Chili Week: Cajun’s Lemony Mushroom Chicken Chili and Cornbread Grilled Cheese

I’m going to go ahead and start this post off by saying that I got this recipe from a girl from Tennessee whose name is Cajun. I’m not trying to be cliche or corny, but my guess is that she has some spice in her life. And spice is one thing I’m a little afraid of. But I’m going to be true to this recipe and give it a shot. Here are the links to the pin and recipe:

Pin: Lemony Mushroom Chicken Chili

Website: Blooming in Bedlam

I didn’t have a Dutch oven or really knew what one was exactly but I knew my Nanny had every dish imaginable, so I searched her cabinets until I found a cast iron pot with a lid akin to the monster I saw at the cook-off. Once I added the ingredients and heard the simmer, I knew this chili was a winner. I also decided to let my creativity try its hand at a spin on a grilled cheese with cornbread. I used a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix and made pancakes according to the box’s directions. Then I sandwiched cheese between two pancakes, and just like magic, Cornbread Grilled Cheese was invented. Ok I’m sure it has been tried before, but I like to think I’m a culinary genius.

Everyone loved it even J who is skeptical of my explorations. It was very filling and hearty and delicious. I now understand why it is a rage in your circle Cajun! Great chili! I’ve had a TON of chili this week, and this was definitely a keeper! Pin and recipe Approved

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Chili Week: The Big Galute Chili Cook-off

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On Saturday, the gang and I headed to Archdale, NC for the 4th Annual Big Galute Chili Cook-off. There was a 5k run held before the cook-off, but to me chili and running don’t mix. Actually my body and running don’t mix… especially the upper breastorial region (yes I made that word up… sounds much more professional than boobies). The event was 5 bucks per person (over 12) and free for kids with the donation of a canned food item. The proceeds went to families aided by the Archdale Trinity SerCo Club, and the canned food was donated to Helping Hands Ministry. The admission price included a tasting ticket/wristband, which brings me to the most important part of the event: THE TASTING.

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The lawn was covered in tents all steaming and smelling of delicious goodness. We grabbed a spoon and dug in. There were so many different styles and tastes that my tongue had a mini panic attack. I definitely could have used a glass of milk after a few samples. I loved the heartiness of the chili created by the minds and bellies of two men of differing chili opinions. A perfect blend of spice and beans won me over on the first bite. I also appreciated the uniqueness of the chili with chunks of sausage crafted by a man who I believe was named Big Joe or Jim. Anyone with “Big” in front of their name knows how to make chili of this I am certain. The chili made with Gamms Sauce was so sweet and flavorful. Gamms is a family-owned business from right here in Archdale that specializes in sauces and dry rub seasonings. They even have the recipe for their 2012 award-winning chili on their website. I also really connected with the main ingredient in the chicken chili which wasn’t a seasoning but the love of children in the community. The cooks used their chili to reach out to families for child sexual abuse prevention through Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children Outreach offering training at the Carl and Linda Grubb YMCA. And just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore, I spotted it across the field. I may have been directed by the Big Galute himself I’m not sure but there in the midst of Chili Heaven was a huge, old (or seasoned if you prefer) cast iron pot of chili being stirred by a wooden pole of a spoon. I really didn’t care how the chili tasted, I just knew I had to have what was in that pot. You cannot go wrong with cast iron and wooden spoons. 10395199_10101339793500178_8827686833131189567_n.jpg

If chili isn’t your thing, the event offered tons of other food including a fall favorite of mine, kettle corn. The shopping wasn’t too shabby either with vendors selling everything from wooden swings to a Dallas Cowboys apron that J thought in that little brain of his that he was going to force me to wear. No way boy, not in my house! The kids had fun too with bounce houses and slides. J didn’t mind my perusing too much as he was doing his share of gawking and drooling over the cars at the cruise-in. All of this mixed with beautiful weather and good music in the background made for the perfect Saturday. If you’re a local, check out some of the links and vendors, and come out next year for the cook-off. I may even decide to enter my own little recipe!

