Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Christmas Goodies

Merry Christmas!

It finally feels like Christmas to me, today. School is out! Vacation is here! We had a dusting of snow earlier this week!

Tonight is my first night off of the Christmas holidays, and what am I doing? Cooking, of course!

Today I made Chex mix and pear jelly! The Chex mix is delightful, and dairy and gluten free! (Just substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil for the butter in the recipe on the box, and add a little extra salt. Tastes just as good, and you don’t have to wait for the butter to melt!)
The jelly is still boiling in the pot, but last time I stirred it, a little got on my finger…it tastes pretty yummy!

Tomorrow: cookies of many kinds! My baking list is ambitious (it always is!), and I may not make it through all of the deliciousness, but it is fun to have many options!

…Hey, I’m back. Thanks for waiting! I had to go jar up the jelly. This is the first time I’ve made jelly! Can you tell I’m a bit excited about it???

20121222-013925.jpg

As I stirred the jelly tonight, I was thinking about what I was doing at this time last year. (not Exactly this time…I’m the polar opposite of a numbers genius…just this season). I was a student then, working hard in an online court reporting school, so I was looking forward to a double vacation: no work AND no homework!!! Then I got a phone call, informing me that, due to a change in academic progress requirements, I was being dropped from the court reporting program. Merry Christmas. Without boring you with a long saga of the joys and frustrations of learning machine shorthand, it is hard to explain how frustrating this news was. I spent hours on the phone, talking to strangers far away, trying to convince them to fix the problem, do something different, or at least understand and pretend to care about what a third of their students were going through. (Those of you who know me know how much I enjoyed that stressful experience…) As person after person gave me a resounding, “TOO BAD!” I realized that God must have a different plan for me.

Just after that, a friend sent me an email, one of those forwards that circulates every so often. Usually I just skim through, but this one had a message for me. Somewhere in the middle it said, “When it seems that God is taking something away, you don’t need to try to hang on to it. He is getting your hands empty so He can fill them with something new in His plan for you!”

I decided to be excited, and to look for these new things God was bringing into my life.

I have now been a full year as a free, non-student. As I stirred the jelly some more, and checked on the Chex mix in the oven, I began making a mental list of blessings I have had this year that would not have been possible had I still been in school:

Time to try many new cooking experiments, like pear jelly!
I was able to take an assignment interpreting a week-long overnight outdoor school, which was an incredibly memorable experience! If I had needed to focus on homework, I couldn’t have gone on that trip.
I just bought a new car, which I can afford because I am not having to pay for school.
I got to relax and play in the summer, instead of practicing shorthand all the time!
I have the time and energy to work on a special sign language teaching project with my boss this year, which I am really enjoying!

These are just a few that came quickly to mind. There are many others!

Have you seen the movie, Joseph, King of Dreams? (That seems like a non sequitur, but it isn’t. Trust me.). There is a beautiful song in that show that is one of my favorites. Here are some of the words:

I thought I did what’s best, I thought I had the answers,
I thought I’d found the surest road, but that road brought me here.
So I put up a fight and told you how to help me
And just when I have given up, the truth is coming clear
That you know better than I, you know the way
I’ll let go the need to know why, for you know better than I…

Look it up on YouTube, it’s pretty!

Not only is it pretty, but the message is a good reminder. It is so very easy to get discouraged or sad when things don’t go the way I hoped or planned. It helps me to remember that God is in control, and that His plan is the best one!

My plan for tomorrow is cookie baking! But if God has a different plan, that’s okay. I’m excited to see what He wants me to do!

Utterly Random

Oh, hai.

It’s been a while, eh? In a way, that’s great because it means I’ve been Living, not sitting around bored! At the same time, I never stop writing inside my head. Lately, though, SO MUCH has been going on that I would need a few months to write about it all, a post at a time! Good news for me on that front is, i just discovered the WordPress app! I find it much easier to navigate than the website, and it means i can take my blogging along with me much easier than before! Yay! (This is my first post using it!)

Taking into account that inspiration strikes me at random and rather slowly, as a certain friend and partner-in-literary-crime of mine can attest, it could take a whole year! Instead, I offer the short version; a string of my random thoughts about each significant event recently, culminating, as always, with a recipe of deliciousness! I don’t really understand Twitter (what is it, like Instant Messaging with the whole world?) but if I had an account, the last few weeks might have looked like this…..

