Smoky Crockpot Chili

It’s officially fall here in Baltimore. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and our crock pot has made its first appearance. This chili is super easy, and comes out well every time. It’s a basic recipe, so feel free to add, subtract, or amend to make it your own!

smoky crockpot chili

Smoky Turkey Crockpot Chili (adapted from the Basic Chili recipe in Make It Fast, Cook It Slow)
1 lb. turkey
1 onion, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeño peppers
1 29 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
4 15 oz. cans beans, strained and rinsed (I use black, kidney, dark kidney and navy)
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin

1. Brown turkey.
2. Place turkey, onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans & spices in a 4 qt. crockpot. Stir to combine. (Note: It’ll be pretty full, so be careful!)
3. Place jalapeño peppers on top of mixture.
4. Cover and heat on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours.

Suggestions: I prep the turkey, beans, onion and garlic the night before – making it easy to plop it all in the crockpot before I leave for work. Since we’re not eating the moment we get home, I switch the setting to warm until it’s dinner time, stirring occasionally. Another suggestion? A glass of red wine pairs really well with this dish 😉

What’s your favorite fall dinner?

Worth Every Minute

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As I mentioned in my weekend recap, Saturday was gorgeous here in Baltimore. I got up, pulled on a long-sleeved shirt and capris, stretched, laced up my sneakers, and hit the road. I ran five miles (a personal distance record) and came home feeling accomplished and awesome.

Fast forward to Monday. I get up late, don’t stretch a lot, get some small tasks done before waiting for it to get light outside, and eventually hit the road. I was aiming for three miles, but my knee started bothering me, and I cut it short at two.

Monday afternoon, my knee was still bothering me. I skipped yoga in favor of rest.

Tuesday morning, things were looking up…until I got into work. The pain started soon after tacking the first flight of steps. Thank goodness I work in a school & have a nurse on staff! I quickly got some ibuprofen and an ice pack. Things felt good at the end of the day, and I was contemplating going to Barre Fusion.

My worry got the best of me and I ended up trading BF for a walk with the dog. Good thing, too, because after a 20ish minute walk, the twinging pain was back. Cue more icing and elevation for the remainder of the night.

It sucks. ON our walk, I saw a few people running and wanted to yell ‘Enjoy it!’ to them (in a totally non-sarcastic/envious tone, of course). The pain isn’t constant (as evidenced above), there’s no swelling – all this gives me false hope. I’m optimistic that I’ll be back to my regular running/exercise schedule by the weekend and can’t wait to get back in the game. I have waay too much free time on my hands when taking things slow. Going stir crazy over here!

Any good lower body exercises that won’t stress my knee? I’ve been keeping up with my 100’s challenge (and going easy during those squats), but I don’t want to push things too far!

Let’s Chat

Try It Tues-ruchat

The running community is amazing. I just recently started running, and I’m continuously impressed with how uplifting, supportive, and encouraging runners are. From beginners to ultra marathoners – it seems like everyone is there to help one another and spread the word about their love of the sport.

One of the ways this is most evident is through the weekly Twitter chat #RunChat. Runners from all over the country join in to talk about their joys/struggles, likes/dislikes and all things running. Founded by David from @RunningBecause and RunningBecauseICan.com and Scott from @iRunnerBlog and iRunnerBlog.com, the pair began the #RunChat community in June 2010 as a way for runners of all levels to connect with each other, to share tips, to get advice and, quite simply, to have fun. Runners of all levels are welcome to take part in #RunChat, which is held at 10 p.m. ET the 1st and 3rd Sunday and at 8 p.m. ET the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month.

runchat

Even as a newbie, I feel welcomed & loved. It’s a bit hard to keep up if you’re not used to it, but soon enough you’ll be chiming in to conversations & expressing your opinions with the best of them. You don’t have to participate (honestly, for the first few weeks after I heard about it, I lurked – watching from afar and not putting in my two cents) but I doubt that you’ll regret it if you do.

Chats are often sponsored, and participants have the chance to win prizes. Yet, that’s not the objective and certainly not what keeps people coming back each week. The hashtag can be used at any time during the week – to ask a question, brag about a great run, commiserate about a bad one, promote blog posts about running,…you get the idea.

So if you’re interested in connecting with other runners, I encourage you to get on Twitter and follow Scott or David. If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to start chatting, RunChat is also on Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Hope to ‘see’ you at the next chat!

This post is part of my Try It Tuesday series. I was in no way compensated for this post – just found something I liked and wanted to spread the word! For other Try It Tuesday posts, click here.

Fall Frenzy

If I were to believe the multitude of pumpkin spice latte photos littering my Instagram feed, I’d think it was officially fall. Technically, Autumn doesn’t start until Sunday, but it sure feels like fall around here.

The humidity/heat moved out late last week, leaving Baltimore with a cooler weekend. The JA was out for most of the day Saturday, leaving me to my own devices. I got a great run in, cleaned, grocery shopped, made dinner & still had the energy to travel to PA. It was Momma Loosh‘s birthday and I couldn’t miss out on the fun!

