I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Brien's Chili Recipe

After making chili for a number of years, Brien started to experiment and finally came up with something we all enjoy--especially on cold days. :o)

12 ounces sliced bacon, cut into small pieces
1 T olive oil
2 pounds beef, pork, venison, bison, etc. (tonight we used stew meat. Flank steak or skirt steak work VERY well), cut into bite-size cubes
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 t (more for more heat) ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup masa flour (we find ours in prepackaged chili mixes)
2 cans red kidney beans, undrained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium high heat until just smoking. Add bacon and onion and cook until bacon is well browned and onion is clear, starting to carmelize. Add meat and sear in bacon and onion mixture, until brown. Add 1/2 cup chili powder and garlic to meat and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant about three minutes. Add tomato products and about 2 cups of water (more for a longer simmer or for a soupier texture). Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer uncovered for a minimum of 1 hour in order for meat to tenderize and flavors to meld. If desired, add beans for the last thirty minutes of cooking (if you are going to simmer all day, take this into consideration). At this time, you will also add the masa flour mixed with cold water, enough to dissolve flour into a pourable mixture, and cayenne.

Cook for an additional thirty mintues and serve.



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