Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili


So, as my Mama used to say, it is time to "get back in the swing of things."  Summer is coming to an end! My wonderful vacation in Charleston was just what I needed to transition to this busy time and my time away was fabulous. In Charleston, you can always count on great food, a beautiful beach and amazing weather. But this time, it also included meeting awesome, new people.

Like most of the rest of you, my life is about to become busier, but that is not bad. I am a girl that kinda loves a good routine. For years, I saw patients on a set schedule and taught school at given times. I kinda prosper in that schedule and if nothing else, it makes fun times more appreciated and anticipated.

For me, with that more regular schedule comes more organization and preparedness. Most nights, that includes a lunchbox ready the night before. This recipe is one of my go-to lunch staples!! It is so healthy and full of veggies and protein and it freezes so well!! I also have to note that you will not miss the meat in this chili! It is hearty and delicious! If you are a bit more of a healthy, traditional chili eater (what???) give my Turkey Pumpkin Chili a try. I will admit, I have slipped that one by several chili afficiandos and they had no idea it was good for them! What they don't know.... I won't name names!!

I have to admit, I have been making this recipe for about 3 years and have not shared!  Shhh... Shame on me!!!!  (And some of my vegetarian meals are my most popular!)

Sometimes a girl needs a secret!


Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

As usual, I made this recipe in a large quantity and plan on eating some in the next few days, but also will freeze smaller quantities for lunches. This will serve multiple purposes: I have an awesome homemade lunch and I have a built in ice pack! Heat, eat, (check teeth for spinach) and back to work!!!



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 hot pepper, diced or one can of chopped chilis
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
5 – 6 garlic cloves, pressed
2.5 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano or a handful of fresh oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can (15 oz)  diced tomatoes or 1 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes
4 cups (32 oz) vegetable broth, more as needed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained 
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 and a half large sweet potato, peeled and diced 
1 cup dry quinoa
A bag of fresh spinach or large bunch of kale, washed and chopped

In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions all peppers, cook until soft (about 7 – 10 minutes). Add garlic, cook for another minute or so. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, broth, beans and sweet potato, stir until combined. Add quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover slightly ajar and cook for 30 -35 minutes, stirring often as this may stick. At this time, add spinach or kale and cook until wilted. No more than 5 minutes. Chili is ready when sweet potatoes are tender and greens are soft. Add additional water if chili is too thick for your liking. This chili is great right after it is finished or you can use in later in multiple ways. As I stated, I like to freeze individual portions for lunches. I have also used it as a side dish with fish or chicken.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Canned Oregano Tomatoes



So, here is the last of the tomato series that I have to share with you. I do have a bruschetta recipe that I will be posting in the near future as well, but I wanted to get this one out before the tomatoes were all gone and before I take a little vacation by the sea! I am headed to Isle of Palms, one of my favorite places on earth to clear my head before starting into the fall semester of school. This upcoming fall semester is gonna be a tricky one because I will be teaching in 3 different locations i.e. cities.  Even though it is a lot of driving, I have been so happy to add Asheville to my regular teaching circuit! Love that town and the students are so refreshing. Also after class,  it gives me the opportunity to hang out in some places that I really love.

Well, sorry this is not a longer post but this girl has to pack! Bathing suits, flip flops and of course some good craft beer! I will also have my camera with me at all times. Hoping the sun and sea and the magnificence of the Charleston area can revitalize me to be back in the classroom in only 11 days!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Freezing Tomatoes




I LOVE THIS RECIPE!!!

This is the most simple way to save tomatoes that I know of. When I am feeling really lazy (which is often!) I just freeze a bunch of tomatoes rather than messing with canning them. For whatever reason, most people look at me like I am crazy when I say that I do this, but it really works. This is a trick that I learned from my Mom and  it come in handy when the winter gets cold and you want to make a chili or soup. Just get out the frozen summer tomatoes and run them under really hot water. The skin peels right off in your hand. Then into the pot they go. They are way better then anything that you can get out of a can and remember- You grew them! So go ahead and feel accomplished! Sometimes, the little things make the day a little brighter!

