C.H.A.O.S. (and some recipes)

I debate too much about whether or not something is ‘blog worthy’. I keep thinking I should post things that really mean something, that share my heart, that get you thinking, etc.

Let’s just be honest. It’s okay to keep things light and fluffy everyone once in a while. I don’t always have deep thoughts. Sometimes it’s just fun to post what you ate for supper last night, something funny your child said, or a cute picture.

But! I will say, that one thing I do hope to accomplish in this blog is to help my beloved blog readers (all three of you, ha) overcome the fear of entertaining. We love having people over. We love to cook up something tasty and sit around the table and talk, sometimes for hours while the kids run wild in the house. Going to a restaurant with kids is torture (both for the parents and those eating around you) – so, it’s just more pleasant to be at home.

I think most people’s biggest obstacle to entertaining is the house itself, fearing that it’s not clean and decluttered, it needs to be dusted and swept and vacuumed and scrubbed to perfection before anyone can come through the front door. One of my favorite authors, Marla Cilley a.k.a. The Fly Lady calls this living in CHAOS- Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. I love that phrase, and can totally relate because I have struggled with it my entire married life (and even before that- I’m sorry, Mama!) – but I’ve finally realized that getting together with friends is about the fellowship, not having the perfect home. I mean, I do try to at least make it so people can travel safely from room to room without tripping and have a place to sit down. But if my bathrooms aren’t sparkling or my floors swept or the toys put away, it’s really not that big of a deal. It’s going to be full of dirty dishes and scattered toys after your guests leave anyway!

Moving on, I have to confess that I still don’t know how to unload pictures from the great camera my husband got me last year. So there are about 1100 pictures on it. I know that is really lame. My goal is to learn how to unload them (and back them up) by the end of this month. Wish me luck! That said, I don’t have any good pictures to share of our meal from last night. (Let’s just pretend the above picture is from me. It did kind of look like that!)

We had another family over last night and I made chili and bread. My friend brought a delicious salad with homemade dressing. I picked chili because I wanted to make something ahead so we could just relax and eat and not be crazy in the kitchen. Hope this might inspire you to make that call this week and invite someone over for supper! (or Saturday breakfast or lunch, or Sunday Dinner- think outside the box!)

Our Menu:
Meaty 4 Bean Chili
Cheesy Beer Quick Bread
Salad with homemade Honey Mustard Dressing
Chocolate Walnut Pie

I made the Cheesy Beer Quick Bread from Bakin’ and Eggs. This is the recipe blog for the Peanut Butter Runner . The bread was delicious and went well with the chili. Click the link above for the recipe.

I made up this chili recipe, blending flavors from my favorite chicken chili but opting for a ground beef version instead. Super easy and very tasty.

Meaty 4 Bean Chili
serves 8
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
1 cup diced onion (one large or two medium onions)
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes, UNdrained (i like petite diced)
1 can each, rinsed and drained:
black beans, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans
1 1/2 packages chili seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bottle beer
1 cup chicken broth
garnishes: shredded cheddar, sour cream, scallions, cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, etc.

Saute the onion and peppers in olive oil in a large pot until tender. Add in the tomatoes and beans and stir to combine. Add in the browned & drained beef, the chili seasoning and salt and stir to combine. Then add the chicken broth and half the beer. Stir well and check the flavor. You can decide to add the rest of the beer anytime if you think it needs it. (Or, you can skip the beer and add more chicken broth or water.) Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour or two.

{VEGAN EDIT: Sub Vegan Boca Crumbles for the ground beef and vegetable broth for chicken broth. Check ingredient labels for animal products}

Here is Schelijn’s simple Honey Mustard Dressing: 1/4 cup mayo, 1 tbsp. grainy mustard, 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tsp. lemon juice.  The salad was green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, scallions cilantro & feta. Delicious!

Lastly, here’s the recipe for the Chocolate Walnut Pie. This pie is one of my go-to desserts for company because it is super easy, can be done ahead of time, and is really delicious. It’s similar to Derby Pie without the bourbon. Almost all of the ingredients are in your pantry or fridge. It calls for a stick of margarine and I actually do use that most of the time for this recipe, but butter also works well. I use the roll-up pie crusts because making pie crust is still on my list of ‘kitchen fears to conquer’.

Okay, Y’all- get out there and ENTERTAIN! I expect a full report within a week. ;)

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
~Matthew 18:20

9 responses to “C.H.A.O.S. (and some recipes)

  1. Thanks for inspiring with your recipes and hospitality. But now you know we’ll all be clamoring for an invite to your table! Love, LJ

  2. Thanks for the meal planning encouragement. I printed out your tasty recipes and am actually excited about running to Publix today. :)

  3. I like you, MB. And I do wish the woman at my new church who looks a little bit like you really *was* you. Either that, or that I could learn her actual name. (For now, in my mind at least, her name is “Looks-Like-Mary-Beth.”)
    Also, can I come over for dinner?

  4. ..cheesy beer bread in the oven & chili on the stove tonight…my yummy smelling house (and happy husband!) thank you. :)

  5. yum. stop being the pioneer woman! you’re making me hungry.
    nani told me you’d started writing again- yay! GET THOSE pics off. I want to see my nieces and nephews. It’s not that hard- use picasa.

  6. I made the beer bread a few weeks ago too. I used Sierra Nevada, thinking it’s kind of yeasty and would do well, but I actually think I would have liked something less flavorful (like water, I mean Bud Light). The SN was kind of bitter or something. Weird. What kind did you use?

  7. Pingback: Bah Nah Nah Bread |

  8. Pingback: good eats for lots of peeps |

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