Monthly Archives: September 2011

Congratulations!!!

Congratulations to our founding SmartyPants, Stephanie Politte, and her husband on the birth of their beautiful new baby boy, today!

No one could ever know for sure, but we’re reporting this as the 39th addition to their lovely family. As you might have guessed, it was not a home birth.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lice Aren’t Nice

Okay, so just let me start out this post by acknowledging the “yuck” factor. Lice are parasites and they are gross. Being that head lice outbreaks are still so prominent in schools, I thought it fitting to celebrate this back-to-school  month by sprucing up our readers’ knowledge on keeping those critters off of  kids. Fortunately, (knock on wood), I have never had to deal with head lice on my biological children, nor have I ever had it myself. My knowledge of all things lice comes from my experiences as a foster parent and social worker. Working in those capacities I had my share of run-ins with these almost microscopic bugs and developed a little system that I feel is useful to share. No. I don’t claim to be an expert on anything but whimsy, but if you’re interested in learning my method, read-on. Now let’s break this info down by what you need to know…
Understanding the Enemy
Head lice are parasitic wingless insects. They live on people’s heads and feed on their
blood. An adult is called a louse and is about the size of a sesame seed. The
eggs, called nits, are even smaller – almost like a dandruff flake. Lice and
nits are easiest to detect at the neckline and behind the ears. There is a
higher risk of a lice infestation if nits are detected within 1cm of the scalp.
Nits found further from the scalp have probably hatched and therefore do not
indicate a live infestation.
“Adult head lice are roughly 2-3 mm long. Head lice infest the head and neck and
attach their eggs to the base of the hair shaft. Lice move by crawling; they
cannot hop or fly”.
(http://www.cdc.gov).
I think that nits look a lot like little triangles or dots glued to individual strands of
hair. To me, lice look like little, clear lobster. I know. Gross. You may never
eat lobster again, but those little claws that they use for gripping hairs make
them look a lot like crustaceans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of head lice include:
  • Tickling feeling in the hair
  • Frequent  itching
  • Sores from scratching
I feel it necessary to say that lice aren’t an indication of poor hygiene and according
to the American Academy of Pediatrics, having lice does not mean the person with
them is going to develop a disease.
Prevention
Head lice are extremely contagious. We should all be reminded that close contact or sharing personal belongings, such as hats or hairbrushes, puts people at risk. I remember that throughout all of my years of elementary education, we were always instructed to hang our hats and coats on a line of hooks just inside the  door. I’m sure that the goal was to avoid a pile on the floor. All that resulted was a pile of hats, coats, and book bags suspended two feet off of the floor. Imagine the potential for cross-contamination that genius arrangement provided! I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I learned that students at my child’s school are encouraged to place their coats, hats and other items on the
backs of their chairs or in their backpacks that are also placed on the backs of chairs.
One can only guess why, but everywhere I looked, the stats are pretty consistent that children ages 3-11 and their families get head lice most often. Teaching children at a young age to keep their heads and belongings separate from others’ will hopefully produce a habit that will help prevent contact with head lice.
I don’t know if there have been any studies on this but as a social worker and a foster parent there was a rumor out there that hair dye kills lice. I know that some foster parents who got sick of treating lice resorted to picking out a color that closely resembled a given child’s hair color and dyed it. For them, simply dying the child’s hair seemed to do the trick. I’d like to say that dying my hair was a form of prevention but the truth is that I just like dying my hair so much that I have been likened to Lucille Ball. If never contracting head lice was a side effect of that, then I welcomed what I saw as a happy coincidence.
Treatment
Shampoos:
The Centers for Disease control states the “most important step in treating head lice is to treat the person and other family members with medicine to kill the lice.” (www.cdc.gov). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that head lice be treated with a lice-killing shampoo  such as RID (www.ridlice.com) or NIX (www.nixlice.com). Regardless of how effective they may be, many parents don’t like using lice shampoos that contain pesticides.
During my research for this post, I learned that “Ulesfia (Benzyl Alcohol Lotion 5%) was recently approved to treat children over six months of age with lice. Unlike other head lice shampoos which are mostly pesticides, Ulesfia is a water-soluble gel that works to suffocate head lice.” (www.about.com).
Combs:
Whether or not you choose to use a shampoo, gel or some combination, I adamantly recommend you use a lice comb to thoroughly remove the lice. I have used both RID and NIX products with success. However, I must say that I never used just a shampoo without a trusty Licemeister (www.HeadLice.org). A Licemeister is a small comb that is designed to remove lice when the comb is pulled through separated groupings of hair. It can be used on wet or dry hair. You can visit www.HeadLice.org for an instructional video on how to properly use this product.