TWO Alice in Wonderland birthday parties!!! Tea (of course!), gorgeous cakes, delicious Chinese foods (some recipes coming soon!) I cooked! It’s what I like to do!
(Note: If my future husband is reading this, just because I Like to cook doesn’t mean I always cook on my birthday. Do you like to cook? I’d love to let you! 🙂 I approve of restaurants, too!)

Here’s some decorations I painted for one of the parties…

20121222-000239.jpg

20121222-000508.jpg

Trip to the Gem Fair resulted in purchase of a pretty thing I can’t show now (it’s a Christmas gift!), and some cute little bottles with corks! It is a beautiful place to visit, very shiny.
Another message for my future husband: Good news for your pocketbook! After wandering around a huge showroom of jewelry, I find I have absolutely no desire to possess most of it. Engagement ring, wedding band, done. Unless, of course, you Like jewelry, in which case I can endeavor to change my attitude…

Christmas! Christmas projects! So many fun things to do! So many secrets! Shhh!!!

Christmas concerts! Interpreting Christmas songs is so fun! God blessed me with good health for all three performances, and a perfect song order that gave me breaks in just the right places. NCU’s choir sounded amazing, and it was really great to be involved! Got to meet some neat people, too.

Have you noticed how many people are having babies right now? I, personally, know 6 people who have had a baby in the last couple of months, or are about to have one! Too bad none of them live close to me! Not enough nearby babies to hold!
I love babies.

There were no babies at our family Thanksgiving this year. But there was gluten free green bean casserole. It could have been dairy free, had I taken the time to make the soup myself. There was a lot of other yummy food too, but green bean casserole is what’s on the menu for today! Here we go!

Gluten free Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:
Green beans, frozen, fresh, or canned
2 boxes of Pacific’s gluten free cream of mushroom soup
A splash of milk
2 onions
1 cup gluten free flour (I used brown rice flour)
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Oil for frying (I used Grapeseed Oil)

First, make the fried onion topping. Slice your onions in whatever way you like best. Put the cup of flour and the sliced onions into a large zip top baggie. Add a dash of salt, and a pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper. Shake it up! Then heat your oil to around 350 degrees. Fry the onions in batches, and remove them to a drying rack or paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while still hot. Try not to eat them all…

If your beans are frozen, I recommend thawing them first!
In a 13 x 9″ baking pan, mix as many green beans as will fit with the two boxes of mushroom soup. Thin the soup with a little milk if you need to. Sprinkle the fried onions on top, then bake at 350 until the whole casserole is hot and bubbly (at least 20 minutes).

Enjoy!

A Promise Fulfilled

Hello my friends! Today we are making macaroni and cheese. Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, artificial colors free! Free of many allergens, but still full of taste. No story, really, just yummy foods.

I will tell you that this cheese recipe is incredibly versatile. It makes a delicious cheeseball, and works great in lasagna and quiche, and on pizza (let it stiffen a bit before putting it on pizza, unless you have a nice, high-edged crust). I’ve even made cheesecake and “cream cheese” frosting with it! It is great on nachos, mixed into chili as a dip, or anywhere else you use melted cheese.

The Basic Cheese
(at my house we call it “Daddy’s Cheese” because he is the dairy-free one, but we are all willing to eat it!)

 1 cup raw cashews

3 packages unflavored gelatin

water

lemon or lime juice

garlic powder

onion powder

salt

½ red bell pepper (this is for taste and color, but is optional)

Grind the cashews in your blender. While they disintegrate, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup of cold water. After it gels, pour in ½ cup of hot water and stir until the gelatin melts. Add this melted mixture to the blender with the nuts and blend to mix. Add the juice of ½ a lemon or lime. Next, add ½ of a red bell pepper, chopped into chunks. Blend until smooth, then add the other spices to taste. When the seasoning is perfect, pour into a shallow container and place in the refrigerator to solidify. (When solid, this cheese has a “velveeta-like” consistency.)

 Variations:

For a sweet “cream cheese” style:
Omit garlic and onion powders and the red bell pepper.
Add about a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a little sugar (to taste)

For a delightful alfredo sauce:
Omit bell pepper.
Add some oregano, thyme, and basil to the spice mix.

