I'm madly trying to catch up to my goal of reading two books a month. I'm sadly far behind but I've read some good books. Some of them were rather long, like Anna Karenina which is over a 1000 pages. It probably qualifies as 3 average length books, lol. I've got numerous books in various stages of reading so before the year is out I will have made good progress toward my goal even if I haven't fully achieved it.
One of the things I managed to buy for myself was a good pair of cross trainers so I can walk properly. I also had to pick up a new bottom for my swim suit. Mine seems to have disintegrated since my last swim lesson at the Bontana Hotel in Nakuru in June. Hopefully I will have some time this winter to continue with the lessons.
When I am too busy I also don't get a chance to cook and eat from scratch and it is important I keep on track with the dietary changes to help my blood sugar levels. This weekend I was at least able to cook and use kidney beans and cook a few cups of pinto beans for use later this week in soups or salads.
On a coolish day, I tend to want some "stick to my ribs" kind of food like a good hearty soup, stew or chili. Yesterday was such a day. It was also my first full day home all week and a time to get caught up on laundry and other things before the week starts again.
I don't have a standard recipe for chili. I use whatever I have on hand.
Today's version consisted of:
- 1 or 2 pounds of lean ground beef, pre-cooked
- several cups of not quite cooked kidney beans
- 2 large celery stalks, cleaned and chopped
- 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup of diced carrots
- 3 medium tomatos, washed and diced
- chili flakes to taste
- hot sauce to taste
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- half can of tomato paste (approx. 1/3 cup or 75 mL)
- few splashes/dashes of soy sauce
- few splashes/dashes of vinegar
- bit of salt (not too much if you have high blood pressure or diabetes)
I browned the meat and put it in an electric rice cooker to cook on the counter top. I added the celery, onions, carrots and kidney beans to this along with about 4-5 cups of water. If you like a thinner broth you can put more water or reduce water if you prefer a chunkier chili.
I added the tomatoes and all the seasonings after this was all boiling together for a while. Cook and simmer everything together until you are happy with the consistency and the taste of the vegetables and beans. I like my beans a little on the crunchy side but some people prefer their beans very soft. The chili was good but it made me realize I was out of chili powder so I made a point of getting some for next time. It is a gorgeous, deep red mexican chili powder and will add just the right amount of zing for the next chili dish.
If you are vegetarian you could of course omit the beef and perhaps add some zucchini instead. You could also add another type of bean to the dish if you like beans.
Notes: I soaked the kidney beans for about 1 hour and pre-cooked them in the rice cooker before using them. I left them a bit on the firm side so that they wouldn't get too soft and mushy as my chili was cooking. The beans were not of a high quality. I noticed that a good many of them were already split open. I used them anyway but they tend to cook more quickly than the beans that are intact.
I am really loving my rice cooker which I've had now for a few weeks. It is much quicker to cook beans from scratch. It literally saves me hours of waiting for beans to soak or boiling on the stove for hours. It also cooks my brown rice to perfection in about one third the time. I've owned a rice cooker several times before (we've worn them out) but never used it for more than cooking white rice. I know a lot of people who like slow cookers for chili and stew. I don't like slow cookers. They take too long and I am usually hungry long before the slow cooker has finished it's process. I think this little appliance is not only going to save me a lot of time in the kitchen but also save me money by reducing the electricity consumption.
I didn't finish all of my errands and realize it doesn't sound like I've relaxed much. But in truth I've found that just being at home for a stretch of time helps me to feel like I'm not dashing around all the time. It helps me to pace myself too so I don't get overly tired. When my hands aren't busy with something else, I can also read a few pages of a good book.
What about you dear reader? How do you relax and chill out when you are super busy?