Month: August 2011

Part One: That Time I Had Emergency Back Surgery

I’ve referenced “that time I had to get emergency back surgery” a few times on my blog, but have never really told the whole story. And people like stories, right? Well here you go. =) Please forgive me because this ended up being WAY longer than I anticipated, so I’m breaking it up into two posts and will post the rest of the story soon!

Disclaimer: I am certainly not a medical professional, so take everything below with a grain of salt! This is just my personal experience of what I went through and what I recall from it.

Part One

I can’t remember exactly when it started, but throughout college, I suffered from sciatic pain. Your sciatic nerve is the one that runs from your lower back down either leg to your ankle, and mine was always on my left side.

sciatic-nerveSource

Sometimes I’d just have a dull pain in my lower back, and other times the pain would shoot all the way down to my leg to my ankle and be much more uncomfortable. When it would get really bad, I’d go to a chiropractor and have them do electric stimulation (those suction cups that make your muscles tense up and release) and it provided a lot of relief. The pain was never constant – it was very come and go – and sometimes it would disappear for months at a time and I’d completely forget about it.

This all changed in September 2006.

I was working at my first “real” job after college at a place called Georgetown Learning Center (very similar to a Sylvan’s Learning Center) to offer tutoring to high school kids on all different subjects.  Towards the end of the torturous training (they literally made us take the SATs and SAT IIs for every subject we were going to be tutoring), my sciatica started to flare up worse than it ever had before. I was having trouble sitting down for any length of time and the pain just got more and more unbearable by the day.

I remember it coming to a point the Friday before Labor Day in 2006. I was devastated to be making this type of impression at my first job and was crying to my supervisor explaining how terrible the pain was and how lame I felt for needing to go home. He assured me everything would be OK and sent me home to take care of myself.

I went home that day, tears streaming down my face from the pain of driving my stick shift car. When I got home and dragged myself up the two flights of stairs to my apartment, I collapsed into bed and was honestly taken aback at how incapacitated I was.

I was just 22 years old, barely even overweight at this point since I’d lost a lot of weight doing Atkin’s, and considered myself pretty healthy overall.

How can this be happening to me?

How can I be in so much pain that all I can do was lay in bed in tears?

What am I not doing that I should be to make it better?

Despite these thoughts running through my head, I somehow drifted off to sleep, but then everything changed.

The next morning, I woke up and literally couldn’t get out of bed.

To be continued…

Tell me.. what was your first job out of high school/college?

5-4-3-2-1

Whew! I am right in the midst of the final stages of packing. I hate this limbo stage of wanting everything to be packed but still needing to use some things, but my sister suggested pretending I was staying in a hotel and only keeping out what I’d need there. That has helped me figure out what to pack, and I only have about half my closet left to go! The kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom are all done, so I’m really getting there. I also sold several things on Craig’s List last night, with just one table left to go that I have someone coming to look at tonight, so I am feeling pretty good about my progress! Somehow, the move is THIS FRIDAY and I actually get my keys Thursday night! It seemed so far away for a while, but all of a sudden, its here!

I saw this post on Tina’s blog right after we got back from the Healthy Living Summit, and I thought it was cute and have had it on my list to do ever since. Since I am super busy getting myself ready to move, I figured this quickie post would be perfect for today. Enjoy!

5 Words to Describe Myself

    • Determined
    • Sarcastic
    • Optimistic
    • Passionate
    • Outgoing

4 Favorite Foods

    • Nachos
    • Sushi (particularly spicy tuna and eel cucumber rolls!)
    • Sweet Potato Fries
    • Pizza

(I swear I’m a healthy living blogger…)

3 Things I’m Most Proud of Accomplishing

2 Favorite Workouts

    • Running Intervals (2 min fast, 2 min recovery for 20-30 mins total. Great workout in such a short time!)
    • The Shred – same reason for above. Quick, but super effective workout.

1 Thing to Expect from my Blog

    • Variety and authenticity. I try to post about a lot of different things and hope you come here NOT knowing what to expect day after day! And, though some things do take a while for me to come out and talk about (like coming clean about my debt), I try to show the true struggles that I face after having lost a significant amount of weight and now how I struggle to maintain the loss. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s less so, but I always try to be real on here and show you that while I am certainly not perfect in any way, shape, or form, I somehow manage to stay on top of this journey. =)

Tell me… your 4 favorite foods and/or 3 things you’re proud of!

