State employees are encouraged to give money annually for a combined campaign but everyone can choose the charity their contribution will go to.  This year our department held a chili-cookoff in which employees were asked to bring their best home-made chili and then everyone paid a dollar a bowl for chili for lunch.  A local radio DJ, Bubba from WBAM, was charged with the task of choosing the three best chilis.

I took second place with a medium heat chili.  The blazing hot version took first, and a version with butternut squash took third.  Other entries included white (chicken) chili.  The three of us with winning entries received a decorated wooden spoon to adorn our cubicles.  Enjoy, eat well, and remember Christ is the reason for Christmas. 

My 2nd place chili recipe (I say mine because I created it):

3 lb. ground beef, browned and well drained; 1 large can petite diced tomatoes; 1 large can chili beans; 2 cups beef broth/stock; 4 heaping tablespoons chili powder; salt to taste; 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper; half a jar of roasted red peppers, chopped; 1/2 a jar of dried tomatoes in olive oil, well drained and chopped; 1 stalk of celery and 1 peeled carrot – finely chopped in a food processor; 1 teaspoon garlic powder; 6 to 8 green onions sliced using some of the green part; and 2 large onions chopped.             [In a large pot combine the tomatoes, beef stock, peppers, beans, and spices, and bring to a simmer.  Saute the onions for about 3 to 5 minutes then add the other vegetables and saute another 3 to 5 minutes.  Add to the pot and return to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer about 2 hours until the flavors are fully developed.  Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.]