Cooking up warmth on a windy, rainy night

So yesterday I described my attack of the giant Whitney Portal Pancake. And while it would be nice to consider that calories consumed on vacation stay on vacation, that’s not exactly true. The key for me — whether I’m on vacation, on assignment, out with friends or at home in my kitchen — is mindful eating. I want to be aware of what I’m eating and why I’m eating it. Sure, I’m eating because I’m hungry but I also eat for other reasons: to celebrate, to wallow, because I’m bored, because I’m stressed, to fuel for the next day’s workout. This mindfulness doesn’t necessarily stop me from eating, but having the awareness of why I’m eating and why I’m making certain food choices has allowed me to create a healthier relationship with food.

And so I allowed myself indulgences on my trip, but didn’t make it an excuse to eat junk and only junk. Still, upon my arrival home I craved some good quality food and a desire to kick up my healthy eating a notch. Thanks to my mom, I had some basics in stock — salad, soymilk, greek yogurt, fruit. After a recovery day, it was back to Wegmans for some quick grocery shopping and procurement of items for dinner. I wanted something relatively easy, definitely healthy, and something warming as the weather in Western New York had turned to a windy, rainy stormy night.

Warmed me up on a windy, rainy fall night.

I took my dinner inspiration from the Vegetarian Black-Bean Chili recipe from Martha Stewart, but I tweaked it all up to make it my own. Wegmans has a fantastic produce section with pre-cut fresh vegetables. I grabbed a bag of  mirepoix — a combination of cut celery, onion and carrots — and decided to get slightly creative. I made a loaf of beer bread thanks to the mix and fancy bottled beer my cousin had given me as a gift and I was ready to warm my kitchen and my tummy with a simple, healthy, hearty meal. One of the joys of traveling is the joy felt upon return, especially to my own kitchen. I’ll have leftovers for the weekend and freeze another container for use another time.

Black Bean Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 bag large sliced mirepoix (or about 2 cups chopped carrots, celery, onion mixture)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 package frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Olive oil
  • ground cumin
  • chili powder

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add mirepoix and cook over medium heat until tender. (About four minutes.) Add mushrooms, cumin and chili powder. Cook until mushrooms are golden. (Again, about four minutes.) Add black beans, corn, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add more spices to taste.

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