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Chili

 

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One of my favorite dishes I make on a regular basis and have since my teens is a very simple and easy and healthy one as well. Chili. My mom used to make it occasionally when I was a kid, and as I always loved to cook, it was one of the first things I made. This recipe is my own, not taken from any cook book and it freezes very well. It is delicious with warm bread dipped in it and is very versatile as well. I went through a vegetarian period of around two years in my early twenties and made it without the meat and it tasted fine, but I do prefer the flavor beef gives it and it makes it a much more filling meal with beef, but it can certainly be made without it and if you like less beef or more beef, you can change it to suit your tastes. The same with the amount of chili powder, some like spicier and can add more, some like less and can add less than the amount I’ve given I use.
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1 lb ground beef

2 large cans whole tomatoes (796 ml or 28 oz can)

2 cans red kidney beans (540 ml or 19 oz can)

2 large green bell peppers, coarsely chopped

3 medium yellow onions (3 cups coarsely chopped)

5 Tablespoons chili powder
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Brown the ground beef, add in the cans of whole tomatoes, the red kidney beans and the juice, do not drain it off, the coarsely chopped peppers and onions and chili powder. Mix and bring to a boil. Turn down to just above a simmer and let cook for 6 hrs, stirring maybe once an hour. Should yield 10-12 cups depending how much you let it cook down.
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When I have made a batch of this just to freeze, it will fill up 5 empty cottage cheese containers, 500 ml/2 cup size to put in the freezer. This is not only good to eat by itself and with bread, but a delicious alternative to putting on top of cooked spaghetti rather than marinara sauce.
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I use Club House chili powder, which is a good brand of spices, some things store brands are fine for, salt is salt, sugar is sugar, but when it comes to spices, do not get some cheap store brand, it can literally ruin a good dish to use cheap spices. That is one ingredient I urge you to get a good brand of, the difference in taste can be night and day. The ground beef is not the healthiest of course, but otherwise, the beans and vegetables are extremely healthy and an excellent source of fiber.
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Adventures In Bread Making

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I just got my first bread maker, the Sunbeam 2 pound breadmaker and tonight I made my first loaf of bread, with this bread maker bread recipe. It turned out pretty well for a first attempt. You literally just put in the ingredients and press the button and three hours later, voila, a loaf of bread. The machine is pretty big, not as big as a microwave, but not far off and it does take up a good deal of room on the counter. It tasted pretty good.

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Now I will experiment with different recipes for this machine. That bread maker is not a top of the line one, but it had many good reviews on Amazon.ca, that’s why I got it. Now many might assume I got the machine mainly for my own use, but the truth is, I got it mainly to bake bread for the birds and the squirrels. It is less than half the price to make the bread from scratch than buy it at the store. I like to put bread out for the outdoor critters, but putting out loaves of $3 per loaf bread can get expensive if doing so a few times a week, so I thought this was a good solution.

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I am sure the neighborhood wildlife will be appreciative of my efforts on their behalf. People spend money on birdseed for birds, so why is baking the critters bread that much of a step? I’ve always put out stale bread for them rather than put it in the garbage, but they’d often come looking and nothing would be there for them. Perhaps not the standard use for a breadmaker, but it works for me.

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Ginger Snaps

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If you’ve been looking for a good ginger snap, I’ve found one. A family favorite we used to get was Pantry brand ginger snaps in the pink box with the open top covered in cellophane, I cannot even find a pic of the package online. They were bought out by another company, changed the recipe and the name and are nothing like they were, same with Arrowroot cookies, it’s nothing like it was sadly. So I was trying a couple of different brands of ginger snaps and found one that is the most similar to the now defunct Pantry ginger snaps if anyone else has been looking for a similar tasting cookie.

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These are called ShaSha Co. Original Ginger Snaps. They are tiny, quarter sized little cookies in the shapes of hearts, with a true ginger taste and the thin, crisp texture the Pantry ones had. I cannot imagine anyone that loved the Pantry brand ones not liking these. I found these on the Walmart.ca site, but apparently they are also on Amazon, so do check them out, they are nice cookies. Not overly sweet, and with a good texture.

Grace Peanut Punch & Grace Coconut Water

peanutpunchOne of my favorite drinks is Grace Peanut Punch. I’d never heard of this delicious elixir until last year when I saw it on sale in the grocery store flyer and thought it looked interesting. I love nuts, peanut butter, and thought I’d likely enjoy this unusual treat. It is fairly pricey for such a small sized drinkin’ box though. Usually over $1.25 CDN for a 240 ml box, less than one cup size, 1 cup is 250 ml, still a small size for a drink.

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I love other Grace products, too. Their coconut water with jelly is fantastic, by far the best brand of coconut water I’ve ever had. Not sure what they do to it other companies don’t, but it is in a league of its own taste wise. I love the floating bits of pulp in it, though they have pulp free as well. These are not the cheapest products, but they are wonderful as a refreshing treat and when on sale, nice to stock up on.

Cabo Fresh Guacamole

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I had never in my life tasted guacamole until yesterday, it just was never something we had or tried and I saw some on sale in the grocery store flyer and decided I’d like to finally try some. I asked my mom if she’d ever had any and she had tried some homemade guacamole at a party before and said she thought I’d like it, so I took the plunge and got some, a bit expensive for the size tub, but I had some leftover corn chips, so why not.

Well I knew after the first mouthful on the corn chip it was not for me, I thought it was gross and not a flavor I’d ever want to experience again. I ate a bit, maybe a third of the tub and knew I couldn’t choke down anymore, waste of $6, and that was on sale! I gave the rest to my mom and she thought it was dreadful slop as well. She said the homemade one she’d had before was much better than this stuff and it was just awful. They have some bizarre recipes on their website too, everything from chocolate guacamole cupcakes to guacamole and almond milk smoothies, sounds vomit producing if you ask me.