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Chili Week: 3 Bean (and some Corn) Chili, Like Mama Makes It (With a Little Football)

For my whole life my family has been all about some chili. Both Mama and Nanny made amazing chili. As I said yesterday in my short little blurp about White Chicken Chili, we are pretty faithful to McCormick Seasoning. Usually my mom would just throw some hamburger meat, kidney beans, and seasoning into the crockpot in the morning and by supper time, we were enjoying a huge bowl of sweet loving chili deliciousness. So I was completely shocked when Mama shook things up a bit and made a chili from scratch. I decided that if Mama could do it so could I.

Now I made mine in a pot on the stove and let it simmer for a few hours, but you could certainly use a crockpot.This chili is super delicious and very easy. I must say I was a bit nervous about making chili from scratch for the very first time. I tried making a White Chicken Chili a couple years ago not using the mix and it was terrible. The bad part is, I know it was terrible because of me. Being that it’s Chili Week, I threw caution to the wind and gave it a shot. Now I’m not saying that I should enter a cook-off or anything (I will let the experts at the Big Galute Chili Cook-off handle that pressure tomorrow), but it was pretty darn tasty. And extremely filling. I only ate half of my serving. I also paired it with some Jiffy mix cornbread which I sprinkled on top along with a dollop of sour cream.

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I will let yall in on this little recipe:

Ingredients:

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 lb of ground beef or turkey

1 can of kidney beans, drained

1 can of pinto beans, drained

1 can of black beans, drained

1 can of corn, drained (I used frozen corn from the garden)

1 can of Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chiles

1 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

2 tablespoons of chili powder

1 teaspoon of cumin

Pepper to taste

(My extras that are completely experimental: a pinch of sugar and a splash of Worcestershire Sauce… pretty good, added to the heartiness… I was feeling mad-scientisty)

Directions:

 Brown meat in a skillet and drain the fat. In a large pot or in a crockpot, combine all of the other ingredients. Mix in meat and stir until mixed well. Cover pot tightly. Turn on burner to low to medium heat depending on cooking time. If you start in the morning, slow and low. If you start in the afternoon, cook on medium for a nice simmer. Let the aroma fill your house and make your tummies rumble.

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I wouldn’t let you go on Friday without a little football. Today is my Deddy’s (that’s how we say it here in NC) birthday! There is no better gift for him than all of his kids and their families at the football game to support his team tonight. So we will be there, under blankets because it’s finally cool, to cheer on his team. He is the Defensive Coordinator, and those boys have been on fire from what I’ve heard. It should be a pretty good game! And they are playing the alma mater of the girls’ preschool teacher. I’m going to make sure they say “Go Bulldogs!” all day tomorrow. Afterwards, Mama is planning to have us all over for chili and potato soup and all of the fixins “Chili Bar” style. I love the concept of a chili bar because there are so many ways to eat chili, with tortilla chips, crackers, Fritos, cornbread, cheese, sour cream, and some crazies eat it plain. I saw this pin for a cute setup for a chili bar, so I will being using some of the ideas to help mom set up for the post-game party.

Pin: Chili Bar Setup

Website: Celebrations at Home

I’m sure we will have some birthday cake too. Happy Birthday Old Man. (I’m sure he will appreciate the reference on my blog since his first response to “I’m starting a blog” was “What’s a blog?” with an eye roll… Oh fahhjer).

Hope you all are enjoying chili week so far. I will be back this weekend to review and tell all about my experience with my very first Chili Cook-off. Let’s pray for good weather and mild spices.

Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday #3 and White Bean Chicken Chili

