5 Postpartum Nuggets

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even though this was my 3rd time giving birth, i left the hospital with a few share-worthy gems from the amazing, seasoned L & D nurses who assisted us during our stay.  WHAT a job.  i am impressed and inspired by the L & D nurses every single time i see them in action!  i can imagine that there is no typical day in their world; every shift brings a new adventure. 

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as i sat up in bed to prepare to receive my epidural, i felt another contraction coming on.  i distinctly remember my nurse instructing me to just hold her hands and breathe until it passed.  well i squeezed the crap out of her hands!!!  it was the last contraction i remember enduring before the meds kicked in and i appreciated her so much for sacrificingherbody helping me through it.  whether you are a 1st time mom or pro, i hope these nuggets of info help you out too:

the more the..not so merrier :(

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the more kids you have, the more intense your uterine contractions will be while nursing. HELLO!  oh my word.  i knew to expect them as i nursed Kosi in our postpartum hospital room but whoa.  hearing one of my nurses say this confirmed that i was notcrazy.  after about a week or so, thankfully the contractions went away completely though. 

but first,

we know that as baby sucks away (especially in the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth), it aids your uterus in returning back to its normal size and position. however, if you have a full bladder before baby starts going to town, it could cause your uterus to shift and unnaturally settle to the right or left of its original position as it contracts (because your bladder is obstructing its path).  this could potentially be a problem if you plan to have more children (e.g. tilted uterus).

fiber up

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most likely you are given stool softeners during your stay at the hospital post-birth. it is extremely important to keep that going once you get home. extremely.  chug plenty of water as hydration helps to keep things moving along too. upping the fiber in your diet while in the hospital (have/add in some dark, leafy greens with every meal) and once home is crucial to keeping your digestive system running as smooth as possible as your body heals. the less processed your diet, the better.  prunes are one of my go-to natural laxatives (thx, Dad!) and a handful of them per day is golden.  although i did not tear 'down there' this round, i did have some pretty disrespectful hemorrhoids.  #whatisTMI

ouch! #thatstings

when you get back home and take that first amazing, uplifting, incredible shower (they really do make you feel THAT good), don't forget to use scent-free, alcohol-free body wash.  keep that going until you heal completely.  i cracked open one of the Johnson & Johnson baby shower gel's Kosi received for a shower gift; it was perfect and didn't irritate my lady parts.  very important! if you did tear or received stitches, a soothing sitz bath helps you heal and keeps things from getting stiff down there.

one less thing to worry about

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HAIR.  so as most of you know my hair is 100% natural now and i'm loving the versatility that comes with it!  this is the healthiest my hair has ever been and i have not one regret about my decision to finally let go of the creamy crack.  micro braids are normally my protective style of choice, but i'm loving faux locs and i'm rocking them for a second time thanks to my girl, Ogechi!  i cannot stress enough the convenience a cute, protective style is for the 3rd tri and postpartum stages.  focus on everything else; surviving those last uncomfy weeks or months of pregnancy, your new babe once he/she arrives, and should you have a visitor or three at the hospital or home, you'll be (somewhat lol) picture ready already! now all i need to do is just get some microblading done and i'll really be set, haha

if you found this helpful, let me know below and please share!

K E E P   U P   W I T H   U S !

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Blog Elevated '14 - Galveston Island

has it really been a year!? catch up on my BE '13 experience there.

Galveston, we have arrived!

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my girl Ogechi and i road tripped (if you can even call it that) from Houston to G-town this past weekend for the 2nd annual Blog Elevated Conference held at Moody Gardens. i live less than an hour from Galveston, i'm 32 years old, and this was my very first time at MG.

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Ogechi went first and checked in right away.  i walked up to the registration table and the volunteers could not find my name. 'fitfoodiele?  hmmmm...' who forgot to register for the conference online before attending?? *raises hand* WHO does that?! i registered right there on the spot on my phone and was able to confirm i was supposed to be there.  one day i will get my life together.

i would just like to sincerely thank the founder of the BE, Lisa Stauber, for being so generous to Ogechi and i.

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i was not leaving the conference without hugging and thanking her a billion times.  i had no trouble finding her though because she was extremely involved in the conference happenings, workshops, etc., and always easily accessible and approachable.  the number one thing that stands out about her to me is that she is REAL. a real life, hard-working mother of 10. TEN. no twins, triplets, multiples... all singles. her youngest is like 10 months old! hello? and she is running around handling business and operating her own conference?! she takes that 'no excuse' motto to a whole nother level.  she is MY motivation to be the business woman and mother i desire to be.  Lisa, you are one incredibly inspirational mama and i highly respect and appreciate you.

