Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vegetable Chili and Music to Get You in the Game


If you watched this year’s summer Olympics (the swimming events in particular) you may have noticed a re-occurring theme. As the athletes entered the pool area many of them were wearing headphones and listening to music. Why? According to sports psychologists music not only psyche’s the athlete’s up before the competition but more importantly it helps them focus and avoid distractions.

It’s the same strategy you can use when the thought of cooking feels like an overwhelming task. A great tune can get you motivated, block out the stressful thoughts in your head that say “cooking is too much work” and get you back in the cooking game so you can avoid having to eat a fatty ready-made meal. Superstar swimmer Michael Phelps uses Lil Wayne’s “I’m Me” to get him revved up before launching himself off the starting blocks but if you're like me you may want a tune with a few less explicit lyrics for your cooking experience. Once you get started you’ll find preparing a meal is a lot easier than your original thoughts suggested. Here’s a really easy to make vegetable chili recipe you can use for those days when you feel like sitting on the cooking sidelines. There’s so much goodness packed into this flavorful dish you may feel like an athlete after you eat it! Cook-On!

Delectably Different Vegetable Chili
A vegetable and bean chili that makes you forget about meat

Instruments
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
¾ cup each diced red onions and diced celery
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz / 796 ml) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 oz / 398 ml) tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1 can (19 oz / 540 ml) lentils, drained and rinsed
1 can (19 oz / 540 ml) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp molasses
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Lyrics
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, celery and green peppers. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, lentils, kidney beans and molasses to pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice and serve.


Volume: Make 8 servings

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