Spicy Bean Chili with Quinoa and Kale



I got back from California (Earthbound Farm is amazing, posts soon to follow), and it was suddenly autumn in Milwaukee.  Dark in the mornings, dark in the evenings, a little bit chilly/rainy/gray overcast skies.  Some of the leaves are turning colors already, and I can’t believe it’s October.  Which is a good thing, I think, but the transition was a little too quick for my taste.

Regardless, this kind of weather is the impetus for food like this.  I needed something relatively easy to make, something that would make my kitchen smell divine, and something that would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (and make for decent leftovers as I am now in the middle of the busiest six weeks I have had in a long time.  Which is also incredibly awesome, but time is moving very quickly these days.)

This is an adaptation from one of my early posts from the blog.  I modified the recipe to add in some quinoa (which, by the way, the United Nations declared 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa”….and I have to agree with them) and add in some kale.  I mean, you can never really go wrong with adding either of these two superfoods into anything that can possibly taste good with them.  This chili is spicy, so don’t say I didn’t warn you (like, make your lips a little warm kind of spicy).  If you aren’t a spice fan, decrease the amount of cayenne/chili powder you use.

Here’s to sweaters, boots, scarves, pumpkins, hot chocolate, and lots and lots of chili.






Spicy Bean Chili with Quinoa and Kale

Servings: 6-8



3 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups water

One 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (do not drain the tomatoes)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 cups beans (whatever variety you like-I used a combination of kidney beans-you can mix and match), drained and rinsed

1 small bunch kale (leaves only-jut rip them off and discard the stems)

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup cilantro






1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until about shimmering.

2. Add the onion and cook until translucent and slightly softened, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the red pepper and cook until it and the onion are soft and slightly browned around the edges, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

5. Push the vegetables to the perimeter of the pot so that the center of the pot is clear.

6.  Sprinkle the ground cumin into the center of pot and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

7. Stir the cumin and vegetables together and let cook until the cumin is fragrant, about 1 minute.

8. Add the chili powder and cayenne pepper and stir to coat the vegetables.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

9.  Add 2 cups water and stir well to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

10.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

11.  Stir in the diced tomatoes, oregano, and brown sugar, and bring back to a simmer.  Simmer until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.

12. Add the beans, kale, and quinoa, stirring gently to incorporate.

13. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt and cilantro.


Source:  Adapted from a previous recipe on the Curvy Carrot, originally found in Soups and Stews.

October 8, 2013 - 9:17 am

Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen - Still waiting on autumn here in NYC, but I cannot wait any longer for chili! Love the quinoa and kale additions!

October 8, 2013 - 11:51 am

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - I LOVE that you added kale and quinoa to chili! I cannot wait to try this :) .

October 8, 2013 - 6:00 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I’ve made your chili before and know it’s awesome, so I can’t wait to try this quinoa and kale version! Cheers right back at ya for sweaters and all things fall :)

October 8, 2013 - 6:09 pm

Joanne - Aww I’m so glad your trip was awesome!! That makes me happy. Also – chili. I’m currently obsessed and can’t get enough! Love the quinoa and kale additions!

November 7, 2013 - 4:28 pm

Joy //For the Love of Leaves - Oh this looks like the perfect meal after a long day out in the cold. I’m bookmarking this recipe!

January 21, 2014 - 5:00 am

White Bean and Hominy Chipotle Chili » The Curvy Carrot - [...] with it (recipe to follow.)  And, since I’ve got a lot of different chili recipes on here (chili with quinoa, chili with lot of beans, and chili with black beans and salsa), I figured I’d jump a little [...]

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Orange Pancakes (with Orange Butter)



I kind of had one of those moments where you see a recipe and picture (the photo is just amazing) in a food magazine and realize that you must have whatever it is.  Immediately.  And so this was one of them.

I saw the picture in October’s Cooking Light and literally squealed.  Not being the biggest fan of anything super sweet for breakfast, this was kind of a big deal.  And, after a marathon work-out session in the morning, some carb binging seemed only appropriate for me. (right?  I mean, I guess I should be doing the whole lean protein with appropriate carbohydrate ratio, but whatever.  I’ll save that for my upcoming P90X days. Which means I need to start gearing up for another round of Tony Horton, Pam, and that damn Dreya once I have to work out inside again.  Bring it!)

