Sunday, November 6, 2011

Traveling Trophy

My family is crazy for all things horse stemming from my mom who grew up crocheting saddle blankets and bridles for her plastic horses.  Every Triple Crown race and Breeders' Cup day finds us getting together for food and festivities to watch the races and choose our favorites.  We have an extensive spreadsheet that catalogs everyone's picks, what the "winnings" are, and whoever wins for the season gets... 

the traveling horse trivet trophy!

T and I hosted Saturday's Breeders' Cup adventures.  First race was around 12:30 so our guests were arriving at noon.

Before we could begin preparations, though, we needed to take our morning walk at the farm.

 It was a gorgeous morning, full of prairie grasses,

 frosty sunlit trails,

and gorgeous ochre, russet, and crimson oaks.  Ahhhh!  Now that's the way to start a morning!

Back at the homestead, we were busy little bees pulling together the grub for the day's festivities.

The spread consisted of T's highly requested velveeta cheese dip, (my mom adores this -- OK, who am I kidding...we all do.  It's worth the once or twice a year indulgence!),

cheese (Port Salut is my all-time favorite, super soft and creamy, and the Stagionato was a new try, not too bad),

crackers and fruit,

and a big crockpot full of chili (my dad's follow).

The bar was setup with a couple whites: my current favorite,

 Gruner Veltliner -- crisp, slightly fruity, refreshing -- and

an Arinto from Quinta de Alorna in Portugal -- T visited there on a business trip a number of years ago (I know, rough, right??!?) and it's still one of his all-time favorite estates.

We started the afternoon with bloody marys, the Spooky Bloody Mary Mix is locally made in Eagan (just down the road!) and is a Farmer's Market find...I think they also carry it at Kowalski's.  Spicy, tangy and delicious...

 ...especially served with green olives, baby dills and spicy beef sticks from Von Hanson's (also local!).  Always love the local slant...just wish we had more of it throughout the year!

My mom painstakingly produces racing programs for us...all nine races had their own page full of all the information on each horse that she can find online.  Most of us usually just go off of the names, color of the horse (mom prefers grays...), and sometimes the jockeys...but it's important to make informed choices!

The post parade for the first race was right after everyone got here so we had to get right down to work!  Kiddo #3 didn't even have time to take her coat off.

Did you happen to see what is on her skirt??


Gramma and kiddo #1 study the horses carefully.

Kiddo #2 shows off her outfit, complete with horse tights!  These girls know how to dress for a party!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner!  From oldest to youngest, we get into our racing.

Halfway through the day, it was naptime for puppies,

and people alike.

At the end of each race, kiddo #2 and I were busy picking for the next one. Not a moment was wasted. (Could learn to take better self-portaits, though! Sorry, kiddo!)

At the end of the racing day, we tally up our wins and the champion takes home the traveling trophy, keeping it shiny and safe until next year. Congratulations, Jane!//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
Everyone raved about the chili, another recipe I borrowed from my dad.  It's so good, I've no choice but to share the joy by passing it on to you!

Papa Bud's Chili (with a few Christy twists)
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. stew meat cut into very small chunks
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes, fire roasted
1 can great northern white beans, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can light kidney beans, undrained
1 can chili beans with sauce, undrained
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
3 Tbsp Penzy's chili powder, medium
1 Tbsp Penzy's northwoods fire
1 Tbsp Penzy's northwoods (regular)
1 tsp Penzy's adobo seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the stew meat with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the crockpot.  Brown the ground beef with the red pepper, onion and garlic.  Transfer to the crockpot.  Add all other ingredients.  Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water if it seems like it needs more liquid.  Turn crockpot on high for 1 hour and then on low until you can't stand it any longer.  Should be plenty spicy, but if you need more, there's always tabasco or, my favorite, Cholula!


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