 For a nacho cheese:
Add some cumin and chili powder.
Macaroni and Cheese, Dairy free and Gluten free

Prepare some gluten free pasta, according to its directions.

When it is getting close to done, start the cheese, using the basic directions above (and adding whatever flavors you like best.)

At the point where the recipe tells you to pour the cheese into a container, pour it onto your drained pasta instead!

Eat and enjoy!

Since the last time I posted, my life has been a swift succession of those two things in the title. Birthdays, the start of a new work/school year, and a few other new things have made for an exciting couple of months filled with God’s blessings.

Celebrations usually mean special food, so these can be difficult for the new gluten-free cook. I know. Our first gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving and Christmas were strange, Strange, STRANGE! However, it can be a LOT of fun to experiment and recreate the old traditional favorites, sans gluten, and to find some new favorites too!

In the past 8 weeks, I have cooked up two gluten-free birthday parties (with quite a few dairy-free choices as well)! Let’s celebrate together!

For my youngest sister’s 14th birthday, we had…

Macaroni and Cheese Gluten-free, Dairy-free

 

Onion Rings GF/DF and Corn Free

 I forgot to photograph these!  Silly me…

Cheese Sticks GF, with Pepper Jack Cheese–yum!

 

Cake! GF/DF/Corn Free
Vanilla Cake, covered with hand-painted fondant, with a buttercream elephant

 

I had a little fun making buttercream fondant figures, too!

A couple weeks later, a good friend of mine celebrated a special birthday with the following…
(It is worth noting that my friend and her family are gluten-eaters, and they enjoyed these gluten-free treats!)

Cupcakes GF/DF, decorated with delectable dairy free buttercream frosting!

  

Cream Puffs GF, can be made DF

 See recipe below for photos!

Ham and Cheese Bites GF, could be DF with special cheese

 

Chicken Salad GF, DF and delicious!

 

Cake inspired by Sleeping Beauty GF/DF

  

If this cake looks like a mess, yay! I got it right! If you haven’t seen the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty in a while, go watch the scene where Fauna makes Briar Rose’s birthday cake. It’s very entertaining!

The cake is made of Rice Krispy treats (Gluten Free Rice Krispies, of course!), covered in marshmallow fondant, then stuck together with buttercream frosting. The broom is painted marzipan.

WOW!

What a lot of celebrating we have done lately! God really blessed us with a ton of great recipes, and much success in the kitchen! All the recipes from this post will appear here in the next few weeks, but I’d like to start with my personal favorite. This recipe is great because it is SO easy, and incredibly versatile. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free, Corn-Free Cream Puffs or Éclairs
With a Dairy-Free option!

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter  (or Dairy Free shortening, I like butter flavored Spectrum)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt 
14 Tbsp white rice flour, or your favorite GF flour mix (no xanthan or guar gum needed!)
4 large eggs

In a saucepan, bring water, butter, vanilla and salt to a gentle boil. Add rice flour all at once and stir until mixture is smooth and cohesive.  It will look like this:

Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to a smooth dough between each addition.  When you’re done, it will look like this:

For cream puffs, use a pastry bag to pipe small mounds about 2″ apart, or use two teaspoons and shape into small balls. For éclairs, use a pastry bag and pipe into 4″ logs onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of room between each. (They puff!)  I recommend using a pastry bag to shape your dough–it doesn’t take long, and the results are beautiful!

Before baking:

After baking:

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes (until slightly brown on top).

  

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  As you transfer them, poke a hole in each one with a small paring knife.  This lets excess steam escape and keeps the insides from getting soggy.  It also provies a perfect entry point for piping in filling!

This recipe can be halved. (But why would you want to???)

Note: It is Essential to either line your baking sheet or butter it well. These will stick to the sheet otherwise, and you will lose the bottom half of each one. I recommend parchment or a Silpat—easy cleanup!

Filling
1 cup whipping cream 
powdered sugar to taste
Beat together on high speed until stiff. Refrigerate.

For stiffer filling:
1 cup whipping cream
powdered sugar to taste
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, bloomed in 2T cold water, then melted
Beat together cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Add in melted gelatin and continue to beat until stiff.  Refrigerate until needed.

Optional Topping
4 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate
Melt chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Stir until smooth.

