Cooking

Fall Cooking

Sunday I made some keto chili. With some help! Logan wanted to chop things. He has a special knife (a toddler plastic knife that is about as sharp as a plastic knife but it can cut SOME things) and he tried to chop celery (that didn’t really work) and then switched to onions. He did that for awhile and then said “the onions got me”. LOL

So I finished up chopping onions and stuff. Then he helped stir a little:

Then he lost interest. 😉 But we are trying! I made a few substitutions. I didn’t have low carb beer, so I used a splash of red wine instead. I also added celery (one stalk). I also did a combo of ground beef and chunks of stew meat to give it a little variety of texture since I wasn’t adding corn and beans and stuff.

The Best Paleo & Keto Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic ran through a press
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder *
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder optional, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional, to taste
  • 1 400 g can diced tomatoes
  • 240 ml beef broth
  • 120 ml (gluten free or low carb) beer optional**
  • 60 ml strong brewed coffee optional**
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat up olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium/high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until it just begins to brown (about 8 minutes). 
  2. Lower heat to medium, add ground beef, cloves and a large pinch of salt. Cook until it begins to brown, stirring every so often (5 to 7 minutes). Add in all the spices and cook for a couple more minutes until fragrant. Some peeps enjoy their chili spicier, others strong on cumin, etc… so feel free to adjust the spices slowly as the chili cooks (the fun part!). 
  3. Add tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Lower the heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every so often.
  4. Add in the beef broth, beer (optional) and coffee (optional). Continue to cook for 3 to 8 hours. Adding 1/4 cup water (or broth) at a time, as needed. Remember that the longer you cook it, the more flavor it gets! 
  5. Allow your chili to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving with your favorite toppings.

Recipe Notes

*Chili spices can vary a lot in taste (and preference!). Buying a ready-made chili powder mix is a good place to start. But do feel free to play around with the individual spices to your liking (think chili, oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, chipotle… you could even add some chili ancho!).

**Adding in some (gluten free, low carb) beer and coffee add a bunch of flavor. But totally optional, and your chili will still be magnificent without them! 

Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per serving (assuming a yield of 6). Nutrition Facts: Calories 251 Fat 17g Saturated Fat 6g Carbohydrates 6g Fiber 2g Sugar 2g Protein 16g

I put everything in the crockpot because I had a lot of stuff to do and would rather do chili in a crockpot all day anyways.

It turned out pretty good but not quite chili. It was more like a beef stew. I topped it with some shredded cheese, chopped red onion, sour cream and some pickled radishes (David Lebovitz’s are my favorite, and if you don’t follow him on Instagram, you should!). The pickled radishes on top were kind of an excellent addition!

Next time I would drain the can of tomatoes so there was a little less liquid.

The other recipe I tried was Lean Green Bean’s Spicy Yogurt Marinated Chicken.

SPICY YOGURT MARINATED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (regular or greek)
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice from one lime
pinch of salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag.
  2. Close tightly and use your hands to mix everything around and make sure the chicken is well coated.
  3. Marinate in the fridge at least 2 hours. (24 hours is best!)
  4. Remove the chicken and cook as desired, discarding the remaining marinade. I cooked mine on a sheet pan with green beans at 400 for 15-25 minutes. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken. Check internal temperature until it reaches 165. You may need to remove the green beans before your chicken is done!

NOTES

To cook the sweet potatoes, thinly slice, spray with oil, season as desired and bake at 400 or 425 for 20-25 min flipping once.

I let it marinade for over 24 hours and then we had it for dinner Monday night. I loved having a quick and easy meal nearly ready for a Monday night meal.

This one was definitely a winner! It had some spice, too! Loved the flavors, loved how easy it was.

The only changes I would make: I’d use chicken breasts instead of thighs and I’d put the green beans in the oven half-way through the chicken cooking. The green beans got a little overdone. They still tasted great, but were a little soft.

Will definitely make this one again!

Cabin in the Desert


A year ago, I booked a long weekend getaway at Cove Palisades State Park. It’s kinda crazy how far in advance we have to book stuff here…and we didn’t even get a weekend date! But who cares. We were SO READY to get out of Portland, away from house-selling-stress and I was so glad we were like somewhere with spotty cell service. Yay for just relaxing!

We got one of the “deluxe cabins”. It was nice!

It had bunk beds, a couch (for extra sleeping if needed), a kitchenette with mini fridge and microwave, a BBQ grill and picnic table outside and a bathroom. Oh, AND AC!

It was super cute! It was just perfect for a long weekend away when you want to “rough it” but don’t want to camp in a tent. 😉 I was really looking forward to this weekend and after the kinda sucky and stressful summer we had buying a house, selling a house, moving, etc, it was nice to unwind in the desert.

The above photo was the view from the porch. It was so peaceful. We were there Sunday-Wednesday so it wasn’t very crowded. There are only three cabins in the park but there are several campgrounds nearby and RV parks and boat launches. The lake had some boats but not a ton.

We arrived Sunday afternoon and unpacked and then explored a bit. The cabins are right behind the marina. It is secluded and quiet. We fixed dinner (chicken drumstricks I’d marinated in BBQ sauce) with various munchies (cucumbers and the boys had chips) and Logan explored and played in the dirt. He had SO MUCH FUN words cannot describe it. I will let this photo show it:

He was absolutely filthy the entire time. Yes, he took a shower every day to get the grime off, but it didn’t matter. He was covered head to toe in dirt, fun and s’mores. 🙂

I think his favorite thing was using the binoculars I got him for his birthday. He hadn’t used them yet and I am so glad I packed them! He had a blast checking out everything with his “nockers”. (Michael asked if he liked his “big biconculars” and Logan said “big knockers”–BOYS!!!! Oy)

We had a campfire next to the water. Michael brought his guitar and we made s’mores. I broke the diet a few times on the trip to have some s’mores.

Then we all crashed.

Monday morning we got up and had breakfast outside watching the sun slowly make the desert cliffs glow and then we went for a hike.

We did the Tam-a-lau Loop Hike (or part of it) and I highly recommend it! It was such a cool, fun hike with amazing views!

After the hike, we went back to the cabin and had lunch and then took naps. While Logan was sleeping I sat on the porch and finished reading one of my books. It was really nice and relaxing.

We tried to go swimming up the road at the swimming hole. It was perfect for kids! It was cordoned off so the boats couldn’t go to that area. But Logan wouldn’t go deeper than his waist, even though I was in the water with him. Oh well. It felt nice on a really hot day!

Dinner was pork chops and salad. Then more campfire. Then bed! We were tuckered out!