Monthly Archives: September 2012

White Chicken Chili

Monday morning was brisk!  I even spied a bit of frost peaking out from under a few leaves.  The dog loves it!  When it’s time for a walk he hits the sidewalk and shakes his whole body as if to say, now this is what I’m talking about!  He buries his head in the leaves and tall grasses and runs his nose through our neighbors yard like he’s looking for acorns!  He’s so happy!   

So I’m not sure what did it, though I’m thinking it was the frost, but I decided it was time to dig out my crockpot and make my favorite chili.  It always makes me happy to have a meal in the slow-cooker, simmering.  It’s a great day when I come home to a house filled with the aroma of something savory and delicious – and dinner’s good to go!  Now that’s what I’m talking about!      

I love this recipe.  I discovered it at Weekly Bite, one of my favorite blogs.  Estela is a Registered Dietitian living in Southern California and her blog is a beautiful celebration of food, life and motherhood!   Of course, living where she does, she’ll probably dodge the frost experience this year – lucky girl!  You can visit Estela at
Thanks Estela for the great recipe!  

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs (bone in w/skin)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt (most to taste once soup is done)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 4oz cans chopped green chili’s
  • 1 14oz can white kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14oz can white northern beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1.5 cups light sour cream
  • fresh cilantro (optional)
  • cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
  1. Turn your crockpot to low heat for 9 hours of cooking, or high heat for 4 hours of cooking.
  2. To your crockpot, add chicken thighs, water, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and cumin. Make sure lid is on tightly and cook either on high for 4 hours, or on low for 9 hours.
  3. Remove chicken from the pot. Carefully remove skin and shred chicken from the bone.
  4. Add the chicken, corn, green chili’s, beans, and sour cream to your crockpot. Stir to combine all ingredients and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes or until chili is heated through.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro and grated cheddar cheese as desired.

Prep Notes:  I’ve made this chili both with bone-in and boneless chicken thighs and it’s been great every time!  Also, cooking times may vary.   

Recipe From, Weekly Bite Food and Lifestyle Blog 


Black Bean And Sweet Potato Salad

Things are changing here in Cary . . . . we’ve had brisk mornings, cooler nights and a few more leaves dropping than usual.  I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but I think somewhere around the middle of last week I started the transition to Fall.  Woke up one morning looking for my fleece (yikes!) and started spinning thoughts of chili for the weekend. 

It’s hard for me to let go of summer.  I’m a warm weather girl . . . . always have been.  I dig my heels in and try to ignore the changes until one November day I find myself walking the dog in flip-flops, frozen toes and all,  and I finally give in and dig out my boots. 

It’s not that I don’t find Fall beautiful.  I actually find it quite amazing –  brilliant jewel tones on tree tops and golden blankets of leaves across the fields by our home.  I choose my running routes so I can be surrounded with this incredible color!  I better be careful now, I might start sounding like I’m enjoying it all!   

So the other day I made myself a mug of green tea (trying to keep warm) and curled up with my Prana Yoga Catalog when it dawned on me how it had been some time since I’d enjoyed a warm mug of tea (typically my cool weather drink). . . . and how much I enjoy it.  Than I came upon this quote by someone named Henry Ellis who said,  The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.  Really.  Is he talking to me? 

So I kinda hung with this thought for the day – I even shared it with my mom.  Goodness knows, she knows, it’s hard for me to let go.  Funny thing is when I finally do, good things tend to happen, and I discover (again) that change can be good (even exciting).  And that’s when I decided it was time perhaps, to migrate into the new season and embrace all that I love about it . . . like my hot tea, slow-cooker meals and my Frye boots . . .  and apples and squash and weekend chiminia’s with the boys, and to revisit that thought once in awhile – the letting go and holding on one . . . . .  

I decided it was going to take another week of football before I was ready for the chili, but I did start craving sweet potatoes.  So I pulled out these awesome beans I ordered some time ago from Rancho Gordo and made a bowl of my Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad . . . . . been eating it all week!  Though I made it with dry beans (soaked them etc. . . ) you can also use canned.  I love how the flavors all come together, sweet potatoes, beans, cumin and herbs all tossed with a citrus vinaigrette! 

