Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Surgery Updates, Goals and Recipes

I've been sliding on my goals for the year.  Re-settling to a new place may be part of it, but I know I'm not one of those make "a whole list of numerous resolutions" on New Years' Eve and make myself stick to it in it's entirety.  So I think I need to make a short list each month and break it up into writing goals, otherwise creative goals, cooking goals, and a smattering of other areas.  Thanks to Pinterest, of course, I have tons of new recipes I'd like to try and thanks to our acquisition of a crock pot, I can work on that list!  
Today, I made toss-it-all together and simmer spaghetti sauce, like I do often, but I started prepping for a chili recipe that is going to be made in the crock pot.  We bought a 5lb bag each of beans and rice awhile back so we could do a huge batch of Red Beans and Rice and we still had about half the bag of red beans left, so I measured out 1 cup less than the recipe that I'm using calls for (since it didn't call for beef, I'm adding some ground beef to the mix) and they're soaking overnight in the crock pot.  (I'd started them out in a smaller container and checked on the, realizing that about half the water had been already soaked up and the top inch of beans was above the liquid.  So I had to shift them into another container and add more water.  The rest of the recipe is made of up of canned tomatoes, broth, corn, celery, and various spices.  (It does call for cocoa powder to enhance the flavors but as I don't have any at the moment, I'm not doing it.)  So we'll see how that goes.  I can either wake up earlier than usual and it'll be ready by lunch or do something else for lunch and have it ready for dinner and leftovers.  As another one of my goals is getting up earlier and hitting the gym for half an hour on a more regular basis, we'll see how my appreciation of my alarm clock affects the situation.  

Crockpot Chili

Ingredients (6-8 bowls)
About 6 cans of beans, drained OR 6 cups of dried white and black beans, soaked, plus 1 can kidney beans [see note]
2 cans diced tomatoes
3.5 cups broth
1.5 cups frozen corn
6 celery stalks, diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp cumin
2 cloves minced garlic or garlic gold nuggets
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional but increases the depth!)
1 tsp salt (if your broth is relatively low sodium - otherwise to taste)
Soak dried beans overnight, if using. Rinse.  Chop celery.  Add all ingredients to a crockpot and set to low for 6-8 hours.  

As you can see I’m not using a mixture of beans this time but we’ll try for next time.  If I kick it to medium heat I can go 4-5 hours and make waking up not such a chore. I'm also not using frozen corn but canned corn, so no extra time needed there.
I also want to make, by myself, a batch of Kris's recipe for salmon dip.  It's from his family and it's an approximate amount of each ingredient and then adjusted to taste.  Since we did a Costco run to prep for his surgery, we grabbed the Costco-size block of cream cheese, which has more then plenty for a batch.  Anyway, since we bought everything awhile back for the spread with extra cans of salmon, we have all the ingredients we need except for fresh lemon juice, which is easy.
Here's the recipe!

Salmon Spread
1 can salmon, bones removed
I (8 oz) package cream cheese
½-1 TBSP dried onion
4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp liquid smoke
½-1 tsp, to taste of garlic powder
½-1 tsp salt
½-1 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a regular mixing bowl and using a hand-held blender, mix thoroughly. Use as a spread for bagels, toast or dip for crackers. Enjoy!

My next cooking goal for the month (either this or next) is to tackle and polenta and poached eggs, as I ran across a recipe that included both, and since Kris is such a fan of poached eggs I think it would benefit everyone for me to try.
By the way: Kris's surgery has been moved back to the 17th due to a couple things so we have just another whole week to go before he's in the hospital.  Please pre-cross your fingers that everything goes smoothly!  He quit smoking two weeks ago in prep and he's going strong.  He's quit before (for his two year mission for the church) but this time, his health and his total recovery depend on it wholly, and so I'm proud that he's sticking to it and staying strong.  He was chewing on cinnamon sticks for a few days at the start but now he's getting his head in the game and focusing on the overall goal.  What goals have you been neglecting that you promised to stick to at the beginning of the year?  Share with me!
Happy Cooking, Health, and Goal Setting (and Keeping)!

Allie H.

1 comment:

  1. So here's the deal, guys! I ended up soaking the beans for the chili for about 15 hours and the recipe says you can drain, rinse and toss everything in the pot. Well, I'd advise boiling them first. They're still a bit chewy in the middle, even though they "mush" pretty well. Follow the directions on the bag, like I should have done, and then throw them in. At that point, you can cook the chili for probably only half the time, 3-4 hours, just to get all those lovely flavors well-mingled.