In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Playing in the Kitchen: Chili Colorado #CincoDeMayo

When I saw an article on Bon Appetit called Chili Colorado is the Greatest Recipe Of All Time last month, I pinned it for later. Usually skeptical of anything touted “of all time,” I’ve had success with Bon Appetit recipes in the past. And this particular magazine seems to have the right balance of taking your cooking up a few notches while remaining pretty feasible for a non-professional cook.

Chili Colorado

The article is less instructional and more a story of a beloved childhood favorite: Chili Colorado (Colorado as in “red,’ not the State). So I consolidated it into a more readable recipe (below) and started on a kitchen adventure! Here are some good tips I learned along the way.

  • Be persnickety when buying chilies. I dug through the bulk bin until I found ones that were not crispy/too dry. They should be pliable like a raisin. If you buy them in bags, squish the bag to test the chilies. Crispy chilies = no flavor.

  • bags of chili peppers
  • I used “pork steaks.” These are pork chops that are not cut from the loin, but rather from the Boston Butt/Shoulder. Since the steaks were cut 1/2” thick, I only had to cut them in 1/2” strips, then cubes. Now if I could buy already cubed, it’d save even more time!

  • The pork steaks were $1.77 a pound and buy the chilies from the bulk bin costs less than $2 total. So this was a pretty cost effective meal (especially since I got to use up my homemade chicken stock sitting in the freezer). But saving money means spending more time… from the time I “started” in the kitchen until the time we sat down to eat: 4 hours. A lot of that time was just a simmering pot on the stove, and looking back I could had prepped/done the recipe in a different order to be more efficient. At any rate, this isn’t a “last minute-throw together” meal. Which is fine by me :)

  • Brown the pork in batches, not all at once. It took me 3 batched. But this way they have room to sear instead of steam. And DON’T stir the pieces around when you put them in the post. Let them sit and sear, and then flip after a few minutes. Remove to a plate and start the next batch.

  • brown the pork
  • Truth: I used all dried herbs spices. Because that is what I had. AND unless you are growing your own herbs, buying fresh can be expensive. Especially for a recipe that is simmering for hours. Save fresh herbs for a finish touch, if you want.

  • I started with the chili puree because that is how it was described in the article. next time, I’ll start with the pork, get that simmering away, and then move on t the Chilies (which have to steep for 30 min anyway).

  • chili puree
  • The article said simmer for 45 min after adding the chili puree. I extended this to an hour. You can tell when it is done because the pot will look saucy, not soupy.

  • Chili Colorado- Reducing
  • The pork will be so tender you can barely stab it with a for without it falling apart. Yum!

  • This is a heavy dish! There was a comment on the article describing it as such, and I should have taken heed. One scoop of brown rice topped with a scoop of chili colorado, a couple tortillas and some corn on the cob and I was FULL. As in 5 hrs later I still felt that heavy kind of full. Next time, less meat and more light sides… like a salad. Or just use the meat for tacos.

  • Nevertheless, I didn’t mind the fell feeling, since I literally knew (and could pronounce) all the foods and ingredients I just ate. Yay home-cooking!

Here is the recipe I de-coded from the article

Chili Colorado Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Chilies: 5 anchos, 2 pasillas, and 2 guajillos –seed and stem
Cover chilies with 3 cups of boiling chicken stock and steam, 30 minutes
Purée chilies and liquid until smooth

2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder, cut into ½” pieces; season w/ salt and pepper
brown over med-high heat (heavy bottom pot coated in oil)

6 garlic cloves chopped garlic
two bay leaves
tablespoon of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh sage and chopped fresh Mexican oregano
stir for 1 min

5 cups of chicken stock; simmer uncovered for 1 hour

Chile purée and simmer for another 45-60 minutes
The meat should be very tender and the sauce a thick, mahogany-red color.
Season with additional salt and pepper

Serve with with Mexican rice, beans a la charra, and flour tortillas

Wedding Hair Trial #1 – Rope Braid Bun

To save a little sanity the day of the wedding, I want to try to get a reasonable idea of what to do with my hair.