So here’s the Black Valentine’s before soaking . . . . 

And the roasted sweet potatoes just out of the oven . . . . so good!  

And here’s the salad all tossed together!  It’s perfect for Fall!  Enjoy!    

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Salad 
4 Cups cooked Black Beans (either dry, soaked & prepared or canned, rinsed)
4 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 – 1 Red Onion, diced (according to taste)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Parsley

2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
11/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/3 Cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt & Pepper 

  1. Drain the black beans and rinse under cool water – set aside in a bowl (Or – soak and prepare dry beans and place cool beans in a bowl)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and spread out on a baking sheet.  Bake the sweet potatoes, turning occasionally, until fork-tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, red onion, cilantro and parsley to the beans and toss.
  4. In a small bowl combine the vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, cumin and chili powder.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended – add kosher salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle the Vinaigrette over the beans and sweet potatoes and toss to combine.  Season with Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste.   

Recipe Adapted From:
Sensational Salads by Barbara Scott-Goodman
Stewart Tabori & Chang, 2005

Farmer’s Market Medley

Hi Everyone! 

Last Sunday was back to school night for Mick.  When I saw one of his teachers in the hallway and greeted her with the usual, “Did you have a good summer”? . . . . she responded with, “I still am”! 
I love that . . . . in fact I thought about it for some time as we too, have been holding on to every bit of summer  awesomeness we can. 

Recently, we found ourselves with friends floating in the middle of our favorite lake (with herons overhead), enjoyed a few Chiminea’s and visited the Farmer’s Market twice in one week!  With school lunchboxes to fill, Mick sent me back for more sweet watermelon and crispy cucumbers. 

I always find the market in August and September to be so overwhelming, in that I can never figure out when to stop putting things in my wagon!  I want one of everything (sometimes two!)!  So last weekend when PK was heading out of town and my mom had just returned from Door County – we invited her to join us . . . and the space in our little wagon suddenly seemed much smaller!

Here’s mom picking out summer squash!     

Anyway . . . . I think what makes the market especially wonderful this time of year is the combination of abundant summer produce that’s still coming in at the same time the fall goods are starting to make their appearance (we picked up our first Spaghetti Squash)!  

Check out these peppers . . . .  

and yellow pattypan . . . .

Ok, so by now I’m hoping you’re feeling a wee bit tempted . . . .  cuz this is what I was thinking . . . . . With another 2 months of colorful flavorful fun just waiting for you to explore, there’s still time!  

Visiting a Farmer’s Market is truly one of the most powerful tools I know for building mindfulness around food.  Imagine one morning . . . . shaking hands with the farmer who nurtured and harvested the beets that will end up on your salad that very evening.  Sure, it’s an extra stop.  And I totally get that it won’t work into every week . . . . but it’s fun to wonder, isn’t it, what just one trip might inspire . . . .

I found this article in Better Homes and Gardens where roasted vegetables were tossed with beans and viniagrette, so Mick and I created our very own version and called it Farmer’s Market Medley.  We used only the vegetables we brought home that afternoon (except the lemon for the vinaigrette)!  I chopped, Mick peeled, and we both enjoyed every crunchy bite!    

So here’s Mick putting on the finishing touch . . . .

And here’s how it all turned out . . . . 

Our medley lasted all week.  Not the salad of course (that was gone in a day), but everything that filled our wagon!  So every meal, every day, contained something that was grown locally.  It was pretty much a recipe-less week . . . just bowls of musk melon or peppers or some sweet corn . . . . you get the idea . . . summer, at it’s best.   

So here’s the recipe though any favorite vegetables will work.  You’re looking for about 3-4 cups total.  We included lots of the crunchy kind – seemed to go well with the garbanzo beans.  Also, you might want to try red wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice (2-3 Tbsp). 

Farmer’s Market Medley

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 ear sweet corn kernals, raw – right off the cob
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 red pepper, sliced into slivers
1/2 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
 sea salt & pepper to taste

Combine vegetables in a large bowl.  Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and toss!  Season to taste.