I don’t know-these might be my favorite pancakes yet (next to the pumpkin ones, of course.)  Because they sit out for a while before cooking, the leaveners get to do their thing and you end up with some ultra-fluffy pancakes.  (Sidenote:  I recently discovered Portlandia, which might be up there as one of my favorite sketch comedy shows, and the scene with Bobby Flay and the marionberry pancakes reminded me a lot of these pancakes.  If you like stupid humor, you will like this show.  Also, I might have a crush on Fred Armisen.  It’s the glasses…and his impeccable delivery.  This is a simple taste of a clip that just keeps getting funnier each time I see it.)

All right.  Here they are.

Oh, and by the way, happy October.





Whole Wheat Buttermilk Orange Pancakes (with Orange Butter)




For the orange butter:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind

3/4 teaspoon orange juice

For the pancakes:

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large egg

1 large egg white

For serving: maple syrup, additional orange zest, etc



1. For the orange butter:  In a small bowl, add the softened butter, orange rind, and orange juice together, mixing until combined.  Set aside (or chill, if you like your butter cold.  Some people do.)

2. For the pancakes: In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, mixing until combined.

3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1/4 cup orange juice, canola oil, and 1 whole egg in a small bowl.

4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the  flour mixture, stirring just until moist; let stand 15 minutes at room temperature.

5. Place the egg white in a medium bowl; beat with a whisk  (or, a hand mixer if you don’t want to kill your wrist) until medium peaks form.

6. Gently fold the egg white into the pancake batter, mixing until just combined.

7. Coat a nonstick cooking pan with cooking spray and heat the pan over medium heat.

8. Gently scoop out 1/4-cup of the batter and place the batter in the pan, cooking for about 3 minutes on each side. (about 6 minutes total-you want the edges to be bubbled and lightly golden when you flip the pancakes.)  Repeat with the rest of the batter.

9. Serve the pancakes with the orange butter.


Source:  Barely adapted from Cooking Light as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

October 3, 2013 - 6:35 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - These pancakes sound soooo good! Love it!

October 3, 2013 - 8:28 am

Christina - Wow, these look amazing. I’m intrigued by the oranges!

October 3, 2013 - 9:49 am

Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough - That stack of pancakes is calling to me like a beacon of bright, citrus-laden, carbo-loaded goodness. I kinda need them in my life as soon as possible.

Also, yes to Portlandia! Love that quirky show.

October 3, 2013 - 6:02 pm

Joanne - Well I am ALL ABOUT pancakes and sweet things for breakfast (or at least as a post breakfast snack). And that hint of orange is kind of magical, I think. Such a great way to wake up!

October 3, 2013 - 9:39 pm

jennie @sundayswithjennie - Yum! These look AMAZING!

October 3, 2013 - 11:26 pm

Maggie @Maggiecooks - I love pancakes and orange juice!
I could never thought of putting them together i’m sure they are delicious!! :)

October 4, 2013 - 11:35 am

Rachel - These look delicious! The orange butter is a great idea too!

March 22, 2014 - 7:52 pm

Whole Wheat Orange Pancakes | foodpunch - [...] The Curvy Carrot. Serves [...]

Spinach Squash Fritters with Poached Egg (and Earthbound Farms!)



So, when I started this little blog three and a half years ago, I had no idea of what doors could/would open up for me.  (Queue sappy, uplifting music.)  I mean, there I was, in the middle of Indiana, just kind of cooking a little bit, taking some pictures, and attempting to write a little bit.  It was all good.

But, now it’s something that’s a little bit more to me than just a hobby.  It’s something to look forward to, something to improve upon, and I swear it makes for great dinner conversation if things get a bit awkward.  Everyone is curious about food blogging (or at least they try to be.)  But the best part is the constant learning that I experience-whether its practicing a technique, using a new type of ingredient, or making real life connections with other food bloggers all over the United States (which is incredible.)

So, needless to say, I’m just a smidge pumped about something that’s going on this week.  And you get to come with me.




A few months ago, Renee from Earthbound Farms called me up and we talked for a bit about green leafy vegetables (and frozen fruits, too) as well as blogging in general.  I was so honestly humbled and excited when she invited me to become a member of their Earthbound Blogger Program. Sooooooo….I’ll be spending the end of this week in Carmel Valley, California…visiting the actual farms, the processing plant, and meeting/greeting with a few other food bloggers.  I can’t even begin to express my excitement for this trip-I mean, honestly, as someone who buys this product regularly in bulk, I cannot wait to see where the food actually comes from.  This company is amazing..just read a little bit about the incredible environmental work that they have done and be prepared to be inspired.  I’m so excited.  So. Excited.  Got it?