I have been doing my own up-dos for my work Christmas parties for 3 years… but they were basically “on the fly” involving clear elastics and bobby-pins… so I couldn’t replicate them even if I tried.  Oh dear.

The Challenge:
Find a GREAT DIY up-do for a June Wedding.
The Terms:
Island Wedding (aka Humidity!)
Bridesmaid Appropriate (not too plain, not to showy)
DIY-able (I don’t want it to the Cake Wrecks of Hairstyles!)
Google Searches!

Here is my 1st Hair experiment. (Original tutorial at
You basically make a rope braid, secure with a clear elastic, and pin into a bun!


I think it would be cute with a jeweled hair comb to the side of the bun.
I also only spent about 5 minutes before running out the door to work.  So for an event I’d get a more defined braid going, and do a little more to the sides/front frame of my face.  But this is cute enough for work and a little more professional looking than a basic pony tail.

I still have a little under a month to figure out something!  In the mean time, I’ll have some interesting hairstyles for work!


[National Sewing Month] Diaper & Wipes Pouch

Did you know that September has been “National Sewing Month” since 1982? It started with a proclamation from President Ronald Reagan, declaring September as National Sewing Month “In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.”

What a great opportunity to share one of my more recent home-sewing creations (beyond my typical quilts).

DIY Diaper and Wipes Pouch

There are fairly easy to follow instructions (and downloadable pattern) from Crazy Little Projects.

I was able to purchase 2 coordinating “Fat Quarters” of fabric and the matching Velcro at Wal-Mart. The only other supplies you’d really need are thread, fabric scissors and a sewing machine. A small quilting ruler can be used to check that all of your seams are consistent.

DIY Wipes Pouch Front & Back

Crazy Little Projects has some great step-by-step photos. They came in handy when I was inspecting my finished project. The arrows below show some little bunch parts where the top flaps meet the body of they pouch. Since I am a crazy perfectionist, it bothered me that they were not laying completely flat.

Minor bunches- Diaper and Wipes Pouch
But then I closely examined the original tutorial, and her example seemed to have little bunches  too.  So I stopped worrying and happily gave to to my cousin as a very-belated baby shower gift!  I’ve been told it is very handy size and nicer than ones you see in the stores.  Which makes me happy!  Even if they are just being polite!

BONUS: After baby is out of the diaper/wipes stage, it will still make a nifty carrier for various essentials… like pens and pencils… or coupons… or snacks. :D

I am chalking this up to a Pinterest WIN!  (You can follow all my Boards here)

Oops, you caught me Pinterest

Pinterest is a website FULL of information and ideas to be inspired by. And if you have been “pinning” long enough, you’re bound to come across an idea you’ve seen before.
Even if you don’t remember seeing it before.


This little reminder is a new feature. For the absent minded people like me.
I guess this also means I need to stop giving my mom a hard time about re-pinning the same things.  Eeep.

P.S. I added the arrow to the screen shot… in case you thought Pinterest was trying to be rude

DIY Gifts: Baby Washcloth Roses

Diaper cakes are super cute. And useful to any new mom going the disposable diaper route.
But. They have been done.
In a search for a new idea for a handmade Baby Shower Gift, I came across a video for these cute little roses made out of baby wash cloths and baby spoons (thanks Pinterest!). Technically, I came across several videos on how to make various “bouquets” out of all things baby… but I liked the look of these the best. Also, they require no tape, just tucks and folds.

wash cloth roses

I my mind, that means they’d be easier. But, like most tutorials you find online, it doesn’t come naturally on the 1st try.. or the 2nd or 3rd. That YouTube video most likely took several takes to get everything spot on, but they don’t want you to know that. ;)

Baby Wash Cloth Bouquet

All in all, the mini-arrangement was pretty cute. I added it to a basket with some hooded bath towels and bathtub toys. Handmade and heartfelt gifts are the best :D


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