Thursday, March 21, 2013

When bored in gloomy weather, make some food

A few things happened today.
1. I have been reading too many finance blogs, and feel a little bit bad about driving to the grocery store, which is only a mile away from my house. Mostly because the one I stayed up until midnight reading last night is written by a bike evangelist. Bike everywhere! Stop driving! Why do you keep driving places?
2. It snowed and was all gloomy and grey all day.
3. I had a discussion with a friend about how it is much, much cheaper to bake an ENTIRE cake than it is to buy a single cupcake. Also, I don't particularly care for cupcakes, on account of the frosting to cake ratio (it is too high!). She pointed out that the downside to baking a cake is that you then have an entire cake. You could eat an entire cake. I disagreed with the "downside" assessment.

Because of these things, I ended up coming home from work, walking (I'm still sick! Biking was too much!) to the grocery store to get supplies, then making chili (I had meat in the freezer from my "I think eating meat is a great idea!" days and I hate to waste things. Also chili is one of my very favorite things to make and eat) and baking a cake.

The chili won't be ready for a couple more hours, which is disappointing, but I'm excited about lunch tomorrow. Also, this is a HUGE batch of chili. It's going to see me through the last of this lingering winter weather. It's not even my usual oddly vegetable-heavy "recipe." ("Would you like some chili?" "Yes. Wait...did you put a bunch of vegetables in it?" "No. Well, carrots." "You always put carrots in chili!" "Well I always have carrots in the house!" This is true. Sometimes I put broccoli and cauliflower in chili. That's...not the best. At some point, it just becomes an aggressively tomato-heavy vegetable stew.)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="Chili without a bunch of vegetables. Aka "actual chili.""][/caption]

The cake was supposed to have chocolate frosting, but the frosting I had was very, very old, and I didn't trust it. I thought about making frosting, and then decided to just have plain chocolate cake. Because that's totally good too!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption="The cake, in this case, is not a lie."][/caption]


Actual meat-heavy chili without a bunch of vegetables (this makes a LOT of chili. As they said in "Jaws," "We're going to need a bigger crock pot." You will, in fact, need a very large crock pot. You could also make this in a very large pot on the stove, but I like the crock pot because it requires very little supervision)
1# ground turkey
1# ground sausage
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 onions
5 or 6 medium sized carrots
1 cup assorted dried beans (in this case, half Great White Northern beans and half pinto beans)
1 can light red kidney beans
2 largeish (14 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
2 small cans (4 oz? 6 oz? they were little) tomato paste
1 small can of sliced mushrooms
1 can cheap beer (Budweiser is great for this)
1 tbsp cumin
lots of chili powder
pickled jalapeno brine if you have it, to taste

Slice onions and carrots. Thaw meat, if necessary.
Saute the garlic and onions in a skillet until fragrant. Add ground meat and brown (I had to do this in 2 batches, it'll depend on your skillet).
Put everything in the crock pot. Add water if necessary, so that there's a good amount of liquid (you'll need it for the beans). Cook on high for 5-7 hours, or until the beans are done (the Great White Northern beans are the best ones to test, because they take the longest). Add water if necessary. Stir occasionally. Add hot sauce at the end (preferably something with cayenne and vingar).
Feel better about this whole "cold weather in what is now technically Spring" thing.

It's a box cake mix. It was $0.99. Read the box. Make the cake. Let the cake cool before you try to cut it or it'll just be a mess.
Eat some cake.
Think about how awesome it is that you have a WHOLE CAKE now!
Package up majority of cake to share with others.

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