Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili to Calm Inflammation

Today while the rain fell and the wind blew I stayed inside where it was warm and cozy.  

 I found several sweet potato and black bean recipes a few weeks ago.  Of course, I didn't find any particular recipe I liked, so I collected ideas and came up with this Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili . Today I decided to fine tune my recipe.  It is reminiscent of a Sweet Potato Chimichanga we enjoy at a one of our favorite local restaurants.  This recipe is really easy, delicious AND...without the added tortilla and carbs.  The sweet potato, onions, garlic, and spices add a large anti-inflammatory boost.  This is really a great meal to eat if you are trying to calm some inflammation in your body. 

First, dice an onion and a sweet potato into chunky pieces.   Add them to a pot and saute in avocado oil until.....

....they began to caramelize (turn brown).

Then add the garlic.

Saute for about 30 seconds more until they began caramelizing.  Try not to saute minced garlic too long because it can cause a bitter flavor. 

Add organic chicken broth and remaining ingredients, except for the yogurt.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft.   

Top with a scoop of nonfat Greek yogurt to add the perfect amount of creaminess.  So delicious, easy and did not take long at all.  

Enjoy :) 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans
1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lime juice
Greek yogurt, plain

Saute onions and sweet potatoes in avocado oil, stirring often, until they begin to caramelize.  Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients, except for the Greek yogurt.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.  

Serve in a bowl and garnish with a scoop of Greek yogurt.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Surprise visit and a Sweet Potato Frittata

I just love it when the kids stop by.  My youngest son lives in the same town as us so we see him more than we do the others.  He just happened to pop in around breakfast time a couple of weeks ago. Generally when he stops by in the morning for breakfast I will make Dutch Baby, which is a delightful dense Dutch pancake.  It is made with a whole lot of butter and sugar and most definitely causes inflammation.  However, on this particular morning, we broke tradition and chose healthier. We were all so glad we did because this was not only good for us but it was DELICIOUS!  And..... we didn't have that sluggish can't get anything done the rest of the day feeling. You know what I mean :) 

The sweet potatoes, onions and peppers all calm inflammation.  You can enjoy this meal and know that you are fueling your body and fighting harmful inflammation all at the same time.  

First off, peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.  This is not as easy as peeling russets so be prepared for a little extra work.

Drizzle some oil into a pan.  I've been using avocado oil lately.  It holds up to high heat better than olive oil. And.....of course it has those wonderful Omega 3's.

When the oil heats up, place the sweet potatoes in the pan. Saute over medium just until they begin to soften.

Add diced onion and sweet red, yellow or orange peppers.  This is a good time to add a little salt and pepper.  Saute these until they begin to caramelize and and are tender and cooked. 

This is how they should look when cooked.

Whisk eggs and milk together. 
 (When it's just me I use egg whites only to keep inflammatory egg yolk out of the recipe).

Pour egg mixture over the sweet potato mixture in the pan.  Grind a little salt and pepper over the top.

Turn the heat down to medium low and cover.  Let cook until the egg is firmed up and cooked through.  

When done, sprinkle Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese over the top and let melt.  Then dig in and enjoy.

Sweet Potato Frittata

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small onion, diced
4 small sweet peppers, diced
8 eggs
1/8 cup of milk
Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese

Drizzle oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the sweet potatoes and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Cook until they just begin to soften.  Add onions and peppers.  If you need to, add a little more oil,  Saute all together until they are browned and caramelized. 

Whisk together eggs and milk.  Pour over the sweet potato mixture.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top.  Cover and let cook 5-7 minutes over medium low heat until egg mixture is cooked through.  

Sprinkle the cheese over the top and let melt.  

Serves 4

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Restful trip to the Oregon Coast

Last month we took a trip to my all time favorite....the Oregon Coast.  We met my family there for a fun filled weekend of browsing shops, eating, crabbing, eating, sightseeing, eating and of course eating!

The sad truth is that I almost missed this beautiful adventure.  In August I ended up with two compression fractures in my spine.  By October I was beginning to feel better but still having painful issues from the injury.  Instead of letting it stop me, as I often do, I made my mind up that no matter what happens to my body because of my disease, I'm going to get out there and LIVE LIFE LARGE regardless of my circumstances.  I'm so glad I did!

One of my favorite towns on the Oregon Coast is Cannon Beach.  Their quaint shops, Haystack Rock, and the sound of the ocean draw me in.....always.  They also have the cutest library sign :)

A great thing for me is that when vacationing on the coast it is pretty easy to find Omega 3 food.   Thank you Tom's Fish and Chips for these Fish Tacos.  They were the best! 

