My maternity leave is over in one short week.
I know!!!!! Where did the year go????????????
You guessed it... I'm heading back to work.
In fact, I've sort of already started back to work in a sense. I've been seeing just one client a week over the past month, but spending countless hours speaking with potential clients, preparing for evaluations, and organizing my materials that have been virtually untouched for over a year.
And to be honest, I'm feeling super overwhelmed by it all.
I gave myself a good month with both kids in daycare, prior to starting back to work. My thought had been that I'd just relax, get things organized and just recover a bit from the stressful years we've had with the kids. I thought I was being all smart and the like, giving myself a kid-free break before going back to work. Unfortunately, I guess I hadn't realized quite how much work needed to be done before I actually started seeing clients.
And despite only seeing one client right now, I feel like I'm already having a hard time managing everything. The house is a complete disaster (and our cleaning lady was here just yesterday!!!), I haven't cooked anything novel in weeks and I feel like I'm always getting back to clients waaaaaaaay later than I said I would. If I don't actually forget to call them back entirely.
This was so not me in my previous life.
Lately, our days have been the type where, day after day, I've been scarfing down a bowl full of black bean soup, the crusts from my kids' bread and the tail end of a banana that they haven't finished for lunch. I'm just now understanding why people eat the same things over and over and over again. We've been living on a steady diet of black bean soup and red lentil and carrot soup with coconut. In fact, I have a batch of the latter brewing in the crockpot upstairs as I type this. Good thing both of my kids will now eat these soups :)
Last week, I ran to 6 different appointments between myself and the kids and next week I have 7 appointments and daycare is closed for a day. The prospect of trying to juggle all of these appointments, all the while seeing clients and having enough time to do my paperwork is stressing me out more than I'd like to admit. I can't quite figure out where the time is going to come from or how I am going to be able to make enough money to help pay for all of the kids' therapy. My mind is constantly whirring and I'm having a hard time quieting it down these days. Needless to say, I've been a bit of a stress ball lately and have been thinking I need to get back to some hard core yoga...
All that to say that my blogging is taking a bit of a back seat. As is my cooking. And that's ok. If we eat soup for the rest of winter, we will survive. My hope is that as I transition back to work, things will miraculously become a bit more manageable, as we settle into a new groove. At least, that's what I keep telling myself... ;) I'll try to post when I can, but I also have to prioritize other things in my life right now. So check back when you can, but I probably won't be updating as often as I have been in the past little while.
Enough now with my life rant. Time for a delicious recipe.
I've been wanting to make this recipe for awhile. Pretty much since last winter, when my kinesitherapist, Hilary gave it to me. I finally got the motivation I needed to actually go ahead and make it a few weeks back when I accidentally left 6 pounds of ground beef defrosting on the floor in front of my freezer. Luckily, I found it before it was too late to salvage it. And I spent my weekend making this chili, mom's spaghetti sauce and my mom's delicious lasagna recipe, which I need to get around to posting one of these days. Sooooo not what I had planned to do with an entire weekend, but I can't say that I mind having the freezer stocked with some gluten- and dairy-free meals for us.
Though I love, love, love my mom's chili recipe, I have to admit that I find this one to be just as good. Which says a lot because my mom's is pretty darned good. This one has a bit more of a bite to it, which I love. The mixture of the adobo peppers, beer and the addition of cumin gives this chili a wonderfully different flavour.
Now, I have this little issue with any recipe that calls for any form of hot peppers. I somehow cannot, no matter how hard I try, avoid getting them in my eye. I thought I had outsmarted the hot peppers this time. I didn't touch the peppers at all - I took them out of the jar with a fork, cut them with a fork and knife and scooped them into the chili with a fork. No hands involved. And I thought I was completely safe.
Until I took my contacts out a little while later. Holy #$%?!!!!!!! Just a little tip to my readers: you should wash the pot in which you cooked the chili with gloves on...
Best Chili Ever
2 1/2 lbs. ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo or a mixture) (I clearly made mine with beef - baha!)
2 C diced onions
2 C diced bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. diced chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (found in the ethnic aisle)
2 29-ounce cans tomatoe sauce
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 29-ounce can dark kidney beans
11-12 ounces dark beer (Hilary used Guiness; I used La Messagère, gluten-free beer)
2-3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cayenne red pepper
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. finely chopped dark chocolate (or 70% cocoa)
2 tbsp. instant coffee grounds
Note: make sure that you have a really big pot for this recipe. I used the biggest one I have and still ended up having to split it between two big pots.
1. In a large pot over medium high heat, sauté the ground meat in olive oil until cooked. Drain the meat and set aside.
|all 6 pounds of beef, that I fried up and split between different recipes|
2. In the same pot, sauté the onions and peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotle peppers and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Add all remaining ingredients, except the chopped cilantro.
|be sure the chili isn't too close to the top before adding the beer, as it foams a bit|
4. Add the meat to the mixture.
5. Loosely cover the pot with a lid and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another hour. Allow it to simmer a bit longer if you'd like the sauce thicker.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the cilantro.
Serve with grated cheese and additional chopped cilantro and enjoy!
We love scooping this up with some delicious Neal Brothers organic blue tortilla chips with flax (the green bag) that we've found at our local health food store. They're to die for!
Makes 10-12 servings.
Difficulty level: moderate