About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chili and Beans for a Cold Day

One of my son's favorite foods is a pot of chili and beans. I'm happy to oblige him when the weather is cold. This past weekend, he traveled with his Boy Scout troop on a campout adventure and somewhere during that time away, I received a message that he would love chili when he made it home on Sunday afternoon. So, being a softie Mama, I made chili for him.

Here's his favorite recipe:

Chili & Beans


2 lb. ground beef or venison
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. paprika
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 (32 oz.) carton of beef broth
24 oz. tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles, undrained

Brown beef/venison and onion in a large stockpot over medium heat. Drain grease and return all to pot.

Add dry spices - chili powder, cumin, red pepper, and paprika - and stir well.

Add tomato paste - stir well over the heat for about one minute until combined.

Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring them to a boil, then reduce temperature to simmer, cover pot, and cook for about 2 hours until thickened. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and to ensure contents don't dry out.

This is great with cornbread, oyster crackers, or corn chips (a favorite in my house). Grate sharp cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese and slice green onions as toppers.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Cook Collard Greens

I think some ways of Southern cooking are a dying art. One of the dishes that often intimidates people is collard greens. What do you do with a vegetable with huge, green leaves that isn't salad-ready? Some may have tasted collard greens that are bitter, and it turned them off for good.

Cooking collard greens isn't difficult, and the result can always be delicious with the right mix of sour  (vinegar) and sweet (sugar).

First, wash the leaves in cold, running water to get all the dirt and grit off of them. No need to dry them; you soon will be putting them in a pot with liquid.

Here are all the ingredients you'll need to gather:

2 1/2 - 3 lbs. collard greens
7-8 thick-cut bacon slices, sliced in half vertically and then chopped into smaller pieces
1/2-3/4 lb. chopped ham (I use packaged diced ham)
2 small sweet onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 to 3 (32 oz.) containers of low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2-3/4 tsp. pepper

First, choose 8-10 collard green leaves. Stack them and roll them. Slice the roll so you end up with "strips" of greens. Discard the toughest end stalks, but don't worry about leaving some of the smaller pieces of stalk with the leaves. They will soften when cooking. Continue this process until you have chopped all the greens.

Next, cook bacon pieces in a large stockpot over medium heat until almost done. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and ham bits and cook for another minute.

Stir in all the remaining ingredients. At first, the greens may seem to overflow the pot. Give them a few minutes and they will wilt and fit easily into the pot.

Cook them for about 2 hours. Enjoy!

Greens are great with pork tenderloin or squash casserole (plus more sides than I can list!).


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