My Famous (Ghostly) Chili

Yes, all of my recipes are famous, at least in my house didn’t you know? And a lot of my recipes are spicy too!

So, I decided to share with you one of my spiciest-of-all recipes as we enter fall and then winter and prepare to, well, turn up the hear – with Chili!

I make this Chili in a slow-cooker and let it simmer all afternoon, but you could make it on the stove too, if you prefer or don’t have a lot of time.

Please note, this recipe makes chili for 6-10 people (or a lot of leftovers if you’re like us) so cut it in half if you don’t need this much.


  • 2 pounds ground  beef
  • 2- 10 ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (i.e. Rotel)
  • 2- 8 ounce cans tomatoe sauce
  • 1- large onion, diced
  • 1- green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 – red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 – large can spicy chili beans
  • 1 – large can dark red kidney beans
  • 1-2 cups of beef broth (depending on how thick you like your chilli)
  • 2 – cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 – dried ghost pepper, cut in half (or to taste)

Super-Easy Instructions:

  1. Brown beef in a skillet on the stove until most of the pink is gone – add to crock-pot.
  2. Saute (in juices from beef) garlic, onions and bell peppers until slightly tender – add to crock-pot.
  3. Remaining ingredients – add to crock-pot.
  4. Mix well – in crock-pot
  5. Cook up to eight hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.

I like to serve with cornbread and enjoy!


More about Ghost Chili Peppers:


The Bhut Jolokia or Naga Bhut Jolokia (or Ghost Chili Pepper) is the hottest naturally grown pepper on the planet. It has a Scoville (how the hotness of peppers is rated) rating of 1,041,427 units. For comparison, bell peppers have a 0 rating; Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 2,500–5,000, Habaneros have a have a 300,000 rating and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the spiciness of pepper plants) rates at 16,000,000 units. Pure capsaicin is unavailable through a natural grown plant and is only synthetically developed.

The Ghost Chili originated in the Assam region of northeast India. The Guinness Book of World Records named the Bhut Jolokia as the hottest pepper in the world (2004), a record which was previously held by the Red Savina. When ripe, the pepper has a red or orange color and measures about 2.5 in. to 3.5 in. long and about 1 in. wide.  The pepper looks very similar to the Habanero chili pepper; thought, the texture is rougher and the appearance has a more dented look.

Ghost chili peppers have a smoky taste to them that is reminiscent of a chipotle pepper, in my opinion, but much spicier. The word Bhuti, given by the Bhutias people in India, means ghost and was probably given the name because of the way the heat sneaks up on the one who eats it, which is true. It has also been likened to the bite of a King Cobra snake by peoples in the region where it grows. I found the taste to be rich and spicy and really enjoyed the pepper. It was not unbearably hot and produced a nice flavor on top of the heat.

I have found most of these peppers come with some sort of warning, though, like the following “With the intensity of the pepper able to create a very strong pain sensation lasting up to 30 minutes, one should eat the Bhut Jolokia pepper with extreme caution.  Also, when handling the Bhut Jolokia pepper, one should take caution as to not get any in or near the eyes as the pepper can create a very intense burn.”  So, try a small amount before you dump it in your chili!

Until the next mile marker,

Lazy Memorial Day: Gardens, Ducks, Strawberries and Beans!

This weekend was pretty low-key (hey, remember when this was an exciting running blog?). We did some gardening (are we a boring married couple, now?)

And I had a complete photo session with the baby ducks (as I have said before, my neighbors already think I am weird…)

Which turned into my avoiding these little guys’…


He (or she) is very protective.

They all got revenge for the photo shoot by eating my strawberries.

Speaking of strawberries (as in Strawberry Fields, that is), I happened to catch Across the Universe on TV and I loved it.


I have heard it called “the worst movie of all time,” but I disagree. It was pretty cool in my opinion and had some great artistic and musical elements to it! Across the Universe is a 2007 musical romantic drama film directed by Julie Taymor. The film’s plot is centered around songs by The Beatles. I highly recommend it.

I ran some errands and scored a major deal at Big Lots! Who knew!? All of Bob’s Red Mill products were on sale. 

