Pumpkin Black Bean Soup


How’s your weekend been?

Have you survived the cold?

I headed out for my final longish run yesterday morning. (T-minus 6 days!!!)

And, it was COLD!


But, not as cold as it was on Saturday when the wind was whipping away.

Thank goodness!

I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to get out for my run yesterday. I nearly had myself convinced that it was too cold and that I was going to bag it before I even went to bed on Friday.

I need to stop doing that to myself.

Besides, I was warm thanks to awesome running gear designed for cold weather. And cute. Because that’s totally a priority of mine. 😉


So, a couple of days ago, I posed this question on my Facebook page:

“So, if you had this can of pumpkin in your pantry, what would you do with it, excluding pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread?”


I got quite a few great responses (thanks!) and I definitely need to go buy some more pumpkin so I can try them all!

I decided to stay away from sweet – yeah, I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in sweet stuff in the month of December. :/

Well, I found an awesome recipe for Pumpkin Black Bean soup and just knew I had to make it.

I adapted it to our (which really means “my” – shhh, don’t tell) tastes though. Of course. I really only truly follow the recipe directions when I’m baking.

Except for when I don’t. Which is often. 😉

This soup was amazing!

soup bowl

Hearty, warm, savory yet sweet, spicy (don’t run! you can leave the spicy part out!), and perfect for a cold winter evening.

I decided to top the soup with avocado because, well, avocado is delicious and I thought the smooth freshness of the avocado would blend well with the savory and spice in the soup.

I was right. 🙂

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
serves 4 to 6 (that means BIG bowls of soup!)
*recipe adapted from veryculinary.com

2 (15 ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup coconut oil (use butter if you don’t have coconut oil)
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado, for topping

1. Pour the black beans and tomatoes (including their liquid)into a food processor. Puree until smooth; set aside.

2. Heat coconut oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir bean and tomato puree and remaining ingredients into the pot; mix well. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

soup pot

4. Serve in large soup bowls topped with sliced avocado, if desired.


5. Om nom nom!

Talk to me: When it comes to weather, where do you draw the line when it comes to heading out the door for a run? What keeps you inside?

I personally don’t do thunderstorms, blizzards, or hail. The cold almost got me yesterday but, I still went out. (Glad I did, too!) But, I’m not sure what I would have done if the wind had still been whipping. Wind chill kinda sucks.

– jennifer

Why is 3:30am so early? Eat – Chicken and Bean Burritos


Because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided it was a really good idea to get up at 3:30 in the morning again and head to CrossFit. So. Early. This is totally going to be me this afternoon. Wake me up if I start drooling.


Today’s workout wasn’t as intense as yesterday’s but it was a good one.


I wasn’t really sure about those front squats – especially at 95# for Rx! Um, no. I can back squat 95# no problem but my form gets a little wonky with the front squats and with my sartorius not 100%, I knew I didn’t need to push it. Besides, it’s 30 reps total so it’s not like I needed to be testing out my one-rep max. So, I loaded up with 55# pounds and went from there. I’ll tell you what – round 3 was TOUGH! My legs were shaking and my arms were tired from the pullups (C2B stands for chest to bar, aka – pullups). It was programmed to be a sprint workout and I finished in 5:39. Woot!

The cool down was a mini-workout on its own! Front and side planks, both right and left), 30 seconds each side, 3x each. Oof!

Raise your hand if you love planks!

So, let’s talk food. All the recipes I’ve planned on making this week have come from the June 2012 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Most are grilling but this one wasn’t. And, that’s okay because we’ve been having thunderstorms around dinner time and while I love grilling, I draw the line at lightning. Um, hello, grills are METAL!


Anyway, this recipe is definitely a keeper! We like to do taco nights at my house and this one will fill in quite nicely as a little change in pace. Burritos stuffed with chicken, black beans, and cheese for under 300 calories a serving? Yes, please! And the bonus is you probably already have everything in your pantry and it comes together in a snap. Dinner in less than 30 for less than 300 while tasting great and packing a powerful nutrition punch. Om. Nom. Nom.

Do you do food-themed nights such as “Taco Tuesday” in your house?


Chicken and Bean Burritos

3/4 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup lower-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 ounce preshredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup pico de gallo
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; toss well.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken mixture; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Add beans and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring frequently. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas. Top each burrito with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up each burrito jelly-roll fashion.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat both sides of burritos evenly with cooking spray. Place burritos in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Cut burritos in half. Top with pico de gallo and sour cream, if desired.


Per serving (1/2 burrito):
Calories 287; Fat 8.8g (saturated 2.6g, monounsaturated 3.8g, polyunsaturated 1.6g); Protein 24.7g; Carbs 25.4g; Fiber 2.9g; Sodium 499mg; Cholesterol 57mg

And, because you read all the way to the bottom, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Tomorrow is National Donut Day! Not sure if Krispy Creme is playing along but Dunkin Donuts is offering a free donut with the purchase of a beverage. 🙂 Score!
Thanks for reading all the way to the end, btw. 😀

– jennifer

Caribbean Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

It’s Monday! It’s always necessary to have a fun headband for a Monday morning workout.


Suitably perky, I got to CrossFit and commenced warming up. And then I tried to do a pushup. Oh yeah, the ribs.


It’s going to be a long recovery process. This is going to be my new area:


Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to get back out there:



So, let’s talk food. I found an amazing salad recipe that just begged to be made. Thank goodness it did! Om. Nom. Nom! I could seriously eat this every day. It really is that good. Serve it as a light meal on its own or an accompaniment to grilled meat.


Caribbean Sweet potato and Black Bean Salad
Makes 3 servings

1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
1/4 cup banana chutney*
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups torn spinach

*I did not have banana chutney. I live in Milton, Florida. Chutney is a foreign word here. I substituted apricot preserves. It was Uh-MAY-zing.

Steam sweet potato, covered, 5 minutes or until tender, and cool. Combine chutney and next 6 ingredients (chutney through garlic) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add sweet potato, 1/4 cup onions, and beans; stir well to coat. Place 1 cup spinach on each of 3 plates; top with 2/3 cup bean mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup onions.

Calories 265 (14% from fat); Fat 4.2g (sat 0.6g, mono 2.3g, poly 0.7g); Protein 11.2g; Carb 49.7g; Fiber 8.9g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 489mg

Recipe from Cooking Light, May 1998.


– jennifer