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we got our swag bags and headed to mix and mingle with the other bloggers.

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we participated in the Imperial Sugar sweet scrub booths right away and made some all natural body and lip scrubs! they were super simple to create and made with all natural ingredients you can pick up at your grocery store. try it at home yourself:

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then try not to eat it all off.  impossible.

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we made two others; orange dreamsicle body scrub, and i did a lavender, rosemary, lemon combo scrub as well.

here ya go:

CYMERA_20140929_125342ready to give my elbows and knees some love :D

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fooooood! so lately i can't go to Sprouts without getting a handful of plantain chips #slightlyobessed so when i saw that basket full of them fireworks went off in my head.  we snacked on the chips with mango salsa, fresh fruit with yogurt dip, pineapple and chicken skewers, mini quiches, prosciutto wrapped melon, and...

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smores for dessert!  we roasted our own marshmallows in that fire pit behind us first. such a fun idea!

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after meeting, snapping pics, and hanging out with more blogger friends for a bit (hey @superradchristianwriterchick and @mysocalledglamorouslife!) we hit the road home since we had to be back early again the next day.

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what's up day 2!? we checked into MG and dropped off our stuff in our room.  nursing babies were welcome so i brought one with me. Dego had plenty of company; there were a good handful of babies present this year. 20140926_111307_1

my badge was waiting for me after last night's registration snafu so i excitedly threw it on! CYMERA_20140929_084337

 anxious and ready to learn but had to get a pic in front of the BE backdrop first.

20140926_113952_1 (2)another great turn out this year!  i was up and walking around with Dego for a bit while listening to the Brands and Bloggers PR panel answer our questions. 20140926_115531_1

Dego had his own agenda, and it was definitely lunch time.

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soon as the ballroom was open for lunch we went right on in and got a great spot in front of the big screen.  this is one place i didn't feel like i was being watched while taking pics of my food- everybody else was aiming and snapping away too. lol.

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i was looking at last years BE post and noticed that nothing has changed as far as me and Ogechi's eating habits cause we are all about that fit life!  small, balanced meals every 3 hours or so works best for our energy levels and attitudes. lol.  when i'm working towards a specific goal with my body like our 6 Pack USA clients, i stick to my meal plan and do not budge no matter what.  yes, even while traveling. especially while traveling!! that's when i and most people stall the progress and fall off track..  however you can always stick to your guns though.  preparation goes a long way, especially with your nutrition.  however, i didn't bring any food food again this year,  just snacks like nectarines, quest bars, Ogechi's almonds, and water.  i'm pretty good at eyeballing my portion sizes for each meal according to my macros, so i did just that and did not stress.

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back to it! after a hilarious yet informative lesson on creating charming & cheeky social media content from Marie Bonaccorse from Charmin, we took down several pages of notes from Matt Cherry's 30 Easy Changes to Make for Giant Growth seminar.

 after getting home so late thursday night, i skipped my early friday gym date (more like missed purposely) and planned on working out later that day sometime.  i attempted to take advantage of the 3 hour break we were given while Ogechi napped, but nope, Dego needed me more. after, oh idk, 10 min or so on the elliptical, Ogechi called me back to the room to tend to Dego's cries screams! so, no workout that day.

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we attended the Beauty, Bubbles, and Bites Cocktail party that evening hosted by Kroger and did the mingle thang!CYMERA_20140928_221518 (1)

 and snacking thang. lol. if there's a chocolate fondu fountain in our vicinity, we'll find it.

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 we were on our own for dinner, so we stayed on location and ate at the MG restaurant, Cafe in the Park.  i had a turkey-veggie burger with fries, plenty of water, and two dinner salads.

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it was off to bed after i researched and connected via social media with some of the bloggers i had met earlier that day.  Dego was patiently waiting on his nightcap, haha.

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early the next morning, this definitely happened! i couldn't wait to hit it hard.  i see you, Cintia! she was up early too and getting her run on, love it.  O took the first shift around 4-5am, and i went second while Dego snoozed.  the hotel didn't have a stair master, but i found the real thing and got in some lower body work outside.  it totally pumped me up to attack BE day 3! after breakfast of course.