Here at Twin Tested, Pin Approved, I am beginning my first ever Blog Chili Week. Today is the second chili day. Yesterday I featured a few of my favorite chili recipes from Pinterest that I can’t wait to try. My personal favorite and stand by is an easy crockpot/stove top White Bean Chicken Chili. I personally prefer McCormick seasoning and they have a packet specifically for chicken chili. All you need, besides the spice packet, is chicken, water, a little oil, and white Great Northern beans. Throw it in the crockpot and go. So easy!
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The Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday Linky Party is hosted/co-hosted by an amazing group of women who enjoy a break from the hectic rush of motherhood. Join us each week to link up your favorite posts that are parenting-related or family-friendly (DIY, crafts, recipes, tips, etc.). Your links will be shared on 9 blogs. That’s 9 times the publicity for your posts.
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Once you link up with us, we will pin your links to a party pin board. Also we will vote on our top 3 featured favorites. So be aware that by linking to the party, you are giving us permission to include your post in any round up and to be shared on social media. The links will, of course, be linked back to you.
Don’t forget to also sign up with the Rafflecopter below. A random post will be selected from the drawing to be in the “Timeout Chair” to be featured for the week.
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Chili Week: Featured Pinterest Recipes

Welcome, Welcome to Twin Tested, Pin Approved’s First Annual (or just very first) Chili Week! I don’t know about yall, but I love me some chili. But I feel like it is physically impossible for me to eat chili during the Spring and Summer. Like seriously, I don’t want to eat hot chili when it’s hot outside. Now that the weather is getting cooler and the leaves are starting to turn, I felt it was appropriate to spend a whole week revolving my life and blog around CHILI! I prepped for this yesterday by stopping by Wendy’s for a cup… shhh don’t tell. I also have stocked up on the Tums just in case. In the middle of the week on Saturday, I am going to actual for real Chili Cook-off. I’m super excited!!! Without further ado, to kick off the week, I decided to compile some favorite pins I have seen on Pinterest for award-winning and somewhat different Chili Recipes that I can’t wait to try this cold-weather season. Also I will be featuring a chili from Cajun from Blooming in Bedlam as well as hosting guest post from Phyllis from Verified Mom this week. I hope yall enjoy. So get your crockpots and dutch ovens ready, it’s time for Chili Week!!!

Below is a clickable collage of all of my Pin-favorites! Click on each picture to go to the site and the chili recipe! Hope you enjoy!

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Quinoa Chili Cook-Off Chili White Chili Pumpkin Chili Chili Cornbread Skillet Chili Verde

Mommy Monday: Listerine Foot MAGIC

So due to a request from some ladies who wanted to know about a pin that is VIRAL on Pinterest, I have now for your reading pleasure, a double, yes double pin review for the Listerine Foot Magic pin. Or pins. There are two that claim to get rid of all that yucky dead skin on your heels that make the ladies at the spa who do your pedicure start talking in another language you don’t speak that you can automatically translate into “this lady has some gross feet like does she know they make pumice stones?” And then they whip out the file thing that they have to ask your permission to use. Ugh. And yes kind lady who is scowling at me and cussing me in her native tongue. Yes you can file my feet skin off. Yes I know vaseline works wonders. Yes I know I shouldn’t wear flip flops. Excuse me while I close my eyes and pretend to relax while you are tickling and filing every nerve ending of my feet. Obviously, I tried this pin the moment it hit my Lookin Good pin board. I’m tired of the shame and the glares and the foot contraptions that need a medical release. Alyssa of Babies, Bloodhounds, and Booze, Oh My! tagged teamed with me on this one and wrote her review for one of the pins. The links and review follow:

Pin: Listerine Soak

Website: Tomorrows Adventures

Take it away Alyssa:

