Where did the time go?
I had everything planned out, day to day. I followed the plan. I still have hundreds (so it feels like at least) items I want to do/need to do left in the four days before I leave for the Grand Masquerade. It is time for triage.
I have already had to ditch the idea of sewing a brand new costume, and there is no way I’ll have a mask finished (or room for it in my baggage).
I have to hunt down all my SCA garb and wash it, because that is what I am going to end up having to put together an outfit from for the Succubus party.
The Celiac Disease is kicking my ass, taking a large chunk of time and energy to get things done.
My aunt is moving in with us – it has been an ongoing ordeal for awhile. I will probably end up being in New Orleans when they finally do the actual move.
I’d like to get rid of the grey in my hair, do my nails, and do some henna tattoos as well in lieu of getting costuming done (sokay, I have a freezer full of henna powder and readymade paste).
I have some documents that I’d like to create for my games at New Orleans, but I don’t know if I’ll have the money to print them up, so they are regulated to a wish, not a need at this point.
I have to sort through all the gaming supplies and figure out what to bring and what is going to stay home, and then figure out how much space I have left for things like clothing and personal essentials (like a hair-brush and deodorant). Then I get to see if I can cram in some costuming and make-up and an extra pair of shoes.
Friends are leaving for an unexpected trip due to a family emergency, so the husband has been asked to take care of their dog while they are gone – giving him less time to help me out.
Hard to tell if the panic I feel is due to a normal panic attack, or the adrenaline rush of gearing up for a fantastic event.
Pardon me while I take a few minutes to hyperventilate in a corner.
Homemade chili recipe (gluten-free)
Small yellow onion
Diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
Chili powder (optional)
Onion powder (optional)
Garlic powder or garlic salt (if garlic salt, decrease the amount of salt used) (also optional)
Meat of choice
Notice that there are no measurements. I let my tasting, and my sense of smell be the judge of when something is spiced right.
This time around, I started with two packages of dried beans and soaked them for two days straight. I had to rinse them and re-soak them during those times, because the heat herein AZ makes anything left like that ferment fairly fast. I have used canned beans before as well. Honestly, I’ve found that choice of beans really doesn’t matter. This batch is pinto beans and white beans, and it tastes absolutely wonderful. (Please note that two bags of beans actually made two pots of chili, and I had to use two of our three slow-cookers for the chili this time.)
These went into the slow-cookers. I added about 6 tablespoons of chili powder, a couple teaspoons of black pepper, a couple teaspoons of salt, and some onion powder and garlic powder to each and turned on the crock pot. I filled the pots up with water to cover the beans and have 1/4 inch left on top.
Over the next four to six hours, I stirred the pots occasionally and added water when needed so the beans didn’t burn.
When the beans were mostly soft, I added half a large onion, diced, between the two pots, some fresh minced garlic (about two teaspoons each pot), several more tablespoons of chili powder, a teaspoon of nutmeg, two teaspoons of coriander, and two teaspoons of white pepper. I also added the tomato sauce at this point.
Then it was slow cooked for another 8 hours.
In the morning, the husband diced some chicken, sautéed it in olive oil, added a little bit more chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, then added it into the chili. We’ve used both beef and turkey before too, but I think I like the chicken the best.
After about another hour, the chili was finished.
The only thing I would have done differently this time perhaps is add the meat earlier. The beans are just a little too soft.
In the past, instead of just plain water, I’ve used both black tea and red-wine to add more fluid to it. Over the years, I’ve learned that iced tea actually adds to the flavors of the spices I tend to use regularly, rather than just dilute it down with plain water. The red-wine was nice Chianti mixed equal parts with water. They both turned out well. The tea was good for the turkey, the red-wine for the beef.
I like the garlic powder and onion powder for the dry beans, because it allows them to take on the flavor during the initial soak without having mushy onion or garlic in the finished product.
With the onion, you can also sauté them separately in a little bit of olive oil so they sweeten, and then add them to the meat so they cook in the pan with the meat before the meat is added to the chili.
Why nutmeg and coriander? I have this recipe for fondue that uses nutmeg and coriander. I thought them unusual ingredients at the time (well over a decade ago) but have since learned to love them for chili, and just the coriander for stews.
All the spices I have are gluten-free, and using dried beans instead of canned ensures no-cross contamination or questionable additives. It does make it a longer process over all, but the actual hands on time was less than an hour.