Allow pastry to cool. Carefully dip each in chocolate to coat the top. When the chocolate has set, fill each with whipped cream either by splitting each in half with a knife or by pressing a round tip of a pastry bag gently through the side and piping full. Once filled, these can be frozen until wanted. (If you can stand not to eat them immediately!)

Other tasty fillings for these lovely shells:

  • Butter and Jam
  • Fruit and Whipped Cream (like shortcake) (Passion Fruit folded into Whipped Cream is lovely!)
  • Egg Salad, Tuna Salad or other savory, even Taco Salad
  • Ricotta cheese, mixed with Meyer lemon juice, zest and a touch of sugar

Do you have a favorite recipe you have converted to be allergy-friendly?

Want S’more?

I just heard that today is National S’mores Day!  Let’s make some!

What?  You haven’t had a marshmallow in years because you’re allergic to corn?  No problem.  Let’s make some!

After making these marshmallows a couple of times, I really wonder why anyone buys marshmallows.  When you make them, you can have any shape, any size, any flavor, any color you want!  They are pretty easy to accomplish, and taste delicious!  Plus, if you’re making rice cereal treats, you can save time by skipping the whole marshmallow melting step!  Let’s get started!

Corn-Free Marshmallows

You will need:

2 envelopes  unflavored gelatin
8 Tablespoons cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other flavoring, if you don’t want vanilla marshmallows)
corn-free powdered sugar for dusting (or cocoa powder, for chocolate marshmallows)

You will also need:

a square baking pan, 8-9″
2 large mixing bowls
a large saucepan
an electric hand mixer or stand mixer
a cutting board
a sharp knife or pizza cutter

And now, the fun!

Spray an 8-9 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray, then dust with powdered sugar and set aside.

In a small bowl, soak the gelatin in the 8T of water.  (This is called “blooming”)

Combine the sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat.  Stir this frequently to encourage melting and discourage sticking to the bottom of the pan!

When the sugar is completely dissovled, add the gelatin, stir to encourage it to melt, then bring the mixture to a boil.

Once it is boiling, remove from the heat.

Carefully (it’s very hot!) pour the contents of your pot into the bowl you will mix in–either the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large bowl (at least 3 times the volume of the liquid).  A bowl with straight sides works best for mixing.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly.  When it has cooled off some, but is still very liquid, add the salt and vanilla or other flavoring.

Now, beat!  Beat with your stand mixer (whisk attachment), or an electric hand mixer until it turns white and doubles in volume.  It will look like marshmallow cream at this point.  This step takes a while, anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the temperature and humidity.  Just keep going, and it will whip up eventually!

When it is ready, pour the cream into your prepared pan.

Now is the hard part…you must wait!  Wait, wait, wait.  Wait until the top does not stick to your finger at all when you touch it.  This can take several hours.  I suggest you make these the day before you need them, so most of your waiting will be done while you sleep!  While you’re waiting, get a large bowl and put about 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar in the bottom.

Once the top is dry (yay!), sprinkle it with powdered sugar.  Sprinkle a cutting board with some more powdered sugar.  Turn the pan of marshmallows out onto the cutting board, and sprinkle the top (formerly the bottom) with more powdered sugar if needed.  Cut with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. (You can cut them right in the pan, but I find this way easier.)  Drop the individual marshmallows in the large bowl and use your hands to mix them up with the powdered sugar.  You may need to add more powdered sugar to make sure all the cut sides are coated.

Now, eat!  Or wait and toast over a fire, or under the broiler in your oven. 🙂

Variations:

For chocolate marshmallows, replace the powdered sugar with cocoa powder.  My favorite is Ghiradelli’s ground chocolate, which is sweetened.

For coconut marshmallows, replace the powdered sugar with shredded coconut and add coconut extract in place of the vanilla (or 1 tsp each coconut and vanilla)

What else can you do with this recipe???  Well….

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Candies

                                               

Get yourself a candy mold in whatever shape you like.  It should be one that has some depth, because it has to hold chocolate and marshmallow.  In the photo above, I used an egg-shaped cupcake pan, but they were a little big to eat in one sitting! 

