Christmas Chili ~ A Green Chili Recipe

Yesterday, I made a big pot of Christmas Chili for dinner.  It had been snowing all day and it was a good night to have a nice warm bowl of chili for dinner.  This is a green chili but it has red tomatoes in it which gives it a kind of red and green Christmas look – hence the name!

Christmas Chili

Here is the recipe:

Christmas Chili

- 2 to 3 pounds of ground pork
– 1 bunch of green onions or Mexican onions ( they are like green onions only bigger on the bulb)
– 3 Anaheim Chilies (or whatever sort of chilies you like, I like to use the roasted green chilies that we get in the fall and freeze but we’ve used those all up)
– 2 cups pre-cooked beans of your choice (I used adzuki beans, canned beans are fine – drain them)
– 3 cans chicken broth or use chicken stock
– 1 can water (if you use broth)
– 2 cans fire roasted chopped tomatoes (or 1 large can)
– 3 tablespoons green chili powder
– 1 tablespoon ground cumin
– 1 tablespoon crushed green chili
– 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Chop the onions including the green stalks, clean seeds from chilies and chop.

In a large pot, brown the ground pork with the chopped onions, chopped chilies, green chili powder, cumin and crushed green chili until the pork is fully cooked. Add the chicken broth and water, bring to a boil, turn down heat and add beans and tomatoes. Cover (slightly crack lid) and simmer for 15 minutes, add salt to taste (I always wait till I simmer it a bit to add any salt to see for sure how salty it is going to turn out). Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.

This recipe makes a big pot of chili that will serve 5 or 6 people very generously. It is good garnished with grated cheese and a few blue corn chips.

It might be hard to find the green chili powder and crushed green chili in some places.  It is available in most grocery stores in New Mexico.

You can click on the picture for a larger view.

Second Sock Syndrome Solution

I have Second Sock Syndrome.  I love to knit socks but after the excitement of finishing the first sock to see how it turns out – how the yarn looks knitted up and how it fits – I often times don’t feel like getting started on the second sock.  I’ve tried the two at a time on circular needle thing but don’t really like it very much – things get too tangled up and it’s hard to take with you.

So, I decided to knit the pair of socks I just started in stages. Do the leg of one sock, then start the leg of the second sock, then do the heel flap on one sock and then on the second sock, then turn the heel and pick up the gusset on the first sock and then on the second and so on.

Two Socks in Progress

Hopefully, this will solve my Second Sock Syndrome – I already have the heel flap done on the first sock and have the flap partially finished on the second. 

Knit 6 - Purl 2

This is going to be a very basic pair of socks, it starts out with Knit 2, Purl 2 ribbing and then changes to Knit 6, Purl 2 for the main part of the leg.   The Knit 6, Purl 2 leg is nice because there is enough plain knitting to show off the color of the yarn and enough ribbiness with the Purl 2 so the sock hugs your leg nicely. 

When using multicolor or self-striping yarn it seems kind of a waste to do a fancy pattern stitch because it doesn’t even show.  This yarn is Knit Picks Imagination , a blend of  50% superwash merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca and 25% nylon in the Frog Prince colorway.  It is very soft and really nice to knit with.  Even though the skeins are from the same dye lot, they aren’t the same color – one of them has more of the light green shade and the other one has more of the dark green shade.  I guess that’s how it is with any kind of hand dyed yarn. 

Since the beginning of the year I’ve really been in a sock knitting mood – which is a good thing because all my hand knit socks are getting worn out and I need new ones!

You can click on the pictures for a larger view.

2010 ~ A Year in Pictures

This year, I decided to try the challenge of taking a picture a day.  I’ve tried to do this once before and ended up quitting after only a few days. This time, I joined a few groups on Flickr where I can post my daily picture and join other people who are trying to do the same thing. 

It’s been 12 days now and I’ve managed a picture for each day.  Here are some of them:

2010 ~ Picture A Day

Here is the link to view my Picture a Day set on Flickr:

2010 – Picture A Day

I also posted a link to this set of pictures on the left hand side of my blog.

