Delicious and Easy Crock Pot Chili

I made my tried-and-true favorite crock pot chili the other night, since our oven has been broken and we’ve had to be creative. Sometimes I will saute the onions, peppers, and garlic with the meat to brown it, but since I couldn’t this time I just threw it all in the crock pot and set on low for about 8-9 hours. Feel free to switch up the type of meat, add more or less beans, and add any additional veggies. Chili is such a versatile but yummy dish and has always been one of my favorite comfort foods!

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Crock Pot Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 green/red pepper, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 1 lb ground turkey/beef
  • 1-3 cans beans, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can stewed/diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 12 oz tomato sauce
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 1 can beer (I usually use Bud Light/some other beer I wouldn’t drink ūüėČ )
  • 4-8 oz water (depending how thick/thin you want it)
  • 4 oz green chilies, diced (optional)
  • Seasonings, to taste (I use red pepper flakes, cumin, garlic powder, Italian seasoning)

Directions:

1.) In crock pot, add beer and chili seasoning and let sit for a few minutes.

2.) Saute onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil. Add meat and cook until brown. Then, add meat, onions, peppers, and garlic to the crock pot. Or simply throw it all in crock pot raw if you don’t have time to saute!

3.) Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Cook on low for 3-4 hours (if meat is browned) or about 8 hours if meat is raw.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, without cheese, from Fitbit):

Calories 340
Fat 6.6 g
Fiber 9.2 g
Carbs 43.9 g
Sodium 809.1 mg
Protein 25.3 g

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30 Days of Paleo: Complete!

So I haven’t posted in about two weeks, which feels like forever, due to a crazy whirlwind of school and work and friend/family events. I finished my 30 days of paleo on Oct. 6 and wanted to share my opinions about it.

Pros: I felt great and had a lot of energy. Obviously I felt this most in the first week or so, since my body was all excited that I wasn’t eating dairy or sugar. I also thought it was a relatively easy thing to follow even when eating out; as long as you can get steak/chicken/fish with veggies, you’re good! It’s not a diet that leaves you forced to get a salad. There were also so many great resources for recipes, so I was able to make a lot of paleo-friendly dinners, desserts, and breakfasts. I also looked much more closely at food labels, and feel like I became more aware of sources of hidden sugars!

Cons: Not sustainable, for me at least. Being a nutrition fanatic, I know that there are a lot of benefits to eating healthy dairy and grains, like yogurt, brown rice, etc. Obviously cutting these out helps you lose weight fast, but I felt like I was missing out on a lot of nutrients. It also was expensive; since it’s mostly meat and veggies, you have to buy a lot of those, as well as nuts, paleo flours (almond and coconut flours), etc. I missed being able to make healthy pasta and rice dishes that made a lot more food for a lot less money! Family/friend gatherings were also hard, since they usually had a lot of un-paleo (but delicious) snacks.

Overall, it was fun to try a new way of eating that wasn’t all about low-calorie or low-carbs. Paleo encourages lots of healthy fats and meat, which I love! But for me, it’s just not something I can sustain in the long run. I did, however, find some new recipes that I enjoyed and will try to incorporate some paleo meals here and there!

For my last paleo meal, I made this simple but delicious meal of broccoli, chicken, garlic, and sweet potato, drizzled with olive oil and baked. Easy but yummy!

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Paleo Coconut Cream Carrot Cake Bars

My 30 days of paleo is almost coming to an end! So before I finished I wanted to make another paleo treat, since the chocolate and coconut bites¬†I made a couple weeks ago were delicious (but sadly gone). I had pinned this recipe¬†and decided to replicate it over the weekend. I followed the recipe exactly, except that I decided to make them in my Pampered Chef brownie pan rather than a pie pan so I wouldn’t have to cut it (I’m lazy). So basically they are mini bars! They are also seriously delicious; the crust¬†tastes just like carrot cake and the coconut cream layer has sort of an ice-creamy texture. And no baking required! I put all of the bars in a Tupperware and left them in the freezer, so I just take one out when I want a sweet treat! Each bar is relatively high in calories, but this is mostly from the nuts and coconut milk (good source of fat!) They are also pretty filling, so you certainly won’t need more than one! You could also cut the bars in half for a lower-calorie treat. Enjoy!

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Coconut Cream Carrot Cake Bars

Adapted from: The Diva Dish

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot (squeeze all the liquid/water out with a paper towel)
  • 6 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup soaked cashews (soaked in water for about an hour and then drained)
  • 1 tbsp¬†vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (make sure you mix the milk in the can before measuring out the milk)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions:

1.) Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor until all ingredients are fine and stick together when pressed down. Grease a pie pan or brownie pan with coconut oil spray, then press crust into pan with fingers until packed down.

2.) Combine all filling ingredients into a food processor. Blend until creamy and there are no lumps. Pour on top of prepared crust.

3.)¬†Place in freezer for a few hours to set. Once it sets, remove the bars from the pan with a spatula (unfortunately they didn’t slide right out, but weren’t too hard to remove!) Put bars in a storage container and keep in the fridge or in the freezer for longer storage.

Nutrition Info (Per bar, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 392
Fat 30 g (14 g saturated)
Fiber 3 g
Carbs 31 g
Sugars 26 g
Protein 6 g