Monday, December 3, 2018

Chili for the Win! and The Great Christmas Tree Hunt 2018

Jan here, continuing a series of posts that I started last week, all about healthy eating BEFORE the Christmas feasting begins! (Click here to read last week's post.)

Last week's recipe, oven baked egg cups, were low-carb and delicious. Full of the healthy fats our bodies love.

But man (and woman) does not live on healthy fats alone! Our bodies also crave carbs - healthy carbs.

FYI - That cookie you're eyeing right now? That is not an example of healthy carbs.

Healthy carbs are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Add a source of low-fat protein like chicken, turkey, or beans, and you have a great low-fat meal.

By the way, if you follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, you are already familiar with keeping the low-carb and the low-fat meals separate. It becomes a way of life.

This recipe is one I've shared before, but this is the perfect week for it. Yesterday was our Great Christmas Tree Hunt and Chili Supper, one of our favorite Black Hills traditions!

Chili Verde

(aka "Green Chili")

2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups cooked, diced chicken or turkey
3 cans Great Northern Beans, or one pound beans cooked
2 small cans diced green chilies
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste

Combine the ingredients in your slow cooker, large pot, or pressure cooker.

In the slow cooker, cook on high for 4 - 6 hours.

In a large pot (stove-top), simmer on medium heat for about an hour.

In a counter-top pressure cooker (aka Instant Pot), cook for 10 minutes on high pressure and use the natural pressure release (about 30 minutes total time.)

The Chili Supper was a success, as always. We had nine different pots of chili-type soups, including borscht! One of my favorites was sweet potato chili with bison for the meat. Yum!

And the Great Christmas Tree Hunt was one of the best because we had a beautiful, fluffy layer of snow covering everything.

You know I love spending time up in the Hills, and Sunday afternoon was no exception.

But I noticed something this time... When we're in the Hills, we're walking among giants.

Sure, we're looking for that special tree. The one that will look perfect in our house this year. But while we're looking for that six foot or eight foot tree...

We're surrounded by massive pines that have stood here for a century or more.

And this is only a small part of the forest.... The Black Hills National Forest covers only 1.25 million acres out of the almost 190 million acres of national forest land in the United States.

Is there a national forest near you? Probably. There is a national forest or national grassland in all but ten states. Look up your state and plan a trip to the great outdoors! List of National Forests by State and List of Canadian Forests by Province

But here's the big question: Was this year's tree hunt successful? Of course it was!

Did you find a national forest near you? Do you think you might plan a trip there next year?


  1. Looks like fun! And this chili looks delicious. I'm adding it to my 'recipes to try' pile :)

    1. It is fun to go up in the Hills at anytime, and winter adds a whole new dimension!

      And from the weather report, this week will be a great time to try the chili. :-)

  2. Jan, I have a recipe very similar to this, though it's called white bean chili or white lighting chili. Same ingredients, different names. Go figure.

    What fun that you had snow for your Christmas tree hunt. Snow just makes things more festive. And rounding it out with good food is the perfect end.

  3. Oh, Jan I love the annual Christmas tree hunt you guys do!

    We live in the Eastern Woodlands so forests surround us. And every farm has a wood patch because if you don't mow it or plant it, a forest grows. And grows... and grows... Just like in "Where the Wild Things Are".

    And I'm pretty sure I'm part dryad because I've planted and coaxed many a seedling into a new spot for a new life because planting trees is like a gift to the future, isn't it?

    But your pines there are MONSTER big! Holy cannoli! They're awesome!

    Mandy (niece, goddaughter and stolen daughter) just sent me a recipe like this one.... for my new INSTANT POT which has not been used, yet.

    I am determined to become a devotee! (is that how you spell that????)

    Merriest of merries!

  4. Jan, what fun! I can't believe I missed getting by on Monday. I'm glad you found your tree again this year!

    Yes, we have some gorgeous national forests around us. I love driving through!