Ingredient Chef)
2 15 oz cans of black beans
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 medium tomatoes
2 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
1 avocado

  1. Drain beans but don’t rinse. Pour into large sauce pan.
  2. Mash beans lightly with potato masher. You just want some of them mashed, but some of them intact.
  3. Add broth and heat over medium heat for a minute or two.
  4. Chop other ingredients and add in everything else (except avocado). Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Top with slices of avocado when serving!

Simple sick day soup

I’ve discovered that eating healthy comes easy to me in many ways. I don’t really care about greasy things or fatty things. I’m fine with lighter tasting versions of recipes. I don’t need lots of sugar.

However, I have a weakness– salt. It’s a problem when I’m trying to buy healthy snacks and the sodium content is through the roof. But it’s also an issue when I’m making things at home and something tastes too bland. Suddenly, I’ve pulled out the salt and changed a healthy recipe into a rather salty one.

I don’t doubt that adding salt at the table is still way better than buying prepackaged things with salt in them, but it’s still something I would like to do less of. But what do you do when you just love the flavor of salt?

Enter, my new friend, miso! You can add it to just about anything to create a richer flavor and to up the salt content. Yet, unlike salt, miso has some health benefits. Furthermore, new research also seems to indicate that the natural salt found in miso may not affect health as negatively as using table salt.

I’ve been experimenting with using miso in various recipes, and I’ve come to the conclusion that you can add it to just about anything you typically add salt to. Today I made some hummus with miso instead of salt, and it turned out great!

Anyway, when most people think about miso, they think about miso soup! I’ve always loved this soup at sushi restaurants and I figured it would be a great sick day soup. I used to make those instant packets of ramen when I was feeling bad, and while delicious, probably weren’t too great for helping me actually get better.

I’ve found a way to make a simple miso soup that uses those ramen noodles that I love without the terrible spice packet. And it is incredibly easy and quite yummy! I didn’t add vegetables this time, but I’m sure that would make it even better. =)

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Miso ramen soup (adapted from Victory or Death in the Kitchen)
1 packet ramen noodles
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp miso paste
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ginger
Optional: spinach, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, green onions, dried seaweed

  1. Combine the noodles, broth, ginger, vegetables (if desired) and soy sauce and heat to a boil for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the soup from heat and stir in the miso paste (don’t boil miso- it tastes funny!). Taste and add more miso or soy sauce as desired.
  3. Garnish with parsley and/or green onions.

Creamy mushroom soup

As promised, I definitely made more delicious things with cauliflower. This time it’s a vegan soup!

Same idea as the alfredo, you just add a bit more milk of choice in order to thin it out to soup consistency. Super easy and yummy.

Mmmmm mushrooms.

Mmmmm mushrooms.

On a related note, has anyone else told you the best way to clean a food processor or blender? Apparently, you add a little soap and water, and let it run for a few minutes. Presto, much cleaner food processor! I can’t believe I didn’t know this until now but it certainly makes my life easier. =)

On an unrelated note, I just found this amazing product that is supposed to provide all the nutrients you need in a drink! It’s based on science, not crazy diet fads, so I am thoroughly intrigued. The idea is that it could replace food altogether and make cooking a hobby, which I think is really interesting. I do love cooking, and certainly would never give it up, but the idea of having a quick, cheap drink for breakfast or lunch with oodles of nutrients is pretty awesome. I just ordered some & am going to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes once I receive it in early 2014!

Anyway, back to the soup!

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Creamy mushroom soup (adapted from Healthful Pursuit)
2 cups cauliflower, frozen or fresh
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup  milk of choice
2 teaspoon onion powder
8 oz mushrooms
2 tbsp butter of choice
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

  1. Add broth and cauliflower to a pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in a separate pan with a little olive oil, for several minutes or just until tender.
  3. After cauliflower is softened, add to food processor with onion powder and butter; blend until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the milk and continue blending until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Pour cauliflower mixture back into saucepan and stir in mushrooms. Heat several minutes until soup is desired temperature. Add salt & pepper to taste.