chili in april


Chili doesn’t necessarily scream, murmur or even whisper spring.  I know it’s April and I should be posting something light and fluffy covered in strawberries or maybe something green like asparagus.  But because it’s been VERY spring-like (or semi wintery) here in the Pacific Northwest this weekend, which means constant rain.  I don’t mean sprinkles, showers, drizzle or mist, I mean capital   R-A-I-N.  A couple inches in an hour kind of rain.  I should be happy it’s not snow, right?  Soooo, chili sounded perfect.chili ingredients

I made this a couple of weekends ago for Moose’s birthday celebration at the barn.  It received ton’s of complements and is super delicious served with condiments (get it… complements/condiments).  Sadly or happily the gang snarfed it all up, so no leftovers.  I’ve had a hankering for another bowl ever since.

The original recipe calls for 5 pounds of cubed beef brisket which I’m sure is delicious.  I substituted 3 pounds ground turkey and it turned out divine.  Last time I used organic canned kidney beans, this time all I had in the cupboard were organic black and pinto beans (delish with any kinda bean).  It’s a very tweak-able recipe, so tweak away.  I also adjusted the spice down a hair because I was feeding a crowd.  This time I upped the ante with a touch more cayenne and red pepper flakes, I still did not use the maximum suggested quantities.  I love a nice slow rolling heat… but if you and yours like it smokin’ hot you go right on ahead.

That’s all for now my darlings…  I have missed you and it feels so very good and right to be cooking, taking pics and writing again.  Thanks for all your words of encouragement and support!

Love ya,



herb marinated pork tenderloin

herb marinated pork tenderloin

Hey kids!  How’s everyone doing?  I’m hoping you all have your holiday preparations under control.  As usual, I had delusions of grandeur with a multitude of homemade gifts and get togethers.  Due to the calender, :/ reality has set in…  I am currently in the midst of implementing “plan b”.  Actually, there never was a plan b, so I’m making it up as I go.  As this isn’t my first rodeo I know it will all work out.

We finally had a glimpse of the sun and a touch of blue sky yesterday afternoon. I even saw my shadow!  Here’s proof.  I know, it’s sad when I start intentionally photographing shadows.  They’re a novelty when you haven’t seen one for awhile.

Here’s a wonderful marinate ahead recipe for a week night or company dinner.  Pork tenderloins are economical (no waste), low fat (be careful not to overcook) and high in protein.  If there’s any leftovers, they make scrumptious sandwiches.

herb marinated pork tenderloin

ina garten

1 lemon, zest grated

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons)

Good olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Kosher salt

3 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the saute pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat registers 137 degrees F at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink (it’s just fine!) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter.


Calories: 335, Total Fat: 14 grams, Saturated Fat: 3 grams, Protein: 48 grams, Total carbohydrates: 2 grams, Sugar: 0 grams, Fiber: 0 grams, Cholesterol: 147 milligrams, Sodium: 461 milligrams

I wish you peace, love and a successful “plan b”.



roasted butternut squash soup

Do you need a little something to warm you from the inside out?  Here’s a simple, healthy soup that’s tasty and beautiful.  Butternut squash, onion and apples are roasted in the oven, then pureed with chicken or vegetable stock, it’s that easy.  The texture makes you think there’s cream and/or butter involved, but there isn’t.  How often does that happen??

The color of the butternut squash is like sunshine.

roasted butternut squash soup

adapted from ina garten, barefoot contessa

One 1 1/2 – 2  pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 yellow onion

2 McIntosh, or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered

2 tablespoons good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 teaspoon good curry powder (optional)

Condiments for serving:

Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally

Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted

Roasted salted cashews, toasted and chopped

Diced banana

Dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Cut the butternut squash, onions, and apples into 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss them with the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until very tender.

Meanwhile, heat the stock to a simmer. When the vegetables are done, add some of the stock and coarsely puree in batches in a food processor OR place them in a large pot with a some of the stock and puree with an immersion blender.  A food mill can also be used. When all of the vegetables are processed add more stock (if needed) to make a thick soup. Add the curry powder and cayenne if desired.  Taste for seasonings to be sure there’s enough salt and pepper. Reheat and serve hot with condiments either on the side or on top of each serving.

Sending you all warm and cozy thoughts.  Enjoy!



quotes – gratitude

Thanksgiving is in a couple of days.  Here’s a few quotes on the subject of gratitude.  Soul food.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

And my Thanksgiving wish for all of you-

I am thankful for each and everyone of you.



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