It's Halloween. As Halloweens go, the weather is pretty nice. It's been just a so-so day for me. The State of Illinois, in its infinite wisdom, sent new license plates for my son's car. I found out, when I was trying to take the old plates off, that the bolts were rusted. After researching the problem online, I headed off to the auto store to get some PB Blaster to spray on the bolts. The biggest advice on the internet was to be patient and go slow. OK, sounded easy enough.
So, I spray the bolts, wait about 10-15 minutes and go out with my vise grip pliers. The right bolt turns reluctantly and comes out. YAY! The left bolt seems a bit more stubborn. Do you think that I sprayed more PB Blaster on it and waited? Nope. I snapped the bolt head off, leaving the screw inside the nut. It snapped off flush with the nut, so there was no hope of using pliers to get it out. Back to the internet!
The next procedure was to get a bolt extractor kit, make an indentation in center of the bolt fragment, and then drill into the center of the bolt fragment. Once there is a pathway through the bolt fragment, I was supposed to tap the bolt extractor into the pathway and screw counterclockwise to remove the bolt. Sounded scarier, but hey, I was up for the challenge. Alas, I couldn't get an indentation in the middle of the fragment, which meant that when I tried to drill, the drill drifted. Rather than risk more damage to the nut, I took it to the car dealer, which was the only place that would drill out the old bolt (believe me, I called around for a cheaper alternative).
I had the dealer remove the bolt fragment and then install the new plate on the back. (This could or could not have involved tapping out the screw and rethreading the nut, I didn't ask.) Then, I had the dealer install a new bracket for the front plate, which has been missing for years after someone rear-ended me and pushed me into the car in front of me, popping the license plate and bracket off of the front of the car. While I've not been ticketed for a missing front plate, it's a distinct possibility in Chicago, so I just had them replace it. $200 later, the car is back home. :::sigh:::
Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili. I received the recipe in a Recipe of the Day email. I made a few alterations. First, I halved the recipe as it's a TON of chili. Second, I added some ingredients and changed one.
Addendum: The chili is da bomb! I didn't add any avocado (due to laziness), but I did add 1 teaspoon of Tofutti Sour Cream and a couple of dashes of Cholula Chipolte Hot Sauce. This chili rocks. I'll definitely (A) be freezing some portions for future meals, and (B) be making this again during the winter season. Next time, I need to make some rocking cornbread to accompany it. Tonight, I'm just satisfied with the chili. :)
Black Bean and Mushroom Slow Cooker Chili
3 cups black beans, cooked*
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 cup corn (or corn/black bean/bell pepper blend)
1/3 package of vegan crumbles (my best guess is 1 to 1½ cups)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon medium hot chili powder (Penzey's)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
4 oz. tomatillos, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used button)
1 carton (32 oz.) Imagine Organic No-Chicken Broth
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
2 chipolte peppers in adobe sauce, minced**
Chop poblano pepper and add it to crock pot with black beans, corn, and vegan crumbles.
Roast spices (mustard seeds through cardamom) in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 30 seconds to a minute (mine were popping all over, so I don't think I did this for even 30 seconds). Add tomatillos, onions, and mushrooms with 1/4 cup of water and saute/simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the mushrooms have released their water and the mixture is starting to dry. Add broth, tomato paste, and chipolte peppers. Cook another 5 minutes or so until the broth is heated through.
Add broth mixture to crock pot. Cook on high 3 to 4 hours or on low for 5 or 6 hours. Serve with avocado slices, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and Cholula Chipolte Hot Sauce.
* Can use two (2) 15 ounce cans of black beans. If using canned, rinse beans well to remove excess sodium.
** I froze the rest of the chipolte peppers in an ice cube tray. I put one pepper per ice cube portion and evenly distributed the remaining adobe sauce. After the peppers and sauce were frozen into cubes, I dumped them all into a ziploc bag and threw them back in the freezer. I had 10 portions left over.