Heinen’s Game Day Recipe (& GIVEAWAY): Pork Brats Chili

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this recipe and running a giveaway for a gift card for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Craving a brat before the big game, but don’t want to involve the grill? Get more than one football-watching favorite with this slow-cooker combo creation featuring ingredients from your local Heinen’s grocery store. 

pork brat chili ingredients collage

Pork Brats Chili
Serves approximately 6 or so hearty bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 raw pork brats (regular or hot, depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 heaping cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced (optional, depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • your choice of chili fixings (see note below)

METHOD

  • Turn your slow cooker on to high.
  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, starting with the brats*. Do your best to equally distribute everything.
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and leave it be for four to six hours. Don’t lift the lid!
  • When ready (when the brats are cooked through), give the mix a good stir, and scoop desired servings into bowls, grabbing a brat from the bottom for each serving.
  • Serve with your favorite chili fixings: rice, pasta, corn chips, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, Oyster crackers, hot sauce, black olives, chives, etc.  You can also even serve the brats on hoagie rolls and top with your accompanying chili mix as you cheer on your favorite team!

*ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Instead of cooking the brats whole, you can de-case the brats as you place them in the slow cooker, breaking it up into more of a “ground pork” consistency. 

pork brat chili

So in prep of the big game, why not head over to Heinen’s? I’ll make it even sweeter — how about going with a $50 gift card in your pocket? Enter to win at the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until Tuesday, January 27th at 12:00AM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later that morning.

Remember to stay in touch with Heinen’s via their social media feeds: on Facebook, on Twitter at @heinens and on Instagram at @heinens.

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this recipe and running a giveaway for a gift card for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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sights and sounds {new year’s edition}

I realized I forgot to share one last resolution on Thursday: I’d love to get in some regular “day in the life” blogging again. Little bit of structure, run-of-the-mill, top-of-my-head ramblings. Maybe even kick around a few vlogs from time to time — we’ll see where 2015 takes us…

Like 99% of us, the end of the holidays means the beginning of a return-to-normal dietary regimen, which I happily have already been embracing with green smoothies since Christmas. But knowing a dinner at one Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants was on the calendar for the first weekend of the new year, I left room for one more splurge at Pier W this past Saturday night.

pier w full collage

A sampling of the food served ordered that night — I’m on a salmon kick at the moment, forgive me.

I do love dining with a group of close friends you know so well — the conversation is lively (℅ a few random Cards Against Humanity cards) and they are down for sharing the infamous Pier W seafood tower. Check one off the bucket list! Our server Erin was phenomenal, the food was spot-on across the board and the complimentary champagne (& flutes to take home) in celebration of the restaurant’s 50th anniversary was the perfect surprise! Now when can we go back for happy hour…

Speaking of those smoothies, an orange a day keeps the doctor away:

smoothie

I’ve been keeping my annual & dreaded beginning-of-the-year cold at bay with a combo of vanilla almond milk, protein powder, greens (either kale or spinach), frozen berries and one orange. The burst of vitamin C is working!

As for the current yoga playlist selections to adore: I just stumbled upon James Vincent McMorrow and I must say I’m in love with the soul coming out from his music — or just the fact that there’s a flamingo on one of his album covers.

You also have got to check out his Higher Love cover. It’s my new favorite tune to start out class as we get grounded and moving.

As for something more lively, I’m still grooving to this mashup:

Two of my favorite songs from last year, all in one fab track. The Evolution Yoga yogis had a blast flowing to this during my Christmas morning Holiday Sweet Heat Flow. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since then! Our Christmas tree came down town — I must admit I miss the twinkle lights in our family room.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m very content it’s January. Based on the conversations I’ve had with my yoga students, friends and family, it seems like most of us are ready for some routine and normalcy again — all while figuring out what changes await us in the new year. I’m processing the process myself, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding that sweet spot in a new situation. Here’s hoping the balance comes to us all sooner rather than later!

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2015 New Year’s Resolutions, Intentions and Ramblings

2014, I did not see you coming. I knew 2013 would be a doozy to top, but this past year took me to new places: in travel, in my career, in relationships.

2014

Some of my favorite moments from last year.

While the last twelve months meant serious commitment (read: a lot of hard work and hard decision making) to reaching goals, every ounce of energy used in 2014 was worth the expenditure to get me to where I am on January 1 of the next year.

So, what does 2015 have in store?

I’m not one against setting resolutions. Finding resolve to motivate you forward can be quite the empowering undertaking. I set these resolutions last year — I feel like I can still embrace them this year:

  • Meditate daily. (New practice journal already obtained. YogaGlo.com subscription on monthly renewal. Ready to buckle down, push how long I sit for, and find ease in the process.)
  • More strength training. (Considering my runner’s knee diagnosis in 2014, you’ll see more weights and Yoga Tune Up® in my feeds. Get excited, ’cause I am.)
  • Drink more water. (Waterlogged app reinstalled on my iPhone. Committing to continuing my 32 oz. a day to start — working towards at least doubling it by end of the month.)

And there was one last resolution from 2014 that stops me in my tracks: letting go of “perfect”. I knew it would be the most difficult for me, but I needed to release control of every.single.thing and let life come to me.

Since setting that resolution, there were moments of stubbornness, confusion and many tears in giving up as much of this tendency. While there was much joy in 2014, too much of the year was spent back in places of anxiety and old habits — usually with the question “what have I done?” (and in true Alicia form, said in an overdramatic fashion. #onceatheaterkidalwaysatheaterkid)

To be perfectly honest: it’s exhausting. And I’m exhausted of being exhausted from always giving the need of control that much energy. It’s time for a change — and what better day to kick it in to gear.

I’ve been spending the past few months picking up my teacher’s book, The Four Desires, flipping open to a random page and soaking in what teachings it contains. And in a frank conversation on New Year’s Eve, I found myself paraphrasing this quote of Rod Stryker’s from this exact book:

“Don’t postpone your happiness. The question to ask yourself is, how bad does it have to feel before you are motivated to act differently and effect real change in your life? You can decide today that the price of not changing is too high, and that you refuse to stay just as you are. It’s up to you.”

So what if 2015 was dedicated towards fully embracing change, and even being the one to suggest it? What if in letting go of the need of perfection, the BS and the distractions, I could tap into what my soul really wanted? And what if after all the calamity from it settled, I found what I was truly looking for  — in the stillness, in the calm, in the quiet moments of contentment that remained after?

It’s time to do more than just survive. It’s time to thrive — and to the fullest level. And 2015, you seem like the perfect year to do so.

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