Thursday, June 27, 2013

RaceDay Recipes: Tabasco Chili Mac

Here's another quick and easy recipe that is hearty, warm and a little spicy.  Simple to put together in time for the green flag!  The secret to a delicious, fast chili is the Tabasco Chili Starter.  They spent all the hours getting the spices already blended.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

TOTAL time: 40 minutes

Of course, most of your cook time is spent smelling the chili pot bubbling on the stove, so this one doesn't require lots of attention.


1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 large yellow onion diced
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 14 oz. can red or pink beans
1 jar of Tabasco Chili Starter (I use Spicy...they have a mild.)
8 oz. elbow macaroni
2 oz. shredded Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup of sour cream


  • Put large pot of water to boil for your macaroni.  I don't add salt, as the chili starter and other canned goods have plenty.
  • In large dutch oven brown ground beef over medium heat.  The beef provides enough fat to sauté the onions. Add onions while the beef is cooking so they are glassy when you begin to add other ingredients.
  • When beef is completely brown add chiles, beans and Chili Starter. 
  • Add 1/2 a chili starter jar of water (or beer if so inclined) to the mix.
  • Stir.  When chili begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until beans are softened to your liking, stirring occasionally.
  • Add macaroni to boiling water and cook until al dente.  Do not overcook! Drain and add to chili. Stir. 
  • Spoon into a bowl.  Top with cheese and dollop of sour cream.
  • Enjoy!
Serves 2-4, depending on how many bowls of chili you like eating at once.

Do you have a great RaceDay Recipe?  Email me for details on being a guest at The S-Curves!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

RaceDay Ready: What's In Your Bag?

Happy RaceDay, folks! While I'm settling in for 400 miles around the Irish Hills of Michigan, I'm also planning for a quick trip to the track next week.  I'm checking my track bag for all the basics.

 For the new race fan, you might be wondering what those basics are.  If you've received your tickets in the mail, you've probably gotten the Fan Guide that has a long list of what is not allowed.  Which leaves the question, what is in all those coolers and backpacks that people bring into a NASCAR track?

 I've a few answers, all benefitting from years of experience.  Sometimes it's also knowing what you should just leave at home.

 ·         The Backpack:  Mine has a net top and a soft-sided six-pack cooler on the bottom. This meets both the 14"x14" size restriction and the see-through bag requirement.  I fit everything I need in this one bag for the day.  No little red wagon or wheels needed.

1.       The Beverages:  A six-pack is more than you need.  Me? I mix it up between soda, juice and water. You can always refill a water bottle on hot-hot days.  But beer works, too :)  Remember: Leave the hard stuff at home and NO glass bottles.

2.       Snacks:  Most tracks permit you to bring in food.  Do you really want to spend $10 on a bad burger and fries?  Since we have eggs & bacon at the trailer before we head to our seats, I pack a couple bags of chips, some fruit and maybe sandwiches.

3.       Hearing Protection: At the very least, a pair or two of ear plugs.  But if you're really going to enjoy yourself, a headset and scanner are recommended.  You can rent these at the track for about $60 or buy your own for about $200. Remember to have extra batteries in there, too.  The scanner will always die in the middle of the race.

4.       ID and cash: Leave the pocketbook at home. Keep your ID, credit card, keys and cash in a pocket.

5.       Sun protection: Sunscreen and lip balm. Hat and sunglasses.  Don't be the idiot who goes home in an ambulance because you started your liquid diet at 9AM, strips down to nothing and passes out from sunstroke.  There are no convenient trees for shade at the track. Bring your own.

6.       Rain protection: One of those $5 rain ponchos all folded up into a tiny packet.  Also, pack another large plastic bag to protect any electronics you're carrying in case of a deluge.  Leave the umbrella at home.

7.       Sharpie:  Of your favorite color!  You most likely will see some kind of racing celebrity during the day. They don't always have a marker to hand to sign your t-shirt.  Sharpies now come attached to key rings. How convenient!

8.       Camera: Many smartphones come equipped with nice little cameras. Great! One less thing to carry. But if you're a shutterbug and you can live without a massive lens/camera combo, there are many slim and small digital cameras out there that can slip into an outer pocket of your backpack. Mine is a SONY Cybershot.

9.       Towel and washcloth:  A dry towel in the top to either dry off a damp seat or to provide a little insulation from sun heated aluminum.  The wet and cold washcloth goes in the bottom with your iceback and will ease your comfort when the sun starts to cook.

10.   Medications:  If you often need an aspirin or some allergy medication in the middle of the day, tuck a small bottle in your bag.

My track bag lives in a cupboard in the RV year round.  I don't take it apart between trips, and that means at a moment's notice, I can just grab and go.  It's always reassuring to know I've got all the little things that make a day in the sun comfortable.  I just have to remember to recharge the scanner.
Always remember to check your local track's bag restrictions for specific rules and regulations. 

What's in your bag?  Maybe you've got a beach bag with similar items stowed.  Feel  free to leave suggestions in the comments below.

I'll be seeing you at the track!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

RaceDay Recipe: Quick Quesadillas

What a beautiful race day!  I'm almost happy the Nationwide Series was rained out last night, so I have Iowa keeping me entertained this morning while I wait for Pocono to fire up.

