Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let's Go Kids! (and an insane chili recipe)

I am not perfect. Far from it. However, I think we have a responsibility to our neighbors and passers-by to take down holiday decorations once that holiday has passed.

If you were to poll my neighbors, they would probably tell you that I am the first person on the block to put up holiday decorations. Christmas lights go up on the first warm day in November, but are not lit until Black Friday. I figure, you can't see the green wires amongst the tree branches, so no one is really affected by them. The day after Thanksgiving, Oh! The lights, they are ablaze, welcoming in the Christmas season. They usually stay lit through New Years Day, and then they get unplugged. The tree gets taken down the same day and dragged out to the curb. Some think I'm being a grinch, but the way that I see it, the holiday is over. Let's move on.

I put up hearts for Valentine's Day during the last week of January, clovers for St. Patrick's Day on the first of March, Easter Eggs immediately follow.

Here's the thing. I always take my decorations down right after the holiday is ended. It is my personal belief that there is nothing worse than decorations that have outlived a holiday, with the exception, perhaps, of a mess that follows a party.

Imagine my horror, then, when today, two days after Halloween, I see ratty ghosts hanging from trees; deflated Halloween balloons still suspended from railings and fences; brown spider webs strung out across bushes. Whole pumpkins, hay bails, and corn stalks, I understand. They continue to be festive through Thanksgiving, but carved, rotting pumpkins just look sad.

And the absolute worst is when the decorations that sit out for weeks following the holiday, are the very same decorations that didn't go up until three or four days before the holiday. Can you say "lazy"?

Enough of my rant. If you've read this and still have your decorations up, please accept my apologies, and then please take down your things. :)

Okay, as for the chili... After buying my slow cooker, I wanted to start using it for more than Deb's Pulled Pork (the sole reason I purchased it). I found a chili recipe online (stove top) and then modified it. I've made it a handful of times, and it seems to be a real hit. I did make it on the stove top once, and Ward mentioned that it wasn't as flavorful. I agree. It needs time to stew.

Tiffany's Favorite Slow-Cooker Chili
(you know you want some)
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 24 oz. Pom* chopped tomatoes (with liquid)
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 1 T jalapeno wheels (if you want it to be spicy)
  • 2 pkgs of chili seasoning
  • 1 t cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated (for topping)
*I use Pom because it's packaged in a box, not a can. It's a healthier option because can metals can leech into the tomatoes.

So easy. Here we go. Brown the beef in a pan, adding a tiny bit of water or a splash of beer to keep it from sticking to the pan. Once it's browned, add the seasoning, cumin, and salt. Mix well. Remove from heat.

Put browned, seasoned beef into slow cooker. Add tomatoes, onion, beans, and jalapenos and mix well. Then, turn the slow cooker on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours. Stir once midway through.

Put servings into small bowls, top with grated cheese, and serve with tortilla chips. I like to add a little hot sauce to mine, too.

Let me know if you try it, and how it goes. Also, feel free to share your recipes with me. Maybe I will share them in an upcoming blog.

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