Melt some good quality chocolate in a double boiler.  If you want it to look nice at the end, you’ll need to temper it.  To do that, save a little of your chocolate out before you start melting (about 3 Tablespoons, chopped).  Melt the rest, then check the temperature of the melted chocolate.  (it is easiest to do this with an instant-read digital thermometer)  Let it cool until it reaches 90 degrees.  At that point, stir in the reserved chocolate.  From this point on, you must carefully monitor the temperature and do not let it rise above 90 degrees!  If you want to check that the chocolate is “in temper” before you proceed, dip the end of a table knife in the chocolate and place in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.  Check for a slight shine, firm (not tacky) to the touch, and a little snap when you break it.

Once your chocolate is ready, put a small amount (how much will depend on the size of your molds) in the bottom of each mold and spread (with a spoon or paintbrush reserved for candymaking) around the bottom and up the sides of the mold.  You may need 2 coats.  Let the chocolate harden while you make the marshmallows.  If your candy mold is clear plastic, hold it up to the light and check for any gaps or very thin spots in the chocolate before filling.

When the chocolate is hardened, and the marshmallows are to the pouring stage, pour a little marshmallow cream (again, the amount depends on the size of the molds) into each chocolate shell.  Let the marshmallow set for an hour or so, then cover the top of each shape with more melted chocolate.  (so the marshmallow is completely encased in chocolate)  When the chocolate tops harden, turn the candies out of the molds and admire!

 
Candies, before the chocolate topping was added.

You could also…

Frost a cake!

Make the marshmallows up to the pouring stage.  As you mix, you can tint with food coloring.  Then, frost!  The great thing about marshmallow frosting is, the outside dries out, but the inside stays moist and yummy, which in turn keeps the cake moist and yummy!  The decorations on this Kirby cake are made of marshmallow fondant, using a recipe I found online (you basically knead a lot of powdered sugar into the marshmallow cream, then knead in the colors you want)! 

Or, you could make a sheep!


This sheep uses cocoa powder dusted marshmallows for some tasty wool!

Or a whole flock!

  
Ewe can find the shepherding you need to make these in the book, “Cookies, Cupcakes and Pie, Oh My!” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.

Enjoy your marshmallows!  What would you do with them?

It’s summer!!! 

That means a lot of lovely things like swimming, popsicles, beach trips, or just relaxing in the shade.  It also means a warm house (even with air conditioning, sometimes!), and perhaps not so much energy for cooking.  Sometimes, it’s nice to go out and let someone else cook, right?  However, when you have food allergies, finding a restaurant you can eat at can be more of a hassle than cooking at home, heat or no heat.  A little research before hitting the road will save a lot of time and headache later.  Lucky you!  I’ve already done some of it for you!

Also, it is very important to ask questions.  Ask about subsitutions, cross contamination prevention, ingredients, etc.  The answers are important, but the attitude of the restaurant is equally crucial.  If the server, or manager, seems ignorant or uninterested in meeting your needs, be cautious.  Most places, I have found, are very willing to do what they can to serve you.  They want you to come back!

We don’t eat out too often, as the array of allergies in our family makes it tricky to find a place we can ALL eat, but just recently we’ve encountered a few places that fit the bill for us…

Burgerville

We’ve eaten at Burgerville more than any other fast food restaurant in the past few years, for several reasons.  First, they cook their fries in a dedicated frier, which means they are segregated from the gluten-containing onion rings and crispy chicken.  I like fries, and all of Burgerville’s are gluten free!  Secondly, they buy their meat from clean, local sources.  It is good quality, and free of antibiotics.  Thirdly, they have always been willing to do something special (like replace a bun with a lettuce wrap) to make the food safe for those with allergies.  In addition to all of this, Burgerville has just recently added gluten free hamburger buns!  Yes, that picture up there is a gluten free burger!  And it was delicious!

Taco Bell

Taco Bell isn’t quite as allergy-friendly as other places, but they do have some tasty choices for those who are gluten free.  This salad, for instance, is one of their new “Cantina Bowls.”  They are gluten free, but do contain eggs and dairy.  I just had this option recently, and I was impressed with its deliciousness.  Gluten free diners can also request a burrito without the tortilla.  A favorite in my family is the XXL Burrito, which can be further dressed up at home with extra veggie goodness:

Other gluten free options at Taco Bell are crunchy tacos, rice, and beans.

