Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Long-Awaited Chili Recipe

Yes, indeed, the long-awaited recipe. Not that you've been waiting for it, but I sure have! Over the years, I have tried so many recipes I've lost count of them all. But none of them were just right. They were ok, the family said they enjoyed it, but it just wasn't "it."

Let's face it, if you ask 100 people for their chili recipe, you'll get 100 different recipes. I tried to mimic my favorites, but they were always off on the consistency or taste. I also have to take dietary needs into account. Do you know how hard it is to make chili with no seeds? 

I started a little research project. I polled a group of long-standing online friends, friends I work with on the social committee, favorite cooks, the spice seller guy (who shall from now on be referred to affectionately as "Old Spice", but I'm getting ahead of myself) and anyone else who would listen. I wanted to know if they had a specific recipe, a secret ingredient, something that made their chili stand out in a crowd. Everyone had a different answer, and none of them went together. When I told Old Spice that my chili needed some serious help, he asked, "Well, what kind of chili do you make?" And that's when I realized I missed the most important question. "How do you define chili?" 

After talking with Old Spice for a couple of minutes, we refined my definition, and he recommended a spice blend. I was a little leery, because I'm not fond of mixes and I really hate a recipe that reads, "Open a can of soup, add it to a box of XYZ mix and bake for 7 hours." However, this blend is just right, and he adds NO fillers, no MSG, no nasties. Just pure spices. So I had narrowed down my search.

I took all of the suggestions, and played with recipes until I got the taste I wanted, but the texture was still wrong. My husband likes a good brothy chili, and I just could not find a way to get that without crushed tomatoes, which are full of seeds. But I found a way, and it turned out exactly like we wanted. My husband hid the leftovers so he could have them himself. That's a good sign. 

Leni's Chili with sour cream and slices of sharp cheddar, because I was to tired to shred it.

Leni's Notes:
~The spice blend I'm using is Cool Chili Seasoning from Stuart's Spices in Rochester, NY. It's got a tiny bit of kick, but I can tell you I don't enjoy hot food, and this is not spicy. It is a blend of ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic, oregano and salt. If you don't have the pleasure of living locally, you can order from them, just click on the Contact Us button. Or, mix up your own blend!
~Adjust the meat and bean ratio to your own liking. We like a good amount of protein in ours.
~Turn up the heat accordingly, or leave spices on the table for folks to adjust the taste themselves.
~This can certainly be done on the stove, but it is nice to throw in the crock pot and forget about.
~The amount of masa listed will thicken it slightly, but still leave a very soupy texture. Adjust amount to your liking.
~Serve with some rolls or corn bread.

32 oz Vegetable Juice (like V8)
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, diced
6 large mushrooms, diced
1/4 C Cool Chili Seasoning
2 Tbls masa (corn flour)
salt and pepper

~Brown the ground beef with the minced garlic, then drain.
~Add everything except masa, salt and pepper to the crock.
~Let cook on low 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
~Half an hour before serving, taste the broth and add salt and pepper to your liking.
~Sprinkle masa over the chili, and stir in.
~Cover and let cook until you are ready to eat.

Blessings to you from my kitchen in the frozen tundra of Western New York,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Leni Goes Wild With Essential Oils

I've got some new stuff cooking up in my kitchen. Essential oils are my new passion. We've been using them for many years, but only recently began really researching the many ways we can use them for every day health.

Let's start with some disclaimers, shall we?
~I am NOT a doctor. 
~I do not have a medical degree of any kind.
~I am not dispensing medical advice. 
~I am a mom with a family that has numerous medical issues.
~My husband and I have been researching alternative medicine for about 17 years. 
~Western medicine failed us, repeatedly, and we had to look elsewhere. 
~Desperate times, desperate measures. Praise God. 
~I am simply sharing what we have experienced, take it or leave it. 
~There are AMAZING alternative practitioners out there. Go find one. Or two. Or five. We have three that we depend on and go to for treatment, advice and training on a regular basis. 

