Nicaragua

I spent last week in beautiful Nicaragua.

I witnessed mind-blowing sunsets every night,

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ate my weight in rice, beans and the occasional scrambled eggs,

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felt like an ant on the widest beach I have ever seen,

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ate fresh fish tacos,

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took a catamaran trip to an untouched beach, returning to town just as the sun was setting,

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rode a horse through the mountains, ending the trek with a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola at the ranch,

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saw rugged coastline upon rugged coastline,

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lived the hard life,

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and of course, ate some more tacos.

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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

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Winter is depressing; this chili is not.

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A warm bowl of Hearty Vegetarian Chili is the perfect solution for a winter meal. Besides the chopping of vegetables, this chili comes together in no time. The recipe makes several servings, but let it be known that the leftovers are just as good as the freshly made still-in-the-pot chili. If you can’t find fire roasted diced tomatoes, regular canned diced tomatoes are a fine substitute. If jalapeños aren’t your thing, choose another pepper with less heat (or more!). For a complete meal, top with cilantro and sour cream, or shredded cheese.

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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

2 15oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 14.5oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbs chili powder [I used Hot Mexican chili powder]

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup frozen corn

In a stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeños. Cook 5-7 minutes until tender, stirring frequently.

Mix in black beans, tomatoes, water, chili powder, cumin and salt; heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in corn and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 more minutes. 

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At last, Black Beans (and a Quinoa Salad)

As you may know from previous posts, there seems to be a black bean shortage in Australia. Boy, are those Aussies missing out on my favorite protein-packed legume. Now that I’m home, you can imagine my excitement as I swiped cans of black beans into my cart at the supermarket. It probably looked like I was preparing for a winter storm, or a fiesta for one thousand hungry guests. Instead, I planned on making a Black Bean Quinoa Salad.

It is nice to see some color from onions, pepper, cilantro and corn (even if it is canned) at this time of year. I added more salt than the recipe calls for, seeing as I didn’t believe a quarter teaspoon would be enough for the massive amount of salad the recipe makes. By massive, I mean I had to use the biggest bowl in my kitchen which barely fits in the refrigerator. Nonetheless, the salad tastes great as leftovers, as the dressing keeps the salad moist and delicious. And an added benefit is that this salad is supremely healthy, filled with beans and veggies, as well as the super-food quinoa.

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1 can corn

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 large avocado, diced

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped

Juice of 3 limes

2 tsp cumin

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

sea salt, to taste

 

Cook quinoa according to package (typically 1 cup uncooked quinoa to 2 cups water, bring water and quinoa to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes). Let cool.

Mix black beans, onion, cilantro, pepper, avocado and corn in a really large bowl. Toss.

In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, cumin, extra virgin olive oil, and salt.

Add quinoa to salad. Pour dressing over and toss.