Br-r-r-r. . .
It was 11 degrees outside when I came downstairs this morning. I don't think it got warmer than 25 degrees all day. And the sun was shining! The bone-chilling cold didn't stop the girls from rushing outside to have some fun. But even with all the layers they didn't last long. Soon they were back inside wrapped in blankets and sipping hot cocoa.
We haven't gone anywhere for days, not since the last storm dumped about half a foot of snow on us. No worries though. We have our little diversions; our winter Scrabble tournament has begun. Is "woot" a word?
The pantry is stocked and the crock-pot is back in full rotation. My homemade chili is so good and especially warming on cold wintry days. I usually start right after lunch so it's ready by dinnertime. Here's the recipe if you need warming up too:
1. Rinse: 2 cups of dried red beans, put them in the crock-pot and cover them with boiling water. Cook on high for about 2 hours until they are tender. (Watch that the beans don't cook dry, add a little hot water when necessary.)
2. In a skillet: brown 1 pound of ground turkey in olive oil, (sausage is good too), with 1 cup chopped onion, and 3 chopped garlic cloves. Season with dried herbs; oregano, thyme & sage. Add 1/2 teas. fennel seeds, 1/2 teas. cayenne pepper flakes, (adjust to your own taste, this is medium-hot); 2 teas. (mild) curry powder, and 1 T. soy sauce. Cook it all together until well blended, then add it to the pot.
3. Then add: one 8 oz. can chopped peeled tomatoes, one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, and 2 T. of brown sugar. Mix everything together and cover. Cook on high for 3-4 hours; reduce to low an hour before serving. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese.
I like to make cornbread to go with this, and I like to make it in a large old-fashioned cast-iron skillet the way my great-grandma always did, to get that delicious golden-brown crust on the sides. It's easy. Just use any cornbread recipe that makes enough to fill an 8 x 8 baking dish. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F and place the empty skillet inside for 5 minutes. Take it out, and carefully brush the hot skillet with oil, coating the sides and bottom so the cornbread won't stick. (I use Nutiva organic extra virgin coconut oil for this). Pour the cornbread mixture into the heated skillet, leaving an inch or more from the top for rising. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting it into pie shaped wedges.