Something is Better than Nothing

Moderation is something I majorly struggle with in many areas of my life. I’ve written about it several times before, but I feel like I am the prime example of all or nothing. I either eat perfectly, or eat everything. I either work out 5x a week or zero. I have six cocktails or I have none.  I have an extremely productive day on the weekend or else I lay on the couch all day. You get the idea.

This comes true for me with running too. On my MCM training schedule, I had a 10.7 miler scheduled for Saturday of this past weekend. My plan was to wake up at 5am on Saturday and then go running with the Capital Hill Running Club. I’ve even started implementing Friday night movie nights so I still can do something, but it doesn’t involve alcohol and ends early. (I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love by the way and it was AWESOME – highly, highly recommend).

Well, long story short, even though I didn’t drink a sip Friday night and went to bed pretty early, when my alarm went off at 5:00 and then again at 5:15 on Saturday, I couldn’t convince myself to get out of bed and ended up missing the group run.

idiot alarm

Source.

Instead of running 10.7 miles, I slept in late and wasted the day away on the couch, watching TV and maybe slipping a few beers in there to cope with the hurricane at hand.

Then yesterday came, and I realized it was my last chance to get a run in on the weekend. I tried and tried to convince myself to do the long run I had planned, but I was just NOT feeling it at all. Thinking about running more than 10 miles was making me cringe, but rather than letting another day go to waste, I headed up to the gym shortly after waking up. I decided to compromise with myself and bang out 6 miles on the treadmill in 58:32 (9:45 pace) and actually felt like a million bucks after.

And you know what? Normally, if I can’t do the whole run I have planned, I am really good at convincing myself to give up entirely and just not do anything. But this time, I knew that doing something would be better than doing nothing, even if I wasn’t up for the entire run on my schedule, and I think I made the right decision. My body, but mostly mind, needed a break, so I gave it one and stepped back on the mileage.  Now, I feel ready to approach this week full force with training and actually feel quite refreshed from stepping back a bit!

I think the bottom line is that, no matter where you are, doing something is better than doing nothing. Going for a 15 minute walk is better than going for no walk just because you don’t have the 30 minutes or hour that you had planned. Doing The Shred for 20 minutes is better that skipping over cross training all together. Oh wait, that was a note to self, wasn’t it? =)

Do you struggle with the all or nothing mentality? How do you overcome it?

Crispy Buffalo Tofu w/Blue Cheese Dressing

Confession: The texture and taste of tofu used to totally creep me out. I loved that it was a low calorie source of protein, but I was preparing it all wrong and didn’t do it any justice so would have to choke it down. Luckily for me, I learned how to prepare it the right way, and now it’s a big staple in my diet that I absolutely love – what a difference!

Tofu has a really mild flavor, so it basically soaks up any flavor you cook it with, and if you prepare it the right way, the texture is actually really satisfying and not creepy at all. =)

It all starts with pressing the tofu. You can press a block of tofu by wrapping it in lots of paper towels or a kitchen towel and placing it on a plate with heavy objects on top to get the liquid out, or you can use this genius creation, a Tofu Xpress (aff).

Full disclosure, I received this tofu express for free a long time ago and already wrote a review on here and therefore don’t have to talk about it ever again, but let me tell you – one year later, it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I’s something I would highly recommend buying if you eat tofu at all regularly, or you want to start since it’s such a cheap and versatile form of protein.

The base is made perfectly to fit a whole block of tofu straight from the package.

Which starts out very thick and packed with liquid.

The top part of the press goes on with a spring and starts extracting the liquid right away.

After about an hour, the tofu is fully pressed and check out how much liquid came out:

Crazy, right?

If you don’t feel like waiting an hour to eat, I have put a block of tofu in there in the morning before work, placed it in the fridge, and let it press all day many, many times before and it works just as well.

Once it’s pressed, you pour off the liquid and are left with your pressed block of tofu, ready to be cooked any way you desire.

I used to always bake tofu, which is definitely a good option, but frying it in a pan is so much quicker and it turns out just as good if not better since it gets browned and crispy! Because a whole block of regular tofu is 12 pts+, I usually divide it into three 4 point servings, with 8 pieces each.

I heat up a pan with nonstick spray, and place the pieces in an even layer in the pan once its hot over medium heat.

