Where Health and Happiness Come Together

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

pumpkinphoto (4)

There is something about pumpkin that steals my heart and my taste buds. Maybe it is its unpredictable delightful addition to savory creations. Or the fact that it faces the stigma of only being useful in predictable thanksgiving pies (which don’t get me wrong, are delicious!). But I think the real reason is that #1 pumpkin is shockingly healthy and #2 canned pumpkin is extremely easy to use, pre-prepared, and reasonably priced (especially right after Thanksgiving – word to the wise and fellow pumpkin obsessed: stock up then!)

Despite the fact that I have had friends and roommates nearly ban me from cooking with pumpkin for a period of time (I’ll be the first to admit, I go through obsessive phases with pumpkin), no one who really knows nutrition can deny what a superfood pumpkin is! The blogger of superskinnyme blog agrees http://www.superskinnyme.com/superfood-pumpkin.html.

pumpkin costumeI feel so strongly about pumpkin… that I willingly dressed as the superfood to promote wellness. In public. In the most populated part of my university. During the university union hour. That’s when I knew I was committed to nutrition.

So why’s pumpkin so great…

  • Only 49 calories in 1 cup!
  • 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein (keeps ya full, and fit!)
  • Over 200% of daily vitamin eye requirement (hello beautiful healthy eyes!)
  • Lots of beta carotene (which may prevent cancer, and promote wrinkle free skin)
  • More potassium than a banana

Enough blabber about my love of pumpkin, I think it is now clear why I chose this weeks recipe from Organic Wine Journal. Added bonus, its by the lovely registered dietitian Jess Cording (her blog http://keepingitrealfood.com/about/… amazing)

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can black beans (low sodium=bueno)
  • 1 15-oz can canned pumpkin
  • 1 15-oz can diced or stewed tomatoes
  • 2 c water
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes


  1. In a large pot, sauté garlic in olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Add beans, pumpkin, and tomato, then spices.
  3. Add water and stir well.
  4. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. You’re welcome to use an immersion blender to puree the soup, but why make it more complicated?


Post Cooking Wisdom:

  • Warning, this can get real spicy, real quick. I used 1/4 teaspoon of each spice… and both my eyes and nose were running.
  • If you do make it too spicy #1 rejoice that you’re clearing your sinuses #2 cool it off with a little dollop of plain green yogurt (a great healthy sour cream swap!)
  • Avocado on top… always a delightful addition
  • Cornbread would be a delightful addition to make this a full meal
  • Double the recipe! This is so delicious you’re going to be wanting leftovers at hand to enjoy the next day.

red pepper flakes        avocado        plain greek yogurt

Recipe #2: Zucchini Crust Pizza from http://www.toptenlook.com/2013/08/zucchini-crust-pizza.html

Lets see how close mine comes to this…
zucchini crust pizza


Life is crazy sometimes… scratch that. Most of the time. That’s what makes it life. But it’s important to set aside a bit of time for simple pleasures, even if only one day a week. For me, that’s cooking.

There is something therapeutic about cooking. It’s an escape from my brain that can’t stop thinking (and over-thinking) via the actions of my hands and the guidance of a recipe. (the Italian’s get me… http://www.food-t.com/2013/10/cookies-banana-cioccolato-light.html)


The added benefit – a delicious end product, and delightfully smelling house. And when it’s a real gem, it looks pretty and is good for you too!

Little things make me happy, trying new things makes me happy, and eating well makes me feel good – which makes me happy. Healthy people tend to be happier, and according to the Harvard School of Public Health happy people tend to have healthier hearts. (see article: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/happiness-stress-heart-disease/)

It may be nearly 2 weeks post New Years, but I have finally perfected my New Years Resolution. Its reasonably doable, good for my health and happiness, and something I an excited to do.

So here is my goal – to try cooking ONE new recipes PER WEEK. I will be held accountable by these written accounts – picture evidence must always be provided, cooking confidants optional but welcomed.


This is no feat comparable to Julie and Julia. (A charming read and movie). http://juliepowellbooks.com/blog.html#aug. But Julie wasn’t a college student in the midst of dietetic applications. New Rule. No excuses. Make time. And enjoy it!


Recipe #1: Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

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