We're all tucked in here. Our third straight week of sub-freezing temperatures. Even the spiders have come inside. I found a big, black-brown one this morning where I keep the big pots and pans. Everything is going into the dishwasher. And the spider: I sent him onto a better life in another dimension.
I have a visceral fear of spiders. When I was a child my mom and dad remodeled the house, and one summer I had a bedroom with no windows. Oh, there were holes for windows, but no glass. The spiders would fall on me during the night hours. When people tell you they have memories that will not go away, believe them.
So what saves us when the weather turns like this and stays? Oatmeal for one. Thick, woolly socks, another. A fireplace. I don't have that. A big, cuddly, long-haired cat. That I do have. We're all home by eight, tucked in by 9:30, waiting for the sun to come up tomorrow and a day where we can get outside for a walk.
I'm making soup. Chili to be exact. This one is a veg-based one, but you can add a 1/2 a pound of ground pork and another of beef, which you saute. Add them when you add the beans. But this one is a good one and is way easy. Easy peasy, somebody on Facebook said yesterday.
Chop 1 medium sweet onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic in a little olive oil. Saute for a few minutes, just until the onion turns soft. You want those flavors to meld with the oil. Add three cans of beans. I like a combo of black beans, pinto beans, white beans, but you can certainly use all the same kind. Chop up 1 Anaheim chili pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper. Add the veg to your beans. I like a can of corn, a small can of sliced olives, and half a minced Jalopeno. Add your favorite broth: beef if you've used meat. Chicken is always good, as is vegie broth. Water works in a pinch. Add a large carton of the broth or 4 cups of your own broth. Add a can, juice and all, of tomatoes. Bring the vegies and broth to a slow simmer. Add 1/4 chili powder. You can use the heat level of your choice. Salt and pepper. About a tablespoon of Oregano and Cumin. You want to cook all this together at low and slow. You can add other kinds of chili if you want more of a punch.
When it comes time to serve you can top with these: Grated cheddar, a peeled and chopped avocado, some green onion, pine nuts, more olives, tortilla chips. Any mixture will do. It's all delicious.
Stay warm, my friends.