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    Entries in spooky (2)


    Wicked Good Chili

    I had a hell of a time coming up with something to post for Halloween this year. The problem with Halloween is that the colors are pretty much, orange, black, green, and purple. Although I did make black and orange whoopie pies, and purple punch with icy eyeballs, for the most part, those colors are hard to do by natural means. After trolling Pinterest for hours and thinking on it for day to no avail, I finally consulted Hubby. He told me that they always had chili on that night when he was growing up, and it was one of his favorite things about the holiday. Yes! Finally something I can make, and Pumpkin Chili is perfect!

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 3-4 onions
    • 6 medium bell peppers
    • 6 mild chiles
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
    • 1 Tablespoon cumin
    • ¼ cup chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 3 cans kidney beans
    • 1 can pumpkin
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 quart chicken stock
    • 3 cups cooked chicken, diced 

    The color of the bell peppers doesn’t really matter. Mine came from my mom’s garden, (along with the other chiles. Thanks Mom!) so they were just whatever needed to be picked, basically. Remove the seeds and cut the peppers into fairly large pieces. Think something like ¾ inch.

    Do the same with the onions. Mine were pretty little, so I used 4.

    With the chiles, I cut them into smaller pieces.

    Now, in a large pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of oil.

    When it’s hot, add the onion.

    And the peppers and chiles.

    Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of sea salt over the top. That sounds like a lot, but this is going to be a big pot of chili. Now, for garlic, I have converted to Penzeys Minced Garlic. It is freeze dried and, quite simply, incredible. No more peeling and chopping for me, it smells and tastes just like fresh garlic. (See my cute little spooky eyes?)

    The jar says ¼ teaspoon = 1 clove, so I added a teaspoon.

    Cook the vegetables, stirring them until the onions are translucent and they’ve given off most of their liquid. That will probably take 5-7 minutes. Then sprinkle over the chili powder. Now, for most of my spices I go with Penzeys, but when it comes to chili powder, my all-time favorite is Frontier Fiesta Chili Powder . It is just the perfect blend of spices for my taste buds, I guess. Also add the pepper, cumin, and oregano.

    Stir that in, then add the tomatoes.

    Pour in the chicken stock. If I don’t have homemade, I like Kirkland organic chicken stock from Costco.

    Stir that together, then cover and reduce to a simmer.

    Allow it to cook for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.  After that time, it should look something like this.

    Rinse your beans, and leave them in the sink to drain.

    Add your pumpkin. Yeah, I know, it looks gross. Brick shaped and a color that can only be described as baby shit. But trust me, it gets better.

    Slowly stir it in, and as it heats, it will just sort of melt and thicken the chili giving it a fabulous consistency. Add the beans.

    Stir in the chicken and turn the heat to low for another 30 minutes or so to get everything heated through and allow the flavors to mingle and get to know each other.

    The pumpkin adds just a touch of sweetness that balances perfectly with the smoky cumin and spicy chili powder.

    Fill the little ones’ bellies before they go out trick-or-treating, or warm them up when they get home. For a fun presentation, try serving it from one large pumpkin, or individual servings in little pumpkins.

    What was your favorite thing about Halloween growing up?



    Lime Rickey with Icy Eye Balls

    With Halloween almost here, I thought it would be a good time for a spooky punch recipe.  It’s the perfect refreshment for any costume party, or just to enjoy while you hand out candy to the kids. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 6 cups grape juice
    • 3 cups lemon lime soda
    • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice 

    It’s best if you allow the juice and soda to be in the fridge overnight before you start.  You want everything to be nice and cold.  When you’re ready, go ahead and juice your limes and set the juice aside.  It’ll probably take 3 – 5 limes to get ½ cup.  Then, into a pitcher, pour the grape juice.  I like Welch's because it's 100% grape juice, which gives it a great color and flavor.  

    Add the lime juice. 

    Stir those together and then add the soda.  As you know, I'm not a fan of high fructose corn syrup, so I used Sierra Mist because they use sugar and natural flavors.  You’ll want to do this part shortly before you’re going to serve it. 

    Wait… that’s it?  Now, see if you can get a picture of the punch without a reflection of some weirdo with a camera in it. 

    Now for the icy eyeballs.  You’ll need grapes.  I used big, red globe grapes.  I figure they’re a good size and shape for eyeballs.  They do have seeds in them, though, so if you prefer, get a seedless variety. 

    Carefully remove the grapes from the stems.  Drop them into a zip top bag and put them in the freezer.  It’s best to do this the day before so they can hang out in there overnight.

    *public service announcement*

    Do not share grapes with your furry friend.  They are extremely toxic to dogs, and even just a few grapes or raisins can cause acute renal failure and death.  So even if they give you “the face”, be sure to give them something more doggy friendly.  Otto especially loves the biscuits I make for him.   

    When your grapes are nice and solid, briefly run each one under warm water and the skins should easily peel off. 

    Once the skin is completely removed, you are left with something eyeball like. 

    Drop a few into each glass. 

    Then just pour over the punch. 

    And there you have it.  Delicious, blood colored, lime rickey punch, with icy eyeballs. 

    What are you going to be for Halloween?