Monday, January 31, 2011

Not My Mama’s Crockpot Chili

Ok, first off I need to clarify…I LOVE my mama’s chili. It was the first chili I fell in love with—except for the bell pepper she adds to it (which I have come to accept and enjoy). This just isn’t HER recipe. I actually started with her recipe and made it my own.  I like to make recipes that I can play with and change from time to time. Chili is definitely one of those kind of recipes. My cornbread recipe is one of those too. That’s just the fun part of cooking for me.
So…here’s the recipe:
1 lb. ground beef or whatever ground meat you choose to use
1 med. onion, chopped
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
2 15 oz. cans pinto beans
1 15 oz. can black beans
2 14.5 or 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes ( I am currently really enjoying fire roasted tomatoes—Muir Glen rocks!)
chili powder
garlic powder (or minced garlic if you are adventurous or living dangerous Smile)
ground cumin

FIRST, brown the ground beef. When it is fairly close to being done, add the onion and continue cooking until the ground beef is finished browning (the onion will cook in the crockpot). Drain the beef (I always put it in a strainer/ colander over a stainless steel bowl. When the drippings are solidified, I scrape the bowl out and throw the drippings in the trash.)
WHILE the beef is browning, open all the cans of beans and tomato products and add to the crockpot. Mix together. Add the beef and onions when the beef is finished browning.
THEN it is time for the fun part—seasoning. I do not measure these unless I am using someone else’s recipe. I usually sprinkle the chili powder medium thick over the top of the crockpot. I add a little less cumin and then a little less garlic. I add even less oregano. Of course, you can add these to taste. If you want the chili to be hot, add some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper or even diced green chilies.
FINALLY, I usually cook this on low at least 4-6 hours. My crockpot has a ‘keep warm’ feature that I usually turn on when I get home if I like the thickness of the sauce.
I like to serve this with sharp cheddar cheese, a dollop of reduced fat sour cream, unsalted saltine crackers Smile, and/ or cornbread. Yum!!!

  • I have high blood pressure and try not to add a lot of salt while cooking. I even try to buy salt free tomatoes and beans to use in this. Feel free to add salt to this recipe if you feel it needs it.
  • I bought my crockpot a long time ago and cannot remember what size it is (I believe it is 5 quart). This recipe fills that crockpot around 2/3 full.
  • This is a great recipe to put in the crock the night before you need it and stash in the fridge. I rarely have time to put anything in the crockpot in the crazy mornings around my home. I DO have enough time to take the crock from the fridge, put it in the base, plug it in, and turn it to low.


TastyTuesday200pix Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods

It's a Keeper.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Menu Plan for the Week of January 31

Well, even though we have two days of dentist appointments and I have one day of after school staff development, I don’t believe this week will be nearly as crazy as the last two. We (the kids and me) are settling into a new little routine while hubby is away. We are striving to stay home for meals more. It will help us save so much money. None of the meals that I have listed this week have cost us an arm and a leg—well, maybe Thursday night. We already have a lot of these food items in our pantry or freezer (gotta love that!).

Monday: pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread
Tuesday: chicken fajitas and black beans
Wednesday: spaghetti with marinara sauce, salad or veggie, garlic bread
Thursday: eat out
Friday: pizza and salad
Saturday: cheeseburger soup and cornbread
Sunday: leftovers (most likely will be cheeseburger soup Smile)

Sunday Morning Thoughts

May the Lord bless you and keep you; may his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Friday, January 28, 2011

About Me…For the Blizzard Blog Hop

my handsome hubby and me
Well…where to begin? I have been married for 12 years to my high school sweetheart. We met at Hardee’s (it was my first day at my first job). He was turning in his application to work there and started the next week. The rest is history…
After about 5 years of marriage, I became a law enforcement wife. Now I am holding down the fort while my husband is at basic training for the Army National Guard. I teach second grade at our local elementary school—small town, one elementary school.
Our three kiddies
We have three kiddos—the oldest daughter is 8 (will be 9 soon). The youngest daughter is 7 and the little boy is 6. We adopted the younger two children almost a year ago. They have lived with us much, much longer than that, though Smile
I have many roles: Christian, wife, mother, teacher, daughter, sister, and friend (I’m sure I am missing one).
Anyhoo…I guess that’s about all for now. Come back for the rest of the story.

Our family

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five Alarm Cornbread

my little firefighter
I know you usually hear about five alarm chili, but this cornbread set off our smoke alarm that is connected to our security system. Seriously! I have made this same cornbread for 12 years and I have NEVER set any alarms off until today, of course.
I don’t really know where she got it, but my mama has been making this cornbread since…well, I don’t know how long. I was going to call it “My Mama’s Cornbread”, know…
This is probably the easiest recipe for cornbread that you will ever find—and one of the yummiest! My husband is not a big fan of cornbread and he loves this cornbread. For sweet cornbread lovers (and I am one of them too) this is NOT sweet at all.

