My Dad's Chili is THE BEST!

I really love my dad :)Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.29.15 AM

When I was little my dad used to do a lot of the cooking and perfected dishes such as "Spray Bottle Chicken."  I remember my dad used to make a marinade that he would spray on the chicken.  This marinade basically consisted of anything he could find in the refrigerator... lemon juice, orange juice, pickle juice, worcestershire.  When you're a little girl who loves to cook, there's nothing that makes you feel more special than when your dad asks for help digging through the fridge to make a "secret formula" marinade, and he lets you add anything you want!

One Saturday we drove around the city looking for the prefect spray bottle to use to keep the chicken coated while it was on the grill.  It seems like we went to about  30 stores looking for the perfect spray bottle before he decided that a washed out windex bottle worked best.  We kept the windex bottle under the sink, and it was ONLY to be used for chicken cooking.  My dad made sure by writing "Chicken Juice" across it with a marker.  Ahhh childhood memories.

Aside from the chicken, my dad taught me how to cook chili.  This was an activity that took an entire Saturday.  It was basically a little girl's version of tailgating.  We would wake up early, hit up Bruno's for the secret ingredients, and start cooking.  The below recipe is beased on the way my dad made it, but I've added a few things :)



Honestly, this is the secret ingredient.  Of all the chili mixes and recipes I've tried (and I've tried a lot), this is my favorite.  I don't know if it is because it reminds me of home, or if it really is the best, but I love it.  The package calls for tomato sauce and 2 lbs of ground beef, but dad and I liked to doctor ours up with onions, beans, corn and of course beer.  How do you make chili without beer?Chili002

Chop the onion.Chili003

Cook the ground beef with the onion. (this is Jimmy's job now)Chili004

When the meat is brown (in the above picture it is about halfway there), drain the fat and put it back in the pot.Chili005

I adore corn, so I use as many ears as possible.  This time I used 4.Chili006

Cut the corn off the cob.Chili007

Add the two cans of tomato sauce to the meat.Chili008

The directions on the package say to add 16 oz of water, but I've decided beer is better. I love the flavor of 420 (that's also our wedding date), so I used it this time.  Just use whatever you have. Chili009

The package of chili mix comes with individual spice packets, which you add depending on how much heat or salt you want.Chili010

I like beans in my chili, and I used one can of chili beans and one can of navy beans.Chili011


The longer you cook the chili the better it is, which if why my dad would always start in the morning.  Technically you only need about 30 minutes to make chili, but it's up to you.Chili012

Top however you like :)

I'm so happy to have all the memories of cooking with my dad.  He and Missy are wonderful cooks. They always make the best dinners together with my dad mainly in charge of the grill and Missy in charge of the inside stuff.  Cooking has always been such a wonderful part of my family, and I am so excited to start making these memories with little Oliver.


Have a WONDERFUL Fall weekend everybody!

The Joel Chandler Harris Jr. Family Home - 2973 Habersham Road

Glennis Beacham just listed 2973 Habersham Road, which was custom designed and built for Joel Chandler Harris' (author of the Uncle Remus Stories- Song of the South) son. Joel Chandler Harris had the home built for his son, Joel Chandler Harris Jr. and his new wife as a wedding present.  Joel Chandler Harris Jr. was the editor of the AJC at one time.  The home is a replica of one that Joel Chandler Harris Jr. and his wife fell in love with in New York, so they hired the original Architect, Wendehack, to draw up some plans, and then Lewis Crook made a few adjustments and oversaw the home's construction.  The end result was a handsome and timeless family home that I just fell in love with.  Please enjoy!

Habersham100-2View of the front



Beautiful foyer.




Living room.



Dining Room.






Covered porch.



Pool area.


View of the front of the guest house.


Guest House Kitchen.

Habersham079Guest house Living Room.


View from the master bedroom in the guest house.

Isn't this home amazing?  Don't you love the guest house?!  For more info click here.

We're Having a Baby :)

Jimmy and I are so lucky to announce we are having a baby boy!!  He will be here May 25th (hopefully), which means I am 17 weeks pregnant . Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.53.11 PM

I wasn't going to blog about it at all.  I feel like it's such a private event, and I just wasn't sure I felt like writing about it.  I was at a Christmas party Saturday night and saw a lot of people I had not seen in a while.  They all asked me if I was ever going to blog again.  I can't really explain why I stopped for a while... I think I just needed a break.  I was exhausted from the wedding, and then was wrapped up in the newlywed life (which consists of happily gaining back a few pounds and drinking whatever I wanted-- wine, vodka, miami vices...), and then before I knew it I was pregnant! ;)  Jimmy and I realize how amazingly fortunate we are, and we are both thankful for that every day.  Anyway, at the Christmas party I realized it wasn't fair to keep you guys out of the loop.  We have been through so much together.  Figuring out my job, becoming a photographer, meeting Jimmy, getting engaged, and finally getting married.  It doesn't seem fair to stop right at the good part!  Thus, a pregnancy blog...


