Chili and Cornbread Cookoff

I am dreaming of scenes like this photo from my seat in this season-less desert. We’re still in the 90’s lately, can you imagine! But the nights/mornings are cool and we open the windows to get the slightest of fall chill.

Halloween is fast approaching and with that comes the annual church trunk-or-treat, and Chili and Cornbread competition! My dad usually entered the competition with the spiciest chili recipe he could think up—I get my love of spicy foods from him—but this is the first time I’ll be entering on my own.  As for cornbread, well, on the off chance I make any it is from a box and far too crumbly, so this is the perfect chance to find a fabulous recipe.

Here are my top three cornbread recipes to try:

Bacon Cheddar Corn Bread –uses cake flour instead of corn meal, but has whole kernels of corn in it, so technically it’s still cornbread right?

Sweet Cornbread — a classic cornbread recipe, but you whip the egg whites separately, almost creating a meringue, and fold them into the batter last.

Pumpkin Cornbread — I love anything pumpkin related, but does it go as well with chili? It uses cornmeal and creamed corn, so plenty of corn flavor still, but it also uses molasses which I don’t keep on hand, and I kind of hate buying an ingredient for just one recipe.

Navajo Cornbread –Has diced jalapenos, green onions and cheese in it and I love all things spicy and cheesy

And here are my top contestants for chili recipes to try:

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili — Um, it has jalapenos, bacon, and cream cheese in it–enough said.

Crockpot Chili — It has just about every spice out there in it, plus cocoa powder (apparently it’s the secret for getting a smoky taste?). It also mixes sausage with the ground beef, and says it’s best when cooked for essentially 2 days!

Quinoa Chili — A very different direction, since it’s meatless, and I love meat, but quinoa is a good protein too, so it’d still be hearty. Plus it also has a good list of spices.

 

Odds are, that whichever chili recipe I choose I will up the spice factor. And for cornbread I don’t have any fantasies that I’ll win the contest, but I am excited to simply find something more edible than the box mix.

Which recipes would you choose?

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Halloween Recap

Mmmm, for the homebodies that we are we actually had a busy Halloween season. It seems that as soon as you have a kid people want you to come to their parties—are you saying The Grizzly Kid and I are not cute without Wallaby? It’s true. So three parties and one short trick-or-treat session later we are pooped and feeling a little under the weather—Wallaby has a little cold/cough probably care of coming in contact with so many people as of late. We took a couple rounds of photos, but The Grizzly Kid and I are getting picky about the pictures we like of ourselves, so these are the ones that passed inspection, no so great lighting and all. And Sadly, we missed getting a picture of The Grizzly Kid as a pirate, but here he is his little parrot. Clearly the cutest of our trio.

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And then when The grizzly Kid’s arms got tired of carrying the little chunky parrot I took my turn.

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Sadly, we didn’t get a picture of my whole outfit, but here are some close ups of my apron, that I was silly enough to think I could make without a pattern, so it took a while to get it wearable. You can just spy my black gingham slip that I added to make the dress long enough.

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And I had fun trying out this tutorial on retro curls from Hair and Make-up by Steph (I love all her tutorials—this tip has changed my life in just days), but since my hair is much shorter it turned out curlier, which was fine by me. When I had my curls all pinned up the Grizzly Kid said I looked ridiculous, but he liked the finished product and I got to use the scalloped comb that was my grandmothers that I love so much.

IMG_5712 One bold application of lipstick and a string of pearls later, I was ready to go! We had fun showing off Wallaby in his costume—because the only thing cuter than babies is babies in costume, and we are enjoying the spoils of his trick-or-treating of which he occasionally receives itty-bitty tastes. Happy Halloween and on to the next Holiday!

Comic Con Creeper

Today is Salt Lake City’s very first Comic Con and The Grizzly Kid bought his ticket months ago. In fact, with his birthday next week it’s The Grizzly Kid’s birthday present to get to go to Comic Con and buy himself  a souvenir.  The Grizzly Kid asked me months ago if I would make him a Scarecrow mask, you know, like from Batman. Well that didn’t seem too hard since it is essentially just a mask made out of burlap and distressed to  look super creepy. But you know me, pro procrastinator, I put the final touches on it this morning before he left and then we snapped a few photos.

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The Grizzly Kid didn’t want to go in a suit all day so he wore his support Harvey Dent shirt instead to keep with the Batman theme. And I must say that it turned out a bit better than I expected. The process was simple and cheap. I got the burlap and some tan cotton to line it—I didn’t want him to be itchy all day—from Joann’s and used coupons to get a yard of each fabric for about $6. Then I found a roll of jute from Hobby Lobby for $4 to make the noose that holds the bottom together, and I have soooo much of it left over, but that was the smallest roll I could find. Instead of thread I pulled strings from the leftover burlap to keep the color the same and because it’s thicker and sturdier than regular thread. The mouth is done with black embroidery thread, and I also used the embroidery thread matched up with the burlap strings to make some of the distressing stand out more. I had originally thought that an embroidery needle would be big enough to put the burlap string through, but it was no where near big enough, so for a $1.50 I grabbed some yarn needles from Walmart. That put my total cost for the project around $11—perfect costume to not break the bank.

My process was really professional. I tossed the burlap over The Grizzly Kid’s head and used a marking pen to mark where I wanted it to hit and then cut it on the marks and used that to cut a similar pattern on the tan cotton. Then I tossed the burlap over his head again to mark where his eyes and mouth would hit, probably could have done it at the same time as the other markings and saved The Grizzly Kid some itchiness, but oh well.  I cut out tiny eye holes—the distressing makes them bigger, and didn’t cut the mouth, just used it as a mark for my stitching. I cut super crooked lines up each side of the circle so I could stitch it back together and make it look more pieced together.

The stitching was interesting. It was my first ever project where not paying attention to my stitching made it look even better. So I let my hands to all the work and my eyes watched the US Open—poor Murray, not being able to hold his title in the semi-finals. The distressing was random and I used varying amounts of burlap and embroidery thread to keep it uneven looking.

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And when I was done with all the stitching I tossed it in the washing machine to make it even more distressed and frayed—boy does burlap shed when it is washed! There were giant fur balls in the washing machine and we had to run a lint roller—which actually became rolled up tape when I found out our lint roller was dried out—over the sack multiple times. Luckily I had thought to put some fray-check around the eye holes before washing to keep them from getting bigger. The final step was to put the lining underneath and hand stitch it in place around the eye holes and across the top of the mask using tan thread and not worrying about if my stitches showed. All that was left was to cut the lining around the eye holes so The Grizzly Kid could actually see out and then get our little Batman into some pictures with his dad.

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Wallaby could tell it was his dad, so he wasn’t scared, but aren’t those the creepiest childhood photos you have ever seen? Good story for his future I guess. Maybe we’ll get Wallaby a full Batman costume for Halloween…

And I just want to leave you with this creepy image in your head:

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