Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Black Bean Soup

Since the weather has been bitter cold here in NJ, I have been on a “soup kick”.  I love soup and with the NEW Freestyle points from Weight Watchers, I can made some really yummy soups for ZERO points.

Prep Time: 20     Cooking Time: 30     Servings: 8     SmartPoints™ value: 0

The key to thickening this soup without flour? Pureeing some of the beans before cooking it. You’ll love the stick-to-your-ribs texture results.


1 spray(s) cooking spray
1 medium uncooked onion(s), finely chopped
4 clove(s) garlic clove(s), minced
45 oz canned black beans, undrained, divided (three 15 oz cans)
½ tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
14 ½ oz fat free chicken broth, or vegetable broth
10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilis
11 oz canned yellow corn, drained


1. Coat bottom of a large stockpot with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Place one can of beans in blender; add sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture back into stockpot.
3. Place second can of beans and broth in blender and puree until smooth; add to stockpot.
4. Stir third can of beans (do not puree first), tomatoes and green chilies, and corn into stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Yields about 1 1/2 cups of soup per serving.

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: 15 Bean Soup Crock Pot

I love the fact you can cook 15 BEAN SOUP® beans in a crock pot or slow cooker.  This easy to follow recipe will have a pot full of 15 Bean Soup waiting for you after a day of activities.  When the weather gets COLD, soup is my go to food, what is your comfort food when it gets cold?

Cook Time about 6 hours.     Prep Time about 10 minutes.     Servings 12


1 pkg Hurst’s® HamBeens® 15 Bean Soup®
8 cups water (use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth for added flavor)
1 lb. smoked or ground sausage, or use a hambone with some meat on it. .
1 large. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
Juice from 1 lemon
Optional: Hot sauce or crushed red pepper to taste

Cooking Directions  –  NO SOAK METHOD

  • In a colander or sieve, rinse beans thoroughly. Sort and inspect for any unwanted debris and discard.
  • Drain and pour beans in a slow cooker with 8 cups of stock/water, onions, meat or hambone, garlic and chili powder. (Not tomato or lemon juice yet!)
  • Stir to combine. Set slow cooker on high and cook for 5-7 hours then check to make sure beans are tender. The soup can continue to simmer for several hours and will develop more flavor over time.
  • After the beans are tender, remove the hambone (leave any ham in the pot), stir in the can of diced tomatoes, our Ham Flavor packet, and the lemon juice.
  • Cook for additional 30 minutes then keep warm until ready to serve.

It is recommend serving freshly baked corn bread or serve it over rice.  Keep in mind every time the lid is opened, your cooking time will be longer.

Additional Cooking Tips

  • For even more flavor, substitute beef, chicken or vegetable stock instead of water.
  • You can also try 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts or 1 lb. beef roast, then shred meat before Step 5 above.
  • It’s best to wait until AFTER the beans have become tender or fully cooked before adding any acidic ingredients like tomatoes, citrus, vinegars, etc.

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What is YOUR favorite soup recipe?  Share it with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato &Turkey Frittata

Thank you to the Food Babe for this YUMMY recipe!

As you know we have health struggles in our house and one of our goals is to battle them in a holistic manner.  So we stumbled onto Vani Hari and were immediately hooked.

This can be used for brunch but I actually like it for dinner with a salad or some fresh veggies roasted in the oven.  Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite veggies and they are full of beta carotene – a potent antioxidant for fighting aging – along with lutein which make them fantastic for your eyes and vision. We are blessed to get fresh eggs from a family member so I know they are organic eggs.  I swear they taste better too! Eggs are a good source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin D & B12.

Prep time:  5 mins     Cook time: 20 mins     Total time:  25 mins     WW SmartPoints: 11 Serves: 2-3


2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
4 ounces ground turkey (vegetarian: use 1 cup chopped kale)
1 sweet potato, peeled and small dice
5 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
⅛ teaspoon ground pepper, more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until no longer pink. Add the sweet potato and cook until tender, adding water to the pan if needed.
  • Pour the sweet potato mix in an oven safe dish. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the chili powder, salt and pepper. Add to the sweet potato mix and place in the oven.
  • Bake for roughly 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are set. To serve, place a slice of the frittata on your plate and top with some chopped parsley. Enjoy!

**Please use all organic ingredients if possible.**  Let us know if you try this and what you think.  Have a recipe you want to share?  Be sure to send it to me!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Beat Manic Mornings

Some have already gone back to school or will be in the next week or so.  While the kids on the Jersey shore know the new school year is just around the corner.  Today’s post was inspired by thepeacefulmom.com. It has been a long time since I had anyone going back to school but I do remember some of the tricks which helped this crazy busy single mom stay sane (okay, maybe only a little).

