Friday, December 26, 2008

$100 Chili Pow(d)er

"What are you doing up?"

CrafterKat caught me tearing open the remaining grocery bags at 3 a.m. I had just found the Winco receipt and flashed it at her. "I didn't buy the red beans for chili. I'm pretty sure the bag fell out of the cart before I reached the cashier."

"It's okay. I have some other errands. We'll go in the morning before the storm really hits."

The snow continued to fall Friday night; Saturday we woke at 7:00 a.m. and ventured out to get some final items. Fred's had a bag of red beans, Lowe's had the Styrofoam faucet covers but no Christmas lights, and K-Mart had...well, all the things we forgot at the other stores.

"Wait... I need to make Santa cookies... I don't think we have enough flour." I bought one of five bags of K-Mart flour.

"Wait," said CrafterKat, "I want to make s'mores." I picked up The Bag of Marshmallows. And a box of graham crackers.

We made it home by lunch and settled down for a long snowfall. I made $100 chili.

$100 Chili


2-3 cups dry red beans
2-5 slices of bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 can tomatoes, diced
1/4 to 1/2 t. of cayenne pepper (how spicy do you want it?)
1/2 to 1 t. of chili powder (you choose the spicy level!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: A new $100 pot and pan set

Prep: Rinse the dry beans in a colander and set to soak in a large pot with about two inches of water. Let the beans soak for 2 to 3 hours. Drain the water from the beans, then add fresh water. This gets rid of some of the starch from the beans.

Put the beans (with fresh water) on to boil. Then reduce heat to low.

In a pan, brown the diced bacon (I used four slices--yummy!). Use a slotted spoon and scoop out the bacon; add it to the bean pot.

With the remaining bacon grease, brown the diced onion. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the onion bits; add it to the bean pot.

Brown the hamburger in the last of the bacon grease, drain it, and add to the bean pot.

Add the can of tomatoes, the cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt and pepper. Cook the chili for 1 to 2 hours or until you are too hungry to wait any longer!

Saturday and Sunday we kept tabs on how deep the snow was getting. Four inches, six inches... It was soon over a foot on our back deck.

I called my mother Sunday afternoon to fill her in. Yes, we are still alive. Yes, I made chili. No, I don't think I'll go in to work tomorrow. Yes, we have plenty of groceries. No, I don't think we'll have garbage service. Yes--

And then the power went out.
After a half hour, the power did not return. PGE reported that there were several thousand customers without power and they had no idea of when service would resume.

We bundled up and hopped in the old Mazda and drove 5-10 mph down to the Shari's restaurant for a warm meal. When we returned, the power was still out. A call to PGE told us that "power has been restored at 5:44 p.m."

Since this was obviously not the case we called around and found a hotel along the river that was open and, more importantly, still had power. "And if the power goes out," the manager said, "we've got lots of blankets, flashlights and glow sticks. I'll be here all night with our staff--we'll probably have a party in the lobby."

CrafterKat began packing suitcases while I reserved the room. As we maneuvered through the icy roads, we passed a downed power line a block from our home. An hour later we had parked in the hotel's snow-filled lot and found our room. Thirty minutes later, CrafterKat and Critter were soaking in the hot tub.