Saturday, November 29, 2008

There's a Chili In the Air...

Every year, I look forward to Thanksgiving weekend as a time not only to celebrate with friends and family, but also to begin the holiday season.

This year, things are moving along a little differently. I haven't pulled out the Christmas decorations as I usually do, though I've managed to make this year's (very simple) holiday cards. I haven't even started holiday baking, mainly because this year I have every intention of NOT baking cookies to send to friends. (Sorry!)

Instead, I'm trying to start the holiday season at a somewhat slower pace, and after two good days spent with family, I was ready this morning to attend to a few things around home. So before heading out into the frosty morn, I decided to start up a pot of chili for lunch.

I pulled out my trusty slow cooker and started by adding some dried carrots and garlic, a dried cayenne pepper, and a quart of canned tomatoes.

From cold storage, I unearthed a few potatoes to add to the mix...

...along with an onion and the last fresh red pepper, which I sauteed with spices. I also cooked a handful of my Tiger Eye Beans and added them to the pot before setting the cooker to high and letting it do its work.

By the time I returned from my errands downtown, the day had begun to warm, but that spicy chili still tasted very good, especially with some homemade cornbread tucked in the bottom of the bowl and a sprinkling of shredded local cheddar melted on top. It warmed me up enough to send me back outside into the sunshine so that I could add some straw to the compost pile.

Then, as I waited for the lovely Phoenix to stop by for a visit, I made a modified version of the hermit cookies found in Betty Crocker, adding the half-jar of my tomatillo mincemeat and spreading the batter in a baking pan for bar cookies.

The cookies turned out moist and spicy, with a little extra texture from walnuts and local raisins and the occasional sweet-tart bits of tomatillo. Phoenix arrived just in time to enjoy a slab of the spicy confection still warm from the oven.

I think it's safe to say we both approved.

By the time we headed out to walk downtown and spend the afternoon together, the weather had warmed a little more, but we were still both grateful to have something warm in our bellies to carry us through until dinner.

And I'm so glad I found some time during the long holiday weekend to get a little cooking done!

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At 12/05/2008 10:42 AM, Blogger Tina said...

Yum! I used my slow cooker to make chili a few weeks ago, letting it cooked while I was at work. It was so nice to walk through the door and smell dinner all ready for me!

And speaking of slow cookers, a friend of mine turned me onto a blog called A Year of Crockpotting at The author made a resolution to cook with a slowcooker every day in 2008. She has slow cookers of multiple sizes so she doesn't always do dinners; she's gotten pretty creative!

At 12/06/2008 9:04 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Tina, I always say I'm going to use my slow cooker more each winter, and then I don't. So I'll have to check that site out and get some ideas. :-)


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