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Grumble Grunt Grunt

A quick look at these pages–or my keyboard, which is home to a vast assortment of crumbs–would show that I’ve never gone paleo, or what have you.  I’ve never tapped into my inner culinary cavegirl.

And yet. . . it’s -13° Fahrenheit outside.  I walk around the house draped in wool, my shoulders bent from the cold, my voice barely more than a grunt.  My total focus is on the fireplace, which I feed and poke obsessively lest it go out.  I sit in the corner and watch it, every once in a while using my fingernail to scratch a drawing into the frost that has bloomed on the inside of the windowpanes.


So I’m thinking. . . why not embrace my habitat and cook some of this ancient food I’ve been hearing about?  After all, it’s so dry in here you could make beef jerky by leaving a steak on the kitchen counter.  Paleo people dream of that sort of thing!

So, dinosaur food it is.

chiliThis is Melissa Joulwan’s chocolate chili.  It’s the best chili I’ve ever had.  (To be fair, the only other chili I’ve had is my mom’s.  She puts a pound of prunes in hers and calls it, inexplicably, “sunshine chili.”  So let me rephrase.)

Melissa’s chili rocks. 

(Get it?  Paleo = Stone Age? Rocks? Ba-dum-chhhh!!)

But seriously.  This chili has cocoa powder and allspice and cumin in it for a ton of flavor.  It’s chock full of meat.  It’ll warm you right up.

For a true paleo experience, follow her recipe exactly.  (Hop over here for it.)  My only note is that I drain the fat from the pan after I brown the meat.  For a non-paleo experience, use olive oil or butter instead of coconut oil, and substitute beer for water for a nice little tang.  You could add some beans, too.  It’s thick enough to serve as an awesome bolognese, should you want to spoon it over *shhhh!* pasta.

There you have it, friends.  From my cave to yours!

Thunder & Seymour cuddlingCuddle up, buttercups.

33 Comments Post a comment
  1. a #

    How are you cold if you have dogs to sit on your feet and lap? Are they not doing their jobs? (Quite a difference from southern winters, no? Chicago really stepped up its game to welcome you!)

    January 9, 2014
    • They are NOT DOING THEIR JOBS. At least, one of them isn’t. Seymour likes to go outside and dig for frozen tennis balls and then DROP THEM on the bed. Thunder is a good cuddler, so I shouldn’t complain about her.

      January 9, 2014
  2. Chocolate in chili is the business. In my quest to make pretty much all my meals feel like dessert, I find a bit of solidarity in chili. Also, I’m sending you warm thoughts.

    January 9, 2014
    • It’s like, chili mole! I had no idea!

      January 9, 2014
  3. I can’t stop focusing on the prunes in your mother’s chili. I mean aren’t the beans ENOUGH? There’s your home heating issue solved right there!

    January 9, 2014
    • I KNOW!!! I mean, with all the windows we have, it’s drafty in here enough as it is!

      January 9, 2014
  4. Somewhere in my head I’ve got the phrase, “I don’t want to blow sunshine up your a$$,” Perhaps that’s where your Mom got the whole sunshine/prune connection…

    January 9, 2014
    • Dude. That must be it. 🙂

      January 9, 2014
  5. Jenny #

    And now cue all the paleo people to groan (grunt?) loudly because I’m going to make this, substituting tempeh for the meaty parts. That spice combination sounds fantastic.

    January 9, 2014
    • I love tempeh so I, at least, am on your side on that one! Go forth!

      January 14, 2014
  6. our mom made Cincinnati chili once(chili with chocolate) and got the worse review ever. She is the best cook and everyone still talks about this chili. One culinary disaster in all of these years is not bad.

    January 9, 2014
    • Oh no! You’re right. One disaster is NOTHING. I had a disaster last year when we had company over. I was trying to make homemade ravioli with a chicken and mushroom cream sauce. It was a thick grey gloppy disaster, but we served it anyway and opened more wine. I’ll probably never forget it (and the guests most likely won’t either.)

      January 14, 2014
  7. I saw the pups on my Pinterest feed and rushed right over. Paleo’s not my deal, but chocolate chili? Really? Molé the shiz out of everything, girlfriend.

