Tuesday, January 22, 2008

warding off winter blahs

If you've been reading along here for any length of time, then you probably know that I love summer. Love summer! And I don't like winter. Don't like it one bit!

So, living with me in January isn't the greatest. Especially when you live outside of Chicago and you get snow and ice regularly. Like, this morning. Another 5 inches! sigh. Try as I might to remain my usual happy and optimistic self, these winter days have a way of wearing me down a bit.

But if you're a real sweetheart of a guy, you'll do what you can to bring some sunshine and warmth my way. For instance, on the way home from an appointment with your son, the two of you will stop and pick up some flowers for me:

ta da!

No, winter's not my favorite, but I do have my ways of keeping the winter blahs at bay. Mostly they involve eating (good thing I now have the big pink mixer. We're calling her Big Pink for short.) I have a couple of recipes to help get through these cold days and nights. Back on New Year's Eve, my sister in-law made a very tasty white bean chili & cornbread combo for a small group of us, and it is divine. I made the same dinner this past weekend, to rave reviews inside the LC. So, although I don't have a picture, I will pass this on (trust me, you don't need the picture...these recipes are winners!)

White Bean Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 C water
1 t salt
2 t ground cumin
1 bayleaf
1/2 t pepper
1-2 t oregano
5 15-oz cans great northern beans, drained & divided
1 14 1/2-oz can chicken broth
1 16-oz pkg. frozen shoepeg white corn
2 4.5-oz cans chopped green chilis
3 T lime juice
garnish with cilantro if desired and shredded monteray jack cheese for top

Saute chopped onion in hot oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat 7 minutes; add garlic and saute 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook, stirring constantly until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in water and next 5 ingredients; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Place 2 cans of beans in blender; add the chicken broth and process until smooth. Stir in bean puree, remaining beans, corn and chilies into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in lime juice just before serving. Top with cilantro and shredded cheese.

* * *
Next recipe: moist and 'out of this world' (as my mother said) cornbread:

1 stick of butter, softened
2 jiffy corn bread mix
1 can cream corn
1 egg beaten
1 pint sour cream

Mix together and pour into lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

* * *
Last recipe: Charlie's chocolate cake

This was my grandmother's recipe, my mom's mom. We had dinner club this past Saturday night and I had to bring a dessert, and this is what I brought. I hadn't made it in years...and was so pleasantly surprised at what a hit it was at the party. It is not too heavy and just chocolate enough. Even my husband had seconds, and you know how healthy he is. Here's what it looked like on Saturday:

And here's the recipe:
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 C sour cream
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
6 oz pkg chocolate chips
1/3 C vegetable oil
3/4 C double cream (don't whip)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips; stir in chocolate chips after beating. Pour into well-buttered bundt pan. Bake 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle cake with a little powdered sugar while still warm.

Delicious! You won't be disappointed. As you saw from the picture, we made it a birthday cake Saturday night. One of our friends was turning 30 "again". And, do you know what we also did? Why, we had our picture taken! So far my New Year's resolution is still going strong.

bon appetit!
Keep warm!
Only 10 more days of January!!


tulipmom said...

Beautiful flowers and beautiful couple. Seriously, you two are very photogenic! Glad to see you've kept up your resolution.

Rosemary said...

It all sounds so good. I love trying new recipes. Thanks!
If it makes you feel any better, it's rainy, dreary and cold in Southern California today. It's suppose to be like this all week.
Hang in there Spring is around the corner.

paige said...

i'm with you on the winter thing & i live in atlanta...hardly winter for long here.
in heaven i'm convinced i'll have a beach cottage so i'm holding out until then!
yummy recipes. i made a similar cornbread the other night & it too was a big hit. will try your white bean chili--thanks!

tommie said...

We made a white chili this weekend too!

That is a great shot of the two of you. What a great guy to bring you a little bit of Spring.

Southern Sugar said...

thanks for the great recipe.

Jenny said...

I like the sound of the bean chili, although there are some canned ingredients there that I don't think we have in Australia. I'll improvise! The corn bread sounds good to. I had corn bread at restaurant in Sydney that cooks southern American cuisine awhile ago and really liked it.
The flowers are beautiful.

restyled home said...

What a good-looking couple you make...and your hubby sounds so sweet!

I love this spot...you make for a good read!