My Grand Prize Winning “Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Chili Recipe

award winning chili recipe with corn

Some women are natural football fans, just as eager as their husbands to scream from the couch as touchdowns are scored. You see, I know as much about sports as I do about high-school level algebra; and that’s not much. When Matt and I were invited to our neighbor’s Super Bowl party, I was excited to go – but like many other people in the country, I wanted to go for one reason: the food. As a non-football fan, my Super Bowls past weren’t filled with lore and legend of heaping trays of Buffalo wings or salty French onion dips. I never got to taste a 12-foot sub or stick my hand in a bowl of sticky M&Ms. Instead; I spent Super Bowl Sundays languishing in shopping malls, enjoying the brief respite from my fellow citizens. But this year, it all changed when our neighbor told me his super bowl party was a CHILI COOK OFF.

See how excited I am?! I honestly did not expect to win.

See how excited I am?! I honestly did not expect to win.

I have a little bit of a competitive streak, but it’s so diminutive that one of my close friends hates playing board games with me because I’ll often get bored and try to sabotage the game. It must be my short attention span, because I’ll be interested in winning for about five seconds before I fix my eye on something sparkly and visions of victory are long gone, and instead I’m daydreaming about my next major bargain. (A genetic gift, no doubt, as my home is furnished with lovely things all scored way under retail!) However, as a teenager I became obsessed with the show Iron Chef, imagining that one day, I too would have a chance to claim my fame as the chief-cabbage-wrangler of the Food Network.

So anyways, back to Chili. (Didn’t I tell you about that short attention span? SQUIRREL!) My Chili won first place in the Reseda Darby Avenue Chili Cook Off, out of 9 competing chilis. I didn’t think mine was anything special because it’s like chili I’ve always made – packed with 8,000 different things, set to simmer on the stove for several hours. I don’t use a recipe, I don’t plan anything special, and you can get everything at your local grocery store. In fact, when this won, several people asked for the recipe and in my mind, I thought, “Oh crap, what did I put in it?” Thankfully for you, the cans were still on the counter so I went back into time and re-created this yummy chili for you. Start it a couple hours before you want to eat, and keep it on low and slow for a few more hours. Serve it with a handful of shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and frosty beer and then you’ve really got a super bowl – of goodness, that is.

1 pound lean ground beef (I used 95% lean)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 Strips of Fried Bacon, Crumbled
1 can of White Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of chili beans (do not drain)
1 large can of Ro-Tel (Diced tomatoes with chilies) (do not drain)
1 small can of Ortega green diced chilies
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of tomato sauce
3 TBSP Taco Seasoning
1 TSP Cayenne
3 TBSP Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce

1)   Brown the ground beef with the onion, green pepper, and garlic in a huge pot.

2)   If there’s any fat in the pot, drain it, but there probably won’t be since the meat is so lean. If you used fattier meat, of course, drain it out.

3)   Start opening the 10 million cans used in this recipe. Add everything – the beans, the ro-tel, the tomato paste, the bacon, the tomato sauce, the corn, the seasoning, the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Stir well, let sit on low for 15-20 minutes.

4)   Give it a taste. Is it flavorful? No? Add more salt, or some srircha, or some pepper, whatever you think it needs. If it’s too thin (it shouldn’t be, if you followed this recipe), add more tomato paste. Hope you had an extra can!

5)   That’s it. Yeah, ridiculously easy, right?!

6)   Enter your local chili cook off and WIN.

PS: I’m seriously thinking about adding the line “Chili Cook Off Champion” to my resume. Bragging rights = best prize ever.

Don’t forget to enter the KALORIEBOX giveaway! Now’s your chance to score a goodiebox packed with good-for-you treats! Hurry, giveaway ends on Wednesday! Seamless Wirefree Leading Lady Bra Review

Seamless Wirefree Bra by Leading Lady at Thanks to the lovely model for showing off my new bra – I’m much too shy to reveal my assets on the internet!

