Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is delicious, nutritious and easy to throw together. Now, what’s not to love about that?

a sweet potato black bean chili

(about 4 servings)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed bite-sized
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heart healthy oil (I like coconut here)
1 onion, fine chopped
6 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 cup vegetable stock and/or white wine (add more as needed)
3 tablespoons coconut or brown sugar
1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes
1 bell pepper, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1.) Toss potatoes in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
2.) Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. Set aside allowing potatoes to cool.
3.) Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a large pot. Cook onion until translucent or about 10 minutes. Add garlic within the last couple minutes of cooking.
4.) Whisk stock, tomatoes, bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, cocoa powder and cornmeal into the sautéed vegetables. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes.
5.) Stir in cooled potatoes and black beans until heated through, or about 10 minutes.
Serve hot over rice, pasta, quinoa or straight up.
a sweet potato black bean chili
My cousin (featured here) and a few likes for last night’s supper (below) inspired this Mind Full Food post, but it was another predicament that inspired the actual recipe.
As I told her when she inquired about my inspiration, it all began with a BBQ Quinoa Salad I made for lunch with my sis-n-law, niece & nephew earlier in the week. (In case you were wondering, we also had skinny mini chocolate cheesecake for dessert.)
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 Anyhow, I didn’t have enough BBQ sauce to finished the salad so attempted to make my own. The sauce recipe I concocted called for 1/4 tsp cayenne which ended up being WAY too hot to use on the BBQ Quinoa Salad. (Recipe coming soon!)
Since a lot of the ingredients in BBQ sauce are the same as chili and since we had sweet potatoes that needed to be used, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili was born.
a sweet potato black bean chili
This one will fill you up and warm your soul, enjoy!

The Rob Jones Journey

The Rob Jones Journey is a veteran Marine’s million dollar mission to raise funds for the foundations that aided in his post war recovery.

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After losing his legs to an Afghan IED while deployed in 2010, Rob dreamed of riding a bike again during his recovery time at Walter Reed Hospital. Within 6 months he’d met his goal. After bringing home a bronze rowing metal from the 2012 Paralympics, the relentless Rob Jones Journey set off to bike across American in the fall of 2013.


Being in the right place at the right time along my 40 day 4000 mile west coast road trip, I was more than honored to join the fellow Hokie for the final stretch of his 7 month 5,181 mile cross country bike ride.

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My sister and I rooted from the sidelines as her significant other (who served in the Marines alongside Rob) geared up with the crew taking off from Dana Point, CA. (A special shout out goes to River Stone Cycles who generously donated a bike rental and funds for the cause.)

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Ending the grand journey 28 miles south at Camp Pendleton, April 12, 2014 was dubbed Sergeant Rob Jones Day by the Mayor of Oceanside.

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The Rob Jones Journey is insanely inspiring to say the least. Thanks for sharing your story of strength and endurance with us, Rob Jones!

DSC03973Thanks to all who have served and protected our country!

Chocolate Mug Cake

Warm oooey gooey chocolaty goodness ready in five minutes flat! Dessert doesn’t get much easier (or healthier!) than Chocolate Mug Cake.

a chocolate mug cakeChocolate Mug Cake
(1 serving)

1/2 cup milk (we like almond, it’s higher in calcium)
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon grade A maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips (optional)
1.) Load all ingredients into a mug.
2.) Mix thoroughly to combine.
3.) Microwave mug for 90 seconds.
4.) Continue microwaving for 30 second increments until cake is fully baked.
5.) Add toppings as desired.

a chocolate mug cake

Chocolate Cake is probably my all time favorite dessert.


Hubs is not a big fan of cake though so I usually only make cake for company… with the exclusion of Chocolate Mug CakeThis single serving sweet always hits the spot when a chocolate cake craving comes on.

a chocolate mug cake

Cheers to nutritious and delicious Chocolate Mug Cake!

8 Excellent Eats in Aruba

There are lots of amazing Aruba eats to indulge in. From toes in the sand dinning to fresh Caribbean catch and authentic cultural cuisine, this island has a little dab of this and tad bit of that on the menu. Check our the 8 Excellent Eats in Aruba we experienced!

A 8 Excellent Eats in Aruba

1.) The Pier

DSC00108Bugaloe is a hot little spot hanging out over the waters of Palm Beach.