(I admit these were hard to take pictures of! Usually I take all my pictures outside and when I took these frozen guys out in our 90 something degree heat they instantly got a little frosty. They don't look like this in the freezer, but I guess it does get the frozen point across.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Herbs for Freezer Sauce



Tomato salvation #2. This is one of my all time favorite ways to save or "put up" (as they say down south) tomatoes. And this one involves those prolific cherry or grape tomatoes that seem to pop up overnight. I have literally been picking 2-3 quarts of these per day but maybe that is my fault. See... I have this theory that if I make my garden just "a tad bit bigger" every year..... I have to mow less grass!! Yes, I know. What reasoning! But I think in the past 3 years, at this one house, I have cut out mowing maybe 3 extra feet on the one end of the garden. Wow!  Every inch counts for me when it comes to mowing grass. I hate mowing! In case you didn't notice, it just comes back..... And in the South Carolina heat, that just means another day dripping sweat at 7 am before the real scorching temps set in. So instead of mowing that extra little space, I prefer to can, freeze and preserve these little jewels. They are worth the sweat to plant, nurture and pick because I get to enjoy them all year!!

My backyard better watch out .... in 10 more years I won't have to mow grass.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes




As we all know, it is tomato time of the year!!! Despite the oppressive heat here in South Carolina, this has been a great year for some awesome tomatoes. I am sure that I am not the only one that is feeling a little overwhelmed by their garden goodness. For those of you that garden and stand with me in your love for all thing tomato, I am planning on posting a little tomato series here. Some of these recipes will help you save a lot of those tomatoes for the cold winter months when you are dying for that taste of summer sweetness. Other recipes will allow you to enjoy the tomatoes right now when they are at their juiciest and most abundant. However you want to look at it, this is the month of the tomato and your chance to savour every bite. In just a few months, we will all be wishing for the day in spring when we can plant again and anticipate what mother nature will give us.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Crockpot Madras Lentils


As of today, I am not longer a partner in my chiropractic office. It has been a hard transition. Since I was in middle school, I wanted to be a chiropractor with her own office. In 2004, with a partner who was also my husband, I achieved that dream. It was not a small task for two people with no real experience. We had the backing of a local bank that believed in us and family support, but other than that we were very much Newbies! It was a grand endeavor and something that I am still proud to say I was part of.  At the beginning of any adventure, there is a lot of adrenaline and excitement. This and the great people of Greenville made us a success in business for many years. The problem was that there was no relationship in my marriage except business. No personal life. Work was 24 hours per day. This was felt very deeply in 2008-2011, when health care began to change, the housing market collapsed and banks suffered. Our business was affected. All of this work stress was brought home every day and it crushed the last inkling of any kind of personal life that was left. Despite my best efforts to stop this pattern, it worsened. It was taking everything out of me as a person, a chiropractor and a wife.

In 2011, I finally made a change. In 2013, I divorced my partner and put into works the ability to leave the practice that in the past years had caused me so much pain. February 27, 2015 was my last day seeing patients. Today, at a meeting, I officially signed over my shares of my business and resigned as corporate president. It was bittersweet.  In these past 2 months, I have felt at peace with my decision and have even looked forward to my last day. Today, signing those papers took a huge weight off my shoulders. I am happy! For the first time in probably 5 years, I am happy!

So where does that leave me? That is still up in the air. I will always be a chiropractor and I am currently an instructor at local universities. But overall, right now, I am celebrating my decision and strength. I am taking some time to nurture ME! I know that can not last forever and I don't want it to. I will be back in some large way soon. I am not sure what capacity that will be or in what city, but I know that I have learned a lot and will use all my experiences to take the next big step.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

White Lasagna with Sausage, Spinach and Portabello Mushrooms



Look at me! Baking and blogging up a storm these past few weeks. Am I just overly ambitious? Hmm... I wish!  I am BORED!  I have been iced or snowed in my house for 3 days in the past week with more days off probably tomorrow and possibly Friday! I don't sit still well.(It is how I was raised.) I can not watch any more Netflix or worse than that, daytime TV.  Dr. Oz and Steve Hardy make me want to jump off the bridge downtown.... if only I could get there!