RaceDay Recipes will be recipes you can make on race day, and still have time to actually watch the race.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be the one slaving over the BBQ pit or spending hours compiling finger sandwiches.  I want something yummy to eat that can be compiled during pre-race festivities or during a lengthy debris cleanup.  Will they be super healthy?  No.  But the ingredients will represent how I enjoy my food and for my small family of two.

Quick Quesadillas.  Prep time: 5 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2


3 Whole wheat Fajita size tortillas
1 package Purdue Short Cuts Chicken (Original Roasted)
1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
1/8 Sweet slicing onion, sliced
1/8 Green Pepper, sliced
1/4 cup taco sauce (medium)
1/2 cup chunky salsa (medium)
1/4 sour cream
Cholula Sauce for seasoning


Use the grill side of your double-sided griddle.  Bring to medium heat.  Spray down with Pam.  Lay tortilla onto the griddle. On one half of the tortilla layer cheese first, chicken, onion, pepper, pour a little taco sauce and Cholula sauce to taste.  Top with more cheese. The cheese melts and serves as the glue to keep your quesadilla together.  Build all three quesadillas. Fold them in half. Flip when cheese starts to melt and tortillas are nicely toasted (approx. 2 minutes).  Toast and melt the other side.

Remove from heat. I use a pizza cutter to slice the quesadilla in quarters.  Place on plate. Top with salsa and generous dollop of sour cream.

Change up peppers and sauces to meet your desired heat level.  Mix it up with beef, hamburger, pulled pork and even crab meat. Or go veggie!

Don't forget the guacamole!

Happy Snacking while they search for Jacque DeBris.

(Also a great recipe for rain delays...just sayin')

Have a great RaceDay recipe? Send it to me! I'd love to post it here to share with other racing foodies :)


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Recall Jinx: Scrambling My Car Shopping Impulses

I want this car. 

My aging Impala passed its 100k mark this winter.  I've replaced the tires and am looking at about $2,000 of "maintenance" to keep it on the road for as long as it wants to live.  The transmission slips. The interior is looking tired.  The A/C doesn't have the oomph it used to.  In short, my daily driver is wanting to be replaced.

Buying a new car isn't an impulse.  This is an investment of time and money.  I will spend a year researching the market and available vehicles.  This year at the Boston Auto Show, I came to thoroughly appreciate the new Ford Fusion.  And driving around town, every time I come up on the new model at a light, I say to myself, "I want that thing."

But I do have a rule.  I won't put money down on a Toyota, no matter how reliable the things might be.  How many recalls have been issued on various models in the last five years?  Nope. Not touching a Camry with a five foot pole. 

Then what happened yesterday? You got it.  A freakin' recall.  On Fords. Fusions!  The fuel tank could leak.

So...don't buy a Toyota. Enough different models had faulty braking systems, I'm not playing.  Now, half a million Fords might blow up when their fuel tanks crack open. Nice. 

What's left?  Subaru. Ehhh... The last review I read on that one had the tell-tale "it drives like a Subaru" in it.  A clear indication I won't be happy with the test drive when I put my foot down. Honda Accord? Their one-price for all the extras is nice and even reasonable.'s a Honda. 

JEEP. The most horrendous thing happened this year. My co-worker bought the exact model I was swooning over at the auto show.  There goes feminine pride.  It's like wearing the same dress. Can't do it.

Last, but I'm wondering if maybe it won't be least.  The Dodge Dart.

I sat in it.  Liked the interior--didn't feel tiny, although it is a compact.  Its got nice horses under the small hood and all sorts of bells and whistles at an extremely competitive price.

But, should I finally take the Impala down for a trade-in, I will be in a good position to drive out of the dealer's lot with something I want.  And as long as the Dart remains recall free...its got a nice shot of winning me over.

Who knew?  Downsizing.  I could do this.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm a Car Chick! And Proud of It

Welcome to the S-Curves!  The place where women can gather and talk about cars--anything to do with them.  Beautiful, fast the Wood Bros. No. 21 above.  That's the one Trevor Bayne drove to victory lane at the Daytona 500 in 2011.  Beyond Trevor's sweet, young smile, I spend time drooling over the red & white Ford. How does that come to be? 

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I have a choice.  I can put on a skirt, nice blouse and head out for a fancy dinner or pull out a favorite t-shirt, tug on some jeans and pop a can of soda.  Why?  Because the command to start engines has been given.  I would much rather listen to the purr of race engines vs. neighborhood gossip.

I'm still a girl, don't get that wrong.  I bake, crochet the odd tacky scarf, hug my cats and dictate the exact shade of cerulean blue to be used as paint in the new living room.  I know what an impact wrench is, but prefer to find somebody else to use it.

I find the design of cars sexy, their sound thrilling and the smell of the track inebriating.

All in all, like most anybody else on the planet, I am a conglomeration of many things--none of which seem to fit into the little convenient holes society likes to place people.

So, welcome!  Bring your enthusiasm for automotive anything, favorite recipes, tricks for keeping the family happy and your random feminine squee of delight.

It's all good here.  For here we are the Car Chicks!