Sarah Joy’s Nutty Chili Recipe

This recipe is inspired by the Georgia Pork and Peanut recipe in the Chili Nation cookbook by Jane and Michael Stern.

My Mods: I made some changes to the intensity of the heat and added a few ingredients (beef, cilantro) and changed the way the peanuts are added – I reserved some to be added whole for texture and also added the onions toward the end to keep them al dente.

Before I tried this, I was scared it would taste like a Thai peanut sauce with meat chunks over rice! But, not so. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the delicateness of the peanut flavor. This chili is mildly sweet, like a curry dish, only spiced with cumin instead of curry paste. The heat is intentionally mild, as I tweaked it for my spice-sensitive picky eaters. Heat-lovin’ mommies and daddies might be compelled to add hot sauce to their bowl!

Texture: The ground peanuts make this chili very thick and hearty – more filling than other chili recipes I have tried.

Random fact:It might seem weird to add peanuts to chili, but peanuts are actually a legume… yeah, as in they’re in the “bean family” alongside beans you’d normally expect to see in a chili recipe.

Sarah Joy’s Nutty Chili Recipe

2 lb cubed London broil (1/2 in. cubes)
2 lb cubed pork (1/2 in. cubes)
4 dried chili peppers (about 4 in” in length)
2 14oz cans unseasoned tomato sauce
1 chopped onion (about 1 cup)
2 14oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp canola oil (can use other cooking oils)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 cups chicken broth (or 1 14 oz. can)
2 2/3 cups unsalted, roasted shelled peanuts (save out 2/3 cup)
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro

steamed short-grained rice
hot sauce
sour cream / plain yogurt
cheddar cheese

Note: This recipe can be halved and frozen for later. This made enough chili for two hearty meals for our family of seven.

1. Place the chilies in a large, heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes, until soft. Then, seed and stem them.
2. Place the prepared chilies, 2 cups peanuts, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in a food processor. Puree thoroughly.
3. Sauté the onions and set aside
4. Sauté garlic
5. Add the meat to the garlic and sauté some more
6. Add the spices, puree, broth, onions and sugar, remaining 2/3 cup peanuts
7. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until thickened and peanuts are softened
8. Add minced fresh cilantro just before serving

Serve over steamed rice.
Top with hot sauce, sour cream (or plain yogurt) and cheddar cheese as desired.

* * *

Chili Nation is my favorite chili cookbook. The recipes are easy to prepare, yet please the palate of a chili enthusiast. The authors chose recipes from each state, and the very interesting story behind each recipe is recorded in the book. A few years back, the men in my husband’s Bible study took turns making a different recipe every week and brought them to share. All were excellent! My staple weeknight chili recipe from Chili Nation is the Tigua Indian Definitive Bowl of Red. It’s a spicy beef chili without beans. It gets its deep reddish color from several tablespoons of chili powder.

Fragrant Aroma: A Friend’s Life Remembered

My friend Betty Lou passed away after a sudden heart attack yesterday.

I am told that she felt light headed after church and decided to take a nap. She never woke up.

Today is the day that her daughter in law is to be induced, as the baby is past due. It is very sad that Betty Lou never got to meet her new grand-baby, but she loved that baby deeply before it was born.

What a bittersweet moment the birth will be later today.

One of my favorite artists for greeting cards and calendars is Marjolein Bastin. I happened to have one of her cards on hand that was very fitting. On the front was a lovely watercolor bouquet of lavender, pansies and white roses and a few sprigs from the bouquet were painted inside.

In it wrote,

Dear R—,

A big hug to you!

E— called me at 1AM this morning to tell me that Betty Lou had gone to be with the Lord. We talked and cried together, remembering what a sweet, kind lady she was.

I am so thankful to have seen both of you at the grocery store last week. It was a busy time of day – the store was crowded with many shoppers – and she didn’t hesitate to get my attention and say hello. This was so typical of her friendly personality, purposefully going out of her way to greet people and to encourage them in the Lord.

Her love for you, M— and S— and the new baby was also a beautiful testimony of a godly woman who saw it as a joy to care for and nurture her family. She wrote to me earlier this year, so tickled, because she had managed to surprise M— for his birthday. She delighted in being a blessing to others.

Betty Lou always followed up on prayer requests, too. After a few weeks of receiving a request, she would always write or ask me in church how things were going. She emailed me little notes to let me know she was praying for me when Tom was traveling, when the children were sick, or after the birth of a baby. There were countless times that her notes brightened my day.

She did not quench the Spirit when the Lord put it on her heart to pray for and encourage me. When I received these notes, exactly at the time I most needed them, it was as if it was God’s way of showing me how much He loved me… working through the actions of your sweet Betty Lou.

I will miss her very much, and I cannot wait to see her again someday. What an honor it was to have had her as a friend. I am thankful for every moment of our friendship.

Today I am praying for you, M— and S— and I am praying for a safe delivery, too, of your precious new grand-baby.

Much love,

PS: This passage reminds me of Betty Lou. Her life was like a fragrant aroma, one who “walked in love.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Tagged – Currently Reading Meme

My friend Susan tagged me!

meme break…You have to open the book you’re currently reading on page 161 and read the fifth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag with…. I’m tagging my last five commenters…

Now, Susan will tell you that I need to read more FICTION for the imagination… and she’s right! Here she has caught me, once again, reading NON-fiction ;-)

This is an excerpt from a letter by Alexander Hamilton, Philadelphia, May 26, 1792, to Edward Carrington, as documented in the book Something That Will Surprise The World: The Essential Writings of the Founding Fathers, edited by Susan Dunn.