Now is where patience comes into play. Let the pieces sit until they are browned, about 5-7 minutes per side. Find something to do with yourself so you’re not tempted to turn them over sooner because the less you interrupt the cooking, the better they will turn out.

Now let the other side cook for about the same, and you will have the perfect tofu ready to be flavored however you like.

This week, I did buffalo tofu, so I took 2/3 of the block (for dinner and lunch the next day) and put them into a plastic container.

Topped with a generous amount of Frank’s Red Hot.

Shake it up, and you’ve got delicious, crispy buffalo tofu.

To go with the buffalo tofu, I made an awesome healthy version of creamy blue cheese dressing. Start by adding 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt and 1 oz. of blue cheese crumbles to a bowl.

Next add about 1/2 tbsp water (more or less until it reaches your desired consistency) plus a sprinkle of salt, and you have an amazing, HEALTHY version of chunky blue cheese dressing that you can use in so many ways.

The whole bowl (which is a large amount!) is 4 pts+, so I used half for each of two meals.

How delicious does that look!?

Served with broccoli, and you’ve got yourself a super satisfying and delicious 6 pt+ dinner.

Yum.

I ended up having the third serving of tofu for lunch again the day after, and that time I brought BBQ sauce to dip it in, and it was DELICIOUS. 3 meals out of 1 block of tofu that cost less than $2? Score!

What’s your favorite kind of salad dressing?

I love ginger dressing that you get at Japanese restaurants, but blue cheese is definitely one of my favorites. That said, I rarely if ever get it because its so calorie dense, but this version tastes the same and is JUST as good!

HLS Highlights

First things first… I experienced my first earthquake yesterday!! Someone was visiting our office so I was in the process of walking him around and introducing him to the staff when the shaking/swaying started. Being the great host that I am, I bolted away from our guest and ran to my desk to grab my purse and phone, and then followed everyone out of the building, which apparently was the wrong thing to do. We got outside and the streets of DC were PACKED – so many buildings had been evacuated.

I was literally shaking when I got outside because I was so taken aback from the earthquake and thought it might be something worse at first. We had to stay outside on the streets for about 45 minutes before the engineers came and cleared us to reenter the building. Scary!

I know it’s a little soon, but here’s some earthquake related humor for you.

“Thanks to all of you for your kind words of support, as we look to recover from the devastation of today’s quake!”

FamousDC-Earthquake-Devastation

Source

hahaha. Moving along!

HLS Highlights

Besides my presentation and PDR, there were so many awesome things about the Healthy Living Summit.

First, the swag.

It wasn’t quite as good as the swag at Fitbloggin’ (no shoes!) but it was still pretty damn awesome.

First up, the shirts were AMAZING this year. They’re made by a company called Five Bamboo, one of the conference sponsors, and they are so soft and I love the cut.

The only issue is they ran SO small. I ordered a size Medium, which I wear in literally everything, and it was so snug I felt like a sausage. I went to trade it in for a Large but they were out, so I got an XL and it fit me!

That’s me on the Rocky steps during Sunday morning’s 5k walk, wearing my size XL shirt! Good thing I’m over (some of) my issues with sizes…

And here’s the rest of the swag:

  • Jump Rope
  • Quaker Cereal
  • Attune Strawberry Cereal (excited to try this!)
  • Phyllo Dough pre-baked cup things (3 of them are 1 pt+!)
  • Vega Smoothie
  • Love Grown Oats (SO good!)
  • Oh Nuts! Sampler Pack
  • Adora Calcium Disks
  • Tons of Bars
  • Tons of coupons for free food

I also picked up a lot more during the conference at the booths, but no pictures. Mostly food related stuff though!

Another highlight is that I found my first Operation Beautiful note!

It really made me smile!

I also got to hang out with some AWESOME people, though I didn’t have my own camera out too much for pictures. You know you’re with bloggers when EVERYONE has a camera though!

I spy… Theodora, Chase, Ashley, and Kath.

DC Blogger ladies:

Gretchen, me, Claire, and Katie!

And one of my favorites…

Caitlin!

Lastly, I had literally the best bowl of oats in my life.

I need a topping bar at home! This bowl had ground pecans, ground flax, chocolate chips, and was drizzled with almond butter. SO good.

Have you ever been in an earthquake? Which natural disaster scares you the most??

