Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Frugal Kitchen: Easy Chili

One of my favorite foods for a winter day is a bowl of chili.  This recipe comes from the many times I have thrown a pot full together using foods that I always keep handy in my pantry and freezer.


1 lb. ground beef (I prefer grassfed, organic beef)
1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 can diced tomatoes, not drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a heavy pot brown ground beef in the oil until fully cooked, then drain off any unwanted fat.

Note:  fat adds flavor, so don't throw it all out.  Add onions and bell pepper, cook until onion is transparent.

  Add garlic, chili powder, salt, sugar, tomatoes and beans and stir well.

 Bring to a boil, cover the pot and lower heat to a simmer.

Cook for at least an hour.  This recipe can be made in a slow cooker if you brown the meat first on the stove top.  Check the seasoning before you serve.  I ended up adding a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mine.

We like our chili with saltines or cornbread.  It refrigerates and freezes well.  If I am making chili for the vegetarians in the family I substitute 2 large grated carrots for the ground beef.


God bless,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Good Reads: The Girls She Left Behind

The Girls She Left Behind (Lizzie Snow, #2)The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Girls She Left Behind is the second book in the Lizzie Snow mystery/suspense series. It is a very well written and professionally edited full length novel.

The Maine winter has hit hard with the added complications of an out of control forest fire and an escaped serial kidnapper. Add a missing teenager and tough heroine, Lizzie Snow, and this plot sizzles with action and suspense.

I am loving this series and I can't wait for new releases. I recommend reading this series in order to fully understand the characters and their actions.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Good Reads: Winter At The Door

Winter at the Door (Lizzie Snow, #1)Winter at the Door by Sarah Graves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Winter at the Door is the first book in the Lizzie Snow mystery/suspense series. It is a well written and professionally edited full length novel.

Lizzie Snow has left her prestigious job as a homicide detective in Boston to move to a small, rural town in Maine. Her new position as a deputy should allow her to pursue her own search for her missing niece. But first she's thrown into investigating a rash of deaths and all of the victims are ex law enforcement officers.

I love a smart, strong female lead and a fast paced plot and this book delivered. I look forward to reading more of this series in the future.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Best Pancakes Ever!

I found this recipe when browsing through All Recipes and it's a winner.  These pancakes are light, fluffy, easy to make, and very tasty.  We had them with butter and lots of maple syrup; perfect on a cold morning.


3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Mix milk and vinegar together and let sit for a few minutes.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together in another bowl.  Add egg and butter to the milk mixture and whisk together.  Stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed, but don't over do it.  Over mixing will ruin the tender texture.

You can see the air bubbles in the batter
In a hot pan (medium heat) melt a bit of butter, then spoon a quarter cup of batter into the pan for each pancake.

You will see air bubbles forming on the top of the pancakes.  When they pop and don't disappear, it is time to turn the pancakes.

When they are nicely browned place them on a warm plate.  I am fortunate that my cook top has a warming burner just for this purpose.

Add a dollop of butter and maple syrup before serving.  We had breakfast for dinner and these pancakes were very satisfying.

You can see how much they rise while cooking


God bless,

I'm Back!!!!

Well, the past month or so have been quite fraught with accidents and frustrating mishaps.  Despite my good intentions and preparations, I haven't been able to find the time and inspiration to post to this blog.  And I apologize to my readers and thank you for sticking with me.

I'm not going to get into everything that has happened, but I will say that I have changed my daughter from attending private school full time to being a part time, homeschooler, student at the same school.  She is taking two classes at the school and four classes at home.

All of this came about when I realized that her math education for the last two years has not met her needs and has left gaping holes in her knowledge.  We are going to do intensive work on Algebra for the next year, with no summer break, then move into Geometry for a year.  This should get her back on track and, hopefully, restore her math self confidence.

I'll keep you updated as we go through this process.  But I'm baaack and ready to concentrate on my blog.

God bless,