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And so it is February 2nd! I believe we are half way through winter. This one has been doozy. Record cold snaps, a terrible ice storm and so much snow. We may have to open up the garage and shovel some in there! Here is a recipe for Chili to warm you up on those cold, cold days.

2-454g packages of ground sirloin or extra lean ground beef

2 cans maple brown beans

1 can red kidney beans (optional)

1 large can crushed tomatoes

4 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/2 sweet onion, chopped

5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2″ lardons

ground cumin, chili powder, smoky paprika, salt and pepper

In a large 5-7 qt pot, saute chopped onion in Extra Virgin Olive Oil until translucent. Add bacon lardons and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is just beginning to brown/crisp. Add 1-2 tsp of each spice, according to taste, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black or white pepper. Stir well.

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan, brown the ground meat breaking up any large chunks. Cook until no pink remains.

Add cooked meat to pot with onions, bacon and spices. Add 2 cans of brown beans, kidney beans if using, and the can of crushed tomatoes. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste, especially the chili powder. Add more if you like your chili spicy! Add  the chopped, fresh tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring every so often. Serve with crusty bread or warm garlic bread*. Optional: Top each serving of chili with some freshly grated cheddar cheese and/or some chopped, fresh cilantro.

*Easy Garlic Bread

1 baguette cut horizontally, then into serving pieces

1/4 cup of softened butter

1/2 tsp dried parsley

2-3 fresh, minced cloves of garlic

Combine butter, parsley and garlic to form a paste. Spread onto slices of baguette. Broil for 2 minutes or so, keeping an eye on it. Top with grated mozzarella for a cheesy bread.

Psalm 148:7-8 Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; (NKJV)

These verses remind me that the Lord is in charge of the weather. As there is not a thing I can do about it, I am glad He is in control. This same control is over every aspect of my life. He is sovereign over all and I trust Him.

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