While researching this post, I came across the Lice Guard (www.liceguard.com) which offers a “non toxic and pesticide free” way of treating lice. Included in the three-step process is a comb that closely resembles the Licemeister. The other two steps involved in this method include a non-toxic, pesticide free lice-killing shampoo and preventative solution. I have never used this product, nor do I know of someone who has, but if it works, this method sounds like a great solution.
Method
As I have said before, I am versed in the process of removing lice and would like to share my method with you.
What you will need:
  • Lice-removing comb
  • Adequate lighting (a lamp or sunny window will be perfect)
  • Hair clips
  • Disposable comb
  • Washable safety scissors
  • Chair
  • Disposable Shower curtain
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Disposable plate
  • Disposable cup filled with water
  • Garbage bag
  • Lined garbage bin
Step-By-Step Process for Cleaning the Head:
  1. Sit in the chair and place the shower curtain over your lap and floor area.
  2. Begin by treating hair with lice-killing shampoo (optional).
  3. Cut a head hole in the garbage bag and place it over the head to create an apron/poncho.
  4. Use the disposable comb to remove any tangles.
  5. Discard the comb into the garbage bin.
  6. Starting at the forehead, use lice-removing comb, slowly combing from scalp to tip, grasping
    the hair with the opposite hand so that it doesn’t fall onto the rest of the hair.
  7. Place the lice-removing comb on the disposable plate.
  8. Twist the hair into a small knot and clip it with a hair clip.
  9. Wipe the comb clean with a paper towel and discard it into the garbage bin.
  10. If you find a nit, snip the strand of hair with safety scissors and discard it into the garbage bin.
  11. Continue this process until all of the hair is combed through, using the cup of water to rinse the comb before wiping it clean with a paper towel if needed.
  12. When all of the hair has been combed through, discard all disposable items.
  13. Sterilize the lice comb and safety scissors after use. You can do this by placing them in boiling
    water for several minutes. Personally, I just throw them away.
I’d follow the above steps for at least a week so as to ensure that all lice and nits are removed.
NOTE: “Nits hatch in 7 to 10 days and develop into an adult in another 7 to 10 days which can then lay more eggs. Since anti-lice shampoos don’t usually kill nits, you usually have to retreat the person with lice in 7 to 10 days to kill any newly hatched head lice and break this lice life cycle. Many experts now recommend doing your second head lice treatment on day 9.” (www.about.com).
Okay, so the head is taken care of. Now for the rest of the house. Some think that cleaning for lice is a lot like cleaning for fleas. Not so. No poisons are necessary and very simple steps can ensure a clean, lice-free environment for the whole family.
Step by Step Process for Cleaning the Home:
  1. Clean all bedding and clothing of the lice-infested person. All laundry should be washed in
    hot water.
  2. Vacuum the following to remove lice and nits…
    1. Individual’s bed
    2. All furniture
    3. Carpets
    4. Stuffed toys
    5. Car interior
    6. Car seat
    7. Clean all items that have been in contact with clothing worn by infected person within 24
      hours. This includes hats on a shared hat rack, coats stored together in a closet, etc.
    8. Place anything that cannot be washed in a large, plastic garbage bag for three weeks. This
      will allow the amount of time necessary for the lice to starve and die.
    9. Check and treat all other members of your household for a possible lice infestation. For any member who also has lice, follow the step-by-step directions above.
NOTE: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you really only have to clean “items that have been in contact with the head of the person with infestation in the 24 to 48 hours before treatment.” (www.about.com). I recommend walking through the past two days and cleaning anything that may have come in contact with the lice.
Some parents will feel caught in a vicious cycle of a seemingly incurable lice infestation. En lieu of shaving the infected person’s hair completely (which doesn’t always bode well in the middle of winter), I recommend going to see a doctor. A trip to the doctor can solve a couple of problems for you. First, they can help you identify the lice and nits and confirm that there is still a problem. From here, medical personnel can instruct you in ensuring you are using the proper method for removing lice and nits. Secondly, for severe cases, doctors can prescribe Ovide (www.rx4headlice.com) or another powerful lice-killing shampoo. These stronger shampoos are described as a second-line treatment and I defer to your doctor completely on the subject of all things chemically and medical.
No, lice aren’t nice, but hopefully the above information will help you get through what could be a terrible predicament. The only other advice this non-expert would give you, would be to make sure you don’t freak out the person you are treating. Chances are, they feel pretty awful already. Instead, attacking the problem with the info and know-how will help get everyone through this uncomfortable time with a little bit of ease.
Categories: children, Family, Home, Medical, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to clean house when you’d rather be browsing LOLcats.

