Saturday, March 27, 2010

usually I don't crack up so much when LP is sad

This one was just too funny; LP was whining and generally being difficult, and then he asked for a cookie. (His way of asking is to say "I want one piece of cookie" because he knows we will say he can only get one cookie or one piece of candy, so he thinks stating this ahead of time will improve his odds.) TE said something like "we can't reward him for this", and I agreed, so I said no. He started crying and whining more. Eventually I tried to explain it this way: "But you're so sad right now--if I give you a cookie you won't really appreciate it anyway". LP's shoulders stopped heaving and he stopped crying. He tried to reduce the whine in his voice and slowly said, with his bottom lip still pouting, "Now I'm happy". I really just had to laugh--it was too much for me!

Here's one of our favorite ridiculously quick meals, which can be made from things which are always in my pantry and do not go bad: veggie chili
(if you don't like beans, you probably won't be making veggie chili, but I bet it would be good with TVP or tofu or a bunch of chopped bell peppers (which you would add with the onions) but it wouldn't be the same thing at all)

Put some oil in the bottom of a medium large pot, put the burner on medium high or so, and add maybe a third of a bag of frozen chopped onions. (if you have time, fresh onions are better) Add a couple of tablespoons of cumin powder, some coriander powder if you like it, and ground black pepper. If you will use unsalted canned goods, you could also add some salt. Once the onions are mostly cooked, add 2 small or 1 large can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of beans--I use black beans, great northern beans (for a double recipe a mix of both is great) or sometimes pinto beans.

Side note: I don't buy beans that have added things (except salt, water, and EDTA) such as sugar which kidney beans generally have. Perhaps it keeps them better somehow to add a bit of sugar, but it pisses me off. Also, I get pretty mad at the grocery looking for plain diced tomatoes--I won't detail all the various crap I've seen added to canned diced tomatoes at the grocery, much of which is great stuff, but I need to add it myself or else I'd have 10 different cans of diced tomatoes at home depending on what I was going to use them in, and more importantly I wouldn't be in charge of what gets added.

You can drain the beans if you want a slightly thicker chili or if you don't like the bean juice/water. I don't usually bother. Add some oregano--a teaspoon or two. Add a dried powdered garlic--maybe a couple teaspoons. Obviously if you have time, a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic is significantly better and I would add it once the onions have cooked a bit but before adding watery stuff. Finally, add some heat with ground chili powder (not premade "chili powder" to make chili with, which generally has far too much chili and salt in relation to cumin besides not being a real ingredient in my opinion since it's a mix of several ingredients) or you could use hot sauce. Stir that around (don't forget to taste and adjust spices) and wait for it to get really hot. You could keep simmering it for 10 or 20 minutes to distribute the flavors a bit, if you have time.

To make it a meal, serve with a ridiculous amount of shredded cheese and/or plain yogurt, which we use in our house instead of sour cream. Sometimes we make it with cornbread as well, but in that case you have to actually cook stuff instead of just putting some stuff in a big pot, so even though cornbread is easy, the preparation time goes way up.