Turkey and Bean Chili




Tonight we are having Turkey and Black Bean chili for dinner over brown rice. ¬† HOWEVER, the black beans that I had cooked a few days ago that were in the fridge were past their prime, and I only had one can of black beans, so we are having turkey, black bean, and garbanzo bean chili ūüôā ¬† ¬†Here’s the recipe. ¬† This is my basic recipe, you can use whatever meats and beans that you prefer. ¬† I like this ¬†chili with 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound italian sausage or even breakfast sausage, I also use ground pork sometimes. ¬† it is a very versatile recipe, and you can add the optional veggies if you would like. ¬† I did, but you don’t have to. ¬† This is an adaptation of a dear friend’s recipe that she got from another friend. ¬† The original recipe is here

Here’s the variation that I made today…..

Turkey and Bean Chili

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed and FINELY diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 zucchini, diced (optional)
  • 1 ear of corn, cut from cob (or 1/2 cup frozen corn) (optional)
  • 2 cans of beans (drained and rinsed…today I used 1 can black beans and 1 can garbanzo beans)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 bottle beer (can use chicken broth, beef broth, or even water)
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

In dutch oven saute onions and jalapenos until softened. ¬† Add ground meat and brown over high heat until meat is cooked through. ¬†Add tomato paste and cook until tomato paste is slightly browned….the color will get richer and deeper. ¬† Add remaining ingredients, stir and simmer over medium low heat for 30-90 minutes. ¬† The longer it cooks the better it will taste. ¬† (OR you can put it in the crockpot and cook on low for several hours). ¬† ¬† If it is too thick, or gets too thick add water or chicken broth until desired thickness.


Posted in Kitchen | Leave a comment

Broccoli Slaw

Last week my honey and I had our annual wellness appointments and my blood pressure is up a little bit and while my overall cholesterol is down from last year, a couple of the numbers are up a little from last year. ¬† So it is time to get serious (and stay serious) about my diet and exercise. ¬† Now when I use the word diet, I don’t mean diet as in trying to lose weight (although, that couldn’t hurt), I mean diet as in what I eat. ¬† I have read A LOT about the DASH Diet eating plan over the past several years, and I have read the science behind it, and I know that I can definitely benefit from this plan. ¬† Actually my whole family can ūüôā ¬† ¬†We eat healthfully compared to many other families, but there is a LOT of room for improvement. ¬† SO, effective today, I am working my way into the DASH plan. ¬† So far today, I have exercised, and gotten all of my fruit servings, all of my dairy servings, only 1 of my 6 grain servings (will get 2 more with dinner), and will get the rest of my veggie servings and meat servings ¬†with dinner. ¬† I have been SUPER FULL all day long, and haven’t even been eating all of the grain servings that I need! ¬† ¬†Here’s how I’ll be getting 1-2 of my veggie servings for dinner tonight….AND it’s rich with superfoods! ūüôā



Broccoli Slaw

  • 1 head broccoli (cut the florets small and either julienne or grate or finely chop the stalk)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped almonds (or sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. agave (or sugar or honey)

In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, vinegar and agave, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine all other ingredients and toss to combine.   Pour dressing over and mix well until all of the veggies are lightly coated with dressing.   Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (can go as long as overnight) before serving.


Posted in Home/Daily Life, Kitchen | 2 Comments

Fruit Dip and impromptu parties

This past weekend (on Friday at 3 pm, to be exact :)) the kids came in and asked if they could have a party the next afternoon. ¬† I told them that they would have to wait until Daddy got home from work and see how he felt about it. ¬† So 2 hours later, when Daddy got home, we asked, and he was fine with it. ¬† So the kids got started on Facebook and texting their friends to invite them to a “party” the next afternoon to swim and hangout. ¬† ¬†The conditions of this party was that the kids had to get the house clean (to my standards), and Dad would do his part in the yard, and I would provide a couple of snacks. ¬† Our budget didn’t include extras like an impromptu party, so I needed to come up with snacks using things that we already had and that I didn’t need for meals. ¬† ¬†SO, I made a green chile cheese dip to go with some homemade salsa and tortilla chips. ¬† And I made some brownies. ¬† But the BIG HIT of the party was the fruit dip that I made to go with all of the cut up fruit.

fruit dip


This really couldn’t be ANY easier, and probably uses things that you already have in your kitchen. ¬† ¬†It fancied up the strawberries, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and apple slices that I had for the kids.

