The Chili – A Crafter’s Weekend Saviour

While the focus of this blog is primarily yarn related, a girl’s gotta eat!  This chili has sustained me through many a project, saving me from the hassles of cooking when I’m engrossed in far more interesting endeavours.

A few notes, suggestions, thoughts before getting started …..

I like to add the spices to the veggie/meat mixture and let it all simmer for a few minutes.  I think it enhances the flavours.  Please don’t ask why I add the corn at the end, it’s something my mother does with her chili and I’ve never really questioned it.  I just know it works and the corn is always sweet and crunchy.

Also, around the 1 hour cooking mark, I like to have a taste to see if I’ve made it spicy enough, does it need more salt, etc.  Check throughout the cooking to make sure it has the right amount of kick that you’re looking for.  I’ve found some days I want an extra tbsp of chili powder, some days I think another dash of cayenne is in order.  Chili is one of those fabulous dishes that you can easily adjust to suit your personal tastes.

Chili freezes beautifully when stored in proper freezer friendly containers.  I like to divide it up in meal size portions pulling on out the morning of the day that I’ll need it.

The Chili

3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium/large onions, small dice
small head of celery (remove leaves), small/medium dice
1 green bell pepper, small/medium dice
1 red bell pepper, small/medium dice

700 g (approx. 1 1/2 pounds) extra-lean ground beef

5 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh ground kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

*combine these dry spices in a small bowl and set aside.

2 squirts of ketchup (approximately 2 tbsp)
1 ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 cup red wine (merlot, malbec)

1 – 796 ml (28 oz) can of whole, peeled tomatoes, with juices
1 – 796 ml (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, with juices
2 – 540 ml (19 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained
1 – 540 ml (19 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 – 540 ml (19 oz) can tomato juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 – 341 ml (12 oz) can Niblets corn

In a large dutch oven (this is where I bring out my bad ass Le Creuset cast iron pot – I cook everything in it).  Saute the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat until onion has softened.  Add celery and bell peppers and cook over medium heat until the veggies are softened but still on the firm side.  Add ground beef and cook until meat is browned.  Add spices and mix well to coat the meat and veggies.   Add the ketchup, Worcestershire, Tabasco and red wine.  Mix thoroughly.

Add the whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, red kidney beans, chickpeas, tomato juice and tomato paste.  Stir to mix thoroughly and increase heat to bring the contents to a boil.  Once the chili is bubbling, reduce to simmer and partially cover the pot.  Let cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours stirring every 20 minutes or so.  Add the corn with your last stir of the pot and continue to cook until the corn is heated.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese, sliced green onion and a dollop of sour cream (full fat of course!) or just eat it as is from the pot.  If I’m feeling a carb-craving coming on, I make some garlic toast to serve on the side.

Enjoy!!!

 

A Personal Piece of Creative Heaven

It’s sharing time today…..there is a place, or rather a place in time, that I would describe as a personal heaven – it’s around 10 pm in the evening when my always entertaining, ever-loving and exhausting (in the best way possible) daughter has been happily, sound asleep for a couple of hours, the school bags are packed, clothing set out and lunches made for the next day (this level of organization does actually happen about 75% of the time) and there is a general calm over the household.  

I can smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.  Feeling serene, I fill my cup, add the requisite cream and sugar and then settle into my big oversized chair.  In front of me on my coffee table and the floor below are newly started projects (ok, some not so new), gauge samples spread out all over.  There are a myriad of supplies: crochet and knitting needles; stitch markers; scissors and baskets and bags full of …. wait for it….yarn!  

Surrounded by an array of beautiful hues of colour and simple tools to aid my creative juices, I am peaceful.  Not only peaceful, but buzzing with swirling thoughts of “what can I make next?”  Make no mistake, you can be peaceful even though your mind is busy.  I believe your state of mind rather than the pace determines your level of zen.

Happy knitting, hooking, crafting, designing, whatever brings you joy to all of you out there!

New Yarn Purchase ~ Sakura Cotton in Amazing Fall Colours

my yarn stash continues to grow and grow….guilty pleasure #1 (which comes just ahead of watching Gilmore Girls re-runs over and over) —  buying yarn for the pure pleasure of “I must have it!” , no particular project in mind but just it’s beautiful and I will think of something eventually.

I’m very excited about my latest purchase – Sakura Cotton (distributed by Estelle Yarns)

I picked up two 100g hanks of Sakura Cotton, it’s called colour no. 52803 but if I had to name it, I would call it “Canadian Fall”  There are beautiful hues of reds, oranges, yellows and browns, all colours that make up the leaves falling this time of year here in Vancouver, BC.

Made of 50% cotton, 30% viscose and 20% silk, this yarn has texture while remaining soft, making me lean towards using it for a lacy style shawl/wrap – light enough for fall but adds warmth on the chillier mornings.

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If you have a project idea that you think would be perfect for these lovelies, please share! I’d love to hear from you!