Dinner Party

Friends, Bunnies and Brunch

We had a nice weekend! Hope you guys did, too. On Saturday I went to the gym (and did lower body hardcore–ouch) and then Michael and I had a double date with some friends we’ve been trying to go out with for awhile.

One of Logan’s teachers from his old daycare (his favorite teacher) came over to babysit. She’s awesome. And another teacher from his old daycare heard she was babysitting and wanted to come, too. She’d missed Logan and wanted to see him. So we got two babysitters for the price of one!

Our friends came over and brought their almost 2 year old daughter (Logan’s BFF) and Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese for the babysitters and kiddos (and the kids actually ate it and liked it!) and we headed to Allium for dinner.

It was still happy hour when we arrived, so that was nice! We got a nice, quiet table for four in the bar area and ordered happy hour for dinner.

I got the French Onion Soup, which was really delicious and rich in beef flavor. It was really excellent.

I had a glass of the happy hour house white, a Pinot Grigio.

I also had the Brussels sprouts with pancetta and the Mussels in a white sauce. All of the food was really delicious and filling, even though it was happy hour sizes. Our friends had dietary restrictions (one was gluten-free and the other a vegetarian) and it was nice that the restaurant had stuff on the menu to accommodate both.

Michael got the burger and duck fat fries. Then for dessert Michael and I shared the cinnamon sugar donuts (they were SO good)!

We all had a great time out and it was nice to make a “new” couple friend, especially one that has a kiddo close to Logan’s age. We got back to our house and discovered the babysitters had done art projects with the kids! How cute is that??

We have the best babysitters. 😀

On Sunday we all slept in. I was going to get up super early to go swimming before the day got started, but…when Logan sleeps in until almost 8am you have to take advantage of that!! We all had a small snack and then Logan went on an Easter egg hunt in the house. 😀

After that we headed to Michael’s mom’s house for Easter Brunch. She always makes the best food. One Bloody Mary for me! And Logan LOVED Deviled Eggs this year.

Ham, potato and cheese casserole, her famous egg and crab casserole, fruit and a strudel thing (so good). Logan ate a bunch, so that was good. Sometimes he can be super picky.

Grandma hid some easter eggs around the house for Logan to find. Inside the eggs she put $1 bills. I loved that idea! So much better than candy. But don’t worry, there was a basket FULL of chocolate:

Yes that is a chocolate bar shaped like a truck! Logan was OBSESSED with it. 😀

After brunch we went home, Logan took a nap and I headed to the pool for a relaxing swim. It was a really nice swim. The pool and gym were completely empty when I was there! When I got home Logan and I put his dollar bills from the Easter Bunny in his piggy bank. Which he loved, too. I got him a piggy bank for his birthday last year and I’ve been putting coins in there randomly but…I like never have cash on me LOL so I never have anything to put in his bank. But now he’s got some $$$! 😀

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?