Saturday, December 12, 2009

HOT MESS Cooking for a Cause

Hi All -

Yesterday morning, I woke up asking myself. "What is the purpose of this blog? What is my message?" I knew that my mom and I were cooking for a cause. We were cooking for a purpose. But what was it exactly? After long consideration and a long and frigid bike ride, it came to me. It is a theme that has always been present in my household and with everyone that means something in my life. Therefore, my mom and I are pretty much experts on the subject.

Our cause? Bringing everyone back to the table. It is really simple, but in all honesty I recognize it’s complicated too. As a society we are all moving in so many directions and at such a fast pace that we often neglect the simple importance of gathering around a table over a home cooked meal. There is something simple about it, yet this seems to be a dying art. Well, we believe that the time is now to bring this extra-ordinary tradition back into favor.

Growing up, we always ate dinner around our dinning room table. My mom and I would do the cooking and we would share and laugh over the days events with my sister and dad. This was one way to  reconnect as a family, slow down, and share in 'this moment’ together. I strongly believe that this is one of the reasons why my family is so close today.

As a former family therapist, I often met families who barely shared a front door, let alone a meal together. I am convinced that if they would have started sharing a meal together, things would have improved. Now it isn't a panacea, but I do believe there is magic about sharing a meal with everyone's legs under the same table.

So this blog's mission is to demonstrate that meals can be easy to prepare and healthy. we believe these recipes and stories will inspire others to cook and bring families, couples, neighbors, strangers, and friends together to share, laugh, and eat. Leave prejudices, fears, and anger outside the door and gather around the 'heart of the home' to share a meal. My mom and I will be sharing our secrets for making every recipe healthy and easy. And we will also be sharing our secrets that we have learned from ancestors, friends, and strangers. These secrets include tips on how to be happy, healthy, and live the life that we deserve. Collectively we have picked up on many lessons that we want to share about leading a happy life with loving relationships.

This week, I am sharing one of our favorite easy winter time recipes, Everybody’s Favorite Chili. It is the perfect meal that can be created ahead of time and put in the crock-pot to “get happy” all day. It is also loaded with fiber, protein, and vegetables to keep everyone healthy this winter. I love to serve it with my famous Stick to Your Ribs Cornbread. But if you are pressed for time, this chili can be served with corn chips as we often do. The chili is also great over eggs the next morning for breakfast as shown to the left!

So put on your aprons, set the table, and call your friends and family to pull up a chair and join you. If you want to make one small move to help promote peace in this world, bring your family and friends back to the table!

Everybody's Favorite Chili

2 lb. ground turkey
1 medium white onion diced
2 jalapeno peppers diced and seeded
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 cans kidney beans (14.5 oz)
1 can black beans (14.5 oz)
1 can chili beans (28 oz)
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can sweet corn (14.5 oz)
1 green pepper diced and seeded
1 jar medium salsa
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dried mustard
2 tablespoons pepper
2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (This is our AMAZING secret!)*
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (if desired)

To prepare sauté the jalapeno, onion, garlic, and green pepper for 3 minutes or until onion begins turning translucent. Then place the ground turkey meat into the sauté pan and brown the meat along side the onion and peppers. Cook meat thoroughly and season with the salt and pepper while sautéing. Once the meat is cooked through place the sautéed meat, onion, and peppers in the crock pot. Next open the cans of beans and corn and place in a collander to rinse,.Then pour all beans, corn, tomatoes, and salsa into the crock pot. Then add all seasonings and stir the ingredients incorporating everything together. Add the red pepper flakes if you like it extra hot like we do! Then set the crock pot low for 6 hours. In 6 hours, all of the flavors will have melded and the chili will be the best you have ever had.

To dip, get a deep bowl and dip up the chili and top with shredded cheddar cheese and low fat sour cream. And don't be stingy, I like my cheese.

*The secret to flaxseed is one of my mom and I's favorites. I have been using this technique for years and sprinkle it in virtually EVERYTHING! It can be sprinkled in pancakes, grits, soups, meatloaf, cookies, you name it. It is packed with omega-3s and has amazing health benefits including lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol and helps to build a stronger immune system.

Stick to your Ribs Cornbread

1 box corn bread mix
1 can cream corn (8 oz)
2 eggs
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1 can green chilies (4 oz)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (of course)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix all ingredients above in a large mixing bowl until well incorporated. Then pour into a loaf pan or pie pan and bake for 20 minutes. The cornbread should be golden brown. To test its doneness, insert a tooth pick. When removed, the toothpick should come out clean.

Mental Health Tip: These recipes are extremely easy and even when life is the craziest and the temperature has dropped way below your navel, there is nothing more comforting than curling up into a big bowl of chili. Oh yeah, and a bottle of robust red wine helps too!

Enjoy with your loved ones and don't get too chilly!
~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the Kitchen

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