Monthly Archives: January 2014

4 – Ingredient Hearty Beefy Chili Soup

Beefy chili is the favorite soup at our house. My kids aren’t big fans of soup, but they all like chili soup! This is about as easy as it can get.

chili soup


I love a simple recipe, don’t you? Just dump a few ingredients together and you’re done! Sure, I love taking time to make food special and pretty – but there are those days where I don’t want to think, I just want to grab a few things and be done. This is one of those recipes for me. When I simply can’t think of anything food-related, or I am super busy and need something easy, this is my go-to meal.

Now, this is not a gourmet recipe nor yet a 5-alarm chili. Not much spiciness here… but of course you always fix that by adding some red pepper – as much as your family likes! :) This is kid-friendly for my bunch.

Brown your hamburger in a big kettle. To save yourself washing a skillet, ya know. Add some cooked beans – any kind. I used some I had previously cooked and frozen. Feel free to open a couple cans.

Tip: If your kids don’t like beans, just add a can of refried beans instead! They will probably not know the difference! 😉


Add the taco seasoning… I buy it in bulk – a big container like this lasts a long time.


…and the tomato sauce.


Stir it all together. Simmer for 15 minutes. Or put it in the crockpot on low for a couple hours to keep warm.  Leftovers are great spooned over baked potatoes!

Note: I sometimes add a little water if I want it thinner, for whatever reason. I guess with water it is 5 ingredients – but I don’t usually add water. 😉


Sharing over at:



4-Ingredient Hearty Chili Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 lb hamburger, browned
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto or kidney beans, drained
  • 4 cups tomato sauce or large (30 oz?) can
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or ¼ cup if using bulk seasoning)
  1. Brown hamburger in kettle.
  2. Add beans.
  3. Add taco seasoning.
  4. Add tomato sauce and stir.
  5. Add some water if you desire thinner chili.
  6. Simmer 15 min or till bubbly.
  7. Or keep warm several hours in a crockpot on low.

Does your family love chili as much as mine does? :)


Workin’ cattle in the snow.

Somehow, we always manage to pick bad weather to work cattle. Last time it was a frigid cold snap, and today it snowed the whole time. But – that’s how it goes. Work needs to go on…

The gathered the heifers and brought them down to the corrals. My Cowboy on his horse, and the Boss and Tom on motorized versions. :) Whatever works, guys. I quickly ran out when they were close to the corrals, so I could snap pictures… someday I may take time and go out to the field – but not this day! :) my sister called me just as the heifers were coming over the hill, so I ended up fumbling with my camera and dropping my phone. Apparently I am not so good at multi-tasking. Hmm.


snowdaysIMG_2975 IMG_2977 The old ponies in the yard are the older horses that the kids ride. The mustang tried to act younger than he is and turn on a dime – but it just made him wipe out! He landed -smack! on his side. IMG_2978 …but he jumped up quickly and seemed no worse for the wear. He really needs to calm down and act his age, dontcha think?!


The comfy way to work cows in the snow!


Tree in my yard that my sister deemed drunken. it might be, at that. :)

The snow just kept coming down as the guys brought the heifers in. IMG_2984 IMG_2986 IMG_2988 OK, I must say that this barn is beautiful any time of day or year – but this day, surrounded y still-falling snow? Gorgeous! You will have to forgive me for all the pictures of this barn that you see in my pictures… It is pretty, unique, and in my backyard. So yes. I photograph it all the time! I have to restrain myself from snapping a picture of it every time I walk past. Seriously.IMG_2990 Cisco was sporting a new saddle. Made by CK Custom Leather. That’s right – my husband rides his own saddle. Cinched down with his wife’s custom cinch, I might add. (shameless business plug, right there! 😉 )IMG_2991 IMG_2994 IMG_3003 IMG_3008 IMG_3010 IMG_3015 After that cold morning working cattle, I figured the guys needed a hot meal. So I stirred up a big pot of chili soup.


