Recipe: Low Fat (I’m assuming) Slow Cooker Chili

19 Jun

I suppose it makes sense that because I love to eat so much, I also love to cook. I’ve decided to spend a little blog space sharing some of my favorite things to cook, most of which are super easy and not overly time consuming. Below is my first “recipe” to share – you’ll notice that I follow measurement rules pretty loosely.

Slow Cooker Chili
I use bison meat (which is super delicious f you’ve never tried it) and ground turkey, which is why I’m giving it the low fat label – both these meats are definitely better for you than beef, so happy chili-ing.

1 lb bison
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 can kidney beans (or pinto beans or whatever kind of beans you like)
1 or 2 cups onion, diced (depending on how much you like onions)
1 tomato, diced
1 large can crushed tomato
1 small can tomato paste
pepper
salt
garlic powder
cumin
chili powder
red pepper flakes
paprika

Brown the two kinds of meat together and combine it with all the other ingredients in the slow cooker. I never really measure the spices – I just put in what I assume is enough (if this is new for you, you might want to low ball it a little) and then taste it frequently as it cooks. I add a little more of whatever tastes good as I go. You’ll figure it out, don’t worry. Cook it in the slow cooker on high for an hour or two, then turn it down and cook for three or four hours more. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

I usually serve it with lots of extra sharp cheddar and tortilla chips (which I guess probably negates the low fat business from earlier). Yums.

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Birthday brunch, bouquet and Bruins title

16 Jun

… and also Golden Temple but that doesn’t start with a B so it didn’t make the cut for the title.

My birthday was this week and it seems that the older I get, the less I want a crazy party and the more I just want to eat all day. Luckily, I have friends that know me so well that that’s exactly what I got to do this year. The day started with two birthday gifts from my mom – a gift card to Dunkin Donuts and a bag of Flavor Blasted Goldfish.

I think this is an appropriate time to go off on a bit of a tangent about how awesomely awesome Flavor Blasted Goldfish are. I open a bag and I’m immediately in snack time heaven. We’ve even taken to buying the giant carton size rather than the bag at my house because they’ve become so popular. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on some. And then lick your fingers. You won’t be sorry.

Anyway, my birthday pre-brunch morning time snack was an iced blueberry coffee with cream (yep, cream. birthday splurge) and a handful of Flavor Blasted Goldfish, as my mom had sent me three bags of them in my birthday box. That great start to the day got even greater with the arrival of an amazing bouquet from Winston Flowers.

Swoon.

And because it seems that I can’t do anything without food making an appearance somewhere, there were mint leaves in the bouquet – a fragrant detail the Bouquet Bearer was quick to bring to my attention.

After delivering his partially edible gift, my flower bearer and I headed to Parish Cafe on Boylston for a completely edible gift. Parish is my usual Saturday brunch destination with Ilena, but it has my favorite chicken salad sandwich in the city so I strayed from routine and enjoyed the Bond Herb Roasted Chicken Salad sandwich and a strawberry basil martini.

Birthday brunch at Parish.

As if Flavor Blasted Goldfish and chicken salad sandwiches weren’t enough, my roommates and I did birthday Chinese food in style from Golden Temple. It’s been my favorite Chinese food since I was a kid, and getting takeout was definitely the way to go – game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals had all our neighborhood joint overflowing with fans. So we stayed in and praised Tim Thomas and the Bs from the comfort of our couch.

Spending the day with my favorite foods, a few of my favorite people and another championship for the city of Boston – not a bad way to spend the first day of 27.

Resigned to Awesomeness

5 Jun

So after some polite (and even some not so polite) encouragement from a few people whose opinions I hold in high esteem, I’ve decided to get back on the Money Bite train. It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this blog, but I certainly haven’t stopped eating, loving food, or relishing (ha get it? food reference) my delicious experiences with my nearest and dearest.

So I’ve given in to the requests and resigned myself to doing something that I actually enjoy. Here we go:

As the summer and warm weather have finally arrived in Boston, I find myself anxiously anticipating weekends and frequently in search of bars with patios. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much everyone’s plan in this city when the sunshine arrives, so the other weekend Ilena and I found ourselves lunching next to some huge windows – an acceptable alternative to patio dining.

We sat in the lower level of The Met Back Bay on Newbury Street, under huge picture windows that not only let in the sun but allowed us to wave at a cute kid eating with his family on the patio (which, admittedly, got less cute the longer and more frequently he stared at us). With the filtered sun on our face, we needed cocktails in our hands and, as we’re known to do, picked the best drinks on the menu. A sucker for Bloody Marys, Ilena ordered one that was as spicy as she could have hoped for and packed with olives. I ordered Blueberries for Sal, Shock Top beer, blueberrry vodka and fresh lemon. It was more than amazing and perfectly refreshing for the super warm Saturday.

As tasty-delicious as our drinks were, the food was even more yum. Ilena had a chopped salad, one of her favorite things. She said it was amazing and I believed her – there was absolutely none left in the bowl about 15 minutes after our server brought it to her. I had the BBQ Pulled Pork, which came on a perfectly toasted roll with slaw and a pork rind on top, just in case you really needed a reminder that this wasn’t a low cal lunch. I wound up eating it with a knife and fork, which might be against some kind of barbecue rules, but being a rule breaker never really bothers me much.

BBQ pulled pork with Blueberries for Sal in the background.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that this won’t be my last trip to the Met. Apparently they have a ham and cheese bar (we walked passed it on the way to our booth), and frankly pretending I can tell the difference between ham that’s been expertly smoked for three weeks and what comes in the Hillshire Farm deli pack sounds awesome.

Spoiler alert!

3 Jun

Get excited. We’re coming back.

