More on the diet in a minute. For now, let's start with the fun stuff. I've been working on a brand new series for NAL. I'll be writing the Pet Boutique Mysteries under the name Annie Knox. I've been having a blast getting to know these new characters and delving into their adventures.
Still, the whole thing really came alive for me when my friend Sonny Strait (who created my mascot Cozy the Cat for me) created this fabulous sketch of my sleuth Izzy and her critters, Packer and Jinx.
|Izzy, Packer, and Jinx|
Now, I cannot wait to share their stories with you. Can. Not. Wait.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility ... and with much writing comes many pounds. Oy. It's time to get serious about shedding my winter fluff. So I've joined a group of fellow travelers for a weight loss challenge.
Everyone chipped in a little bit of cash and the person who loses the greatest percentage of their body weight by Easter earns (no winning here!) the pot. We even have a neutral "commissioner" who is keeping track of the numbers and providing moral support.
With this killer motivation, I'm working on slimming down my kitchen ... but not closing it altogether. If I am deprived of good food, I am a witch with a capital "B". For the next few weeks I'll be sharing the dishes that are helping me get leaner without getting meaner.
This week, one of my favorite cold-weather meals ... easy, hearty, and comforting. You may have heard the old Texas adage: "If you know beans about chili, you know that chili has no beans." Well, sorry to disappoint the Texans in the crowd, but my chili has serious beans. And it's dang good.
Chili con Carne (ish)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained OR equivalent vegetarian substitute (I used Morningstar Farms Grillers Crumbles)
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- 1 heaping Tbs. minced garlic
- 1 - 28 oz can tomato puree
- 1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 - 15 oz cans beans (pinto, black, kidney, or a combination), drained and rinsed
- 1/4 c. fresh orange juice
- 3 Tbs. chili powder
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. ancho chili powder (mor or less, depending on your heat preference)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute (until fragrant but not brown). Add tomatoes, puree, beans, juice, spices/seasonings, and browned meat or meat substitute.
Bring to a low simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 1 hour. Salt to taste.
Serve with shredded cheddar, sour cream, diced onions ... whatever you like! For Texas flair, serve the chili atop Fritos corn chips for an upscale version of Frito pie.