{Over The Weekend} Chili Cookoff and Home Decor

Monday again.
And, it's already afternoon! Where has this day gone?
Never mind that, I'll just think on what a great weekend I had. It started Friday night with a cocktail: Disaronno and Red Ribbon Root Beer.
I'd mistakenly sworn off the unique taste of root beer years before, as it didn't suit my taste buds. So much wasted time. This cocktail is a sweet go-to now, especially with craft root beer. 
Saturday morning found our kitchen in test-mode. More on that later.
A package was delivered from my Dad. He'd sent me a real-deal Thermos that I'd asked him to have over the holidays, then proceeded to leave in Texas. I must have had other things on my mind!  The package came with a few other goodies, too.
Thanks, Dad!
That morning we left early, taking our clunker of a car to be revived and heading to the Whole Foods Chili Cookoff in Wexford. Talk about using your time wisely - We milled about the 9 stations of chilis, rating, comparing notes and noshing down. Chili! Cheeses! Cornbread! Chips! We grabbed a water and were set.
Sweet & Spicy Veggie Chili station.
The entries were from each department of the store.
1. Feisty Karen's Vegetarian Chili {Produce; full of butternut squash and fresh lima beans}
2. Catfish Chili {Seafood; Husband deemed it 'Lake Chili'}
3. Shamtastic Chili {Grocery; featured coffee in it}
4. Beef Chili {Meat; started with homemade stock from beef bones}
5. Hemp & Chia Seed Chili {Whole Body Dept.; 2 teaspoons of molasses made this one rich}
6. Wex Mex Taco Chili {Prepared Foods; simple and spicy}
7. Sweet & Spicy Veggie Chili {Specialty; filled with plumped golden raisins}
8. White Chicken Chili {Bakery; cumin city!}
9. Hearty Mole Chili {Health Starts Here}
Wex Mex Taco Chili
What did Husband and I think? We loved the Wex Mex Taco Chili because of its extensive use of Hatch green chiles and tomatillos. Tastes like home, y'all!
Wex Mex Taco Chili all fixed up.
The Beef Chili and Feisty Karen's Vegetarian Chili were also high on our list.

But, there were a few we didn't love.
The Health Starts Here department {?} offered a Hearty Mole Chili at one of the first stations. The employee stationed to serve the chili spooned a thin, see-through chili into cups for us, packed with large-diced vegetables/beans. It was really more of a soup than a chili. Upon tasting the chili and reviewing the recipe in the "Meals for 4" pamphlet at the station, I asked the employee where the mole component was in the list of ingredients. He pointed out the 1 ounce of cocoa powder the recipe called for. Now, am I crazy or does cocoa powder not equal mole sauce? I realize the recipe-writer was going for a trimming-the-calories version of a chili, but cocoa powder was almost an insult to the rich sauce I'm used to.  Harsh yes, but true.
Another bonus - the band {Broke, Stranded & Ugly} was upbeat and had a fun blue grass vibe. Nothing like what I expected from reading their name alone. They and their music is not even close to being ugly, though I have no understanding of their means or whereabouts now. :)

Broke, Stranded & Ugly at Whole Foods
After calculating, reviewing comments, and even a few 'second tastes,' Husband and I awarded the Wex Mex Taco Chili as our personal winner. As if you didn't see that coming.
Consensus did not agree, as the Beef Chili was the overall winner. {It was a very close second for me.}
If you'd like any of these recipes, let me know and I'll send you a photo of the recipe card from the event. They're {mostly} all worth trying!
 - - - 
Sunday was home improvement day.  After we did all of our errands on foot {that's right, we WALKED to the grocery store and back}, we headed to our favorite home store for items we've been needing for a while.  Thanks to my lovely Seestor and Granny, we were able to purchase a few new items for our living room with my birthday funds. New rug, pillow cases and repurposed drapes.
It's so nice to sit down in a new-to-you room. What do you think?

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