Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beanless Chili (and low carb diets)

Sometimes you gotta grab life by the horns and really focus on shedding some pounds. I'm not doing anyone any favors by kicking the bucket at 40 (except maybe J, if he is looking for an easy out of our marriage, lol). After talking with a pal of mine, I was able to confirm what I know is true. Carbs in excess just aren't a good idea. Duh. I've been on every low carb diet on the planet, but typically fall off the wagon (I think that happens to a lot of people). Anyway, the reason my talk with this pal was so awesome is that she mentioned WHY she was so successful was a change in her mindset about dieting in general. She no longer has a "cheat" and considers her diet wrecked, followed by a day (or days) of further cheating before she gets back on track. She now looks at it as more of a "ohwell, I wanted that cake... but I'm going to keep on eating lowcarb and not go on a bender. My diet isn't ruined by that piece of cake!" Uhm, those weren't her words exactly. In fact - here are her words exactly:

My biggest failing with diets was the mentality that oh man, I ate that, now my entire diet is ruined, I might as well give up. Nope. I ate what I wanted and continued locarbing it the rest of the day.
You know, this isn't exactly rocket surgery, but SERIOUSLY such an amazing way to look at things. A liberating way! I'm determined to embrace it. I don't know why, but knowing that I'm not forbidding myself from certain food groups for the rest of my life makes my "normal" diet so much more tolerable --- enjoyable even!

With that in mind, I decided that I was going to once again try a low-carb approach, but a less stringent one. Diets can be stressful, and I tend to be all in or all out. On Atkins specifically I would agonize over quantities on carrots or tomatoes. Serious. This time around I've decided to drastically reduce the "no-brainer" carbs. So, duh, bread and cereal and potatoes shouldn't be a regular staple of my diet. But - I'm not freaking out over a bowl of baby carrots any more. Nor will I beat myself up over too many tomatoes.

The other thing - I always felt like I had to start my diets on Monday morning. Is that some sort of rule? I mean, if it wasn't January 1st, that is. Since I was going to be going at this in a whole new way, I decided the perfect time to start this diet would be a Thursday night. 'Cuz why not? I began my new, enlightened and sane approach to dieting with this meal. Beanless chili. Yep, I just cut out the "no duh" carbs. Everything else is standard protocol.

{I used a pound each of ground chuck and ground italian sausage. It really makes the chili taste great! You can really use whatever you have --- chicken, pork, heck, why not throw in a pound of bacon?}

{Aren't these mini sweet peppers adorable? They taste yummy AND make my chili beautiful!}

{Another ingredient I'm not going to worry about. Onions aren't the enemy!}

{This is probably 10 cloves of garlic. I love garlic.}

{I used about 1.5 tsp of the Chili Powder, 1/2 a tsp of the cumin and Chipotle, and 1/4 a tsp of the Cayenne}

{Saute and soften your peppers and onions - i do this in the dish I intend to cook the chili in}

{Brown your meat - I do this in a separate dish so it is easier to drain the excess fat}

{Add your browned meat to the vegetables}

{Season! I use a tsp each of basil, thyme and oregano, and threw in 2 bay leaves}

{The canned goods - 2 cans of fire roasted diced, 1 29oz can of tomato sauce, and 2 cans of diced green chilis}

{Throw in your canned stuff. This step is actually a lot easier because you aren't draining canned beans}

{Cook for awhile - I would say let it simmer at least 45 minutes to an hour to let all your flavors gel}

{Consume! It is seriously the best chili I have ever made! We devoured the whole pot in less than 24 hours, ha ha ha}

Will track my weightloss progress here, but expect it to be slow and easy going!

Around Here...