Tornadoes scare the CRAP out of me!!! Earthquakes too, but I think tornadoes scare me more.

The Numbers Game

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the session I spoke at, I need to give a big shout out to Tina. In person, she is just as sweet and authentic as she is on her blog, and she also has some pretty stellar organizational skills. She did an incredible job putting together our presentation, and putting together a group of people – me, Janetha, and Lisa –  with completely different perspectives on numbers and how we use them to reach our goals. (Can you tell I like this girl?) Moving along…

The Numbers Game

Numbers are and always have been really important to me throughout my healthiness journey. Because my main goal was to lose weight, I used numbers to track my weight on the scale and to track my food (PointsPlus). As I moved along, I started using numbers to track miles for training, and now that my goal is weight maintenance, I still use the scale and count points most of the time.

As I talked about in a previous post, I’ve worked hard on changing my mentality so that I no longer look at counting points as something standing in the way of me being a “normal” person. Weighing myself weekly/monthly (and sometimes daily) does not make me crazy (any crazier than normal, anyway) and it helps me stay in check and be able to respond when things get out of control.

Tina, Janeetha, and Lisa all use numbers in different ways than I do, but you’ll have to check out their blogs to find out just how they use them to their benefit.

Takeaways

I think there were a few important key points in our presentation. The first is that everyone’s journey is unique and there is no magic formula to what the “right way” to use numbers is. Through experimenting and trying things that work and don’t work, we all find our own ways to use numbers based on what works specifically for us. Just because the scale works for me does not mean that everyone should weigh themselves weekly/monthly, because some people attach too much emotion to the scale and don’t benefit from using it like I do.

The second big takeaway is that it’s really important to be flexible in the way that we use numbers. Just because something worked for me last week or last month or even yesterday doesn’t mean it’s going to work right now. I use the scale as a way to check in on an almost daily basis, and when the number is above where I need/want it to be, I go back to counting points pretty strictly until I’m back at a number I’m comfortable with. This changes from day to day and week to week, and you know, I’m finally OK with it.

The final, and perhaps biggest takeaway, is that you have to set goals based on you and where you are now, and not what other people are doing. Let me leave you with this little (true) story that I told during the presentation that helped me put it all in perspective.

The day before my first half marathon, I was at work and actually feeling pretty excited about the race. I g-chatted my friend Sydney it went something like this:

  • Me: Eee! I’m so excited! I can’t believe it’s tomorrow.
  • Sydney: Wow! I can’t believe you’re running a marathon.
  • Me: It’s not a FULL marathon, it’s just a half.
  • Sydney: But still! What are you doing today?
  • Me: Umm.. working? What do you mean?
  • Sydney: I don’t know how one prepares for these things. I thought you might be home.
  • Me: Doing what?
  • Sydney: Resting your legs?

As bloggers and readers in the healthy living community, its so easy to get swept up in what everyone else is doing and downplay our own accomplishments because someone else is doing more. But here’s the thing – everyone starts somewhere, and inevitably, someone will ALWAYS be doing more than me.

What about you? What kinds of numbers do you use to reach your goals? Have you found something that really works or doesn’t work for you? Do you have trouble with comparing yourself to others?

PS: An update on the Washingtonian – apparently the 20th wasn’t correct! It will arrive at Washingtonian offices on Wednesday, be on newstands on Thursday and should be at all stores by Friday. Eee!! So soon! It’s going to be SO weird to see myself in print…

HLS: Two Biggies

It’s so hard to believe that HLS has come and gone! It was so much fun and I’m sure you’ve heard/read/seen a lot about it, so I won’t bore you too much with more of the same.

I will tell you that the conference was AMAZING and it was so good to see so many familiar faces and meet lots of new ones too. I’ll share HLS Highlights with you guys throughout the week, but FIRST I want to share my two pretty huge accomplishments from this weekend, both on Saturday.

NUMBER ONE

I got my first taste of public speaking, and I absolutely LOVED it! I felt fine all day on Saturday, excited even, but then 10 minutes before my session, I started freaking out. I was going to be on stage speaking into a microphone in front of a room (hopefully) full of people. My palms got so sweaty, but then when I walked into the room with the lovely ladies I’d be presenting with, my nerves calmed a bit.

Tina, Lisa, Janeetha, and ME! (PS: How tall do I look next to them!?)