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back to Cafe in the Park we went.  i ordered some coffee, and an egg white veggie omelette with a little cheese. if that's a little cheese...... :/ but i was too hungry to wait for another (and we needed to get going)!  so i peeled it off myself and made it work.

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we attended more workshops and seminars all afternoon until lunch time. the Representing Brands with Style workshop by Frederick Goodall was actually after lunch, but i didn't get any pics in them! nevertheless, @MochaDad did an amazing job.

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lunch time again.

boxed lunches were provided by BE, so we took ours to the room so we could also get our stuff together to check out of the hotel.

after listening to Kristen Welch discuss how her non-profit org Mercy House was birthed, she wrapped up the conference, we said our goodbyes, and headed home to our hubbies.

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but not before giving this guy a fresh diaper!

a few fitfoodiele takeaways:

  •  trial and error. every speaker covered different topics and what worked for them of course, but they all had one common piece of advice-- get out there and try it and if it doesn't work, take note and try something else!  you'll never, ever know if you don't TRY.
  •  i WILL conquer YouTube after Audra Kurtz' workshop! she inspired me so dang much. currently at #lostpuppystatus but i'm excited to use a different media other than photos.  maybe it will work out; maybe it won't. but i'm no longer afraid to try.
  • focus on what you are good at. your niche. we ALL have one, but YOURS should be your focus. doesn't matter if there are multiple people doing what you're doing... you can't do it like THEM and they can't do it like YOU.
  • STOP COMPARING. everything.
  •  it will take hard work, blood, sweat, tears, late nights, and possibly YEARS for your blog to reach its potential.  accept that and continue to be consistent, be yourself, and post quality content about what you are most passionate about.

until next year, BE!

le

Blog Elevated - wrapped

i went to the BE conference with an open mind, open heart, and the desire to get outta my comfort zone and actually talk to somebody and do some networking.  i did my best and met some new blogger friends over those three days!  in addition to learning a good bit of info via the various workshops provided (9 pages worth) i had a fantastic time hanging out with my dear friend and blogger-to-be, Ogechi.

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i looked back through my photo gallery and i have way more food pics than people pics.  i wonder what that means :shock:

enjoy!

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  i had some business cards printed at the last-minute (naturally) and totally left off the LLC in Fit Foodie Le.  the show must go on.  i went to pick up my girl and we hit i-10 and headed to the Norris Conference Center in City Centre.

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we got our goodie bags and badges right away after signing in. seems legit!

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Ogechi hit the red carpet first and the tone was set as we headed into the welcome party sponsored by Kroger.

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vendors, mingling, goodie bags, and goodies galore.

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and a white chocolate fondue fountain. way to go Kroger!  they had sweets and treats for days while everyone got their meet and greet on.  full vendor list here.

after exchanging and collecting a few business cards and snacking, we headed back home to get some rest as we had to be up early again the following day awake and ready to learn.  which really meant go home and ensure our hubbies could survive two straight days without us.

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brekky in, headed out to pick up O for day 2 !  oatbran and egg whites. every morning. don't get me wrong, i love it and crave it when i wake up. however, i said i would expand my breakfast horizons though just for variety purposes.  i'm missing out, i know.

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yes we live in Houston, and yes we stayed overnight at the gorgeous Hotel Sorrella.  why not? staycations are awesome.  even though check in wasn't until 3pm, we were told we could partake in the continental breakfast that morning.

  ok we asked.

we finished just in time to hear the opening keynote speaker, John Saddington, do his thing, coffees in tow.  John's boldness and stories about big risks he took over the years blew us away and inspired us simultaneously!

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after open Q & A with a panel of PR reps from various companies moderated by Holly Homer,  a snack break, & study hall, it was finally lunch time.  yes.  i decided to go gluten-free for the weekend just because it was offered.

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so O and i dined at the only certified gluten-free place in City Centre and greenest restaurant in Texas!  you know it, RG baby. my phone died, so Ogechi let me use hers to snap a few pics of our Ruggles Green meals.  i had the Atlantic salmon salad & organic butternut squash,  and O got the smoked chicken pizza.

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 back for more workshops after lunch.

O and i attended the same break out session that day with Angela England and learned more about how to 'Achieve our Publishing Dreams'.  i definitely wanted to attend this one to see if i could make the process for my next ebook even smoother.

Rae Hoffman later spoke with everyone collectively about SEO (search engine optimization) followed by more study hall, networking, and a nice time gap before the dinner & fashion show later.  so you know what i went to do!