Now that I’m in my last month of pregnancy, people keep telling me about this thing called the “nesting instinct” that should be kicking in soon.  Personally, I think it’s folklore.  Last time I had a baby, I was completely unprepared.  The baby’s room had barely been touched, the house was a messy, cluttered, filthy shambles, and I hadn’t even packed my hospital bag!

While I occasionally have felt inspired to clean, the urge doesn’t seem to be growing as my due date approaches.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  All I really want to do this week is read what so-and-so is going to post on Facebook, and try to figure out why people don’t seem to be responding the hilarious LOL cats I keep forwarding in the email!

However, as much as I really just want to sit on my couch and has cheezeberger, I also know how consuming life with a newborn is, and how leaving a relatively tidy home will give me so much more peace as I’m resting in my hospital bed.  Housework seems boring as heck compared to the ongoing saga between basement cat and ceiling cat, so I have to break out my list of housework games and trick myself into having fun!

This week, you get a list of my housework boredom busters, in no particular order:

  • Race against the clock.  This is simple.  Set a timer for a short duration (like 10 or 15 minutes) and keep a goal in mind of how much you want to accomplish.  Clean like the dickens.
  • Erin is for folding socks.  Every time I fold socks, I call my buddy Erin.  She lives far away, and I actually match and fold socks like twice a year, so it’s a nice way to keep in touch.  It seems like I always find myself cleaning my stove when I’m on the phone with Becky.  Pair a chatty phone friend with an unsavory task.  It will go much faster while you’re catching up.  I also tend to have certain podcasts for certain weekly tasks.
  • Play Pong.  Pretend you are the ball in pong.  Great for when the kids toys are spread out all over the place.  Everytime you put something away, pick up another thing that is out of place in that location.  I find myself bouncing all over my house this way.
  • Play Yahtzee.   Well sort of anyway.  Make a list 1-6 of quick 5 minute tasks that need to be done.  Set a timer for 5 minutes, roll the dice, and you never know what task will be next!  You’ll be done in one hour.  Just don’t spend more than 5 minutes on any one item!  You may have to play a bonus round!  FlyLady fans:  Look up FlyLady Bingo on Facebook for a more interactive version of this concept.
  • Drop a bomb on the mess.  Here’s what I do:  Take a digital picture of a really gross room.  Decide exactly what part of the mess you intend to drop a “bomb” on.  Set a timer for 5, 10, or 15 minutes.  Staying very focused, work outwards from the point where you’ve chosen to drop your bomb.  When the timer goes off, take your second photo.  Flip back and forth between the before and after pictures, making a bombing noise with your mouth as you look at dirty and much cleaner versions of the same room.  (This is really fun to do with a 360 view.  Try out the free Photosynth ap for iPhone!)
  • Get all dressed up.  I have a cleaning “hazmat suit”.  It’s actually wonderful.  I’m not sure if my husband thinks it’s cute and sexy, or just weird and laughable when he comes in and I’m cleaning house all decked out in a frilly apron, rubber gloves, matching hair scarf, and listening to old timey radio from the 40’s.
  • Buy FANCY cleaning stuff.  I wanted to wash every dish in the house when I brought home my Ms. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap in Basil scent!  Target has some really interesting (and cutely packaged) organic cleaners and detergents available.  Yes, they’re quite pricey, but if we splurge on bath and body, why not splurge on a little something that will motivate you to have a cleaner home?!  Pick up a nice scented candle or a pretty bouquet of fresh flowers as a reward while you’re at it!

