With the weather changes we tend to look for comfort in food, something to make us feel all warm and cozy. I love the crisp fall air, being outside and doing yoga in the crunchy leaves then coming in for a hot bowl of tasty chili. Its just a nice bowl of yum. I love stuff that I can always change and things that are easy to whip together and get the house smelling awesome. Chili is the perfect meal that you can always switch up so its not the same ol chili every time. I have basic spices and add ins that I use pretty much every time and then you can always mix it up a bit and throw in what I like to call wild card ingredients.
The Low Down: Hearty Chili
couple pinches of salt & pepper
brings out juices and flavors
cayenne or chipotle pepper
(even just a little dash just for the health benefits, adds a great smokey flavor you won't taste it if you don't like spice :)
black beans in chili sauce
protein ...or not if you would like vegetarian :)
I enjoy ground: turkey or chicken mixed with lean beef or wild game such as venison. I use about a pound for all of this. You can use more or less.
Table spoon of:
oil (olive or coconut is what I like)
veggies (variety of colors :) - kale, celery, onion, corn, radish ...
2TBS almond or corn flour (to thicken it up)
garlic - 2-3 cloves :) ... it's so good for you!
Wild Card Ingredients:
Hot peppers: jalapeños, habanero and such :)
friendly reminder ...wearing gloves while handling and cutting is highly recommended as the chemical Capsaicin is released with each slice and on the inside of such peppers.
Beer: mostly use a home brew or local nutty brown beer to add flavor, and believe it or not health properties :) (replaces 1 can of water)
or any other exciting spice you would like to add from your kitchen :)
The Culmination of Ingredients...
The gathering of the ingredients is the hardest part...now grab that crock pot and let the smells begin!
All canned veggies and spices are tossed into the croc with two cans of water. Stir. Next, the veggies and protein... I like to sauté my veggies (kale, celery, and onion) in a mix of oil and butter to really bring out and enhance the flavors. Chop up slightly small. Cook them on a low heat. They will get a nice translucent look. Meanwhile, chop up your garlic and add near the end (so you don't burn the flavor). Add a dash of salt and pepper to bring out the flavors. Pour into croc and stir.
With the flavor bits still left in the pan add protein of choice and sauté down. Add cumin, clove of chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Once done, drain and add to croc. (at this point if there's other ingredients you would like to try out...do it! have fun and play! )
Stir croc pot ingredients and slowly add in almond flour ( or any on hand ) to thicken it all up! This is when the magic starts to happen. I like to start this after breakfast since I'll be doing dishes anyway. It gets the meal going and then you can be off with your day! Let it sit for at least an hour then turn to low. Otherwise if you will be eating 6 or more hours later starting on low is fine.
I like to stir it at the hour point to mix it and BONUS flavor enhance the whole house!
Meanwhile, if you're preparing this on a football Sunday it's a great time to get outside and enjoy the crispness of the day! Even on those cool chilly (: days, just get out and toss the football around a few times. Get the endorphins going. Some down dog tosses are super fun too :). You can even Crescent Lunge the ball back and fourth. Whatever your doing just smile and enjoy.
Then taking some time at the end to ground yourself and connect with the earth and taking some deep breaths in and out to really be thankful for these moments we have. Life is so beautiful so just enjoy. It's fun to get out and connect with nature.
I'm totally one for festivities and traditions. So after play outside I grab my warm tasty bowl of chili and top with whatever fixn's I have in the fridge. Avocado, Cheese, Fresh Onion, Cilantro and Lime are my favorite! You can go plain if you choose to as well, that's the beauty of cooking, you do as YOU choose! Sit and enjoy around the game, pick a team or player and root them on!