Easy and Amazing Chili

My super picky 2 year old and 4 year old ate an entire bowl of this and then asked for more! #WINNING!

1 lb ground beef, bison, turkey, or meat alternative
1 white onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1-52 oz can ranch style beans
1-15 oz can black beans drained (optional)
1-15 oz can stewed tomatoes, crushed or diced
1-15 oz can tomato sauce
2-tbsp chili powder
1-tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp paprika
1-tbsp sugar
2-tbsp Bragg apple cider vinegar
ground cayenne pepper to heat to your preference

salt to taste

In a large pot
cook your ground meat then salt to taste
add in the veggies, cook until soft
add in the spices
then add in the canned items and water
For the water feel free to add 2-4 cups. 2 cups will give a nice thick chili and 4 will yield a more brothy chili

Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.


Enjoy with fritos, crackers, tortilla chips, diced avocados, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos. Great in macaroni and cheese, with hot dogs, whatever!
P.S. the chili always tastes better the next day!

This will feed a family of four about three times


Our Kitchen Remodel

I have been dreaming of renovating the tiny kitchen of our 1980’s home for the last 5 years! We bought this home as our starter home in 2011. Getting here was a struggle. We had over 20K in debt between us. A wedding (though I DIYed everything) It was the dress that was so pricey, Vita-craft cookware (a huge $2000 mistake) not that the cookware isn’t quality we just never use them for their intended purpose, two cars, a motorcycle that I got suckered into getting for a boyfriend (my dad said no and promised to take over the payments, wrecked it and didn’t pay, a $6500$ hit on a credit card that had %30 interest). I am certain there was more, but I can’t remember it all. Anyways we had debt and loads of it. We had to move in with my husband’s parents for a year, in which time we paid off all of our debt and saved up to buy a house. This house. 10150314366888009

That’s us and his parents in front of our home just before we closed.

(I’m sure they couldn’t wait to get rid of us)


Taken after we put the new front door on and planted the gardenia bushes.

It’s a really cute little 1300 square foot house in a quiet neighborhood. We loved the location of this house. It was minutes from my husband’s work and I always went against traffic going to work. Plus it is minutes from all of the major freeways and close to downtown. The location has been a real blessing. We really have no desire to give up the location or to pay more for a house than we already do. Our mortgage is so low you would drop to the floor. Seriously. We pay about half of what a equally sized apartment would cost. So the plan is never to leave this home. We would be crazy to move and pay double at least to get a nice house in this area. (the only bad-ish thing is that the man who lived here before died in the house) I have kind of come to terms with this because this is our home, we love it here, and I am assuming that he died peacefully since he was old and a drunk. Best just not to think about it too much and I dare not ask the neighbors what happened. Ignorance is bliss my friends. Ignorance is bliss!

Back to the kitchen story, our kitchen sucks. I have done some updates already. A new Moen sink and faucet, a Bosch dishwasher, a new gas range, and a new giant Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator.


As you can see we have just outgrown this kitchen. We are bursting at the seams in here. I’m suffocating in stuff and unfortunately there isn’t really any stuff that we can just get rid of.

So the plan is next year with our tax refund to save the money instead of using it to pay off debt. Since in about 6 months we will have the last bit of our more recent debts paid off. (the Ikea furniture, some business expenses, and some Costco debt, because Costco) About $3800. So woo for debt pay off. I am not going to count the Rooms to go furniture in the debt calculation because it was 0% interest for like a million years! Anywho, once the $3800 is paid off we will be saving about $800 a month! That sounds like a lot but, I like to send as much money to debt as we can afford to.

Next year’s tax refund will be saved along with the extra money from not having any debt and hopefully if we can stick to my plan we will renovate our kitchen within two years.

You have seen the befores now here are the intended afters! kitchen 2

The refrigerator will stay in the same location as before, but I will have the water pipe redone so the fridge can sit closer to the wall. Right now it is about 4 inches away from that back wall. The pantry on the left will be for food, the middle drawers for food and the pantry on the right will be for hiding small kitchen appliances. There is also a coffee area in the middle of the two pantries. The stove will be moved to the far wall and I plan on getting a black top glass range. I will however move the gas line behind the stove and have it turned off just in case whomever buys the house after us wants to use a gas range. For me, I hate cleaning the gas range. It is a huge pain in the rear. I would much rather have a flat easy to clean surface. The sink will stay in the same location also, this will save me money on plumbing! I will also be reusing my faucet because it was expensive and I love the look of it. I will not however, be reusing my sink, though it was expensive too, I want an undermout sink. So I will most likely sell my gas range and sink on eBay or in a Facebook group. kitchen 3

Another thing is that the bulkheads will be removed, this will allow me to use 40 inch cabinets. The cabinets above the kitchen sink will be gone to allow for a more open feel. In the design there is a wall there but there will be no wall. I have not decided on the flooring yet, I am wanting to use an engineered hardwood or real hardwood or wood look tile and I want the whole living room, kitchen, and hall ways. I would like to keep the cost of that installed around or less than $3 sq ft.  The lower cabinets will be the Ikea Bodbyn grey and the uppers will be the Bodbyn white. I am going with Ikea because I have read many blogs and watched many HGTV shows that have used Ikea cabinets with great success. I really like all of the customization options, and the kitchen cabinets come with a 25 year warranty so there’s that. Plus the price, you cannot beat it. All of this cabinetry is about $6200 and Ikea does a sale a few times a year where they have a 20% off all kitchens sale. Which means I can get all of my new cabinets for $4900! What?! Yeah, so the plan is to buy the cabinets with cash and have them delivered. They will hang out in my garage and when I have time I will assemble them. I like assembling things so it isnt a turnoff for me. All the while I will be saving up for the rest of the project. I will need about $2000-$2500 for the quartz countertops that I want, this includes the cost of the undermount sink and installation by home depot. The backsplash will cost about $500 in materials. I have no idea the cost of the range yet but I will stay under 1K. If I find the flooring that I like I will probably but that in advance also. I found some LED pot lights at Costco for $30 each, so I will be buying probably 6 of those for the kitchen and dining area. I want to have all of the materials here and ready to go when the installers come. This will help move things along faster.

I also want to do most of the demolition myself. I plan for demo to take about 2-3 days. Then I will have the new electrical, plumbing, and gas run while the walls are open. Hopefully I can schedule all three of those trades to come on the same day. So 1 day for that. Probably a day or two to fix the drywall from the bulkheads being removed. Then install the floors. I want to have the floors run under the appliances and cabinets also. It will probably take a couple days to do the floors. Then install the cabinets and the countertops and backsplash. I want my project to move really fast. So I will stay on top of the time lines and make sure everyone is working according to plan. My husband’s parent’s own a remodeling company so I will most likely use their guys for the bulk of the work except for the countertops.