Sunday, 28 April 2013

Healthy Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne

You know that feeling of excitement you get when you're driving home with a new appliance? Please tell me I'm not the only one! I find myself glancing in to the backseat to make sure my new baby is alright while my head is whirring with new possibilities. Most importantly:

What am I going to make first?

Well let me tell you.

Byron and I spent our Saturday afternoon perusing the shops, not for anything in particular, mind you. At Target I scored 2 pieces from Dita Von Teese's range "Von Follies" (of which I had already amassed a collection) for $4.86 each. Yep. To put this in perspective, they're usually about $45-60 each. And that's not a typo. $4.86. I also bought some new Bonds for $7 and they were on sale... So my new Bonds which were on sale were still more expensive than my new Von Follies!

I was happy with that purchase! But we still thought we'd check out Kmart as I wanted to look at the home section and pick up a $6 bag of kitty litter for Winnie, my beloved ragdoll. We had looked in the appliance section at Target and found a $29 slow cooker but the information on the box wasn't enough for me to want to buy it. It had three dot points and that was all the information it thought about offering me. So as we were in Kmart, lugging around a giant bag of kitty litter, I walked passed a display. Slow cookers were stacked upon each other in a formidable wall of convenience, all available for $19. $19! And there were more than three dot points telling me about the benefits of this particular slow cooker! I was sold. I quickly went to the outdoor section to pick up Byron from one of the patio seats (he has a low stamina for shopping) and I eagerly led him to the slow cooker section, demanding that he hold the kitty litter while I grabbed one.

I get particularly excited when buying a new appliance. We recently bought a new blender/food processor with all the fabulous attachments and I have NOT stopped using it. So when we got the slow cooker home the first thing I did was peruse the instruction booklet which happened to have a couple of recipes too. One of which was for chilli con carne, a particular favourite of mine. I read over the recipe- not only did I have everything in the cupboard, it was incredibly healthy- made up of vegetables and lean beef mince.

Well okay, it called for 2 tins of tomatoes and I only had one.... It was grocery day today anyway so I set up the slow cooker.

The recipe called for:

2 tins of tomatoes (crushed, whole, whatever)
1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (and if you're like me, mushed so I can't taste them!)
Lean mince, I used extra lean beef
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp + chilli
1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large onions diced

I then went ahead and added extra veggies and I'm so glad I did, you couldn't even taste them!
I added 1 chopped carrot
1 grated carrot
1 grated zucchini

I also added more spice as I found the recipe quite lacking- I added:
Ground cumin
Mexican chilli
Cayenne pepper
Celery salt

I'd urge you to add the cumin and chilli for the real Mexican flavour, just add everything to your taste- don't over do it or it will be too hot! I added a little pasta sauce too for colour.

I then set the slow cooker on low for 8 hours and went grocery shopping for the week. I decided to call my outfit the "50's teenager" look, complete with kitten heels! I think my ponytail helped.

Anyway, after 8 hours were up my chilli was a little soup-like so a couple of spoonfuls of cornflour sorted that right out! I then made up some corn chips by spraying a whole grain wrap with oil, sprinkling with Mexican spices and grilling until crisp. I served it topped with grated vintage cheddar and 0% fat Greek Yoghurt. I'm very happy with the results, I may play with the flavours a bit more as the original recipe really was quite bland for a chilli before I added more spice.
My brother once made Heston Blumerthal's chilli and it was DELICIOUS but when I looked up the recipe it was quite complex and really, ain't nobody got time fo' dat. Maybe one day when I really do have some spare time I can make that but until then, this slow cooker one really hits the spot! First slow cooker meal done and dusted! There you have it. If you have any additions that you add to your chilli, let me know, I'd love to experiment with this!

-Grace

P.S sorry all the pics are at the bottom, I'm using my iPad and it is NOT Blogger friendly!













Monday, 22 April 2013

Update! Why I've Been M.I.A Lately

Well, April is almost gone, fortunately for me. You see, April is when my birthday is as well as a lot of my friends and family too. It also happens to be the first month of the year that uni gets crazy.... really crazy. As in I-handed-an-assessment-in-four-days-late kind of crazy....

This year it was my 21st birthday and I planned a huge party and this, along with uni in full force, took up all of my time. My routine was sleep, go to uni, come home and organise party, sleep and start it all again. To top it all off, I was also making my dress for my 21st! I still managed to eat healthy (between the cakes!) and exercise regularly even though all of this was going on so it goes to show there's no excuse!
Me at my 21st

And so today I went to finally write my blog post about my sweet potato wedges that have become a new staple in my house and what happens? I can't find the cord for my camera. How annoying is that? But I am determined to find that cord because I must share that recipe with you. Until then I leave you with my friend Jemma's vlog about my birthday party. You can watch it here.

-Grace
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