More upfront information.
~Yes, indeed, I sell essential oils. doTERRA Essential Oils, to be exact. Not because I need the money, because I love the oils.
~I suppose, in theory, I can make a profit. I haven't, but I could. I'm ok with that, but it's not my goal.
~If you know anything about me, I don't endorse anything I don't believe in 100%. 
~If the fact that I represent the company bothers you, I apologize, really. But it is what it is. I wouldn't endorse the company if I didn't think it was the best. There may be other great companies out there. I just don't represent them, so I don't know their stuff, therefore I can't endorse them. I don't talk down about other companies. I think it's low-class, and if you have a great product, you don't need to attack anyone else. Just do what you know. It's who I am. ;o)

Can I talk about oils now?

I'm going to do the unthinkable and not start with the basics. I'll get there eventually, but tonight I was just SO excited, I had to share an EO success. I have a child that gets nose bleeds. Sometimes they are really bad and really persistent. Scary, even. We've been to the doctor and had her checked for everything imaginable, they have found nothing wrong.

We tried a lot of stuff. Ointments, humidifiers, food elimination, acupressure, acupuncture, allergy get the idea. Did I mention we do a lot of research? ;) After years of trying anything and everything, we have finally found something that worked. Cypress Oil. 

When she got a nose bleed today, I jumped into action. No really, I did. It was almost comical. I just got this oil recently, and have been waiting for a chance to test it. When I realized this was my shot, I jumped up, shoved my computer table out of the way, disentangled myself from my sleeping bag (Western NY is mighty cold this evening) and went running for the oil. I then wrestled her down and forced her to let me put some on her. She's a teenager, and somewhat resistant. I refuse to be thwarted.

I put a drop on the inside crook of each arm (about where they'd draw blood) because I'd read that this was a good place for this particular treatment. Within a couple of minutes, the bleeding had stopped. Now, might it have stopped on it's own? Maybe, but she doesn't usually stop that fast.

My husband had a lot of nose bleeds as a child, and there are a lot of circulation issues and vericose veins in the family, which all seem to be connected to nose bleeds and are treatable with Cypress.

I also read today that Helichrysum oil is great for nose bleeds, but it's expensive and I don't have any yet. It's on my list. Good for so many things!

Some folks have put together a great web site where you can search by oil, or by illness/symptoms. It is put together by folks that support doTERRA, but they try to make it usable for all. I only endorse doTERRA, but you do what you want and go with God. Just please, do not ingest ANY oil unless you know it is safe for internal use and of good enough quality to be ingested.

I plan to share more of my research as I discover new uses, and I hope you'll find it helpful. I really am having SO much success with these oils, I can't even believe it.

In coming posts:
DigestZen for ulcerative colitis, IBS, cramps, indigestion, nausea and heartburn.
Lemon Oil for germ killing and all around goodness.
Lavender Oil for relaxing,, did I not give this stuff enough credit!
Peppermint Oil for morning sickness, fever and energy.
OnGuard for the flu and nasty viruses going around. Everyone should have this stuff.
Clary Sage for all things female hormone related.
InTune for ADHD (family test subjects...we'll see what they think!)
Balance to bring you back into, well, balance. Hormones, anxiety, anger...
Eucalyptus for congestion and cough and so many other things!
Frankincense...where to begin. There's a reason the wise men brought Jesus this gift. Very expensive, very worth it.

OK, enough gushing about oils for tonight. I hope you find this as interesting as I do. If not, skip over it and find something yummy to cook. ;o)

Blessings and health from our home to yours,

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy 2014!

It's been brought to my attention (by my husband) that I've really been slacking off on blogging lately. ;) Sad reality is that I had barely enough time to cook, much less write about it!

Happily, I have changed my work status. Instead of working a full schedule, I am now only subbing. Yeay, me! I've been spending my newly found free time firmly planted in the kitchen.

Spent a couple days this week working on Pinterest finds. One was a total flop (Chili Lime Wings. Sounds wonderful, sauce was not my cup of tea at all) the other was great, after I fixed my own mistakes. Oops! I'll blog about that soon.

Looking forward to cooking and posting and hearing how things are going in your kitchens!