So you all know I live in Texas now but I was a born and raised (AND PROUD) Jersey girl! I grew up in the east coast where there are four seasons and now that I have lived in Texas for the last 8+ years, I am a traitor. It is ok, I can say that now because it is true. Texas may be HOT, hotter than hell they say, but I will tell you I would rather be hot than cold any day of the week. It’s January and this past week’s weather temperatures were beautiful. We had days in the high 60s and 70s, not bad for the middle of January in Texas, right? Well you are right, until a cold front blew in and it was low 30s, 40s and 50s. I know, I know, 50s is not bad for you “northerners” but again I revert to my previous confession; I am a traitor and I am not used to such “cold” temperatures.
The cold front came in just in time for Austin’s 3M Half Marathon. Even though I have not signed up for a “big” race since my marathon last February, I decided to run this half marathon with my bestest friend, Lisa, who recently got into running longer distances. I wanted to do it with her because I thought it would be fun to chat for 13 miles. Improve our fitness and our friendship; it was a win win in my book. Well sadly, Lisa got injured last minute and was not able to run the race with me. I was very sad, but decided to take the opportunity to “race” it and not just “run” it. It was a pretty scary decision since all I did leading up to the race was run a 10 and 12 miler two weeks prior to the race. I posted my 203 fitness goals on New Years Eve that I wanted to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. How was I going to do THAT without proper training? I was scared of failing. Yes, I have been doing CrossFit religiously (5-6x a week) and, yes, I do run with my dearest friend and coach, Amy, 6-10 miles a week but I was still scared to see how I would do. Heck, a year ago I was running 20 mile training runs getting ready for the Livestrong Marathon and yesterday I was wondering if I could make it through the darn 13 miles without walking. Well, I decided to say the heck with it and do it. Like they say, you can’t be brave if you are not afraid first. So I did it, I gave it all I got. I went out hard, got burned out the in the middle, but I did it or at least got darn close. My watch says 2:00:54 when I crossed the finished line. I am still waiting for the official results but I did run a 2 hour half marathon, which is 9 minutes faster than my fastest half marathon race I did in November 2010. I may potentially be a few seconds shy of my 2013 goals, but I did get a 9 minute Personal Record (PR)! This just goes to show you two things. 1. CrossFit pushes you, your body and your mind to the limit. CrossFit makes you strong in so many ways and 2. Go big or go home. If you don’t push yourself, you will never know what you can do.
Well back to the “cold” 50 degree weather Texas has been experiencing. Not only did I have an awesome half marathon experience, I made the best.paleo.chili.ever! Since it was “cold,” I wanted to make something that would warm all of us up. As much as I love leftovers, I get tired pretty quickly of chili left overs. I don’t know if it is the overpowering flavor of the chili powder, but all the chili recipes I have made over the last couple of years were just average and I want to throw the leftovers away after the second day. I decided to make a Paleo version this week and combining a few recipes here and there, I came up with this amazing, delicious, and healthy recipe. The best part about it was it did not have the over powering chili powder taste. Perhaps I should call it a stew rather than a chili. This was also my first time cooking with bison and I was impressed. I found it at my grocery store for $7.99 a pound, which is more expensive than my normal ground beef but surprisingly not by much. Usually the 96% lean ground beef runs me $4.99 or $5.99 a pound so the difference was not drastic. Besides I save/ skimp out/ deprive myself on so many other things in life (read between the lines that this girl NEEDS a Vitamax or a pair of beautiful brown Frye riding boots) that I did not think twice of shelling out the extra cash for this recipe. Your health is worth much more than those few dollars you may have saved, so take the plunge and try this recipe with the bison because it was well worth it. Nonetheless, if you can’t find the bison or can’t afford it, you can certainly substitute the ground beef for the bison. My kids also got a kick out of eating buffalo. They loved it. They love trying new animals. Call me lucky that I have great eaters, I know, but I do believe if you include your kids in the cooking process and make a big deal about something small as the fact they are eating buffalo, you will be surprised on what your kids will try. So try this recipe and see how it favors in your home.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE….the.recipe.for.the.best.chili.you.will.ever.make.is.here!
- 2 lbs of ground bison
- 1 large acorn squash, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups of squash)
- 1 large yellow onion (or 3 cups chopped)
- 2 colored peppers of your choice (or 2 cups chopped)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of chili powder
- 2 teaspoons of oregano
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3 cups of chicken broth
- ¾ teaspoon of black pepper
- olive oil
- slices of avocado for serving
- See what it feels like to be a sous chef. Peel and chop your acorn squash, peppers and onion. This took a bit because it was the first time I ever peeled an acorn squash. Those bumps and rivets are no joke. The prep work was more than I like but after tasting this chili it was definitely worth it.
- In heated large sauce pan, add olive oil and saute the onions, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground bison, salt and pepper to the saute pan with the vegetables and brown for an additional 5 minutes.
- Once the bison is mostly brown (it is ok if there is a little pink), stir in the remainder of the dry spices.
- Once that is mixed thoroughly, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth and cubed acorn squash.
- Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until acorn squash is tender.
- Serve with fresh avocado slices and parsley and viola!
So what else do you like to eat in the winter that will warm you up?
See your Recipe Book.