Tag Archives: food

It’s All About the Chili

I had no idea when we moved to Cincinnati that chili would be such a

big deal.

It always seemed western to me,  and  southern – southwestern southern, but never eastern.

So, imagine my surprise when we moved in and discovered that not only is chile a big deal, but that Cincinnati has it’s own

famous chili.

I even found a recipe for Cincinnati Chili in my Taste of Home Cookbook!  There are chili fast food restaurants – Skyline is probably the most famous, but there’s also Gold Star, Empress Chili, and Dixie Chili  not to mention all the smaller non-chain chili restaurants.

There is even an entry in Wikipedia devoted entirely to Cincinnati chili.

What makes it so UNIQUE?

Well, it usually includes cinnamon, cloves or allspice (on occasion), and most notably – CHOCOLATE.

Yup! Chocolate!

I make my Cincinnati chili with a good dose of cocoa powder. It gives it a unique rich flavor that you either love or hate. Or maybe you hate to love.

There are a few other unique aspects –

You haven’t truly had a Cincinnati chili experience until you eat your chili served over


with a HUGE  helping of grated

cheddar cheese

on top.

You can order it other ways, but you might be considered an outcast. Friends and Co-workers were absolutely scandalized when they found out we had never had chili served on spaghetti before.

When people are talking about having a two-way, three-wayfour-way, or a five-way here, it’s all about the


It’s like a secret code – if you don’t know the hidden meaning you can get into A LOT of trouble.  I’ll break it down for you:

First there’s a bowl – you can order just a bowl of chili – kinda boring – but you can do it.

Then you can order a two-way – that would be chili and spaghetti

Three-way = chili, spaghetti, & cheese

Four-way= chili, spaghetti, cheese, & onions

Five-way= chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans (Cincinnati chili is traditionally made without beans, unless you’re going for the four-way – or request them.  Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…  hey! in my defense I have kids!)

Now if you come visit me in Cincinnati you won’t


when hearing such scandalous terms flung around.

Finally, there’s the ever so popular


That would be a hotdog in a bun topped with chili – and even more popular is the cheesy coney – with – you guessed it –

CHEESE beautiful CHEESE! 

So you realize just how important cheese is to chili out here I will include a picture….

See what I mean?


Wallace (from Wallace & Grommit) would be in heaven here!

A few other chili tidbits – oyster crackers are a MUST, hot sauce is ALWAYS served on the side, and regular coneys are served with mustard and onions too.

So, now that you’re prepared for a visit…


okay, well at least let me give you the Cincinnati chili recipe I use – don’t forget the spaghetti & cheese! They are VERY important. (though, you do know it won’t taste as good unless your eating it with me in Cincinnati, right?)

2 pounds of ground beef

4 chopped onions

6 minced garlic cloves – don’t be afraid to use powdered garlic should you be out of garlic cloves – it works just fine

2 cans of red beans, rinsed and drained (now, if you’re not a bean lover, then leave them out and up the beef)

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup baking cocoa powder

chili powder (however you like it)

2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp cinnamon (I don’t usually put measurements on the spices because I figure that’s what TASTING is for – measurements are really more like guidelines anyway (think Pirates) and adjust away)

3 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground allspice

2 tsp hot sauce

3 bay leaves

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper if you want it – but I usually never add it

Hot cooked spaghetti

Shredded cheddar cheese (and if you’re feeling daring, sour cream (yum!), chopped tomatoes, and chopped onion – green or white, whatever you’ve got)

1) cook the meat, onions, & garlic – dutch oven, pot, frying pan – whatever (I use a frying pan because I’m a crock pot girl)

2) Add everything else and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1-1/2 hrs or until heated through OR fling everything in a crockpot and let it sit all day. (just don’t forget to turn the crockpot on – that would be BAD)

3)Loose the bay leaves (kids ALWAYS get SO stressed over leaves floating in their soup – ha ha).  Serve your marvelous chili over spaghetti and throw buckets of cheese on top. And the other stuff too, if you want.

This recipe only makes 8 servings – SO,  I – having a large family ALWAYS double it and sometimes triple it. HAVE FUN!!!

And why did I make this post today?

Why it’s the Trunk or Treat & Chili cook off tonight!

What was that?

Am I making Cincinnati chili?



Not this time. I decided on my favorite white chicken chili – I’ll give you the recipe for that one another time.


(or maybe I’ll just stick it in the comments if you REALLY want it)

p.s. I never actually made chili from scratch until I moved to Cincinnati! My first me made chili was Cincinnati Chili and now, I am a chili making fiend…. thought I’d warn y’all. (I have no idea how that accent slipped in there, honest)


Filed under Food

Couponing (or non-couponing)

A post to help all the well-meaning couponers who don’t quite coupon feel better 🙂

I try to coupon.

But I’m really BAD at it!

It kind of goes in spurts.  The problem is, that unless I can find staple food items for next to free, it isn’t worth the time at least for a large family. (in my opinion of course, for some, it totally works for them)

My biggest problem:

most coupons come from the paper!

and by the time I buy the paper, spend the time organzing the coupons, finding the deals, and dragging my kids around the store – all while trying to keep the toddler from eating the coupons

(“Hang on a second ma’am while I get him to cough up that last coupon.”),

I would have been better off making a batch of

spaghetti from scratch.

I’ll admit to snagging copious boxes of pasta for free or nearly free – those I can use in grand quantities (I consider pasta a staple), but prepared sauce?


