Archive | November, 2012

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

18 Nov

I promised you this recipe over two weeks ago, so I apologize for the delay. I think it’s quite worth the wait, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili

(Serves 6: Two Cups Each)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, minced with 2 teaspoons sauce

2 cans black beans (15 oz each)

3 cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz each)

3 cups cubed butternut squash

2 cups vegetable stock

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried cilantro

1-2 tsps chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1) Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in large stock pot or dutch oven. Add minced garlic cloves and diced onion; cook until onion is translucent, about five minutes.

Prep time!

2) Add the butternut squash cubes and cook about 3 minutes. Add all the spices; cook for another two minutes.

Cut the bottom of your squash off to create a flat surface for cutting in half. Scrape out the seeds, and begin to peel off the skin. This squash yielded about six cups of cubed squash.

3) While cooking, put one can of beans into a bowl, one can of tomatoes, and the chipotle chilis with sauce. Blend with immersion blender, food processor or blender. If you prefer soupy chili, you can omit this step, but I like the thickness it adds.

Blended beans, tomatoes, and chilis

4) Add one cup of vegetable stock and deglaze bottom of pot. Add the remaining ingredients, including the other cup of vegetable stock.

5) Bring ingredients to a boil, then turn heat to low to simmer. Cover and cook for one hour.

Thick and hearty

You can add more chili powder if you like. The chipotle chilis already add quite a bit of heat with the seeds and some great smokiness.

Remember to stir up your chili before you dish it out, as the onions, garlic, and pureed goodness sink towards the bottom when cooking.

I’m going to use the rest of my cubed butternut squash for an easy and healthy recipe for Thanksgiving, courtesy of the Tone it Up gals.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

5 Tips for Raising Healthly and Adventurous Eaters (Guest Blog)

5 Nov
Hi there! My name is Kayla and I blog over at . My blog focuses on health and wellness for moms and their growing families, offering support, advice, tips and inspiration. I am wife to Brent and mom to Audrey (3) and Mari (14 months) and our yellow lab fur child, Moab. My “real” job is in public health, but I am passionate about maternal and child health as well as fitness, thus…Fit for Moms was born.

Jessica and I played high school soccer together back in the day. Now that we’re both busy bloggers, we decided to swap guest posts for each other. She just featured some awesome recipes on my blog here (

As a mom to two young girls, I am very focused on creating sound and healthy habits that will carry through their lives. I know that the foods they eat (and enjoy) now will truly lay the foundations for a life of good eating. In this post I will share 5 tips to provide your youngsters with the best start you can when it comes to their eating habits.

When Audrey was a baby and approaching the age to start eating solid food, I did A LOT of reading on the best first foods to offer your baby. As with many things when you are a parent, there is conflicting information out there. Some pediatricians will tell you to offer rice cereal first, but otherswill tell you to skip the cereal and instead offer something like mashed avocado, banana or sweet potato first. Our pediatrician was very much on the anti-rice cereal wagon. This made a huge difference for us!

Tip 1: Find a pediatrician who is on the same page as you!

Personal preference…I made all of the food my kids ate (and still do). I found baby food prep to be relaxing and a great way to show the girls my love for cooking. Audrey (and eventually Mari) started out with sweet potatoes and then we kept introducing a new food (only fruits or veggies) each week. We based the foods off of this chart. (In fact we absolutely love this whole website). What we loved about this was the variety they were being exposed to.

Tip 2: Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean your baby won’t! Offer them a wide range of fruits and veggies – you may even surprise yourself and enjoy something new. (Example: I love parsnips…who knew??)

As soon as the girls were ready to try to pick up their food, we steamed veggies from our farm share and let them dig in.

Tip 3: Let them get messy and really explore food. They build self-confidence and start to really decide what they enjoy to eat!

One of the greatest things I learned from our pediatrician is that toddlers will self-regulate. Studies have been done that prove that if you place a toddler in a room with a tray of healthy foods, they will literally eat what their bodies need. One day they’ll chow down on the citrus to get Vitamin C, the next day avocados for healthy fats and some days they will graze over the entire selection.

