After a glorious wonderful weekend in Anaheim, California, for the Avengers Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort, I woke up to 48°F chills and dark, overcast skies… in Orlando, Florida?! I demand a recount! Meghan recommended South Your Mouth‘s Easy Crock Pot Chili recipe. The biggest executive decision of the afternoon would become selecting the best beer to finish the chili. Perusing our personal stash, none of the available selections really jumped out at me, so while picked up the other ingredients, I opted for a bottle of Florida Beer Company‘s Florida Lager.
Secret Ingredient: A Bottle of Florida Sunshine!
I am a Florida Wimp. I was born and raised in the suburbs of upstate New Jersey, but since my relocation to the lovely State of Florida, my tolerance for cold is virtually non-existent. Fighting the biting cold of wet, lingering Japanese winters for five years, and the “Worst Winter in Ten Years” all four years I lived in New York, never toughened me up. The Canadian maple syrup in my veins has gone soft.
Brown ground beef with onion, salt and pepper (to taste) over high heat. Drain fat then add ground beef to a crock pot.
- 2-2.5 pounds ground beef (substituted: 99% Lean Ground Turkey)
- 1 onion, chopped
- Salt & pepper
In my distracted battle with the electric can opener, I completely forgot to add the S&P and the chopped onion. Since I picked a red onion, I did my best to chop it finely. In an attempt to cut calories, I elected for 99% Lean Ground Turkey as a healthier substitute for the lean ground beef.
- 2 14-oz. cans petite diced tomatoes (Dei Fratelli Truly Rustic Cut Tomatoes)
- 2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce (Publix Greenwise Tomato Sauce)
- 2 16-oz. cans pinto beans, drained (Westbrae Naturals Organic Chili Beans)
- 2 1.75-oz. packages chili seasoning mix (French’s Chili-O)
I started with the tomato sauce, and added the drained (and washed) chili beans. Next, I hefted the frying pan with two pounds of browned turkey meat, and scooped it in. After a hearty bout of mixing, I added the diced tomatoes and folded in the spices.
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 can of beer* (Florida Beer Company’s Florida Lager)
The crowning touch was the added beer. SYM suggests an alternative for those preferring not to use beer in their chili, but prior to attempting recipe hacks, I owe it to the chef to honor their original recipe. I tried my best to pick organic or healthy, and I was very pleased with the results. I am fairly certain that I could have used a lighter beer, but finding a beer that would add flavor without overpowering the chili flavor profile was the biggest challenge. We settled in to watch the second half of Frozen.
Doc surprised me by building a fantastic fire on the back patio. We bundled up, I grabbed a blanket, and finally had a proper reason to break out the hot chocolate! It was a clear night and even though it was a little windier than we would have liked, we simply relaxed and unplugged for a little bit. Sitting on the back patio, the fresh air felt refreshingly brisk, and the silence was a welcome changed from the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day routines. The hardest part is that sitting by the fire makes me want to visit a cabin and go off the grid for a weekend. With the onset of holiday flying upon me, scheduling relaxation time is absolutely key.
When I last visited Dublin, I returned home with some fabulous Butler’s Hot Chocolate at Home. As my transoceanic travels have become few and far between, I truly wanted to wait for the arrival of Floridian Winter to properly enjoy a hot cup of Ireland’s best. To add an extra kick of heat, I poured a shot of Jameson Black Barrel Select Reserve, and cut up two Wondermade Bourbon Marshmallows per mug. I picked up the Wondermade at the The Daily City’s Pop-Up Shop Yelp* Preview, and have been saving them for precisely the most appropriate beverage possible. They are absolutely heavenly.
Irish Whiskey Hot Chocolate with Bourbon Marshmallows
I need to start hunting for more hot beverage recipes. While I can have my coffee any day of the week, variety with my nightcaps and thought adjustment hours would be quite nice.