Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love it because the (supposed) cooler weather, the fact that I get to wear jeans and long sleeves and sweaters instead of shorts and tank tops, the apple orchards, the pumpkin picking, the fact that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not too far and of course… the food.

**Side Note: Last week, Brad and I packed up the pups and headed to the Upper Peninsula/northernest tip of Wisconsin with my family for our annual vacation.  This was our 24th year up there and it was amazing.  It was jam packed with sleeping in a small bed, waking up just as the sun was coming out to go fishing, eating big breakfasts, going fishing again, eating a bunch of food at lunchtime, then fishing again, being hot, then eating a big dinner and then more fishing after that.  And then there were trips to town for a twist cone… or two and burgers and curly fries.  There was a walk or two with the dogs in there, a decent amount of beer, some margaritas, and an attempt to check out a for real haunted house, that failed.  We took the dogs on the boat with us where we found out that a boat apparently puts Cash straight to sleep while Etta helped us fish.  We caught big fish, we caught small fish, but from the looks of the beginning of the week, we were just happy to catch any fish.  Brad got to filet some fish for the first time, which was very exciting and we were able to have a fish fry (eh hem, appetizer) on Friday night!

 The view from our cabin

It was an amazing week away from television, computers and phones that was long overdue.  It was a refreshing to escape from the daily grind (although let’s face it, life isn’t that hard here) and it was the perfect change of scenery we were in need for.  If only it wasn’t 10 hours away… So if you were wondering why I haven’t posted anything in, let’s see, almost 2 weeks, that would explain why.  We arrived back on Saturday night and pretty much laid low and did laundry and ran errands on Sunday and then I started back at work on Monday.  So I really haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and write a post in awhile.

Like I said, Cash slept most of the time… in his little life jacket!

 Yea, I caught this beast.  Thank goodness Brad was there to take it off the hook and hold it for me so I could get a photo!!

 I just love this photo too much not to share!

 And of course, the family photo!!

When we arrived back from vacation, we were welcomed by some rain here in Indy, which felt like a miracle since we’ve barely had any over the past 3 months!  It sputtered on Saturday but the real rain came on Sunday and most of Monday where is pretty much rained most of those days.  But, as I said, we were totally happy about it because we now have green grass!  But a rainy Sunday is no day for grilling or any type of summery food…and so when I woke up that morning, I knew what was in store for us that day… CHILI.  

Oh chili… how I love thee.

While the temperature was not exactly in the chili making lows (it was still like 75 out) I just couldn’t keep myself from eating a perfect bowl of chili.  And luckily, Brad was in the same mood I was.

Now, I’ve made several types of chili.  Ok… maybe not several, I think I’ve made 3 or 4, but who’s counting?  I have a go-to easy chili recipe that my mom makes that’s pretty simple.  It’s browned meat and onion, packet of chili seasoning and some diced tomatoes.  Maybe a can of tomato paste too, I can’t remember.  Oh and kidney beans.  But it’s a great last minute chili to make that tastes very good.  I’ve also made a more time consuming pot of chili that comes from Paula Deen’s son that is more involved but has more veggies in it.  It takes awhile to simmer, so it’s more of a chili that you plan on making and set aside a few hours to make.


This pot of chili is a bit of a combination of the two… and it’s vegan (and I didn’t even realize it until Sunday)!  It’s got the veggies of the more complex chili, but the seasoning and tomatoes of the easy chili and beans from both, and some extras that I add on my own.  It’s relatively simple, just a little time consuming because you have to cut up a decent amount of veggies, but I like it because you can either eat it right away or you can simmer it on the stove for an hour or two while your husband takes a nap on the couch and you watch Masterchef on Hulu in the library. Just sayin.

This chili has a great amount of spice and can easily be great with meat but it’s just as good without.  You can add extra veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes or maybe corn, but I was too scared to change it on Sunday so I went with what I knew was good.  You can also add or take away spice, make it soupy or thick and you can take away or add beans.  All around, it’s a very versatile chili that I think can please most anyone!

Oh and you can make it not vegan by adding cheese on top and crackers!  Which, let’s face it, is the way to eat it.

Homemade Chili
Makes about 6 servings I think

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 packets of chili seasonings (I only had one but definitely had to add more seasonings)
1- 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes (I like my tomatoes very small in my chili, you can also use regular diced or whole)
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1/2- 1 1/2 cups of water depending on how thick/thin you like your chili
Cheese and crackers for serving, optional

Heat the oil in a large soup pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the celery, green pepper, jalapenos and onion.  Saute until veggies start to get soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for another minute.  Pour in all three beans and stir.  Sprinkle in the chili seasoning (I’d suggest one packet first and then sprinkle in the other packet once all the ingredients have been added and you have tasted the chili).  Stir to combine.  Next, pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Stir and add as much water as you would like to get the right thickness.  Let this simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Check your seasonings and add the rest of the chili seasoning, salt and pepper.  Simmer for at least another 5 minutes.  You can serve the chili at this point, or you can simmer on a low heat for another hour or so.  Serve with cheese and crackers if you want!

Oh… this is Cash not wanting to go out in the rain.

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