Our Labor Day Tradition

We have one Labor Day tradition that has been going on so long, I can’t even remember how it started…we always have chili and (usually) fry bread Labor Day Weekend!

This year, I tried a new twist. We had extra fry bread, so I made fry bread sundaes for dessert. The crunchy saltiness of the fry bread was the perfect foil to the ice cream, and it was so good! I will definitely be making this again!

I love the little traditions that you don’t plan that just kind of happen!

A Road Trip Inspired by M*A*S*H–Day Five

Before we left Toledo, we stopped for coffee and donuts at Tim Hortons. I had hoped to go there when we were originally supposed to fly through Detroit on our way home from Disneyland, and I was not going to be denied again!

I wanted to see Lake Erie, so we drove to Luna Pier in Michigan before we headed south. The lake itself was nice, but they were having a mayfly situation, something I hope I never see again!

It was a tedious drive…we sat in construction for what seemed like an eternity. We did get to stop and eat at Skyline Chili, which helped break up the monotony some. I’m still not sure how I feel about chili served on spaghetti (and with that amount of cheese on top!), but the chili itself was good.

The rest of our drive back to Bowling Green was fairly uneventful, other than some random rain showers along the way…at least we didn’t run into any storms!

The First Birthday of 2022

How lucky are we that we have Ryan’s birthday to celebrate so early in the year every year?!? Since his birthday also falls on Epiphany, it’s always a double celebration, as we have our last holiday meal of the festive season, too!

He picked chili for his birthday dinner last night, with all the fixin’s, plus fry bread, which everybody loves.

For his birthday cake, Ladybug and I tried a new recipe from The Ultimate Final Fantasy XIV Cookbook for a “Chocobo Cake” which I can assure you was made with no actual chocobos. It was a vanilla-cardamom cake soaked in a lemon syrup and filled with strawberries and topped with vanilla whipped cream. It was very delicious!

I always feel like we’ve gotten the year off to a good start once we’ve had a birthday celebration!

Tasty Tuesday–Soup!

One of my favorite things about the cool weather that arrives with fall is the addition of soups to our dinner menus. Sure, you can make soup during the summer, but it’s just not the same when it’s hot outside, right? There’s something really comforting about a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day! Here’s a look at some of our favorite soup recipes:

Soup Recipe: Three Meat Chili

  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce (do not drain)
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits (add more if you like)
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Corn chips
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.

Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, bacon bits, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.

To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.

Soup Recipe: Chicken Chili

I usually double the following recipe, to make sure we have plenty of leftovers!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (4-ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cans (16 ounces) BUSH’S BEST Great Northern Beans
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)

In large skillet, cook onion in oil for 4 minutes or until transparent. Add chilies, flour and cumin; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; cook until hot.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Welcome, Fall!

I know, it’s not technically Fall yet. And we could have plenty of more hot days before Fall really arrives. It’s just that I look forward to the arrival of Fall with such excitement every year…

Most people want to use Labor Day for one last farewell to summer. The weather is usually right for one last dip in the pool, one more barbecue, another chance for a parade and picnics and playing outside. But I see Labor Day weekend as my “Welcome Fall” celebration.

Labor Day weekend (no matter how hot it may still be) marks the first pot of chili for the Fall and Winter seasons. I love making a big pot of my favorite chili recipe–available on AllRecipes–and there’s something especially delicious about that first batch. The children love to help make it, too–they love opening all the cans, helping me find all the spices from the rack, and smelling every spice that we use to compare and contrast their aromas.

Labor Day weekend is also the time when I start pulling out my favorite Fall baking recipes. I try to make a handful of them only during the Fall season, so that they don’t become too commonplace through the year. So, we look forward to having butterscotch haystacks, and pumpkin and apple bread, and apple cake, and all those delicious things that mean Fall.

Come September 1st, I always take off the light blanket and put the comforter back on the bed. Sure, there will be nights that I regret that decision before the really cool weather arrives, but I always think the bed looks so much nicer with a nice fluffy cover, as opposed to a thin blanket.

Pretty soon I’ll be digging out Fall decorations, too–a few wallhangings and a wreath mostly, but they’re all about fall. Leaves and pumpkins, some scarecrows, and colors all done in reds and oranges and yellows.

Time to start burning my favorite Yankee Candle again (Autumn Wreath), and soon we’ll be drinking apple cider. The windows will be open, with a nice crisp breeze blowing through the house, the evenings will be cool, and everything will feel more cozy. I just love Fall!