You will need:
  • 10 in. cast iron skillet or 8x8 in. glass pan
  • oil or shortening (you pick your poison) I use canola oil
  • 2 c. self-rising flour (if you only have all-purpose I have substituted it with no real problem)
  • 2 c. self-rising cornmeal mix (I usually use white—just what Mama always used)
  • 2 c. milk
  • medium mixing bowl and mixing spoon
FIRST, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add oil to the skillet until it covers the bottom and then just a little extra (or enough shortening that you are sure will do the same thing). Put the skillet into the oven to heat the oil.
SECOND, in a medium bowl add flour, cornmeal and milk. combine until moistened. Let this mixture rest for a few minutes until the oil is heated in the skillet or glass pan.
THIRD, take the skillet out of the oven carefully and add the cornbread mixture to the skillet. The mixture will sort of seem to be frying in the oil.
FOURTH, put the skillet back into the oven and let it bake until the top is nice and golden and you can smell the bread baking—usually about 30 minutes.
FIFTH, take the cornbread out of the oven and let it cool in the skillet for a few minutes, then turn it out onto a plate or cutting board.
SIXTH, cut into wedges and enjoy with your favorite Southern meals—pinto beans, chili, you take your pick.

(sorry about the bad lighting in this picture)
Note: I have made this bread with anywhere from skim milk to whole milk. It tastes yummy made with any milk. Also, most of the time I add a little distilled vinegar to my milk to simulate buttermilk (because I never have it on hand). This makes it extra delicious.  Also, I usually half this recipe and put it in a small cast-iron skillet with no problems.

WARNING: (any cornbread that sets off alarms needs a warning label don’t you think?) Do not bake this bread on “quick bake” or “convection”. I think the fan is what made my oil hit the bottom of the oven and set off the smoke alarm.

Smart and Trendy Moms

Let's Just Give It Away

Weekend Bloggy Reading

I Joined "A Bowl Full of Lemons" Weekly Challenges!

I am getting my house clean and organized...OK, I started on this a few weeks ago, but now my husband isn't home (since he is at basic training), so the kiddos and I are going to get serious. Wouldn't it be cool if he came home to a (almost) different house! I think so.
I've got a bunch of organizing bins, drawer organizers, and lots of I just need more money--lol!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Women in the Word Wednesdays--January 26

This week in James, I have learned:
  • Temptation does not come from God.
  • Temptation, desire, and sin all lead to death.
  • You can be rich spiritually and not be rich monetarily.
  • Life is not all about earthly treasures.
What have you been learning about in your Bible?

This post is linked to Good Morning Girls.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Time

Well, my house has been a busy place the past few days. My husband was getting ready to go out of town for a while for basic training and we were trying to have some quality family time before he left. Since we live in a very small town, we drove two hours to one of our nearest big cities. What a great time we had at Chuck E. Cheese and the movie theater (we watched Tangled—yes, it was still showing).
We took the kiddos to Ichiban so they could watch the chef cook in front of them and put on a good show. Then we took them to Family Christian Bookstore and let them pick out a book. Did we overdo it that day—yes, we did. Do we spend that much every time we go out of town—no we don’t. It was a special occasion of the rarest kind.
Anyhoo, we had a blast!!
We were so proud of our oldest daughter at Chuck E. Cheese. Our preacher had preached a sermon Sunday morning about the Good Samaritan and about selfless giving and expecting nothing in return. Anyone who had been to Chuck E. Cheese knows that many of the games spit out tickets, which are fed into a machine that spits out a receipt and get redeemed for small prizes. We never stay long enough or spend enough for the kids to get big prizes there and much of what they get from there is candy or tiny toys that we don’t like them to get because they just make clutter in our home or in their bellies. DD8, with very little prompting from us, found a small boy and gave him all of our receipts. They would not have amounted to much split between three kids, but that little boy was able to get something very nice and left with a big smile on his face. She said it made her feel so good to do that and that she thought he didn’t have many tickets on his receipt. Oh the joys of doing something for someone else! I just hope she remembers for years to come how good that felt.

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What A View!

This was the view my hubby and I had on The Tail of the Dragon Friday.

We didn't see tons of snow, and we didn't see it all the way across the curvy mountain but what we did see was purely magical.

The snow was sticking to the branches and leaves on the trees.

The sky was blue and the sun shone on the snow in a way that can only be described with the word "amazing"!

Of course the road was heavily salted or we would not have been able to enjoy this view.

And..of course the water coming down the mountain and flowing over the rocks was beautiful.
Isn't our Lord truly amazing? He created all this beauty and more. I have often wondered how someone could look at all of nature and its beauty and be in denial about the existence of God. Sorry, but to me you just can't explain away what the snow brings to the view from my car going across this mountainous road.

