Friday, October 31, 2014

Flavorful Friday: Customizable Chili Recipe

Ecclesiastes 11:1-5 NASB
 1"Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things."

The weather has turned again overnight, and, though it is still sunny and beautiful, the temperatures are quite a bit cooler!  You know what that means, it's time for Chili!  For this episode of Flavorful Friday I bring you a Customizable Chili Recipe.  Be your preference vegetarian, chicken or turkey, or the traditional beef, this recipe can be used to make a palate pleasing chili sure to be a hit with the crowds, or just for you all cozied up by the fireplace in your pj's...  = )

I'd love to hear from you, what's your favorite way to serve and eat chili?

And remember, today is the last day to get EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS on tickets to the upcoming Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Dallas, so click here to buy now and tell your friends!  Just enter EARLYBIRD at checkout for $5 off adult tickets, and EARLYKIDS for $2 off kids tickets.  Price is $12 for adults and $2 for kids today only!

Stay tuned next week for announcements on how you can WIN 2 FREE TICKETS to the Expo for you and a friend!

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
AKA Brandi Schunk

Customizable Chili Recipe


·      1-3 C Cooked Beans (Black, Red Kidney, Pinto, or any combo thereof)
·      1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
·      1 pound of Ground Beef
·      1 Yellow Onion, diced
·      1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
·      1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
·      4-8 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
·      1 handful of Grape Tomatoes, cut in half (optional)
·      1 large Tomato, diced (optional)
·      1 - 15 oz can of plain unsalted Diced Tomatoes
·      2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
·      2 tsp Chili Powder
·      1 tsp Onion powder
·      1 tsp Garlic Powder
·      ½ tsp Garlic Salt
·      ½ tsp Smoked Paprika

·      ¼ tsp Cumin
·      ¼ tsp Fresh Ground Pepper Medley
·      Cayenne (just a dash or leave off altogether if cooking for young ones)


Drain most of the liquid off of beans and pour them into a crock-pot turned on to Low setting.  Use more or less beans to fit your personal taste or budget.  Using more beans is a great way to stretch the meat!  Mashing some of the beans with the back of a spoon can help thicken the chili as well and give it a yummy mouth feel.

Warm an 8-10 inch cast iron skillet on medium heat.  Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and spread around to cover skillet.  Add Ground Beef and cook until browned, stirring and “chopping” frequently to break it up into small bits.  Season with Celtic Sea Salt, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Garlic Salt, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Fresh Ground Pepper Medley and Cayenne while cooking.

While beef cooks, dice the Yellow Onion and add to pan when beef is about halfway browned.  While beef and onions continue to cook, chop Green and Red Bell Peppers and add to pan.  When beef is fully browned, remove it from pan, drain if needed, and add to crock-pot. Cut Grape Tomatoes in half and add to crock-pot.  Dice the Tomato and add to crock-pot.  Open can of Diced Tomatoes and add to crock-pot.  Thinly slice garlic and add to crock-pot.
Stir well to mix.  Cook, covered, on low for 7-12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serving options:
·      With corn chips and shredded Mexican Blend or Cheddar Cheese for classic “Frito Pie” (Note: for healthier option, choose organic corn tortilla chips, sprouted if possible.)
·      Atop a baked potato with sour cream
·      In a bowl all by itself
·      On top of a slice of cornbread
·      All serving options are great with a portion of salsa and/or hot sauce added just before serving.

·      You can also add ¼- ½ Cup of Homemade Bone Broth to the chili when cooking it for more nutritional value and flavor.
·      Ground chicken or turkey could be used in place of beef.
·      Shredded meat could be used in place of ground.

·      For a vegetarian option, leave off meat entirely and use 3 C beans.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Excitement is building for the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Dallas Nov. 15-16!

Philippians 4:4
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."

I am so very excited about the upcoming Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Dallas, TX!  Not only will I be able to attend the weekend, but I have the high honor and privilege of being chosen as a blogger to report on and publicize this important event!  This is good news for you, my readers!  Because you are reading this, you now have access to DISCOUNTED TICKETS online through October 31!

