Caribbean Bean Stew + Exciting News

20130414-DSC_8313-2Monday…..we meet again. Back to work after a quiet weekend with family. Hope you all had a nice weekend. Yesterday, I was finally able to get out and enjoy a nice walk at the park without freezing my butt off. The sun was shining and the warmth felt wonderful. We are supposed to get more snow this week, but hopefully it does not last. I am DONE with winter!

Yesterday evening, I decided to use up the last of the sweet potatoes I have had in the pantry. After seeing a recipe for coconut rice in one of my favourite cookbooks, Chloe’s Kitchen, I decided I needed to make something with a Caribbean flare. I love Caribbean flavours – cumin, cinnamon, lime, coconut, mango, cayenne….delicious! I decided to roast the sweet potato with some homemade jerk seasoning. (Note: I’ve included a recipe for jerk seasoning below) Then to add some protein to the dish, I opted for some stewed black beans. I cooked the black beans slowly and infused them with some lime and cumin. To serve, I layered some creamy coconut rice (yum!) with the cumin-lime black bean stew topped off with some jerk spice roasted sweet potatoes and  homemade mango salsa. The end result was a fantastic, filling dish with a ton of flavour. I love a one-dish meal loaded with protein, fibre and veggies.

And now for some exciting news!!! In my last post, I alluded to some exciting news that I then proceeded not to post the next day as promised. Oops! Sorry! :) So, without further ado….Jesse and I have decided to get married ^_^ We have booked our wedding ceremony and reception for this upcoming October. 6 months to plan a wedding! Can it be done!? :) We are very excited. I’m not a huge fan of jewelry (odd…I know!), so we have decided to do an engagement trip to England this upcoming summer instead. I am a huge fan of travel! :) Lots of look forward to. Any wedding advice to share? We’ve got the venue booked and my dress so far. What’s next?

Coconut Rice Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Basmati or Jasmine rice
  • 1-14 ounce can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Cumin-Lime Black Beans

  • 2-15 ounce cans of organic black beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Jerk Seasoned Roasted Sweet Potato

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of jerk seasoning (store bought or use the recipe below)
  • salt and pepper



1. Preheat oven to 375’F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the sweet potato cubes, canola oil and jerk seasoning. Toss with hands to distribute spice over all sweet potato cubes. Spread the cubes onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Roast sweet potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender.

3. Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk, rice, water and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring mixture to a gentle boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow rice to sit, covered, for another 15 minutes. Set aside.

4. While the rice is cooking, heat canola oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Sprinkle cumin powder over the garlic. Add black beans, 1/2 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Allow beans to simmer while the rice is cooking.

5. To serve, layer a scoop of rice with a scoop of the cumin-lime black beans. Top with a helping of jerk roasted sweet potatoes and garnish with some fresh chopped cilantro and mango salsa.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Source: adapted from Chloe Coscarelli (Chloe’s Kitchen)

Jerk Seasoning

Combine 2 teaspoons of paprika, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ground all-spice, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg,  1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder. Store in an airtight container.


    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Melissa :) Ooooo! A new range is also a good option! I like the way you think. Maybe I’ll opt out of a wedding ring too. I could use a new stove. *hehe*

  1. says

    YAYAYYAY I’m soo happy for the two of you!! You can do it!! <3 <3

    Now to the stew, this looks sooo yummy! I will add it in next weeks meal plan :)

    • thefigtree says

      *hehehe* Thank you!!!! So exciting! Just have to book a florist, get a cake made and pick some decorations. Not too bad. I hope! *hehe*

  2. says

    wow! this is a MUST MAKE meal for me! this looks positively delicious and perfect in every way!
    and CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming nuptials AND an engagement trip to england! how fun!

    • thefigtree says

      I hope you have a chance to make this! The coconut rice was so creamy and delicious. Yum! And thank you Caitlin! We are pretty excited! :) So looking forward to our engagement trip and then all the fun festivities that come with having a wedding. With yet another snow storm today, we need something to look forward to! lol

  3. says

    Congrats! How exciting! I am getting married this August and we have had a relatively stress free time planning because for the most part, we do what we want and not what others think we should do. That’s the best advice I can recommend and it seems like you’re already doing it so keep at it and have a great engagement trip!

    • thefigtree says

      Thank you so much! xo I think that is key – you need to do what’s right for you and your partner. It’s a day you want to remember as being really indicative of who you are as a couple, not what everyone thinks you should be. That being said…we’ll see how everyone likes getting vegetarian food during the reception dinner. *hehe* :) I hope your wedding plans are going well!

  4. says

    CONGRATULATIONS! Oh my goodness, I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to hear more about your planning process and your trip to England! Sounds wonderful! :-)

    P.S. I’m not a jewelry gal either- we just spent more money on the honeymoon too. :-)

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Kristy! xo After yet another snow storm here today, we need something to look forward to! :) Very excited to go to England. And very excited to plan the wedding and get hitched! I think saving the ring money for the honeymoon is a great idea. Rings are pretty, but I love the memories we create when we travel. I could not believe the price of rings! I kept telling Jesse “these cost as much as a plane ticket to Europe!!!” He eventually said “Let’s just go to Europe then!” YAY! :)

  5. says

    Congrats! Engagement to marriage in 6 months can definitely be done! My husband and I got engaged in Feb 2008 & married in June 2008. Enjoy the wedding planning :0)
    The caribbean bean stew sounds delicious!

