trick and treat: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a well known cult classic horror film. Funny thing is- it's not that bloody and (SPOILER ALERT) only one person is killed by a chainsaw. What's not so funny- its rather disturbing and quite unsettling. It was filmed over a month in Texas, in Summer, in 100+ degree temperatures. The gross heat and decomposing meat things all make for a vividly horrific tale of the mad and macabre. Scare factor: high, really high. If you are a fan of horror and haven't watched this one in a while- what are you waiting for? 

In the spirit of brutal heat, Texas, and meat we made Texas Chili. I did some research to find out what makes a 'Texas' chili. Beef brisket, chipotle peppers and cumin seemed to be the most used items. I combined a few ideas from several sources and came up with this slow cooker recipe. 

Texas "Chainsaw" Chili
1 onion, minced
1/4 c chili powder
1 can tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 c minute tapioca
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 can chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
2 tbsp brown sugar
approx 2 lb beef brisket, cut in cubes
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 9-11 hours. If the meat doesn't fall apart at 9 hours, cook longer until it does. Skim the fat off the top, add salt and pepper to taste. 

I like my chili topped with ample sour cream and cheese- cuts down on the heat. You can also top with avocado, scallions, onions, tomatoes or even fried onion rings.

*A full can of chipotle peppers made a moderately spicy chili. Use less than a can for less heat. Add some cayenne for more heat. And always run away from people brandishing chainsaws.

harvest festival

Summer may be over, but the festivals continue. Harvest festivals! We attended the Retzer Nature Center's Apple Harvest Festival over the weekend. It was one of the few events we have been to that really catered to little kids. Alice had a blast playing games, making crafts and, of course, eating apples.

The kids activities were in this magical forest. There were even some fairy godmothers!

It was such a beautiful Fall day. I hope this season stays awhile.

It will be Halloween before we know it!

weathered barn

It's been a pretty slow week around here. The sky has been bluer than blue and the air has been quite cool. Fall is here in Wisconsin and Winter is coming. We have been curled up on the couch reading and relaxing most nights and Alice has somewhat dropped her two year old attitude and has been sweeter than sweet. Seasons are changing, outside and in. 

I drive by this weathered barn everyday and I love it! I imagine it has been through many Wisconsin Winters, and has survived. It's my ray of hope, my inspiration for the coming months (or weeks).

I hope your week has been well. I can't believe it's Friday already!

trick and treat: Signs

I love a good M. Night Shyamalan film. The Sixth Sense, The Village and Signs, the man knows how to put a thoughtful spin on horror. I love how he writes kids and parents. The kids are serious and intense while the parents are vulnerable yet understanding. For an alien invasion movie, Signs is actually really thought provoking and pretty creepy. 
Scare factor: I would make sure the lights are on before walking through the house. The first time you see the alien at the kids birthday party- creeps me out every time. 

Treat: crop circle corn on the cob

Rub freshly shucked corn in olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Grill on high heat until tender and slightly charred.

Sleep tight!

my daughter dresses better than me: frills

I've almost given up on these 'my daughter dresses better than me' posts. It's getting increasingly difficult to pick out Alice's clothes, not to mention getting her to stand still for a picture. She's my willful, do-it-herself gal and I can't say I blame her. I was the same way. So we will just work with what we got. I let her pick what she wants to wear and if I have something similar then we are golden. Bonus points if she is in the mood for pictures.

Extra bonus points if she'll let me fix her hair. For some reason she usually wants three ponytails or one on the side. Anyhew, we are pretty girly girls these days. All frills- lace and ruffles.

Alice was thrilled that her favorite purse matched her dress. Can you believe Hello Kitty is 40 years old this year?!?! And still so stylish!

I've been waiting for the perfect kimono to cross my path. And by perfect, I mean less than $20. I don't like to spend much cash on trendy items that might go out of style by next year. This sweet find was only $10 at T.J. Maxx.

pizzeria piccola

For us, weekday dinner outings need to be cheap, fast and preferably outdoors. We need to savor the last few days of Summer while the weather is warm. Pizzeria Piccola is a great little spot in the village of Tosa. They have brick oven fired pizza and an amazing rustic patio strung with lights. Oh, and a train nearby. Alice loves to wave at trains. She also loves pizza! Who doesn't?!


Little Mimi (aka Rosy, Mrs. Poses, Utz- she has many names) got to participate in a festival over the weekend. Wagfest was a silly, sun filled afternoon of barking, running, chewing and drooling. We had such a fun time seeing all the dogs out and about. Mimi got a much needed manicure and we even got to pet a snake.

Alice has gotten really good at walking her Mimi. She holds the lease tight and is quite gentle. She even uses her high pitch voice when she tells Mimi where to go. It's so cute.

This giant was 'bobbing for balls' and splashing everyone nearby.

I love seeing all the dog breeds in one place. They are all so different. Big, small, wrinkled, hairless, skinny, fat. They are all perfect, just as they are.

You can see more dog pictures here.

farmer's market

We stumbled upon a Farmer's Market after a weekend brunch outing. It was beautiful. I love seeing all the produce piled high and imagining meals out of whatever is available. The market season is so short in Wisconsin- I wish we would have made more of a point to shop there this Summer. Maybe next year.

This flower stand was incredible. People waited in a really long line to get gorgeous bouquets made.

Don't these look amazing? Such pretty earthen colors. Too bad I'm not a mushroom fan (they just taste like dirt to me).

We took a little stroll along a creek and over a bridge, savoring the last bit of Summer's warmth.

This Queen Anne's Lace kind of reminds me of a snow flake. Winter is coming, after all. 

trick and treat: Practical Magic

It's September. You know what that means? Time for Fall, pumpkin spice everything, Halloween and scary movie marathons! Also, time for my favorite- Trick and Treat! In case you're new around here, this is where I watch a scary movie and eat/drink some sort of themed treat. I watch all these movies every year anyway- so it's just a little extra fun to have a special treat along with the viewing. You can see past Trick and Treats here. Now, lets get started...

For my first "scary" movie of the season I give you Practical Magic. Scare factor: none. Well, there is, like, one resurrection and a seance but it's not bad. I enjoy this movie for the atmosphere of magic and whimsy. It's light and romantic, with some good Sandra Bullock cries. For my treat: Midnight Margaritas! 

eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog (just kidding)
3 oz tequila
splash of triple sec
2 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup

Shake over ice and pour into a chilled glass rimmed with salt.