Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Work from home bean and barley chili

Although I’m from the northeast (upstate NY) when it snows in DC, I do all I can to keep my butt at home. I can handle the winter weather, it’s the people around me I worry about. Last Tuesday we had an overnight ice storm and it took me 2 hours to get to work. Yes, 2 hours. So when I woke up to some snow and saw that the area schools were closed (we go by the county school schedule) I knew it would be an awesome day for some chili.

I always have beans and cans of crushed tomatoes in my cupboards. And 9 times out of 10 we will have onions and garlic as well. What we didn’t have were peppers.

Hmmm. Chili with no peppers? Yeah, it’s doable. Peppers give me heartburn anyway, so why not? (turns out, this chili is awesome without the peppers, and no heartburn! YAY!)

I was woken up at 5:30 a.m. by my mischievous kitties who were downstairs knocking things over. After checking the news and seeing schools were closed, I thought, “ehh what the hell? I’m already up.” and started chopping.


In a pan, I cooked up:

  • One whole white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil

Cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to sweat.

Next, add:

  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin (or less, depending on what you like)
  • 1T Sambal *

Stir everything together and turn off the heat.

Into the CrockPot:

  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5 can pink beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer red kidney beans for chili but we didn’t have any)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, about 1 tsp. each

Since I wanted to eat this for lunch, I set it on high and cooked it for 6 hours. You can also cook it on low for 8.

*Sambal is a is an Indonesian chili based sauce that you can find at any International or Asian store. I use Sambal because it has the perfect spice to sweet ratio. However, if you can’t find it or just don’t like it, you can use jalepeno peppers, chili sauce, or whatever else you use to spice up your food.

There is nothing better than walking through the front door and smelling good food. Since I didn’t have to waste spend an hour driving to work this morning, I started work early so I could hit up the gym for a 12:00 Body Pump class (can I just tell you that this class KICKS MY ASS? If I’m not buff by my birthday in May, I will be shocked.)

I walked in from the cold, wet, crappy weather outside and inhaled the deliciousness.



Topped with plain Greek yogurt (only 2% will do for me)

And then I realized…you know what would be REAALLYY good?


IMG_1324IMG_1327 IMG_1323

Oh how heavenly was this…I baked a sweet potato in the microwave on 50% power for 10 minutes. This keeps it from drying out and it’s the closest method to baking it in the oven.


The best post-kick my ass fuel I’ve had in a while.  And you know what else made this lunch awesome? I’m not sitting in this:


The view of the highway from our home office. I would be sitting in that if I had to drive into work today. Except for the HOV lane, they are not moving very fast at all. Thank God I have a job that allows working from home!

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