{Grandma had a birthday, there was much rejoicing, followed shortly thereafter by a meltdown - hence Mikey Bear not being pictured.}

{Enormous pumpkin! Don't mind the crumbs. The kiddo's are stoked to carve this guy up.}

{Sometimes I just like to go door to door taking pictures from my windows. Look what I get to see everyday, people? Isn't it gorgeous! I can't get over these beautiful leaves. I love fall in SC!}

{I also love Ball Mason Jars. Handiest storage devices ever. They even make Wacky Mac look tempting!}

{It is crazy how fast critters grow. I'm thankful the boys don't grow at the same rate kittens do, though it feels like they do sometimes. <3 Fitz!}

{I've been dragging my Canon to the boys daycare all last week hoping to remember to take a picture of this beautiful tree. The picture isn't so great, it is super vibrant bright red in person!}

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days of Fall: Here and There...

{The squirrels are everywhere - our yard is their personal 'all you can eat' buffet.}

{Alton Brown claims that you can remove the "bitterness" from coffee by sprinkling some salt over the grinds before you brew. This does not work for us! I still do it anyway - Alton Brown said so! Perhaps it is time to replace our machine.}

{I can barely stand the taste of jarred salsa now, after finally starting to make my own from scratch on a regular basis. It is just too easy and too delicious not too!}

{We are getting spectacularly excited for Halloween around these parts! Looking forward to decorating our front stoop and getting the boys costumes put together!}

Friday, October 19, 2012

Life Altering Pumpkin Chip Cookies...

I'm always looking for a shortcut, especially when it comes to baking. Other recipes that might fall into this category are the Dump Cake and my former boss's Apple Cake recipe. I couldn't find a recipe online for the apple cake, so now I'm going to have to go out and buy the ingredients to make one. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, cookies!

I can't help but make everything out of pumpkin this time of year. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin chili, pumpkin pumpkin. They are on my mantle AND my dining room table. I've got one hanging up in our foyer. They are everywhere! When I stumbled on this recipe, I knew my life would be changed forever.

Here is the cast of ingredients.

I know, right? I package of spice cake mix, 1 can of pumpkin puree and 1 cup of chocolate chips. Recipe yields 2 dozen big fat cookies (if you use an icecream scoop, like i do).

These cookies are weird because they don't really move or change much after you scoop them onto the pan. They don't flatten out, or rise up... they pretty much come out the way they go in. So I guess I'm trying to say, feel free to let them lie close to one another on your cookie sheet - they aren't going anywhere!

They turned out soft, and delicious. I kept mine on a plate with a papertowel over them for a few days and they still stayed soft. Sticking these in a closed container (or ziplock bag) will results in a moist mess, and I would not suggest it.

Is everyone else loving October?

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I decided to spruce up the look of this blog. When I created this place, it was in a bit of a hurry, and I didn't know if the idea would stick. I've really grown to enjoy the new place, and I feel pretty confident that it will be the home of our family blog for a long time to come. So - I thought it would be worthwhile to finally get the place looking like I want it, and to import all the old posts from my previous blogs (going back to 2008, I think). Pretty exciting stuff, but sorry if things are intermittently broken while I work.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A few things...

I'm a bit behind on my 31 days of Fall posts. I'm going to try to make some time for them in the next few days, but didn't want to abandon this blog entirely in the mean time.

I've spent some time catching up on my google reader subscriptions, and of course as usual I've found other blogs to subscribe to in the mean time.

What is jumping out at me and inspiring me are women living with purpose! Raising their families and running their households with purpose. It has me thinking - the wheels turning. I want to do what these women are doing! I'm going to engage in an experiment, and hopefully fix some disasters going on around our home in the process.

October in SC is beautiful  Breathtaking. I ran out on my lunch today to bring J his lunch (long story) and I was struck by how beautiful the wind rustling the leaves in the trees sounded. I wondered "does wind have a sound, or is it only the things it touches that I am hearing?" Hmmm.

"The Wise Woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." ---Proverbs 14:1

Monday, October 8, 2012

31 Days of Fall: Around the House...

Just a few snapshots of the boys playing and the world outside turning beautiful shades of orange, red and brown.