After weeks of daily prompting and too good to be true offers, I finally did it. What you ask? Buy a new car or swampland in Florida? No, I upgraded to Windows 10. Since I’ve been none too happy with Windows 8, I was in no big rush to make the leap. However, an article in one or another of the PC magazines convinced that I’d be better off. I figured, or maybe just hoped, that things couldn’t get any worse. So, one fateful morning when the little popup again popped up, I thought, what the heck, here goes nothing and hit yes!
After agreeing to give my house, sanity and first born over to the gnomes of Redmond, my laptop started to hum and a white bar began to ever so slowly turn green. I patiently watched for maybe a minute, maybe two, maybe less, before leaving my desk to fold laundry. I turned on the last of the morning news and what should I see but an ad for Windows 10.
It was as if Bill and his buddies were worried that I was having an attack of buyer’s remorse. Yes, I know the upgrade was free but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t regret my decision. The green bar continued its glacial crawl while happy children skipped across the television screen.
Gosh, how could I have hesitated? According to Microsoft, thanks to Windows 10, one of these adorable kids would change the world. Not only that, the future, was starting right then and there. Wow, I might not be a kid or adorable but I would not be left behind. I too could change the world!
I finished folding laundry and tucked everything, nice and neat, into their proper drawers. Returning to my PC, I discovered the slowly moving green bar was at ninety-something percent. Victory would soon be mine. Changing the world was just minutes away.
Following the instructions, I clicked yes and agree a few more times. Transformed, my dull old screen glowed midnight blue and was edged with silvery light. If nothing else, 10’s graphics were definitely more dashing. A friendly message invited me to relax and gently warned that the few final steps would take some time. A big round circle replaced the boring bar and clocked the minutes to what could only be an astonishing future. I took a shower, made several phone calls and dreamed of being amazing while contemplating another load of laundry.
Finally, I was up and running with a flashy new welcome screen. Although, I hadn’t morphed into a chubby cheeked toddler or a bucktoothed ten year old, I was ready, ready to be extraordinary!
Other than getting my start button back (thank you gnomes), I don’t see a big change between Windows 10 and 8. Perhaps the differences will become apparent in the next week or two. In the meantime, I suppose I can still reach for extraordinary.
How about I begin by being grateful? Hey, I have my start button back. I can show that gratitude by helping others. Between the slick new graphics and start button, there’s no telling what good stuff I can now cook up, write up or fess up.
Here’s to changing the world and new beginnings. Bon appétit!
Chili Con Carne
chili won’t change the world but it might help turn an ordinary evening into something extraordinary. Enjoy!
12-16 ounces hot (or sweet) Italian sausage, casings removed
About 3 pounds chuck roast
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons (or more to taste) minced jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon (or to taste) chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups beer, preferably dark beer
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup sour cream
Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a little olive oil in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Breaking the sausage into pieces, sauté until cooked through, remove from the pan, drain and cool. When it is cool enough to handle, finely chop the sausage and reserve.
Pat the beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If needed, add a little more olive oil to the casserole; add the beef and brown well on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the beef and reserve.
Put the onion, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeno and spices in the casserole, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes, beer, chicken broth, brown sugar, oregano and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the sausage, add the beef, bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to the oven. Turning the beef once, cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Put the sour cream in a small bowl. A little at a time, whisk 1-2 cups of sauce to the sour cream. Turn the beef again, add more chicken broth if necessary and stir in the sour cream mixture. Return the casserole to the oven and cook for another hour or until the beef is very tender.
Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces and add it back to the sauce. Spoon the chili into bowls and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro.
The chili is best when made ahead. Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for several hours or up to 3 days. Gently reheat the chili on the stovetop over low heat or in a 350-degree oven.
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How will you show gratitude this fall? Let’s start a conversation.
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015