The 50 minutes were over in NO time and I thought we all did a good job talking about different perspectives on numbers and how they can help and hinder healthy living efforts. It felt more like a conversation than a panel, which made me feel really comfortable up there so was definitely a good thing!

I’ll do a session recap with additional input from me later this week, but I think it went really well! At least that’s what I heard on Twitter. =)

NUMBER TWO (bahaha)

I ran the FARTHEST I’ve ever run in my life – a PDR (personal distance record)!! It all started with a 4:30am wake up call on Saturday. I questioned my logic several times when I heard the alarm go off that early on a weekend, but I knew I’d be thrilled to have the run out of the way first thing rather than have it hanging over my head. I actually “only” had 9 miles on my schedule, but several other people were going to be doing a longer run, so I figured I should knock the 14 miles out while I had the group support.

My pre-run prep room was the hotel bathroom so I didn’t disturb my roomies, so I got dressed and ate a peanut butter sandwich and half of this banana in there.

After a few moans and feeling bad for myself for being awake, I headed down to the lobby to meet the other runners for 5am. I was shocked to see about 20-25 other crazy people ready to go – I knew there’d be some others, but I had no idea there’d be THAT many.

(Yes, it was still dark out).

The first half of the run went just OK. I ran with a few other people for the first 6 miles, and then I decided to break off a bit and go at my own pace. I have so much trouble running with other people – I completely sike myself out on my pace and feel like I’m dying because I’m going too fast (even if it’s slower than I normally run) or else I try to go too fast and lose steam – it never works out.

After I broke away from the group, I ran the last 8 miles solo and actually picked up the pace a bit, finishing most miles in the low 10’s (10:04-10:30ish paces), where I was closer to the 11:00 minute pace for the first 6. The last two miles were a bit tough – – my knees were starting to hurt and I was just ready to be done after having run for over two hours already! But I trucked along and somehow pushed through until I saw 14.0 on my Garmin.

A number I’ve never seen before! I could not believe it – 14 miles period, but especially before 8am on a Saturday.

Advil and coffee were my friends for the rest of the day. =)

If you’re eager to know more about HLS (and me), here’s some places I’ve spotted recaps that include pictures and/or mentions of yours truly (and please let me know if I missed any!!)

        1. Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen – HLS 2011 Part 1
        2. Losing Weight in the City – Healthy Living Summit Recap
        3. Carrots ‘n Cake – Happy Hours
        4. Faith, Fitness, Fun – Top It Off with Champagne and Sushi
        5. A Healthy, Happier Bear – Healthy Living Summit 2011
        6. The CHASE Project – My Day at the Healthy Living Summit
        7. Kath Eats – Loosey Goosey

So that’s it for today!

Tell me – do you prefer to work out alone or with others?

I feel like everyone I know prefers running with others for long runs, but it just doesn’t work for me! I do like to take group yoga classes, but in terms of running I do best on my own.

PS: Has anyone seen the new issue of Washingtonian magazine?? I was told it was coming out August 20th (Saturday), but I went to TWO stores and couldn’t find it! I’m on the lookout again today, but let me know if you’ve spotted it!!

Welcome to Beth’s Journey

I am just getting settled back in after returning from the Healthy Living Summit in Philly – what an amazing conference! If you’ve come here from meeting me there, seeing me speak, or because you found me from someone else’s conference recap, welcome and thank you for stopping by!

A little bit about me… my name is Beth (if you couldn’t guess from the title of my blog) and I am a 27 year old foodie working and living in the Washington, DC area. I originally grew up in Connecticut, but came to DC for undergrad and never left. Somehow that means its been 9 years since I moved here… crazy!

I’ve lost almost 90 pounds since my peak weight of 250 pounds 6 years ago, using Weight Watchers for the last two years to finally hit my goal weight of 164 pounds.

I started blogging in February 2010 after I’d lost most of the weight as a way to document the last leg of my weight loss journey and to share my story with others. Health and fitness became a serious passion of mine once I decided to change my life, and I wanted to start doing something every day that makes me happy, so that’s how Beth’s Journey came to be. Please feel free to email me (bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com), like my facebook group, follow me on twitter and come back and check out my site! I update it daily with different recipes, struggles, exercise tips, and general ramblings about my life.

