meatless mondays: baby, its cold outside…

Brrrr! It is officially cold here in Chicago. When I walked to the train station this morning, it was 9, yes NINE, degrees outside. I thought it was going to be a balmy 30 like it was yesterday, so I sauntered out of the house in “just” my regular wool coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. About 3 blocks into the walk, my legs were tingling, my teeth were chattering, and there was a numbing chill down my spine.

The wind just cuts right through those layers (don’t even get me started about wind chill factors). I sorely missed my “sleeping bag coat” (this is what I’ve dubbed my hooded, knee length down jacket…a mandatory piece in any Chicago commuter’s wardrobe!) What was I thinking when I left it hanging in the closet and put on the wool peacoat? I wasn’t ready for single digit temperatures this morning. I won’t forget my extra toasty warm coat again this week, that’s for sure.

I must admit that I was dressed more appropriately than half the morons I saw out there on my commute though. Why on earth do a majority of the executive type guys not wear a hat or a scarf or even ear warmers? I look at their bright purple ears and have to stop myself from mouthing the word “idiot” to them. Are they just too cool to bundle up?

I also spied a teenage girl in a very mini skirt with light blue BARE LEGS and Ugg boots. Aren’t tights in fashion right now? And even if they weren’t, shouldn’t you consider wearing some when its below freezing outside??!! Its one thing to be caught unprepared, but come on people, its December in Chicago! Put on some frickin’ clothes!

All this talk about cold makes me want to cuddle up in front of my fireplace with a bowl of soup. This week’s soup is a spicy vegetarian green chili. It will warm you from the inside out with all its jalapeno goodness. It has just enough kick to bring a little sweat to your brow but not quite enough to start a fire in your mouth (although you can add as much additional spice as you wish). You can eat it as a soup with tortilla chips and cheese, smother your burrito or eggs with it, or dip your quesadillas in it!

Recipe: Vegetarian Green Chili

1 yellow or white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp oil
2 cans stewed tomatoes (whole or diced)
2-3 cans chopped green chilis
1 can vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
~1 thinly sliced jalapeno
~2 teaspoons cumin
~2 teaspoons chili powder
~½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if desired)
Salt to taste
1 Tbs corn starch or flour mixed into a cup of water (optional)
Tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro, and sour cream to top and serve

Saute onion and garlic in oil for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add canned tomatoes, green chilis, broth, and water. Stir in cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. If desired, thicken with corn starch or flour pre-mixed into an additional cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add black beans, corn, and jalapeno. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve in a bowl topped corn tortilla chips, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, and sour cream.

**If making a meaty version, sauté cubed pork or chicken with the onion and garlic. Brown flour in the fat before adding the tomatoes and broth.

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