It really is a challenge to take a picture of something every day that is semi-interesting.  However, it really is a good exercise because it makes you look at everyday things with different eyes and perhaps see the hidden beauty in something ordinary.  It is also good practice with editing pictures and really getting to know all the settings and capabilities of your camera.

You can click on the mosaic picture for a larger view.

Hat For Husband

This hat for my husband was finished a while ago, I have been meaning to write a post about it for a long time.

Ear Cozy Hat

It is based on a children’s hat pattern by Fibertrends – Ear Cozy Hat.  I did the math to figure out how to make it in a larger adult size.  It turned out really well and fits just about perfectly – it could stand to be a little bit longer so it comes down over his forehead a bit more.  When I was figuring out how to make it a larger size I went with the same proportions for the length before starting decreasing for the top.  I think with an adult head you need to make it longer before starting the decreases for the top.  Next time I make it, I’ll add another half-inch before starting the top decreases. Instead of pulling all the stitches together at the top, I made a little I-Cord stem.

Ear Cozy Hat For Jack

The wool I used to make this is Aurora Melange by Karabella Yarns, it is 100% Extrafine Merino Wool .  It is a dream to work with – soft, springy and it just feels wonderful.  It is also machine washable – always a plus for a hat.

My husband says he really likes the hat, it keeps his ears warm and doesn’t ride up on his head.  Whenever he wears a regular stocking cap, the hat always tends to ride up on his head and his ears aren’t covered.  I think it is much handier than the usual type of earflap hat that needs ties to hold the earflaps over the ears.

He wore the hat while he was cross country skiing over Christmas and said it kept his head and ears warm and wasn’t bulky and didn’t feel like it was going to fall off. 

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Happy New Year – 2010!

Happy New Year to Everyone! The start of the new year always seems like a magical time to me – a fresh, clean white canvas waiting for each us to paint a beautiful picture. I always love that feeling of a new beginning, a fresh start to finally make your life the way YOU want it.

When I was younger, I used to make resolutions but I don’t now because they were so seldom kept and just ended up making me feel guilty because I didn’t get them accomplished.

So, instead of resolutions I have “Hopes” for the New Year. They are things you hope you will accomplish but aren’t going to beat yourself up about if you don’t.

This year, I’d like to get my house more organized – after 26 years of living in this house and accumulating stuff, it has become way too cluttered. I really need to go through every room and get rid of a lot of things and reorganize everything. Hopefully, throughout this year I’ll work on this bit by bit. I’m not in a huge hurry to get started but I hope to get a little done each week.

Also this year, I’d like to spend a lot of time practicing the piano so I can become a better player. Hopefully, this shouldn’t be to difficult as I love to play the piano. However, now that I’m past 50 it does seem to take longer to get your fingers to cooperate. At the beginning of 2009 I started playing again after a long hiatus from the piano – how I wish I hadn’t let it go like that. During 2009, I made a lot of progress – caught up to where I was when I quit playing and advanced past that. Hopefully during 2010 I will be able to advance even more.

Another thing I “hope” to do in 2010 is become more fit and healthy. My husband and I actually got a head start on this! We’ve been doing Qi Gong exercises along with a DVD for five days now. It seems like a very easy sort of exercise but really does make you feel relaxed yet invigorated at the same time. Both of us really enjoy doing the exercises along with the DVD.

Qi Gong For Seniors

The first DVD we are using is Qi Gong for Seniors by Lee Holden. I saw him on PBS during a pledge drive and really liked the programs. So, I ordered several DVDs from his website to try. Since neither of us has ever tried Qi Gong before and we are in our middle fifties we started with the Qi Gong for Seniors.

So far, we are really enjoying this. Hopefully, because it is enjoyable, Qi Gong will be something we can keep doing throughout the year. It is amazing how quickly the half hour routine zips by.

Let’s hope that 2010 will be a good year for everyone on our Earth. May all of you have Peace, Hope, Health and Prosperity this New Year!

How are all of you going to say the name of the new year – two thousand and ten or twenty ten?  My husband thinks that everyone is going to say twenty ten.  So far, I’m more comfortable saying two thousand and ten.