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday morning so far. So – do you remember my fitbloggin’ recap blog, in which I wrote about how nothing is impossible – except for finding a comfortable bra? Well – one of my lovely readers, Karen, works for – and offered to send me a free bra to help me change my mind! She and her team asked me a few questions about my girls, and I expressed to her my struggles with fit and fabric. She sent me 7 styles of bras to choose from, and I ended up choosing the Seamless Wirefree bra by Leading Lady. I’m not too particular about how my bras look -of course pretty is nice, but ultimately I need function over form, preferably without stabby, poky wires and annoying, scratchy lace.

The Leading Lady has microfiber molded seamless cups, “designed to give you a smooth, sleek look.” So far, so good. I’ve worn the bra for three days now and there’s no unsightly wrinkles or lines under my clothes. I opted for the pretty pale pink because I wanted something muted enough to wear under light colored shirts but to still stand out in my underwear drawer. I guess I’m not ALL function then, right?! 🙂

The material of the bra is super soft, and one of my favorite features so far is that instead of the standard three band settings (the little hook and wire thing – I don’t know what it’s called), there are four! This is perfect for me to wear and adjust gradually as I lose weight. The straps also change to your comfort level, and since I’m pretty tall with broad shoulders I always need to lengthen my straps.

I have to say that so far I’m impressed. Even more impressive is that I ordered the bra in my usual size, and the fit is dead on. This has always been one of my concerns about shopping for bras online – every brand seems a little bit different, but the Leading Lady line is true to size. My bra fits with no puckering, back bulge or the awful red marks under the breasts from the underwire. There’s even a cute little pintuck detail around the bottom.

Smokin’ Hot!

I’d like to thank Karen and the fullbeauty team – they may have just proved me wrong! I really recommend you check out the fullbeauty site – the prices are all extremely reasonable and much less expensive than Kohl’s or Macy’s. There are also really beautiful bras for plus-sized women, when we’re normally reduced to the basic over the shoulder boulder holders. I mean, look at this beauty – this the type of bra that isn’t really meant for daytime wear, if you catch my drift, but I’m sure wearing it in the day would add a little extra spring in your step!

There are also a bunch of coupon codes listed here to help you reduce shipping costs. In fact… I’m planning on buying a couple more items to keep my girls supported – the wirefree sports bra (on clearance for $9.88! SCORE!) and this camisole bra, which I’ve been eyeing for awhile and is a great price at $24.99.

So, now that I may have found a solution to my endless problems with bras – do any other ladies out there struggle finding the perfect fit? What’s usually the problem with yours?

PS: Congratulations to Troy, the winner of the case of PopChips! Thank you to everyone who entered – we’ll have more great giveaways soon!

Fun Friday Finds

Hey Double Chinners! Happy Friday! One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to browse the interwebz for various items that make me smile. I can’t actually buy them because my husband will divorce me if I buy one more salad bowl, but, it’s basically just frivolous window shopping. In particular, I love funky kitchen wares or novelty food items. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite recent finds, shall we? (Most of these came from – my new favorite daily deal site. If you sign up, use the link right there – I get magical unicorn points, and you get something cool too.)

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest

These melamine bee plates are awesome because they’re pretty much unbreakable, and they have BEES on them! You know how I feel about bees!

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest


While no one in my house *needs* a nightlight, these would be super fun in a guest bedroom or colorful bathroom at night – or even for lighting up the kitchen for a midnight snack. They’re super sweet looking, and you get all the gummy goodness with no cavities!

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest


Unfortunately I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I’d totally buy one of these cool hand-painted Indian dog dishes. I love the little bird on the front and how it’s enamel so it won’t chip or break.

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest


I’m a sucker for anything strawberry – and this heavy duty ceramic mixing bowl looks like it could handle being in a sink full of dishes or being broiled to death. I love the cute vintage feel of it, too.

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest


A good peeler is hard to find, but a good, cute peeler is next to impossible. However – I guess it doesn’t really matter if a peeler is cute, but this one is silly and fun and might make the horrible task of peeling mangoes slightly more bearable.

