Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sunny South

Finally got some warm & nice weather this weekend! Yeah, finally right? It's still January... Yesterday we did a Walk for Cervical Cancer with some people from work. For those that don't know, my company is developing a non-invasive diagnostic device for cervical cancer. We were in a outdoorsy mood after that and decided to tackle some outdoor projects!

The eventual plan is to redo/rearrange the front area, and clean up/prepare the back area for a vegetable garden and any ground cover other than the rocks that are currently there. So far we've only really done some stuff in the front 'yard'. Our biggest problem with it is that our driveway is narrow and short, and the plants interfere with the opening of car doors (especially my gigantic SUV).

This weekend we started with some prep work, which consisted of filling 5 of those huge lawn bags with decaying leaves, pine straw, and plant trimmings. Then we got a little carried away and dug up those small bushes on the right side- they keep scratching my car. We're planning to transplant those along the back of our property. Greg started trying to dig up a tree stump that is behind the large plants on the left side. I say 'trying' because it didn't work, small tree stump = large roots. So that became a project for another day.

We succeeded in clearing things out more, and headed over to Home Depot for some top soil and inspiration for the right side- saving the left side for another day. We picked out an irish moss ground cover, it looks kind of like grass, and you can walk on it.You can see what we hope it looks like here. Right now, its just 12 little plants, but it'll spread out larger soon, and then we'll fill in the empty gaps.

On the schedule for today- backyard landscaping!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Award Winning Chili

Cold rainy weekend + chili perfection = yummy evening! But seriously, we really did win a 1st place with this chili- at our company's chili cook off! We based it off Guy Fieri's Dragon Breath Chili. We've started adding our own twist, and it's turned out perfect every time! So since I'm sure you've already looked at Guy's recipe by now, right? So I'll tell you what we did differently.
For the chuck meat, we use the stew meat at our local Publix. It comes chunked, but we like to cut it up even smaller for bite sized pieces (it wasn't quite as good in our test run with the big chunks), then bread it lightly with flour, and brown it in a separate pan. This method was suggested by my uncle when we made it for a Georgia Tech tailgate, oh football season.....

Anyway, back to our modifications.... for the chiles we deviate a little. We can never find some of the chiles, so we've just used poblanos. And instead of 2 jalapenos, I just use one. Yeah, I'm not big on heat....
We like to add 2 cans of beer and 2 cups of chicken broth, double what Guy uses. A lot of it evaporates and it was quite thick the first time we made it. And we just add 1 can of each bean, instead of 2. Everything else we do is the same as Guy's recipe, and it always turns out delicious!

Don't let the sheer number of ingredients scare you off- 23 ingredients! A lot of them are spices and are pretty common, but are so much better than the chili mix packages you can get at the stores. Oh, and for those that know me, you must have realized by now that it's not actually 'dragon breath' (at least the way we make it), otherwise I would have been hospitalized by now!


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