Here we are a week into it, so I've already missed 8 chances to say it: I love October. Don't we all? October makes it easy to love change. What are you looking forward to about this terrific month? Here's my list:
Scarves and boots
Needing a blanket when we sit on the couch
So much color in the world
Seeing farmers in the field, hurrying in the harvest
Tractors with headlights blaring, still hard at work in the dark
Burning the spicy, clove-y smelling candle that I found on amazon
Regular chili, white chicken chili, green chicken chili... all kinds of chili
Wearing smartwool socks
Making a pumpkin cake
Gray skies, foggy mornings, all the changing maple trees on our street
Cornbread in my cast iron skillet
Doing something with coffee and the pumpkin pie spice I just made
Making hot lunches to warm us up in the middle of the day
Watching Parks & Rec
Stuffing squash with beef and peppers
Picking out the halloween candy for our neighborhood kids
Mums and pumpkins out on doorsteps
Painting pumpkins, carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkins, anything with pumpkins
Today we welcomed October with watercolors. Remember watercolors? The perfect what should we do activity? I kinda forgot about them over the summer. So glad I remembered they exist in time for fall. It's going to be a regular activity around here, especially as the days get more chilly. Hadley surprised me with how much she remembered from painting a little last spring and how long she stayed interested in it. Between watercoloring and running to the potty (we're kind of in the beginning stages of a big change over here!) we were pretty busy until lunchtime. I love that she only wanted to use the blue brush to dip in the blue paint and the purple brush was for purple paint. Today she painted a jack-o-lantern and a maple leaf that I drew for her.
Since we're all so super happy about October being here, let's talk about chili really quick. On Sunday, the heat came on in our house for the first time of the season (!!!), and usually Sunday night is pancake night at our house, but we decided to celebrate the season with a fitting bowl of chili and some maple cornbread instead.
Do you have a chili recipe? Like a basic, go-to chili that you can throw together whenever? Before I got married, I certainly didn't. In fact, I certainly didn't even like chili. It was a bean problem. I'm picky when it comes to beans... I don't like them too big and meaty. (ahem... I'm talking about you, kidney beans.) But soon after I became a Harms, I was introduced to my mother-in-law's good chili and I understood what all the chili fuss was about. I love it so much now! I honestly can't believe I haven't blogged about this recipe yet, because it's one of my favorite things. Want to know Judy's secret that won me over? Use baked beans. That's it! That's all it took, but it changed everything. I always use them now, or else some other kind of small white bean, and I always stick with Judy's simple, satisfying recipe for homemade chili. Because I love you guys, and because I don't think she'd mind, I'm going to share! If you don't have your go-to basic chili recipe in life yet, let Mom Judy help you out.
Mom Judy's Chili
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 28 oz. can of organic baked beans or any small, white bean
1 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce
15 oz. of water (just fill up the tomato sauce can)
3 to 4 Tablespoons of chili seasoning or chili powder
3/4 cup of your favorite salsa
In a large dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or heavy-bottomed pot, brown the ground beef with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, water, chili seasoning, and salsa. Simmer for 30 minutes or you can put it in the crockpot on low for 1-2 hours. Serve hot with cornbread, grilled cheese, quesadillas, or cinnamon rolls. Serves 8-10, and makes great leftovers. (Use it to make chili dogs or ladle it on top of a bowl of rice. mmmm.)
My Maple Cornbread
-Gluten and Dairy free-
Makes a very small cake! Enough for 4 large pieces.
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 to 3 T. pure maple syrup
1 large egg
1/4 cup coconut/almond/rice milk (or regular milk, if dairy sits well with you!)
1/2 cup corn meal (I used sprouted corn flour)
1/2 cup rice flour (I used sprouted brown rice flour)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, sift together dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, blend together all of the wet ingredients, then mix in the dry. Add batter to a greased baking dish or cast iron skillet (something small like a 1 quart baking dish or an 8-inch skillet). Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until golden and middle feels set. Serve warm with honey and ghee, or a bit more maple syrup. Makes a small, short cake to serve 4.
I really should double this recipe, but I like throwing just a little of this and little of that together to whip up something small and fresh. It feels so made-to-order. And anyway, right now it's plenty for our tiny fam.