How to Survive a Polar Vortex

Last week, for one of the first times ever, the entire nation suffered together. On Tuesday, the temperature was below freezing in ALL 50 states. So while we can’t all agree on issues like gay marriage, gun control or a women’s right to choose, for one day we all agreed – it was freezing.

The best way to survive a polar vortex is to stay inside, and when that isn’t possible, bundle up! Down coats, fleece mittens and wool hats become part of the every day uniform. And warm meals are a must for the evening. I used the cold weather as an opportunity to make a dish I’d been wanting to make but had been saving it for the right day, or rather, weather.

This fall one of my colleagues got married and at their wedding gave out containers of spice mix and the recipes for their favorite chili dish as favors. I was so psyched to receive this and couldn’t wait to make it — unfortunately I feel strongly that chili should only be consumed in cold weather and I was forced to wait for the right day. Thankfully the polar vortex gave me the perfect occasion.

Tyler, the husband, has a cooking blog that I’ve written about previously, Ty’s Kitchen. Here he posted his famous chili recipe that they gave out at the wedding.

photo (20)
For the first time ever, I actually didn’t follow this recipe exactly. I just used regular ground beef and I omitted the carrots and celery. I also added in a can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed) and a small can of tomato paste (I might not have needed this).
I felt like a real chef, adapting the recipe to my liking. In the end it came out really well. It was the first time I’d added vegetables to my chili and I have to say, it was a great addition.

IMG_1102

IMG_1103

IMG_1104

IMG_1105

IMG_1108

IMG_1110

IMG_1111

Now, if only I could figure out all of the spices that were part of Ty’s Spice Mix…

 

 

 

Sweat It Out

This week has been a little lacking in “the little things.” I am not sure if it is due to my recent 3 week wedding bender, one final fight from fall allergies, or the start of cold and flu season that gets dragged in my the slobbering 4 year olds that I spend my day with. Whatever the case, I have been feeling very run-down all week. Today was really no different.

I returned from work and made some delicious tomato-basil soup (see recipe at the bottom of the post). After finishing the soup, I decided to watch a movie (Letters to Juliette – not a big fan). Not surprisingly I fell asleep midway through the movie and awoke to a phone call from Matt informing me that he was on his way home. Earlier in the day Matt asked me if I wanted to participate in a spin class that evening with him, and I decided that this might be a good way to get me out of my funk.

Well, the first time that Matt asked me to do a spin workout with him, I was psyched. We are fortunate enough to have a gym in our building, and they do offer some group classes but the selection is limited. So when Matt told me that we could do a spin class one evening, I was pleasantly surprised. That is, until I walked into the gym to find out that there was no class… the instructor was going to be Matt and I was going to be his pupil. After a sub-par workout, I decided that from that point on, I needed to take charge. Since that time, I have slowly taken control of the spin class instructing.

Tonight was no different. I took charge for the first 18 minutes of our 30 minute class and quickly worked myself into a full-blown sweat. I can’t even pretend that I was “glistening” like a lady; I was sweating. And while I was hacking up a lung the entire time, it felt good. I was sweating out my funk.

At the end of the night, I ended feeling a lot better with a delicious grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner. Man I love comfort food!