Like Riding a Bike

You didn’t think we were having chili for dinner, did you?

Davy was home today, and he cooked us a delicious meal using both our Charbroil grill and the terracotta flower pot grill.


He rubbed a whole chicken with a dry rub and used a can filled with olive oil, thyme, and sage in the er…opening…to give it even more flavor. I really wanted to find a little top hat to put on this chicken for the picture, because I could imagine him singing “Hello, my baby, hello my darling, hello my rag time gal…”

Okay, a little creepy. I digress.

While the chicken cooked in our terracotta flower pot grill, Dave used the newly purchased bellows to get Charlie going.

(“Best ten dollars I ever spent,” Dave said. He says that about anything kitchen or outdoor cooking related. But I can’t really blame him).

Red potatoes and broccoli went onto Charlie, timed to match the chicken.

If you want perfect red meat, poultry, or fish, a meat thermometer will be your best friend. Seriously, go buy one.


The chicken was absolutely perfect, the potatoes amazingly flavorful, and the broccoli was as good as ever.

My man sure can cook.






Chilly = Chili

Fall was definitely in the air when I woke up this morning. I’m not knocking summer nights, but it is so wonderful to have had cool nights to sleep through these last few days. Exercise would have been wasted indoors on such a gorgeous morning, so I headed out to the trail for a four and a half mile walk.


There was a smattering of leaves starting to cover the trail, and the temperature could not have been more perfect. Unfortunately, everyone else thought so, too. The trail was heavily populated to the point of being obnoxious. It’s hard to enjoy a leisurely (power) walk while dodging bikers, runners, dog walkers, and jogging strollers. But at least people are out exercising. (Most likely just gearing up for an afternoon of football indoors).

I cooked myself up some oatmeal again for breakfast. It’s strange to think that it is almost time for slow cooker oats to make their presence again. Where did the summer go?! This morning’s oats were made on the stove top, though.


1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup water, dash of salt, pinch of cinnamon, a spoonful of Stevia, and a banana, stirred in at the end.

Then topped with some delicious peanut butter.

After I ate breakfast, Dave and I headed to the grocery store, dodging green and gold decked football fans with party trays. Normally I wouldn’t brave the grocery store on a Packer game day, but I was determined that today was a fall day, and that it required chili.

Chili is one of those foods that everyone has a different idea about. Noodles or no noodles. Elbow macaroni or spaghetti. Meat or no meat. Ground chuck or stew meat. Tomato sauce or white sauce.

As for me, chili is all about the beans and the combination of herbs and spices. I am partial to vegetarian chili, because I have been scarred by too many chilis that taste like I’m eating a hamburger with a spoon. Blech. I tend to follow the same basic recipe, though I usually measure with my eyes instead of cups or spoons.

Chel’s Favorite Chili

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb ground beef, stew meat chunks, or meatless crumbles (like those by Boca or Morning Star) [optional]
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 7 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2-3 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 5 15 oz cans of beans, various varieties (black, light kidney, dark kidney, chili, northern, etc.)
  • 2 26 oz cans diced tomatoes with juices

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the meat. (I used Morning Star meatless crumbles).

Brown the meat, and season with salt and pepper. Add onions, peppers, cumin, oregano, and chili powder.

Cook until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute.



Inhale the scent of chili-liciousness.Add the Parmesan, beans, tomatoes, and juices. Stir well, cover, and cook about one hour.

My bean choices for the day were: chili beans in sauce, red beans, great northern beans, dark red kidney beans, and black beans.

Normally I use the two large cans of diced tomatoes in juice, but today I was fortunate enough to have a scad of fresh tomatoes from my parent’s garden. I chopped up five fresh tomatoes and mixed them with a large can of crushed tomatoes for extra juice.

After the chili has been cooking one hour, taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and cook for an additional hour or until liquid has thickened. If it needs further thickening, remove the lid.


My favorite way to eat chili is topped with sharp shredded cheddar cheese and a lovely hunk of bread for dipping. Serving over spaghetti is optional.