If this is your first time here, please take a look around and I hope you find some great original recipes to try and some motivation! Here are a few key places to look to help you get to know me and navigate around the site:

And I promise, information about the Healthy Living Summit itself coming soon. =)

Five for Friday

Hello from Philly!! I came up last night on the train, which was SO nice. I haven’t taken Amtrak in I don’t even know how long, and sometimes I forget how great it can be. The train left DC at 6:05 and I was in Philly by 8pm – not bad at all. My dad came and picked me up from the train, and then my sister, her hubby, and my parents and I had dinner together which was really nice and low key.

Today, I’m hanging out with my nephew Harper and sister Wendy for most of the day, and then heading over to meet up with a bunch of bloggers for lunch around 1:30. (Side note: If you’re already in Philly and want to join for lunch, email me!) I can’t BELIEVE the Healthy Living Summit is already here – insane!

Last Five People I’ve talked to in person:

    1. Wendy (my sis)
    2. Harper (my nephew)
    3. Justin (bro-in-law)
    4. Mom
    5. Dad

Next Five Places I’ll go:

    1. Lunch with Bloggers
    2. Conference Hotel
    3. Reading Terminal Market
    4. Kelly Drive (for a loooong run in the morning!)
    5. Back to the conference hotel for breakfast and the sessions!

Five Exciting Things for Tomorrow:

    1. I’m speaking on a panel for my first speaking engagement ever!
    2. The Washingtonian Magazine issue comes out that I’m in!
    3. I’m seeing a ton of people I haven’t seen in a long time and hopefully meeting lots of new ones too.
    4. Free food all day (you know me, right?)
    5. Going out on the town at night!

Five Reasons I’m Happy Today:

    1. I took the day off from work.
    2. I move to Dupont TWO WEEKS from today!
    3. I finally got to see my nephew after 2 long months!
    4. Poached eggs with grits for breakfast (gets me every time).
    5. Swag bags are coming at 3pm!!!

Five Things I want to do during this trip:

    1. Do a really good job speaking.
    2. Meet new people.
    3. Eat a soft pretzel.
    4. Kill my 14 mile run at 5am tomorrow.
    5. Have fun!!

Whew! I seriously can’t believe it’s finally here.

Are you going to be at the Healthy Living Summit? If so, please come say hi!

If you could meet one blogger in person, who would you want to meet and why?

Spicy Tempeh Chili

If you’re new to tempeh, this is an amazing and easy first recipe to try. It’s also a great recipe for tempeh veterans just looking to spice it up and try something new. It’s extremely satisfying and pleases vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. If you didn’t tell someone it was tempeh chili, they’d never know, but the tempeh adds a heartiness and level of satisfaction to the chili that it wouldn’t have without it. Enjoy!

Spicy Tempeh Chili

 Entire recipe yields 31 pts+ (with corn, 28 pts+ without), or five 6pt+ servings. Printable version here.

Ingredients:

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 8 oz package of mushrooms, chopped

    • 1 package tempeh, crumbled
    • 1 packet taco seasoning
    • 3/4 cup corn (optional)
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Side note – the taco seasoning from Trader Joe’s is the best ever and only 79 cents by me!

Directions

To start, heat a soup pot over medium heat and then add in your oil. Toss in your chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.

Next, add in your bell pepper and mushrooms.

Cook until the veggies are all cooked through and soft, about 4-5 more minutes, so about 10 mins total for the veggies. Next, add in your crumbled tempeh.

Tempeh crumbles effortlessly in a food processor, by the way.

Stir to combine.

And then add in your taco seasoning, and cook until you can smell the spices getting toasty, about 3 minutes.

Now it’s time to add in everything else – the beans, corn, and tomatoes.

Stir to combine.

And then add in one can of water.

Look how colorful it is!

Bring the chili up to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the flavors have meshed well and the chili is thick and delicious.

Now it’s ready to eat!

I’ve been topping mine with cheddar cheese and greek yogurt (sour creamish), and also using it on top of baked potatoes and for chili cheese fries. It also holds up REALLY well as leftovers, which I’ve had for lunch almost every day this week!

So that’s it! Even though this recipe takes longer than most of mine, the more than half of the time is just waiting while it cooks down. The wait is totally worth it though, I promise.

Do you tend to stick with recipes only when they are in season, like lighter things in the summer and heavier things in the winter?

I don’t at all. I usually just go with what I’m craving, and even though chili is traditionally a winter dish because it’s so hearty and warm, I love it year round!

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