Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not My Day

Not an awesome day. It did start off well though!

This morning's breakfast: Cranberry-walnut muffins.

On the way to my workshop, I went to the wrong building. Twice. (To be fair, they all have the same address and no signs describing which rooms are in which building.) We got out early (hooray!), and then I got caught in tons of traffic. I tried to get my passport name-change form mailed in, and I found out that FedEx does not deliver to P.O. boxes. I didn't get home until 5:30 (so much for an early day!). At some point during the chaos, I found out that I'll be working from 7 am to 11 pm tomorrow - no breaks. And I didn't get a chance to work out! Instead, I cleaned house, so at least I found some productivity at the end of the crazy day.

Appetizer - English cheddar, crackers, and walnuts.

I know, things could be worse. But at the end of this long week, I guess I needed to complain a little. Terry's had a rough week, too, but he came home to cook his classic chili tonight.

Red and Black Beer Chili

Red and Black Beer Chili
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 3/4 cup beer
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
Dice the onions and heat in a large pan or pot. About two minutes in, add the ground beef. Meanwhile, diced the tomatoes, removing some of their juice. When the beef is browned, add the tomatoes, beans, and beer. Add the spices and stir the chili until combined. Simmer for at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour. The beer will reduce, but feel free to add more if it gets dry. To serve, top the chili with sour cream and grated cheese. Enjoy!

Side dish: A simple spinach salad with olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper.

Delicious! This few-ingredient meal has been a staple in our house for the last three years. Terry got the recipe from his family, but it's really evolved each time he makes it. This time, we bought dry beans. I had never used dry beans before, but it's a great way to reduce sodium. The thing is, you have to remember to soak the beans overnight. And then you have to simmer the beans for about 90 minutes before you can eat them. I love the idea of healthier beans, but I'm not sure if the added time is worth the switch.
Pre-soaked beans.

For dessert, I couldn't wait to make an apple crisp! I had never baked anything apple, so I did some research to figure out the best ingredients and methods for a crisp. The recipes called for as much as a cup of brown sugar (and some added white sugar on top of that!) and up to a cup of butter. So I tried out a few ideas, and here's my altered version:

No-Sugar Apple Crisp
Serves 6
Healthier apple crisp!
  • 3 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans, divided
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish. I used an adorable polka-dot one my mom got me.
Adorable baking dish for a classic American dessert.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the apples into quarters, then slice thinly crosswise. Layer the apple slices in the baking dish and mix in 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans. For the topping, combine the melted butter, oats, flour, honey, syrup, and spices. Stir in the rest of the pecans, then layer the topping over the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

The result? Autumn-amazingness! The sweet crunch of the topping and the warm apples made me feel all cozy. Ice cream was the perfect complement!

This week really hit me hard, and we have one more big day tomorrow. Terry is supposed to have every other Friday off, but he's putting in overtime tomorrow. As for me - classes, volleyball game with my girls, and away football game with my girls.


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