For the majority of my life, my family has celebrated the Christmas holiday in my grandparent’s home in Savannah,GA. Every year, we pack up the car in Iowa & make the 18 hour car ride to Georgia. That may sound dreadful to some, but I’ve been doing it for 26 years and actually look forward to it. Even after moving away from home- I make a special trip to Iowa just to hop in the car for the annual road trip. The best part now, is that because I don’t live close to my parents or sister- we get 18 hours, uninterrupted to just enjoy each other’s company. And by enjoy I mean, get along until my dad starts eating corn nuts & repeating parental advise (which is usually about 4 hours in).
When I was younger, mostly in my adolescence I hated spending my entire winter break away from my friends. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to the realization what a rarity it is to have the entire extended family under one roof for Christmas, New Years & all the days in between. Every year, my grandpa stands at the head of the table on Christmas dinner & boasts how lucky we are to all come together this time of year & I’m beginning to realize that truth. Because now myself & cousins have begun to get REAL jobs & spouses, that don’t allow us to hang out carefree for 2 weeks & play Dance Dance Revolution & watch disney movies. It makes me look back and regret the days I did not appreciate the extended stays we were allowed.
The thing I love most about this time of year, is our that our family traditions don’t stop with Christmas day. Because we stay in Georgia for almost 2 weeks, my idea of the holidays encompasses all the things that fill the time between Christmas Eve & New Years. One of those traditions is chili on Christmas Eve.My grandpa’s chili recipe is a great one, and I wouldn’t dare share it- but here is a pretty dang good version.
I am extra sentimental this year because this is last year to celebrate the traditions in my grandparents house. This will be the last time we make the 18 hour drive & the last time we’ll sit at that kitchen table & eat chili. They are currently rebuilding down the street from my parents in Iowa & I have a feeling we’ll continue the traditions in their new home. It’s never easy to walk away from a home that was filled with the best memories, but then I remind myself that it’s not the house that has the memories- its the people that fill the home.
Happy Holidays to all of you out there, and I hope they are filled with traditions old & new.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 C diced onions
- 1/2 C diced green peppers
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 Tsp pepper
- 2 C diced sweet potatoes
- 2-4 C Beef broth, based on preferred consistency.
- 5 C Tomato Juice
- 1 C Tomato Sauce
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions & green peppers. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the ground beef to the pan & brown (does not have to be fully cooked through). When beef is browned, add the garlic & additional spices. Cook for 30 seconds - 1 minutes, until fragrant.
- Finally, add the Tomato juice, sauce & sweet potatoes. Add the beef broth to create desired consistency. I prefer my chili to be thick in consistency, so I add less broth. Mix to combine. Allow to come to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes or longer.
- Garnish with Jalapenos, avocado & cilantro.