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Welcome Friends! Please be patient while I add more info. I have SO much to share with you. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Authentic Cincinnati Chili

Authentic Cincinnati Chili

Jane Tibbet's introduced this to us when we first moved to Xenia in 1981. Even though we lived in NE Ohio for 10 yrs, and my husband was from Ohio, I'd never heard of this dish. I did not like it at first! But then I grew to love it so much that I craved it! Brian loves it just as much as I do too! It's not really a Chili and its not really a Spaghetti, but is a unique dish full of flavor. It calls for many spices including dry chocolate cocoa, cinnamon, cloves and all spice! You can eat it 3-way, 4-way or 5-way, but I eat my Cincinnati Chili 6-way! (Spaghetti noodles, Sauce, cheese, beans, sweet onion and chopped green pepper on top)

 Cincinnati Chili             Serves 6

1 quart water (4 cups)
2 lbs ground beef (I use 80 (lean) / 20 (fat)
2 medium onions, grated
2 - 8oz cans tomato sauce (Or 1 can tomato sauce and 1 can tomato paste)
5 whole allspice   or   1/2 tsp ground (sometimes I add both)
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
2-4 Tb chili powder (original recipe says 4, but i use 2 or 3)
1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate  OR    1 ½ - 2 Tb dry cocoa (like Hersheys unsweetened powder)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb vinegar (can be white, apple cidar or red wine vinegar)
1/4 tsp ground corinder
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
5 whole cloves   OR   1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Cooked spaghetti noodles

Finely grated cheddar cheese
Red beans, pinto beans or kidney beans
Green pepper, chopped
Sweet Vidalia onion, chopped

Add beef to boiling water in a large soup pan. Stir until beef is to a fine texture. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer 3 hours. (Note: you can cook it less than that, like 2 hrs or less, but it always tastes better if cooked 3 hrs. It will be better the next day too.)
Serve over cooked buttered spaghetti. Top with cheese, beans, green pepper snd onion.  I dont mix the sauce with the noodles but like to just spoon it on top before adding the toppings. 
I LOVE this! Its addicting!
                                                                                    6 SERVINGS

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Nacho Potato Soup

Nacho Cheese Soup

I used to fix this soup for my family every Christmas Eve and we all loved it. I also love that it only takes a few minutes to put together!

Nacho Potato Soup

1 pkg. (5 1/2 oz) Au Gratin Potatoes
1 can (11 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes & green chilies (Rotel is the brand I use)
2 cups water
2 cups milk
2 cups cubed Velveeta cheese
Dash hot pepper sauce, optional (like Tobasco)
Minced fresh parsley, optional

In 3 qt saucepan, combine potatoes & sauce mix, corn, tomatoes & water; mix well. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 15-18 minutes or til potatoes are tender. Add milk, cheese & hot pepper sauce if desired; cook & stir til the cheese is melted. Garnish w/ parsley if desired.  Makes 2 quarts ( 6-8 servings)

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Low Carb Avocado Chicken Wrap


Avocado Chicken Wrap with Grain Free Egg Tortillas

I finally found a way to eat a healthy quick and easy wrap. It doesn't matter what kind, whether it's Mexican, Asian, Italian of fresh traditional wraps such as chicken or any other meat. I'm on the AIP Autoimmune Protocol which is so similar to Keto since I have to eat grain and dairy free because of intolerances that have caused my health to go downhill. So that means I can't have the typical rice tortillas or wraps. I found a wrap by accident when I was looking around at Fresh Thyme Market in Beavercreek, Ohio, called EggLife. They're made from egg whites and i have no idea how they did it but they don't even taste like eggs and they're very soft and easy to roll up. They have 4  versions and 2 of them are plain and Italian. 

Here are the ingredients I used to make this Chicken Wrap and it was delicious!

Avocado Chicken Wrap

Chicken  (can use rotisserie, frozen grilled strips or any other cooked chicken)

Ranch dressing (or ranch sauce made with a mixture of dry ranch seasoning mix, mayonnaise and milk)

Bacon (cooked)

Avocado, sliced

Red or sweet Vidalia onions, chopped

Feta or any other white cheese such as provolone, mozzarella or Monterey jack

Tomatoes chopped

Lettuce, shredded (I added argula to mine)

I layered my ingredients on the Egglife wrap (see picture below) which is about the size of a large taco but if you don't have to eat wheat free, do it this way below.

If using a larger 10"-12" tortilla

Layer your ingredients in the center of your tortilla and roll it up or fold it up the same way you would a burrito. You can eat it as is, or brown the outsides in a frying pan with butter to brown a little on the outside. 

Most grocery stores carry these

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Knit Look Crochet Cowl

Knit Look Beginner
Free Crochet Cowl Pattern
May Jane Hall


This is a beginner project that's quick and easy. If you'd rather have a long scarf that's not circular like an infinity scarf, just work enough chains at the beginning to the length you want your scarf to be, then work the entire scarf in rows (not rounds) turning each row to get the ridged effect. Don't forget to work all rows in the back loop only. You will be working all half double crochet stitches (hdc) after your beginning chain, and in my opinion working a hdc in the blo is what makes this stitch look like knitting. 

