My Secret Ingredient

Everyone has their own take on Chili. No two chilis are ever the same. It’s a universal, American dish that many make during the cold months—or as we like to call it these days, the inescapable polar vortex of hell. You can make it spicy or mild; with or without meat, and you can pretty much throw in the kitchen sink if your heart and palate desires. I have a few chili recipes that I rotate—traditional chili with ground round, white chicken chili, and a new turkey chili recipe that’s similar to Panera’s.


I changed up my traditional chili the other day, and incorporated as many veggies as possible to give it more texture and flavor. Carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, chili beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, in addition to canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Oh, and water, otherwise you’ll just have a mass of sludge.

My secret ingredient is probably something you already have in your pantry and you would never consider putting in chili, but trust me, it makes a world of difference, and prevents the chili from being too acidic (from the tomatoes). Here it is: Beef gravy. Yep. Learned that from an old farmer—my dad.

You’re welcome.

Running Like A Hamster

Lisa and I are on a new running kick. We’ve challenged ourselves to run 20 miles a week every week, for the rest of the year. It wouldn’t be so bad if we could run outside, but because it’s been like 0 for the past three weeks, we’ve had to run it out on a treadmill. and. it. sucks.

Lisa and I after Das Bier Run. We were both surprised we got medals in our age groups.

Sundays are my long days, so this morning I knocked out seven miles. on. a. treadmill. I think it’s more painful mentally than physically to accomplish this. I feel like a hamster on a hamster wheel. Running, sweating, and going no where. Lisa is even more insane than I am. She ran eight miles.

Even though I already feel exhausted, there’s a good reason we’re doing all this ridiculous training inside: Next Saturday we’re running a 10k race in Memphis, and we’re meeting my pal Cathi and her sister Jo. They’re from Lafayette, Louisiana, so I may come back to Peoria with a bit of a drawl.


Cathi never leaves home without her hair rollers in case of a major hair disaster.

Snow Day No. 4



This is how I feel today. Every phone in the house rang at 5:00 a.m. notifying us that District 150 is closed. Snow day number 4 for the kids

Snow days for me – 0

Days my kids don’t understand I actually work from home and can’t be disturbed – 0

Days in a row my kids don’t fight with each other – 0