Felted Pet Bed

The Pet Bed I finished knitting quite a while ago is finally felted.  Actually, the felting part was done a couple of weeks ago but I only got around to taking pictures today!

It got a LOT smaller – this is what it looked like before it was felted:

Pet Bed Unfelted

Here is how it turned out:

Felted Pet Bed

The sides got very short when felted and it is a much smaller circle.  The fabric turned out to be thick and cushy – the Knit Picks Bulky Wool of the Andes felted nicely. 

This was knitted using a circle made of 9 segments, increased every other row.  It seemed flat on the bottom before it was felted but after felting it was very difficult to get the bottom to lie flat.  One part of it would always bunch up, it seemed like it was one segment too big.  I really had to stretch and pull this when it was wet to get it to lie flat.

This is the second Pet Bed I’ve knitted.  The first one was knitted using a circle made of 10 segments, it was never felted because my dog likes it just the way it is.  However, it doesn’t even like to lie totally flat on the floor without being felted, it would probably really bunch up if felted.  Next time I knit one of these, I’ll start with a circle made of 8 segments and see how that works.  Also, I’ll make it much larger around and a taller on the sides.

A Bit Too Small

Even though this is too small for my dog, Gidget (a Cairn Terrier), to really stretch out and get comfy – she seems to like it.  It would be just the right size for a cat.

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Pumpkin Pie Disaster

We spent Thanksgiving at Darrin and Maura’s home – technically, they are dear friends but actually they are much, much more like family.  They are more like our grown children than plain old friends and their children are our grandchildren.  Being a part of their extended family is one of the things for which we are very thankful not only on Thanksgiving but every day.

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was to make enough dessert for a large, extended family gathering.  So, I decided to make four pumpkin pies (as many as fit in my oven).  Usually my pies turn out well, I always make my own pastry and don’t have any problems with that turning out the way it should.   These four pies just didn’t turn out well at all – not because of the pastry but because I put more than twice as much sugar in the pumpkin mixture as the recipe called for.

Pumpkin Pie Failure

It was late on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving and I was trying to be quick about making the pies.  I didn’t bother to put my reading glasses on and thought the recipe said each pie needed 1 3/4 cup of sugar so I multiplied that by 4 and put 7 cups of sugar in for the 4 pies.  They should have finished baking in an hour but it took 2 1/2 hours for them to get firm.  By that time, I knew something was wrong – not just the long baking time but the smell was dreadful.  Instead of that wonderful pumpkin pie smell wafting from the oven there was a sickeningly sweet, burnt sugar smell filling the house.   A sticky sugar syrup was bubbling out of the pies and all over my oven, when I took the pies out of the oven the syrup was at the hard crack stage making long crispy strings as I lifted them out and put them on the counter.  It was a mess.  Anyway, I looked at the recipe again to see what on earth might have gone wrong (with glasses on) and saw that each pie only needed 3/4 cup of sugar!  For the 4 pies, I should have only used 3 cups of sugar and I used 7!

No one tasted these pies but I bet they tasted really awful.  They certainly smelled awful.  I put them out in the garage before I went to bed so they would quit stinking up the house and they were thrown out Thanksgiving morning.

Coconut Cranberry Bars

Thanksgiving morning, I baked Coconut Cranberry Bars to bring for dessert.  Luckily, I had all the ingredients they needed and they were quick and easy to make.  I had seen the recipe on the Land O’Lakes site several days earlier.  They turned out nicely and tasted great. 

Thanksgiving Dessert

Here is a link to the recipe:

Coconut Cranberry Bars

They turned out so well and people seemed to like them so much that I made them again to take to my Knitting Night on Tuesday.  Everyone there seemed to like them, too – at least they ate them and even asked for the recipe!

Coconut Cranberry Bars For Knitting Night

The Land O’Lakes site has many good recipes, they are easy to find and the pages don’t have any pop-ups or weird ads.  I’ve had good luck with any of the recipes I’ve tried from their recipe collection.

To see more pictures from Thanksgiving, here is a link to a set of pictures on Flickr:

Thanksgiving 2009

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see a larger version.

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