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Beans

Winter Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

We got our first snowstorm here in Philly last weekend. Everyone say hey to Jonas, which called for a snow-day Saturday chili cook-off session.

With plenty of time to slow down and savor, into the pot went every veggie and spice that makes chili shine, and onto the timer went plenty of minutes.

Vegetarian Chili

Snow brings time to chill. Time to chill brings patience. And patience brings flavor-making magic.

If you’ve got the minutes to spare, let this merger of ingredients mix and mingle for at least 45 minutes. The more time you give it, the more infusion of flavor in every bite you’ll receive.

In fact, it probably reaches its best not the night upon serving but in your bowl the next day.

Patience is a delicious virtue.

Vegetarian Chili

Serve over brown rice with some cheddar, on the sharp side, and/or fresh herbs. And if you seek to level up the whole experience, add a square of warm, buttered cornbread on a plate to its side.

We’ll thank Jonas for this one.

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Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

What do you get when you ask three healthy food bloggers to tell you their #1 fall veggie? Too many answers to count. So, Philadelphia Magazine’s Be Well picked the produce (sweet potatoes) for us, and tasked two friends of mine and I to come up with an accessible way to use it.

The results: three kick-butt recipes that’ll make you mash what you think you already know about cooking sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

I chose to create a rendition of burritos with a healthy beans and greens twist. Like sweet potatoes, it’s hard to go wrong with bringing burritos to the dinner table.

Sweet Potato, Greens and Beans Burrito

I love how sweet potatoes compliment the earthiness of young fall greens. In this recipe, these two star ingredients are given the majority of the attention so that the preparation of the beans can remain quick and simple. Spices infuse the veggies, while the beans are simply tossed with a spritz of citrus to complete a weeknight meal that comes together in no time.

Head over to Be Well for the recipe, where you’ll also find a Sweet Potato Falafel (!) and a hearty Sweet Potato, Kale, and Wild Rice Soup!

Tacos with Refried Beans from Dried Pintos

Soaking dried pinto beans

A lot, a lot of taco nights go down in my house. Tacos are easy. Beans are cheap. And it’s hard to go wrong with a bunch of flavors wrapped up into one. Plus, any excuse to pull out a few avocados is a welcomed one.  The phrase “holy guacamole” didn’t come from nowhere. I mean, we all know guacamole is holy in every sense of its being.

Vegetarian tacos

Generally I make my own guac, but on very rare occasions I’ll just pick some up at the store. However, I always make my beans from scratch, if that is what’s to be at the center of the night’s tacos. (Sometimes I opt for ingredients like butternut and goat cheese instead.) Refried beans are incredibly simple to whip up and are truly better than any pre-made versions at the store. There’s something about the freshness you get from doing it yourself…kind of like most things you do yourself. But with refried beans, it’s particularly noticeable.

If you want to really take the homemade superiority to the next level, start with dried beans.

Soaking dried pintos

As opposed to pre-cooked ones in a can, dried beans let you go through a simmering process that really cooks them down and makes them all creamy inside. Then, you get their juices to pull back into your saute process, which makes the whole refried bean mixture that much creamier. The two steps required for this are painless and are totally worth the bit of waiting time required. (Don’t tell anyone, i.e. my landlord, but I let my beans slowly simmer on the stove while I jetted out for a run. My apartment survived.)

Last weekend I hosted a taco night, which is where this was born. This year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations looked more like Cinco De Mayo, and I’m 100% okay with that. The sentiment of cooking up a huge pot of beans for a night with friends is always a warm one. And I mean really, what’s better than a taco night with your pals or your family, especially when everyone’s put in charge with crafting their favorite ingredient? Add fresh mint mojitos (not the Tecate that we were surviving off of) and a few board games to the table, and it’s hard to think of a place I’d rather be. I’m already ready for the next one.

Given this was for taco night, the following recipe is designed to serve a crowd. However, it could easily be cut in half for taco nights with less people. Just whatever you do, don’t cut the guacamole from your topping list!

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Beans and Rice Italian Minestrone Soup

Beans and Rice Minestrone Soup

Yesterday, I put sweatpants over my tights, stuffed my hat inside my helmet, and zipped my coat up above my upper lip. Boots on, I braved the 20 degree weather that waited for me on my 2-wheel ride to work. Morning wake-up call at its best.

This was not, however, before tackling a stubborn frozen bike lock. Running late, I waddled my layered self back up to my apartment to grab a cup of hot water. Luckily, I discovered, that would do the trick. Anyone else ever have this problem with their lock in the winter?

Thyme

Ten frozen fingers later, I successfully made it to work. Good thing I forgot a change of shoes. I love rocking winter boots with tights and a dress, and all the funny looks that elicits. One of those days.

black rice

I’ve expressed before, winter’s not my favorite. But making soup is. There’s something about mindlessly throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pan, and knowing that meddling their flavors will produce guaranteed results.  Soup-making is pure simplicity. And brings the warmth that I crave after bike rides home from work.

This, I tell you, is one warming bowl of soup. Beans, rice and a kick of spice, it’s like bringing a thermal to the dinner table. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of wine, and you’ll be good to go.

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Swiss Chard and Black Bean Fritters

Swiss Chard and Black Bean Fritters

Random mornings off from work are my favorite. The streets are quiet. The sunlight is spilling itself through the windows. The music is whatever I want it to be, and however loud I choose. And the kitchen is mine for the taking.

Talk about a me-centric morning. But sometimes those are very much in need.

I shot a wedding on Friday, which allowed me to take the start of the day at my leisure. Rather than logging all those hours in front of the computer, I decided instead to spend some serious “me” time in the kitchen. Rarely a bad choice. Especially when you’re working hard, and a long day awaits.

Swiss Chard

A meal filled with greens and protein is never a bad idea before (or after one) one of those days. I particularly love how much swiss chard fits into this recipe. That rainbow stemmed green is a warrior, I tell you.

Putting up a fight against the first few frosts, swiss chard still seems to be holding its own in the gardens around here. It’s one of my favorites to view, so naturally filled with beauty and color. The day it leaves the garden will be a sad one for me.

Luckily, it’s still going strong, ready to lend its nourishment in recipes like this. These fritters are crispy on the outside, yet incredibly moist inside, and filled with all the energy you need to take on the day. Pair with a dollop of yogurt, or maybe even a ketchup/hot sauce combo if serving for breakfast.

Swiss Chard and Bean Fritters

 

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