And some hot cornbread.IMG_8355

Let me tell you, I am thankful on days like these to be inside a warm house. So thankful my husband works hard for me in all kinds of weather. Yes, I like to work with him, and yes, I could do it if I wanted too. But it makes me feel loved and cared for that he is willing to ‘slay my dragons’ for me – and my dragon is cold.


What is your dragon?

Weekend Wind-Down Party #1


Howdy Folks!!

I have fun news! Every Friday, starting at 6 PM, I am co-hosting a link party! It will be shared across 8 blogs, so lots of fun to be had! :-) I am on vacation in FL right now, so I am unable to help out this week. So, so bummed about that! :-( but next week I’ll have this humming! I just have my phone for internet access, so it’s really hard to blog. However, I want you to go visit the other hosts, if you are a blogger- link up! If you are a reader-go see what fun blog posts are awaiting you!! :-) I shall be waiting impatiently for next weeks ‘ link party! :-)

Here are your other hosts:


Checking Club Cattle

There’s a guy who keeps some club cattle on the ranch. He likes when My Cowboy drives through them and checks on them once in a while. So today when My Cowboy said he had to drive through them, I begged to ride along. Well, beg is an overstatement –  I asked and he said “Sure!”, just like he always does. :) Am I a lucky girl or what?! 


I grabbed my camera and my brand-spanking new Carhartt coat, which I got for Christmas. From My Cowboy. That’s right, a warm, brand-new coat. My kind of gift, I’m tellin’ ya! 


Anyways, we drove down through the field and across the creek, which is partially frozen. The cattle looked at us with bored expressions, barely bothering to move. 



Helpin’ Daddy drive!


Cattle-watchin’. She loves it!

Let me just say that I know nothing – I mean nothing about club cattle. I don’t even really know what that means, except I assume he shows them somewhere. I don’t know what good or bad conformation, what to look for in the head, shoulders, or whatever. In fact, whenever My Cowboy mentions ‘club cattle’, I immediately think in my head: ‘club-foot calves’. I know, it’s kinda pathetic. Sorry. 

All I know is that there are some very large club cattle in that pasture. And that could very well be my perception, colored by the fact that I was introduced to ranch life on yearling outfits, and yearlings are, well, basically teenagers. Not full-grown. So every mama-cow on the place looks huge to me. But then, I look kinda huge when I am carrying, too. 😉 


IMG_2962 IMG_2960The big cottonwoods down by the creek are so pretty! I just love it down there… IMG_2964 IMG_2956



Lovely WY country. I am so thankful for the opportunity to live in wide-open spaces.

And that’s all for today! Have you ever shown cattle? Why are they so huge? 😀  Can you tell I was not raised on a ranch?

Beef Recipe #2 ~ Beef with Noodles

Welcome to the second edition of beef recipes! I made this one up one night when I was in a hurry and wanted to use up some leftover steak. It turned out delicious!


Sauté the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of butter.


Chop leftover steak (or leftover roast) and throw it in with the onions.


When the onions are starting to brown, pour in a couple TBS of cooking wine, to deglaze the pan.  (you can use broth for this step, too.) Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and stir everything around a bit.



Add 1 cup beef broth* and stir a bit. Let it simmer and reduce a little while you cook the noodles.



I forgot to take a picture of the noodles cooking, but I think you can figure out how to cook a pot of noodles, right? 😉 I used some home made noodles I had in the freezer, but you can use any kind. Just cook them al dente. (they should still be a tad chewy in the middle.)

When the noodles are cooked, drain and add to the beef mixture. Stir and let it set a few minutes, so the noodles can soak up some of the broth.


I was so eager to get the food on the table and into my kids’ bellies, that I nearly forgot to take a pic of the finished product! Sorry. It was really delicious! :)

Serve with a salad and crusty bread.

*if you don’t have beef broth, just use 1 cup water and 1 beef bouillon cube.

