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This is a photo my brother in law, who lives outside Indianapolis, sent me today.  They’ve been experiencing sub-zero temps for many weeks, as have my family in Cleveland.  Here in the Charleston, SC area, we’ve had what I would consider a mild winter.  Having grown up in Cleveland and spent the last few years in Indy, I am no stranger to a harsh winter.  Months of dry, cracked skin and lips, muscles sore and tense from shivering, the feeling of just not being able to get warm unless I took a hot, hot bath… ::shudder::  Makes me cold just thinkin about it.

So, Charleston and the surrounding areas have been essentially shut down since last night, including several bridges.  If you’ve ever been to Charleston, you know nobody can get around here without going over a dang bridge!  Plus poor Dr. Matthews slipped and fell on ice this morning so we know there was real danger, even though we initially mocked the citizens here for their seemingly premature terror.  Will be back in the 60’s and maybe reaching 70 by this weekend and I can’t wait!

Dr. Matthews had to work but I stayed home and mostly spent the day deep cleaning the fridge (it was a lot of work- and our fridge wasn’t even that bad!).  I also listened to the latest sermon from Seacoast, since I missed the service on Sunday due to laziness not wanting to go by myself really there was no good excuse.  The message was on strengthening our physical core, the final in a series about core strengthening which was preceded by messages on spiritual, financial and relational cores.  I struggle with each of these to varying degrees, but have to say I think I do fairly well in the physical arena.  Could I be in better shape?  Yes.  Could I eat healthier?  Absolutely.  But I think I make a pretty good effort at portion control, regular (if not vigorous) physical activity and eating my share of veggies and grilled chicken.  I respect that the church was willing to focus on what could be considered a taboo subject.

That being said, I wanted to cook or bake something today but didn’t want to risk the bad roads to go to the grocery.  I ended up making Magic Cake, which was great for a day like this, as it only calls for milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla, all of which I had on hand.  I was worried about how it’d turn out since I’m not much of a baker and I had a hard time separating my eggs.  I ended up with egg whites that were really more yellow than white and didn’t quite fluff up the way they did in the instructional video.  It turned out just fine, however, and since I’m a big fan of custard, I was a fan of this.  It’s not flavor-packed or super sweet, so it’s not quite up Dr. Matthews’s alley, but I think it could be improved by making the fruit version or putting fruit on top.

I didn’t have much on hand to cook fresh for dinner, but luckily I had some spicy corn and black bean chili in the freezer.  This is a recipe I originally got from my mom (an amazing cook) and made minor adjustments to to suit my spicy tooth (photos added later):

Spicy black bean and corn chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium jalapeños, seeded and chopped (or leave the seeds for a spicier taste)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes (you can use chili ready, oregano and garlic, whatever suits your taste)
  • 1 can whole sweet corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 can chili beans in sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Directions

Brown meat in a large pot over medium heat. Pour into a colander to drain off some of the fat (but leave a little in which to cook your veggies!) and set aside. Add peppers, onion, garlic and jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper to the pot and cook until just soft. Return meat to pot halfway through, allowing the flavors to permeate. Add diced tomatoes, corn, beans and tomato sauce. If a thinner consistency is desired, add 1/2 to 1 can of water with the empty tomato sauce can. Heat through then turn heat to low. Cover and simmer up to 1 hour. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, sriracha, tortilla chips, rice, couscous, pasta, whatever tickles your fancy.

Makes quite a bit - 13 1 cup servings, to be exact

Makes quite a bit – 13 1 cup servings, to be exact

This chili is very healthy and wallet friendly.  According to my rough math, it costs about $1 per 1 cup serving to make and has the following nutritional specs:

Chili nutrition

If desired, serve over rice, couscous or pasta.  Top with cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, sriracha, green onions, whatever your heart desires.  (I like to eat it with tostitos.)  Freezes great and is perfect for those “chilly” (or icy) days!

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