LTM Loosh bday 2013

Sunday was the perfect fall day. We woke to a chill in the air and promptly decided a warm breakfast was in order. Although it’s not the healthiest of meals, these guys totally hit the spot.

cinnamon rolls

While he did some more work, I dove down the rabbit hole into full on fall mode – decorations (inside and out) were assembled & placed, football was watched, and the onset of pumpkin baking commenced.

It. was. glorious. Hope your weekend was just as wonderful!

What’s your favorite part about fall?

Pin Party

Today, I’m linking up with Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean for her Pin It Party! Here are the rules:

  • Round up 5 blog posts you’ve written that you would like to see on Pinterest.
  • Make sure there is a nice, pinable image or photo included in each post.
  • Write a short post featuring the posts you chose- ie, put 5 nice images & links to the posts all in one place, along with a short description of each post.
  • Publish your post, then visit The Bean and add your post to the linkup!

And here are my five ‘pinnable’ posts. I encourage you to visit her site and find some other blogs/pins to inspire you! (Oh, and a shameless plug – follow me on Pinterest for what’s inspiring me these days!)

Travel Exercise Tips – how to keep on track while you’re away from home.
Travel Exercise Tips

Tomato and Black Bean Quinoa – so good. Highly recommend for a quick, easy, vegetarian meal.
Tomato Black Bean Quinoa

Old Bay Chicken Salad – Old Bay is a staple in Maryland & this recipe makes me smile every time I make it.
OB chicken salad

Five Gifts Ideas for A New Homeowner – in case you need some inspiration 🙂
new homeowner

BBQ Shrimp Kabobs – another quick, easy meal that can work on the grill or in the oven. Perfect for every season!
shrimp kabob sig

Have a great weekend!

Stress Relief

As I mentioned earlier this week, life has been hectic. The project I’ve been slaving away at working on launched, but not without a few kinks. Adding those responsibilities to my current ones leaves me feeling like I’m treading water – not exactly moving forward, but not falling behind, either.

I don’t think I had been this stressed out since working at a PR agency. The long hours, the pressure to please, and a looming deadline all produced more than enough frustration, tears, and emotional/physical fatigue. Now that it’s over, I took some time to reflect and came up with the following tips to help handle stress:

stress relief

1. Prioritize. Lists are your friend. You don’t want to miss a deadline or ‘drop the ball’ on something while focusing on another project. Email flags, written lists, and reminders via my smartphone helped keep my cool while staying on track.

2. Procrastinate. After you’ve prioritized what’s most critical, you’ll more than likely have a few minutes to spare. Use it wisely. Rest, relax, and do something you enjoy; it’ll help you be more productive (and happy) in the long run.

3. Praise. Especially if you’re working in a group, make sure that you praise those around you. In stressful times, a ‘good job’ or ‘thanks for working so hard’ can go a long way in boosting morale.

4. Play. The best thing the JA’s done for me these past few weeks is to make me laugh. Not only is laughing a wonderful stress release, but it certainly puts things into perspective. It’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re entrenched in a project, and playing around helps lift spirits and rejuvenate you – even if for just a few moments.

What’s your best tip for dealing with stress? (It doesn’t have to begin with P – apparently I was in an alliterative mood when I wrote this!)

Chaos

Champagne & sundae

That’s the only word I can use to describe the past week – chaos. Lots of work, lots of stress, not enough time to rest, sleep, or relax. The project that I’ve been working on launched yesterday afternoon, but we’re still finding and addressing little issues. Never a dull moment!

Here’s a recap of life as I know it:

Running:
I’ve been having a bit of issue with my running. While the Back to Football 5K was awesome, I’m having trouble with ‘long’ runs on the weekend. I can’t get to sleep early on Friday night and then Saturday morning is spent sleeping in later than I’d like and not being prepared enough for the heat/dehydration/cramping. Oof. Definitely a newbie and working on things. I’ve got goals that need to be reached, people!

Exercise in general:
I attended my first heated Yogilates class last night. I love the instructor and am always impressed at how tight I actually am once I take the time to stretch. It was warm, wonderful, and a bit more challenging than I was expecting. Definitely going back for another round soon.

Today, I started the 100’s challenge by Jess of The Blonde Ponytail. However, I’m taking it via the approach of Roni from Roni’s Weigh – what I can, when I can. With running, barre, and now heated yoga in the rotation, adding things in could either be awesome or horrible for my body. We’ll see, I guess! I did the plank challenge in August and the squat challenge in July, so why not keep testing myself?!

Life:
As I said, it kicked my butt this past week. I’d like an extra day in the weekend so I can actually get something accomplished, please and thank you. Things look like they’re slowing down a bit (comparatively), and we made time last night to celebrate. Champagne and sundaes on a Monday night? Why not?

Favorite way to celebrate a big milestone?Usually, I like to celebrate with a special treat – whether it’s food, a new piece of workout clothing, or an accessory I’ve been ogling depends on the goal I’ve reached!