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sweat. 1 hour. done.

i created and executed the Fit Foodie Lean Legs workout above 3 or 4 times in Hotel Sorella's gym, then hit the treadmill with an incline of 15 @ 3.0 mph.  that combo gets my heart rate right where i need it for optimal fat burning.

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because after handling up on that cheesecake at dinner i needed to burn as much fat as possible. j/k, j/k. it was delish. everything. O and i lived life on the edge and didn't bring any prepped food for our overnight stay, just snacks.  we both eat every 3 hours or so, so we were pretty hungry as lunch was hours earlier.

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the fashion show was very entertaining and was hosted by the sweet Val of Style to Envy.  all the models were bloggers and they each did their thing up there!

i took a restroom break from the party and heard a mom in the hallway Skyping with her hubby and kids from her phone.  made me wonder what my knuckleheads were up to.

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oh ok. carry on.

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day 3.  well rested and ready to rock.

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after breakfast of course.

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 i snagged a pic with one of the coolest Lemi Shine reps on the way to the first speaker of the day, Katie Laird.

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Katie gave some great tips and pointers for bloggers on how to communicate with companies and rock an ambassadorship to where both parties benefit.  loved this session and found it extremely useful as i began to apply Katie's information immediately!

then, Ogechi and i split up *gasp* because she wanted to go hear what Zack Doty had to say about unlocking blogging potential,  and i wanted to learn more about how to grow my bloggy blog with tips from Momables creator,  Laura Fuentez.  i appreciated Laura opening up and sharing some of her secrets with us.

we were reunited just before lunch and got a great Pinterest lesson from the Pinterest Queen herself, Stacy Teet.  impressive boards! makes me realize just how unorganized i am!!!!

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lunch was provided via these go picnic ready-to-eat meals, but we were CRAVING our beloved Ruggles Green again.

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so we hightailed it downstairs! turkey burg and sweet potato fries for O, and i killed the gluten-free spicy fish tacos and a side salad.

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while in line, we met up with another group of bloggers and decided to make it a big lunch party!  it was great meeting, chatting, and eating with these ambitious women.

for the very last workshop of the conference (and my fave) Rachel Matthews put us ON about lighting!!! pun intended!  she also discussed different props we could use to make our pictures come to life.  the smallest details sometimes make the biggest difference.

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i needed this one because of all my foodie pics of course.  her energy was awesome and kept my attention for sure!  I have begun to apply some of her pointers and others have noticed the change in my pics. immediately :shock: . makes me want to go back and delete my first few posts! i'm not ashamed (anymore) because it's important to remember where you started and to see your growth.  Rachel kept reminding us that the Imperial Sugar cupcake break was right after her workshop. as if they hadn't been on my mind all day :)

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this.... this right here.  was worth the sugar head / tummy ache that followed.  i limit my white sugar intake but dang it i ate that whole cake batter cupcake listening to Karen Walrond wrap up the conference weekend.  I enjoyed and admired this former corporate lawyer's refreshing perspective on a wide variety of things from blogging to life in general.   super sweet and humble.  with a blog name like Chookooloonks, you just have to go click and see what the heck she is up to over there.

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ok so Fluff Bake Bar provided 3 flavors (Cake Batter, Red Velvet, and Veruca Salt) for us so it was only right i try them all take one to my boys.   never heard of this place but these cakes and anything else they make is totally worth a trip to the Heights, uh huh.   fan-freakin-tastic.  all three. i did it for you.   CYMERA_20130921_194726

there were tons of free goods in our bags but i was especially excited to finally try some Zevia!  its been floating across my Instagram feed for a while now and i finally got my hands on some.  good stuff!  cream soda for president.

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what a talented, inspiring bunch of speakers & bloggers.  what a blessing and WHAT A WEEKEND.  overwhelmed and overflowing with info. love it.  looking forward to the next BE Conference and I'm expecting to apply and reap the benefits from the countless takeaways we received from every speaker.  i thank God for allowing  O & i to share this  amazing weekend of learning and growing together.

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made some really great connections i look forward to keeping in contact with!

 TAKEAWAYS:

*apply what you learned. don't leave the conference the way you came.

*be true to YOU.

*never sell out or compromise your faith for money, likes, attention, etc.

*believe in your ability to be creative.  you don't have to do what everybody else is doing.

