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Spiced Apple Cider continued...

It's nice to have a lower-calorie beverage option during the holidays. This is a fun recipe for the kids to help out with. As it stews in the slow cooker, it fills the house with wonderful, festive smells.

62-ounce bottle apple cider
1 large apple (green or red)
Approximately 30 cloves
About 3 cinnamon sticks

  • Add the apple cider to the slow cooker and begin heating it on HIGH.
  • Cut the top and bottom off of the apple and cut what's left into 1/2-inch slices widthwise. Use a dinner knife to carve out the center portion of each slice (the part with the seeds). Poke the sharp end of the cloves into the apple slices (about 8 per slice). Add the spiced apple slices to the apple cider.
  • Add the cinnamon sticks.
  • After the cider is nice and hot, you can turn the slow cooker to LOW and let simmer for hours or until needed.

Makes 8 servings of 8 ounces each

Per 8 ounce glass: 104 calories, 0.1 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.2 fiber, 6 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 2%.

Beef & Beer Chili

JOURNAL AS: 1 cup hearty stew or chili.

Chili is one of America's favorite lunch or dinner entrees -- especially during the winter months. Served with cornbread, it really hits the spot. I happen to be a "hot" spice lightweight, so you'll need to add extra chili powder, cayenne pepper, or jalapeno if you want a hotter chili.

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound beef top round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (such as London broil)
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced or chopped garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
14 1/2 ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (or similar)
1 cup light or non-alcoholic beer (beef broth or water can be substituted)
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped chili pepper (jalapeno chili, halved and seeded (optional), finely chopped
15 ounce can low-sodium kidney beans (or pinto beans), drained and rinsed
Finely minced onion for serving (optional)
Grated reduced-fat sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, nonstick frying pan or skillet. Add beef, onion, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until browned (about 3 minutes).
  • Spoon beef mixture into crock pot. Add paprika, chili powder, cumin oregano, and stewed tomatoes (including liquid), beer, jalapeno if desired, and beans. Stir to combine. Cover and turn crock pot on LOW. Cook 8-10 hours.
  • Sprinkle each serving with minced onion and grated cheese if desired.

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