Super simple chili

We’re almost in to December, the last day of 2020. I can believe it. This year has been rather long. I’m happy that it’s the Christmas season now. I’m looking forward to my daughter’s birthday and Christmas, no matter however different they may be. I’m going to celebrate.

Today, I’m coming at you with what has become my favorite chili recipe. I hope it warms you up on a cold night.

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Cranberry wild rice pilaf

Wild rice blend pilaf

I have been away from this blog for a few weeks, and I missed it pretty much every day. I know I need to be more consistent and I like writing here, so I’m back.

The first week I missed was election week and we started potty training, which required me to pay extra close attention to the littlest member of the family. I have also been spending more time on job searching. I’m also trying to declutter and sell things on Mercari and Poshmark. It’s both a slow and busy season around here, if that’s possible.

For once, I decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. The mantle is covered in decorations, the door has a wreath on it, and there is a light up dinosaur on the floor next to the fireplace. (Yes, you read that right.) I just won’t put our stockings up until the week of Christmas and, although I was considering it early, Paul said we should wait on setting up our artificial Christmas tree until the day after Thanksgiving.

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Rosemary Yukon Gold potatoes

Rosemary Yukon Gold potatoes-1

When I was a kid, I didn’t used to like potatoes, or at least I would complain about them at dinner time even while eating them. Thankfully, I have learned to appreciate potatoes. Russet potatoes still aren’t my favorite, but you can often find me cooking baby potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes. I especially love that the yellow-fleshed Yukon gold potatoes are slightly sweet and tend to cook faster than Russet potatoes.

Roasted potatoes go well with pretty much any dinner. This week we had the potatoes with some leftover pork and tortillas. There wasn’t much pork left from the night before so the potatoes filled out the tacos. The next night, we had the leftover potatoes with mahi mahi and wild rice pilaf. Sometimes I make these potatoes with stovetop burgers and call them home fries.

I like roasting potatoes with a good helping of olive oil, salt, and rosemary for an easy side dish. Oh yeah, and garlic is nice too. I forgot the garlic until after I put the potatoes on the baking sheet and then had to add it in, but you won’t because I’m reminding you now. Garlic is good on pretty much anything savory.

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Fudgy cocoa brownies

Easy drop pumpkin cookies

I love when reality TV makes me feel better about my life. That’s prety much the main objective of it, isn’t it? With this season of Great British Bake Off, I’m feeling like maybe I’m a better baker than I thought. Some of the bakes actually seem easy to me, but not as much if they have an emphasis on style and presentation.

In episode 4, which focused on chocolate, the bakers were tasked with making brownies and most of them didn’t do very well. Brownies can be tricky at times, and it’s possible they didn’t have much experience with brownies, as it is an American dessert. I would have liked to see at least one of the bakers win over the judges with a classic brownie recipe.

Last week, my mom asked me to make brownies for her birthday dinner. I had offered to make an ice cream pie, like the one at Islands restaurants, but she said a brownie sundae bar might be better. My sister Mary shared a favorite brownie recipe recently that I thought about using. But it seemed slightly complicated, so I went with a recipe for cocoa brownies. Halfway through, I worried it would be a fail. The batter was thicker than I expected. It looked different than the photos in the recipe, but I had made some slight changes. I seriously considered running to the store for a back up dessert. I went ahead and baked them any way, thinking I could still rush to the store before the dinner. The brownies actually came turned out great. Good thing I didn’t give up on them! You’re going to want to try them too.

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Pan-seared mahi-mahi with bell pepper and mushrooms

Mahi-mahi with sautéed vegetables

I thought I would check in and see what fish recipes are on Deb Perlman’s popular blog Smitten Kitchen and I was a bit shocked to see that she hardly has any! I know now that Deb is fish-averse. I, however, am not. I have shared my love for fish tacos with you already. Growing up in Southern California has had a influence on my tastes. I don’t like sushi or poke, but I do enjoy a good shrimp bowl and shrimp with pasta.

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Palm Springs date shake

California  date shakes

Today marks my three year wedding anniversary. It’s crazy that it’s already been three years. Time has passed by pretty quickly. Although Paul and I have been married three years, we’ve been together for eight and a half years now. That’s a long time! We graduated college, got internships, moved in together, went through many job changes together, got married, and had a baby who is now almost two. Did I say time flies already?

I have been thinking about some of our past vacations, which have mostly all been California road trips. I’m not complaining about that. I love a good California road trip and I’m looking forward to the next one, whenever it may be.

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Pumpkin cookies with penuche frosting

Easy drop pumpkin cookies

Many moons ago, my sister Mary made these pumpkin cookies with brown sugar frosting. They became one of her specialties for a few years. Mary is a great baker. She got into baking before me, and now that she lives up north, I miss her baking.

These stuck in my memory and I was inspired to make them, as I have been wanting to share more seasonal recipes on my blog and just to make more seasonal recipes for fun myself. I’m not one to go out and buy all the pumpkin things in the fall, but these cookies are certainly an exception. They’re making me rethink my aversion to all things pumpkin spice.

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