So, there you have it.  I go to some pretty great lengths to make my housework fun!  If you don’t mind your husband occasionally tilting his head and wondering why you’re making quite “Booooooooooooofffff” noises at your iPod while flipping between the same two pictures over and over again, you should definitely give some of these a try!  When it’s fun, it gets done!

My kiddos are too young to really help with cleaning, but I’m sure a lot of these games could be adapted for the whole family to enjoy.  Do you folks with older children have any ideas to make cleaning house feel more like a day at Disney World?

Categories: Organization, Whimsey | 1 Comment

9/11: Reflecting on that Fateful Day

“Hon, you gotta come pick me up. There’s like a bomb threat
or something and all the flights just changed to cancelled.” “What do you mean all the flights? Like, all for the next-how long?” “I mean ALL flights.” Slightly irritated that I would be
inconvenienced and late for work, I turned my car around at the next exit. What
did he mean “all flights”? It’s a freakin’ airport. Flights are what they do! I
arrived at Sea-Tac International Airport to what can only be described as a mass
exodus. There were people everywhere. The entrance to the airport had been
temporarily blocked off, so I quickly joined the train of cars, shuttles and
taxis seeking to receive some of what seemed like an endless stream of would-be
travelers. Thanks to the technological wonder of cell phones, I was somehow
able to locate my husband in a hotel parking lot about a mile from the airport.
After loading his golf clubs, brief case and roller board into the car, he
briefly filled me in on all he knew. “They’ve shut down the whole airport.
There’s been some sort of attack and they don’t know where the next one is
coming from.”

As we drove through the still constant stream of people, my
husband and I both phoned into work and then quickly turned on the radio hoping
for some type of understanding. We spent the remaining minutes it took to get
to our respective offices trying to piece together the madness that was occurring
within our country’s borders. We heard coverage of the speech delivered by
President George W. Bush at 9:30 a.m. stating “the country has suffered an apparent terrorist attack.”

I remember the sense of shock being overwhelming. Surely an
attack could not have been waged against innocent civilians. Not in this country.
When I arrived at work, the seemingly surreal situation that I was trying to
piece together suddenly became an all-too horrific reality. The entire HR
department stood in a semi-circle around one small television screen. They were
all silent and solemn watching the repeating footage of the planes hitting each
of the twin towers. There was then footage of the Pentagon and then reporting
of an airplane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. What was happening? The
panic that each of us felt in our hearts was reflected in each of the ash-painted
faces that flickered on the television screen.

As I stood there in horror, I and the rest of America
learned of the acts of terror that would leave a permanent scar on this great
nation. Below is the chronology of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attack as
reported by CNN…

8:45 a.m.: A large plane, possibly a hijacked airliner,
crashes into one of the World Trade Center towers, tearing a gaping hole in the
building and setting it afire.

9:03 a.m.: A second plane, apparently a passenger jet,
crashes into the second World Trade Center tower and explodes. Both buildings
are burning.

9:40 a.m.: The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S.
airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been
halted.

9:43 a.m.: An aircraft crashes into the Pentagon, sending
up a huge plume of smoke. Evacuation begins immediately.
10:05 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center
collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and
debris forms and slowly drifts away from the building.

10:10 a.m.: A portion of the Pentagon collapses.

10:10 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset
County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh.

10:28 a.m.: The World Trade Center’s north tower
collapses from the top down as if it were being peeled apart, releasing a
tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.

Very true to the American spirit, many heroes emerged that
day. Writer for the Associated Press, Tamara Lush stated in her article posted
yesterday, “on Sept. 11, 2001, most of the men and women who saved the lives of
others on that day were ordinary citizens thrust into the role of a soldier —
of a hero — without direction or orders”. There were reportedly 60 World Trade
Center companies who lost people in the attacks of 9/11. From Tower One alone,
a reported 1,402 people lost their lives. From Tower Two, 614 were killed and a
reported 658 people employees of Cantor Fitzgerald were also killed as a result
of the attacks. Many more could have been lost if not for the valiant efforts
on behalf of the brave men and women of New York City. For a full listing of the
grizzly statistics associated with these attacks, visit www.nymag.com.

