Recipes, Photography, Musings

Tag: Sweet potatoes

Colorful Vegetable Chili

This chili is as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, corn, lime juice and cilantro give each spoonful vibrant color, flavor, and nutrition.  Serve it with some tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese, and you have a festive, healthy meal.

In a previous post, I mentioned a cookbook my husband somewhat recently bought, called Thrive Energy Cookbook, by Brendan Brazier.  This chili recipe I am sharing below is based on a recipe in that book, though I did change and substitute a few things.  The flavor of the this chili is absolutely rich and warm-tasting, with a subtle zing from the lime juice.  My son, who normally won’t go near a sweet potato, even likes it, and my husband loves it.  All the vegetables blend together beautifully.

colorful chili 1 It really is a good meal to have right now, in early March, when we are longing for color, but our gardens have not caught up to that longing yet.  And though our snow has all melted and it has warmed up some, it is still cold and damp enough outside to appreciate a nice warm bowl of chili.

chopped sweet potatoesSpeaking of gardens and color, I did see some crocus and daffodil shoots poking up just above the soil in our yard yesterday.  Spring is coming, though here in Michigan I’m sure we have some cold days ahead of us before spring really settles in.

Until then, there is the fresh wind, the brighter sun, the earthy smell of the wet ground as it prepares itself for new growth.  I saw some red-winged blackbirds the other day–one of the first signs that spring is coming.  Soon we’ll be looking for fresh greens and asparagus!

daffodil shootsFor now, it is the perfect time to tromp around in my favorite boots through mud and wet undergrowth, cleaning up the yard or hiking down to the lake. My friend and I came across these beautiful milkweed pods on a walk the other day.milkweed pods

If you are longing for spring, but still shivering in the evenings, this chili has just the right amount of warmth and bright color to cheer you up and nourish your body for challenges ahead.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  There is a Fiesta Friday going on at Angie’s blog, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Aspara @ Eating Well Diary.  If you are looking for food inspiration or to find great blogs, it’s a great place! I’m looking forward to checking it out!cilantro and lime 3colorful chili with cilantro

Colorful Vegetable Chili

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Print


  • 3 cups of sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin (more if desired)
  • 3 cups of tomatoes (fresh, or if canned, I like the San Marzano kind), quartered
  • 2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cans (14 oz cans) of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes’ worth)
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (I like to add a cup of water and a teaspoon of the Better than Bouillon vegetable base)
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • shredded Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
  • sliced avocado for topping or garnish
  • tortilla chips


Wash and cube the sweet potatoes.  Place them in a large pot.  Cover the sweet potatoes with salted water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until just barely tender (about 6 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes).  Drain and rinse with cold water. (If desired, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain again.) Set aside.

In the same large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, black beans, lime juice, and vegetable broth.  Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, at medium-low heat.  Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick.

Spoon the chili into bowls and top with cilantro and shredded Cheddar cheese (if desired). Serve with sliced avocado and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier



Paprika Sweet and Red Potato Fries

homemade fries on baking sheetI must admit that putting a meal on the table has been a bit of a struggle this past couple of weeks.  Things have been so busy with my kids’ soccer and basketball schedules, school events, and other things that it feels like we have been running around a lot, in need of wholesome nourishment to ground us. It is all good stuff, and I am glad my kids are involved in activities they enjoy.  But eating well during this busy season can be a challenge.  The recipe I posted below for homemade fries made from sweet potatoes and red potatoes is a good one for this busy time.  sliced potatoesIt does take a little time to slice the potatoes and bake them, but while they are baking I can throw together a salad and heat up some veggie burgers, and by the time the fries are done, I’ve got a delicious, healthy meal.  And the few minutes I spend slicing the potatoes is worth it–the homemade fries are of course much healthier than the fries found at most restaurants.  They are baked in a small amount of olive oil and only a sprinkling of salt, with the paprika and garlic powder giving them lots of flavor.  The sweet potatoes are full of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A and potassium.  The red potatoes aren’t so bad either; they have lots of vitamin C, minerals, and fiber.  The key to making these homemade fries taste good is to bake them long enough that they are kind of crispy and not too mushy.  I love the colors of these fries–they remind me of fall leaves.   As for the veggie burgers, I just heat them in a skillet, toast some bagels to serve the burgers on, and add some sliced cheddar.  veggie burgers 2sliced potatoes

Paprika Sweet and Red Potato Fries

  • Servings: 4-6 side servings
  • Print


  • 3 cups sweet potatoes, sliced into strips
  • 3 cups red potatoes, sliced into strips
  • 1-2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes and red potatoes.  Slice the potatoes into thin strips, like the shape of french fries.  Place them in a medium-size bowl.  Gradually add the olive oil.  Add just enough oil to lightly coat the potato slices, but not so much that it is dripping from them.  Add the paprika, garlic powder, and salt.  You can adjust the seasonings to suit your own tastes–these are just suggested amounts that work for my family.  Toss the potato slices so the olive oil and spices are evenly distributed.  Arrange the potato slices on two baking sheets and put in the oven.  Bake for about 16-20 minutes.  It helps if you flip the fries about halfway through baking time.  Fries are done when they are just crispy on the outside.  Enjoy!