Source: via Alyssa on Pinterest


It’s a pickle wearing spurs. What more can I say?

Do you like to “window shop” online? What are your favorite haunts?

Weekly Weigh In – June 4th

Post-workout healthy treat - frozen yogurt with fresh fruit! Like my "I Voted" sticker?!

Hey everybody! I don’t think I’ve posted about my reality check moment last week, so I’ll start there. I met with my awesome registered dietician last week, and I had maintained my weight…which is better than a gain, but not really what I’m goin’ for. We basically talked about how if I really tried for the next week with tracking and exercise and I didn’t lose weight, we’d need to revisit some blood tests and health check ups to make sure my body wasn’t “broken”. That seemed to knock some sense in to me, and I left her office feeling determined to really TRY for the next week.

So I tracked diligently on MyFitnessPal (Friend me! I’m @lyssacurran), avoided tortilla chips, exercised, and did magical weight loss dances around the kitchen. Maybe I lied about that last part. But basically, I really TRIED last week – and the scale showed that I…

Lost 3 pounds!

This bit of success was exactly what I needed to motivate myself. I have to keep in mind that nobody ever said weight loss would be easy – but the more I do it, and the more I get used to it, the easier it will be to get into a routine and focus on the goal. I’ve been having some good breakthrough moments lately where I remind myself that I’m not losing weight to look cute in skinny jeans or shop in the Junior’s department – I’m losing weight for my HEALTH. It’s not about vanity or beauty, it’s about feeling good in the skin I’m in, and boosting my energy, reducing my risks of heart disease and diabetes, and making sure I take great care of the gift of life. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true! You never know when your number is going to be called – so I want to live life to the fullest and feel great while I do it.

How’s your week going?

***If you haven’t “liked” my Facebook page, please do so for a chance to win an awesome upcoming goodie bag of my favorite things! I like you, will you “like” me too?!


Mini Indulgences that I can’t eat

I am my mother’s daughter, and from a young age I was taught how an hour spent cruising the aisles of local discount stores could brighten up even the darkest day. I can openly admit that shopping makes me SMILE! Wheeee, shopping! I know the joy of scoring an awesome pair of rainboots for 60% off, or stumbling upon a one of a kind treasure buried deep in the shelves of TJ Maxx. I wanted to share some of my favorite little trinkety finds, related to food!

Sweet Erasers

I found these erasers at “The One Spot” in Target. They were only a buck! Considering I always shell out 50c a piece for these little food erasers at our local burger joint, I had to get them. I keep these at work and re-assemble the little cake layers or ice cream tops when I’m on a boring conference call or need something to do with my hands. Plus, they’re sickeningly cute. Too bad they don’t help me erase my cravings for sweets…. Oh, that pun was bad.

Shrimp Sushi!

Here’s another awesome One Spot find – shrimp sushi magnets! I don’t know the actual name of this type of sushi (Anybody?), and I don’t even like sushi, but they were so cute and realistic I had to get them. And for only a dollar?! How could I refuse? They look fabulous next to my apple magnet, and they’re appropriately placed next to the magnet that says “Whoever says money can’t buy happiness doesn’t know where to shop.”


This is another thing I really didn’t NEED – like all of the things up above – but for only $2.49 at Ross, I thought it was so novel in its concept that I had to have it. I eat a lot of hard boiled eggs, and I hate adding them to the raw egg carton, and I hate having them roll around in the little egg cabinet on the side of the refridgerator door. This neat ceramic egg holder has six slots and fits perfectly in the aforementioned egg cabinet. Tres cute, no?

Do you find yourself buying silly little things like shrimp magnets, egg holders or food erasers? If not, what’s the trivial little thing you often find yourself buying? (I’m going to out Matt’s habit – candy bars! There’s currently a king-sized pack of Reese’s staring at me from the kitchen counter. Resistance is futile. Good thing I’m on Weight Watchers. Candy got nothin’ on me.)