Baking

Weekend Chili

I had *THE* best crockpot recipe 15+ years ago and I guess somehow, in several moves or something, I lost the recipe. I was SO crushed because after years of trying different chili recipes, I had finally found one that I loved and I haven’t been able to figure out where it went. I’ve tried a dozen or so chili recipes since and they are often pretty good, but not “THE ONE.” Oh well…I’ll keep trying.

Slow Cooker Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Adapted from: https://smartlittlecookie.net/home/slow-cooker-chili/

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of diced tomato
  • 2 medium jalapeños
  • For Serving:
  • shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • thinly sliced scallions

Instructions

  1. Cut red pepper and onion into small pieces. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper and onion. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until onions become soft and transparent.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin and chili powder. Mix well to combine the spices. Cook for about one minute.
  4. Add the pork, beef and salt to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat and incorporate with the vegetables and spices. Let cook until all meat is brown.
  5. Carefully, transfer the meat mixture to a 6 qt. slow cooker. Add the beans and their juices, corn, tomato sauce and diced tomato and their juices.
  6. Chop the jalapeños into small pieces and add to the mixture. Discard the jalapeño seeds if you don't want the Chili to be too hot. Stir to combine.
  7. Cover and cook for about 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  8. Taste and season with salt or adobo as needed. Serve with cheese, sour cream and scallions.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=54160

I found this recipe and gave it a try, with a few modifications. I used ground beef and chunks of steak (instead of ground pork). I will try using pork next time but I did enjoy having the chunks of beef in the chili.

My parents were in town for the weekend and I decided chili and cornbread would be a good meal to make for all of us.

Michael’s back is still in bad shape and I’ve been taking over most of the Logan and house duties. (He’s getting an MRI this week, so hopefully we have answers soon!) I’ve been pretty overwhelmed and stressed trying to take care of everything, so it was nice having my parents visit to help with Logan. They took care of him Saturday so I could get a break and go to the gym.

I got home and showered and they picked up lunch (coleslaw, potato salad, quinoa salad and vinegar wings–my new favorites!) and we hung out watching the Olympics. Logan didn’t want to take a nap in his crib, so he took a nap on my dad instead. 🙂

After naps, my mom and Logan made cornbread to go with the dinner. Logan was super helpful! 😉

He loved helping. It was really fun seeing him try and “cook.” My mom liked it too. Lots of good memories! I topped the cornbread with some shredded cheese and popped it in the oven.

The cornbread turned out great!

Time for dinner. The chili was pretty good. I would have preferred it to be a bit more spicy, but my parents aren’t spicy food people. (I will be adding hot sauce to the leftover). They loved the chili and said it was great. Michael even liked it, and he is not really a chili fan.

The chili was definitely better with cornbread and toppings!

The recipe said it had 6-8 servings in it. We each had 2 scoops for dinner (so 4 servings the first night) and I think there are at least 4-5 more servings in leftovers. I am taking some to work for lunches this week.

It’s even better the next day, a little thicker. I would definitely make this recipe again.

QUESTION: What is your favorite chili recipe?

Lactation Cookies

When I was pregnant I kept seeing something called “lactation cookies” everywhere. I didn’t really know what they were and I didn’t really know much about breastfeeding in general–most of my reading was about pregnancy and birth and raising kids and somehow I skipped the feeding part. I did save this recipe to try later because I was curious and of course, I love cookies. 🙂

When Logan was born my mom came down from Seattle and stayed with us for a few days to help out. She was amazing and did so much! One of the things she did was bake these cookies. It was hard to find the brewer’s yeast–it wasn’t something in a regular grocery store apparently. My mom went to a few different stores and couldn’t find the yeast. Then I thought, maybe it’s at a beer store! Which Portland has an abundance of! Sure enough, a local brew your own place near our house had the brewer’s yeast so Michael picked some up and my mom baked the cookies for me.

Here is the recipe she used:

Lactation Cookies

From: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/02/lactation-cookies/

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks (I like ghirardelli)
  • feel free to add: unsweetened flaked coconut, chopped almonds, 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.
  4. Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds (I use an ice cream scoop so they are fairly uniform in size) and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.
  5. You can easily freeze this dough - scoop the rounds on a baking sheet, place the sheet in the freezer for 2 hours, then place the dough rounds in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Bake at the same temp - they may or may not need an extra minute or 2 - your preference!
  6. You can use all butter if you don't have/can't find coconut oil. If you swap any butter amount for more coconut oil, the cookies will spread a bit more. If you decrease the fat (butter/oil) amount in total, these cookies will be drier. It's up to you!
  7. You can use 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour with similar results - any more and the cookies with be drier and grittier.
  8. You can probably decrease the sugar by 1/4 cup without issue.
  9. I do not have experience in making these vegan, so I can't say what it would be like without the eggs or with vegan butter. I also am not sure how the consistency would be with gluten free flour.
  10. I personally think you can increase the brewers yeast amount by 1 to 2 tablespoons.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=49820

Supposedly these cookies help milk supply. Apparently the oats, flax seed and brewer’s yeast are what is key to increasing your supply.

“Lactation cookies may be the best-kept secret among breastfeeding mothers. The ingredients in these yummy cookies work in a number of different ways to help moms boost and maintain their milk supply. What makes these cookies so special is that they contain galactagogues, which are substances that promote lactation in humans and animals. Galactagogues can be found in various herbs and foods. The brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, flaxseed meal and whole oats in lactation cookies are what specifically help with a lactating mother’s milk supply.” (source)

I think the recipe said it made like 24 cookies but my mom got 34 out of the recipe.

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They are super delicious! They are a bit drier than your normal chocolate chip oatmeal cookies but not in a bad way. I found them really tasty and kind of addicting! I’d have a cookie or two a few times a day (usually when I was pumping). They tasted great.

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I can’t really attest to whether or not they improved my milk supply but I did see an increase each day–was that because I was getting a regular routine of pumping and that just made the production increase? Or was it the cookies? No way to tell. But the cookies are yummy so it was worth giving it a try!
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Something else I got (thank you Amazon prime) was this super amazing breast pump bra:

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Damn has it been a lifesaver! Pumping was such a pain in the ass. Having to do it so frequently and basically having to hold the bottles to keep the suction going was a major hassle. I could not do anything else while pumping. It was frustrating. Finally at 2am one morning I decided to see if Amazon had something to make this easier and they did. The bra works great for pumping and has made my life a lot easier. I can have my hands free to do other things–eat, drink, read, play with Logan…

Learning little things like the bra, having easy snacks you can eat with one hand,  and having two changing table covers instead of just one (because he’s going to pee on everything the second you finish doing laundry), has been kind of a “duh” thing. But it’s the little things you learn along the way that make life easier with a newborn.

Anyways, the cookies tasted great and I would most definitely make them again–even if I wasn’t breastfeeding. So don’t feel like you can’t make them just because. My mom and my husband both ate some and liked them as well.

Do you have experience with these cookies? Do you think they helped you?