It's Chilly. Eat Chili. Also, Cornbread.

Alright, I'm going to spare you my usual song and dance of, "I can't believe I haven't written in so long! Holy crap, how has it been since August?? Can you believe it?! I can't believe it." Truth is, I can believe it. The last few months, have been nothing but travel. Not complaining, but even the best hotel bed doesn't compare to home and cuddling up with these fellows.


To put it in perspective, I haven't been in our apartment or kitchen or living room or bedroom for more than 15 days over the last 3 months. Insanity, right? Right. Even though the whirlwind of travel which has marked the last year isn't slowing down, I've finally made the decision to learn to live in it instead of letting myself be carried away by it. What the hell does that even mean, you ask? It means that the worst thing when you're away a lot is to come home every weekend and feel like all you can do is catch up on having a personal life. Opening an empty fridge, sorting through endless laundry, it doesn't add up to quality time spent at home. Basically, first chance I had, I sat down, and made a plan for how I'm going to tackle the next few months of being away 2-3 days a week without losing my f-cking mind. (Yes, I'm swearing in this space now. But only when the occasion calls for it.)

First things first, I went to the grocery and made a real meal. 


I didn't want something insanely time or labor intensive because well, it's me. Also, when you're working with a limited amount of time at home you want to spend as much of it as possible with your butt on the couch next to your dogs and husband and not at the stove. The other thing is that I wanted enough food to last us a few days so that we could really enjoy some time without having to worry about cooking again. The other other thing is that it's chilly, finally, and I've been craving chili. 

Weirdly enough, it was hard for me to find a recipe to settle on for a nice slow cooker chili. So many options, so many of them from weird somewhat unreliable to me sources like Betty Crocker or Stouffer's. I don't love the idea of getting my recipe from a corporate behemoth and some of the fancier ones were just too fancy. I'm sure you probably have yours, or your grandma's, but I finally put together my own, and of course I want to share it. Also, I made the best damn cornbread of my life, all because I listened to my husband and added 7UP to it. Don't judge until you've tried how insanely fluffy it makes the bread coming out of the oven. Seriously, don't judge. I did and was wrong. This cornbread is so good I've had it for breakfast every morning since. 



Chill, Chili + Cornbread



  • 2 lbs ground beef/chicken whichever you prefer or have on hand. 
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced. 
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes, with juices. I used the basil kind because it's what I had and they worked great. 
  • 1 can tomato paste.
  • 3 cans kidney beans or black beans, your choice. Drained + rinsed. 
  • 2 habanero peppers, diced. 
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

For toppings: cheddar, scallions, sour cream, some people like cilantro - we are not those people but maybe you are? 

  1. In a large skillet, sauté onions until they start to sweat and turn golden.
  2. Add beef or chicken (or both!) and cook until no longer pink. Drain! 
  3. Take the onion/beef mixture and throw it into your slow cooker. 
  4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, habanero peppers. 
  5. Mix all the spices in a large bowl and dump them in too. Don't forget that spices are a really individual thing - some like more some like less. Please season according to your taste buds, not mine. It's your life, your chili.  (But do remove the bay leaf before you eat, please.)
  6. Mix well. Really, really, really well. 
  7. Set your slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Ignore it until the smell of chili consumes your house. Start the cornbread an hour before you're ready to eat.  




  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup veg. oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
  • 1 cup 7UP or Sprite or plain seltzer if you just cannot with the soda. 
  • 1/8 stick butter, softened. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients + wet ingredients in separate bowls. 
  3. Butter the hell out of a cast iron skillet. (If you don't have one, use a normal baking pan. Totally fine.)
  4. Combine ingredients, mix well, pour into skillet. 
  5. Bake for 40 min or until toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. 
  6. Dot the top of the cornbread with butter, watch it melt. Maybe drool a little? We did.

Now, throw a slice of the cornbread into a bowl. Top it with scoops and scoops of chili. Top that chili with cheddar, sour cream, scallions. Eat a serving, then eat another serving. Feel like you ate too much? Good. Repeat the next day. 

This is a crucial step in the process: cornbread first, dollops of chili second. You want the most mush, trust me.

This is a crucial step in the process: cornbread first, dollops of chili second. You want the most mush, trust me.


Guest Post: Chipotle-Style Rice Bowl

One of the most important aspects of this blog is engaging my community in the discussion of sustainability, pragmatism, and healthy lifestyle on a budget. In order to hear different voices and perspectives I have asked some peers to contribute their thoughts and experiences. Every few weeks I will feature a guest post discussing issues, sharing experiences, and raising questions on the subject. Message me if you're interested in contributing to the discussion.  
This week my coworker, Hanna Wintz, shares her go-to recipe for a take to work lunch. Hanna moved out to NYC from the West Coast a little under 2 years ago. Ever since she's been busy seeking out comparable burritos, produce, and weather patterns. Food-wise, she specializes in meal-prepping, chocolate making, and crepes, with her favorite kitchen item being a silicone spatula. 

NYC is a city where you run your life by paying for conveniences. From having someone wash and fold your clothes for you, to having a man on a bicycle drop off your piping-hot lunch at your desk, to paying someone to deliver bubble tea to you, NYC has mastered and normalized the outsourcing of chores so that you can dedicate as much time as possible to working, drinking, and working. Living in a culture that never seems to let you slow down or have time to yourself isn't easy on the wallet - and with rent, loans, and bill balances piling up, something's gotta give (and I can tell you, it's not going to be my $12 cocktails...).

