Thursday, February 24, 2011

First thing...

Remember the teaser photo of this stew from last week?
I'm finally ready to share with you the recipe...
Inspired by one of my favorite blogs as of late, Ashley at The Edible Perspective.

Of course, like any recipe, I had to tweak it to fit the ingredients I had on hand.  It is no secret chili is one of my favorite foods, but this recipe put a new fun twist on it that I cannot take credit for.  It was all Ashley. 

Cocoa Chili

A touch of cocoa powder adds a depth of flavor to the chili that I have not experienced until now.  You gotta try it.  We all know that chocolate and chili are great flavors together and this is just one more way to incorporate it!  This is just my basic chili recipe with the addition of cocoa.  You can use this recipe or take your favorite and add the chocolate!

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 celery stalks, chopped
4-5 mini sweet peppers, chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp hot mexican chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp sugar
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans red kidney beans
1 can pumpkin puree
1 sweet potato, diced and roasted
Additional water as needed to desired thickness

In large stock pot, heat oil and saute garlic and onion.  Add carrots, celery and peppers and saute 5 minutes until soft. 
Stir in cocoa powder and seasonings with a tablespoon or two of water.  Continue stirring together for several minutes, allowing flavors to marry.  Pour in diced tomatoes and heat pot to boiling.  Once it boils, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes to several hours.

Meanwhile, peel and chop one sweet potato.  Mix with a tbsp of oil and additional chipotle chili seasoning and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes at 400*. 

About an hour to 30 minutes before serving, stir in beans and sweet potatoes and continue to cook until you are ready to serve. 
As you know, I prepared this meal thinking I would have little time for dinner.  As it turned out, I was off work early and motivated to do something different in the kitchen.  Therefore, half of this was contained for leftovers and lunches, and the other half was frozen for another quick and easy dinner.

At Bible Study this week, Shannon mentioned she was baking potatoes and sweet potatoes and to bring our own toppings with us next week.  Guess what I'm bringing?!
And yes Shannon, the Peanut Butter is coming too.  Don't knock it until you've tried it.  Peanut Butter always tops my chili!  And come to think of it, Baked Sweet Potatoes are probably another great base for Peanut Butter!  It could be epic!
I love how the Peanut Butter becomes melty and gooey.  So yum!  Just like on hot oats!
Are you tired of chili photos yet?  Ok, moving on!

There have been 3 things on my mind lately that I have failed to share with you.  The first, is that I really need to sit down and write an About Me page.  When I began this blog over a year ago I had one reader.  Me.  Why did I need to know about me?  When I look around at the blogging community I feel like one small, insignificant piece amongst the thousands out there, many of which have thousands of readers every day.  I am nowhere near that.  But I have learned not to downplay my sphere of influence.  Hundreds of people read my words each and every day, and while compared to the thousands of potential readers out there it may seem insignificant.  But compared to my previous sphere of influence (the dozen or so real-life friends) I have a pretty large stake in this world.  As such, it is responsible of me to share with you all about me, where I come from, where I'm going, etc.  So as my birthday quickly approaches, I have decided to give my readers (and potential readers) a birthday present as well.  Really, that is my way of setting a deadline for myself!  So by Saturday, March 5, 2011 you can expect a new page on the blog...hopefully with fun photos and stories to help you get to know me better!

The second and third items are more difficult to share as quickly.  One of them is the worst news of my life and the other is the best news of my life.  You can see how I am perplexed.  On one hand, I fear writing out the worst news of my life will actually make it Real.  Significant.  Then there is the best news...and I fear that typing it into words will jinx it in someway.  The bad news I have known for months.  The good news, less than a week.  And this is how I sit each day, waiting to write my blog and wondering if today will be the day I will share.  Because beyond my responsibility to my readers, there is a responsibility to myself.  And I know that this blog is as much therapy for me, as it is entertainment for you.  So today I am forcing myself to write it out.  Get it off my chest.  Let the cat out of the bag.

But not yet.

This post is already to wordy and long...but I promise it is coming.  TODAY.

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