To bring you up to speed I will answer a few commonly asked questions.

1. Are you excited to be pregnant?

Yes!  I'm more excited than I've ever been for anything in my life.  In fact... I'm pretty sure every decision I've ever made has been leading to this point.  It's everything I've ever wanted.  I am absolutely thrilled and thankful and excited.  I am not even that nervous, which I think is strange.  I'm just excited and can't wait for him to get here.

2. Is Jimmy excited?

Yes!  Jimmy was really hoping for a boy.  Now they can do all kinds of boy stuff together... like trains (Jimmy's favorite).  Jimmy is going to be a great dad, and he's been a very supportive husband... even when I've been throwing a fit.  It's the hormones, I swear.

3. How do you feel?

Fat.  I feel fat.  And my legs and back hurt.  Do I care?  Not really.  Yes, I very much enjoyed having a waist, and I hope to see it again some day soon, but as for now I'm enjoying the finer things in life... like frozen waffles.

4. What are you craving?

Oranges, orange juice, pineapples, ketchup, bbq sauce, salad, hummus, waffles (real and frozen), and hot tea.  I am actually a little disappointed that I haven't had any wild cravings at all.  I was sort of looking forward to that.  The strangest thing is that I normally crave Mexican food and french fries, but I haven't had much of a taste for them... which blows my mind.  About once a week I try some fries just to see if I like them.  They are ok, but I never crave them.  Yesterday, just to say that I ate something crazy while pregnant, I dipped a french fry in chocolate sauce.  It was pretty good, but tasted less like heaven and more like a french fry dipped in chocolate sauce.  I'm basically  a boring old pregnant lady with no good food stories.

5. Is the baby's room ready?

No, but it is cleaned out and empty.  The baby's room used to be my closet, which is actually a spare bedroom.  To get ready for him I got rid of half my clothes and shoes, which, other than carrying him around inside me for 10 months, I feel is the greatest sacrifice I could make for my child.  You think I'm kidding.

6. Are your parents excited?

Are they excited?  Are you kidding?  I've never seen a more excited group of adults.  He will be the first grandchild on both sides, so I'm sure he will be spoiled.  Yes.  They are all very very excited.

7. Do you know the name?

Yes, and we aren't telling.

8. Have you felt him move?

Yes.  On Friday he kicked me and turned over.  It was the best feeling in the world.  I wish he would start moving around more, although the doctor warned me against that. He said as soon as I start feeling him I will feel him all the time because he is a VERY active child.  I think he gets it from his daddy.  At our 12 week appointment he was dancing all around in my stomach.  If you've seen Jimmy dance you know it came straight from him. Great, now I will have two of them on my hands.  Better clear out the living room for a father/son dance party.

9. Does Charlotte know?

She does.  She likes to sleep right on the baby and protect him.  It's cute, except when she gets alarmed and kicks me in the stomach/the baby in the face.


For those of you who are into that sort of thing, here's a picture of our very active son.  Isn't he beautiful?





Honeymoon Part II

Honeymoon continued... IMG_3187

Leaving Four Seasons Golden Triangle and headed to Chang Mai.


Arriving at the hotel.


Dinner at the Four Seasons Chang Mai.


Bathtub surrounded by glass.


Coffee and email updating on the porch.


Welcome flowers displayed in our room.



To be honest, it was so hot in Chang Mai that I was sweating in this picture!  In the pool!  It was well over 100 every day, but it felt like 120!  We decided to leave a few days early and head to Koh Samui.  We stayed at the Imperial Boathouse, which was fine... bit it was definitely NOT the Four Seasons.




Exhibit A, naked lady glasses and plastic beach chairs...


Jimmy and I decided to combat our shock over exiting the Four Season bubble by doing a little beach bar crawl.  Stop #1.


Stop #2.




Stop #2 Continued...IMG_3245

And post drinks, on the way to dinner, we had a nice little photo op.

The next day we went to the beach in the morning, which was beautiful! IMG_3244

And then we went into Chaweng for lunch.  We stopped at the coolest hotel for lunch, The Library.



There was a red pool!




We of course opted for a good old Carona... too many Thai beers.


We then moved to a Thai Beach Club for a second beer and a Jello Shot :)


As well as a polaroid with a monkey.  $5 well spent... especially after doing a little afternoon drinking!

The next day we went back to the Four Seasons... which we will explore in part 3 :)