*PERSPECTIVE! look for the opportunity in everything..don't be so quick to dismiss the 'ordinary' right under your nose.

*you can make good light, but you can't fake natural light (i sure do try).

*if you're a blogger and never been to a conference, GO. invest in yourself. grow. make yourself better.

*JUMP! take risks, fearlessly.

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i'm pumped and ready to make some significant changes around here.  thanks for reading and sticking with me.

for more BE pics, click here!

le

 

made with LOVE

i had a cooking date with my sister-friend, Ogechi recently.

she's heeeeeere!  i snapped this right after she rang the doorbell-  i was so excited to spend some girl time together hanging out, cooking, and EATING.

Ogechi brought me some of this insanely good sweet potato black bean soup while i was in the hospital having Chiso, and again once we got home and adjusted to being a 3 member family.  so this recipe is AAAALLLL her! she gets 100% credit and nothing but 100% gratitude from me.

 it was a no-brainer as to what we'd be making for our cooking date.

'just be natural, Ogechi!' lol.

Sonny better be glad he wasn't home cause he knows he woulda been our photographer for the evening.

 she brought the bulk of the ingredients with her and even some gifts for me:

SEASONINGS!!!!!!! :shock:  smoky chipotle...it smelled magical.

and some sweet smoked paprika.  will that not be BOMBTASTIC on some  fresh salmon!?

this girl loooooooooves the spice aisle @ Marshalls and hooked me up big time.  she also brought me some hickory smoked salt.  i have been convinced to go look around for more spice aisle goodies at Marshalls / Home Goods / T. J. Maxx for sure.

we broke out all the ingredients on the island, and yaaaaay, she brought the Bragg's liquid aminos!!! then, Ogechi whipped out her kitchen knife.

yes, she brought her own knife!  i completely understand... i'm the same way with my own kitchen utensils and pots and pans.  she was slicing and dicing away on the onions, garlic and sweet potatoes with her impressive knife skills, my goodness.  i was in awe cause ummmm....   i put the rough in rough chop :lol:

'i just love the sound of sizzling vegetables.'

me too Ogechi, me too.

medjool dates- sweet and chewy.  Ogechi brought these with her, but i had some fake medjools (they were cheaper *shrugs*) i bought in bulk from HEB last week. they have been sitting on my counter staring at me since then.  i've seen them used in pie crusts for vegan recipes and i plan on making some key lime pie soon, just in time for turkey day next month!

my kitchen

smelled

AMAZING.

p.s. remove the bay leaves after the soup is done; they get bitter if  left in too long.

time to taste!  a few pinches of salt and some fresh cilantro made it perfect.

Chi enjoyed his dinner and the show.

sweet potato black bean soup

the stuff:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1  large sweet potato
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (may use fresh as well)
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn (may use canned)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 medjool dates chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp smoky paprika chipotle seasoning- (can use regular paprika, no worries)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • *1 tsp smokey sweet paprika.....(add this more for color but it gives a nice smokey taste too) optional!
  • 1/2 cube low sodium veggie bouillon
  • 1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos
  • salt & pepper to taste (or chili powder)
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-2tbsp olive oil (may use vegetable oil)
  • 3 cups broth or stock
  • 3 cups water

do this:

  1. chop the onions, garlic & cut sweet potatoes into bite sizes.
  2.  heat oil in sauce pan on medium heat, add onions, garlic and sweet potatoes. saute for 3-5mins.
  3.  while veggies are sautéing, rinse beans very well (this helps keep the soup color pretty & not muddy brown & washing off extra salt too).
  4. after 3-5mins of sautéing, add the stock to the pot.
  5. throw everything else in.....the beans, tomatoes, salsa, dates, corn, bouillon cube (melt this with a lil warm water first) ginger, all seasonings and top off with water.
  6. add enough liquid to make it soup. remember, the size of the soup will reduce a bit as it simmers.
  7. cover and let simmer for about 30mins.
  8. taste and adjust seasoning (some salt or even an extra dash of Braggs ) as needed, then top with cilantro, cheese avocado, lime, sriracha, etc.
 Ogechi enjoyed a bowl topped with plenty of ripe, creamy avocado.
 i almost titled this post 'soup and sisters'.  sooooooo corny.
i've been eating the leftovers for the past few days and topping it with almond cheese and avocado- it just keeps getting BETTER AND BETTER!
make some for someone you love.
thank you x's infinity, Ogechi. xoxo

le