Thank you Cristi for joining us today!
As a fellow military spouse, I don't have a lot of set in stone holiday traditions. I'm not tied to specific events at specific places, particular decorations that must be displayed in my house, or even celebrating on December 25th. When given the choice, though, I do have a few meals that have become Christmas traditions at our house.
For Christmas Day, I serve grilled steaks and baked potatoes. A few days before Thanksgiving this year, my oldest daughter commented that she was looking forward to our Christmas dinner even more than the big meal I was planning for Thanksgiving. (If you'd like to hear how a deployment more than twenty years ago started my family's steak tradition, I blogged about Christmas Dinner as one of my "years ago" stories last year.)
Although it's not as dear to my heart as our Christmas Day meal, we also have a traditional Christmas Eve meal -- chili.
Cristi's Easy Chili Recipe
1 - 1.5 lbs ground beef
2 cans pinto beans
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can Spicy V-8
1 - 2 Tbsp chili seasoning (see below)
Brown the ground beef and drain. Add beans, tomatoes, V-8, and chili seasoning. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. It works well in the crock pot, too.
Homemade Chili Seasoning mix
4 Tbsp chili powder
2 1/2 tsp coriander
2 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix and store in an airtight container. I usually use a recycled spice jar for ours.
My husband prefers to eat his chili served over Fritos and topped with lots of shredded cheddar cheese. Since my family used to always eat cornbread with our chili, I'll share our easy cornbread recipe.
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
Mix and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. I like to melt a bit of bacon grease into my cast iron skillet while the oven is heating up and then pour in the cornbread mix. Yum!
Note: I usually add two tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to a milk substitute (flax, coconut, or rice) to make a buttermilk substitute. If you can find it, you can use 2 cups of self-rising cornmeal in place of the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
Regardless of whether you have fancy holiday traditions with elaborate seven-course meals or just simple ways of enjoying the season, I wish you and your family the very best!