Easy and DELICIOUS Fruit Dip

  • 8 oz cream cheese (I had the reduced fat on hand), softened
  • 6 oz strawberry flavored yogurt (mine was Brown Cow full fat)
  • a tablespoon or two of brown sugar (TO TASTE)

In an electric stand mixer or a bowl and electric hand mixer beat cream cheese for several minutes until it is light and fluffy (scraping sides of bowl once or twice to make sure you get the “unfluffed” cream cheese in to be “fluffed”). ¬† Add yogurt and mix on medium high speed for 30-60 seconds until it is completely incorporated. ¬†TASTE. ¬†If it needs a little more sweetness, add a tablespoon of brown sugar (or honey, whatever your sweetener of choice is) and mix well until it is all incorporated. ¬† TASTE. ¬†If you still need a little more sweetness, you can add a a little more sweetener.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve with cut up fruit, and cinnamon crisp chips (made from baked flour tortillas).   DELICIOUS and VERY popular with kids!

Posted in Family, Home/Daily Life, Kids, Kitchen | Leave a comment

Money Saving Tips Installment #2

money saving


Today’s money saving tip is inspired by all of the years that we had babies in the house. ¬† The funny thing is that this is something that I had always said I would NEVER do! ¬† Only took me 8 weeks into motherhood before I realized that the only way that we could afford to still eat and pay the bills, and have me stay home with our daughter.

Tip #4 (I posted 3 the other day, remember?) ¬†Breastfeed if at all possible…..not only is it the best thing for baby to help build immunity, but it is also free! ¬† Back when our oldest was a baby, it was reported that formula for a baby from birth to 1 year old could cost up to $1000, I can’t even imagine what it would cost today! ¬† Even if you work fulltime, you can still successfully breast feed….I have babysat for several families that have not had to use any formula at all. ¬†The mom’s pump their breast milk and freeze it for me to use during the day while they are working. ¬†If for some reason you are physically unable to breastfeed, look for the best price possible for that formula, use coupons, and take advantage of free samples available from the formula companies.

Tip #5–once you have found your favorite brands of diapers, wipes, baby food (if you are using it), baby products, etc call the companies to get signed up for their coupon mailers. ¬† I don’t know of any company that provides baby products that doesn’t have a coupon mailer or incentive program of some sort.

Tip #6–take full advantage of yard sales, borrowing from friends and family, consignment stores and sales, thrift stores, etc. ¬† When D and I were young parents we had several different baby items (specifically strollers and infant swings) that we got second hand that were broken when we got them. ¬† I was able to call the 1-800 numbers for the companies, and in EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE they replaced the broken part or parts for the items completely free of charge.

Tip #7–talk to your friends and family that have young children. ¬†Find out what they found to be most important, and least important in terms of clothing items, equipment, etc. ¬† ¬†For instance, all of the baby books and pregnancy books suggested dressing gowns for infants….I HATED them! ¬†They got all tangled around baby, and just made baby miserable. ¬† Another thing that was suggested was changing tables….we NEVER used it! ¬† The floor was always there and convenient, I just kept diapers, wipes and baby ointment in a basket in the corner of the living room where 95% of the diaper changes occurred. ¬† We also kept a smaller basket in our bedroom and the kids bedroom for the same purpose.

Tip #8 Don’t be afraid to spend a little bit more money on trustworthy brands of things like maternity clothes and infant clothes…things that can be worn in multiple pregnancies and by multiple babies. ¬† Keep the basics gender neutral. ¬†I know that it is tempting to buy all blue or all pink and frilly when you get those early u/s results, but please remember that if this is your first baby, it probably won’t be your last. ¬† Also, ultrasounds are not 100% accurate in gender revelation, so keep that in mind when purchasing the basics. ¬† And along those same lines, keep most everything in their original packaging and with tags and save your receipts just in case you need to return things after baby is born. ¬†I know that it is tempting when you are “nesting” to wash everything in the expensive baby detergents and fold them up and put them away or hang them on the cute little baby hangers in baby’s closet. ¬†But you may find that you don’t need everything you have, or that you want to take things back to get larger sizes, smaller sizes, different gender, etc.