Menu Plan for the Week of January 24

This is going to be yet another crazy week, well the first two days anyway. We try not to eat out so much, but some weeks seem to call for it unfortunately.

Monday: eat out

Tuesday: eat out

Wednesday: spaghetti and garlic toast (we did not have this on Saturday. We were invited to a wedding :)

Thursday: chili and cornbread(recipes coming for our homemade versions)

Friday: leftovers(probably chili)

Saturday: pizza and salad

Sunday: something very simple and quick and light(since we will be having a church dinner for lunch and will probably overeat--because everyone knows that church cooks are the best cooks :)

Sunday Morning Thoughts

This is the day that the Lord has made…how blessed we are to be here to enjoy another day with our families and friends.  Don’t waste this day…use it to glorify the Lord in your actions, words, and thoughts. Smile

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blog-Hopping on Friday

Yay, it's Friday!!! Welcome to my little part of the blogging world blog-hopping friends :)

I hope you'll join me during my journey in becoming a better wife, mother, and child of our awesome God!

Have a blessed weekend!

Smart and Trendy Moms
Friend Finding Fridays

Let's Just Give It Away

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Women In The Word Wednesdays

This week we began a new session of Good Morning Girls. I am part of a group of ladies who are from different areas--we all met on the message boards, bonded by our common desire to be a part of a Good Morning Girls Group for the next 12 weeks. So far we have read in the GMG James study chapter 1 verses 1-6.
I had never heard of the SOAP method before this, but I really like using this method so far. It really seems to fit into my morning schedule well and I feel like I have gotten more out of the first six verses than I have gotten out of most Bible studies. I find myself thinking over the verses throughout the day--especially since I am reading e-mails from my group as the day goes by.
What I have gleaned so far:
  • The Lord has blessed me far beyond what I have ever deserved.
  • I need to pray for more faith; I want to be more steadfast and not so moveable in my faith.
  • I should display a joyful attitude in the midst of the bad things that happen in life. This is contrary to human nature, but it glorifies God.
  • I need to trust God for wisdom. He gives wisdom in great amounts to the faithful.
  • Testing of faith usually seems to require waiting; you have to be patient to wait.
If you participate in a GMG group, what have you been learning? If you don't, what have you been reading about in your Bible lately?

This is linked to Good Morning Girls Women In the Word Wednesdays

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Is The Way We Do Our Chores…


We have tried so many systems for chores in our home (most of them involving some sort of chart). The system that we currently use is very simple (once it is started). A while back I found a notepad at Target in the dollar section that had an entire week blocked out. It also had a convenient magnet on the back so that it hangs nicely on the front of my fridge. I LOVE the dollar section at Target (that’s where I got my grocery list notepad hanging at the bottom of this picture).

chore chart
Since I have three children I tear off three pages. I write each child’s name at the top of their sheet. Then I just plug in different chores that need to be done around the house either that they like to do or that they are able to do. Some chores (like cleaning their bathroom counter and sink) need to be done almost daily. Others need to be done just a few times. Some chores I am teaching them to do properly so they will not be done each day (like emptying the dishwasher and putting the dishes away without breaking them Smile). We also like to assign at least one helper for the day. That child will help either my husband or myself do anything extra that needs to be done. For example, all of our children can get clothes out of the dryer, put clothes into the dryer, or fold clothes and put them away. We found out that it doesn’t work to put this down as a chore for us, so we just have the helpers do this on their helper days.
chore chart2
On Sundays we do not have time for chores while we are going to church  and having family time and resting, so we just have the kids help as needed. Usually this just means get clothes and backpacks ready for school the next day or take clothes out of the dryer or pick up 5 toys or something quick.
Again, as in the previous post, we want our children to be self-sufficient adults. I honestly did not know how to wash clothes until I was married; my husband taught me (no kidding!). I want my children to have that skill way before marriage.
Here is a list of the current chores that our kids do (a few are not on the charts):
  • clean baseboards (with a damp cleaning rag)
  • vacuum
  • clean the bathroom sink and counter
  • swish out the toilet (only our oldest daughter and only with gloves and “green” toilet cleaner)
  • empty the dishwasher
  • sweep bathrooms
  • sweep kitchen
  • clean the kitchen table
  • wipe down kitchen counters
  • empty the bathroom trash into the main trash can
  • gather dirty laundry throughout the house and take to laundry room
  • put clothes in the dryer and turn it on
  • Our oldest daughter is learning to sort laundry and put it in the washer
  • fold towels and put them away
  • fold and hang up their clothes and put them away
  • make their beds
  • put groceries away after a trip to the store
  • help their daddy do yard work
  • water the two living plants that we still have in the house Smile