Yesterday, I made the Quick Cooking Oats with a little bit of the Natural Granola and Ground Flaxseed with a touch of Almond Milk. It was so good.

In my attempt to get back to eating clean, I picked up the June edition of Clean Eating and came up with a clean creation of my own. It was delicious, as a matter of fact. My body was really craving the spinach most of all. It was super quick, super easy, super good.  

Sara’s Healthy Bean Blend 

  • 1 Can Organic Tri-Bean Mix (or any type of beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed and stems removed (I personally do not like them)
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or healthy oil of your choice)
  • Pinch of Kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 2 cups whole grain brown rice, cooked
  • Cook the beans and rice accordingly and set aside. 
  • Heat oil in a skillet and add spinach leaves. Saute until slightly wilted, but sill vibrant in color. I cooked them for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add a pinch of salt and mix well with spinach leaves.
  • Remove spinach leaves from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Serve with rice and beans. 

According to the rice and bean serving sizes, this dish has 309 calories. I saved the leftover rice and beans for the next day and just sauteed more fresh spinach when I was ready to eat it. I was surprisingly content and satisfied after eating this meal. It has quickly become one of my favorites.

How was your Memorial Day weekend? Do you have any favorite, fast and simple clean eating recipes to share? Tell me in the comments!

Until the next mile marker, 


This is my famous stir-fry, what’s your’s?

Please don’t mistake this post for that one time when I thought I was a cool food blogger. I assure you, I am not. My husband actually thinks I am weird if I start taking pictures of food wherever we go so I don’t think I could make it as one!

It’s no secret that one of my favorite things to make is stir-fry. I like it because it is versatile, quick, inexpensive and you can make it as healthy (or not-so-healthy) as you like. The possibilities are really endless when it comes to stir-fry. In fact, all stir-fry means is to fry very quickly over high heat in a pan or a work. I love using my work, but before I had that, I used a regular frying pan, which works just fine.

Sara’s Famous Stir-Fry 

(I say famous because it’s famous in our house, at least!)

Makes 4-6 servings; Nutritional information is dependent on your specific ingredients.


  • Oil (Olive, Canola, Safflower, etc.)
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Vegetables (the possibilities are endless!)
  • Protein (Egg, Fish, Beef, Chicken, Tofu, etc.) 
  • Rice

Step 1:    

Saute oil (I used canola oil last night) with garlic and onions (these chives were the first harvest from our garden!) until they are fragrant and garlic is lightly toasted.

Step 2:

Add vegetables. Fresh is the best, but I have used frozen vegetables if I am in a pinch or something is out of season. My stir-fry has mushrooms, yellow and orange carrots, broccoli, green beans, red peppers, green peppers, yellow peppers, peas and red onions. Cook the vegetables until slightly soft, but not mushy, anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on the vegetables.

Step 3: 

Add the sauce or seasonings or your choice. Last night I used Szechuan Spicy Stir Fry Sauce, which is one of our favorites. It is only about 25 calories per tablespoon. I add about 2 tablespoons directly to the vegetables. I use my eye as judgement. I don’t want to coat the vegetables so much that you can’t see their true colors.

Step 4: 

I add my protein to the stir-fry afterwards. This works best because sometimes my husband and I want different proteins or sometimes I am not in the mood for meat. If you are cooking shrimp, chicken, beef, etc. I cook it thoroughly separately with a small amount of it’s own sauce and then add it to the vegetables and toss everything together for 2-3 minutes. We have even grilled meet (and vegetables too!) and added it to the stir-fry. Last night I chose to add an egg to my stir-fry, which I “fried” in just a touch of oil.

Step 5:

Serve with the rice of your choice (cooked ahead of time according to directions). Last night, we ate ours with our favorite, which is Jasmine Rice. For a healthier alternative, I usually cook brown rice for myself.

Step 6:


Of course, I added some hot sauce to my bowl. The yellow carrots were delicious, I will be cooking with them more often now.

As you can see, there is nothing genius or even special about my stir-fry, and that is why I love it so much – you can do what you wish! Make different creations with a variety of meats, vegetables, spices and sauces. There is truly no limit to the possibilities.

