Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Good morning! Featured above are photos from the easiest chili I've ever made and a no-fail honey cornbread recipe as well. 
Do you ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed? I woke up yesterday in a complete funk (it's so rare for me!), feeling much older and more tired that I should at my energetic 29 years! It was difficult for me to pinpoint the cause. My personal mental health practice is that when I feel a certain way, even if it's unfavorable, to allow myself those feelings until they pass. I think respecting/accepting the way that you feel indicates a sense of self-worth and self-respect. Saying to yourself "I feel like I'm in a funk, and that's okay for today" is an important task (as long as you don't treat people poorly because of it, of course). I think that if you beat yourself up for feeling funky, it perpetuates the cycle of feeling badly, and why make yourself feel worse when you're already feeling down? 
With children, the dimensions (and self-exploration) of my moods have become more impactful. I made a promise to myself early on in my mothering that the most important thing is to teach your children that it's okay to be mad, sad, frustrated, etc, but that together, we can learn to cope with any feeling that we experience. I often praise my 2 year old for feeling brave, strong, patient and worthy after a meltdown because she has practiced an expression of these feelings. Sometimes children just need to know that someone is listening. How tragic it would be for the small people we've committed to teaching to feel as though they were screaming to the wind? 
I'm not afraid to cry in front of my children. I've cried twice in front of my 2 year old, Cloveleigh, who had approached me to say "Your eyes are watering, mama. I'm sorry, mama, I love you" and then finished her sweet sentiment with a big hug. Before children have learned to speak, they've learned to detect human emotions through our nonverbal behavior. Prove to them that they're correct in their assessment. My belief is that it's okay to admit that you're feeling badly and give them confidence in their detection. It's okay to show that you're not always strong. This will help them feel worthy when they aren't feeling strong themselves. 
In addition to trying my best to rear two children with a strong sense of how to handle and understand their emotions, one lesson I'm sure to pass down is the importance of comfort food on a day when things just seem to feel funky. 
And, of course, this leads me to last night's dinner! Listed below are two recipes for extreme (but not unhealthy!) comfort food. These will also be great to make on a cold or rainy winter day as well, guaranteed to fill your home with the smell of home and your belly with feelings of comfort. 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili (in slow cooker)
Combine the following ingredients in your crock pot:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tablespoon of cumin
1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and pepper diced 
A pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cans of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (with liquid)
The juice of 1/2 of one lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Serve with greek yogurt, shredded aged white cheddar cheese, green onions, avocado and lime wedges. 

Honey Corn Bread with Fresh Corn Kernels
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine 1/4 a cup of butter (softened) and 2/3 cup of raw sugar. Stir well. Add 2 eggs, 3/4 cup of honey, and 1 and 1/3 cups of milk. Mix well.
Add 2 1/3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder, 1/2 a cup of cornmeal, a pinch of salt and the corn shaved off of one ear of fresh corn. 
Mix carefully but not rigorously. 

Pour batter into 2 mini muffin tins (we made 24 mini muffins), 12 standard sized muffin tin, 6 jumbo sized muffin tin or an 11x14 inch baking pan. 
Cook for 30-40 minutes, and remove from oven when muffins have turned golden brown. 

I hope you enjoy these recipes and find comfort and warmth in eating them alone, or sharing with your friends and family. Of course I found them both to pair particularly well with a glass of wine. 

Do you ever wake up feeling funky? What's your feel-better recipe? Whether it be food or something else, I would love to know what makes you feel better when you're feeling down and out. I hope you have a wonderful day! Happy Tuesday! 

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