Death and Chili

Today I’m mourning the loss of a friend. For the past six years, when pressed for time, my friend would pick up the slack and prepare meals for me. All I had to do was supply the ingredients and leave it for her to finish.

I loved my friend. She was warm and dependable. Her unwavering support for my work schedule was her best attribute. I know I will never find another to replace her. But as with everything in this transient world, there comes a time we must bid farewell to the old and move on to the new.

So, I am now looking for a new Crock-Pot®! Preferably chrome with a dark red crock. The red makes me happy. 🙂 Four settings is a must. Off. High. Low. Warm. No mamby-pamby pot for me.

Her magnum opus was Chili. The last serving is now sitting in a Rubbermaid® red-topped bowl in the fridge.

This particular recipe was an accident I stumbled across when I didn’t have the ingredients for my original recipe. Thinking to save time during an unusually busy day, I decided to forego the stove-top and began throwing ingredients into the crock. I soon realized I had no tomato sauce or paste.

And I refuse to add ketchup. Ugh.

Anyway, after I threw together the following, my family informed me they liked it better than my other recipe. Oh, well. Glad someone finally said something. 🙂

Recently, a friend asked me to share the recipe. So, I thought I would post it today for all those dealing with temperature shock. Brrrrrr



2 lbs. ground beef (I use extra lean because I’m unable to drain off the fat.)

2 cans Rotel (mild or hot)

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 jar of Marinara Sauce (I like Newman’s Own.) Yep, Marinara Sauce. Trust me.

1 packet of Chili seasoning (I also make my own. You can find the recipes on Pinterest.)



1 can Chili Beans

1 can Black Beans

1 small can corn

1 whole onion


Place in crock. Turn the dial to high. Let cook all day. That’s it!

Forgot to thaw the meat the night before? No worries. Fix it and forget it.

Serving Option

I crumble a handful of Doritos in a bowl. Top with Fiesta Blend cheese. Add chili. Top with Sour Cream, jalapeno, and a splash of Chipotle hot sauce.

Southern Comfort at its best. Promised to warm even the coldest consumer!

Happy eats, y’all!



Maple Pecan Ice Cream

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV).

With July coming to a close, I’m trying to make every minute count! Seasons change. That’s an undeniable fact.

Children growing up is another fact. My kids are twenty-three and eighteen. These are precious days to me. And when they decide it’s time to leave and make their own way—maybe miles away—it will still be a precious time, but not like now.

So I cherish this season. And in the midst of all the changes, I hold to the Creator of all seasons. For no matter what the season holds, there is a purpose only He knows. And so, I will trust Him and show my love to all those in my care while I have the chance.

For who knows what tomorrow will bring?

 Today, I’m sharing my favorite. I warn you, this stuff is addictive. Again, this is half a canister. If it were doubled, I would eat it. 🙂 Not good for Gail!

ice-cream-2334323_1280Johnson’s Maple Pecan Ice Cream

2-14 ounces condensed milk

4 ½ cups whole milk

1 can evaporated milk

½ teaspoon Maple flavoring

1 cup pecans, chopped and roasted (place under broiler)



Mix condensed milk, cream, milk, and maple flavoring in the canister. Stir well. Add pecans. Place canister into the ice cream churn. Lock into place. Turn on the machine. If you wait, the ice and the salt can freeze the canister in place and it won’t turn. If this happens, you have to work until you get it to turn or start over. Bummer! So, turn on the machine and begin to layer ice and salt—1 part salt to 8 parts ice according to the salt box.

Layering is an art you learn as you go along. I like to add thin layers of ice with more salt. That way, the ice cream can be eaten when the churn stops.

If you like hard ice cream, drain the salt and ice when the churn stops, repack and allow to harden 1 hour, or pour ice cream in a freezer container and freeze.

This recipe makes half a canister because we like it fresh, not frozen. So we make enough for one afternoon and eat it all day long! If I were making a full canister, I would just double everything.




Giving Thanks For The Small Things

Some days I find, it’s easy to lose track of time and place. Easy to forget the small but important things.

Yet, every second my mind is collecting information through the five senses reminding me there is so much more than the daily routine if only I’d stop and enjoy the moment. And those are the moments when memories are made. Those are the moments I never forget.

I’m a reformed workaholic. I used to work from the time my feet hit the floor until I fell into bed again that night. Never mind the breaks. My motto was to work until the job was done.

But in 2007 that began to change. Physical problems kept me from going 24 hours a day. I had to take breaks, pace myself and know when it was time to stop. I learned the world didn’t end when the job wasn’t done at the end of the day. It was waiting for me the next morning. With my slower routine, I began to notice the little things.

  • The melodious song of birds outside my window
  • The different hues painted upon a petal
  • The tranquil beauty of waves as they wash ashore
  • The smell of a slumbering newborn’s cheek when stealing a kiss.
  • The touch of the Master’s hand

And then, there is taste. I thank God for taste buds. Experiencing a new taste for the first time and finding that you like it is pure joy! My newest delight is salted caramel gelato from Fuse on St. Simon’s Island. But my oldest delight is chocolate. And yes, I have thanked God, many times, for chocolate. Anytime I can add chocolate to an old recipe or invent a new one, I do.

The following recipe is one of my favorites. Chocolate Ice Cream! Need I say more?

As before, you can eat it as soon as the churn stops. But this flavor tastes better when poured into popsicle molds or a freezer container and frozen. This gives the flavors time to blend. If you are not a CHOCOLATE fan, you will want to freeze it.

When you take your first bite, remember, close your eyes, allow your taste buds the pleasure of the moment, and thank the Lord for the small things. Enjoy!

Johnson's Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Johnson’s Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Johnson’s Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

2-14 ounces condensed milk
4 ½ cups whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup (according to taste) brown/white sugar (your choice)

Blend the cocoa and sugar with the evaporated milk, removing the lumps. Add remaining ingredients to the canister. Place inside the churn and layer with 8 parts ice and 1 part ice cream salt. Churn and enjoy!


Using your five senses—sight, hear, smell, taste, touch—what are some of your favorite small things? Why not offer a praise for them today.