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the things we do to live a better life.

Archive for the category “Habit 3 – Eat Healthful Food”

Easy Homemade Beer Chili Recipe

Chili

This recipe is something I’ve eaten my whole life.  My strongest memories of it are on winter days, sitting at the tile table my dad built, after my mom came home from teaching skiing.  I’m not entirely sure of the accuracy of this memory, but that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that this is my comfort food.  And it’s really easy.

Baltica

Beer is key.  I love the subtle beer flavor that this chili recipe has.  It really makes it taste like chili to me.  I’ve made it before when we didn’t have beer to add, and it just wasn’t right.  This time, we had some Baltika 6 hanging around, so I threw that in.  This is a fun beer because it is a throwback to our time in Peace Corps, Azerbaijan.  I was even able to find all the ingredients to make this chili while we were in Azerbaijan.  I digress…  So without further ado…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tbs chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Beer – 1 can, or bottle, or half a 20, or however much you want to use.  I usually just use whatever we have around
  • 1 cup beef broth (I use a bullion cube and a cup of hot water)
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 extra-small can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 1 small can (14.5 oz) red kidney beans, drained

Directions:

  1. Brown and drain ground beef over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions and saute until they begin to get soft.
  3. Add cumin seeds, chili powder, salt, and pepper and saute until aromas start to smell good.
  4. Pour in beer and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans, and simmer for at least 1/2 hour to let the flavors meld and develop.  The longer the better on this.
  6. Stir in beans when almost ready to serve.

When I was little, we would eat this chili with wheat crackers, so that’s what tastes right to me.  My husband prefers cornbread, so we have that sometimes.  Enjoy!

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Summer List

1.  Read 5 Books (at least).  Here’s what’s at the top of my list:

These are the five books I have on hold for my Nook through the public library.  Gotta love free reading! I’ve also just joined a book club, so we’ll see what that will bring me!

2.  Read Alma all her books.  I seem to be in a rut with Alma’s books.  She was given so many books when she was born and we haven’t gotten to many of them.  I tend to read a couple of my favorites over and over to her, but I’m sure she’d enjoy some variety.

3.  Sew 3 dresses + some.  I am making three dresses for a secret project, but I also want to try some of the many dresses I’ve pinned on Pinterest.

4. Do push-ups and sit-ups ALL.  THE.  TIME. Jesse and I tried to do 100 Pushups a couple summer ago, but I don’t think we made it.  Time for the second attempt.  I also want to do 10 minutes of ab work every other night.

5.  Take Alma to the coast.  Can it be true we still haven’t done this?  Terrible, I know.

6.  Write 4 letters.  I got this idea from Elizabeth and thought it was a lovely idea.  I’ve really been meaning to write more letters anyway.

7.  Swim ALL.  THE.  TIME.  Wherever I can, whenever I can.  I’m hoping to get to the pool a few times this summer, and to spend some time in a river or a lake.  I love swimming more than being on land.

8.  Hike a mountain.  Luckily I am surrounded.

9.  Try 10 new recipes.  Another Pinterest challenge.  I’m going to try to focus on using whole foods and cutting refined and processed ingredients.

10.  Blog whenever I do any of these things.  This might be the hardest of all.

Quick and Easy Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

I love salmon and Brussels sprouts.  Separately, they are good, but together, they are amazing!  Here’s my quick, easy, foolproof method for preparing both.  I had dinner on the table in under 25 minutes, start to finish.  That’s a win in my book.

Last night we had our salmon and Brussels sprouts with coleslaw from our fish market.  They make the best coleslaw, it’s hard to pass up when we go buy fresh fish.  I suppose this meal would be better with a nice rice pilaf or fingerling potatoes, but it’s good with coleslaw, too.

The salmon couldn’t be easier to cook.  I used to be totally intimidated by cooking fish, but then I discovered this method.  Rub olive oil on both sides of salmon, put on a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Here’s the key:  put in a cold oven then set the oven temperature to 400 degrees.  In about 20-25 minutes (depending on the size and thickness of the fish) it’s done!   I have never overcooked our salmon using this method.  A-maz-ing.

While the salmon is cooking, chop up some Brussels sprouts.  I usually quarter them, unless they’re really big, then I cut a little more.  It’s not a science.

Heat up some olive oil over medium/ medium-high heat and throw in the sprouts.  Stir occasionally while you get your relish ready for the salmon.  It usually takes 10-15 minutes total to cook the sprouts.  Turn the heat down if it seems like they are browning too quickly.  Throw some pepper in, if you feel like it.  Or some herbs.  I put herbes de Provence in pretty much everything, but you don’t have to.  Again, it’s not a science.

I love this relish, because it tastes like a summer day.  Seriously.  It’s seriously easy, too.  Chop up some herbs.  Last night I used parsley and chives because that’s what I have growing right now.  I’ve also used dill and cilantro.  Use whatever you like.  Throw in some capers, some olive oil and the juice of a small lemon.  Add pepper, but not salt (the capers have enough salt!).  Taste a little and see if you like it.  If you don’t, add more of whatever you think would make it better.  Not a science (do you sense a theme yet?).

When the sprouts are almost done, pour in a little balsamic.  Yum.  Stir it all together until the vinegar has reduced and everything looks good and done.

Take the salmon out of the oven, put it on plates, add some of the relish on top, throw some sprouts on the plate and whatever else.  Done!  So quick!  So easy!  So yummy!

Salmon

  • Fresh salmon (about a half pound per person)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Relish

  • Quarter cup of chopped herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro, chives, whatever)
  • Juice of a small lemon
  • Quarter cup capers
  • Tablespoon or so olive oil
  • Pepper to taste

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

  • Brussels sprouts (about a half pound per person?  Cut up however much you think you would eat)
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Pepper
  • 1/8th – 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (just pour it in and see how it looks)

Monday Menu (on Tuesday)

Monday:  Grilled Cheese on homemade bread and tomato soup

Tuesday:  Out with friends for soup (I had a root canal today… yuck)

Wednesday: Fried rice

Thursday:Ravioli or chicken noodle soup

Friday:  Spaghetti at a friend’s house, we’re taking salad

Saturday:  Lasagna at a friend’s house, we’re taking another salad

Monday Menu Planning

Here’s what’s on the menu for this week:

Monday: Leftover chilli and cornbread.  I made a huge pot of chilli a couple weeks ago and froze what we didn’t eat.  Yum!

Tuesday: Chicken strips and green beans (frozen from my garden)

Wednesday: Fried rice and pot stickers

Thursday: Soft tacos with friends

Friday: Chicago Style deep dish pizza

Saturday: Dinner at a friend’s house

Sunday: Eggs Benedict brunch for Easter

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