Tip - you can use a smaller hook than size M, but keep in mind if you do use a smaller hook, your scarf will not be as drapeable and will be stiffer. The loser you crochet with a larger hook, the softer your scarf will be.

Finished Size - I made this for a friend and didn't measure it because at the time I didn't know I was going to offer the cowl as a free pattern. 


Vannas Choice yarn: #4, worsted wt yarn in color: Barley

Note: any worsted (or Aran) wt yarn can be used for this pattern. You can use a smaller yarn and smaller hook, such as #2 sport wt, #3 DK wt, but keep in mind that you'll need to crochet more foundation stitches at the beginning to make it longer if you do this. You could even use a bulky yarn but would need to make less foundation sts. 

Crochet Hook: size M/13 (9mm)

Gauge: I made this as a gift for a friend and did not measure the gauge before I gave it to her. Even though your gauge is very important when making garments, it's not all that important when making a scarf. That is, unless you want it to look identical to the one the pattern was written for. Something to keep in mind is that I always use a larger hook than what the company suggests on the yarn label. You do not want your crochet items to be hard and stiff unless it's a purse or a molded hat. 

Stitches used: Chain (ch), slip stitch (sl st), half double crochet (hdc)


Blo - back loop only

Ch - chain

Hdc - half double crochet

Rep - repeat

Rnd - round

Sl st - slip stitch

St - stitch

Pattern notes: all rounds are worked in the blo (back loop only) to get the ridged effect. You will be slip stitching the last st to the first st on each end. (Unless you make 1 long scarf that's not in the round). Then you'll turn each round. If you don't turn the rnds, you won't get the ridged effect. Ch 2 at the beginning of each round.

Knit Look Crochet Cowl 
Free Beginner Pattern by
Mary Jane Hal


Foundation row: Ch 144 , being careful not to twist ch, sl st to 1st ch (circle made)

Rnd 1: ch 2, work hdc in blo of each ch, sl st to first st, turn- 144 hdc

Note: in order to make the raised ridges, you have to turn each round/row, and work in the back loop only (blo) of each stitch (hdc), otherwise your stitches will all be flat.

Rnds 2 - ___: Rep rnd 1 until you get the desired width of the cowl. (Sorry I did not count these rows either, before I gave this cowl to my friend!)

End off yarn and weave in all loose ends. 


Important: Remember, if you want your friends to know about this pattern or post about it, you'll need to post a link on your blog to have them come to this blog. You're not allowed to copy the text and put the pattern on your blog. Because if you post my pattern on your blog it's considered stealing. Please follow the copyright laws. One of the reasons to offer free patterns is so I can promote my crochet books that are sold on Amazon. I still receive royalties from the sale of my books and this is part of the way I make my living. So posting my patterns on your blog or anywhere else takes away from my income.  

Monday, October 3, 2022

Fried Okra with Tomatoes and Onions


Fried Okra with Onions and Tomatoes
My Mama's Recipe

If you are from the south, you might be saying "Yum!", but if you aren't from the south you're probably saying "What in the world is that?" As odd as it might look or sound to some people, fried okra with tomatoes and onions is one of my favorite things to eat on this planet!

Oddly enough, even though okra is considered a southern vegetable, one thing that's surprising to me is that I've recently found out even southerners have never heard of cooking fried okta with tomatoes and onions! I'm shocked about that because cooking it this way is the only way my mama ever cooked it while I was growing up. Until I went away to college and on my own, I never knew anyone ever cooked okra any other way! When I'd see fried okra in restaurants (in the south) it was always just okra with a crunchy coating. 

Now, I have to say, even though okra tastes a little bland to me by itself, I love okra cooked any way, because it IS my favorite vegetable in the whole world. You're talking to a girl who as a teenager, would even boil a few pods of fresh okra in water (drained with butter and salt added) and eat it as a bedtime snack! That's how much I love the taste of okra. Even if you like fried okra but don't like the slimminess of it boiled, you're not alone. But not this southern gal.  I love it any way it's cooked. 

I'm going to try and tell you how I cook it fried with tomatoes and onions, but my mana never wrote it down, that I'm aware of. She's been gone from this world for about 8 years and there are so many things I'd like to ask her about. Like "Where in the world did you learn to cook okra with tomatoes and onions?" Since I thought everyone in the south fried it that way, I never knew to ask her, till after she'd passed away. 

After I attempt to tell you how I cook the okra, I'll post a link to a YouTube video I found where someone (Tammy) is cooking it this way.  I was shocked to find that, because even though I posted about this on FaceBook, not even my southern friends had ever heard of cooking it any other way than with cornmeal and flour. I'll try to explain the best way I know how.

