Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vegetarian Chili

Here goes! Recipe number one started off based on the sweet potato chili by Stephanie O'Dea over at A Year of Slow Cooking but it got sort of adapted. Seeing as this is the first thing I've ever made and I had no idea what I was doing I probably should have stuck to the original recipe... but it worked out. I added some fake meat, corn, and cumin. Cumin smells like B.O. but it's so very tasty. I also had to adjust the amounts to fit my small crock-pot.


1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 small can sweet corn
1 small can of tomatoes
1 small can of kidney beans
12 oz. meatless soy "ground beef"
3/4 tablespoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water

Throw ingredients in pot (except "ground beef"), set heat to low, and cook for 6 hours. I threw the soy crumbles in an hour before it was finished so they'd have a chance to heat up.

I was nervous all day while it was cooking. I even had a dream during my nap where Alex accidentally spilled the whole crock-pot and the chili was ruined. Luckily it ended up being awesome! Seriously tasty chili that I would most definitely make again. We both had seconds, and there's enough left for one more meal. We added cheddar cheese, and avocado, plus had some corn chips for dipping. I noticed at the end of cooking that it was a little watery so I added some corn starch but the flavor was great.

Here's a list of all the things we got done today while NOT slaving over a pot of chili:
-2 hour nap
-Oh hold with the cable company (they owed me $7, score!)
-Eating lots of Halloween candy that was bought "just in case" we get a trick-or-treater

It was such a wonderful lazy Saturday thanks to Crandall. That's the name for the crock-pot that seems to be sticking in our house at the moment.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Crock-pot, check.

Step one accomplished! I bought the cheapest, smallest slow cooker available. I almost got sidetracked by digital displays, and pretty colors, but I'm not ready yet to make an investment over $20. Also, with only two of us to feed, and zero counter space, small was necessary. It's not like I'm looking to cook a whole chicken, vegetables are small. It's a 3 qt. little stainless thing. I think I need to give it a name... you know, for blogging purposes? I'm not all that creative when it comes to naming things. My cat came with her name from the shelter, and I've never even come up with an endearing nickname for my husband. The GPS on our honeymoon got nicknamed Lady, but it was highly amusing to say "did you remember to put Lady in the trunk?" I'm gonna work on a name and see what sticks.

For the record, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking says cooking a whole chicken is dangerous, so it's out of the question anyway. I only got to read a few pages on the google limited preview, I wonder what else is dangerous to cook.

Step Two: Cook

Okay, so, now I guess I actually have to use it. I have the blog, and I have the appliance. I think I need a recipe book so I'll look into that. For now I'm relying on the internet to guide me and I've been able to find a number of vegetarian recipes, which surprised me. I liked the sound of chili now that it's getting cold outside, and it's something I probably wouldn't prepare on the stove because of all the simmering and stirring time. Hopefully by tonight I will have some tasty, slow cooked chili in my stomach.

It Begins

For the past year and a half I've been planning a wedding. Even though I said I wanted a simple wedding, I still ended up spending most of my free time on the planning. Who knew my vision of "simple" was so complicated. I wanted it to LOOK simple, and I wanted the day to FEEL simple, but that actually takes a lot of planning to pull off. However, this was just a very long winded way of saying that I've now found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands that used to be occupied with thoughts like "ohh, I like succulents!" and researching things like the city clerks hours of operation.

So I've been setting some goals to fill the time, and one of them is to cook more. I hardly ever cook and I have a million excuses why not. I don't feel like cooking after a full day at work, my husband is a WAY better cook, I'm a little impatient when things don't turn out (I once stabbed a cake when the icing wasn't perfect), and also, I'm not really all that good at it. Even when I lived alone it was take-out most nights, and when I did "cook" my own dinner it was a plate of raw carrots, hummus and pita bread. So I'm taking on this challenge, and I'm starting small at first. Goal: Cook one meal a week.

Also, I want to make this as easy on myself as possible so I'm investing in a slow cooker, which is about my speed when it comes to cooking. Chop, throw in pot with seasoning, and leave it for hours. Okay, so I've never used a slow cooker before, I'm hoping this is as easy as I think it is. Actually, I don't even know anyone with a slow cooker. I live in New York where apartments are tiny, and people eat out a lot, especially people my age with media jobs. Or at least the ones I know. When I think slow cooker I think pot roast and soccer mom. I want to change this stereotypical view I have and reclaim the slow cooker as an urban chic way to be a slacker when it comes to cooking!

What I plan to accomplish is at least one full meal a week that is healthy, cheap, satisfying, and vegetarian, because Mr. is a vegetarian. What I want to stress is I'm not doing this because I think it's my wifely duty to cook. I'm absolutely certain he will still be doing most of the cooking. I'm still a little at odds with the wife title, I'll let you know when I've settled on whether I want to "reclaim" the title, embrace it, or whether I think the title means anything at all to me. I take marriage very seriously, but I don't like that it comes loaded with a title about what my identity should be. I recommend going over to A Practical Wedding for a great post on this topic.

So here goes! Step one: buy a slow cooker. Ha, yeah, I haven't done that yet.