Easy Weeknight Beef Chili Recipe


I love a good bowl of chili. It’s comfort food but it’s not so heavy that I can’t enjoy it on a summer evening. The Chili recipe I’ve been using for years requires 8+ hours in the crock pot, but this recipe I’m sharing with you today is done in only an hour…perfect for those last minute cravings. Plus, you can use the leftovers in a variety of meals, so it stretches your wallet a bit too!

Easy Weeknight Beef Chili
(serves 6-8)

  • 1.5 lb ground beef (I use the Costco organic ground beef which comes in packages of 1.33 lbs, and that works just fine.)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 C salsa (this does make a difference…use your favorite brand.)
  • 3 TBS Chili Seasoning (recipe HERE)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans beans…kidney, black, pinto, or any combination thereof
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a stock pot or large saucepan, cook the ground beef over medium heat along with the onion and bell pepper until meat is cooked through. Drain fat and return to pot.
  • Add tomato sauce, salsa, chili (or taco) seasoning and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with corn chips, sour cream, green onions, and cheese.

Bible Review: Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible

I’ve had the same main Bible since I was in high school. I’ve received several Bibles as gifts since, but I always go back to my old standby, all-marked-up Study Bible. I do enjoy reading through different Bibles, however, just to see some new commentary and possibly new photos and maps. I was excited to review the Discover God’s Heart Devotional Bible from Zondervan Publishers, and I wondered how a Devotional Bible differed from a Study Bible.

A Devotional Bible is like a Study Bible in that it presents deep delving into Scripture, giving insight and showing the relevance between God’s Word and our lives for today. The only difference is the amount of information presented. Typical Study Bibles give insight into many key figures in Scripture with historical background, gives commentary on key words and important dates. This Study Bible has 312 Daily Devotionals, that help you walk through the Bible. You can choose to read the assigned Scriptures for the day and end with the day’s devotional, or you can simply read the devotionals, which sum up the previous chapters.

There is a nice introduction to each book of the Bible, which tells the reader the author, audience, date written, and theme, as well as a one page commentary about how God’s Heart and what He desires is shown in this particular book.

The devotionals are also a good read. Each one-page devotional is divided into three parts:

  • God’s Story-how His goodness and love are shown in the book. 
  • The King’s Heart-How the goodness and love He has shown in the book applies to us right here, right now.
  • Insight-The bottom line of the reading.

The devotionals are deep and interesting, and I found myself nodding in agreement many times, or thinking “I really needed to hear that today.” One of my favorites was the devotion in Galatians: God, Our Good Daddy. It says: “Like a street orphan who finds herself suddenly as the adopted daughter of a king, there’s something in our hearts that reflexively leans to call God, ‘Father.’ But that’s not quite the sentiment God is after. It’s too distant. He wants us to call him ‘Abba, Father’ (Galatians 4:6)-Daddy God.” It was a relevant, true, and encouraging reminder. This Bible has many such reminders in its devotions.

I only wish there was a bit more color in the Bible…perhaps a couple of maps at the end, but otherwise I really enjoyed it, and would be pleased to give this Bible to someone as a gift…either a new believer or someone who has been in the Word for many years. It applies to all.

*Thank you to Zondervan Publishers and BookLook Bloggers for a free copy of this Bible in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Book Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m reading through Scripture (especially in the Old Testament), I’ll see a name or place I can’t pronounce and just gloss over it. I’m sure there is meaning to what I just read, but I don’t always take the time to look up the names and places, and I know my reading time could be better understood with the help of a good Bible Dictionary.

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary is a large reference book that is both an encyclopedia and a dictionary. It gives the correct pronunciation of Biblical words, names, and places, and also gives the history behind it as well as a very detailed definition. In addition, the entries are cross-referenced with where they’re found in Scripture, and there are many wonderful photos of artifacts and locations. One of the other impressive things about this reference book, is how much detail the entries have. The entry for each book of the Bible includes the theme and outline of the book, cultural background, spiritual significance, and historical setting. Important people in the Bible also have long and detailed entries. There are also categories, such as Biblical Occupation and Trades, which describe the in detail the role of dozens of jobs referred to in the Bible.

I was very impressed with the scope and vast information in this book, and I would recommend it to anyone, whether they have a doctorate in theology or simply want to learn more about the Bible. I know it will be a well-used reference book, both in my own devotional time and in our homeschool classroom.

*I was provided a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Booklook Bloggers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. 

Post Roundup-October 2014

I can’t believe it’s November already. It seems like October just flew by! It was a busy month here. I turned 30, we took a family road trip, and Junior got a big boy bed! Here are all my posts from the month of October.

About Me

Special Needs

Kids Fun and Activities



Book Reviews

 Come Visit Me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Junior Being Junior is Better Than Being “Normal”

Even though the special needs road can be tedious, it’s also filled with beautiful moments. A couple of weeks ago, Junior was looking at a word in a book. “Auhhhr” he said as he pointed to the “R”. Then, he said “Ohhhh” as he pointed to the “O”. I was stunned. We had never taught him letters. We have spent all of our waking moments just getting him to understand the most basic of words. It reminded me that he understands way more than we give him credit for. Just because he can’t communicate like his peers doesn’t mean he’s not smart, and just because he has sensory issues he can’t cope with yet doesn’t mean he’s lacking. I’ve spent so long treating him as a “patient”, that I sometimes forget to notice the real-live little boy in him.
Junior keeps reminding me that he’s not a checklist of milestones he’s missed or hasn’t hit yet. He’s not a questionnaire with the options “sometimes, always, never”. He’s not defined by his diagnosis. He’s a little boy who just wants to be loved. 
He doesn’t see himself as different or abnormal or challenged. He just wants to run around and play and make friends with the little pigtailed girl at the playground, and yell at his sister for turning off Curious George. He wants a lollipop at Trader Joes, and he doesn’t want me to kiss him when he’s riding his trike. He wants extra sprinkles on his ice cream, a turn playing catch, and a cup of milk before bed. He wants to be happy when he’s happy and crabby when he’s crabby, and he doesn’t want anyone telling him when he should be either of those. He doesn’t want to be “normal”, he just wants to be him. He wants to be Junior and he wants to be loved just for being Junior. 
He’ll never be “normal”, but why should he settle for normal when he can be phenomenal? When he can be Junior.
Read Junior’s Story Here

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