In addition to the civilians who did what they could to
respond to the attacks with efforts to rescue fellow men, women and children,
hundreds of New York City Firefighters and emergency personnel confirmed their heroic
legacy with the actions they took on that fateful day. I recommend visiting www.nyc.gov/fdny to learn how the City of New York is paying tribute to the “343 FDNY members killed on Sept. 11, 2001,
as well as the 57 who have died in the past decade due to World Trade
Center-related illnesses.” (www.nyc.gov). There were also 23 New York Police Officers and 37 Port Authority Officers who lost their lives while responding to the call for help on 9/11. Visit www.nyc.gov/nypd to learn about how the City of New York is honoring its finest ten years later.

In what is arguably one of the most heroic stories of my
lifetime, civilian passengers of flight 93 used every effort to stop the
hijackers of their airplane from completing their mission of terror. Todd
Beamer used the term “let’s roll” before he, along with the remaining 39 crew
and passengers of Flight 93 fought back against their hijackers. CNN Senior White
House Correspondent John King reported at 5:30 p.m. on 09/11/ that U.S.
officials say the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania could have been headed for
one of three possible targets: Camp David, the White House or the U.S. Capitol
building.(www.cnn.com). Had it not been for
these brave men and women aboard that flight, countless more lives could have
been lost as a result of this hijacking. For this reason, and in honor of their
bravery, it is my hope that the statement “let’s roll” will forever ring in the
ears of every American. To learn more about this story, I recommend
visiting www.history.com/topics/flight-93.

Ever a symbol of strength, despite being attacked at 9:43 a.m. and subsequently
suffering a partial collapse at10:10 a.m., the Pentagon remained focused on its
constant objective to maintain freedom and to ensure the security of this country.
At 1:44 p.m.: the Pentagon reported its response on
9/11 that five warships and two aircraft carriers would “leave the U.S. Naval
Station in Norfolk, Virginia, to protect the East Coast from further attack and
to reduce the number of ships in port. The two carriers, the USS George
Washington and the USS John F. Kennedy, are headed for the New York coast. The
other ships headed to sea are frigates and guided missile destroyers capable of
shooting down aircraft. (www.cnn.com).

Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld after having personally helped to carry the wounded from the burning building of the Pentagon, turned around and held a press conference from the Pentagon that same day. During this press conference he noted the building was operational and followed up with the statement “it will be in business tomorrow.” (www.cnn.com).

Following the 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center, then New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stated in a press conference “tomorrow New York is going to be here… And we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before.”

As he addressed the nation and the world, President George Bush said about the 9/11 attacks that “thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil.” He then reminded the world of the American spirit by
stating “these acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” (www.cnn.com).

It was these acts and statements that resonated with the hearts of so many Americans. The heart of every patriot beats to the cadence of the strength that built this great nation. A strength that has continued despite attacks such as the ones suffered on 9/11. As I put it to a group of friends “anyone
can get sucker punched. It’s how you recover that matters.” Looking back on our history, the United States has had its share of black eyes. Yet we still move forward as a superpower, its citizens exercising our rights in agreeing to disagree over political matters while always remaining faithful to the quest of
freedom, liberty and justice for all.

Personal Note: I have not kept the events that happened on that fateful day from my children. Of course we have shared this scar in our history at a level that is appropriate for their development, but to tell the true story of this great nation, we would be denying the bravery and spirit of its citizens if we were to leave out its blemishes. In sharing our nation’s story with my children, I am both amazed and encouraged in how our history has created in them an identity of bravery, courage and a sense of a shared heart. I feel that this, in large part, has to the do with the fact that the story of our nation has a theme of resilience and heart that children can identify with. In sharing the sadness and tragedy of the very real evil that caused the attacks on 9/11, I told my children that these evildoers tore a hole in our nation and broke our nation’s heart. To this, my five-year-old child said “but they can never take the love from our heart.”

Works Cited

Lush, T., Associated Press, Heroes soothed and inspired a
wounded nation. Sept 10, 2011.

