White Bean Chili

When it comes to soups, I tend to gather inspiration from recipes rather than follow recipes.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve been wanting white bean chili all week.  Today, I made some. It was fabulous.  The recipe I used goes something like this:


1 sautee pan, blender (immersion or traditional), 1 medium/large pot, cutting board


1/2 onion, chopped

1/2+ cup mushrooms, chopped (or there bouts)

1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped

4 cloves garlic

2/3+ cup corn (I used frozen sweet corn)

1 cup spinach, chopped

1-2 chicken breasts, cubed (or shredded – I use organic free-range)

1/2 cup red/yellow/orange pepper, chopped

2 cans white beans

some basil (I used one of those frozen cubes)

some italian seasoning

some salt

some cumin (1/4-1/2 teaspoon?)

olive oil for sauteing 

1.5-2 cups broth



Saute 1/4 onion, 2 gloves garlic, spinach, and cauliflower – add some cumin and italian seasoning.  Once golden/wilted, puree with 1 can rinsed beans and 1/2+ cup broth.  Blend until you get a texture you like.

Pour puree into pan with the rest of the broth.  Once at a boil, bring to a simmer, add corn and 1 can rinsed beans. Toss in a pinch of salt and basil.  Stir every once in a while.

Saute chicken with cumin and the rest of the garlic.  Once cooked, add to pot.  Saute mushrooms, onions, and peppers.  Once cooked, add to soup.

Taste mixture, season if needed.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes?  (I took a shower and didn’t time it, so…..)

Stir and serve!  

This got great reviews from the other person eating it with me – and myself!  I used closer to 2 cups of liquid and when I do this again, I will use less.  Also, I will make the chicken chunks smaller and add a little more cauliflower and spinach to the puree.  

Looking forward to cooking this again, and making up some new soups, stews, and chilies!  I will also take a photo of this tomorrow as the leftovers are in the fridge right now!

Happy trails!

Caribou out.


Night Shift Bake-a-thon

Day off + Night Shift + Fall = BAKING!

Since I’m off the wheat, I’ve had to learn how to bake again, which is an adventure!  I’ve definitely found some delicious GF baking tips (and “clean eating”) – such as using black beans to make brownies and cupcakes! who knew?

Tonight, I’m trying a cornbread recipe replacing the flour with a gf flour mix, I didn’t do anything special to the amounts, but did substitute the buttermilk with goat’s milk yoghurt and greek yoghurt…it’s in the oven right now. 🙂  I shall post on how it goes.

here is the recipe:


instead of cracklings and fat, I used a tablespoon of veggie oil and didn’t put anything in place of the cracklings.  finger crossed!

I recently made black bean cupcakes using more or less the following recipe:


instead of cake form, I used cupcakes and baked for 18-20 minutes and they tested clean.  I also used 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 splenda, and all in my blender. It was amazing. The clean-up especially.  In a couple cupcakes I put in a few chocolate chips, oh lord. awesome.  They are dense little cakes, but fabulous.

Ok, I’ll post the results of my experiments soon!!

My Quasi “Cleanse”

I do not believe in fad diets or these bizarre cleanses where you drink water with lemons, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup.  Maybe its because both of my parents have food science/nutrition backgrounds, or simply because the body needs things like nutrients and calories to preform well.  As part of my “ok, lets get serious” mind-set (applicable to finally getting my home o-r-g-a-n-i-z-e-d and re-committing to cycling, running, swimming, and yoga) I wanted to jump start my eat healthy, feel healthy, be healthy mindset.

Why Quasi Cleanse?  I won’t lie.  My diet in January and February…varied from great to atrocious [and everything in between].  **Mom/Dad – shield your eyes for this part** There were days where ice cream became dinner…rice and corn became the base of my diet…and veggies…well, we were growing apart.  One benefit of eliminating gluten from my diet, it limits a lot of junk food, but there is a ton of naturally gluten-free crap out there too.  Lent helped kicked me in the bum a little – it put an end to junk food and impulsive decisions.  I wanted Lent to be more than a craving struggle, so I gave up making impulsive decisions – I highly recommend it…..Where was I? Oh yes, veggies and I were growing distant.  I didn’t return their calls, they stopped texting.  It was getting bad.  I didn’t care who started the argument, it was time to make up and get our mojo back.

The Prep:  To start, I put the cereal in the top shelves of my kitchen, threw out any remaining ice cream, and gave the kitchen a super clean.  I always find doing a deep clean helps to literally wipe the slate clean –  when you finish, I feel great and think to myself, “Ok, I can do this. Lets get started!” I broke out my Christmas present (thank you Mom and Dad) – the Vitamix blender and Costco card.  Next stop:  whole food smoothies.

The Plan:  For 10 Days – No Grains, No Meat, No Processed Food.  Limited Dairy. All Fruit and Veg.  The plan was to increase my fruit and vegetable intake by … oh … 90% or so.  The plan is pretty simple, eat tons of fresh/frozen fruit and veggies, sprinkle in some nuts and a little dairy.  The end.  Since its hard to eat a ton of fruit and veggies, I started making whole-food smoothies.  No juicing – just blending the whole food.

The Execution:  This is where Costco and Vitamixer come in.  The Vitamix (and I’m sure other strong blenders) come in handy, I can toss in carrots, spinach, oranges, whole frozen strawberries, hit blend – and I have drinkable fruit and veggies!  Its smooth and easy, fits in my Nalgene and off to work I go.  For the fruit, I have a ton of frozen fruit in my freezer – why? Its cheaper, lasts longer, and has more nutrition since frozen fruit can be picked at the height of ripeness, they generally have more nutrients in them and tastiness.  For fresh things, I have oranges, spinach, baby carrots, apples, and tomatoes on hand.  Another part of my arsenal:  pistachios, greek yogurt (beware of those with lots of added sugar), and kefir.  With running and cycling, I want to keep up with some good fat and protein.

Smoothie Happiness:  I’m including some photos of the smoothies I am making.  Some are from recipes, others I’m tossing in what might be good.  Mostly its been successful – one non-recipe experiment was a teeny bitter, but nothing some orange juice and agave syrup couldn’t fix!  Overall, I feel so much better and its been about 5 days.  Drinking whole foods, and not just juice, keep me full and happy.  My tummy feels good, my energy is up (not sure if its the diet, the kicking my bum to go running, spring weather…I guess all of the above?) and I don’t miss my old habits! (well, when my coworkers get fries, they still smell damn good).  I’m not counting the days until I’m done, and although I’m not going to eat like this for the next 365, I will definitely be keeping these smoothies as a main part of my diet in the months to come.


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 More to come as I make new smoothies 🙂

Here is to being happy, healthy, and energized!

Happy Trails – Caribou out.