Tell Me:

What is your favorite way to make stir-fry? If you take a picture and send it to me, I will be sure to feature it on my Facebook page! Send your famous creations to

Until the next mile marker,


Finally Friday & My Favorites

This has been a long week. I have been house-sitting for my mother-in-law and caring for one two three four five dogs for the past two weeks (Okay, two are mine, but still) – I am ready to go home! Things just aren’t the same when you aren’t in your own place. The end is in sight, however, I am so glad it is Friday.

Since I’ve had 397 cable channels this week (we don’t and in fact, we just acquired a TV this spring), I think I have turned into a major vegetable. Moving, pretty pictures on the flat screen and I just can’t say no. Embarrassingly enough, I think I may have zones out to the point of actual drooling last night – not good – I am actually looking forward to being cable-free again. I think TV really does rot your mind. It at least is not good for being motivated to exercise.

Naturally, with 396 other cables to choose from I decided to watch Animal Planet non-stop. It was great until I got hooked on a never-ending marathon of The Monsters Inside Me where I learned about every type of parasite under the sun – ones you get from sushi (that I ate last Sunday), pork (that I ate on Monday), cats (which my dad has), sand flies (which I am sure live in my mother-in-law’s backyard since there is a sandbox), freshwater crabs (which are in my freezer), and a zillion other things which I just know I will come into contact with soon. Not. Good. It sent me into a panic, but it was like a train wreck – I couldn’t stop watching!

I did get some running in – more than I have committed to in a while, but I can’t stop feeling like I would have been more productive if I wasn’t tuned it. That’s 4 whopping miles:

At least it’s something? Which brings me to my dilemma. I don’t know if I will be able to run the Air Force Half Marathon in Dayton on September 17.

It’s been a rough spring for me. It’s been hot and miserable and I have been busy – doing nothing? I initially registered for the Air Force Full then switched to the Half after my knee injury flared up again – primarily from overuse and lack of strength training.

I’ve been struggling to train at all since then. I am tired – physically, emotionally, mentally, anyway. I have good and bad days and someday are just a struggle for me.

With nearly non-existent weekly runs, I just don’t know if I will be prepared. I’ve been doing long runs on the weekends and managing okay, but I know that is not the right way to train. I’ve run some 5K’s, had good ones and bad ones and spent as little time in the gym as possible.

I have a Quarter Marathon coming up on September 4, which I want to run and am coaching the Lucky 13’s to run the Columbus Half Marathon on October 16. I also have numerous 5K races between now and then, which are fun and support causes I believe in. It was once a goal of mine to use 5K’s to improve my speed. In January 2012, I am running The Goofy – I am registered and our trip is booked! That is a huge goal of mine.

I am thinking about not running the Air Force Half and running the Columbus Half instead. Only problem is, I missed the official transfer deadline for Air Force by a few days. I don’t know what to do with my bib (it’s a sold out race) rather than just forfeit the registration fee and call it a lesson learned. [This is where I am asking you, Blogland, for your advice]. What do you think? I’m calling on the pros here!

On a lighter note? Check out my new Friday Favorites!

I made two recipes for the first time last night that I got from THIS blog. They were delicious and not too complicated one I figured out that baking powder and baking soda are not the same things. Thank God for Facebook friends and Google. 

I made Grilled Cheesy Barbequed Chicken. It was SUPER easy and so good. The Cajun Seasoning added just enough kick to make both me and my husband smile:

And I made Hoecakes, which took a little time to practice pan-frying, but once I mastered it, they were like sweet, hearty, corn-filled pancakes that melted in your mouth. A nice counterbalance to the spice in the chicken:

Another one of my favorites? My sister! Don’t forget to check out her NEW blog HERE!

My sister Mollie & Me

And, Julia (one of my fav Bloggers, by the way) introduced me to this amazing feature to use with my blog:

Yeah! Now I can respond directly to your comments or you can respond to one another! Thanks, Julia!

What is your advice regarding the Air Force Marathon? Any Friday Favorites I just can’t live without knowing about?

Until the next mile marker,