GFAF Expo Early Bird Discount
Just click here and then enter EARLYBIRD at checkout for $5 off adult ticketsand EARLYKIDS for $2 off kids tickets.  This will bring your total to just $12 for an adult and $2 for a child! If purchasing both adult and kids tickets, enter one code first then click apply, then enter the second code and click apply.  Act now before time runs out on this great deal!

Now that you know how to get your discount, let's look at why you WANT to be there!  This event will be housing hundreds of Gluten and Allergen Free experts and product providers all under one roof!  With classes given by amazing speakers on relevant topics, there is nothing to miss!  Vendor booths will be full of information, product samples, coupons, and discounted merchandise to purchase.  There will be authors and bloggers like me present as well, who can sympathize with the path you are on and offer encouragement, support, and tried-and-true advice on navigating the Gluten and Allergen Free world! Plus, and this is a major bonus in my world, you have the opportunity to make a LOT of new friends, so you won't feel like you are the only one in the world with the struggles you have.  Imagine having playdates or nights out with someone who totally gets it and wants everyone to have safe food options.  Totally awesome.

So what are you waiting for?  Sign up now and tell all your friends before the price goes up and before tickets sell out!

And be on the lookout next week as I announce details on how you can WIN 2 tickets to the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Dallas!  There will be 2 lucky winners who each get 2 tickets!  Life's more fun when shared with a friend, so stay tuned for more details to come.  In the meantime, mark you calendars for November 15-16 from 9am-3pm at Dallas Market Center, 2100 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207 for the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo.

And be sure to follow the Expo on Facebook for all the latest details!

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
AKA Brandi Schunk

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gluten and Allergen Free Expo- Dallas Early Bird Discount almost over!

Only a few days left to take advantage of the Dallas Early Bird Discount! Just follow the link and enter EARLYBIRD at checkout for $5 off adult fix, and EARLYKIDS for $2 off kids tix.

Discount through 10/31. Take advantage of this deal and buy your GFAF Expo tickets today!

Have fun, learn more about living the gluten and allergen free lifestyle, sample products, and so much more!

~Country Mama Hippie Chic
AKA Brandi Schunk

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Weekend at the Farm

Acts 20:35 NIV
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

This past weekend we had the honor and privilege of farm sitting for our friends at Stonefield Organic Farm, a local Community Supported Agriculture farm.  It was fun getting to "play farmers", and we were blessed that everything went smooth.  Here's a quick recap in pictures of the adventures we had!

Sunrise, this is the view from my bed of the sun rising up behind the new hoop house.  The hoop house is a giant greenhouse that currently houses strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers.

The carrots are popping up!  All plants need water to grow and on this 7 acre farm there is a LOT of watering to be done.  Lucky for me I had a great helper along for the task!  The small hoop house in the background is full of little seedlings, large tomatoes, some trees, and many other happy plants.  This also is where the repotting takes place at a wonderful little work station.

We had a minor little car incident a couple of weeks ago while on a road trip to Missouri.  A salvage yard on the way to the farm happened to have the new headlight and side view mirror we needed (in the right color!), and my husband spent a few hours getting our car good as new again.  It was great having room to spread out and get the job done, and I am blessed to have such an amazingly talented husband who could take off and replace the bumper without batting an eye!  Thanks, Tim!

This was taken outside of our son's school after our weekend at the farm.  The Superman S has been part of our car for a while now, and we all love it!  See the new headlight and side view mirror, can't even tell they were busted up before.  = )

One of our son's favorite things to do at the farm is to collect scraps from the garden and kitchen and feed them to the chickens and turkeys.  He's got quite the throwing arm!

Our son Seamus, with his best friend and trusty mate at the farm, Bella.

The local cowboy church hosted a Fall Harvest Festival while we were out there so we stopped by for some fun!  Seamus got to sit inside a real fire truck, won a game of ring toss, and collected way more candy than any child should have.  Good times!  Oh, and I won a game of "shoot the nerf gun bullet into the jack-o-lantern."  That's right, mama's a good shot!

And here's me in the firetruck, too!

Tim relished the opportunity to spend hours sharpening knives, something he loves to do but rarely gets the opportunity.  There's something about being out in the country that just has you slow down a bit, and enjoy the little things of life.

