I just got back from a beautiful X-Country ski out Cement Creek Road. It is my favorite winter activity and such a peaceful way to spend the afternoon. It’s one of the reasons I love living in the mountains and I feel very lucky to have this out my back door. It’s also an activity I did often with my Dad and I really miss him. On my ski today, I took my little red ipod, the one with all my school course work and was listening to Paul Pitchford, MS who wrote a book called Healing with Whole Foods, talk about Chinese Medicine. I kept thinking that I wouldn’t be studying holistic health and nutrition if I hadn’t lost my dad to cancer. It changed my world and I knew after he died that things couldn’t or shouldn’t just go on the same for me. It was over a year after his death that I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and it was one of those things in life where I just knew it was right. I didn’t know I was looking for it until I found it. So on my ski, I was thinking about my dad, thinking about slowing down and thinking about my wedding day. Eric and I had our wedding reception here…in a field on the other side of those pine trees. It was the best night, and I am grateful that my Dad was there with us. I encourage you all to slow down, take some time to relax and do something you love. Slowing down is something people rarely do, but you deserve to, as we all do. Cooking with whole foods involves slowing down. We are a culture that is so used to opening a package and getting food fast, but slowing down and cooking a real meal for your family is a gift.
I have been talking to various people lately about food allergies and food sensitivities so I thought I would post a recipe that I think is pretty allergy free (if that is possible). I noticed a lot of my recipes have nuts in them so here is one that is nut free, dairy free and delicious. It makes a wonderful family dinner and I turned the leftovers into quesadillas the next day for a perfect lunch. I have said it before but again, cooking once and eating twice makes life much easier! The one step in the recipe that I plan ahead for is soaking the black beans overnight. Could you use a can of black beans, certainly. But it will compromise the taste and nutrient level. Anything that can sit on a shelf in a can of water for a year or more just can’t be as healthy as soaking the dry bean. I made homemade hummus for a cooking class last month with dried garbanzo beans that I soaked and it tasted unlike any hummus I have ever had. The taste of the beans is so much richer. Everyone wanted the recipe and I will be posting that soon! So it’s your choice. If you think about it ahead of time and can soak the beans, I recommend it! I soak the rice too because it makes it easier to digest and helps with nutrient absorption. These are steps that might might take some time to get used to.
I used a homemade vegetable broth in this recipe which is very simple to make. You can roast any vegetables you have in the fridge. I like to use onions, carrots, parsnips, celery root and carrots…but if I some some veggies that are looking on their way out, I will throw them in. I chop the vegetables and roast them for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. In a large stock pot filled with about 10-12 cups of boiling water, I put the roasted vegetables in and simmer for about 1-2 hours. Viola, vegetable broth. If you are going to use it that week, store it in your fridge, or you can freeze it for a later day.
I hope you enjoy and would love to hear from you!
Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Spinach Bowl
1 1/2 cups Black Beans, soaked for 8-12 hours or 1 can black beans, rinsed
2 medium Sweet Potatoes, diced
3 cups of Spinach, washed
1/2 medium Onion, finely chopped
1 Cup Crushed Tomatoes
2 Cups Vegetable Broth, preferable homemade
2 TBS Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Cooked Brown Rice
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Fresh Lime Juice
Grated Cheddar Cheese (optional)
If using dried beans that you soaked overnight, start by cooking the beans in a medium saucepan covered and inch with water and cook for about 45 minutes ( or use a pressure cooker). In another saucepan, cook the rice.
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Mix the Sweet Potatoes and 1 TBS Oil together and lay on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. In a large pan (I use a cast iron pan) saute the onions in 1 TBS Oil and 1 cup of vegetable broth for a few minutes until it is soft. Add the Spinach and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the Sweet Potatoes, Beans, Tomatoes and Vegetable Broth and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add paprika, cumin and salt. Squeeze juice of one 1 lime over the mixture.
Serve over rice with jalepeno and lime slices, and some grated Cheddar Cheese, if you like.
Enjoy the leftover the next day in a quesadilla with some fresh avocado.