Am I the only one feeling the call of the chili when the weather turns cold? A fragrant meal that sinks all the way to the toes, thawing every body part on the way down. The weather in Central Arkansas has been unpredictable at best. It is caught somewhere between short-sleeve shirt temperatures and wearing everything I own, at the same time. I have begun daily checking the weather like someone who plays the Powerball ever hopeful to see winning numbers. In either case, it’s a crap shoot.
One byproduct of colder weather is an internal longing for some comfort food. Being from Louisiana, this usually means a gumbo or jambalaya (best accompanied with a stout or porter), but since both of those are heavy on the grains and gluten and not Whole30 approved, I had to switch directions. So I opted for a variation on a chili recipe. It is a adaptation of another recipe I stumbled on and is versatile for those not restricting certain foods. I must say, I do not think I will go back to preparing the chili any other way.
As of writing this, I am a bit more than halfway complete on my Whole30 challenge. From what I have read, I am somewhere in between shaking off the last bit of poor food choice habits and moving into the feeling great part of life. In a quick self-examination, I would agree with the Whole 30 website’s outline on what you body goes through. Albeit, I do not, at this time, seem to have the life changing, body healing results some do, but that doesn’t take away from the changes I notice.
My pants fit better, I have more energy when I run or exercise, my overall body aches when I wake are so much less. I can tell by eliminating the foods which are proponents of Inflammation, Hormonal Disruptions, and Gut Imbalance, an overall wellness is on the horizon. My wife and I have noticed the change and appreciated the results (and by this I mean the way we feel, not the way we look-which is good too) so much we are making plans and commitments to continue this way of nutrition permanently. We are also deciding how this will look when we roll it out to our two children. Of course this will be built-in with exercise and a non attachment to when we have indiscretions. It is a journey after all, and balance is the goal!
Before I share the recipe for the Chili, I want to say a couple of brief things about the Whole 30 program. Well, I want to share two aspects which have assisted me in sticking with it and understanding why this program is necessary.
- Find a Partner– Having someone to hold you accountable and you to hold them accountable is paramount to success in any endeavor. I am so lucky I have my wife, who is by my side always, to share in our successes, cravings, and meal failures…which there will be some. When she is faltering, I can be strong, and when I stumble she is there to call me out. So find a spouse, a friend, a relative, someone who can walk along side you. It is very important in the first few weeks until you are able to start feeling and seeing the benefits. Be careful who you choose, as you want someone who encourages you, not someone to help you work around the rules. If you have no one willing to take a step toward better help, turn online. Whole30.com offers a forum for support, menu items, and more. You can log in and find support and accountability on the site.
- Read a Book-There are a few books (that I have found) written by the Hartwigs which you can choose from. Along side the meal preparations and planning I am reading It Starts With Food. I find it to be motivation in itself as it describes the reasons how the off limit food is hurting your body and why to properly meal plan or even what to say to people critiquing your choices. When I sit down to a meal and I can tell you how and why the foods I choose to eat, or not eat, affect my body, I am strengthened in the commitment. I think you would be the same. Knowledge of why and how is as important (if not more) than knowing what you can and can’t eat. Use any of these books to help you.
***I borrowed copies of these from the library. I believe in supporting the proprietors of the program, but also of being frugal. After a trial period, I am considering purchasing the cookbook as it is helpful and the meals are delicious.
Ok…On to the Chili
Chili Con Carne Recipe
CHILI (6 Servings)
- 1 pound ground beef (I use Simple Truth because it’s at the local store and is good)
- 1 Medium Red/Purple Onion
- 1 Can 15oz Crushed or Diced tomatoes (for a more liquidy chili use a 28oz can)
- 1 Cup Beef Bone Broth
- 1 Small Red bell pepper: seeded, cored, and chopped
- 1 Small poblano pepper: seeded and chopped
- 3 Cloves garlic-chopped
- 3 to 4 TBS chili powder
- 2 to 3 Tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 to 1/2 cayenne or Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1 Tsp Avocado Oil
- 1 Whole Jalapeño: seeded and sliced thin
- 1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- 1/3 Cup thin, long sliced purple onion (from above mediumO
In a small bowl: Combine 1/3 cup onion slices, sliced jalapeños, vinegar and salt. Set aside to blend flavors.
In a Dutch Oven on stove top, begin to brown beef with the oil. Add garlic, onions, poblano, and bell pepper. Cook to veggies are soft and starting to caramelize/brown. Add Chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add beef bone broth. Cook 1 to 2 mins. Add can diced tomatoes. Simmer on low for 1 hour and add salt and pepper to taste. After one hour let sit for 30 minutes (or longer), no heat, so flavor’s can meld. Heat before serving and readjust chili powder, red pepper, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
Over baked sweet potato and top with onion jalapeño mix and fresh cilantro. *For non-Whole 30 add cheese or sour cream. Enjoy!
This hearty Chili is extremely tasty. The recipe was adapted from the above mentioned Whole30 Cookbook. The items in bold (eg. Red Pepper Flakes) are the options I chose and I feel are best for optimal yumminess. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavors will combine. Adjust spices depending on threshold for heat and flavor. Enjoy…Happy Cooking!