Tip 4: Don’t worry if your kid(s) don’t eat their whole meal. They will eat what they need! Offer them healthy choices and let them make up their mind on how much they need to eat.

Because of that, we actually have a tradition of eating out of muffin tins one night every other week. I call it our “Muffin Tin Monday”dinner. I fill each slot with healthy choices and let the girls just eat what they want. If they finish and want more, I let them pick which healthy food they want more of.

Neither of our girls had sugar until their first birthday (again personal preference) – when they got to try cake for the first time….

But, as Audrey has gotten older, she has been exposed to certain sweet treats.  A common question in our house is “Momma? Since I ate lots of healthy food today can I have a treat?” The answer is usually yes.

Tip 5: Treats are okay…in moderation.

The biggest thing of all when it comes to kids and food…you know what is best! As a parent, you will find what works for you. What works for me…well, it may not be the best fit for your family. And vice versa! So with all of these tips, please take them and use them if you wish. They are just my experience and my family’s choices.

Wishing you happy, healthy and adventurous eating!

Clean Eating in November!

1 Nov

I was cruising Facebook last night and came upon this post my friend shared from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

He went 150 days eating clean. Um, say what?! I mean, I can eat clean for a week, but then I’ll cave and have some candy. This post inspired me. If he can go 150 days eating clean, how many could I actually do if I put all my effort into it? I decided to brand November, Clean Eating Month (for myself). Please feel free to join me; we can all support each other. There are many great resources out there. You can invest in some of these great cookbooks—

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2 by Tosca Reno

Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook by…Tosca Reno!

The Best of Clean Eating by Editors of Clean Eating Magazine

The Best of Clean Eating 2 by Editors of Clean Eating Magazine

You can also buy the latest edition of Clean Eating magazine (that I discussed earlier this week) and use the 14 day meal plan. Low on cash? Go to their website and get a winter 14 day meal plan for free!

Tone It Up also has some great recipes on their blog, AND the Tone It Up nutrition plan has many clean recipes and suggestions. I know it’s $150 up front, but it’s honestly worth the investment if you get some Christmas money. You receive a lifetime membership, and they are constantly sending updates and member e-mails.

Also on the agenda for this month, 21 days of meditation from Deepak Chopra. I saw an ad on the O network and decided to register. Click on the link and sign up! You will receive daily guided meditation, which is really essential for me since my mind wanders. Just think how peaceful and less stressful November will be if we all signed up for this great challenge.

What are your plans for November? Do you have any goals or tasks you would like to accomplish?


1 Nov

Who inspires you? I’m lucky to know so many great people who I am inspired by daily. A few weeks ago, I met with a friend of mine who was diagnosed with colon cancer over five years ago. At that point in time, the doctor gave her a year or less to live. But Angela has refused to give up.

She’s always been a spunky gal, wearing the sassiest cutest shoes with TALL heels. Angela doesn’t eat all organic and doesn’t eat a raw diet. She doesn’t perform yoga for hours or meditate. She just lives every day to the fullest with a positive attitude. She doesn’t say, “Why is this happening to me?” or want people to feel sorry for her.


It reminds me of a Oprah Lifeclass I watched with Joel Osteen. He said, “You are what you put out into the world.” So if you say, “I’m sick,” you will continue to be tired. If you say, “I feel better,” you will start to feel better. He also said that if you are still on this Earth, you haven’t fulfilled your purpose.

I feel Angela’s positive outlook, refusal to give in, and her desire to live a normal and enjoyable life outweigh the cancer. She fights it this way every day. When I told her I wanted to write a blog about her she said she wasn’t sure how inspirational she could be. She just does what anyone would do—keep on living. She feels lucky to be surrounded by great family and friends.

What do you think? Can positivity change the way we feel and fight illnesses? Who inspires you and why?

Also, it’s quite fitting that the winner of the Halloween Giveaway is Angela! The only one who entered. 🙂 Congrats, Angela!

Beautiful scenery inspires me