The other day I made one of my all time favourites; black bean soup. I had been in a bit of a funk of low energy which lead to lethargy and mad procrastination, which in turn ends up sucking the joy out of your days. Something had to be done!
I’ve been contemplating balance a lot lately. I’ve recently realized that when I throw myself into something, I do so so completely that it seems to be at the cost of other aspects in my life, and recently the aspect to lose out has been exercise, and I must say, I can really feel it.
Exercise is really vital to our well being, not only physically, but it is increasingly being discovered how vital a role it plays in our mental well being too. It’s amazing how quickly your over all senses of well being increases once you start to use your body more, and it’s no wonder, when we exercise our bodies release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which enables our brains to feel happiness, our stress levels decrease, and our bodies are encouraged to achieve a deeper more restorative level of sleep. There are some great articles on the topic here at Mind Body Green, and at Mental Health. org.
My go to exercise is yoga -which, to my detriment, I have not been doing at all lately. But along with that I enjoy adding some higher intensity exercise a few times a week. So when my Sister-In-Law said she’d started going to a circuit training class on Tuesday evenings in the local village, I jumped on the chance to go along with her. My first session was last week, and for the following two days I was so sore that Buddy started making creaking sound effects when I moved (hooligan). Enter the black bean soup. When faced with wonderful/awful post-exercise soreness I think a steaming bowl of protein laden spicy soup is just the thing to nourish, invigorate, and bring a little zing back into a body that’s been crying out for it for far too long.
This soup is loaded with protein, folate, potassium, and phytonutrients. It’s super easy to make, and is really satisfying and has a lovely Mexican inspired flavour with chili powder and a bit of smokiness. I made mine not too spicy on this occasion so that my boys would enjoy it too, but it’s really lovely with a bit more heat too, just use a hotter chili powder, or add a bit of cayenne!
Yesterday was the second of the circuit training sessions, and I’m feeling pretty good today. Next week I’m feeling energized and excited to be moving again. Next week I think it’ll be time to get back into a proper yoga routine, but until then… more soup!!!
- 225 g or 1 cup dried black turtle beans, rinsed
- 1 L or 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 medium brown onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bell peppers, colour of your choice, if possible a mix, chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Seasoning to taste
- In a large pot, over medium high heat, bring the stock and beans to a rapid boil. Let them boil at a fast pace for 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat and leave the soup, covered, to simmer for about 40 minutes, until the beans are very tender and the vegetables are all cooked. You can taste it about half way through the cooking and adjust the seasoning and add more spice with chili powder, chili flakes, or cayenne pepper if you’d like it a bit spicier.
- Serve hot, maybe with some chopped cilantro, a dollop of yogurt, and a squeeze of lime.