Beef with Noodles
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 1 TBS butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1clove garlic, diced
  • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 - 2 cups cooked, diced beef
  • 2 TBS red cooking wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ lb noodles
  1. Saute beef, onion and garlic in butter.
  2. Add wine and stir up the browned bits.
  3. Add salt and pepper, stir.
  4. Pour in beef broth and reduce heat to med-low.
  5. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.
  6. Cook noodles al dente - according to pkg instructions.
  7. Drain noodles, stir into beef mixture.
  8. Let the noodle mixture sit for 5 minutes to soak up broth.



Wrangling them in…

The horses here on the ranch are kept in a large pasture a little ways from the barn. when the cowboys need to ride, they first have to get ’em in to the corrals. Some places they keep a horse or two by the barn to wrangle the horses with. Some places they use a 4-wheeler. Here they use a truck. My cowboy would probably use a 4-wheeler, if we had one. But we don’t. Hence the truck.



He rounds them up and chases them along the dirt road, back to the corrals. Well, he doesn’t actually have to ‘chase’ them – just follow them, really. Because they have done it so often that they know what is expected and where to go.





Now this particularmorning, I tucked Baby under my arm and slung my camera around my neck and drove out to take some photos. But Baby wasn’t co-operating. She wanted my camera. She wanted my extra lens. She didn’t want to sit on the other seat… and just as the horses came over the hill, she commenced weeping and wailing and wouldn’t stop.

So if you wonder why would one put blurry photos on a website – well, I dare you to try and comfort a wailing baby while focusing on running horses. Double-dare!!  It is a feat I am not yet capable of. Maybe one day.

I doubt it. Most likely she will be grown before I master that skill.

(But then I may need the skill with my grandbabies. 😉 )


Once they are in the corral, the cowboys pick out their horse for the day, and the rest stay in the corral. After the riding is done, they are all turned out. They know where to go, and head right back to their pasture. My Cowboy drives along behind them and shuts the gate when they are all through.


My kids like when they wrangle the horses in… they always run out to watch, pet the horses, and feed them handfuls of grass or hay.

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Beef Recipe #1 ~ Sweet & Savory Steak

Welcome to my beef series! This is the first in a series of beef recipes I plan to post this year. I will be posting a different beef recipe every week – only recipes that we eat and enjoy! So be sure to sign up for new posts by email, so you don’t miss any! :)


My sister gave me this recipe last summer, and it was an immediate hit! We love grilled steak, but when the wind is screaming, and the snow is flying – well, you ain’t gettin’ this southern-at-heart girl outside to grill! Baked steak is a wonderful compromise. This recipe is so easy, and very tasty. It is quite versatile, too! We like to pour the broth over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.

Step 1: Mix sauce ingredients. I used red wine vinegar this time, but any kind will work. I usually use apple cider vinegar.

The round-up of ingredients.

The round-up of ingredients.

Sauce ingredients mixed.

Sauce ingredients mixed.

Step 2: Get your skillet hot, and add a little oil to the pan. Sear the steaks for one minute on each side. Because I never remember to get my beef out of the freezer, these were still pretty much frozen solid. So they didn’t brown as nicely. But, hey – who cares, right? It works.

Searing the steaks.

Searing the steaks.

I don’t time the searing part – I just fry ’em till they are a little brown on each side.


Step 3: When you are done searing them all, lay them in a 9X13 pan or similar. Just stack ’em in, baby. They will shrink as they cook.

Just stack ’em in.

Step 4: Pour the sauce over the steaks.

Pour the sauce on, baby!

Yummy, no?


Step 5: Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 2 hours. You can also do this in a crockpot for 4 hours on high or 6 on low. (You may need to adjust your time in the crockpot depending on your type of steak  and your particular crockpot.)

The inside of my oven is rarely a pretty sight...