Tip #9–use cloth diapers and washable “wipes” (I used baby wash clothes, they were small, thin, and came in packs of multiples inexpensively). ¬† WE saved THOUSANDS of dollars over the course of 4 babies by using cloth diapers. ¬†With an initial investment of $30 for 2 dozen diapers, a set of pins and plastic pants, and an additional 3-4 dozen diapers over the course of the next 10 years we were able to diaper 4 children for under $100. ¬† I did try the fancy wraps and things, but never liked any of them as much as I did the plastic pants. ¬† Again, it is a bit of an initial investment, but will pay off in no time!


Posted in Family, General, Home/Daily Life, Money Savers | Leave a comment

A Moment In God’s Word Today……5/14/13



Let me start by saying that I love our pastor! ¬†I love his teaching style, he takes the Bible verse by verse and just teaches straight from God’s word. ¬†RARELY does he do topical sermons, he’s been teaching out of the book of Luke for something like 7 years (when we came to the church in October, 2010 he was in Luke 12, yesterday he was teaching from Luke 23:7-12. ¬† ¬†And God’s timing is so amazing! ¬†For a while now I’ve been struggling with something, and yesterday, God addressed this for me through Pastor Ron and His Word.

The verses that God used to address this are Luke 23: 9-11.

He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.  The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.  Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him.  Dressing him in an elegent robe, the sent him back to Pilate.

The context of these verses…..this is the 5th (of 6) trial that Jesus went through in the hours leading up to his crucifixion. ¬†This trial was before Herod. ¬†During John the Baptists and Jesus’ ministries and through this trial Herod showed that he went from having some conscience, to a guilty conscience to no conscience. ¬†Here’s what Pastor Ron pointed out yesterday….this was the WORST of man, man was accusing, trying and eventually executing an innocent man. ¬†A man that had done NOTHING, and even though Pilate found him innocent of any actual crime TWICE and Herod found him innocent once, Pilate still ordered his execution. ¬† While this few hours shows the WORST of man, it shows us the BEST of God!

Here’s where this sermon helped me yesterday….where I’ve been struggling with what is to me the worst of man(kind) (not by the world’s standards, but to me it’s been the worst), God has shown His BEST! ¬† He is always faithful to prompt one of my family members or friends to call or text or just show up in the kitchen/bedroom/laundy room/backyard…wherever to encourage me when I’m at my low points through this struggle. ¬† While the struggle is not going to go away this side of Glory, God is showing me HIS best through it! ¬† And I am so thankful!

Do you have a similar testimony? ¬† Has God been able to show His Best through the worst of man in your lives? ¬†I’d love to hear your stories……


Posted in Bible and devotions | Leave a comment

Money Saving Tips Installment #1



I realize that the above pictures may not make much sense alone, but by the time I finish this post, it should all come together ūüôā ¬† First, I’d like to share the reason for this post, and what my plans are for this series.

This morning a very dear friend of mine told me about something her son had said in reference to me. ¬†Now this is one of the ladies that when I was a young wife and young mommy she was one of several ladies in our church that came along side of me and prayed for me, encouraged me, hugged me when I was having bad days, helped with the kids when I needed help, gave me advice, etc. ¬† She is one of my friends that had kids that were just a few years older than mine, but she was enough in the trenches of parenting that she was able to help me and encourage me. ¬† We also sang together in choir and a small group ensemble and she also encouraged me in my singing. ¬† ¬† Anyhow, this friend told me that her son (one of 3 sons, and this one and his wife just had a baby a few weeks ago….first baby, first grandchild) had told her recently while they were discussing the challenges of young families today, that he wished I lived closer (we moved away 9 years ago) so that I could help them learn. ¬† Well, while I am not able to walk through this with them in person, I realized that so many young moms and dads that I talk to today are in the exact position that D and I were in 20 years ago. ¬†And we lived on a shoestring budget that fluctuated from time to time (from low to lower), so we learned to make due! ¬† ¬†Tonight’s dinner is one of those things that I learned all those years ago…..as well as in my mom’s kitchen.