 And remember! When you're picking out fresh okra at the grocery store, grab the smallest ones because they're the most tender. The large ones that are tough and hard to cut through are not really edible. 

Southern Fried okra with Tomatoes and Onions


Fresh okra, chopped into 1/2" pieces, discarding the large end

Fresh tomato, cut into about 1/2" squares (it's best to use a tomato that is not over ripe because it will have too much liquid. You could even use a green tomato but I like it best with a ripe tomato)

Fresh onion, chopped or sliced

Cornmeal and flour

Buttermilk, whole milk or 2 raw eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking oil (vegetable, peanut oil or crisco)

1. Put about  1/2" - 1" of oil in a skillet. This will depend in how much okra you are cooking. (Iron skillset is best if you have one because the okra will turn out crisper and will cook more even). Turn the heat to medium hi so it can heat while you ate preparing the okra. Oil needs to be piping hot.

2. Place cut okra, tomatoes and onion  in a bowl. Then pour about 2-3 tablespoons of buttermilk, whole milk or egg in the bowl and toss with a spoon or your hands, making sure the okra, tomatoes and onion are wet, but not too wet. (Just barely wet). 

3. Then put about 3 tablespoons of cornmeal and 2 tablespoons of flour (self rising if you have it) into the bowl. You don't want too much of the dry ingredients, but make sure every little piece is covered so the okra won't stick together.

4.  Next, salt the okra and add a little pepper if you want. Don't put too much salt because you can add more after it's done, if it needs more. For extra taste, add a little cayenne. 

5. Place 1 piece of okra in the hot oil to see if it's hot enough. If it's not sizzling, it's not hot enough. The perfect temperature to cook fried okra would be 365° - 375° if you have a thermometer. Place just enough of the okra mix (that's been sifted in a colander to remove excess flour and cornmeal) in the pan to be a single layer. If you have a lot of okra mix, you'll have to cook it in 2 batches, because you do not want the okra to stick together. If you do it right, the okra will be floating around. 

6. Fry the okra til it's done on the underside and then flip it over to cook the top. I like mine golden brown. Be patient! This takes a while. If its taking too long, it means your oil is not hot enough.  Let the okra cool and dig in!

Note: I always use fresh okra but this is the only time I've ever bought frozen breaded okra, so it would look better if it were fresh! If you do buy frozen, make sure it's thawed out first. 

I finally found a YouTube video where a lady is cooking okra with tomatoes and onion! To see her version go to this link.  I wish I knew where she is from so I'd know which state my mom learned to cook her okra this way!  If you try my recipe, please let me know what you think! By the way, I make okra patties too!

Another Fried Okra Recipe at
 Collard Valley Cooks

Fried Okra with Tomatoes, Onions and Green Pepper Recipe, by Tammy at her "Collard Valley Cooks" YouTube channel. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Review of Colorful Crochet Lace by Desert Blossom Crafts

Colorful Crochet Lace book by Mary Jane Hall
Review by Rachel at Dessert Blossom Crafts

  • 🌲* Great Christmas idea for the Crocheter in your life! * 🎅

Colorful Crochet Lace

The feel of Colorful Crochet Lace is actually pretty similar to the previous book mentioned—but with all different projects! The patterns included, written by Mary Jane Hall, are simply stunning. I mean, just look at that pineapple lace top on the cover! This is only a small sample of the gorgeous lace tops, scarves, bags, and dresses included in this book.

The feel of Colorful Crochet Lace is actually pretty similar to the previous book mentioned—but with all different projects! The patterns included, written by Mary Jane Hall, are simply stunning. I mean, just look at that pineapple lace top on the cover! This is only a small sample of the gorgeous lace tops, scarves, bags, and dresses included in this book. Get yours here.

THANK YOU RACHEL! She has an awesome crochet blog HERE! Lots of crochet patterns and info. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Cucumber Salad


Cucumber Salad

This is my own creation. I first started with basic cucumber salad recipes I found but just added the ingredients I like. My daughter, Jamie, loves it and I do too! It's just really refreshing and you feel good eating it, knowing it's healthy and good for you. It will go with just about any kind of meal but is also a fresh, cold salad for summer. 

Fresh Cucumber/Tomato Salad with Mozzarella Cheese

Cucumber Tomato Salad

1 lg cucumber (sliced or cut into squares) I like to use English cucumbers but it's great with either kind

Grape tomatoes, cut in half

Sweet Vidalia onion or red onion (that's been soaked in cold water), cut in ½" small squares

Fresh mozzarella (or block) cut into small squares

1 Can garbanzo beans (chock peas) drained & rinsed

2 garlic cloves, diced/chopped

Salt and pepper


Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Lots of dill (fresh or dried)

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Salt and pepper

Fresh lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

Optional: Avocado, diced or sliced, A little mayo

Mix the vegetables and cheese together and stir in the sauce.