Monthly Archives: December 2010

Winter solstice.

December 21.  Winter solstice.

While not quite the momentous occasion of the return of daylight savings time, this is the day when those with seasonal affective disorder breathe a little sigh of relief.

It is the promise of the upswing of daylight, where each day stays a little brighter a little longer.

Oh, there is plenty of winter weather to come, complete with clouds and snow and cold.   Sunshine is not expected each and every day (though walks in the midday sunshine are recommended when available).

It is simply the idea of increased brightness of daytime contrasted with the decreased darkness of nighttime that lifts spirits upon this, the winter solstice.

That butternut squash chili recipe.

Original recipe courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson.  I like my chili a little bit spicier, so I took some liberties with the original recipe, as indicated in parentheses.

Vegan Friendly Squash and Black Bean Chili, makes 6 servings

  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder (Used a mix of 2 tsp regular chili powder and 2 tsp Aji Amarillo powder)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves (Omitted)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted (Used dried cumin)
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 28 oz can tomatoes, including juice, coarsely chopped
  • 1 14 – 19 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed OR 1 cup dried black beans, soaked, cooked, and drained
  • 4 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced (Omitted)
  • 1 4.5 oz can chopped mild green chiles (Used hot green chiles)
  • 1 finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, optional (Used 2 chipotle peppers)
  • Finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (Omitted)
  1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder, oregano, salt, toasted cumin, and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.  Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.  Add beans and squash and stir well.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on High for 4 hours, until squash is tender.  (6 hours on low seemed sufficient to me.)  Add bell peppers, chiles, and chipotle pepper, if using.  Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until bell pepper is tender.  Discard cinnamon stick.  When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Nutritional information per serving:  171 calories, 6.6 g protein, 33.5 g carbohydrates, 8.1 g dietary fiber, 3.1 g fat (0.4 saturated, 1.8 monounsaturated, 0.6 polyunsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 976 mg sodium.

To your health.

I announced a sneeze tonight on Twitter.

Not just any sneeze, mind you.

A sneeze much needed with sinus pressure building from the weather system moving into the mountains, producing snow there.  As much as I love the mountains and as much as I love snow, these kind of weather systems wreak havoc on my head.   Not only that, but I am still dealing with the nasty cold.  Needless to say, the crud only compounded the sinus pressure issue, making necessary a ibuprofen-naproxen-fluids cocktail.

Anyhow, that’s not my point.  My point is, two of my followers followed up with “Bless you”.

Which got me thinking, why is it that sneezes are what we bless (or what God blesses), or what we offer my preferred “gesundheit” (which means “to your health” in German for those who are not educated enough didn’t take four years of the language in high school followed by five semesters in college).

Why don’t we bless coughs?  Or hiccups?  Or burps?  Or…farts?

Why exactly is it that sneezes are the most appropriate thing to bless?

Now that I have gotten that off my mind, don’t mind me if the next time I hear you fart (or you tweet a fart), I say (or tweet) “gesundheit” enthusiastically.

Because seriously, farting is a good healthy thing, at least compared to the alternative.

I hab a code.

Day #3 of a nasty cold finds me feeling decent enough to attend Ignite Boulder as I planned.  And apparently decent enough to blog, something I skipped yesterday, as I spent most of the day either in bed, splayed out on the recliner, or eating the spicy butternut squash chili I prepared last week in the crockpot.  (Not that I have a regular blogging schedule…)

Feeling better doesn’t mean an end to the sudden desire for Mom’s chicken noodle soup.  When I was a kid, I only had interest in the noodles, made from scratch.  Now I’d love the chicken and vegetables…and the noodles.  Am I a grown-up…or is my diabetes guilt talking to me regarding those yummy homemade noodles?


Oh, how I love the sly silly quotes that Heather Morris throws out as Brittany on Glee.  Not only is she an awesome dancer, she makes me laugh as much as Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester.

Some of my favorites:

  • “I find recipes…confusing.”
  • “When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a misogynist.”
  • “Kissing my armpits is a really big turn-on for me.”
  • “I’m pretty sure my cat has been reading my diary.”
  • “People think I went on vacation, but actually I spent all summer lost in the sewers.”
  • “This looks like the alien spaceship where I was probed.”
  • “I did a book report on heart attacks if you want to give it to the doctor. I got knocked down an entire letter grade because it was written in crayon.”
  • “[on tater tots:]  They look like deep fried deer poop.”
  • “If we lose, we should throw possums.”

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