One day my husband and I took off on our own to enjoy whatever we might find along US 101.  When we hit Rockaway Beach we smelled amazing smoky scents that brought us to a screeching halt.  Seriously!

This family owned smokehouse did not disappoint.  Delicious smoked salmon was a hit all weekend. 

We stopped for a hug at Hug Point!

My romantic husband took advantage of the secluded beach and carved out some true beauty in the sand.

Of course, this is my favorite way to end the day at the coast.  I'm so thankful that I chose to overcome and receive the blessing of a wonderful and memorable weekend with people I love :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Time for a nutritional reset to calm inflammation!

Occasionally I can tell that my body needs a little extra cleanse from inflammation.  I have been eating to calm inflammation long enough that I know my body and the signals it sends me when it needs a little repair.

The best way for me to accomplish this is by doing a bit of a twist on the popular Leek Soup cleanse.  I thought I would share it with you so you also can enjoy the benefits.

I start my day as usual with my morning Anti-inflammatory Berry Smoothie.

While I'm enjoying my smoothie I prepare 3 large leeks.

First cut off the top of the leeks at the point where the leek starts turning a darker green.

Then cut the bottoms off and slice the leeks in to about 1/2 inch slices.

 Separate the slices of leeks and place in a colander and rinse well.  I do this because leeks tend to collect dirt between the layers and this method gets all the dirt out.

Now this is the  part that you may not see on other Leek Soup recipes.  Place the washed leeks into a large pot and drizzle with oil.  I use olive or avocado oil.

Saute the leeks until browning begins.  This is carmelization, and it makes a world of difference in the flavor of the broth and leeks. If I am going to do this type of a cleanse, by golly, I will add as much flavor as I can.

After the leeks begin browning add 2 cups of hot water and start scraping all the brown goodness of the sides and bottom of the pot.  Add 4 additional cups of hot water and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.  I cover the pot with a vented lid so that I don't lose much liquid.

 After the leeks are finished cooking, strain the leeks and broth over a bowl so that you save all the broth.  Then put the leeks in another bowl.  This is your meal and snacks for the next 1 1/2 days.  Aww...come on it's not that bad and it makes such a great difference in how I feel.


I usually start around lunchtime with 1/2 cup of broth.  Then a couple hours later 1/2 cup of leeks. They taste better if you squirt a little lemon juice over them and sprinkle with just a touch of salt and pepper.  A couple hours later 1/2 cup of broth and you just keep alternating throughout the day.

I also drink a lot of water during the day and flavor with mint or muddled fruit.  Yes...I'm truly all about flavor :)  Herbal tea is something I enjoy during this cleanse as well.

On day 2 I start with my smoothie and at lunch do the same routine as the previous day.  The only difference is at the end of the 2nd day I enjoy a d dinner of grilled salmon and a side of broccoli.  The cleanse is complete and I always feel so much better :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Easy Tamale Casserole for Cooks Night Off!

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I just need a night off.  This tamale casserole is so easy to make that it counts as a night off.  It's so delicious that I don't feel like I'm missing out by staying home.  An added bonus is that it's still lean and healthy.  

My husband loved this so much that he has requested I make a couple for him to take up hunting to share at camp.  I was a bit surprised since it has an ingredient called polenta and not spuds :)  Not what I picture at elk camp but I'm so happy to oblige!

I use ground turkey quite often instead of ground beef.  Since the ground turkey comes in packages that are approximately 1 1/2 pounds I will fry it all up with onions and then put half of it in a Ziploc freezer bag to freeze for later use. 

These ingredients make this casserole a snap.  Frozen corn, tomato sauce, polenta, fire roasted chopped chili's and ground turkey with onions. (The cooked ground turkey and onions are in the casserole dish)  Not shown are the chili powder and Parmesan cheese.

Mix the cooked ground turkey and onions, tomato sauce, green chili's, chili powder and corn.

Pour into the casserole dish and top with sliced polenta.  I did two layers.

Sprinkle each layer with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes on 350 degrees.

Easy Tamale Casserole

3/4 - 1 pound ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 small can of fire roasted chili peppers, diced (mild)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup frozen corn
1 tube of polenta, sliced into 14 even slices (I purchase mine at Trader Joe's)

Brown the ground turkey and onions.  Add in the tomato sauce, chili peppers, chili powder, and corn. Mix well.  

Into a 2 quart casserole dish, place half of the meat mixture.  Place 7 slices of polenta over the mixture.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Then spread the remaining mixture over the cheese.  Place the remaining 7 polenta slices on top of the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.