We’ve run out of luck here in Vancouver – Fall is definitely upon us. We had a good run with a late summer this year – and this weekend was testament to that. Today it was raining, and then in was hailing. And now it is sunny and cold. Vancouver weather is still a mystery.
Chili has to be one of my all time favourite comfort foods. Chock full of vegetables, whatever you have on hand, spices and tomatoes (an Italian staple). Simple, warm, comforting. It is Fall in a bowl. And when Fall comes around, I like my foods in a bowl (Think: Soup, Chili, Oatmeal, Pasta) The goods.
This chill isn’t just like any other chili, it has earthy hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin paired with pumpkin puree for added thickness. The spices make for a rather aromatic Fall chili. Turkey and pumpkin naturally go together – like Thanksgiving. Since I’m not a coffee drinker (I know), I can’t go all crazy for the Pumpkin Spiced whatever at Starbucks – But I do go crazy for pumpkin spice anything. Especially food.
Pumpkin is also super nutritious – full of antioxidants, and carotenoids, so be sure to add it whenever you can to your food – trust me, no one would even notice!
I did say I wasn’t going to post anymore recipes with Pumpkin in them – but I didn’t even think about it when I was making this Saturday night. Usually when I think of pumpkin in a recipe, it’s the sweet kind. Like the Marbled Pumpkin Bundt Cake, or the Pumpkin Swirl Brownies, or even Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream.
But – Pumpkin can definitely be savoury. Adam and I loved this chili – I’ll definitely be keeping pumpkin on hand, for baking and for chili. I think Pumpkin Soup is also in the future.
This weekend was an absolutely fabulously slow weekend – The days seemed to drag on, which was much needed after two weeks spent observing in an Elementary school. Friday night we stayed in, Saturday we went to our favourite three year old’s birthday (I can say this because we don’t know any other three year olds at the moment, so he’s allowed to be the favourite) and then made some chili. This morning we went to the gym (much overdue this week) and then stayed in. I managed to photograph three recipes – so the blog will have lots of action this week! (also much overdue).
I also love veggie chili – if you’re a vegetarian just omit the ground turkey, it’s just as satisfying.
Pumpkin Turkey Chili
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2-3 red or orange peppers
- handful – approx. 10 mushrooms
- 4 medium carrots
- 4 stalks of celery
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 large cans (946 ml) plum tomatoes
- 1 package ground turkey
- chili spices
- black pepper
- In large pot on medium-low, saute diced onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent – about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey and continue to sauté until almost completely cooked – another 5-7 minutes.
- Chop up all remaining vegetables, and add to the pot.
- In a blender, add the cans of tomato and pulse until slightly blended. Pour into pot, and turn up to medium heat.
- Add the rinsed and drained can of black beans (can also use kidney)
- Add two cups of Pumpkin Puree, and stir to incorporate.
- Add as much spice as you like, I like a spicier chili, but you can add more cinnamon and nutmeg to even it out. The cumin adds a deeper flavour, and the cinnamon actually brings out the chili spice – Don’t worry about it actually tasting like cinnamon, just a couple dashes will do.
- Turn chili to medium-low, and let simmer for an hour or so, until the vegetables are tender.
Optional: Serve with sour cream, diced avocado, and chopped green onions.
After posting about my attempt at Meal Planning, this week I have not planned very well. Monday night I hadn’t planned dinner, and found myself frustrated because I decided one thing, and we didn’t have a couple ingredients, then I changed my mind and we still didn’t have an ingredient, so I gave up and made brown rice pasta with pasta sauce from TJ’s and salad. It was ok, and did the job. That’s why I like meal planning, no last minute figuring out, no getting mad, and no eating whatever is at hand even if it’s not the healthiest because, hey, it is the easiest. Once in a while it’s ok, but I’d much rather be prepared, especially when I don’t get home from class until 6/6:30 and have to think about dinner.
The weekend was spent finishing projects and presentations that were due Sunday evening and Monday. Adam and I also went to our nieces first baby shower! It was so beautifully sunny this weekend, that the rain Monday morning was not welcomed. In a way I’d rather have sunny weather on the weekend and save the not-so pleasant weather for during the week when we are all indoors working/at school anyways.
Spring semester is hard because just as the weather is turning nice, finals and exams begin. It’s tough making yourself stay indoors sitting down, studying or writing an essay while the sun is shining through the window, begging you to come out and play. If the rain wants to stick around to help me study that’s fine, but come April 19th, my freedom, I expect a heat wave.