Everyone has their jobs at the farm.  One of Seamus' favorite jobs is to collect the chicken eggs, about 3 dozen a day!  He especially loves when he finds a special tiny egg like this one.  Yum!

Big 'ol turkeys, roosting for the night.

Sunset view from the front porch looking across the street.  Seamus took this one, I'd say he's quite the photographer!  Ahh, breathe it in.  Good night, farm.

I pray that you take the time to "slow down and smell the roses" this week.  Try getting up early to watch the sun rise.  Go out at night and star gaze.  Find a local farm or community garden where you can volunteer and take home some fresh goodies.  Or just go for a walk in your neighborhood or a local park.  Live the dream today, right now, wherever you are.

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
AKA Brandi Schunk

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flavorful Friday: Beef or Chicken Tacos or Taco Salad Recipe

"12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God."

Who doesn't love tacos?  Today I have a sure to please and easy to customize taco recipe for your eating enjoyment!  With variations for chicken tacos or beef tacos, children's tacos, taco salad, or mondo big daddy tacos, this simple recipe can easily accommodate the whole family or dinner party, all from one basic recipe!  Enjoy!

What's your favorite way to eat a taco?

Yours truly,

Country Mama Hippie Chic
AKA Brandi Schunk

 Simple Tacos for a Child's plate

Taco Salad for Mom's plate

Mondo Open Face Tacos for Dad's plate

Beef or Chicken Tacos


·      1 Pound Ground Beef or Chicken (Ground, Cubed, or Shredded)
·      ½ Yellow Onion, diced
·      ½ Green Bell Pepper, diced (optional)
·      ½ Red Bell Pepper, diced (optional)
·      4 Cloves Garlic, minced
·      ½ tsp Celtic Sea Salt
·      ¼ tsp Chili Powder
·      ¼ tsp Onion Powder
·      ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
·      ¼ tsp Garlic Salt
·      1/8 tsp Paprika
·      1/8 tsp Cumin
·      1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper Medley
·      Cayenne (just a tiny dash or leave off altogether if cooking for young ones)
·      ¼ C Filtered Water
·      12-14 Corn Tortillas
·      1-2 C Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
·      ½ Head of Lettuce, shredded (Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Romaine or Iceberg)
·      3-4 Avocados, diced
·      2-3 Tomatoes, diced (Roma, Grape, Heirloom, or any variety)
·      Salsa to taste
·      Sour Cream to taste


Pre-heat 8-10” cast iron skillet over medium heat.  When pan is warmed add ground beef or chicken.  Cook meat until done, stirring regularly. 
While meat cooks, mix together Celtic Sea Salt, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Garlic Salt, Paprika, Cumin, Fresh Ground Pepper Medley and Cayenne in a cup with about ¼ cup Filtered Water and then set aside. 
When meat is nearly all cooked, add diced Onion, diced Bell Pepper, and minced Garlic.  Continue cooking and stirring frequently until all meat is cooked thoroughly.  Remove from heat and drain fat off meat if there is any.  Return to heat and stir seasoning and water mix into meat.  Cook on low to medium heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until all moisture has been absorbed.  Set aside with a lid to keep it warm.

In separate skillet (while meat is still cooking), heat tortillas on low to medium heat, 1-2 minutes each side, and set them aside in a tortilla warmer.

Set up your taco station setting out all prepped ingredients in small bowls in one area for ease of access.  Assemble tacos just before serving.  Alternatively, you could place all prepped ingredients on the table and allow everyone to build their own tacos as they go.
Taco fillers can include seasoned taco meat, Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese, Lettuce, Avocados, Tomatoes, Salsa, Sour Cream or anything else you like to add to tacos.

Additional options:

·      Serve as a salad instead, piling all taco fillers atop a bed of your favorite fresh lettuce or spinach.
·      Top with Shredded cabbage
·      Top with Shredded Brussels sprouts (uncooked)
·      Top with Jalapeños, or sauté them with the meat
·      Top with Hot Sauce, or add to the meat when sautéing
·      Use Sprouted Corn Tortillas for extra crispness and nutritional punch!