Dinner Party

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?

Christmas at the Beach

Over the weekend our family had a nice little getaway. My family is pretty big (on my mom’s side) and we used to do a summer camp out party and then a Christmas party every year. This year my cousin Di organized and coordinated a fantastic new Christmas party!

She found a giant house on the beach in Rockaway, OR. It was a giant house, big enough for the majority of people to stay there. I think there was something like 4 or 5 bedrooms (several rooms had bunk beds) so tons of people could sleep there.

We decided to rent a house in Rockaway with my parents. Our house that we rented was on the north side of town, the other house was south but it was literally 7 minutes to drive to the party, so no big deal.

You can see pictures of the vacation house we rented on my Instagram. It was really cute! It was big with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, the garage was converted to another bedroom/playroom. There was a fenced yard for Bella (fabulous) with a fire pit and picnic bench. The decor was super cute and kind of modern/retro. Check out the photos I took.

Plus, there was a GIANT closet stuffed full of toys for kids of any ages! Logan had SO much fun playing with the toys. What a great surprise!

Our house was one block from the beach, too! We had easy access to the beach. The weather was perfect this week–sunny and not windy and fairly warm. It was in the 30’s in the mornings, though!

We all arrived at the house Friday afternoon and then went for a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous and we basically had the beach all to ourselves.

After Logan went to bed, my Dad and Michael went to pick up pizza and Caesar salad for dinner and the four of us had pizza (Michael and I had beer from Buoy) and we played card games. It was so much fun!

Saturday morning my parents played with Logan and Michael and I went for a run. It was a very cool, cold morning but the sun was out and we warmed up pretty quickly. The sun felt nice! We ran around the neighborhood and by the beach. I ended up running around 2.75 miles. Then while Michael was making his famous mac n’ cheese for the potluck, my dad and I went for a long walk on the beach while Logan napped.

Bella was LOVING the beach! I have some cute videos on my Instagram if you want to see.

After lunch on Saturday we packed up the stuff we needed for the party and went down to the party house.

Here is a video of the BIG house everyone else was staying in! It was huge and right on the beach! It had a hot tub and a fabulous view. Lots of room for a big group.

How nice is that deck?! What a cool place to stay in the summer time. The party was fun. My cousin brought her 14 month old twins so Logan had a BLAST playing with his little cousins! It was so cute!

Logan is all about giving high-5’s and fist bumps. 😀

Logan did so good. There were a LOT of people (30? ish?) and he was a bit shy and unsure at first but he warmed up and had so much fun. It was so cool to see him spending time with family we don’t get to see often.

How cute (and hilarious) is the below photo?! HAHA

There was a potluck dinner. After dinner my dad and I took Logan back to the house we rented because he was fading fast. My dad stayed with the baby and I went back to the party for the white elephant gift exchange.

This is the gift I brought for the gift exchange. 😀

Have to say, the sweater might be the best gift!

Then a bunch of us went down to the beach for a bonfire. Nothing better than that!

The next morning we had breakfast and packed and then went for one last walk on the empty beach.

I didn’t want to leave. I love the beach. We checked out of the house and headed home. Rockaway is about 2 hours from Portland. Logan slept for a good chunk of it, which was nice.

Home to unpack and I went swimming. It was a great weekend!