Tip #1, if your recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts, DON’T USE THEM! ūüôā ¬† They are expensive, they don’t have a whole lot of flavor, and did I mention, they are expensive? ūüôā ¬† ¬†I bought a large package of chicken thighs (bone in, skin on) for .99/# earlier this week. ¬† We ate dinner one night of just roasted thighs. ¬† Today I wanted to make chicken tacos, and I knew that those thighs needed to be dealt with today or they were going to go bad. ¬† SO, with 20 chicken thighs, we will get 4 meals….here’s how!

I deboned the chicken (very fast and easy) and marinated it in a mixture of chipotle chili powder, salt, paprika, regular chili powder, cumin, and a little oil to make it into a thin paste, I marinated it for several hours in the fridge. ¬†Then this evening my hubby grilled the chicken and we ate half of it in our chicken tacos, the other half I will use on Monday to make some chicken and veggie enchiladas. ¬† That is 2 meals. ¬† Here’s where the other two meals come into play….those bones that I removed? ¬†They went into the crockpot with a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, an onion that I cut up, a carrot that I cut up, the root end and the leaf end of a celery head/bunch? , a few cloves of garlic, some salt and pepper and will simmer away for 24 hours. ¬†Tomorrow I will have a beautiful rich chicken stock that I will strain and cool and package up for 2 more meals of soup.

Tip #2¬†I have a helpful tip, and now wish that I had taken a picture while I was doing it…..but if you use fresh ginger for anything, I know how easy it is to purchase a big root, use just a tiny bit and then have the rest of it become a science experiment in the veggie drawer of the fridge. I learned this tip several years ago, and LOVE IT! once or twice a year I buy a good sized ginger root, and¬†peel it with a spoon….yes, a spoon. You scrape a spoon across the skin and it peels it right off and goes easily in and out of all of the ridges and crevices. Then wrap the peeled root in a dry paper towel, put it into a ziplock bag and stick it in the freezer (I keep it in the door so that it’s easier to find). When you need fresh ginger, simply get out your microplane grater (if you don’t have one, get one!…..just kidding, you can easily use a cheese grater and then chop it up finer if you need to) and grate it frozen…..grates VERY VERY easily while frozen, then you stick the rest of it right back into it’s paper towel and plastic bag and back into the freezer. When I get down to the last inch sized nob or so, I buy a new root. I never run out of fresh ginger this way, and ginger is SO GOOD FOR YOU! And it tastes great!

Tip #3  Those easy convenient cans of beans in your pantry?  They are easily 4-6 times the cost of if you were to buy the same dry beans and cook them up yourself.   I have many posts that talk about cooking dried beans.

Later this week I will post another installment of this series…I think I’m going to make this a Thursday thing. ūüôā

And Happy Mother’s Day to all of my mommy friends!


Posted in Family, Home/Daily Life, Kitchen | Leave a comment

Free Kindle e-books…..3/4/13

open books

Recently (as of 3/1/13) amazon.com has asked their affiliates (folks that receive a small financial bonus from amazon by associating their accounts with amazon and folks buying through the affiliates referrals to amazon) to please stop listing free kindle e-books. ¬†There are financial repurcussions for those that continue to list them. ¬†I do totally understand amazon’s stand on this, however I know that for me it was a HUGE benefit being able to download so many free e-books each week. While I don’t have a TON of time to donate to this each day, and can’t do it every day, I will do it as often as possible.

You do NOT have to have a Kindle device, you can download a kindle app to your mobile device, or simply read on your computer.

The free offers often don’t last for very long so PLEASE verify that the links are still listed as $0.00 before clicking to buy!

Here are some that I found today….

The American Frugal Housewife 

Letters of a Woman Homesteader

Everyday Foods in Wartime 

The Quest of the Simple Life

Home Vegetable Gardening: a complete and practical guide to the planting and care of all vegetables, fruits and berries worth growing for home use

In His Steps

11:15 The Making of a Halfling

The NIV Gospel of John: with devotional notes 

A Hearth in Candlewood

The Pursuit of God 

A Halflings Rescue 

The Accidental Hero

The Hungry Girl’s The Guilt Free 3

Green Juicing Diet to Detox

Crowd Pleasers: big food for big groups 

Amazing Cakes

Fall Cupcakes

Quick and Easy, Fat-free and Low-Fat Vegan Cookbook

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipe Book: 30 Easy Set it and Forget it Meals



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment