Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chili Champ

Here I am disguised as Scotty McLean feeding a sample of my championship chili to some of my chums. (Nice legs, Scotty!) I spent two days cooking up Maui Chili (chicken and pineapple with no beans but with a volcanic afterglow) and Black Bean Chili Surprise for the ward chili cook-off and pie baking contest. The Maui won first place as the most original. It was gone in a flash. Even the little kids liked it in spite of the volcanic afterglow. The Black Bean Chili Surprise won first place as the best hot chili. That was really a surprise since I thought it was a rather mild chili. You can see better the chili, the first place buttons on my chest, and my great moustache if you click on the picture.

I went incognito just in case the chili was so bad I could shift the blame to Scotty. Some say that Thompsons are a wee bit too competitive. At least we have fun trying. The two days of slow simmering was the key. I had sampled so much of my own chili for two days that I couldn't bear the thought of trying anyone else's. I'm still getting complements a day later. Don't ask me for the recipes. It was a pinch of this and a handful of that. You know how great chefs operate!

I also made a heavenly Dutch apple vlaai (pronounced "fly") topped with a thick layer of apple Bavarian creme. That was our favorite dessert when we lived last year in Holland. I thought the name made it a perfect entry for a Halloween pie baking contest. However, the judges were traditionalists and gave the first places to the more traditional American apple and pumpkin pies.

My corn bread was a flop. I think the baking powder was too old so it was like chewing on corn leather. Well, you can't win them all. I think Scotty can take credit for the corn leather. Does that sound like a Scottish delight?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pardon my dust!

Randy and Chrissy have bought a house in Minneapolis. Here's the work crew arriving to get things ready to move in.

A lot of work needs to be done. Here are Randy's mother Robyn...

and father-in-law Roger applying plaster...

with father Ron...

and Randy sanding and patching away.

We did get one bedroom painted. When it's done it should glow like the temple. (Does that look like snow falling from the sky?--we're definitely not in Florida!)

Leaves at Loon Lodge

You can't come up north from Florida in October and not go see the leaves.

Here's the Kannas cabin, Loon Lodge, in northern Minnesota.

Chrissy and her husband Randy...

and his parents Ron and Robyn were great hosts.

It was cold and rainy, just perfect weather for a fishing tournament.

Of course, Mr. Competition, Randy caught the first fish...

but I think it takes special talent to catch the smallest one.

Once Mom caught on, she kept pulling them in and caught more than anyone--eight, I think. We couldn't get her to put the pole down.

The Kannas's are of good Finnish stock so they had a sauna for us to warm ourselves and clean up afterwards.

Here's a G-rated version of us sweating away!