So, instead of causing bodily harm, I have been spending my time reading blogs and recipes and pulling out a lot of the cookbooks that I have stashed away and making things that are on my wish list. That list is actually so long that I could probably have a whole year of snow days and still not complete everything on it!

This has been my new South Carolina "snow life!" Waking up, showering, putting on fresh Pjs, scouring books and webpages and then getting busy in the kitchen. Usually, at some point in this process, some wine or craft beer might come into the mix. My biggest fear is if this weather doesn't clear up and I continue to churn out these rich, comfort food recipes, the only clothes I will be able to wear is Pjs or elastic pants. Ugh.... Praying for no more snow!!!




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Herbed Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Palmetto Olive Oil Company's Tuscan Herb Olive Oil



Love and support comes in all different forms and these past few weeks I have see a lot of that. I am not just talking about Valentine's Day. I am talking about every day little gestures that let you know you are important in someones life. In this way, I am fortunate!!

As you know we had our HUGE Icepocalypse and it seems like one of those weeks when no one has gotten the motivation back to do much of anything. Unfortunately for me, I have been busy on this computer searching for my future and closing up last minute things from my past. Last weekend, thanks to some really great supportive friends, I had a cleaning out party!! They surprised me by not only the brute strength of moving boxes but with flowers and mimosas. Mimosas make all things better!! All girls know that! Quickly, with their liquid courage, a job that seemed overwhelming was almost fun. Almost... Well, anyway there was a lot of laughing and even more encouragement. It feels good to be loved!


So, a little bit about the local product used in this recipe. On my birthday an amazing person went out of their way to drop a gift at my door so I would have something to open on my special day. Sweet, huh? It made my so happy!! The very thoughtful gift turned out to be this fabulous Tuscan Herb Olive Oil from Palmetto Olive Oil Co. here in Greenville, SC. I am obsessed with it!! I am using it on everything but at the same time trying to save it for only the best entrees. Lol! The other day after I got done tossing fingerling potatoes in this my hands smelled heavenly and were so soft that I debated using at as bath oil.

Joking, of course! Hmm... maybe!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Old Fashioned No-Bake Cookies


On the cowl I knitted last night when I was iced in!!

I am iced in my house.  NO, I am iced in my house in SOUTH CAROLINA!  Ughh!



 Did I go to the store before this event? Sure I did! I have plenty of wine, cheese, crackers and smoked meats. I know- no bread? No milk? What am I going to do with that? Well, it seems that I forgot something! Or at least have a sudden craving for something because I have no access to it. (Isn't that how it always works?) Maybe I am just bored, or maybe I am reading too many food blogs, but..... I NEED CHOCOLATE! And I don't have any. Well, I don't have anything other than a jar of Nutella, chocolate chips and cocoa powder. What can I make, what can I make???? No- Bake Cookies!!! How simple and quick! When you gotta get your chocolate fix there is not time for baking cakes and whipping up a perfect ganche. Nope!



With a HOT cup of espresso... hmmmm.... I think this is the best part of my day.

I also hope tomorrow I am FREE!!! It is hard for this Pennsylvania girl to be stuck in her house because of weather! But if I am still iced in... wonder what I will whip up in my kitchen tomorrow. Stay tuned!!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tiramisu Cheesecakes



So, this year I don't have a Valentine in the traditional sense of partner in life and love... and that is OK. It is not that I am opposed to that sentiment in any way. I think that good things will come in time. This year, I am in love with me! I am giving me what I need, nurturing myself! I feel like the past few years have been a culmination of hard times and emotional changes. I have gone through times of insecurity and times of true joy. It has been a roller coaster! But at the end of this month, I am making a change that should allow so much of that uncertainty and insecurity to go away. I am making a leap! It is long overdue and I am a little scared... but I am so ready to let go and move forward in whatever life has waiting for me.

Of course this Valentine's Day, I hold in my heart everyone who has been true to me and stands by me. I love you all and hope that I show you everyday. I guess this Valentine's Day for me is more like a homecoming, coming back to me; coming full circle. Shedding the past and really just letting me shine. It feels GOOD!

Happy Valentine's Day and remember Love Begins in the Kitchen!!

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