“As to the first point, the evidence of Mr. Madison’s sentiments, at one period, is to be found in the address of Congrees, of April twenty-sixth, seventeen hundred and eighty-three, which was planned by him, in the conformity to his own ideas, and without any previous suggestions from the committee, and with his hearty co-operation in every part of the business.”

I’m also reading There Goes The Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up by Lance Freeman, and African American man who studied city revitalization efforts in Harlem and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The book is less than a year old and is published by Temple University Press in Philly.

This topic is extremely fascinating to me, especially in light of the recent revitalization efforts happening here in Coatesville.

Eek… the following quote does need some context. This is from chapter six, “Implications for Planning and Policy” under a section entitled, “Are Residents of Other Gentrifying Neighborhoods Likely to Be Cynical Towards Gentrification?” Prior to this quote, the author points out past experiences of “oppression and resentment” over mishandled revitalization efforts that left families displaced.

There is ample evidence that this cynicism is the accepted wisdom in many parts of the black community.

It’s fun to see what others are reading… I’m curious what Emeth, Miwaza, Elrena, Tara, and Tom (crossing my fingers, hoping he’s game!) are reading… so consider yourselves TAGGED! :) Maybe I’ll get some inspiration from then for my next trip to the library. <-- (Check out this link! It will change the way you use your local library.)

A Glimpse of the Bigger Picture: An “Ah-Ha” Moment From a Second-Generation Homeschooling Parent

My husband and I were both homeschooled from elementary school through graduation.

While I have years of experience being a homeschooled student, and have a solid understanding of homeschooling –- the philosophies, curriculum options, politics, and even the memorized retorts when nosy people at the grocery store ask silly questions like, “shouldn’t you be in school?” -– this is the first year that my husband and I are homeschooling teachers.

At the beginning of the school year, even as a second-generation homeschooler, I confess that I still had some unrealistic expectations for what homeschooling was going to be like this time around.

Honestly, I felt overwhelmed. I realized that while there were some aspects of homeschooling that I liked from my own education, I also carried a number of fears over things I struggled with as as a homeschooled teenager – like math. (I even took math classes in college and confirmed it’s still not my favorite subject.)

However, something interesting happened to my perspective today: I caught a glimpse of the bigger picture.

This morning, while I was putting away laundry, I quietly observed my children playing. I listened, unobtrusively, as they assimilated what they had learned about the five senses into their play.

Apparently, some of our Barbies are now “blind”. 

Surely this phenomenon happens to children who are attending school outside of the home — it’s just that, as a homeschooling parent, I can be more in tune with why these thoughts are manifesting themselves in their playtime.

As I watched, I appreciated that I didn’t have to wonder about the process that took place before they came to these conclusions. I didn’t have to ask myself, “What else are they being taught?” I knew for a fact that, yesterday, we had studied blindness, and I knew the scope of what it entailed. I didn’t have worry about the agenda that sometimes is pushed in schools along with with sensitive topics.

We had read a library book together that explained that those who are blind still lead a full life with the use of tools like Braille, guide dogs, and canes. The book also mentioned how children who have disabilities are regular people – with thoughts, feelings, and dreams for the future. We read about ways to help people with disabilities to fit in and feel accepted, just like we would with anyone else.

In observing my children’s play, I could see that they had an understanding what they were being taught – as if they were taking a quiz that utilized role-playing.

I was tickled that they grasped the more scientific aspects of blindness and practical things the blind could do to lead normal lives. The Barbies were identifying objects through touching and smelling them.

I was warmed to the heart that my children understood the importance of including people with disabilities. The “seeing” Barbies were helping the “blind” Barbies to do the things the “seeing” Barbies were doing.

Homeschooling my own children has, even before I noticed it happening, changed the way I look at parenting. How true it is that, “school is life and life is school.”

Participating on a deeper level in my children’s education easily fits in to a larger, more holistic picture of my role as a parent. Being a homeschooling teacher has helped me to appreciate how young minds work. It has caused me to evaluate what I am doing to shape them – for better or for worse.

We’re still in preschool and elementary school here in the Albrecht household. Yes, I do have some apprehensions about homeschooling through high school. But, no matter what happens, I have learned a valuable lesson about the natural relationship between parenting and education.

As I look to the future, I’m also looking forward to new “ah-hah moments” that will teach me even more about making a difference in my children’s lives as they get closer to turning into adults.

For now, though, I’m content to live in the moment, simultaneously teaching and parenting, and quietly observing the fruits of my labor.

Photo credit: Cheryl Harvey via Flickr

Can I Trust Jesus?

A friend recently wrote that she was having trouble trusting God. This was my response:

“Rather than trying to muster up feelings of trust by your own strength, how about taking time to get to know Him better? The book Behold Your God by Myrna Alexander may be a good one to pick up again.

Also, just go back and read the account of Christ in the gospel. Don’t try to sort it all out at once. Just “camp out” on the thought that God loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son – who NEVER sinned – in our place as payment for our sin.

How often do we stop and play out what salvation looks like in a way that we, people living in the year 2007, can relate to?

Imagine you are sitting at home enjoying a delicious meal with an old friend. As you are talking, the familiarity is so great, it is as though he can read your very soul. You love him deeply and never wish to be separated from him. Your friend is kind and good. For as long as you can remember, he has never wronged you – or anyone else, for that matter – in any way.

Suddenly, you hear a loud crash in the adjacent room.

Before you even make sense of what is going on, a special military force enters your home. They move quickly and with skill. With guns drawn, they stand in front of you. The moment you see them, you know they have come for you.
Continue reading “Can I Trust Jesus?”