Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Best, Almost Paleo Chili

Last week I was perusing pinterest and saw a pin for a yummy looking chili that claimed to be the best as well as paleo. I found it from this blog.
Her exact recipe is paleo, but when I was thinking about the traditional chili I've always had included some beans, which her recipe did not. So, I included a can of kidney beans. I'm not really familiar with the paleo diet, but I think it doesn't include beans, or only some beans? If you can clarify, let me know, cause I don't care enough to look it up but if one of my friends wants to enlighten me, please do so.

Best Paleo (almost) Chili
2 lbs. of grass fed ground beef
1 large zucchini, chopped *I had a hard time finding large ones, so I actually bought 3 smallish ones
1 medium sized sweet onion (yellow), chopped
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of water (I just reused my tomato paste can)
3-4 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
1-2 tablespoons of paprika
3 teaspoons of salt
*can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Directions: On medium heat cook down your coconut oil, then add your chopped onion and cook for several minutes until they become fragrant and softened, I think I cooked mine for 4 minutes? I didn't really time it. Then stir in a dash of salt and a pinch of your chili powder. Incorporate the ground beef and cook it with the onions, add a tablespoon of chili powder and paprika and a teaspoon of salt. Once the ground beef is completely cooked include the zucchini and let sit on medium heat for a few minutes, I stirred mine in and then let it sit without touching for three minutes. Next, add in the tomato paste, the can of tomatoes and the water and the rest of the seasoning. Stir all together and let simmer on the stove for 1-2 hours. I turned the heat down to the middle of low and medium. About every twenty minutes I would check on it and give it a good stir (but only because I have never left anything on the stove for 2 hours and so I wasn't sure how it would go). I let mine cook for just about the full two hours, most of the liquid was cooked down by then and supposedly the flavor is best by the two hours. 

This chili was so delicious. Seriously, I will definitely be eating and making this probably for the rest of my life. The prep was so easy with only two veggies to chop, but there is the wait time. 

Anyone have any chili recipes they want to swap? It's my new found love. Also, I have never been one to include much spice, and I mean, three T of chili powder and two of paprika? That is UNHEARD of for me, but I decided to trust the recipe (plus her kids eat it, so I figured it couldn't be that spicy, right?) and I'm so glad I did. It is not spicy at all, probably because the spices are all cooked down, but I've never had any chili that flavorful. I loved it, if you can't tell. 

Goals for the Year

Here, finally, are my goals for the new year:

-Read 3 books each month (minimum) -one adult, one young adult, and one children's (chapter) book (with a blog review/update each month of the books)
-Cook 2 to 3 dinner meals each week (with enough for leftovers the next days lunch or dinner)
- Find physical activity that I love and pursue it frequently (every other day). Attend barre classes every other day with the additional workout (strength training or run) on the weekend, for at least the next few months
-Have a full time job with benefits by my birthday
-Complete at least one cross stitch this year, have it framed
-Complete at least one painting this year
-Complete at least one drawing this year

Addendum: Right now I love barre classes, and feel they are doing great things for me. However, I really am just on the search for physical activity I thoroughly enjoy and after 6 months I may be all barred out, you know? Right now though, I am really enjoying them.

Before, when I've come up with new year's resolutions they tend to be big projects, but I always come away disappointed that I wasn't able to live up to all my expectations. I feel like these are truly attainable but also good achievements for myself. Before my last semester's art class it had been years since I had drawn or painted, so I think one of each this year will be a good, attainable and achievable goal. I am really excited about the reading goal, now that I'm out of school I can finally finish books I have started and dig into my long list of books I want to read, like, finally tackling Anna Karenina.

So far I have read all but my young adult book for the month and read two children's chapter books; made a delicious beef stroganoff last week and yesterday I made some amazingly simple and delicious almost paleo chili last night (recipe coming up).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The End of an Era, or a Year, or Something

It's been many moons since my last post. But let's not dwell on the past, right? It's a new year! New beginnings, new resolutions, new promises to break, new adventures, new experiences and all of those things that come with a new year.

In looking back at the year a lot has happened. Probably the biggest things that happened in my life included mine and boyfs. graduation. He finished his bachelors last May and I only just finished this past December. Of course, I haven't gotten my diploma or anything but I did pass all my classes so I am assuming there are no issues. I also participated in my first study all-nighter. That was…exciting.

I also took one of my most favorite drawing classes ever. I have been posting my projects on instagram so if you follow me there you've probably already seen them. But, here they are, a little round up of most of them (I think there about two or three not pictured, but I finally put them away so there they will stay for the time being).

 Here they are in order. Of course, we didn't start shading until part way through the semester (that middle one is sideways and of eggs),  but I still think there are some major improvements and I really enjoyed the class. I definitely want to take more art classes in the future, specifically, I have painting in mind next.

This is a closeup of my final project. It was supposed to be a sort of "self-portrait" so I decided to draw one of my bunny stuffed animals (I have an embarrassingly large amount of bunny stuffed animals for an adult) and he's looking in a mirror. Clearly that's supposed to be my face in the reflection but as I was drawing it became sort of weird and creepy looking so I went with it. I do like the bunny, the mirror thing is…okay. I like the idea of it.

Anyway, I have been thinking about the coming year and what challenges I want to embark on, but I haven't decided on them yet. So that may be an upcoming post, or not. Who knows. haha. One of my goals is to actually blog more! (surprise surprise).

Also, I have been drinking Apple Cider Vinegar in the morning. Coinciding with one of my goals (can you guess what it is?) Honestly, it's awful. But, if I get my breakfast all ready before drinking it I can usually get through it. I mix 2 T with a cup of water. I have read and tried a few things to make it more…palatable, but nothing has quite taken the bitterness and vinegar-iness away from it so I just try to choke it down as fast as possible. Here's a picture of me doing so this morning. Enjoy. And Happy New Year!