As regular readers of the blog are probably aware, I love soups and stews. Seriously. When I can throw everything into one pot and call it dinner, I am a very happy girl. I’ve also made it abundantly clear that I love summer. None of that cold weather crap, thank you very much, I’ll take sweltering temperatures any day of the week. But these two facts leave me with a bit of a conundrum. In the summer, the last thing I want to eat is a big bowl of hot and hearty stew. And yet, I still love it…so what’s a girl to do?
Regular readers of the blog are probably starting to notice some trends in the food I make. One, I like food with a Mexican flair, as evidenced by my taco casserole, quinoa enchilada soup, and lentil tacos. Two, I favor meals that can be prepped in one pot and serve as a stand alone dish, like my bean and lentil chili and sweet potato and chickpea curry. This week, I decided to combine these concepts: I give you taco chili.
I’ve spoken before about how my husband likes curry. It may not be expected, given his previous love of all things familiar and plain, but I’m not complaining. It’s one of the few vegan meals I can always make without any sort of push back. For whatever reason, he doesn’t miss the meat or dairy in his curry, and he eats it voraciously every time. We both do, honestly. It’s slowly becoming a staple on our dinner table, and I’m not looking back.
Today is the type of holiday I can get behind: National Homemade Soup Day. As regular readers of this blog will know, I love making soups and stews. They tend to be pretty simple to put together, and they are so satisfying. Especially in the cold weather we’ve been having, I love having something simmering away on the stove. It makes my whole apartment smell comforting! And there is something unparalleled about sitting down with a bowl of soup fresh from the stove and breathing in the steam. Just thinking about it makes me happy!
In discussions of football foot, one dish tends to be particularly important to me: chili. Sure, it may not be as quintessential as buffalo chicken, but I maintain that it is equally important. First, it’s one of the few football foods that you can actually make a meal out of without hating yourself after (I mean, I adore nachos but will inevitably feel ill if that’s all I eat). Plus, the best football weather is when it is freaking freezing out. Even when it’s in the single digits outside, a hot bowl of chili will always work to warm me up. Besides, with a chili bar, dinner is totally customizable; people can add as much spice or cheese or whatever so it ends up to everyone’s liking.
Recently, I was watching the Rachael Ray show, and they were making chicken noodle soup. Only instead of noodles, they used quinoa. As a girl who loves quinoa, I thought this was a brilliant idea! Only to me, it seemed a tad redundant. One of the beauties of quinoa is the fact that it’s a complete protein all on it’s own. No need for meat! So, I knew from the get-go that I was going to take this quinoa-based soup idea and revamp it. And, boy am I glad I did.
I know, I know. It’s only mid-January. Nevertheless, I am SO ready for summer. Or spring; I mean, I’d be okay with a nice sixty degree day right about now. Either way, I’m over this whole winter thing. More than just the bitterly cold temperatures and gusting winds, it’s the illnesses flying around right now that are really driving me crazy. I’m far from deathly ill, but this nagging cold is seriously annoying.
I don’t know about you guys, but my life is starting to get hectic. I mean I absolutely love Christmas, but as we enter the last week of preparations, life is getting a little bit busy. Between shopping and wrapping and baking and figuring out our celebrating schedules, time has become a somewhat precious commodity. And with time at a premium, something has had to give; for us, that has meant food shopping. Yet, while trips to the food store may not be happening, eating is still a necessity. So, I’ve been doing a lot of pantry raiding in an attempt to keep us fed.
We were back in the Middle East for the latest installment of Cooking Around the World. According to Wikipedia, Qatari cuisine has been largely influenced by both Indian and Iranian culture. Apart from curry and tikka masala, I don’t know much about Indian cuisine, and I know even less about Iran. However, my research suggested that it was actually largely similar to what I had found for both Kyrgyzstan and Oman. Hoping for something new and exciting, I settled on a lamb dish…until the food store was charging $30 for a piece of meat. That just wasn’t going to happen. Back to chicken stew it was…
Confession time: I love Panera. One weekend in grad school when my internet was out and a paper was due, I essentially lived at the Panera around the corner. I sat for hours and hours at my little table, working on a grade-A citation analysis. The staff was awesome; after figuring out what was going on, they made sure to keep my coffee cup full for me, and didn’t make me abide by the 15 minute internet rule. As far as a weekend without internet could have gone, it was pretty good.