I hate feet. They are repulsive. I LOATHE them. I understand they are a necessity if I want to walk and it’s a blessing too. I just don’t like how gross they get really. My feet get gross fast. They sweat in flip flops, how does that happen!? So it was time for some tlc. I use the pumice stone in the shower almost every time. But of course as a mom, it’s hard to find much time for more than a quick rinse. 
The other day I did the listerine foot soak while Miss Audrey was sleeping. I used 1/2 cup of listerine, 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of hot water. Then I plopped my big booty on my couch with some trashy TV and a venti cup of deliciousness. Sat with my piggies in the tub and soaked them. The smell wasn’t very enjoyable for me. 30 minutes later… pull them out.
MY FEET ARE BLUE! Okay, this isn’t so bad. The next step is to wipe off all of the yucky stuff. As I start scrubbing, I notice nothing is coming off. Well, how rude. Now my feet are tinted blue, pruned, and minty fresh.
Okay, round 2. I upped each ingredient by 1/2 a cup because well, maybe it just needs more. Anyone care to guess what happened? Anyone? Anyone? Beuler?  The same thing. Failure!!! My feet look nasty still. Little disappointed because it’s a popular pin. Whatever, elbow grease and a pumice stone will always be my go to.
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Ugh. So I gave the second pin a shot. Please Dear Jesus in Heaven do not let me have smurf feet. Amen.
Website: KSL
I must say before I begin that both websites looked kind of shady-shades to me to begin with. So I did what they said. I did everything they said. And nothing. NOTHING. Skin didn’t fall off. I didn’t even rub off. I scrubbed it off. With a pumice stone. But my feet weren’t blue, that’s a plus. I really think that both of these pins are a bunch of bull. You will still need to scrub and a pumice stone is best. My thinking is that if these pins worked magic and wonders, then the salons would be implementing “Listerine Soaks” instead of scrubbing because obviously it would be less work for them. And they wouldn’t have to stare at nizasty feet like mine. Sorry ladies. I would suggest keeping the Listerine for your stink nasty breath instead of your stink nasty feet. And if you want to soak them, just use warm soapy water and maybe add some oils and scrub your dead skin off. Also put some vaseline on your heels at night with some comfy socks and this will help too. If all else fails, take yo crusty feet up to the nail place and get a pedicure. Love ya mean it!

 

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The Weekend Special: Soccer Momin It

Back to school also means back to activities in this house. The girls have started dance and R is playing Fall Soccer at our local YMCA again this year. I must say I was very worried about soccer. Last year R stood on the field (literally just stood) and cried most of the time. So we decided to give it another shot this year and so far so good. His first game is today, bright and early, and we are hoping that the crowd/an audience doesn’t mess up how good he has been doing in practice. He also has two awesome ladies coaching him, and that seems to be helping as well. Sometimes kids at his age need a woman’s touch.

I also volunteered to be the “snack mom” or the one who organizes the rotation for snacks. Now I must say that I get a little annoyed with snacks and junk after the game. These kids run around on the field for about an hour then are stuffed with chocolate and sweets and sugary drinks. Would you eat that junk after you went for an hour long run? I mean not that I run. Especially not for an hour. But I know that you don’t need that crap anyways so I’m sure it can’t be the best after exercise.

Here is one perspective on junk after games from Kiran at 100 Days of Real Food

When I played soccer, IF (big if) we had snacks after the game, it was a water/sports drink/non-sugary juice and some fruit or veggies. We may have had some cheese crackers. These are growing kids both physically and mentally, and they need food post-game that strengthens their body and doesn’t do the crash and burn of a sugar rush.

I’ve found lots of cute ideas for sports snacks, some borderline overachieving, but all healthy ideas. I put together a little Snacks for Soccer Mom-tage (see what I did there…) of my fave ideas from Pinterest (the images are clickable in the collage and will take you to their original source given in the pin. Some were only images).

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Snack 1 Snack 2 Snack 3 Snack 4 Snack 5 Snack 6 Snack 7 Snack 8 Snack 9

 

For today, I decided to channel my inner Pioneer Woman and make some frozen fruit cups to go with Go-gurt and Flavored Water. I simply filled each plastic cup with one banana, a handful of grapes, some pineapple (from the can, drained) and some mandarin oranges (canned, drained). I topped them off with Monsters, Inc. fruit snacks then covered with plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer overnight. I also stuck the waters in the freezer too and set them out about an hour before we left for the game so they would have about 2 or 3 hours to thaw out. I then tied a Go-gurt and a fork to each cup with some ribbon and stuck them in the cooler. The snack is fun and refreshing while healthy at the same time. And the kids are sure to love it!

Volunteering and Soccer Momin it are fun, but we have to remember that we are there to care for the children after what is to them a strenuous exercise. If they have grandparents like my parents, they get enough junk food as it is. Hopefully these ideas and tips will help you this Fall Sports Season.

