Worth all the Effort Chili

CHILE POWDER

  • 3 medium dried chili pods, stems and seeds removed, spread flat
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

CHILI

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 8 ounces bacon
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ¾ cups beef broth
  • 1 28-ounce can puréed tomatoes
  • 2 poblano chiles, stems and seeds removed

    PREPARATION

  • For the chile powder: Place the chiles flat in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and cook, turning as needed, until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool. Put the cumin seeds in the hot pan and stir until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  • Using scissors, cut the chiles into small strips. Using a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder, grind in batches into a powder. Pour into a bowl. Grind the cumin seeds into a powder and add to the bowl. Add the oregano and garlic powder. If the mixture is still coarse, grind again until fine. Reserve 3 1/2 tablespoons for the chili; save the rest in a jar.
  • For the chili: In a Dutch oven over medium heat, stir the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour onto a work surface and using a small, heavy skillet, crush them coarsely. Set aside.
  • Return the pot to medium-high heat, add the bacon and fry until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Increase the heat to high. Working in small batches, add the beef cubes to the pot and cook, stirring, until well browned on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions to the remaining bacon drippings and sauté until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the crushed cumin, reserved chili powder, paprika, oregano, black pepper, thyme, salt and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Crumble in the bacon and add the broth, tomatoes, 1 cup water, poblanos and the browned beef. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low, cover partly and simmer for 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Add water as needed to maintain a good chili consistency.
  • Remove the poblanos, purée them in a food processor or blender and return the purée to the pot. Stir well, simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors and serve.
  • Serve with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and slice of sourdough bread
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Tuscan Vegetable Soup (Vegan Option)

I am not a bean fan but I know I need the protein.  I love this soup because you can mash half or all of the beans so it becomes part of the broth. I also put Nutritional Yeast instead of Parmesan for me.

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced, (about ½ cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Directions

In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.

Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.

Family's Favorite Soup

Whenever my family isn't feeling well and I don't have time to make homemade chicken noodle soup, this is my go to soup. It is quick and easy and so delicious!

 

Italian Red Lentil Soup

  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled & finely chopped (I prefer to use a garlic press)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups water
  • 3/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed & drained
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons small pasta shapes (for gluten free use quinoa or white basmati rice)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a large sauce pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over high heat until the onion becomes translucent.  Pour in the water, cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in the carrots, lentils, and salt and simmer partially covered over moderate heat for 10 minutes.  Stir in the pasta and continue to cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes until creamy.  Remove from heat.  Stir in parsley until well combined.  

My guys add hot sauce for a little kick.

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No voice....no problem!

I did a pop up shop this weekend and after a 15 hour day backed up to a 9 hour day I totally lost my voice.  I adapted this soup from the Oh She Glows cookbook. This soup always hits the spot with its creamy broth and smokey kick. It is a personal as well as a family favorite. I am not a bean fan (I know shocking & tough being a vegan) therefore I only use half a can.

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight, drained & rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (1 cup reserved for the cashew cream)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 white yam, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 2 tablespoons 10-Spice Mix, to taste
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • few handfuls of torn kale or spinach
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Homemade 10-Spice Mix (makes 1/2 cup):

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews with 1 cup of vegetable broth and blend on the highest speed until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and season with sale and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. 
  3. Add the carrots, bell pepper, potato, celery, and diced tomatoes with their juices, the remaining 5 cups broth, and 10-Spice Mix and the cashew cream mixture. Stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Simmer the soup uncovered for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, remove the bay leaves and stir in the kale or spinach and drained beans. 

Cashew Coconut Coffee Creamer

I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years.  I went vegan about 3 years ago.  One of the hardest parts for me was giving up half and half in my coffee.  I did not like any of the store bought vegan creamers.  They didn't stay "up" in my coffee and I did not like the flavor...I missed the creamy deliciousness of my morning cup of coffee.  After experimenting with many different recipes here is where I found my "half and half" minus both halves...I hope you enjoy.

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight then drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/4 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 of a can of full fat coconut milk; open the can and blend well preferably in a nutribullet
  • pinch sea salt
  • optional: flavoring ie. vanilla extract, almond extract

Place cashews and water in a blender and blend on high until smooth (you may need to add more water if the consistency seems to thick....it will thicken in the refrigerator slightly.)  Add pinch of sea salt and coconut milk and continue to blend on high. Lower speed and add your flavoring.  Pour in airtight container and store in refrigerator.  Lasts about a week.