Let’s hear it for Central Iowa!


I could have been smack dab in the middle of San Diego if I closed my eyes today (although the corn fields I drove past this afternoon kind of gave it away! ;) ) as it was sunny, 75°, without even a smidgen of humidity all day.




After work I threw my workout clothes on and hit the trail for a 4 mile jog, where I was in the company of what felt like half the town. Nobody’s was staying indoors on a day like this.


Can it just stay like this forever?


Pretty please? ;)


Alas, the change in seasons does have its perks…

Fall foliage drives, weekends wrapped in hoodies, all pumpkin ALL THE TIME and, of course, crock pot dinners.

Oh yes. They’re baaaa-aaack! ;) Truthfully, I don’t know why they ever left!


Crock pot dinners are totally the answer to summer’s sweltering temps, as they don’t heat up the house like the stove does. I just feel like everything that comes out of ’em is perfect for those cooler Fall and “that one season” months though.


This is the first time I busted out my Smart Pot Crock Pot since I tucked it away last Spring, and I surely did miss it.

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The smell of Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili simmering away when I walked in the door was nearly enough to bring me to my knees!


Like a Tex-Mex version of a Chipotle Burrito Bowl, this Taco Chicken Chili combines two kinds of beans with zesty Rotel, sweet corn, spicy seasonings and tender shredded chicken.


After 4.5 hours of cooking, the chicken literally shredded itself. I swear all I had to do was tap it with a fork!!!


I followed Gina’s recipe and only made two, minor modifications:

  1. I used a dash of cumin, instead of a Tablespoon.
  2. I cooked the chicken breasts for 4.5 hours on high, instead of 6.


I have this irrational fear of overcooked chicken (you can always cook chicken more, but there’s nearly no way to rescue it if it’s overcooked, tough and leathery) and 4.5 hours on high was PERFECTION.


After the rest of the chili cooked for the full 6 hours, I mixed the shredded chicken back in and served it on a bed of rice topped with shredded Cheddar Jack cheese and salsa.


Ben’s favorite salsa in the world, besides mine natch…is locally made Graddy’s Salsa.


It tastes fresher than if you took a big bite of fresh veggies from your own home garden. I don’t know how they do it.


It’s amazing!


Another absolute winner from Gina with her Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili. AND, bonus, it made about 75 servings, so Ben and I will both be enjoying it all week for lunch (we heart leftovers. :) ) Here’s to the the kickoff of crock pot season!


In other news, I got an incredibly fun package in the mail today – a Kodak Photo Book of Ben’s and my Trip to Italy!!!!


Foodbuzz sent me a coupon code for a free photo book awhile ago, but I totally missed the deadline to use it. Fail.


Still wanting to chronicle our trip, I paid full price and could not be more pleased with the result.


The pictures are crisp, clear and making the book was really simple.


They’re actually not too expensive – about $20 for this 20 page book – so I’m thinking about going back and making one for several of the trips Ben and I have taken together in the past.


I’m SO bad about actually printing pictures and putting together an album, and this is a fun, easy way to get the gist of your vacay in a fun little book. :D


Viva memories!!!


In other news, the sounds of crickets and bird chirps coming in from the backyard through my back patio door is charming my socks off, so I think I’m going to go enjoy the evening outdoors.

Have a great night! :D


Do you like eating leftovers?