I throw in a few cheapy cans of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, a smidge of hamburger (if there is any hiding in the freezer), a few canned olives and mushrooms, scatter some herbs about and


The yummiest cheapest sauce ever.

See, I think 6 is a lot of kids. I know there are lots of people out there with more. But six is still a good handful to juggle. We don’t do prepared foods. Not so much because their not as healthy, but because the quantity is so


I remember sitting in a couponing class and the lady held up this little box of Uncle Ben’s rice and waved it around. All I could think of was,

“You know HOW many boxes it would take to feed my family???”

All of my kids eat like teenage boys!

Ok, well My 12 year-old girl has a somewhat tamed appetite – she’ll only eat half a dozen pancakes or 2 sandwiches, and the 1-year-old only eats like an undergrown teenager, but my others –


My 6 year old son must consume two times his body weight in food! He  easily ate a dozen home-made (non-mix) pancakes the other day!

If he doesn’t at least get seconds he’s devasted. No matter how much he had for firsts.

He’s like a hobbit.

“But what about secondsies???” 

By the time he gets to his fourth or fifth helping I’m putting the food away and he’s wailing, with sauce dripping down his chin and noodles bobbing at the corners of his mouth,

“But I’m starving, Mom!” 

All I can do is stare at him, trying to figure out where it all goes.

When he’s done his stomach isn’t protruding, his eyeballs aren’t popping out, he’s not waddling away from the table. He looks just like he did before! I think he’s hollow.  All the food just flows into his arms and legs – maybe that’s where all those six-year-old decisions come from –

his brain is full of spaghetti noodles!

Anyway, I love the idea of couponing. I love walking out of a store knowing I got the deal of the day! But, I’ll stick to the websites that tell me what the deals are AND the online coupons.

However, until I am convinced that I really and truly can save more with coupons than I can making most things from scratch,

(using humongous pots and pans that you could use for a baby crib) 

I will continue to be the non-couponing coupon shopper, who coupons on special occasions for extremely spectacular deals.

I may not save as much money as the next person, but I have more time with my kids this way, and more time to edit and work on my writing, and even a little time for writing silly blog posts! 😛


Filed under Children, Humor, Parenting


One of the cool things about my two month stay in Japan, wow I just realized that was 12 years ago – was my first real sushi. I was staying with my sister who was living there with her family at the time and they took me to visit a good friend who served me my very first sushi, and boy was it GOOD. The only thing I didn’t try was the salmon egg kind, couldn’t bring myself to do it. But the rest was quite delectable.

While I was visiting my sister taught me how to make sushi rolls – not the raw fish kind – it isn’t that different, but I haven’t been brave enough to make my own for some reason. She also taught me a number of other things, like Chicken Katsu, Chicken Yakitori, Miso, and whole bunch of other things involving noodles and the like. I bought a small cookbook to help me remember how some of the things were made – and maybe even try som new ones. I also bought some of my first Japanese dishes and have little by little added to them over the years.

The other night Paul was begging for Japanese food, so I sushi rolled away. It was rather fun, though I missed my mother dearly as I remembered hours we spent together rolling sushi for weddings. Maybe someday I will have that experience with some of my own daughters. Anyway, with the sushi rolled and cut, it made a very pretty platter and I couldn’t resist a quick photo. So, the whole family had to wait while crazy mom stood on a chair and took a couple photos looking down on the table…

Sushi rolls!

Table is set and ready to go

(Mom and Dad, if you read this: yes, those are our fish plates – I gave 2 to Paul for his b-day. I promise we aren’t raiding your dishes …….. yet 😉 heh )

Family Japanese Dinner


Filed under Food, Japan

F is for Feast

Encyclopedia of Me Meme 

 Paul’s mom is an awesome cook – and she cooks a lot.  Practically everyday of our visit in Montana we were greeted with a grand feast – and it was all so yummy!

One of our last nights there we were gathered at the table – our family, Paul’s parents, and Paul’s older sister, Lisa.  A delicious chicken and rice salad was served among many other yummy dishes.  After my first helping I was still yearning for more.  There was quite the entertaing conversation going on and I was enthralled in it as I dished my salad.

“Wow, J, you must be really hungry,” Paul commented rather slyly.

“Huh?” I asked as I snapped out of the conversation.  I noticed he was looking rather pointedly at my plate. 

“What’s wrong with dishing a little salad,” I grumbled to myself as I looked down.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head, “Oh my!” I exclaimed.  As I had been so intent on the conversation, I was not paying attention to what my hands were doing. Apparantly they had gone on automatic pilate and proceeded to dump scoop after scoop of chicken salad onto my plate until there was a pile equal to Mt. Everest.

It didn’t take long for the quick comments and remarks to come from the rest of the family, “I know you’re pregnant, but gee…” or “Just help yourself, none of the rest of us want any,” and numerous other comic comments bombarded me from all sides.

I tried to defend myself with, “I wasn’t paying attention.” but that was greeted with the humerous, “Yeah, you say that now that we’ve noticed.”  I was laughing so hard I was beet red and the entire family was in stiches.  “You’ve got to eat it now!” came the delighted cries as I looked with humour and dismay at Mt. Everest sitting on my plate.  Gratefully Paul had to exit the table to take care of Jacob. When he got back there had magically appeared a Mt. Hood of chicken salad on his plate – and some how mine looked to be downsized to Mt. Hood as well. Hmmmm – I wonder how that happened.

I don’t think Paul’s family is ever going to let me live that one down. 🙂


Filed under Family, Goofs, Humor, Meme