So, again, if you want to come along with me, follow me via Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook to be in the loop.  This is going to be a once in a lifetime type of trip for me, and I am so ready to experience this with open arms.  Knowledge is power, and I get to be up close and personal with one of my biggest passions: food…and ultimately where it comes from.

And, to get myself in a green leafy vegetable sort of mindset, I decided to try a recipe I immediately bookmarked in my latest issue of Cooking Light magazine.  You can probably use any type of squash here (the original recipe calls for spaghetti squash),  but I had an acorn (my personal fave) on hand.  Make sure to really get as much liquid out of the spinach/squash before you make the patties-this will help substantially with the cooking process. And feel free to throw in whatever kind of spices/herbs you like here..I went for a simple garlic feel here which I actually thought could use a little bit more of a punch to it, but you could honestly throw in whatever you like.  And, of course, I personally feel like there may be nothing sexier than a runny egg yolk in food photos, so of course, I had to throw a poached egg on top.  Enjoy.





Spinach Squash Fritters with Poached Eggs

Servings: about 8-10 fritters



2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

One 8-ounce package baby spinach

One 2 pound squash, cooked (I used acorn) and skin discarded **I cook my squash in the oven at 350 degrees.  I place the squash, cut side down, in about 1/4-inch water and roast for about 45 minutes.  Just scoop the flesh out when it’s cool enough to handle.

1/2 cup whole wheat panko

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon garlic, minced****Here’s a good place to add in additional seasonings, if you like.

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 large egg whites

4 eggs, poached ***If you want to know how to poach an egg, click here.







1.  Heat 1 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until shimmering.

2. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is bright green and wilted, about 3-4 minutes.  Carefully transfer the spinach to a clean dish towel.

3. Add the cooked squash to the spinach and gently squeeze the mixture in the dish towel, getting out as much excess liquid as possible.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

4. Add the whole wheat panko, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, black pepper, and baking powder, mixing to combine.

5. In a separate small bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form (a few minutes).

6. Gently fold the egg whites into the squash mixture.

7. Using a 1/4-cup as your guide, gently form 3/4-inch thick patties with the squash mixture.

8. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining olive oil until shimmering.

9. Add one or two patties to the pan, cooking for about 3 minutes on each side (until lightly browned).  Repeat with the remaining patties.

10. Top the patties with poached eggs, and enjoy.



Source:  Slightly adapted from Cooking Light as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers Community.

October 1, 2013 - 7:50 am

bellini - We have Earthbound Farm products here in our British Columbia markets as well. I often buy a cello pack, especially spinach.

October 1, 2013 - 11:48 am

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - These sound seriously amazing. This is SO my kind of recipe! Thanks for sharing :) .

October 1, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious - I’ll take anything with a poached egg and drippy egg yolk!

October 1, 2013 - 12:22 pm

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan - This is so exciting! Have so much fun and share lots of pictures please! : )

October 1, 2013 - 12:36 pm

Maria Tadic - That poached egg on top looks SOOOOO good! Delicious! Definitely want to try this one! Too bad my husband doesn’t like eggs…oh well – more for me!

October 1, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Jaime @ om nom PICKLES! - Those look so good! I’m such a fan of topping about anything off with a poached egg. Thanks for the recipe, and congratulations on your awesome opportunity!

October 1, 2013 - 6:01 pm

Natalie - This is exactly my kind of meal – simple, healthy, colourful, beautiful! Can’t wait to try, although I will never get a poached egg to look as good as yours…

October 1, 2013 - 8:56 pm

Joanne - When I think back on some of the opportunities that have come my way from blogging, and some of the awesome people I’ve met (like yourself!!) it’s truly amazing. Who could have ever thought a hobby could bring all of this along with it!? SO excited to hear about your trip to Earthbound Farms!

And wow do these fritters look good. How did I miss them in the latest issue of Cooking Light?

October 6, 2013 - 1:32 pm

The Healthy Apple - This sounds amazing; LOVE eggs. And I loved meeting you on the Earthbound Farms trip. oxox Enjoy your weekend!

January 28, 2014 - 2:36 pm

Friday Foodie Favorites + My Thanksgiving Meal Recap | Clean Eating Veggie Girl - [...] loving the sound of these fritters.  Earlier this week, I made my own take on Shanon’s Spinach Squash Fritters with Eggs.  I followed the fritter recipe almost exactly, but I subbed in nutritional yeast in place of the [...]