Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chili for a chilly night

I went on a field trip with my middle mini today to a local nature center.  The best thing about this field trip was for the past 2 weeks, my mini has been telling me I was the best mommy ever because I was going on his all day field trip.  We spent the day hiking, tracking animals, bird-watching, learning about recycling, and just being one with nature.  I loved it, all those crunchy granola tree-huggers are my people.  Well, except for the leather purse I carry and huge SUV I drive.  There's room for improvement, right?

Since we spent the day in the chilly outdoors, I could only imagine coming home to one thing for dinner....chili and cornbread.  Now, chili is a super easy, but super diverse can add beans, noodles, veggies, spices....the possibilities are endless.  If it were up to me, I'd make a chicken and spinach white bean chili.  However, if I tried to pass that off as chili, Mr. McGhee would throw the bowl of chili at me and yell, "Woman! Go get me a bowl of chili." 

OK, maybe that last comment was a slight exaggeration.  But, Mr. McGhee has been known to brag about my chili, which makes me as giddy as the words "best mommy ever", so I'm not messing with my chili recipe.  The problem is, I don't exactly follow a recipe.  I pretty much throw these things in a pot and let it simmer all day.
  • 1 lb ground meat (your choice-beef, chicken, turkey)
  • one diced green pepper
  • one diced onion
  • cumin
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • large can tomato juice
  • 2-4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cans kidney beans
  • 1-2 cans pinto beans
  • chili powder
1.  Brown the ground meat in green pepper and onion with cumin and chili pepper sprinkled on top.
2.  Add beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato juice. 
3.  Add spices.
4.  Let simmer.
I added some cooked quinoa.  Quinoa is a good way to sneak in some additional protein.  I also added some cooked spinach.  I served my chili with cornbread and chocolate-peanut butter smoothies.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie (serves 3 minis)
  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  • frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • ice
1.  Blend all ingredients.
Since we are talking about chili, I feel like there is a controversy I need to share with you.  There is a problem with canned tomatoes.  Tomatoes are very acidic and therefore leach the BPA out of the cans that contain them. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a nasty estrogen-mimicking chemical that has been implicated as a a risk factor for heart disease, obesity and diabetes. BPA has also been linked to reproductive problems and reduced sperm count.   Exposure to BPA during development is associated with an increased risk of breast, prostate and testicular cancers. It’s even linked to neurobehavioral disorders.  Another reason for concern, expecially for parents, some animal studies report effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA.  In 2003, 93% of individuals tested had BPA in their urine, so chances are most of us do too. 

Here are the options I would recommend you try....
Eden Organic, which uses a BPA-free can lining
Pomi brand tomatoes in tetra-pack packaging
Trader Joe's brand tomatoes in tetra-pack packaging
Can your own tomaotes

BPA is nasty stuff, so read this article and educate yourself on how to make safer choices.  I try really hard to research this information that I share with you, but by all means, if you find any information is wrong, please let me know!

I am off to Florida for the weekend to run in a 5k and half-marathon.  Don't get too excited, I haven't done it yet.  I am hoping I survive and make it back on Monday.  Mr. McGhee has promised me that while I am gone he and the minis will not starve!  Wish me good luck and even more so, with Mr. McGhee good luck!