Sunday (even though it’s almost over) Thought

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,

My October Beauty

I first met Stephanie of Kitchen Kilometers through blogging several months ago. My heart was immediately touched by Stephanie and her story.  She lost her mother to breast cancer just six months ago. I’ve been there – and not too long before her either. We’ve shared many late-night conversations about life, love, loss, our mothers all while just trying to figure out, “Where the hell do we go from here?” Stephanie regularly inspires me with her blog and her quest to find health through running, triathlons and healthy eating. We also have many interests in common including camping, writing, crafting and learning new things. So, why am I telling you about Stephanie? She started a campaign this month called #Octoberbeauty. The words below are from her blog-

I know these exact thoughts have surrounded and suffocated me –

Still, why am I so obsessed with the fact that I don’t “look like I should?” And what the hell should I look like anyway? I know it involves skinny. It should involve healthy. I hate being so centered on my looks.

The post I hate to write, February 2012

I took Stephanie’s challenge today.

Yes. That is me. No makeup, no hair products – just me. “I am beautiful because….” And I am sharing me with the world.

I hope you will join us.

Until the next marker,

Fun with 11 Random Things…!

SO Lisa over at TurboTurtle (LOVE the name of her blog, by the way – I’m a turtle too!) tagged me in an 11 Random Things Post. Thanks, Lisa! And, I was tagged by the lovely Jen my BBFF (Blogger BFF) over at From Fat to Finish Line in her Randoms Post.

The Rules
  1. Post these rules.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people! 

I’m bad at lists that involve myself, but here goes … 

11 [hopefully] Random Things:
  1. I skipped Eighth Grade Grammar because the teacher said I didn’t need it (but feel free to point all of my grammatical errors from now on). I got to work on special projects instead. That was awesome.
  2. If you ask me to edit/proofread/review/”look at” something of yours, I will tear it to pieces (with only your best interest in mind, of course) 
  3. I refer to Tarantulas as mammals because they are furry. 
  4. I have an obsession with pens. The more, the merrier. 
  5. I have an obsession with notebooks. The more, the merrier. 
  6. Snow White is my favorite Disney movie of all time. 
  7. My favorite thing I ever did was Barrel Race. 
  8. I don’t pay much attention to TV or movies. 
  9. I love the ocean. 
  10. I can type phenomenally fast. I need to figure out my WPM.
  11. I have never been skiing.

My Answers to Lisa’s Awesome Questions:
  1. If you could change your first name, what name would you choose? Catherine (NOT Cathy!)
  2. Do you have siblings?  If so, how many? I have one sister.
  3. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate Toffee Chip from Graeter’s. 
  4. Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Milk. 
  5. What’s your dream job? My dream job is to be a writer. 
  6. Do you take compliments well? Nope. 
  7. What is your favorite physical attribute? Um…well…geez…my legs?
  8. Which article of clothing do you own that always makes you feel beautiful? I felt beautiful in my wedding dress, even though I won’t ever be able to wear it again!
  9. Dogs or cats? Both?! If I had to pick Dogs because I have two right now.
  10. Have you broken any bones? Which ones and how old were you? I have never broken any bones. 
  11. Absolute favorite vacation spot (or dream vacation spot)?  St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands)\
My Answers to Jen’s Awesome Questions:
  1. What was your first job? I was a waitress at a local diner.
  2. If you could only hear one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? Um…anything country?! My favorite is Blake Shelton’s Austin or anything Johnny Cash.
  3. Favorite quote or saying? “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” -Emily Bronte     
  4. Disney World, Vegas or a cruise? Cruise! I love the ocean!!
  5. Your favorite “kid” movie? Snow White
  6. Celebrity crush? Johhny Depp (When he plays Jack Sparrow)
  7. Dream race? NYC Marathon
  8. Favorite blog? You have to ask?! It’s a toss-up between you and Eat Run Sail
  9. Italian food, Greek Food or Asian? Asian.
  10. Favorite sports team? I don’t have one? (Okay, now I am just starting to sound lame!)
  11. What was your first concert? I believe it was George Strait.
You’re It: *If you’ve already been tagged (most of you probably have!) or wish not to participate, no worries! I was wracking my brains trying to find 11 of you that have not already been tagged!!
  1. Elle at Eat Run Sail
  2. Ashely at ashley & dizzle
  3. Kali at Finishing Firsts
  4. Kim at Gluten-free is Life
  5. Sarah at Couch to “Athlete”
  6. John @ Pleading the Phyth
  7. Amy at Finish Strong
  8. Yvonne at Half Past Wonderful
  9. (I realize this is probably a violation of the rules, but…)
  10. (Anyone who wants to answer my questions and hasn’t been tagged although I don’t think there are any of you left?!?)
  11. YOU! (Yes, I realize this is the lazy way out. I have been working on this post for two days now. TWO!)
Your Questions:
  1. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  2. What is your favorite book?
  3. What is your favorite distance to run?
  4. What is your favorite season of the year?
  5. What is your favorite holiday?
  6. Do you like to make lists?
  7. How many states (places) have you lived in?
  8. How long have you been blogging?
  9. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  10. What is your favorite animal?
  11. What is your favorite (non-running) outdoor activity?