Tiny but delicious

13 Jun

Ilena, Krit and I headed to Boston Beer Works down the Fenway to watch game five of the NBA finals. Krit and I knew Watermelon Ale was the way to go – ilena wasn’t so sure. Below are our adult sized beverages and her teeny one.

Mikey: Summer’s Official Spokesman

2 Jun

Early summer in Massachusetts is my favorite. Right before it gets brutally hot and humid, when the patios open and when you can finally leave your North Face at home. This Memorial Day, I kicked off summer the right way by heading straight to the water, grabbing some Sam Summer and BBQ-ing it up with friends and one of the cutest kids I’ve ever met. He wasn’t just cute because of the blonde hair and the blue eyes, he was mostly adorable because he’s a man after my own heart: he loves to eat. That kid put away more food than any two year old that Ive ever met. And he has wicked good taste – he housed three different kinds of sausage (spicy, steak bomb and teriyaki), pasta salad, tons of veggies and, to top it all off, biscuits with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.

Mikey doing "the cute."

I was so busy joining Mikey in his conquest of the BBQ that I didn’t even take any pictures of the food. But believe me, Mikey’s mom, Jen, was an amazing cook and an amazing hostess. Piles of food (always a good way to make a great impression on me), great drinks (huge cooler full of Sam Summer and tons of ice), wonderful company (Mikey’s dad, brother and sister-in-law were a great time), and a view that couldn’t be better.

A view from the patio. Yay Memorial Day.

Mikey and his parents live right on the water near Newburyport. Holidays, sunshine, the water and food – life doesn’t really get more awesome than that.

Vegas, baby.

4 Jan

I mentioned in my last post that our yay-we’re-done-with-grad-school celebration had begun a little early. Well in the week following the our last class, I had two finals to take, a 179 page research report to turn in, 80 papers to grade for the professor I worked for and an all-day comprehensive exam to take. Needless to say, after that was all done I needed more than just the Regal Beagle and Lir to help me destress. So I hit the road with Shaun and my best friend Josh who lives in Arizona and treated myself to a weekend in Las Vegas.

We stayed at the MGM Grand which I always really enjoy. I think this was the fourth time I’d stayed there and I loved it – despite the fact that there was some kind of cheerleading competition going on (seriously, it was like beauty pageant stuff going on. five-year-olds with three pounds of makeup on, midriffs showing. maybe I’m becoming conservative in my old age, but I wasn’t really a fan.) The weather was great – a nice break from the 20 degree days that Boston has to offer in late December – and  the food was even better.

My absolute favorite thing about staying at the MGM is Craftsteak. Tom Colicchio is not only a dream boat, but apparently he knows a thing or two about putting a restaurant together. He’s all about farm-to-table, which is nice for local growers and GREAT for people who love delicious food. The difference freshness makes in a meal is difficult to describe but so easy to taste. Like I always do, I had the braised short rib and whipped potatoes. It’s family-style there so if you’re headed to Vegas and you happen to make the best dinner decision of your life, remember that you and your family/entourage/significant other(s)/small army can share the sides. Craftsteak is pretty classy so I felt awk taking pictures. You’ll just have to take my word that everything was georgeous.

Saturday morning was breakfast at my favorite Vegas breakfast buffet – More: The Buffet at Luxor. I don’t know why I’ve come to have such an affinity for the Luxor buffet. Maybe because it was the first Vegas I ever ate at during my first Vegas trip in eighth grade. Maybe it’s because two summers ago, Rafer Alston cut us in line there and I had to just smile a little – Skip, no one knew who you were but me and Josh. If you need to throw your weight around a little at a $30 buffet, go ahead. Enjoy your breakfast.

Anyway, the food is awesome and the mimosas are strong and bottomless. I’m not sure if the picture below is my second or third plate of food, but whatever the number: mmmmmm.

Breakfast remains.

Saturday night it was dinner at Aureole at Mandalay Bay. This was by far my most favorite Vegas meal ever. Not even so much for the food, but for the spectacular service, the beautiful ambiance and, of course, the wonderful company of my two escorts for the evening, Shaun and Josh. The awesome thing about Aureole is the wine tower. Instead of a wine cellar, they have a four story glass tower that holds 9,865 bottles of wine. They belay people up the tower in harnesses to grab bottles of wine – pretty sweet. You make your wine selection from a tablet PC instead of a paper menu since, let’s get serious, no one wants to be lugging around a book long enough to list 9,865 kinds of wine.

For some reason, I wasn’t worried about taking pictures of my food at this place, despite the fact that, like Craftsteak, it was super classy. Not pictured is my first course: Charlie’s Onion Soup – beef consommé with onions, foie gras, truffles, Gruyère cheese puff pastry. No words. This was beyond amazing. Because I was the only one to order a first course, the wait staff brought the boys salads “so the lady didn’t eat alone.” Adorable. Below is my main course: pan seared filet mignon – peekytoe crab and potato “Lyonnaise”, natural beef reduction. This was also excellent, although not quite as good as the meat I had the night before at Craftsteak.

Seared filet mignon.

After we were significantly stuffed, we waddled over to New York, New York to play a little roulette before wandering into Nine Fine Irishmen. Because we’re three fine Irishpeople, we figured it was the place for us and we also figured that several pints of Guinness were way better than any dessert would have been at Aureole (no offense, Aureole, I’m sure your desserts are delicious). We weren’t sitting down for ten minutes when a live band started playing all the Irish songs that I grew up with. As the band started its sixth song (and we began to match them in pints) I laughed and said to Shaun “We came all the way to Vegas to hang out in a bar that’s exactly like every bar we hang out in when we’re in Boston.” You can take the kids outta the city, but you can’t take the city outta the kids, I guess.

Josh and myself at Nine Fine Irishmen.