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Monday, January 28, 2013

Chili Cookoff

Yesterday was great fun as I sat in booth 208 at the Chili Cook-off at from 5:30 AM to 5:30 PM.As I watched the moon grow dark yellow and set in the west, the sun crept up in the east burning off the morning dew and creating a chill. I started the day in a T-shirt covered by a long sleeved sweater, covered by a fleece jacket and ended the day in just T. There were many vendors giving away free stuff, my favorite. Throngs of people waited outside the gate, and even camped out overnight, to get into the concert venue. Lots of partying and drinking was going on, of course, and I'm nursing the results of my own participation in that, today.
But the greatest thing about the day was the chili. Cooking it, or, rather, watching it be cooked and prepped by my fiancé and his friends from the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department and eating it. And eating it. And eating it.
We were honored to have an opportunity to speak with the chief chili judge who informed us that there were 123 red chili contestants (and "red" is a specific kind of chili, in case you didn't know) and 73 salsa contestants plus a competition for booth and showmanship. The picture above is a chili booth. 
 As a contestant, you're up against some fierce competition including both circuit cooks who make their rounds about the chili cook-off contests throughout the country and professional chefs as well. The chili is judged based on five elements: taste, consistency, aroma, color (appearance) and bite. Taste, being the most important factor, should consist of the combination of the meat, peppers, spices, with no particular ingredient being dominant, but rather a blend of the flavors. The content can be any kind of meat, vegetables and chilies. For the consistency, chili must have a good ratio between sauce and meat. It should not be dry, watery, grainy, lumpy, or greasy. For aroma, obviously chili should smell good but also give an indication of what is in store for you when you taste it. The color or appearance should be appetizing. Reddish brown is generally accepted as good. Chili is not yellow or green. The key to the appearance is to have the vegetables disappear in the mixture. I recommended blending the veggies ... but, then again, I'm not the chef. Finally, bite or after taste, that’s the heat created by the various type of chili peppers and chili spices. The heat could start immediately or have a delayed effect.
Interesting enough, there are no beans in the red chili. Chili with beans is considered a home-style chili and that's judged in a separate contest.
For more information on chili cook-offs check out the official website and maybe dare to enter yourself

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Beginning -- 2012

A Sunset is Followed by the Dawning of Another Day

Beginning a new year brings about opportunity to embark on new shores. As we open to a new year today, consider the following questions:
  • Where do you want to travel? In the sea of your career, or possibly a career change, or maybe a new position at the same job? 
  • How will you shed the old skin of negative and limiting  beliefs? 
  • What patterns of behavior have you wanted to stop and haven't done so?
  • How are you contributing to the problems and strife in your life? 
Here's a simple affirmation that I, being a total control freak, need to adopt whole hearted: live and let live. Let go and trust that the Universe to deliver onto you that which is dearest and nearest to your heart. There is no desire, no true desire that is close to your soul which is not possible to achieve. It may take time, a lot of time, but the thing about time is that it's elusive.
In the spiritual world there is no present, past or future there just is and the three time lines continue simultaneously.

As respect to your goals for 2013, do the work you need to do to make it happen. And then and let the Universe do the work to deliver the results back to you in the perfect time and space sequence. This said from one of the most impatient people in the world. I've always subscribed to the belief that you had to MAKE it happen otherwise it will never happen. I've eased up quite a bit, because forcing things takes an awful lot of energy.

So do your part. Prepare, study, craft your skills then let the results happen. The thing about goal setting and business planning models is that you set the time frame within which you plan to accomplish the goals e.g. 2,6 or 12  months but oftentimes you have to readjust the timeframe or the goal itself.

That's why it's good to do a quarterly review and ask yourself:

  1. Have I accomplished this goal? If not, what is my progress to date?
  2. Does the goal make still make sense or should it be altered or deleted?
  3. List your accomplishments during the quarter.This always puts you in a great mindset.

Hope 2013 brings you everything you want and more! Happy New Year!