Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

pumpkin chili.jpeg

It's been more than a week since I've given you a recipe - apologies. I've just been busy memorializing the death of my youth...which some would call "celebrating my 26th birthday." I fully acknowledge that anyone reading this over the age of 26 probably wants to punch me in the face, but I'm not really writing about the number. I'm more so calling attention to the shifts that seem to start around the 26 year mark. They aren't necessarily bad, they're basically just qualities that my 22 year-old self would roll her eyes and scoff at.

Turning 26 is like trading in your fun, old Jeep Wrangler for a sub-compact Toyota Camry. The Wrangler may have been 12 years-old and beat up from its years with your older siblings, but it was the chariot that hauled you and your dumbass friends around, blowing out the stereo to Ke$ha and Lady Gaga while hanging out the windows. You considered it a good year if you took it through the car wash more than once. Now you have a stuffy new Camry. It has 4 real doors and doesn't kill 6 baby seals in order to fill the gas tank. You take it to the car wash once a week, get it serviced when you're supposed to, and have rapidly turned into an old hag who wouldn't dare crank the volume knob to its max capacity because "it hurts your ears". Wrangler = fun and care-free; Camry = responsible and washed up.

Transitioning from sub-25 year-old habits to 26+ year-old habits basically happened over night. It's like I blacked out and my sub-conscious just decided, without my permission, that "I'm going to be lame as shit from now on." Here is my half-assed thought-out "Top 10" list of indications that I've officially exited the stage of care-free youth and entered a life-long stage of washed up-ness:

  1. I have to plan way in advance if I'm going to hang out with anyone. The spur of the moment Friday text of "let's get drinks and go twerk to DJ Nancyboy" ain't a thing anymore. I essentially have to pencil you in like three weeks ahead of time. What? You want to go out tomorrow? Sorry, I already have plans with Lisa Vanderpump.
  2. I basically only go out if there's a good reason. It's your birthday and you want to go out for margaritas and dance? Count me the f*** in. I'll just need to mentally prepare myself for an entire day of "Netflix & chill" the following day, because [see #3]....
  3. My hangovers are crippling. I can barely drink a glass of wine without reaching for Advil first thing the next morning. 
  4. While we're on the topic of going out...a Friday + Saturday "going out" double hitter is a borderline laughable concept now. Just not happ'nin.
  5. My milkshake certainly doesn't bring all the boys to the yard...it now just causes serious indigestion and immediate bloating.
  6. Our kitchen counter basically looks like a scene out of "Hoarders: Save The Date/Wedding/House Warming Invitation Edition".
  7. I get sheer pleasure from grocery shopping and menu planning. No joke. Making a fresh grocery list is like my own personal version of porn.
  8. I used to crave having latest and greatest iPhone, tablet, etc. At the ripe age of 26, new kitchen appliances are what get me all hot and bothered. Case and point - my amazeballs boyfriend, who knows me all too well, got me a Ninja Coffee Bar for my birthday. "Excited" would be a gross understatement. I love it so much I pretty much now feel indebted to him for the rest of eternity.
  9. I don't remember the last time I was awake past midnight on a weeknight.
  10. I no longer give any f***s about things that don't deserve any f***s given. Yes, I care about succeeding in my career, paying my bills on time (boorrringg) and just generally not being an asshole...but the meaningless, dramatic BS? Naaahh. Maybe a few years ago I'd walk on egg shells to make sure I was "on the right side" of a cat fight, but that ish is just too exhausting now. I don't need to further accelerate the development of stress wrinkles. Sorry Karen, I know you're pissed at me for being in the same quarter mile radius as your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend last weekend, but I just don't give a flying donut. Girl, bye. Giving no f***s might be the most liberating part of stepping into adulthood.

Despite my delivery here, I'm mostly joking. Even though I'm feigning a higher degree of responsibility, I am not at all mourning the passing of a quarter-century...I mean...I have a Ninja Coffee Bar now, so there's really nothing to be upset about. Well, that and all the other fun "stuff" I have to look forward to (home ownership, becoming an Aunt, yada yada yada................but mostly the Ninja Coffee Bar). 

Having another several years left in my 20's - crippling hangovers aside - is rad. And, even though I may be more of an 73 year-old woman named Blanche at heart, I have plenty of friends and loved ones who aren't afraid to call me out when I'm being lame, inspire me to put some pants on and drag my washed up ass to happy hour. Even better, most of them are just as easy to convince to unwind, take residency on the sofa, binge watch a season of some HBO crack show and gobble up a bowl of this Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili with me.

Stay young, my friends!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp heat-stable oil (coconut, avocado, ghee, butter)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 (14.5oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5oz) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5oz) can of canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (add another tsp if you like an extra kick)
  • 2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste after cooking)
  • 2 tsp black pepper (plus more to taste after cooking)

Method

  1. Saute the garlic, onion, celery and bell peppers in a skillet in the oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the veggies have slightly softened. 
  2. Transfer the veggies to a slow cooker along with all remaining ingredients.
  3. Cook on LOW for 8 hours. Remove the lid intermittently (once or twice) throughout cooking to break up the meat.
  4. EAT!

Servings: 8-10