This White Bean Chili Recipe Is Sunday’s Real Main Event

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Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes—like this white bean chili recipe—that never, ever let us down.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I like football. Really! (Says the former ballet dancer who went to a school with no football team or general school spirit—shout out to NYU!) Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I attended USC football scrimmages (NOT EVEN THE REAL GAMES!) with my family. We watched the NFL combines as if we were on a Sopranos bender and the draft like it was the Oscars (my sister had to take notes). I know all too well the difference between offsides and false starts (and the hand signals!) and can yell at the ref like any other football lover.

The Snack Stadium to End All Snack Stadiums

And yet, the only bowl I care about this Sunday is the one that’s going to be full of Claire Saffitz’s white bean chili recipe. (Wait, there’s a game? Just kidding.) Of course, the Super Bowl is going down (L.A. represent!) and, yes, I’ll be screaming at the TV every so often with the rest of America. But honestly that’s just the backdrop to this Platonic ideal of chili, a white bean chili recipe so simple and perfect that it is destined to steal the show. I’ll pass on watching a replay of the same play for the 1,000th time. I’ll be in the other room, helping myself to chili and all the fixings. It’s that good.

I’ve eaten a lot of chili in my day. The canned stuffed heated up and poured over rice, Hawaii-style. This heavenly brisket and squash recipe. This very complex and complicated version. But this one from Claire is the Tom Brady of chilis. (Not a Patriots fan, but I just can’t deny Brady’s brilliance.) Every component of the recipe is calibrated for the most flavor and texture, like the ultimate fantasy team. Spicy chorizo stands in for boring ground beef. Lame kidney beans are benched for buttery cannellini beans. Red onions, instead of less-flavorful white ones, join the huddle. Using the chorizo fat to sizzle the aromatics puts the “special” in special teams. Simmered together with a whole head of garlic (!!), hand-crushed canned tomatoes, a little cumin and chili powder, it’s the most simple yet satisfying thing to eat, even if there isn’t a game on.

bob armstrong chile con queso

Laura Murray

Okay, this queso recipe is pretty non-negotiable too.

It does require a little bit of planning ahead though—the beans need to be soaked overnight and all that simmering adds up to one and a half to two hours in the oven. But even if you forget, you can get around the soaking overnight and, plus, there’s a little game on that will keep you entertained until the real MVP appears: this glorious bowl of chili.

Get the recipe:

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Maritimers advised to prepare for Sunday’s storm

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People across the Maritimes are being told to prepare for potential power outages as blizzard-like conditions are expected to sweep across the region on Sunday. 

Northern parts of New Brunswick may see up to 60 centimetres of snow, with 80 km/h winds creating whiteout conditions.

Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick can expect snow Sunday morning to turn to freezing rain and then rain over the course of Sunday afternoon and evening.

Roads across the Atlantic provinces are relatively clear today. CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon recommends people plan to run any errands or make any trips Saturday, since road conditions will deteriorate Sunday as the low pressure system makes its way across the Maritimes.

CBC Meteorologist Ryan Snoddon’s forecast for Sunday’s winter storm. (CBC)

« Today is the day to do some running around, albeit if you are running around bundle up because it is going to be bitter cold today, » Snodden said.

Snodden said residents should stock up on food and essentials like batteries and flashlights.

« As we roll into tomorrow there is the risk of power outages, especially Sunday night into Monday, and especially for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. »

NB Power has tweeted that it has 150 crews across the province ready to respond in case of outages.

Watch: Crews are preparing to deal with the snow

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is prepping for the worst this weekend. Jules Michaud is with the department. 1:03

In Nackawic, N.B., the Lions Centre will be the designated place to go to warm up, eat and charge phones in the event of an outage lasting more than four to six hours.

Icy rain and high winds will increase the risk of outages in Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick.

Extreme cold in northern New Brunswick

An extreme cold warning is in effect today for northern New Brunswick from Miramichi to Edmundston, with wind chill values near minus 35 today.

Environment Canada recommends if you do go outside today to cover up.

Watch: How to keep your car from freezing

If you’re parking outside this winter, check these five ways to keep your car from freezing up. 2:19

« Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill, » reads the agency’s warning.

People across the Maritimes are encouraged to watch the forecast Saturday for updates.

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I Tried Going Tech-Free on Sundays and Boy Was It Hard | Healthyish

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This story is part of the Healthyish Guide to Sunday, a compilation of recipes, suggestions, and obsessions to make the first day of the week your favorite.

The night before I am to begin my adventure in “Tech-Free Sundays,” it occurs to me that I should Google “Tech-Free Sunday,” which I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to do once it’s Tech-Free Sunday.

There are various approaches to Tech-Free Sunday, but they are all, in spirit, pretty much the same: you are supposed to forswear your various devices—phone, computer, TV, Kindle, all of it—and instead connect with the non-digital world around you, like your partner, or your children, your feelings.

It sounds very, very hard.

Like everybody else, I am addicted to my devices. I wake up to the alarm on my phone, which usually rings from inside my bed, because that is where I left it, when I fell asleep reading WebMD. I am online at work, and online at home. I check Twitter constantly: what if someone said something? I read the newspaper on my phone. I read novels on my phone. “Go to sleep!” my boyfriend says to me, on a somewhat regular basis, when it is 2 a.m. and I am reading the personal blogs of non-famous people I do not know. Usually, when he says this, he is gazing at his phone.