    • thefigtree says

      Awe, thank you Beth! xo I think I need to plan a wedding in 6 months or less. I can be a huge procrastinator. So a shortened time limit will put a little fire under me to get moving on things. *hehe*

  6. says

    CONGRATS COURTNEY!!!! Can’t wait to hear more about your plans and trip to England..and of course…take tons of photos :) All the best!

    • thefigtree says

      Thank you so much Jaime! xo I plan on taking a ton of photos in England and Wales. Maybe I’ll even get to visit Coronation Street! *hehe* I’m so excited for all of the yummy food there. Thankfully we’ll be walking around lots. I plan on overindulging! *hehe*

  7. says

    This is the perfect recipe for today!
    Congrats on your engagement! Having just gotten married myself, my only recommendation is stay true to yourselves. Everyone has an opinion of what you should or should not do. When making your wedding decisions, keep in mind why you’re getting married – for love. 20 years from now the colour of your napkins or what kind of flowers you had!

    • thefigtree says

      Thank you so much! xo It’s so true. You want your wedding to represent who you are as a couple. We are trying to stay true to who we are throughout the planning process. It’s all very exciting though! We had our food tasting last week. So much fun! I could do that every week! Loved trying a bunch of different meals and desserts!!! Now…to fit into my dress. lol :)

  8. says

    Ahh, congratulations Courtney!!!! I’m so excited for you! :D My husband and I planned our wedding in 6 months too, so I’m here for you if you need advice. ;) I’m also not a jewelry person. My engagement ring was $60 and my wedding ring was $25–and I love them!

    I love the sound of this stew. Caribbean flavors are my favorite too!

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Kiersten! :) I’m glad to hear your planned your wedding in 6 months as well. A lot of people were shocked when we told them we were planning a wedding in 6 months. Made me nervous! But I think it’s doable. We booked our venue, our photographer and I got my dress. So, not too bad! :) Where did you find your ring? I’m hoping to find a cheap wedding ring that has more sentimental value than shine. *hehe*

  9. says

    I love all the layers in this dish – the salsa, jerk sweet potatoes, spiced black beans, and coconut rice – all sound amazing! Congratulations on the wedding news! Sounds like you have a busy 6 months coming up, but it seems like you’re already ahead of the game so I’m sure everything will go smoothly!

    • thefigtree says

      Everything was so tasty on their own, but all together – wow! :) I especially liked the coconut rice with the salsa. Yum! I added a little avocado on top tonight for our leftovers. So delicious! Thank you for your sweet congrats! *hugs* We are so excited.

  10. says

    Congratulations, Courtney!! This is wonderful news! And a trip to England sounds just wonderful. So excited for you both!!! Marriage is awesome — you will love it :)

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Sonja! :) We are very excited. Both for England and the wedding in October! I’ve always dreamed of an October wedding. Looking forward to being married to Jesse. He’s a pretty fantastic guy. *hehe*

  11. says

    This dish looks delicious and right up my alley, but more importantly, congratulations!! A trip instead of an engagement ring – that is a fantastic idea!! And I’m sure you can plan the wedding by October, it will be such a nice time of year to get married too. So exciting!

    • thefigtree says

      *hehe* I thought so too. I think travelling is the best way to make memories. A ring would not really do that for me. I want an adventure! :)
      I am so excited to get married in October – my very favourite month – over Thanksgiving weekend – my favourite holiday! :)

  12. says

    Huge congratulations to you two! So exciting! I LOVE giving wedding and relationship advice, to the point of being obnoxious, so I should probably just bite my tongue – lol. ;) My biggest chunk of advice would be to focus on what’s important – the rest of your lives together. It’s just a wonderful day of celebration and love – but just one day. I have no doubt you’ll be able to keep that in perspective – and I absolutely believe it helps to have a somewhat short engagement! Not much time for crazy relatives to nose in and to find more and more things to spend money on. ;)

    (Love this recipe, too!)

    • thefigtree says

      *haha* Thank you!!! And I welcome your advice! I need all of the help I can get :) I think a short engagement is ideal for us, as I am a procrastinator. I need the pressure! LOL. I’ve done well already – booked a venue, photographer AND got my dress the first day I started looking. Not too shabby! *hehe* I have to do save-the-dates this weekend and then start looking around for florists. I think I can handle this :) Ask me again in 3 months. LOL

  13. Helena says

    YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! So happy you shared it with us! Thanks so much Courtney! <3

    The stew looks amazing-I will be sure to try it out!

    Love lots!

  14. says

    Squeeee!!!! How exciting, Congrats!! We planned our wedding in 6 months so YES it’s totally doable! I actually was really happy we did a shorter time frame because you don’t have time to agonize over small not-that-important details and you can just make choices and move on to the really important stuff! <3

    • thefigtree says

      Thanks Melissa!!! xo We are very excited. I’m glad to hear a few people have planned a wedding in 6 months or less. I need the shorter deadline to keep myself going. Otherwise I’ll start procrastinating! lol And you are right – if I give myself too much time, I’ll have more time to second guess myself and worry. I just want this wedding to be a fun celebration with family and friends. It need not be complicated :) I hope! hehe

  15. says

    Congratulations!!! You’ll have no trouble planning a wedding in 6 months! It’s the perfect amount of time!

    Also, this looks fantastic, I can’t wait to try!

  16. Terri says

    Congratulations to you! I think you’ll be just fine!

    I found your cumin-lime black beans as a last minute accompaniment to a curry recipe I was trying and they are AMAZING! I rarely eat beans without them being mixed into something else and I just devoured these! I can’t wait to try everything here together next time!

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