The inside of my oven is rarely a pretty sight…

I used rib steak for this recipe, but I have used different steak cuts – sirloin, elk, etc. Basically just whatever I happen to have in my freezer and feel like using. :) I hope you enjoy this beef recipe as much as we do!

So delicious!

So delicious!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sweet & Savory Steak
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
  • 3-4 lbs steak
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. Sear steaks in skillet over high heat for one minute per side.
  2. Place steaks in a baking pan.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients in small bowl and stir well.
  4. Pour liquid over steaks.
  5. Cover pan with foil.
  6. Bake at 350 for 2 hours.


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Happy New Year! …and some goals for the new year.

New Years Resolutions. They seem to be falling out of favor, no?  I think I see more posts and hear more talks about why not to make them, than I do about why you should. I have mixed feelings on the subject. I mean, sure, out of the 60% or so who make them, they say only 8% keep them. But what if no one set them? Would 0% fulfill them? Or do people not count those who make it 80% of the way to their goal? That 80% accomplishment is nothing to sneeze at!


I haven’t made them much, myself. I really am cynical when It comes to myself. I have little faith in my stick-to-it abilities. I have grand plans, but life tends to get in the way. Or I get bored. Or… you know. Whatever. So I never make New Year’s resolutions.

But I have been thinking about a couple I would like to make this year. Not earth-shattering ones, but just a few things I want to accomplish. And I know if I blog about it, I will be more likely to follow through. 😉 I have 3 areas I want to improve on in the coming year.

Spiritual Growth.  This is by far my main goal of the year. I want to go deeper into the Word of God, and learn more about the character and nature of Jesus. I want to understand – not just read. I want to pray – not just say I’m going to. I want to teach my kids more about their Saviour – not just act like I am a super-spiritual mom. This is not a goal you can measure. You can’t say: “If I read 1 hour a day, I will become more spiritual”, or “I will get up before the kids and pray” or any number of concrete goals. I mean, it’s fine – good, even – to make those kinds of plans, but not what I’m aiming for. I want to grow into  more Christ-likeness, and that cannot be measured. Only God can see into my heart and know my thoughts and intentions. As Zac Poonen says: “I want the Word to go through me – not me go through the Word.” (rough paraphrase)


Physical Growth. Well, I don’t really want to grow physically! I would actually rather shrink physically! :) but I do want to work on the physical side of things too. This one I have been considering for a couple years, actually, and because of my fear of failure, I have never talked about it before. But today I am tellin’ you… I am going to Walk across Wyoming. 


Yep. You heard right! if you travel from east to west across I-80, it is 400 miles. I figure that if I walk 2 miles a day for 4 days per week, I will be able to walk the whole way across the state. My Cowboy asked me if I am doing a figurative walk, or if I was planning to pack my bags and start out at Pine Bluffs? 😀 Hahaha! I don’t think so, my dearest! I might have some wild ideas, but I’m kinda partial to living at home with my family. (he was joking, btw)  I will periodically be checking in here on the blog with progress reports.

Writing Goals. I do have a couple goals for this blog in the New Year. 

1. Series. I want to do a couple series on various subjects this year. I am starting off by doing a beef recipe series, this one I plan to continue every week through the whole year. I love my freezer full of beef (part of our wages here on the ranch) but sometimes I need new ideas. I have a few ideas for other series as well, but will be introducing them one by one.

2. Guest posts. I would really love to have a few guest bloggers this year! It is my top goal in 2014 for my blog! So if you are a blogger (professional or hobby) and you have an idea for a guest post that would fit on my blog, please feel free to contact me and we’ll see if we can make it work.


3. Keep it on the side. I am first a wife and a mother. Second I am a writer. I want to keep it that way. I am standing with the ladies over at: and resolve to not let this business of writing take precedence over my family. If that means it sits stagnant some weeks, then that is just the way it is. I am trying to be organized, though, so I can continue writing on a regular basis.

BOTS5b_zps7697e436How about you? Do you make any New Year’s goals?