“I'm so glad we live in a world where there Octobers” ~ Anne of Green Gables
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From beautiful messes to falling leaves to something wonderful cooking on the stovetop, a few things that have been happening in our world, lately
On the weekend to-do list? – Tidying up outside.
Monday morning, bright and early, a nice crew of roofers will be descending upon our house. After that come new gutters. I have a feeling the cats will go deep into hiding, the dogs will be barking, I'll be working at the coffee shop, and my husband will be maintaining his zen (per usual)
Loving – Everything about fall; I feel like I'm living inside the most beautiful painting ever created
Milestones Reached – This week marked 18 years with corporate America in working in I.T. I'll never forget my first real paycheck. I ran out to my car, called home, and announced “We're rich(!)”
Reading / Re-Reading – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Favorite New App – TeuDeux For hopeless list makers like myself, it's as simple as a piece of paper
Made Me Smile – Ketchup Physics 101 [via Cook's Science]
Proud – Of Harry and Sally for graduating from Puppy Kindergarten.
Who knew there'd be a test on the last day? Sally, no worries, she's been all over it. Harry, sweet Harry spent hours of class time snoozing under our chairs. Although, with the help of a million smelly treats
he pulled it out
Thankful – That the puppies are starting to go toward the back door when they need to go outside. And, are sleeping through the night (mostly).
True Confessions? – If it weren't for my husband, we'd never have gotten this far with them. This wonderful man who's taken the night shift + muddy, messy mornings, over and over .. without complaint. #Marriedup
On Having a Backup – This week marked uncharted territory for The Veggies; the website's database crashed.
For nearly two days I worried, tried to fix it on my own, worried some more, and finally sent up a flare for support. “We've tried everything short of restoring from backup. Have anything that's recent?”
“Indeed, there are many.”
Inspired By – 30 Days of Genius with Chase Jarvis
Excited About – The Veggies has two new Virtual Assistants(!) One to help with behind-the-scenes projects, and another leading the way with all thing social. It'll be fun to watch as it grows
Soup is my answer to having more than one other couple over for dinner without exerting more than a moderate effort and an expensive trip to the grocery. It's also a go-to for football Friday nights, or lazy autumn Sundays.
We like to play it casual, serving big bowls of something hot with all of the toppings on the side; along with a warm cast-iron pan of cornbread (or in this case sweet potato fries)
Certainly, you could use canned beans if you're in a hurry, but soaking and cooking them from scratch yields something completely different. The beans taste fresh and have a far superior texture.
Included in the recipe are the steps to cook the beans, although if you're using canned, you'll need to add about 7 1/2 cups (5 cans – 15 oz each). I also recommend a little something creamy for serving, whether it's avocado, cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt.
This is a really sturdy chili. Add a bit more beer or broth if you prefer it thinner, or run an immersion blender through the pot if you'd like it a bit thicker.
The whole thing can be made a day or two in advance, so it's a great idea when you'd like to prep ahead of time.
~ Adapted from Hy-Vee Seasons Magazine | Fall 2016
Beer-Braised Beef and Bean Chili with Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 ¼ cups dry black beans
- 1 ¼ cups dry kidney beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 ½ lbs stew meat, diced
- sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 (12 oz ) bottles light craft beer (or 3 cups chicken broth)
- 32 oz beef stock
- 1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 (12 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 - 3 Tbsp pureed chili peppers in adobo sauce (vary the amount depending upon how hot you prefer your chili)
- 1 bag frozen sweet potato fries
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- Finely chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Pick through the beans and rinse them well. In a large bowl, cover them generously with water, and soak overnight on the counter
- The next day, drain the beans and transfer them to a large pot
- Cover them with fresh water by a couple of inches and bring them to a boil, along with the bay leaves
- Lower the heat to simmer and cook the beans for 1 - 1 ½ hours, or until they're cooked through.
- Stir in a pinch of sea salt at the end and set them aside
- Season the pork with salt + pepper
- In a large pot over medium heat, warm a Tbsp of olive oil
- Working in batches, cook the meat until it’s browned on all sides (~ 5 minutes per batch). Transfer the browned pork to a paper-towel-lined plate
- In the same dutch oven, warm the remaining olive oil and cook the onion ~ 3-5 minutes, or until it’s softened
- Add the cooked stew meat and beer, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered for an hour
- Add beef stock, tomatoes + their juices, tomato paste, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and beans. Simmer for another hour
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Meanwhile, prepare the sweet potatoes according to the package directions
- To serve, top with Mexican cream, sour cream, or Greek yogurt and if desired, cilantro
- Serve the chili with a side of sweet potato fries
- The chili will keep in the fridge, for up to a week