Transitioning from summer days to the schedule of the school year can be rough.  Belinda always had a schedule even in the summer because of sports (gymnastics, field hockey and cheering) but she was definitely NOT a morning person.  So the first step was adjusting from the late nights and late mornings to early to bed, early to rise.  When she was younger, we started about 2 weeks before school started with moving bedtime up about a 1/2 hour every few days until the time school started, she was going to be at her required bedtime.  No it wasn’t easy and many days it was a fight BUT when the school year started it was a little bit easier.

Here are some tips to to help you send your kids back to school and make mornings a little less crazy at your house.  You can take a few pro-active steps to reduce the stress and chaos.

Prepare the Night Before

Generally anything you can do the night before will help to relieve stress in the morning. Kids should pack backpacks, make lunch, choose clothing and pick up after themselves. Mom can make sure all permission slips and forms are signed and all homework makes it back into the backpack, then set the table for breakfast (or at least think about what the kids will eat the next morning).  I know this sounds like a lot of work after a long day especially for the single mommas BUT it does help.  I know breakfast is the most important part of the day but it was not Belinda’s favorite meal and she hated eating in the morning.  The key was to have some grab and go things she could eat while getting ready or on the way to the bus stop.

Gather Your Gear

Having one central spot for everything is key.  It makes heading out the door a snap. Place backpacks, shoes, library books, lunch money, permission slips, etc. on and around an entry way table or in bins or baskets inside your entryway closet. No more searching for lost keys or forms you need to sign.  Ours was the counter in between the kitchen and the living room.  This way we could see everything on the way out either the front or the back door.

Create a Morning Routine for the Kids

Routines are the key to making your mornings run smoothly. It started with a routine for me.  Up early to get ready for work then get Belinda up.  Probably making a list of everything your kids need to do, creating a checklist they can mark as they accomplish each task would work for some but we weren’t list makers.  If you have kids who are too young to ready, use pictures.  If we had multiple kids, this would have been a definite to do.  A chart inside a plastic page protector so your child can use a dry erase marker then erase the marks each day. A great way to teach kids responsibility while ensuring you are not running around like a crazy women trying to get everything done in the morning.

Use Rewards

Use whatever your kid loves (watching TV, playing on the computer, playing video games) as a reward for when he gets ready ahead of schedule. In other words, no playtime until he’s done what he needs to.  

Get Ready First

This was always huge for me.  The fact I was a morning person made the difference.  It was easy for me to be up at 5AM to get what I wanted done before I woke up Belinda.  If you aren’t a morning person, you need at least a few minutes before the kids wake up to gather your thoughts and start your day well. Creating a routine for yourself is imperative for sane mornings.  Believe me the 10 minutes or so of quiet time to drink your coffee will make a big difference in the way your day goes.

What is your best tips for a sane morning when school starts?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Tasty Tuesday: Naked Chicken & Eggplant Parm

Thank you Hungry Girl for another AWESOME recipe.  The farmer markets are open and veggies are fresh.  What better way to enjoy them then with some protein.  I’m not usually one to run the oven this long in the summer but it is sooooo worth it.

All the things you crave about chicken and eggplant Parmesan, in one big melty dish… Super yum!

Prep: 15 minutes          Cook: 1 hour and 10 minutes          Cool: 10 minutes

1/4th of pan (4″ X 4″): 350 calories, 12g total fat (5.5g sat fat), 814mg sodium, 14.5g carbs, 6g fiber, 7.5g sugars, 45.5g protein — SmartPoints™ value 6*


1 large eggplant (about 20 oz.), ends removed
Four 5-oz. boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets and an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
  • Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt, and lay on one of the baking sheets.
  • Lay chicken cutlets on the other baking sheet, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • Bake eggplant and chicken for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine these ingredients in a medium bowl: tomatoes, 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, and 1/2 tsp. each garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well.
  • Remove chicken from oven.
  • Flip eggplant, and bake until lightly browned and mostly softened, about 12 minutes. Remove sheet, but leave oven on.
  • Evenly layer the following ingredients in the baking pan: 1/4th of the sauce, half of the eggplant slices, another 1/4th of the sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp. Parm, and another 1/4th of the sauce. Evenly top with cooked chicken.
  • Continue layering with remaining eggplant slices, sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 2 tbsp. Parm.
  • Cover pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  • Uncover and bake until cheese has completely melted and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!