Speaking of indoors, Adam and I hardly ever go out to the movies. We’ve been dating just over two years and have probably seen no more than five movies in the theatre. 2.5 a year. I think I even fell asleep once or twice during the movie. We’d rather watch it at home, warm (I always find movie theatres are freezing) and in our own living room. Even if we do decide to go to a movie we always find ourselves complaining about the people in front of us, knocking their seats into us, the incredibly long and boring previews and commercials they make you watch, and if the movie ends up sucking, you wasted 22$ on it.
Monday night after dinner we went to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple things, like conditioner (even though when we got home I accidentally bought the Shampoo. D’oh). Adam had been hinting about going to see Hunger Games. He has read the first book, and I have yet to tackle it. As an English student I have enough novels and articles to read each week, and I can’t squeeze in another novel on top of that right now. I told him we can either wait a month, until I’m finished my last exam and can read the book and then see the movie, or, if he was fine with ruining the book for me, we could go tonight. He was fine with that haha. And since the movie theatre is directly beside Wal-Mart, Hunger Games won. It was pretty spontaneous for us, since we hardly go out for ‘dates’ right now. I was fine with it, I didn’t read the first Twilight book before seeing the movie, but once I did see it I was sucked in and read all of the books within a couple weeks. Seriously. I felt the Hunger Games trailers gave away a lot of the movie anyways, so It really wasn’t that spoiled. I did like the movie and Adam said it was pretty true to the book.
Breakfast: Rice Krispies, Almond Milk, Banana and Cinnamon. I usually add cinnamon to all my breakfast cereals, hot/cold. It’s a great alternative to sugary cereals because it gives it flavour. Cinnamon is also a great antioxidant. I also add it to smoothies!
Nutritional Content of Cinnamon.Cinnamon is high in polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, antioxidant activity, and is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
Nutrients in Cinnamon
2.00 tsp (5.20 grams)
Nutrient % Daily Value
Calories (12) 0%
Cinnamon has lots of health benefits as well:
Cinnamon Health Benefits include a variety of health disorders, including diarrhea, arthritis, menstrual cramps, yeast infections, colds, flu, rheumatism and digestive problems. Cinnamon has been used for centuries and in many cultures. It has found a prominent position in traditional healing medicines, especially Ayurveda (the traditional Indian medicinal system).
Today, the use of cinnamon has expanded to treating a variety of health disorders, including respiratory problems, skin infections, blood impurity, heart disorders, and diabetes. Cinnamon has also been used to treat diarrhea and other problems of the digestive system.
Blood Sugar Control
Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating
Cinnamon Supplements. If you want to use cinnamon to treat a health problem, you might have to eat more cinnamon than you’d like in order to get a beneficial effect. In that case, cinnamon is available as a nutritional supplement in capsule form.
Lunch pre-workout meal: Leftover Brown Rice Pasta with Celery sticks
Not pictured, some dark chocolate covered almonds leftover from our movie night, that we bought at Wal Mart.
If you haven’t checked out Angela Liddon’s site Oh She Glows
, I suggest you do! I have been following her blog for about a year or so and have probably been drooling over this recipe since I first saw it.
I used her recipe as the base, and made a few changes
- I didn’t use a enchilada sauce/pasta sauce, these are more like fajitas, no baking required once assembled
- I roasted the sweet potato, because I thought that’s what she did but re-read and saw she boiled hers. But I really love roasted sweet potato and this was perfect. I mixed it with oil and the cumin and roasted at 400 for about 20 minutes or so
- I left out the spinach
Next, I threw the oil, onion, garlic, bell peppers and beans to the pan and sauteed until soft with some more cumin, pepper, lime juice and chili powder.
The avocado sauce was the best. Adam doesn’t like Cilantro, so I just used one large avocado, lemon/lime juice, garlic and salt/pepper and whipped it up in the food processor. It was creamy and dreamy.
Once the filling was done, I just thawed some TJ’s brown rice tortillas, filled them with the bean/pepper/sweet potato filling and rolled it up. I topped mine with salsa, the avocado sauce and some green and red onions.
I ate one and it was so filling! Adam had two, and added some cheese to his & ate it with his hands, putting the avocado and salsa in the wrap instead of on top. We both really loved them. You seriously do not miss the cheese, dairy or meat one bit. They are so filling, and you don’t feel like you’ve eaten a heavy, greasy enchilada/fajita afterwards. I will definitely be making these again. I totally had leftovers for lunch today.
