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January 2014, Page 2

slow cooker heaven {paleo butternut squash chili}

paleo butternut squash chili

this evening two ran track, one of those swam, one traveled for basketball, one played baseball in the chilly winter evening, and one cheered for them all.

butternut squash chili_a


we’re not avid fans of mad-sports-schedules, and frankly, we don’t even really encourage organized sports participation when our kids are little.  don’t get me wrong; nearly every afternoon and some mornings, before and after school-time, our littles will be tossing balls and running fast and shooting hoops – we want them building muscles and skills even young.  but for the “on-someone-else’s-schedule,” pay-for-it team sports, we wait till they really want it, enough to work for it, and to contribute financially even, if they’re able.  we want to know it’s really something that matters to them, and is worth the family calendar havoc it can wreak.

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i’ll be the first to say, though, as a mama who grew up sans sports (i danced ballet for eons and loved it, and was a theater girl thereafter), i delight in screaming for them cheering them on, and i delight ‘most more in their privilege to work under the authority of other trusted adults, to do more than they thought they could, to work for the good of a whole team of “others.”

butternut squash chili_e

but it does create some foodish chaos, what with running here and there, trying to eat healthy and not dump our funds into concession-stand-junk.  tonight, however, i conquered the sports-schedule-chaos-monster, and i made this.

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it is delicious.  it is divine.  it is meaty and saucy and deeply, darkly, spice-sweet but still savory.  it is filling even for a six-foot-plus runner-swimmer-baller, and it is better than dessert.  especially with oatmeal stout.  which, by the way, in case you’re wondering, is so-not-paleo.  but that’s okay, because i ate a lot of this chili.  enough, i’m sure, to make my dinner time consumption still “80 percent clean.”  heehee.

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here’s the recipe!

slow cooker heaven {paleo butternut squash chili}


  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced, seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro


  1. Brown and drain ground beef.
  2. Add onion and cook just till soft. (You can skip this step.)
  3. Add squash, beef and onion, jalapeno, garlic, spices, and tomatoes to slow cooker in order listed.
  4. Cook high for one hour, then reduce heat to low.
  5. Cook on low heat for 3-5 hours.
  6. Serve with chopped cilantro.


dancing divider webb


no days without you {free valentine’s printable}

not just on the day of doodled hearts and red-foil-adorned candies and cellophane-bundled flowers, but on every day, i long to romance the ones dear to my heart.  whimsical and sweet, and still deeply forward-looking, this quote from the author of the Pooh joys has always tugged at my heartstrings.  i think i’ll frame this to treasure… more as a reminder to treasure the ones who matter most.

aa milne live to be a hundred web

would you like an 8×10 or 5×7 to print for yourself?  click here!


dancing divider webb

the talking matters.

he balled his hands into fists, squinted his eyes in vain effort to stop the tears dropping out, and said that yes, he thinks differently from others and no, he’d never learn to speak in a way to be heard.


and as he did, my heart, too, broke a little, because well i remember the fears of adolescence.  and the fears of yesterday.  and just earlier today.


it took time, and tears did spill from us each, and it took work to dig up the dreaded feelings and to wrestle them into understandable terms for us each.  and it moved us toward understanding and potential for meaningful action and a breaking of defensive barriers and a drawing toward not just each other’s hearts, but our Papa’s, and toward the hearts of those around us.


i know, son.  i too fear sometimes that i’ve nothing of value to say, or i’ve no way to say what might be worthy, so that others will hear it.  i too am frustrated at rules that don’t make sense and pretense of genuine interest and yes, even at my own brokenness.  that’s why we study, and learn, and grow, and ask for Help.


i rush.  i hurry through days and i hurry those in my care.  “get it done,” i say.  “focus.”  and too often i speak the words and urge the action and i don’t stop and listen, not just with my ears but with my whole heart.


it took stopping dead in my tracks, squelching the hurry-urge and the self-important air and it took being urged toward being humble.  being little.  it took apologizing for always teaching, not listening enough to learn, even from a younger one.  because truthfully, the Truth comes often through the “little” ones.


which is funny, because he’s stronger and bigger than me in ways that mean something.  the muscle and sinew and shoulders broad enough to lift even me, mama-of-too-many-pounds, capture my glance often.  the littlest at birth, and the strong one now ‘most-grown-up.


and he trusted me with his heart, and my shutting up opened a door and broke down barriers and allowed for conversation.  because yes, it’s the listening.  and then it’s the talking, of another, that matters.


dancing divider webb