Fall Chili & Catching up



Very long time no talk (again :|) and apologies for the long post. When I first started this blog and was several posts in, it became very evident to me that I missed working where I could use my brain in both a creative and professional way, and get paid to do so.  So I decided to start working on a freelance basis and it’s been increasing more and more. I’m loving it! However, I’m not sure what the future holds for this little Grace Gourmet. If it should still even exist and if I even have the time for it. We do have another baby in the house now. Yes- another baby! Catch a little peek of her here. So I think I’ll keep it, since in six months time, she will need to be initiated into this family of food lovers. Until then, I can only promise a few recipes, tips, tid-bits, etc. here and there.

For instance, this chili…

It’s become a household favorite and next to my shrimp and grits, is what I’m most often asked the recipe for. It’s not your typical meat and tomato chili. It’s loaded with seasonal vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash and fall/winter spices like cloves and cinnamon. I only ever make a huge batch of it so I have some to both share and save for later.  Enjoy the recipe (which can easily be cut in half) and let me know if you give it a try!

Fragrant Fall Chili:

Serves: 10+


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 1 and 1/2 pound ground beef (meat is totally optional-we’ve done it meat-free and it’s tasted just as nice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 small sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 3 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (alternatively, a few small bags of frozen butternut to save yourself the time and mess!)
  • 2-32 ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • 2-15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2-15 ounce can navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • Water to thin


  • Generously season the ground beef with the spices and cook in a large soup pot on medium high heat until caramelized and brown. Your kitchen will smell divine. Once cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep grease in pot to serve as your cooking fat. If not using meat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. You may need olive oil anyhow depending on how fatty your meat was.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers to the pot. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and fragrant.
  • Next, add the diced tomatoes, the beans and the tomato sauce.
  • Fill up one to two empty cans of water and add to the chili, more or less depending on your preference.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, the butternut squash and the meat all back to the pot and give a good stir.
  • Let simmer on low for 30-45 minutes (or more if you have patience) until the squash and the sweet potatoes are slightly soft but hold their shape. Taste and adjust the seasoning. I always end up adding more spices at the end so never know exactly how much seasoning I use. I’m usually very generous with the cinnamon and no one minds.
  • Serve with corn chips or corn bread and lots of cheese.

P.S. These photos are from more than 3 years ago when we had a chili + bonfire night in our old house. Breaks my heart a little thinking about how long ago this was and how different things are now. Three kids and a new house! So much to be grateful for, especially this year. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Do add this chili to your winter bucket list and let me know how you like it!

P.P.S Read some of my recent work here and here


Keep in touch


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