Football/Foodie Friday: Sausage Dip and House Divided Wreath

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We are a house divided. We are divided right now by last names, gender, biology/DNA, and most significantly, our NFL teams. L is literally the only one on the fence in our house (it’s because she is so laid-back and wants to cheer for everyone, sweet little thing… and J is brainwashing her slightly). But the rest of the girls in the house are Team NINERSSSSSS as in the San Francisco Forty-Niners as in the BEST TEAM EVER as in the Red and Gold as in Colin Kaepernick… *Pause*

0ae1795d1aca2ea6ca3eac85c5bf5894Ok between cupcakes and Colin… I’m drooling puddles. Snapping out of it. The boys are Team Cowboys as in the Dallas Cowboys as in… well there really isn’t much to say because well… Here this should explain it.

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And as if normal football at our house isn’t already divided enough, we are also competing against one another in Fantasy Football this week. We’ve kept the trash talking to a minimum so far. But I have decided to represent both teams this week by creating a house divided wreath. Mine is pin-inspired and not really based only on one pin but a compilation of many. Two of my favorites are below, but you can find so many on my Pinterest page.

Pin: Wooden Football Hanging 

Website: SwankySouth (This specific item is no longer available on the Etsy shop, but still check out the other items, they have some really cute stuff)

Pin: House Divided Wreath

Website: Again the item is no longer available, but I have made several rag wreaths, and they are a little time consuming but very easy.

I decided to make a rag wreath and add some stars for Dallas and gold ribbon for SF. I then added a cute football ribbon to hang it. Very simple and super cute. If you need instructions on how to make a rag wreath, I found an DIY tutorial at HubPages.

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And I can’t leave you without a little tailgating food on Friday. I’m not trying out a pin but giving you a recipe for my Mama’s go to Football Dip aka Sausage Dip. This dip is incredibly easy and so delicious. It is a staple after football games at the Coaches Party and at just about any other fall/winter party. I usually only get a taste of it each time because IT IS GONE in a heartbeat. You will love it trust me. Here’s the play-by-play:

Mama’s Sausage Dip

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes, Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 can of Ro*tel Tomatoes

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese

1 lb. of pork sausage

*I swear by Neese’s Sausage. I’m sorry if you do not have this stuff readily available in your area. It pretty much is like the Lexington BBQ of Sausage… In other words… THE ONLY SAUSAGE! Click on the link and buy you some. You can thank me later.*

Directions:

Brown the sausage in a skillet and drain. In a microwaveable glass dish (with a lid), combine the browned sausage, cream cheese, and the tomatoes. Microwave for 5 minutes. Take out and stir. Microwave for an additional 5 minutes. Stir. If mixed completely, no additional time is needed. Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips. Love your life and me because I just gave you the best dip ever.

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No tailgate will ever be the same without it. Enjoy your football and food today. And if your house is divided, celebrate it. Differences make the world special. And even if those you love are clearly making the wrong team choices, kiss and hug them anyways.

MT Tribe Showcase: Girl on the Move

The third MT Tribe member in our Showcase is Julie from Girl on the Move. This girl is seriously for real on the move with traveling, fitness, and trying all the cupcakes and bakeries she possibly can! Here is a little bit about Julie:

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I am a Girl on the Move who loves adventures and am always on the move, so whether that is exploring Southern California, tasting a new cupcake, running or traveling, I want to share those adventures with you!  I hope to inspire you to try new things and when you do try something new, I’d love to hear about it!

And because at this moment I am hungry, I want to feature one of the CUPCAKE POSTS!!! Say it with me “CUPCAKE!” I mean come on who doesn’t love cupcakes. The fact that Julie travels so much and makes cupcakes/bakeries a priority on her trips makes me love her and this blog that much more. She highlights her favorites in her post: Cupcake Adventures. You must read it. But be warned, don’t do it on an empty stomach. My mouth is watering all over my keyboard. Not good.

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Ok that’s it I’m finding the nearest bakery ASAP. This cannot wait for my oven to preheat, mix the box ingredients, 45 hours minutes later crap… If you live near any of the bakeries mentioned in Julie’s post, um what are you waiting for?!?!

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