clean eating · eating at home · fun · healthy living

Game Day Chili!

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Well, our favorite sports teams are quite the disappointment this season, as usual. And since this household is not counting on getting a lot of joy out of rooting for our team, I decided to find my joy elsewhere this football season. Like non-maternity fall clothes that actually don’t suck. I caught myself quoting Kate Moss earlier this week…you know, the whole “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” thing. And that’s not totally fair. That’s actually kind of a jerk thing to say. But I was totally feeling it, as I pulled on my high-school era Abercrombie jeans, which, I have to say, after 10 years and 4 kids, look better than ever (pats self on back and gives coy wink). When I looked a little closer at what I was feeling, it wasn’t so much the skinny part as it was fitting into clothes and feeling super good about how I looked in them. So I’ll rephrase that quote into something better: nothing tastes as good as being healthy, strong, and empowered feels. Totally the story of me right now.

Yep. Those are little hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls, in front of a cheese product fondue. I call this my “pre-enlightenment” phase.

In all fairness, genetics probably plays the biggest role in all this for me. But I can tell you that I’m easily 10 pounds lighter now, with a significantly more proportional (and realistic post-childbirth) frame, than I was with the same genetics 10 years ago. I fully attribute my weight and health milestones the way I eat. I can remember LOVING football season in high school and college, because it meant eating hot dogs and nachos at the game, then hanging out afterwards with Cool Guacamole Doritos and Nestle Tollhouse Cookie Dough straight from the roll. Yikes. Even post-kids, when I wasn’t going to games, you could totally count on me to be prepared with two separate Velveeta Cheese Dips- one with Rotel and one with Hormel. Friends, I love you all, but you can count me out of anything made with “cheese product” these days. A key ingredient in “cheese products” is “sodium alginate” which is an algae derivative, and is also used in making dental impressions. Yum. Google it. Fun stuff.

Current game day fare. Same buffet-style spread, only with fresh peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados, and topped with actual queso fresco. Every bit as delicious as cheese product. And significantly more heart-healthy and skinny-friendly.

Hold your horses though…it’s still totally possible to have an AMAZING time with REAL game day food. I change it up and keep all kinds of veggies on hand, with dipping options like hummus and guacamole. We might add simple organic blue corn chips and my favorite black bean and corn salsa for taco salad. But my all time favorite comes out as the weather gets cooler. I LOVE to make this chili, which is a clean-eating version of my mama’s famous recipe. If you grew up with me, you will remember this goodness from many game watching parties, post-caroling get-togethers, and New Years parties. It’s still a family go-to for any family gatherings, since we’re a pretty casual bunch when we hang. Give it a go- take it the vegan way, which is how we like it, or stick to the carnivores version. I’ll add that if you go vegan and elect to freeze any, you’ll need to add about 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil when you reheat, so it doesn’t scald your beans. Make it a buffet with toppings and chips/salsa and Margaritas, and you’ve got a clean-eating hit. Enjoy!

Check out the printable version here

xoxo~ LWH

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