24 October, 2008

Celebrate Autumn...with Chili

October is quickly rolling to a close and since the temperature has dropped and the leaves are turning pretty colors here in Chicago, I am starting to enjoy my favorite season of the year, Autumn. I LOVE autumn!! As a kid, I always looked forward to when the leaves started falling off of the trees. The apartment complex that I grew up in used to have the janitors pile the leaves into HUGE piles and what fun to jump in them (though I’m sure they didn’t think it was fun to have to re-rake them!)!! I’m too old to jump into leaf piles (at least where other people can see me), but I certainly love a walk through the park having the leaves crunch beneath my feet at each step. The cool, crisp air wraps around you and it’s time to pull out the comfy, cozy sweaters and the cute little jackets.

Have you ever noticed how pretty the sky is when the sun is shining brightly on the vibrantly colored leaves in the late afternoon of Fall? This time of year always makes me want to go out and take pictures. As a kid, I had a teacher, in fact she was the Librarian at my grammar school, who had us bring in all different kinds of leaves from all different kinds of trees. My Mother loved and dreaded this because we would walk all around the neighborhood to find all kinds of different trees. But it was special time for us to spend together and now brings back special memories for me. This is probably why I always look down at the leaves and occasionally will pick up one or more of the really pretty leaves. And surely you remember the art project where you sandwiched a leaf and crayon shavings between some waxed paper and ironed it to make a masterpiece. Those were the good old days!!

Yes, October is drawing to a close and yet another year I’ve not gone pumpkin picking at a pumpkin patch, or apple picking on the farm. I haven’t even had any apple cider and Halloween is next week. After Halloween it will be time for the weather to start getting worst and also to start gearing up for Christmas and then the heavy snows and cold biting wind of winter. But since we’re not there yet, won’t you join me in celebrating my favorite time of year?

October is National Chili month. Do you have a favorite chili recipe? If so, why not make a big pot and invite a few friends over for a Fall Feast. Bake some cornbread, bake some potatoes, make some rice and put out some Fritos and let your guests serve it up the way they like it best---don’t forget the Tabasco!! Don’t have a favorite chili recipe? You can have a different kind of get together. Find some recipes and make a few different kinds for all to try. Or have a chili contest. Have each person you invite bring their favorite chili and have a taste test. If you’re very organized, you can have a chili cook off and offer a fabulous prize (like a cast iron kettle like the ones the cowboys used to cook in) to the chili that gets the most votes.

If you need some ideas for chili recipes, check these out from my favorite on-line recipe source, Recipezaar.com:

Not for Sissies Red Hot Chili – Crock Pot Chili
Rachel Ray’s Chili Dog Chili with Spicy Mustard Cornbread
Chili Lover’s Chili
Low-Fat Turkey Chili with Black Beans
Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Another way to celebrate is to go for a walk in the park. Maybe grab your camera and take a few shots while you are walking. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it will be magical to take a little time just to enjoy just being!

Or, you can be like me…pack a nice lunch and find someone special and go for a picnic.

And if no one’s looking, pile up some leaves and J U M P ! ! !

Enjoy Autumn!!
Celebrate...Luv Ya!!

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