Cruise In Country Diner

This little restaurant, located in Hillsboro, Oregon, is a great option for gluten free diners.  (If you look them up online, you can see their whole menu.)  Their burgers all have a gluten free bun option, and they also have gluten free chicken strips!  At this time, the gluten free buns do contain dairy, but there is also a lettuce wrap option for dairy free people.  Fries are gluten free, cooked in rice bran oil, and come with free refills (when you get them in your meal basket).  The burgers are so thick and juicy, you may not have room for extra fries, though!  For drinks, their house rootbeer is delicious, and their milkshakes come the old fashioned way–with the mixing container!

PF Changs

For Chinese food, gluten free style, PF Changs is a good choice.  They have quite a few gluten free choices, including a dessert!  When you ask for a gluten free menu, your server also brings a tray of gluten free sauces for dipping/topping.  Your food even comes on a special plate, so you can be sure it is gluten free!  Their whole menu is available online.  If you order the gluten free chocolate cake, be sure to have a friend to share with or plan to take some home; it is incredibly decadent!

Around your town, there are probably many other little restaurants with gluten free options or who would be willing to make adjustments to fit your needs.  A little researching and being willing to ask questions can open up our culinary horizons beautifully!

What’s your favorite restaurant?

 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…”

I am bursting with things to say today! This past week has been so full of culinary adventures and discoveries, I’ve had a hard time deciding which ones to write about today and which I can stand to save for later!

To give you an idea of just how much God blessed this cooking hobby of mine, here’s just a part of my list:

-Doughnuts
-Dairy free chocolate mousse
-Mayonnaise
-Breadsticks
-Almond milk shakes
-Fried Chicken

I promise to write about them all, in time!

Today, I’m still thinking about comfort foods, and not forgetting my promise of an easy, homemade chili recipe.

This chili is the product of countless alterations-by-necessity. This makes it excellent for people with food allergies, because you can adapt to fit your specific needs and still end up with a delicious dinner! Sometimes we were missing an ingredient, and improvised with something else. Feel free to experiment!

When we first started making chili, we thickened it with cornstarch. When the need to avoid corn arose, we switched to arrowroot powder. Potato starch or tapioca starch will also work. However, I find that if you fill this up with enough chunky things, it doesn’t really need any thickening at all.

You may notice there are no beans in the recipe. Some of our family are legume-free, so I have never put beans in our chili. Feel free to add some if you like! Before some of us had to avoid corn, we often added frozen corn to replace the “mouth feel” of beans. Corn is tasty, but it’s also good without it.

Now….on to the recipe!

Homemade Chili

Ingredients:
2 boxes (8 cups) of broth (chicken or beef, whatever you like)
1-2 cans of chopped tomatoes (I like Italian tomatoes or fire roasted) OR about 4 diced fresh tomatoes
1-2 lbs of meat (hamburger or chicken)
cumin
garlic powder
chili powder
salt
pepper
cayenne (if you like spicy!)
onion powder

Optional toppings:
diced onion
shredded cheese
sour cream
guacamole

Method:

Cook up the meat in a frying pan. At the same time, warm the broth and tomatoes in a saucepan big enough to hold everything. If you’re using beans, add them now.

When the hamburger is done, drain it and add it to the soup. Now season!

Seasonings are a little tricky, because I never measure…

I usually sprinkle garlic powder and onion powder in a thin layer over the top.
Chili powder depends on your preference, so add some to start–probably about 2 Tablespoons.
Cumin, probably about the same or a little bit more.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Stir well, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Let it cook a little while to warm up, then serve.

If you wish to thicken…
I have thickened successfully with about 1/4 cup cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch. They all work about the same. Arrowroot is another option. Introduce the starch the same way you do for gravy–mix the starch in a bowl or shaker with a bit of cold liquid (broth or water) until smooth, then add to the soup while stirring. Keep warming the soup and stirring (to keep the bottom from burning) until thickened.

Enjoy!

PS: You could also add a diced onion to the soup, but I usually save onions and cheese as optional toppings. Or, use salsa instead of diced tomatoes.

This chili is great as a meal by itself, with a side salad and bread or cornbread. Here’s a few other ideas…

“Fiesta” is chili served atop rice and/or corn chips with salad. Similar to “Frito Pie” or taco salad, layer individual bowls with chips, rice, chili, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Chili dogs!

Mix with creamy cheese (a homemade cheese sauce is best!) for a lovely chip dip!

What do you do with chili?

Which recipe would you like to see next?

…to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!”
(Ephesians 3:20)