But the people recounting the virtues of tech-free Sundays are ecstatic about the virtues of disconnecting from the internet. “The first time we unplugged, it felt like the longest day ever,” filmmaker Tiffany Shlain told Greatist. “And that was wonderful. I knew then that it was something I wanted to do every week.” She and her family have for years been observing what they call “Technology Shabbat”—a modified version of the Old Testament sabbath that plenty of people have been practicing for, well, millennia.

I read blog posts about all the things I’ll notice when I’m not checking my phone. It will be just like it was in the old days on the prairie, or in 2006.

“I’m doing Tech-Free Sundays now!” I tell my boyfriend, on the Saturday night before my no-tech journey starts. “Oh,” he says. “So are you giving up, like, the wheel?” I define my terms. No: computer, phone, iPad. No: email, Twitter, Instagram. Yes: wheels, modern medicine.

And then I wake up in the morning and fail. The problem is work: I need to meet a deadline. Could I do it without a computer? I mean, sure. Galileo accomplished amazing things! (What “things” exactly I would have to Google.) “It’s fine,” I announce, to no one. “I’ll just use the computer for work, but I won’t check Twitter or anything.” And I don’t, for many hours. And then I do. It’s right there! And though I check it very briefly, just in case anyone died or is mad at me, the spell is broken. Every minute I spend on my computer-but-only-for-necessary-reasons is a test of willpower; it is like playing don’t think of pink elephants, where the elephant is social media. I am not blissed out. I am miserable.

But the beautiful thing about Sundays is that there is always another one. The next week, I refine my approach: no tech, at all, between the time I wake up and 9 p.m.

This time, I am prepared. On Saturday, I make a list of everything I want to accomplish over the weekend, and then work my way through all the parts that require technology: I send emails. I print return labels. I look up directions. That night, I research everything I can think of: I Google exes and early signs of colon cancer. I read the entirety of the New York Times. And then I put my phone down, and when I wake up on Tech-Free Sunday, I do not pick it up again.

Instead, I read. I finish a book—one with paper!—and then move onto magazines. Do you know how pleasurable it is to read a magazine by touching it? It is a delight, like petting a very literary cat. I read articles I didn’t even know I was interested in, just because they were there! I laugh. I weep. “Look at me, doing Tech-Free Sunday,” I think, reading a long article about the financial crash of 2008.

The first hitch comes when I go to meet a friend. I’m running late, on account of all the magazines, but have no way to tell him. Also, after leaving the house, I have no idea what time it is, because my watch is my phone and my phone is at home. You’re supposed to notice things on Tech-Free Sunday? Here is what I notice: there are no public clocks, anywhere. I know that now. I also know that maybe I should buy a watch. I pass a dog I want to take a picture of—it is very fluffy, and sitting like a child—but I can’t, so I don’t. I want to check my grocery list, but I can’t do that either.

I meet my friend and apologize for being both 15 minutes late and unreachable on account of Tech-Free Sunday, and he chuckles at my stunt journalism and is, I think, impressed. (Oftentimes I am 20 minutes late.). I do not pick up groceries, but we don’t need any. I worry that my parents won’t be able to reach me in a crisis, but there are no crises. And at 9 p.m., I check my email, and find I have missed several sales promotions from Old Navy and nothing else.

Was I relaxed? It is an unfamiliar feeling, but I was. I felt a semblance of control over my life; for the first time in weeks, it seemed like there was a healthy buffer between myself and the world. It was like a wilderness vacation, only in my house. (I have never taken a wilderness vacation.)

But because life is nothing if not a learning process, the next weekend, I told everyone who might need to get in touch with me that I would not be reachable on Sunday. Did this feel obnoxious? Yes. But it also felt necessary: I live in a city, with a cell phone, in 2018. If I’m going off the grid, it seems obligatory to inform the people who might need me—how else will they know I won’t get the message that they’re running late? A friend I’d told texted me anyway. He was running late. Conveniently, I was also running late. Tech-Free Sunday is all about embracing serendipity.

Again, I read. I thought. I used a pen to make a grocery list on paper. I walked my dog, and then, because I had nothing else to do, I took her to the dog park. “See how present I am!” I thought, as she cowered in a corner.

But by 8 p.m., I was counting down the minutes until the experiment ended. For better or worse, my life is online, and I wanted to live it. I also wanted to order a sports bra on the internet. And then the clock struck 9 and the experiment was over.

I had hoped to emerge a different person: someone who has a “night time routine” and “work/life balance.” Someone who enjoys “candles” and “beach vacations;” the kind of person who does not sleep cuddling her phone. I did not. Over the course of my Tech-Free Sundays, I did not spend any time on my “personal artistic projects,” like the tech-free Sunday bloggers said I might. Nor did I particularly bond with the people close to me, because while I was very present, all I could talk about was Tech-Free Sunday. Also, they were mostly on their phones.

And yet I loved it. Or at least, I liked it? Or at least, I would recommend you do it, once or twice, just to see. There is so much time, when you are disconnected from the internet; it is shocking, how much time there is. I don’t know that I will continue Tech-Free Sundays, but I will continue taking tech-free baby steps: leaving my phone at home; reading book-shaped books; spending intentional periods away from my computer.

Cutting myself off from technology was a temporary reprieve from the looming dread that someone might ask something of me. How could they? I imagined I would find this stressful, all this not-knowing—What if someone wanted something? What if I was being awarded a very urgent prize?—but it’s really quite easy to adjust to a total lack of demands. I didn’t know what anyone else was doing, in real life or on Instagram, and it was a relief, for one day only, not to care.

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