Oh Monday! Looked upon by many as a dreaded day of the week. For me, it's an exciting one that I look forward to. It's typically, usually, sometimes, my day off. When looking at the calendar last Monday morning, I was pleasantly surprised that there was nothing scheduled! No pick ups, no appointments, no classes, no nothing! I started the day by taking the dog for a walk at the nearby state park, which is super great and I wish everyone could live 10 minutes away from one. As we walked, my mind started to plan out the day and it looked something like this:
Make banana bread
Mix up cookies for later
Go to the grocery store
Hang with the middler schooler
Yes, it makes me a bit tired thinking of all that. Yes, it did all happen. No, days later all the groceries are not all put away.
How in the world did I get all this done? Well, I have gadgets. Not many but some that make some magical things happen. The applesauce, made from local apples, goes in the crock pot. Here's the very complex recipe (not sure why I need to look at it each time but I do). Cookies and banana bread both get made in the stand mixer (didn't even wash it between recipes). Then I have a bread maker because yeast and I do not like each other so I can't make bread without it.
Why do you care? Because the more I learn about local food, the more I see how much gook is added to our mass produced food, the more I want to make my own. While I was on my cooking spree, Dr. Oz was on tv talking about sawdust in cheese and antibiotics in the farm raised salmon. There is so much gook out there and I combat it by using as much local food as I can and making as much food as I can. Now, do I made bread every week? No, but I really should because this little machine of mine does it so quickly and there is no high fructose corn syrup in mine. Maybe some day.
What gadget could to get that would help you make healthier food? With Christmas coming, it's a great time of year to think about it and suggest that for a present. That's how my bread maker came into the house. I asked for one for Christmas and I've been making all kinds of stuff for years now.
You know what else I love? Those Le Creuset pots... another Christmas present. Here's the basic chili recipe I made in it last Monday - free of charge! It's a Rea Drummond recipe that I totally love. I've made a few tweaks but it's a great jumping off point for you to be creative in the kitchen.
Simple, Perfect Chili
2 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour, found in the Mexican food section of many supermarkets)
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded Cheddar, for serving
Chopped onions, for serving
Tortilla chips, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.
After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and /or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tortilla chips and lime wedges.
2011 Ree Drummond, All Rights Reserved