Greg’s Famous (Spicy!) Chili

Another fall favorite is a big pot of chili simmering on the stove, then filling your belly! Served with mild cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and/or crackers (plus your favorite hot sauce, of course!) and you can’t go wrong!

3 lbs ground beef
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
2 tsps (or two cloves) of garlic (more to taste)
3-4 cans of diced tomatoes
1 6oz can of tomato paste
3 Cups water
5-6 Tbps Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper (if available)
1/2 cup corn starch (approximate, diluted in water with salad dressing shaker)
(other ingredients to taste…)

Brown beef (along with half of the onion and all of the garlic) and then drain the excess fat/grease. Add tomatoes, water, and spices (but not corn starch) and continue to cook on medium-high temperature. (Feel free to add more of any or all of the peppers, depending on your tolerance for spicy foods!)

Stir frequently, until all comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for a couple hours. (Stirring occasionally.)

Once it’s almost time to serve, add the corn starch to thicken slightly. (Add a little at a time to desired thickness.) If you are adventurous, other ingredients you can add include: brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, any sort of peppers (including sweet peppers), and whatever else you think might taste good. I frequently add a “secret ingredient” … almost every time I make it! :-)

Serve as above, and enjoy! (Goes great with homemade bread!)

Spiced (Mulled) Hot Cider

A favorite beverage this time of year is spiced hot cider. (I think it’s the same as “mulled” cider? Google it…) It’s been a hit at a few gatherings recently, so I thought I’d share it here at!

1 Gallon sweet apple cider
1 Cup sugar
1 Orange
8 sticks of cinnamon
a couple dozen whole cloves

I like to heat the cider (and keep it warm) in a crock pot. Pour the cider into your crock pot, mix the sugar into the cider, stirring well. Slice up the orange in quarters and stick the cloves into the orange (this keeps them from floating into your cup!). Drop in the cinnamon sticks and let it come to a slow, simmering boil. (Can use the high setting to heat more quickly, but low will work fine if you have the time.)

Ladle out and enjoy!

Lemon Crackers (But they’re really cookies…)

When I was a kid, my Mom would make these puffy, soft, delicious treats every once in a while, and we loved them!  I eventually found out that they were a recipe passed down through my Mom’s maternal side of the family from some distant Welsh relative.  (Her mom, and her grandma used to make them, and so on.)  Since the recipe is so old, there are some interesting ingredients in the list below.  I’ve included a couple links to purchase the non-standard items at, if that helps.  Enjoy this old family recipe!

Lemon Crackers
1 Tbps Bakers Ammonia*
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Shortening
1 1/2 Cup sugar
1 Egg
1 Tbps Lemon Oil*
5 Cups flour

Mix ammonia and milk together.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Slowly add flour.  Mix.

Roll out dough till about 1/4” thick and cut out shapes (the top of a glass will work).  Place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes.

Goes great with a nice cup of tea!

* Baker’s Ammonia is not very commonly used any more and so is slightly difficult to find. I did find some at, for a decent price. Lemon Oil is also not that easy to find, but I’ve included a link here below as well.

Fantastic French Bread

4 Tbps Butter (softened)
2 1/4 Cups Water (warm, ~110ºF)
3 1/2 tsp yeast
7 Cups flour
1 Tbps Salt
2 Tbps Sugar

Preheat oven just enough that it’s a nice warm place for rising.  (Make sure it’s not too hot!)  I like to even put my mixing bowl in the oven for a few minutes to make sure it’s warm, too.  Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add butter.  Add flour, salt, sugar.  Mix with bread hook until dough is removed from the side of the mixing bowl.  Should be not too sticky, not too dry.

Remove dough from bowl and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the bottom of the bowl the dough will rise in.  Roll the dough in the oil until it is sufficiently covered, then cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, and half.  Spread each half out on a floured surface and roll tightly into a long roll, tucking the ends in.  Cut small slices in the top of the loaf, 4 or 5 per loaf, 1/4″ deep or so.  Place on a stone (covered with a dusting of corn meal) and place the shaped bread back in the warm oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  (Do not let it rise too much as this will flatten your bread!)

At the end of the second rise, turn oven to 425ºF and bake for 20-25 minutes (depends on your oven).  Watch carefully.  Bread should sound hollow when you tap on it.  Should be a nice golden brown.  An egg wash can also be applied if a crunchier crust is desired.

Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes, then ENJOY!