I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy or anything, but my Halloween spirit was definitely just dampened a little bit with the first trick-or-treat knock on the door. I grabbed our bowl of fun-size Peanut M&Ms and opened the door, excited to see some cute little kid costumes.

Too bad I was greeted by teenagers, without costumes, demanding candy. I cheerfully asked, “Where are you costumes?” The oldest girl unzipped her hoodie and said, “I’m wearing this t-shirt.” and it was a t-shirt with some text I couldn’t make out. I begrudgingly handed over a pack of candy to each and waited for a “Happy Halloween!” or a “Thank you!” or even a mumbled “Thnx.” Nothing. They turned around and walked away before the Peanut M&Ms hit the bottom of their Walmart plastic shopping bags. All I could think of is how my Dad and Mama would have never let me get away with that one.

Sigh. I’m trying not to let it get me down. What some people lack in Halloween spirit, the Babyface and I make up for in the form of chili, pumpkin cheesecake pots and Butterbeer.

Can you think of a more quintessential Fall food than chili? I can’t. We have two regular chili recipes that pass through our kitchen. The first is chock full of veggies and three different kinds of beans. It takes an hour of just chopping to get everything prepared. It simmers on the stove for hours and makes enough to feed a hockey team. It is amazing.

This is not that chili.

Taco Chili

This is Taco Chili. Which is easy enough to fit on the front of an index card. And no, I have no idea why it is named “Taco Chili”. There is really nothing that makes this more taco-y than your run-of-the-mill chili.

EDIT : It has been brought to my attention that the reason this is called Taco Chili is because it should have one packet of taco seasoning on that ingredient list. Homemade taco seasoning would work just fine, too!

Taco Chili

What it is is super easy to put together, full of flavor and an awesome base for all kinds of fun chili toppings. Mine was on a bed of whole wheat macaroni, with onions, cheddar, sour cream and tortilla chips on top.


Scoop it.


Or spoon it.

That original recipe above has been passed all-around my family for years. I switch it up a little by using a quarter the amount of beef and adding a handful of cumin and chili powder to make up for the missing flavor. But basically, it stays the same. The same super easy awesomeness.

Harry Potter

While diving into our chili bowls, we managed to tear ourselves away from the SVU marathon on USA for a few hours to watch Harry Potter. Now, Harry Potter is fine. I don’t love it. But my husband does and I am totally content going to see the movies with him. And I enjoy them fine enough. I’m just not all diehard. But there is something that seems so fitting about watching Harry Potter on Halloween, doesn’t it? So we rented the one of the movies I somehow missed and watching all 2 hours and 41 minutes of it.

And then we made Butterbeer.

Butter Beer

Ha! We were watching one of the other movies recently and both agreed that Butterbeer sounded like pretty much the most delicious thing on Earth. Now if only it were a REAL thing. With an actual recipe. Then, this week, lo-and-behold this little gem showed up on Foodgawker. We gathered the ingredients and knew it would be a perfect Hallow’s Eve cocktail.


The husband volunteered to make the brew.


It was really good. Creamy, fizzy, frothy, sweet.

But not at all what I’d imagined Butterbeer to be. I keep thinking of Butter Rum Lifesavers. And this was more like and awesome, carmely, frothy apple cider. Delicious, but decidedly not Butterbeer. The search continues.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pots

You didn’t think I’d get through an entire Halloween without having pumpkin did you?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pots

And this may be the best pumpkin recipe I’ve ever had. Easy. Gooey. Decadent.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pots

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pots

(adapted from Good Life Eats)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
4 whole pecan halves
sweetened whipped cream for garnish

Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter well. Set aside. Beat cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth and softened. Add sugars, half-and-half and vanilla, mix well. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix on medium until well incorporated. In two individual serving dishes, layer graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin mixture and pecans twice, ending in the pecans. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Top with whipped cream, a dash of pumpkin pie spice and pecan halves for garnish.


SO AMAZING. And easy. Go. Make. Now. MMMMMMMMM.


Aww, okay, now we just had four more trick-or-treaters. They were polite, happy and dressed up (one as Edward Cullen). I’m a happy Trick-or-Treatee!


  1. I too am on a search for the perfect butterbeer. Maybe if we just dissolved those butter-rum lifesavers (the flavor I think of too…) in, let’s see… Creme Soda, perhaps??? whaddya think?

  2. Do you happen to have the recipe for the butterbeer still? One year later, I know. 🙂 But it looks intriguing. Oh, and your taco chili recipe is simmering away in my crockpot as we speak. Only I added the recommended packet of taco seasoning.

  3. I went to Wizarding World of Harry Potter @ Universal and their Butterbeer tastes kind of like cream soda. We replicated it back at home by mixing up creme soda, vanilla extract and butter I think. I have heard of others adding butterscotch syrup. And you have to top it with whipped heavy cream. So tasty! Of course, you could also add in some Rum… 🙂

  4. It’s too bad my little trick or treaters couldn’t have T or T’d at your house. They would have for sure brought a smile to your face and restored your faith in humanity. No one could resist giving an extra piece to my 2 yr old dressed as “Woody” when he would take his hat off and say, “weeee-haw”. And my daughter was Jessie. It was so much fun. We had chili too, but no pumpkin cheesecake. That looks yummy!

  5. David was the first one to make it and called it Taco Chili. It originally had taco seasoning in it. It is a Saturday night staple at the AAICPPT&PD.


  6. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one upset at the lack of costumes for some of our trick or treaters! One group of kids (without costumes) even had the nerve to demand twice the candy for their “second” costume — once they turned their baseball caps backwards. Ridiculous! And don’t even get me started on the (uncostumed) adults that follow their kids around but demand candy in their own separate “trick or treat” bags. Ugh.

    It’s funny, though, how all it takes to make Halloween worth it is one precious little girl dressed as a bumble bee or one group of polite (and well costumed) kids.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself this weekend! (Love the blog.)

    1. I actually heard 3 or 4 other people talking about the lack of costumes at work today. Strange (and sad) new trend.

  7. As I took my kids out trick or treating last night, I saw a lot of teenagers…and none of them were dressed up. The rule in our house, was once you hit 13, if you didn’t dress up, you didn’t get to go out!!! My 2 oldest are trick or treat pros, but taking the 2.5 year old was so much fun! Last year he was just along for the ride, but last night he was saying “trick or treat” and even “thank you, bye!” I loved it 🙂

    Love the Taco chili and pumpkin cheesecake pots!! Delicious 🙂


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