Autumn Chili

Hello foodie friends 🙂

I intended on posting this recipe last week while it was still technically September soups month here on Fig and Basil, but somehow the weekend got away from me 😦 I feel a sense of guilt when I have been away from writing for too long. Not that I assume you are all fading away to nothing from lack of food inspiration but I trust that you at the very least look forward to them!

And if I could place blame for a moment, I would have two words…Breaking. Bad.

I finally caught up with the rest of the planet and began binging in this series. I am hooked and only half way through Season 4 (so nobody tell me what happens ;)) At this point I am convinced that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are merely characters played by Walt and Jess to throw us off their real identities! But there is no need to indulge in my crazy

Fall is definitely here and surrounding us all with change. Change in the air, change in the trees, change in our clothes and if your immunity health has also changed (for the worse) then you are not alone. Almost everyone I come into contact with these days is getting a cold, in the midst of a cold or just getting over a damn cold.  The writing is on the wall, this time of year it is so crucial to take care of your health!

Besides getting a regular 7-9 hours of sleep every night and drinking a tonne of clean, filtered water, the single most important thing is your diet. So lets focus on what is beneficial to our immune systems.  It’s quite simple really, you cannot get enough of seasonal fruits and veggies this time of year.  And Mother Nature is no dummy! It is no coincidence that it’s harvest time for most fruits and veggies. Apples, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, beans, kale, pears…everything your body needs is being provided exactly at the right time. But lets not confuse the pumpkin spice latte as a seasonal necessity 😉

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Chili is definitely a recipe that has been around the block a few times. Everyone has their version and it has been tweaked a thousand times. Therefore I am not trying to reinvent the wheel but perhaps provide you with an inspiration to add another ingredient to a well-loved dish. Acorn squash is a perfect pairing for chili and provides a huge boost of nutritional benefits. This winter squash not only has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and insulin-regulating properties but for this time of year it is an awesome source of Vitamin C.  And as an added bonus acorn squash is a great source of fibre and low in calories.

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I couldn’t make this next recipe more autumn-ish if I tried 🙂

The colours and the ingredients scream FALL!!!

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Autumn Chili w/acorn squash

Prep time: 45 mins

Serves: approx. half of the Breaking Bad cast (6-8 badasses)

Ingredients

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 med yellow onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

3 portobello mushrooms, chopped

15-20 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tbsp dried thyme

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 acorn squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces

2- 28oz cans of high-quality tomatoes (I use one crushed tom and one whole peeled tom but use whatever combo you like)

1- 28oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 whole cinnamon stick

1/8 cup raw sugar

2 avocados, peeled and cubed

handful of fresh cilantro for garnish

  • heat olive oil on medium heat in your best soup pot. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 3-5 mins.
Quick Tip: using a microplane to mince the garlic is super fast and easy

Quick Tip: using a microplane to mince the garlic is super fast and easy

  • add in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 mins. Toss in thyme, cumin and chili powder and stir.
  • add squash, stir and cook for about 3-5 mins.
  • finally add in the remaining ingredients (except for avocado and cilantro) plus using one of the tomato cans add a half a can of fresh clean water. Turn up temperature to med-high until you get a gentle boil. Place on lid, lower heat down to med-low and cook for about 15 mins. Remove cinnamon stick and season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Serve in bread bowls and finish with fresh chopped avocado and cilantro.

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Wake Up Calls

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Okay, so this blog is more for me than it is you…sorry!

But like always, there is a part of me that thinks perhaps someone else struggles with the same issues or is hungry (pun intended) for more information.

I have flaws (many actually) but not eating breakfast properly is the one that I need to seriously work on. On any given morning I would be completely happy with a large cup of tea and a piece of toast. Almost the exact same breakfast my mother has been eating for 30 years and almost the exact same breakfast that I have been trying to get her to change for the last 10 years. Sighhhhh. I am my mother’s daughter. The only difference being mine is Earl Grey tea and Spelt Sourdough toast with Earth Balance. Okay so maybe I am splitting hairs on this one. Anyway you slice that damn sourdough bread my breakfast skills are lacking. Maybe yours are too? Perhaps you are stuck in a rut, eating the same thing over and over. Or maybe you are amongst the many people that jolt their bodies awake with hard to digest (not to mention acidic) meats or dairy? And yes, I am familiar with the popular proverb “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”  🙂

So I gave myself a wake up call!  I have been on a mission these last few weeks to pull together simple, quick and nutrient-dense breakfasts that even I could muster up.

I am not someone who wakes up hungry, I have to work at it. Believe me I understand the importance of a well balanced breakfast…but the truth is that for some people it doesn’t come naturally (well that might be more of “my” truth and not an actual truth).

Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to the kind containing doughnuts) can help give you:

  • A more nutritionally complete diet, higher in nutrients, vitamins and minerals
  • Improved concentration and performance throughout your day
  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Help maintain a healthy body weight

And with this information in hand I set out on Operation: Wake Up Call.  My requirements for my morning meal might be more restricted than yours so use these more as suggestions and modify as you wish. Other than avoiding dairy and eggs for personal/moral reasons, a recent food-allergy test revealed that I need to also avoid almonds, soy, and whole wheat. So what’s left? Well, here is what I came up with, I have broken it down into 2 categories, Sweet & Savoury…

Sweet Breakfast Cravings

“Tree-hugging, Birckenstock-wearing Granola Bowl “

(I used Highwood Crossing Organic Sunflower Flax Seed Granola and unsweetened Flax Milk as my base)

Topped off with fresh berries, chia seeds, and chocolate chips. Yum!

Topped off with fresh berries, chia seeds, and chocolate chips. Yum!

Topped off with bananas, coconut chips, hemp seeds and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Topped off with bananas, coconut chips, hemp seeds and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Banana Nut Porridge

Slow cooked oats topped with flax milk, caramelized bananas (pan fried using coconut oil) chopped pecans, and delicious maple syrup for sweetness.

Slow cooked oats topped with flax milk, caramelized bananas (pan fried using coconut oil) chopped pecans, and delicious maple syrup for sweetness.

Recipe from lunchboxbunch.com Toss together strawberries, avocado, lemon juice, fresh ginger, maple syrup and assemble on top of your favorite toasted bread. Garnish with hemp seeds. This is by far my favourite new breakfast!

Recipe from lunchboxbunch.com Toss together strawberries, avocado, lemon juice, fresh ginger, maple syrup and assemble on top of your favorite toasted bread. Garnish with hemp seeds. This is by far my favourite new breakfast!

Savoury Breakfast Cravings

Spread homemade hummus over toasted Sourdough and finish with sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and sea salt. Very quick.

Spread homemade hummus over toasted Sourdough and finish with sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh cilantro and sprinkle with sea salt. Very quick and protein-packed.

Breakfast FEAST! On a lazy Sunday morning I went all out- Potato Hash (filled w/roasted onions, leeks, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms), sautéed spinach w/garlic, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, leftover baked Maple Beans, and Tempeh "bacon". They leftover potato hash was so tasty for a couple of  weekday breakfasts afterwards.

Breakfast FEAST! On a lazy Sunday morning I went all out- Potato Hash (filled w/roasted onions, leeks, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms), sautéed spinach w/garlic, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, leftover baked Maple Beans, and Tempeh “bacon”. The leftover potato hash was so tasty for a couple of weekday breakfasts afterwards.