The menu is made up of bar food classics with a fresh island twist.

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A super casual atmosphere with spectacular views takes over here.DSC00113

2.) The Sand

IMG_0053Simply Fish offers just that. A list of local sustainable fish accompanied by a soiree of sides are offered up on the menu.

IMG_0048 Here toes are in the sand and every single table has an upfront view of the captivating Caribbean Sea.

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Our fish dinners came with complementary bread, tapenade, sushi rolls and a pallet cleaning sorbet. Every drop was delectable.

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At the end of the meal, the check is delivered in a treasure chest and a tiny statue of the island’s iconic California Lighthouse is presented in a small gift bag. DSC00238

Simply Fish is scenic, romantic and one of a kind.

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3.) The Island


Papagoyo was by far the most unique Aruban eat we experienced. DSC00309

Only accessibly by boat, the bar and grill sits in the sands of Iguana Beach on Renaissance Island.

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Iguanas and flamingos frolic freely on the beach and tropical fish float in the protected waters.

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You can pull up a bar stool or order food and drink from the comfort of your chaise lounge like we did.

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 This beach made our Top 10 Aruba Beaches.

4.) The Harbor

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Paddock is an open air English inspired pub docked right in heart Aruba’s capitol, Oranjestad.

DSC00048  There’s good times and great views to be had here.

5.)  The Beach

Gilligan’s overlooks the palm huts along Palm Beach.

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The open air spot offers up fast and friendly service and a bar-style menu.

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6.)  The Sidewalk

Casa Tua sits just inland from Palm Beach along a lively sidewalk.

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The Italian drinks and food are excellent. The atmosphere is energetic.

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 7.)  The Towncenter

Fish and More says it all in its name.

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This place has a little bit of everything on the menu and a lovely little low key patio out front.

8.)  The Patio

Salt & Pepper serves up fresh fish and great outdoor seating.

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 Located next the previous two places in a quaint shopping strip near the high-pace high-rise resorts, a meal here can conveniently be accompanied by a number of other actives. Read more about all that Palm Beach has to offer here.


Feel free to share your own Aruban excellent eats experiences in the comment section.

Shepherd’s Pie

A lovely friend‘s recent request for a Mind Full Food version of Shepherd’s Pie inspired this cozy casserole just in time for the looming polar vortex!

a shepherd's pie

 Don’t let the extensive list of ingredients intimidate, Shepherd’s Pie is super easy to whip up.
roux recipes
This is one of those Quick Roux Recipes!
a shepherd's pie
(6 – 8 Servings)
Mashed Potato Topping:
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon butter (we like vegan, it’s half the fat)
1 cup milk (we like almond, it’s higher in calcium)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pie Filling:
1 tablespoon oil (we like avocado, grape seed or coconut)
1 onion, fine chopped
3 – 4 stalks celery, chopped
4 cups fresh or frozen vegetables (carrots, peas, etc.), chopped and cooked
1 cup lentils, canned or cooked in stock (or low fat ground meat)
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1.) Boil potatoes for 15 – 20 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile…
2.) Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery, sautéing until translucent or about 10 minutes. Toss in garlic during the last couple of minutes of sautéing.
3.) Whisk flour into onion, cooking for a couple minutes or until slightly browned.
4.) Add stock, continuing to whisk until smooth.
5.) Stir in ketchup and seasonings, cooking until thickened.
6.) Mix in vegetables and lentils or meat with the sauce.
7.) Dump the pie filling into a prepared casserole dish.
8.) Whip cooked potatoes with butter, milk, salt and pepper.
9.) Top pie filling with mashed potatoes.
10.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. a shepherd's pie

 My sister (who’ll be home for the next couple of months, yay!) helped prepare the above Shepherd’s Pie for Sunday supper with the family.


While I failed to snap a shot of us around the table that night, I remembered the night before up at the cabin with our cousins. Success… other than peeping Dad.


Cousin Uncle Sonny came up to show us how to survey the family’s recently inherited mountain acreage. The statuesque rock below marks our property line. How awesome it that?


It was a lovely night of catching up, sipping soup and watching home movies.

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Blue Mountain is so beautiful in the fall!


Enjoy the last of the candy colors and once old man winter settles in, take comfort in this delicious and nutritious Shepherd’s Pie!

a shepherd's pie