Monday, October 29, 2012

A Bit of Knitting for Long Anticipated Baby Boy + Tasty Chili for Our Annual Pumpkin Carving Party and Potluck

(I am happy to announce that the boys have arrived safely and happily in New Orleans. Tonight they rest, eat and visit with Brandon's grandparents. Tomorrow, perhaps they will take a river boat ride. I am sure they will choose something great to kick off their first day of their stay.)

(The colors in this photo are terrible. The hats look much nicer in real life. The dark color is a speckled and heathered dark grey while the blue is a bright blue shade that is between cobalt and tourquise.)

We have several sets of friends who have not been successful in conceiving a child by natural means. Many of them have gone to extra ordinary measure to have a family. Bob and Jen are one such couple. They've tried to start a family for years. They were finally successful with the aid of modern medicine and welcomed Owen into the world on Valentine's Day this past spring.

We've known Bob for many years. He owns and runs the company that takes care of the grounds at school. He has employed Ethan for many years and he has become a friend. He is a tall, reliable and honest man of few years. Word got back to me that it might be nice to have matching hats for the two of them. As you might imagine, I was thrilled and set to work. Since the set would be worn by a baby boy and an adult (I wanted something rather gender neutral) I spent some time thinking about the design. The color choice was an epiphany after noticing a pair of biking socks Ellie was wearing one day on the way to a race. I was struck. Color can do that to me. Really, I was kind of smitten. The challenge then was to find colors of yarn that fit what I had in my head. It took me several stores and a trip to the big store in Boulder to finally come up with something I was happy with. The next challenge was figuring out the design. This one was inspired by a series of quilts that people had pinned in Pinterest. I graphed it out and set away with clicking needles. Originally I was going to include a small bit of red, but did not have any with me when I came to that spot while away at a race. I decided to do without the red. It would have been a nice touch, but I am happy with the end result. Bob was, too.

The yarn is a superwash DK from Cascade. I wanted something warm, washable and not itchy. It fit the bill perfectly.

We will host our annual pumpkin carving party and potluck tomorrow evening. I usually make a curried pumpkin soup and a cheesy garlic bread, but I don't think tomorrow's crowd is all that adventurous. I opted for a nice spicy, smokey chili instead. We will also have a baked potato bar with sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits and ham.

Here are a few images from the past years:

Here's a few fun Halloween Playlists as well:

Halloween Music by Tammy Welshon on Grooveshark Halloween (Jazz, mostly) by Tammy Welshon on Grooveshark -------- Boilermaker Tailgate Chili via: Serves 12

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
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
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/2 cup beer (I used water since I did not have a can of beer on hand)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g.Sriacha or Tabasco™)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon Smoke Flavoring (I added this. You can use liquid or powder form)
2 (10.5 ounce) bag corn chips such as Fritos®
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.

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