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Day 18: Advent is a time for Chili

“Oh honey, it’s cold out there!” Todd said when he got back from walking Fannie. “Seven degrees!”

I remembered the left over Chili from Saturday night sitting on the basement steps.

My mom would make Chili on the day we all piled into her Chevy station wagon (you know you’re older when Unsplash can’t pull up a photo of one of these) or later it was her four-door Pontiac, to pick out our Christmas tree.

She would also make it on Christmas Eve before we went to the candlelight service at church.

I made it for Thanksgiving this year and again this past weekend. It makes any day feel like a holiday to me. I crave it all the time.

I don’t follow a recipe anymore because I’ve discovered that just about any combination of onions, tomatoes, beans, and spices will make a heart and stomach feel richly satisfied and warm.

Hmm…kinda like the point of Advent…?

In case you want to make some and need a little direction–

Cook (and drain if needed) 1 – 1.5 lbs. hamburger, ground chicken or turkey (meat is optional but I like it in there)

Cover the bottom of the pot with olive oil and add in

I chopped onion

1 chopped stalk of celery

1 chopped green pepper (or red or yellow or some of each)

1 can 28 oz. crushed tomatoes and

1 can 15 oz diced tomatoes (or any combination of tomatoes—sauced, diced, crushed, soupped, etc.—you might have on hand. Personally, I like the southwestern fire roasted variety.)

1 can of each, mix it up–black beans, red and/or kidney (or just get the pre mixed variety. The prepared chili beans work too but they’re pretty salty.)

About 3 tablespoons of chili powder (warning, smoked chili powder is hot hot hot.)

A little cayenne (optional and altogether avoidable if you’ve used smoked powder. My eyes still tear up from the memory of Saturday’s potful)

A little garlic powder maybe

1-3 teaspoons cumin can be good

Salt and pepper to taste

Put it all together, heat it up and simmer.

You don’t even need sour cream, cheddar, avocado, diced up onions or chopped cilantro to top it off. Or cornbread. But it’s good!

Photo: Wenzler farmhouse

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