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 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



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



p2 pancakes - pumpkin & protein

guess what i'm up doing? editing exercise VIDEOS!!!! i like step by step pictorials for exercises in magazines etc, but that PLUS a video of someone actually doing the move is even better.  don't you think? i do!  so, that's the plan.  i saw today just how much work goes into doing these vids, whew.  all worth it though.  Sonny is my camera man for the moment and is also in charge of alerting me if i say something wack or correcting me if my form is slipping. yall bear with me/us- i hope to post my first vid (glute work!!!) any day now.

i taught an hour long strength class this morning and i left feeling so energized.  as bad as i wanted my oatmeal, i sped home to make a new, clean breakfast: pumpkin protein pancakes.

1 serving (the entire recipe):

175 cals

30 g protein

11 carbs

6.5 g fiber

i gave Sonny two and topped my two with PB2.

you don't have to use protein powder if you don't want- you can use whole wheat flour instead.  that will, however, change up your nutritional stats.

p2 pancakes

the stuff:

  • 1 scoop protein powder OR 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp pure canned pumpkin
  • 2 egg whites or 1/4th cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 tbsp almond milk, soy milk, or even skim
  • 1 packet truvia (or any other 0 cal sweetener you'd like)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or more..dash away)

do this:

mix everything together,  spray your no-stick cooking spray into your pan, and cook.  once bubbles start to form, go ahead and flip them. they cook quickly on med. heat, so keep your eyes on them.

tonight's dinner was TOO EASY.  here's my salmon slab from earlier this week.  i put it in a pan, sprinkled my dry ranch dressing mix on top, and put it right back in the fridge.  after about 2o min or so, the seasoning had completely soaked into the fish, so i popped it in the oven.

450 deg for just 10 min.

 that is IT.

i made some red beans in my slow cooker the night before, so i paired the salmon with them as well as some 'coleslaw'.  i turned the package around and could not figure out for the life of me why the stats were so dang high for some dry cabbage.  then i found that little packet of fat dressing hiding in there and proceeded to toss it OUT.

9 grams of fat and 10g sugar for just a two tbsp serving? no thank you.  i liked the coleslaw dry better anyway because it added crunch.

i like bowls. a lot.  as a kid, i HAD to eat my food portions one at a time and they could not be touching. so weird.  but now, i like a little bit of everything in one bite.  this is one of my fav, beat up bowls.  i think it's older than me.

this was just a quick snack as we're headed out the door to another, yep, you guessed it- 1st birthday par-tay! it's gonna be a positive, productive monday tomorrow.  claim it; it's yours.