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US Cooking Tour Stop 8: TEXAS

The Lone Star State just so happens to be one of our neighbor states, so the memories I have from this state are plentiful. A couple, however, just so happen to be my favorite.

Shortly after I got engaged, my parents took me to Houston to search for the perfect wedding gown. It was a magical weekend; my mom and I shopped til we dropped and gathered ideas as we planned for my special day. I remember the moment we saw my dress - we both knew it was the one. It was the first one I tried on and was perfect for me in every way. We knew we would have some convincing to do, so I let mom do all the talking while I kept my mouth zipped, secretly hoping my dad would approve of the purchase. He did, I squealed, and we set out the next day to secure the purchase. I will never not think of that weekend whenever I think about Houston. 

The second of my favorite Texas memories is when our firstborn, Levi, was two years old. Right after his birthday, we took him on his first real family vacation (not just a weekend trip to Branson) and spent the week in Galveston. We had the greatest time watching our baby boy see and enjoy the ocean for the very first time. We had redeemed points from our credit card and got several free nights at a little hotel right across from the ocean. Levi screamed as he woke up each morning and was greeted by the crashing waves. We would spend the mornings at the beach, grab a quick lunch, and then drive around for an hour or two so Levi could nap. Then we would freshen up for dinner and end the evenings with a Rita's on the beach. It was the perfect week that set the tone for how important family vacations are for us. 

Texas has an official state meal and that is chili. Not the chili we are all accustomed to, but TEXAS style chili - which is Chile Con Carne. It's hot, it's spicy, it's delicious!


Chili Paste:
3 Tbsp EACH - ancho chili powder and cornmeal
1 Tbsp EACH - chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, cocoa powder and smoked paprika
2 tsp EACH - ground coriander and Mexican oregano 

Texas Chili:
3-4 lbs stew meat or chuck roast cut into 1 in chunks
2 Tbsp EACH - oil and worcestershire sauce
1 onion, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
1-5 jalapeƱo's, minced
8-12 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 C beef broth
1 (14 oz can) tomato sauce

Combine ingredients for the paste in a small bowl and slowly stir in 1/2 C of hot water. Mix and set aside. 

Season the meat with S&P.  Heat pot over med-high heat and add 1 Tbsp of oil to the pot and a few pieces of meat at a time. Sear on all sides and remove.

Add peppers and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and jalapeƱos and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the prepared chili paste to the pot and stir so that it coats everything. Allow the paste to cook for 1 minute before adding the brown sugar, W sauce, broth, tomato sauce, 1 C water, and salt. 

Add the seared meat and allow to come to boil before lowering heat to low and allowing it to cook for 2.5 - 3.5 hours. 


Dessert was no other than Texas Sheet Cake, of course! I had never made one of my own, and it was so good I could have eaten the whole pan. Thankfully my thighs slapped together just in the nick of time and reminded me I shouldn’t.


1 C water
1 C butter (2 sticks)
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C flour
2 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract


6 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
3 3/4 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 18X13 in pan.

Add water, butter, cocoa powder to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

In another small bowl mix together sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Add the sour cream/egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. 

Once the chocolate mixture in the saucepan is boiling, remove from heat and pour into the batter. Mix until combined and no lumps remain. 

Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes until set. 

When the cake is half way through cooking, make the frosting:
Add milk, cocoa and butter to saucepan and bring to boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar. 

Pour hot icing over cake. Allow frosting to set for 10 minutes before eating. 

I am a modern day homemaker with a passion for family, cooking, celebrating, decorating, travel, and memory making! The Lord has blessed me with the desires of my heart in my husband and our two sons. We recently built our dream home and cultivating a loving and happy haven for my family is where I find so much joy.


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