    January 9, 2014
    • You know, emboldened by my success with this paleo recipe, I made gluten-free apple muffins this weekend for a friend. They were gross. I think I’m going to stick to chocolate chili and slathering everything with molé sauce.

      January 14, 2014
  8. Truly enjoyed all the caveman puns in here! This chili sounds delicious 😀

    January 10, 2014
    • Thanks, my friend! It really was a darn good bowl of chili. Have a good week!

      January 14, 2014
  9. So, i would lovingly and laughingly make fun of the paleo foray here, except that the chili looks DELICIOUS. So who am i to judge, and it’s harder to be funny when something looks amazing. 🙂
    don’t even get me started on the weather: i can tell the approximate temperature here by the layers of frost on the inside of our own windows, and i also walk around wrapped in layers of clothing and blankets: i look like one of those hunched-over creatures in The Dark Crystal. SO COLD. I’ve taken to baking things just so when it’s done, i can “accidentally” leave the oven cracked for the extra cloud of warmth.

    January 11, 2014
    • Hey, there’s nothing wrong with putting your head “kinda near” or even “almost in” the oven, as long as you’re doing it for warmth and aren’t clinically depressed and/or currently reading The Bell Jar. Right?? I hear you, sister.

      January 14, 2014
  10. You don’t have to call it paleo — just call it delicious 🙂

    Thank you so much for the kind words about the Chocolate Chili! I’m not a fan of the caveman thinking, truth be told. It’s all just real food, right?!

    Best part of this post? “THE FROST IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.”

    Thanks for your awesome writing and kickass sense of humor. Stay warm!

    January 11, 2014
    • There’s so much stuff out there that’s NOT real food, so good recipes that use ingredients like this are wonderful and IMPORTANT. Thank you for coming up with it, and for being so supportive! You are the best.

      January 14, 2014
  11. Finally someone understands my pain! Cold and grumpy is just a natural state of being for us in the great white north. Damn these Canadian winters. So, I’m always in search of something that can warm me up.
    This recipe sounds excellent. Beer instead of water is something I will definitely be trying. (The more beer I can get into my system, the better!)
    My general rule of thumb for chill is to cumin the crap out of it. Now I’m going to have to add chocolate to my repertoire.

    January 11, 2014
    • I love cumin, too. It’s probably my favorite spice (along with nutmeg). I hear you on the beer. When I was heating up some chili the next day at lunch I thought to myself “hm. . . I wonder if I should open a beer and pour some in to give it a little pick-me-up when I microwave it.” So I did. No regrets.

      January 14, 2014
      • And naturally then you’d have to drink the rest of the bottle with lunch, so as not to be wasteful.
        Yes, I now know what my weekend plans are.

        January 14, 2014
  12. Love those dogs! And your chili! Stay warm…

    January 11, 2014
    • I have to admit, they are extra cute this time of year. Especially Thunder. Seymour isn’t really fazed by the cold, but Thunder just wants to stay UNDER the covers all day. It’s pretty freaking adorable.

      January 14, 2014
  13. Amy #

    Looks like Thunder and Seymour have the right idea about how to warm up! Although the chili definitely sounds like a close second. I love how chunky this chili looks. I would never think to add cocoa but will definitely have to give it a try. My hubs doesn’t like beef so I’d have to sub turkey, but something tells me it won’t be quite the same…

    January 12, 2014
    • Hmmmm. . . does he like lamb? Because that would probably work.

      January 14, 2014
      • Amy #

        of course not, that would be too easy.

        January 14, 2014
  14. OH MY DAWGNESS…..I’m sleeping in a sun puddle right about now…Ahhhhh.

    January 13, 2014
    • Oh man, how Thunder and Seymour would love a sunbeam to sleep in right now! Sigh.

      January 14, 2014
  15. Hiya! I found your site through my dear friend Movita. That gal cracks me up. I’m so glad I hoped on over here–you’re a hoot. I know it’s not part of the rules and all, but I’ll take you up on some of those beans. This cavegal really likes her beans. Stay warm!

    January 14, 2014
    • Isn’t movita the best? I’m so glad we’re in touch and now I can follow your adventures on your site!

      January 14, 2014
  16. mdog32 #

    Did you survive the polar vortex? I felt horrible for my dog having to go outside during those awful few days. ~Gina

    January 18, 2014

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