1 week down, and the Chili Cook-off

So, I’m pretty sure that the devil hates me, which I’m totally okay with, because I hate him right back. I don’t feel this way because my week was horrible, tough, or unbearable. It actually was awesome, and he doesn’t like it when I’m happy. I feel like God used me a lot this week, and It was pretty exciting! I also discovered the amazing power of B12 in the morning, and I’ve found that green tea with lemon is a great fill-in for my old obsession with coffee (I stopped liking it after my hysterectomy…don’t know why or how, just did). I had some awesome video chats with my husband, a completely smooth and money-saving trip to the grocery store with Idan,

Idan at Publix. He got a pimp cup necklace from the quarter machine for going potty!

took control of Cole’s AR reading at school, and had the first Young Life Club of 2012. Some good friends brought dinner over and hung out with the boys and me, I had some deep talks with some awesome teens, took the boys to their biweekly Daddy’s Calendar dinner to IHOP, and competed in a Chili Cook-off. I feel so accomplished on so many levels! The greatest of these accomplishments is that God’s strength shined so brightly through my weakest moments. Oh, how grateful I am for his strength!

I did have some tough points, where 2 or 3 or 50 tears managed to find their way out. The boys are so full of energy, but it’s too stinkin’ cold outside to take them out to play. So, the cabin fever is getting the best of all of us. Cole and Idan fought so much, and I’m pretty sure I said time-out more than an FSU football coach…probably not, but it felt that way. I miss Chandler wrestling with them to help burn off their energy. Oh well. One week down, right?

Moving on, my one activity for myself this week was the Chili Cook-off.

I really wanted to take on the challenge of making a turkey chili. So many people shrug off turkey because it’s good for you, but I wanted to help turkey become the popular kid in school! If being wasted is cool, then my turkey was the coolest kid in

town, because I soaked that bad boy for almost 24 hours in a buttery bath of bubbly before mixing it into the crock pot filled with all my top-secret ingredients.

*Side note: being wasted is absolutely not cool. In fact, it makes you look trashy, smell gross, and it ruins Christmas for the starving children in Africa.

I labeled my chili “Miami-Style Turkey Chili”, and I had some homemade tangy hot sauce to go with it. All of the flavors were my favorite, and I felt like it was really good, but then I got super nervous when I got there. I was serving Latin-inspired chili with turkey to southerners. What was I thinking?! All of a sudden, I wanted to back out. I had a major transportation disaster on the way, and chili spilled all over the front seat of the car. UGH! So frustrating! The boys were so antsy, and I felt bad that they had to sit and wait while people tasted chili. The contest was held inside of a huge bike/atv shop, and they weren’t allowed to touch anything. It was a little stressful to serve the chili, feed the boys, and keep them tame at the same time, but they were pretty good at the end of the day. 

The Hooters girls, who work along-side the bike shop, are always so sweet to the boys when we see them! Even though I said they weren’t allowed to touch the 4 wheelers or bikes, the girls took them around the shop and kept them company for a while. I’m so thankful for these girls! …and the boys love them too.  😉

It got down to business so quickly! People were lining up going from contestant to contestant, having their tastes of chili. Every time someone read my “turkey chili” sign, I saw a little bit of the Confederate flag inside of them die. It seemed like they were just tasting mine to be nice and then moving on. Then, after a while, I noticed people coming back through the line and coming toward me. I thought the guys were trying to holla at me, because the cheese stain on my jeans, the chile pepper oil (yes, chile peppers make oil when you crush them enough) on my face, and the kids tugging at my apron are any southern biker man’s dream come true. I was thinking to myself,

“How am I going to let these adoring fans down easy and still win their vote?” Instead of them tossing out a “holla” line, they simply said,

“Can I have some more of your chili? I really liked that turkey one! That sauce is awesome!” I couldn’t believe it! The competitors on either side of me even tried my chili. I started to get some confidence after that. May I just say, that my own children wanted absolutely nothing to do with my turkey chili. They ate the heck out of the honey-filled corn bread muffins, but when I said,

“Do you want a bowl of mommy’s chili?” they made that horrid face, as if I had just tossed a slab of road kill onto their plates and said,

“No.” I curled up my lip right back at them and snarled out,

“Fine. Go pick someone else’s chili to eat for lunch.” I really didn’t mind though. I already felt good that people were coming back for 2nds and 3rds. I didn’t even care if I won or not at that point. I already felt vindicated for my own kitchen’s sake. At the close of the cook-off, the judges went into a back room to tally up the votes. They were about to come out of the room when 2 more people ran back to give them their votes. I was so nervous and just itching for the prize, which was a $100 gift card to the bike shop. I could do some awesome things to Chandler’s bike with that gift card! When the winners were announced, and my name was called for 1st place, I was SO EXCITED! Yes! Finally! I had proof that I can cook, and my kids can’t say that my food is gross anymore! It feels so good for a stay-at-home-mom to be approved by strangers for her cooking skills.

In addition to the gift card, I also won this apron that says, “CHILI CHAMP” which I wore all day long, even after I got home. So what if no one was there to see it. It made me feel good. It was a long 3 days of cooking for the competition, but it was a victory, and victory tastes like tangy, spicy, turkey chili chased down by a sweet corn bread muffin with a honey center. Ah, it is quite sweet, indeed.

A couple of days before Chandler left, we all had dinner at IHOP together. When he was deployed the first time, I used to go there every pay day with my sister-in-law and niece (because my brother was deployed too). So, I decided that I’d take the boys every two weeks that Chandler is gone until he comes home for good.

Cole had the Rooty Jr with cheesy eggs, Idan had a funny face pancake (totally not gluten free), and I had the cinnastack amazing pancakes!

     I created a calendar for them, and they each get to pull a number down every time we go to IHOP. That way, their countdown has even smaller numbers than mine! I counted the first IHOP as the one with Chandler, and the last will be with him too. I can’t wait until the last one. 🙂

2 dinners down, 35 dinners to go!

Awkward highlight of the week:

My neighbor came over and asked me to shave his back for him, since his wife left him and he can’t reach it. I seriously wish I was kidding. Of course, I said heck no! I told him it was gross and he needed to ask the barber. Some people……

It’s been one crazy week! I’m looking forward to a 4 day school week and spending the day with nothing to do but hang out with my boys on Monday. So, until next week, send your crazy to me since I’m going there anyway!

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