Until the next mile marker,

Jumping [Back?] on the Bandwagon with Two Races this Week!

Apparently it’s all or nothing with me. Lately, I can’t have a regular training week, but I can run two races and live to tell about it!

The Goofy isn’t getting any farther away, so I have been working on getting some miles in, slowly, but surely.

Last Sunday I ran/walked the Emerald City Quarter Marathon with my friend and running buddy, Mandy. It was so much fun! The Emerald is a race that is near and dear to my heart after I ran it last year and scored a gigantic PR with Duane during the Half. Plus, this was the second annual race so I have run it every year so far! 🙂  
I actually enjoyed both courses, but I think the Half is my favorite. Mandy and I committed to running it together next September. This, by the way, is the Mandy that just had a baby three weeks ago and she was out there run walking 6.55 miles – what’s my excuse!? Here we are crossing the finish line:

If you were to ask me why I like the Emerald City so much, I would tell you it is because of the atmosphere! M3S puts on a great race and their events are always upbeat and fun. No matter how slow or fast you run M3S makes you feel as if you are part of the team!Plus, they have the World Famous MIT pace and balloon team so you know exactly how fast you are running and no onefinishes last! Score! The race bling – a “gem of a finisher’s medal” – is second to none!
Me at the Finish Line.

 This race was jam-packed with friends, fun and Lucky 13 madness!

Keri and yes, that’s my sister.
Me and some of the Lucky 13’s before the race! 

Me, Kim, Robert, Laurel (all first-time marathoners NEXT WEEK) and Jenn before the race.
Me, Mandy and Keri after the race.
Me, Mollie, Jennifer, Mandy and Deb after the race!

Me and Dave – Blogger Meet-up! First time we met in “real” life.
Mandy and Me.
Amy (who ran the Half!) and Me.
Sisters. 🙂
Jennifer and Me
Me and Julie
Heather (One of the World-Famous Pacers!) and Me.

I walked this race with a throbbing toe – it was numb by the time I was finished. I was running in my regular Brooks, but clearly I am due for some new shoes so I am on that adventure now. I can’t find any that I like and that work for me. I think I am an Asics girl, I want to go back to those, but I need a good shoe that fits my foot.
I will never forget this race – just like last year – for many reasons, but mostly because of the time I was able to share with Mandy. We talked a lot about so many different things – even my Mom, which was wonderful. It was good to talk about her with someone who understands what I am feeling. And we talked about her ‘lil runner too!  
We finished in 2 hours and we ran the first and last half a mile. Official time was pretty much dead on 2:00:10. Nice job, Mandy!
Last night, I ran the A&F Challenge 5K with my sister. Sarah arrived just in time to watch us get a late start too, and it was great to have a friendly face in the crowd. Again, the rain that has become Central Ohio held off for the actual run. It was a slow go for me on what was a surprisingly challenging course – miles 0.5-1.5 miles were steadily uphill. I finished (unofficially) in 45 minutes. I had trouble breathing, and I am not sure, but it may have been because of the humidity.  Here we are finishing. I am on the left in pink and Mollie is on the right – she smoked an annoying running who we were playing cat-and-mouse with (who also wasn’t very nice) right at the end!

A&F, while an expensive race, provides probably the best.swag.ever. including a Fierce drenched (I can’t stop smelling it) A&F T-Shirt that I can actually fit into (and look normal). I got to see the inner-workings of a prestigious company (my sister works in their marketing department) and felt like I was smack-dab in the middle of an up-scale college campus except people were running – in Abercrombie clothes, I might add. The post-menu included gourmet salmon, burgers, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and even more! Beer, wine, cheesecake and chocolate cake too! The party included live entertainment and probably lasted well into the night, from what I hear. I am, however, can only handle about one late night a year so I left after grabbing some dinner. It was a fun night, and I thank my sister for inviting me for the second year in a row!
Happy Friday Bloggers both far and near!
Until the next mile marker, 

In case you missed it:

Enter my Giveaway HERE for your chance to win my 26.2 Marathon Woman Prize Pack, including an autographed book by Kathrine Switzer – the first woman to officialy run the Boston Marathon. You only have until this Sunday to enter!

Look for me!
Please consider voting for me to be a part of Team Refuel! You can do so once a day until September 15th HERE. Search for me by name – Sara Wyen. To learn more about chocolate milk as recovery fuel and what I plan to do with the grant money if I am selected, please visit THIS post. Thank you. I appreciate any votes that I receive and the time you take to think of me.

 MY RUN is being released on DVD on 09/20/2011. Don’t wait – reserve your copy today! After tragically losing his wife to breast cancer and struggling to raise three young children on his own, real life super hero and modern day Forrest Gump, Terry Hitchcock seized on an idea. He wanted to accomplish the impossible: run 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days to bring attention to the incredibly difficult lives of single-parent families. He ran in spite of freezing rain and unbearable heat, in spite of chest pains and bone fractures that wracked his 57-year-old body.  He just kept running – each day, every dayCheck out my review of this inspirational film about running marathons and also the marathons of life HERE and look for me in the credits too!