Now that I think about it, the entire day was Vegan. And the night before, because there was no meat in our pasta sauce. I feel like a meal doesn’t have to include meat, to be a meal. Many nights we’ll have non-meat meals and Adam won’t even notice because veggie chili, tomato sauce pasta and vegetable soup are all filling without including meat. Tonight I think I might make Angela’s Roasted tomato, onion and basil pesto pizza, except use spinach pesto and add some shredded chicken for protein.
Do you make Vegan meals once in a while? what are your favourite recipes?
I used to be afraid to use yeast in baking. I only really tried using it last summer for the first time, making pizza dough. I think after a few tries I have gotten the hang of it. The very first time I ‘killed’ the yeast because the water was too hot, you know they’re quite sensitive to heat. But after a few tries you get the hang of it, and realize how warm the water/milk should be for the little yeast granules to ‘live’ and foam up. I make pizza dough quite often now, and I don’t even think I have ever bought a pizza shell from the grocery store since Adam and I began living together last september. Or really any time before then. This month, we decided we wouldn’t spend any money eating out. November and December were both quite busy, and we seemed to be eating out quite a lot. While it is not only costly for the wallet, it’s also not healthy to always be eating at restaurants or fast food. While I don’t think I’ve eaten at a ‘fast food’ restaurant like McDonalds for quite a few years now, we did begin eating a lot of Tim Horton’s this past summer. We have never even ordered take out to our apartment, no pizza deliveries, no Chinese food. The only thing we really ever go out for, or bring back to our house is Sushi, because lets face it you cannot make it as well, or for as cheap as they can at a restaurant. There is no ‘take out menu’ drawer at our place. Only fresh ingredients in the cupboards and fridge.
Adam had to work on the island for three weeks in November, eating out every meal of the day. So when he would come home on the weekend he was happy to be eating healthy meals made at home. So far this month we have not spent any money going out to restaurants. We have however gone out twice now, once with Adam’s parents who took us out to dinner, and once this weekend to the Secret Supper Soiree which I won tickets to. It has been nice not going out to eat. While I do enjoy dining out, I also love to cook myself so it’s not a big deal to stay in. Many people think of going out as a convenience, but making a homemade meal is quite convenient, and there are always leftovers for the next day. We’ve been eating a lot of soups, such as the Italian Ribollita soup I made before, and chili. I have also found that there are many things we buy from a store that we can make ourselves. I even began making granola bars, instead of buying them, as Adam takes a couple with him for lunch every day. They are much healthier, and you can add things like pumpkin and flax seeds.
I remember when I was younger my mother would make pizza dough, and then use the extra to make my brother and I cinnamon buns, and of course my dad who was always wanting ‘something sweet’ for dessert. She would always add raisins and nuts, usually walnuts that we had on hand. It was a special treat when she did. I remember they would disappear quite fast. My mom came over today and got to taste them, I think they are as good as the ones she made us. There’s just something about warm cinnamon buns right from the oven. I had wanted to make these for a while now, but had yet to get around to it. They are worth the wait, and take about two hours from start to finish. We also brought a few over to Adam’s sister, who has a bun of her own in the oven. Adam could become an uncle any day! But for the sake of his sister, not too soon haha. These are perfectly fluffy, and just sweet enough. I didn’t use a large amount of sugar in the dough or in the filling, so you don’t feel too bad eating them ;) And the whole wheat dough makes them healthy..ish.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen
Time: 1 1/2 hours to rise, 20 minutes to bake.
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
- Warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it reaches 105 degrees. I suggest using a thermometer, I love mine since I bought it and it has come in very handy.
- Pour the milk into a mixing bowl, I used my kitchenaid bowl. Add to the milk 2 1/2 tsp. of active dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let the mixture stand until it begins to look foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the 1/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, 2 eggs, and flour. Using the paddle attachment mix for 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook, and continue for about four minutes until dough becomes smooth. Alternatively, you can knead dough by hand.
- Shape the dough into a ball, place in a large bowl that is well greased, and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
- Once it has risen, sprinkle some flour on to the countertop and lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a large rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick.
- Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter using a pastry brush and sprinkle evenly with sugar and cinnamon. I just used a handful of sugar, and a lot of cinnamon. You can make them as sweet as you like. Cover with nuts and raisins evenly.
- Roll the dough up starting with the longer side and cut into approximately 12 rolls.
- Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover again with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. I also used a muffin tin for the extras, and baked them in that. It worked really well for small cinammon bun/muffins.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
You can leave them plain, or mix cream cheese with icing sugar to make an icing.
Do you eat out quite often?
Do you prefer cooking at home than dining out?
Have you baked with yeast before? What are your favourite recipes?