Monday, April 21, 2014

Chili con Carne to Feed a Crowd and Some Easter Fun

Last weekend, we invited friends for an egg coloring and chocolate fountain party. The kids also did an Easter egg hunt.

We had the chocolate fountain running in the afternoon, and I was looking for an easy dinner that I could make ahead of time. Chili seemed perfect. I made it the day before and reheated it the day of the event. The flavors came together nicely, and it made entertaining stress free.

Easy Chili con Carne

About 12 - 15 servings

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  • Chili powder, start with about 2 teaspoons
  • Smoked paprika, start with 2 teaspoons 
  • Cayenne pepper, start with 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin, start with 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, a dash
  • Oregano, dried, 1 teaspoon
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 10 – 15 drops Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • beef or veggie broth to thin the chili out a bit, if needed
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions to the hot oil.
  2. Add the bell peppers and the garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the chili powder, paprika, Cayenne pepper, and cumin and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the ground beef and cook until it is cooked through.
  5. Add the oregano, tomatoes, ketchup, Tabasco, salt, and pepper, and simmer for about an hour.
  6. Add the kidney and black beans and cook for another 30 minutes.
  7. If the chili is too thick, thin it out with some beef or veggie broth.
  8. Taste the chili and add more seasonings to taste. I added quite a bit more of everything, and it ended up having a nice kick. I like the combination of spices that have been cooked for a long time and the “fresher” ones added toward the end of the cooking time. If you add more seasonings, cook another 10 - 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and diced onions. Some of our guests enjoyed some bread with their chili.

Questions: What is your favorite dish to entertain a crowd with? What was the highlight of your weekend? If you celebrate, did you have a nice Easter?
Be well,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Veggies and the Beach

We spent Spring break at Avila Beach. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very warm, but we still had a great time, especially since my aunt came with us.

We stayed in a place with a kitchen, so we cooked almost all of our meals, which I much prefer to going out to eat. Somehow prepping food and cooking doesn’t feel like work when I am on vacation. Plus, I made sure we ate enough veggies, which can be difficult to do when eating out. Here are some of our meals:


Avila Breakfast


We loved walking to the pier and buying wild, fresh, local fish.

Questions: Do you bring your own food when you go on vacation? I always bring some food when I travel, even when we don’t have a kitchen. Most places we travel to have at least a small fridge. And I always bring a cooler. Some of my go-to travel foods are nuts, lots and lots of veggies, cheese, yogurt, hemp seeds, fruit, beef jerky, avocados… I also like to bring a piece of ginger root to make ginger tea as well as some lemons to make warm lemon water. Or do you prefer to take a break from cooking/food prep and enjoy eating out on vacation?
Be well,