If I had to name one convenience I hate to pay for, it'd be buying lunch. There never seem to be many healthy options past boring salads and soups, and even with the emergence of healthier options (think Dig Inn), I can never totally trust it's as healthy as they claim, because, after all, it's rather easy to soak those sweet potatoes in olive oil to make them more appealing. More importantly, buying lunch 5 times a week comes out to close to $60, which comes out to $240 a month! I have a long list of things I'd like to spend $240 on, and it doesn't include salads or rice bowls . 

I thought I'd give a little glimpse into my Sunday afternoons, where I spend around an hour prepping meals for my week. First, chicken thighs are one of my go-to meats. Coming in at less than $3.50 a pound with all of the juice, flavor, and tenderness that chicken breasts just don't deliver. (Even better, they're less difficult to overcook than chicken breasts, making thighs easier for those less cooking-inclined. I use them in most of my meal prep and they never disappoint!) Next - if you don't own a large container of Cumin, I would suggest you go out and get yourself one. It is such an incredible spice that can bring a dish from bland to complex - I use it in most of my dishes in combination with paprika and chili powder (apply generously). Last, although not featured in this post, roasting vegetables is my go-to for making large batches of tasty, delicious food. If you think you aren't a big fan of vegetables, it's because you haven't had properly roasted and spiced ones! I urge you to try it out (375 degrees, 30-40 mins)

So here is my prep for the week, please enjoy!

Chipotle-Style Rice Bowls


  • 4 tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, 1 habanero pepper
  • 5-6 chicken thighs
  • 1.5 cup uncooked white rice
  • 32 oz black beans
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 tsp paprika
  1. Dice tomatoes, dice onion, chop up cilantro and mix it all together. Add salt, pepper, and lime juice. Set aside. 
  2. Debone and dice chicken thighs, set aside. 
  3. Dice jalapeno and habanero.
  4. Bring 1.5 C rice in 3 C water to a boil, then set to lowest simmer for 20 mins. Stir frequently.
  5. While rice is cooking, heat up a pan with some olive oil. Once hot, add peppers to simmer for a couple of minutes to make sure the olive oil absorbs the spice. Add chicken and cook through, adding salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and chili powder.
  6. Remove chicken from heat, leaving juices in the pan. Once rice is nearly done cooking, transfer to pan and add beans to simmer and absorb chicken juice. Add more spices to taste.
  7. Split across tupperware equally, starting with rice & beans, then chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, and top it off with some sour cream!
  8. Store in fridge and pull out as you go through the week. (You can also freeze the remaining for 2 days to ensure freshness, although I've never had any issues).

Ian's Chicken Corn Chowder

I wrote about fighting off the winter blues last week. It's amazing what some sun, a good book, and laughs with friends can do to help alleviate a gloomy mood. 

This past weekend was a welcome reprieve after the bitter cold early February brought to the city. Our radiators, which usually sound like freight trains steaming through the apartment, quieted down then shut off. Saturday morning we woke up to a flood of sunshine and the familiar sound of birds chirping. I rushed over to open the windows and announced, "Spring is here!". It's not.... this week brought blustery winds, rain, and I put away all hopes of putting away all sweaters.

Even though last weekend's warmth was short lived, Spring IS coming. It's really just around the corner. If nothing else, my sinuses are living proof. They've started to pack their bags for their yearly spring time attempt to evacuate my head. 

The short glimpse of warmer weather was enough reason to go outside and take advantage of the sunshine. I celebrated with long walks around the neighborhood, dress shopping, brunch, even an ice cream cone! We also cooked, a lot. For the first time in weeks. Prosciutto and spinach pizza, pesto pasta salad, warm root vegetable + grain salad (recipe soon), and the highlight of the weekend: Ian's Chicken Corn Chowder.

I've talked about this soup before, it's my absolute favorite. Loaded with flavor, it manages to be both light and hearty. The perfect Snap You Out of the Winter Blues and Get You Ready for Spring dish. I love this soup so much I crave it more often than chicken noodle, which is saying A LOT. I'm not going to wax poetic about it because that will just stand between you and this recipe. Make this soup, sop it up with a crusty piece of bread, and I guarantee you'll be full but heading back into the kitchen for seconds. Enjoy!


Ian's Chicken Corn Chowder


  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 2 cans regular corn
  • 2 cartons chicken broth
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 pack chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour + enough water to make runny paste for thickening
  • 1-2 tsp. paprika, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large, heavy bottomed soup pot caramelize the onions and add potatoes.
  2. Cover the onions and potatoes with all the chicken broth. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, add carrots and bell pepper. Turn down the heat to medium, stirring often.
  4. Stir in the evaporated milk.
  5. Make a mixture of the flour and water until you have a runny paste. Stir into the soup. 
  6. Turn down the heat to simmer and continue to stir until your chicken is tender. Really, really stir. 
  7. Add paprika, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for another 2-3 min. then toss in scallions. 
  8. Remove from heat and serve with a side of warm, crusty, Italian bread.