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You’ve probably been wondering. Wondering about baking school. Whelp, let me tell you: weeks three and four of baking school kicked my ass, complete with a total breakdown in the kitchen last Thursday. My team fell apart – we crashed and burned. Everything that could go wrong, did. I wanted to crawl into the walk-in refrigerator. And when my chef instructor turned to me and said, “smile,” I lost it. I cried. At school. And it was mortifying.
When I got home I crawled into bed, pulled the covers up over my head, had a good cry, and contemplated my odds of making it through the year at school. That’s what big change does to you, people. It makes you really stupid. It makes you doubt yourself. It makes you watch your first ever episode of the Bachelorette. It makes you think that things can’t get any worse. And that’s what I thought: things can’t get any worse.
Until a few hours later, when 2.0 walked in on me while I was peeing in the bathroom.
Here’s the thing about our en suite bathroom. The door doesn’t close for most of the year. The humidity of our Maritime climate makes the door swell, so during spring, summer and fall, the door doesn’t really close. This means that the door is basically useless. This also means that when using the facilities, I always yell out, “I’m using the bathroom! Don’t come in! DON’T COME IN!” I yell it emphatically, so there can be no doubt. I yell it so 2.0 won’t come in. Because 2.0 seeing me on the toilet? That’s my worst case scenario, people. We are not one of THOSE couples. It has been agreed upon. No seeing each other on the toilet. EVER.
When 2.0 arrived home from work on Thursday and found me in bed, he immediately swung into action. When he asked, “how was school today,” he hardly batted an eye when I sputtered, “hard. Really, really hard,” and basically wiped my snot all over him. We didn’t speak of baking school. It was a relief. Pizza was ordered, encouraging words were shared, and the night was spent on the couch. By bedtime, I was feeling much better. (Pizza gives you perspective.) So, as we readied ourselves for bed, I called out, “I’m in the bathroom! Don’t come in,” as I do each and every night.
But moments later 2.0 came in. 2.0 came in and saw me on the toilet.
“NOOOOOOOOO,” I screamed, “I’m peeing! I’m peeing! I’m PEEEEEEING!” 2.0 spun and ran from the bathroom. “What the hell,” I yelled. “Why, why, why would you come in when I’m in here? WHYYYYYY? We have an agreement! A SYSTEM!” My mind was racing. How would we recover from this? How could I erase the image of me… that way… from his brain? Rip off my pyjamas? Rip off my pyjamas seductively? Set myself on fire?
Eventually, I stomped out of the bathroom. 2.0 looked apologetic. He tried to explain that he thought I was… done in there, but it didn’t matter. It was too late. The damage had been done. And all of a sudden I was pretty excited to get to baking school the next day. I mean, no one walks in on you when you’re peeing at college.
I’ve blogged about this chili before, but I’ve made it better. I’ve made it more movita. I’ve upped the meat and beans – because 2.0 asked me too, and I don’t hold grudges. The celery and onions give the chili a little oomph – they make it hearty. The cumin in this chili is money – it gives it a smokey flavour. Start with 1 tablespoon as I’ve indicated, but add a little more if you want to. There are lots of beans, because 2.0 really likes them, and they are good for you. They will make you smarter. They will make you jump higher. They will make you run out of bathrooms fast – should you need to.
I get that you’re going to be upset that I’ve paired a story about bathrooms with a recipe for chili. But you’ll get over it. You’ll get over it just like I’ll get over a bad day or two at school. Because it will be worth it in the end. Just in case you’re worried – I still love baking school. And eventually? It’s going to love me right back.
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Chili - print and make
Serves about 6-8 people, more or less depending on serving size.
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (for browning beef)
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 2 large onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cans (19 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- shredded cheddar cheese – for garnish, if desired
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the ground beef with your spoon/spatula. When the beef is halfway browned/cooked, add the celery, green pepper, onions and garlic. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the beef has cooked through. (At this point, I like to drain off some of the excess fat.)
Once the beef has cooked through, add the tomatoes (juice and all), chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, mustard powder and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine. Simmer over low to medium low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the kidney beans during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking.
Serve garnished with shredded cheese if desired.