Websites

www.articles.cn.com.
Path: 2001-09-11/us/chronology/attack

www.articles.cnn.com
“A Nation Remembers 9/11 victims,
heroes,” Sept 11, 2008. Path: 2008-09-11/us/911/pentagon

www.nymag.com. Path:news/articles/wtc/1year/numbers.

Categories: Patriotism | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chili, Butternut Squash-Style

Fall is my favorite. A reprieve from the heat, a time to enjoy the outdoors before winter shows its face. Excitement seems to be filling everyone’s heart (or at least their Facebook status) as we light our favorite apple cinnamon or spiced pumpkin candles to fill our homes with warm fuzzy scents and turn on the tv to enjoy the football game. People are happy to welcome fall. For me, this excitement must be celebrated in the kitchen. There are few things I get more excited about cooking (and eating!) than a great big pot of chili. Pretty much from September through February I make a pot of chili at least once a week. My kids are great chili-eaters, so that helps.
This year, I am in training. While friends spend weeks, (sometimes months) training for marathons, I am training to compete in a big chili-cook off. Bectoria sent me an email last week about a chili competition that a local grocery store chain in hosting, and I couldn’t be more delighted. My husband, however, is a tad reticent about the ordeal, as I have chosen to compete in the vegetarian category, so he’s looking at several weeks of practice chili, sans meat. (I’ve already won awards for my traditional chili, it’s time to move on to bigger challenges…..ok.. I admit, the awards I’m referencing were two 3rd place medals in a church competition several years ago, but still!)
Since chili is something I’m already crazy about, and in the spirit of the start of fall, I want to combine this beloved dish with my newest infatuation: the butternut squash. What’s more fallish than that??? Well, pumpkin maybe, but they aren’t out, yet. And pumpkin is not as easy to prepare as my new friend, the butternut squash. I have somehow avoided this fine piece of produce until now. I think I assumed it would be complicated, like its relative the acorn squash. If you aren’t cutting an acorn squash in half and baking it, you are in for a frustrating experience. Those things are a PAIN to peel! They have what are called hills and valleys, which refers to the ridges found on the outer layer, and should you attempt to peel it before cooking it, make sure your children are in another room, because they don’t need to be subjected to the language that is going to come out of your mouth. But even if you wait and try and peel it after you cook it, you’re still going to have some choice words to spout off, because it’s going to come off in bits and pieces and be very messy, and you will lose chunks of squash flesh in the process.
But the BUTTERNUT SQAUSH is not complicated. It peels very easily with a vegetable peeler, even before you cook it. The seeds are only contained in the bulbous portion of the squash, so it will only take you seconds to remove them with a serving spoon. I’m telling you, this thing is easy-peasy. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with this squash, and I have been delighted every time. Butternut squash lasagna was a home run, and I will definitely be making that again. But that’s for a different post.

Today, I’m going to share my recipe so far for butternut squash chili. It’s going to be revised a few times before I enter it in the cook off, but I think it’s a winner in it’s current state, already. This recipe is vegan/vegetarian, but I will give the adaptation at the end for those of you who aren’t into that whole meatless genre of main courses.

Ingredients:
1 butternut squashed, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Cheyenne pepper
2 TBS dark brown sugar
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cans black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained
12 oz dark beer

Instructions:
In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and cook 2 minutes. Turn heat to med/high and add squash, garlic and seasonings. Watch carefully so that the onions don’t burn, but you get a good sear on the squash. When squash begins to carmelize, add beer and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a stock pot and add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on med/low for 1 hour (or put in crockpot for 2-3 hours on low) stirring occasionally. Serve with slices of avocado, sprigs of cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream (unless you’re vegan!)

*Meat version: omit olive oil, brown 1/2 lb pork sausage with onion, then add squash, garlic, seasonings and beer and continue as above.

You will be delighted when you taste this chili. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

While there are still grilling days left in the season, give grilled butternut squash a try: peel, quarter (lengthwise) and seed the squash, then slice into 1/4 inch medallions. Brush with olive oil and season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill in foil or in a grill basket over medium heat with lid closed 2-3 minutes per side, or until each side has good grill marks. Enjoy! It’s so delicious even skeptics will appreciate this tasty side.

Do you have any wonderful butternut squash recipes? Please share!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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