Wrapping up the Month

Today is the last day of Hurricane Season… the last day of November… 1 day before ABC Family’s 25 Day Countdown to Christmas! I thought a nice thing to end November on would be beach pictures :) I figured beach pictures would be fitting for the occasions… hurricane season and the day before “meteorological winter.”

So that means a little short story…
We headed east until we hit the Atlantic… point A, downtown Savannah, to point B, Tybee Island.


Enter the Atlantic Ocean… home of one of the main ingredients for hurricanes.


… Warm sea surface temperatures!


And the land of pretty things! Such as drift wood… check this beauty out I saw on the dunes.


Shells too… I always grab a shell on every beach trip I take. Even if it a piece of one… all shells are pretty to me!


Sunsets are gorgeous at the beach :)


Mosquitos were out and about… they always find me!


Thankfully Savannah had a CVS and I bought some Aveeno (it works!).


The end.

Hope the day before the first day of December has been grand for you! I am still eating away at my Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup… yumm!


CrossFit Update: I reached a CrossFit goal… pull-ups! Yah! Burpee Challenge is going… day 69 today :) We are having a Christmas party next week woohoo!

School Update: 3 weeks left (less than that now)! I am giving my lab final this week. As for my classes, I have a large paper to work on, a project, and a final exam. One day at a time ;)

Stay warm,
Courtney


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Soup

It is cold, rainy, and even a few snow flurries falling here in Alabama and I felt like a soup needed to happen tonight so I came up with this…


Introducing the newest addition to my “stable soup recipes” list! Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup! The early stages of this idea came a few years back when I had a black bean and sweet potato burrito. I remembered how great that sweet creamy sweet potato was with the bold black beans all topped off with a soft tortilla wrap and salsa! You see this is the great thing about having a blog… when I can’t remember what I ate or how I fixed “this and that” I just pull up the blog! When I had this burrito Cookin Up Life wasn’t up and running therefore leaving me with no idea where I had this burrito. I am thinking maybe a Nigella cookbook or an Ellie Krieger special! Anyway… it is inspired from that and adapted to what I had in my kitchen.


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup
You need:
-1 pound of beef (cooked and fat drained off)
-1 sweet potato (peeled and cubed)
-1 onion (sliced and diced)
-1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
-1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
-HOT salsa (about 1/4 cup- more or less depending on your taste buds)
-Chicken stock (start with a carton, add more if needed)
-1/2 cup of uncooked brown rice (cook following directions)
-Brown sugar (1 tablespoon)
-Garlic
-Salt/Pepper
-Butter (in your rice mixture and throw in a little with the onions)

How to:
1. Get your brown rice going. I took a 1/2 cup of rice and combined it with about a cup and a half of stock, tablespoon of butter, and a pinch of salt. Then followed package directions from there.
2. Brown your beef and prep your onion. Drain your beef and add your onion with a little butter (this is optional). Over medium heat cook this mixture for about 5-10 minutes (until the onions start to turn clear).
3. Peel and cube your sweet potato into small bite size pieces and slice your 2 tomatoes. Throw them into the pot.
4. Add a little salt and pepper and pour in your stock. Add 1/4 cup of salsa, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and stir that up.
5. Drain and rinse your black beans, add them and your cooked brown rice. Open your can of fire roasted tomatoes and add them too :) Give it a stir and let it come up to a boil over medium high heat. Once at a boil (nice strong boil), cut down to medium and throw the lid on. Simmer until sweet potatoes are fork tender (smaller you cut them the quicker the cook time). Taste it and check for garlic, salt, and pepper needs.

Here are some visual steps:
1. Beef and Onion mixture


2. Prep your sweet potato and tomatoes.


3. Add potatoes and tomatoes to the pot.


4. Add the stock!


5. Add the rice, beans, tomatoes, sugar, and salsa. Let it cook then serve it up :) I garnished with Celtic Salt, Garlic Gold, and some cilantro…


This soup is yummy… I did it in one big pot but I think you could easily throw it all in the crock-pot one morning and let it go (cook your beef though!) for 6-8 hours. Start to finish… around 45 minutes or less. It could be a 30 minute meal if you had a sous chef. I didn’t feel great, so I really took it slow and enjoyed the time in the kitchen. I sniffed my onions cooking in butter at least 5 times… haha :) Smells so good…


I like cilantro and I had some on hand from the harvest basket last week… I think it really gave it a fresh pop. I thought a soup recipe was needed today since we got SNOW in Alabama… I guess Old Man Winter is knocking at the door huh? Haha… I didn’t get any at my apartment but my parents did at the farm (lucky). And I think Alabama set record today… we had snow but still had school!! That is what happens when it snows in the South during November. The ground is just too warm… but snow is always pretty and seems appropriate with December almost here.

Stay warm,
Courtney