Can you believe that the fall term is half over already?! It blows my mind away! I’m trying not to think about the fact that there are only 11 weeks left of 2010 because frankly, the thought of all of that holiday shopping, baking, and entertaining stresses me out too much. If you’re one of the lucky ones with Martha Stewart’s energy, inspiration, creativity, and hostess blood coursing through your veins, more power to you. That is just NOT me! Nope, I liken myself more to a coach on the sidelines at a football game. I’m a great encourager, a wonderful planner, and an awesome strategist, but don’t you dare ask me to run an 80-yard play. The good Lord knows that at my age, my legs would probably give out on me at the 20-yard line and I’d be lying in a hospital bed for the rest of the season!
Speaking of bed rest, I could sure use some this week. At the very least, some down time would be awesome. I finished up my midterm exams today and now my mind is in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. When I think of things I could do to decompress without spending loads of money (because, as you know, I have very little to spend these days), a couple of great ideas immediately pop into my mind:
I love bowling. Wait, let me rephrase that. I love NON COMPETITIVE bowling…the mindless tossing of a 12 pound bowling ball toward a set of pins, with no care in the world if that ball becomes a dust magnet for the gutter on its way down the lane. Did you know that FVTC students get to bowl for FREE one night a week at The 10th Frame bowling center? I need to stop by the FVTC Student Life office to find out what day the free bowling is available, because I think it would be awesome fun to go. If not there, maybe my supervisor in the FVTC marketing department would allow me to convert that long hallway in front of Dr. May’s office into a makeshift bowling lane. Heck, I only need 64 feet for it to be regulation length. That’s not asking for too much, is it?
For some outdoor relaxation, I enjoy taking a walk outside to soak up the crisp fall air and view the vivid colors on the trees. It’s been unseasonably warm this month, but I believe that fall may be here to stay now. I hope so anyway, because Halloween just isn’t the same when it’s 70 degrees outside. Matter of fact, I think there should be an unwritten Wisconsin law stating that you must wear at least one thick sweatshirt under (or over) your costume for Halloween to be eligible for candy collection from your neighbors. Incidentally, if there are any trick-or-treating wannabes out there who plan to stop by my place for a treat this year, here’s your fair warning: I decided to go semi-healthy with the treats this year. I’m giving out Fruit Rollups and granola bars. Before you ask, of course, they’re not homemade…I bake and cook, but do NOT mess around with making my own confections. If you need a refresher as to why I don’t make my own confections, please re-read my comment about Martha Stewart. However, it has been confirmed by an 8 year old that Fruit Rollups are quite yumalicious.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you probably know that it’s now time for me to share a recipe with you. In honor of crisp fall air and football season, this week’s recipe is for one of my game day favorites: Sweet and spicy bratwurst chili. Note: This is not even remotely close to a typical meat chili. It’s got an amazingly wonderful fruity flavor that comes from the mango and orange flavors, combined with the spice of chipotle peppers and the spicy bratwurst. It’s a sweet, tangy explosion in your mouth that is sure to delight your taste buds (and clear your sinuses if you use extra chipotles!)
SWEET N SPICY TOMATO BRATWURST CHILI
1 – medium onion, diced
1 – medium green bell pepper, diced
1 – garlic clove, minced
1 – Tablespoon salted butter
1 lb – Tinners® tomato infused ground bratwurst (or regular brats, diced)
1 –16 oz jar Newman’s Own® Mango Salsa
1 –16 oz jar Newman’s Own® Black Bean & Corn Salsa
1 – 12 oz can black beans
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped finely
½ cup – frozen corn niblets
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes w/green pepper and onion
1 – 8 oz jar Mudd Creek® cran-apple orange preserves
1. Melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onions, peppers, and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent.
2. Add tomato bratwurst and cooked until it’s browned.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Garnish with blue corn chips, shredded cheese and/or sour cream.
Best if served the following day.
Tinner’s Meats and Mudd Creek (Butter It Up, LLC) are both local Wisconsin businesses. Feel free to purchase their products via the Internet, or substitute similar products.
I hope that your week is an awesome one!
All my best,