October 31st brought lots and lots of rain, so even though school costume parades and parties were in full swing, trick-or-treat was canceled. Andrew had planned a return of the Haunted Trail this year and we had stayed up for 3 hours trying to convert our not-so-big garage into a Haunted House the night before Halloween just so it wouldn't be a total rained out bust.
Andrew's costume this year was a homemade one and quite possibly my very favorite ever. He wanted to be a Revolutionary War Patriot as soon as we visited the Boston Tea Party museum last summer. We had so much fun putting this costume together. The shirt, vest, and collar came from a vintage clothing shop. It took a lot of rummaging around in the shop to find what we needed. I replaced the Western style buttons on the west with vintage brass eagle buttons to look more authentic. I bought a $6 pair of pants from Wal-Mart, cut them under the knee and sewed in elastic to look like knickers. The hat and musket came from a shop in Boston.
^^he left the musket at home for the school parade and waved a flag (with too many starts on it, I know) in school. he's pictured above with a girl in his class that put her old granny costume together from the same vintage clothing store. Andrew would like me to be very clear this is not his girlfriend! :) I took a picture for the shop owner!^^
I didn't make a pot of chili on Halloween, but I had planned to. Instead we grabbed Chipotle and we were still scrambling at the last minute to get everyone ready and out the door on time. I did however, make chili the day after and it was just the perfect thing for the string of chilly nights we had that followed. This recipe can easily be tweaked to your liking but I think the beer (you all know how I love a secret ingredient) is essential! Enjoy!!
(source: My Mum, tweaked by me)
2.5 lbs ground chuck
1/2 lb ground sirloin
2 large onions finely chopped
1 garlic clove minced
16 oz tomato sauce
12 oz tomato paste
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 TBS chili powder
1 TBS sweet paprika
2 TBS dried basil
1 TBS kosher salt
2 cups (or more) beef broth
1 cup beer, I used Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
(optional) 30 oz can of hot chili beans -- Sometimes I add the beans, sometimes I don't (like this time), I like them but the kids aren't huge fans. This is one of the ingredients you can play around with and still get an excellent tasting chili!
Brown beef and onion together, add garlic for last couple minutes of cooking time. Add all other ingredients, except beans and simmer for 1 hour uncovered. If you want a thinner chili add more broth at this time. Cover and simmer for another hour. Remove lid and add beans if you choose and simmer till desired consistency.
Note: If short on time, just skip the second hour of cooking, chili will still taste amazing. The longer you are able to cook it, the better, but I don't always have 2 hours to simmer and no one seems to mind in the least. I usually serve ours Cincinnati style, over spaghetti and topped with shredded cheese.