Saturday, January 29, 2022

Tamed Wildfire Chili Recipe

The weather has been cold here in Indiana. Here's my second favorite chili recipe to warm you up. (My favorite white chicken chili recipe can't be shared.) It's a pretty non-traditional recipe and grew from grabbing random things from the pantry.  Yes, noodles go in chili and you don't need beans. Do you have a cold weather favorite recipe? 


  • 1 pound of ground beef browned and drained.
  • Some pasta noodles. How ever much you want. I usually use small elbow macaroni noodles. Cooked and drained. Chili needs noodles, but not a ton. Maybe a cup or a cup and a half? 2 cups? You pick.  
  • How ever much chicken or beef stock/broth that you want. More stock = more soupy. You like it soupy? Put more stock in. You like it thicker? Less stock. I use about 20 ounces. I have noticed that the noodles soak up some of the soupiness while simmering, so you might need to add more. 
  • 1 jar of traditional spaghetti pasta sauce. 24 oz. Prego. Ragu, Store brand.
  • 1 small can of Rotel Tomatoes : Original Diced with Green Chilies
  • Optional can of beans - I don't use beans, but you could add a can of chili beans or my favorite Bush's White Chili Beans
  • Chili Powder - however much you want to taste. I use a lot. 
  • Cumin - however much you want to taste. I use a lot.
  • Salt - however much you want to taste
  • Pepper - however much you want to taste
  • Garlic Salt - however much you want to taste
  • Minced Onions - however much you want to taste


  • Brown your ground beef and drain.
  • Cook your noodles and drain.
  • Put your noodles and your beef in a pot.
  • Add your chicken stock, pasta sauce, Rotel tomatoes, and optional beans to the pot
  • Add seasonings
  • Let is simmer for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally
  • Devour
Let me know what you think. 

Maybe I'll remember to take a picture one time. 

*Disclaimer - I'm not a chef, I only pretend to be one occasionally. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Keep the Mosquitos Away, Taking Action, and Reinventing Yourself


I am horrible at New Year’s resolutions. I have expectations of grandeur and inevitably succumb to the inevitable and I stop doing what I wanted to do.

I fail.

A lot.

So, this year, I’m trying to work more on developing habits instead of some lofty goal.

I’m going to continue my One Word ritual because it’s simple. Well, coming up with the word is simple. Following through is the hard part.

This year’s one word is Action.


Action, as in not stagnant. Keep the Mosquitoes Away. (More on that later.)

Action, as in pull those pistols. (Josey Wales reference)

Action, as in intentional action. Saying, “No.” sometimes is a good thing.

Action, as in see the need, fill the need.

Action, as in the pursuit of progress, not perfection.

Action, as in not waiting. Procrastination is something I struggle with.

Action, as in aligning to the big picture.

Action, as in do worthwhile stuff.

Action, as in waking up a little earlier for some reflection time.

Action, as in “You can’t defeat, what you can’t define.”

Action, as in tracking something to see how you’re doing.

Action, as in being efficient and effective.

Action, as in not doom scrolling. I struggle with this.

Action, as in investing time, not spending it.

Action, as in controlling time. Each of us has 24 hours in a day.

I know we’re still in the middle of COVID. I know life is tough right now. I know teachers are working their butts off: covering classes, managing blended learning, having half of the class gone one day, and the other half the next, etc. etc. etc. I’m not downplaying any of these tough times. I see your exhausted faces. I see your will to just get through the period, the subject, and the day. I also can’t dismiss the fact that great things always come out of struggle. Through the struggle is typically where the strength is found.

Keep going. ……..

….which brings us to...

Know you’re doing hard stuff.

Know you’re in the trenches.

Know that it’s difficult right now.

As if you didn’t already know all of those things.

But also know that we unlock our greatness during these times. The following are small changes/activities/habits you can make to continue pushing through. Start small.

Whenever I think of being stagnant, I think of standing water. Standing water brings mosquitoes. Mosquitoes suck the life out of you. Keep the mosquitoes away. Keep moving forward.

Maybe it’s something small that you will change in your delivery style?

Maybe you’ll change the way you plan lessons after listening to student feedback?

Maybe it’s how you’ll lean into relationships and share more about the things you love?

Maybe the doldrums got you down, and you are choose to be more happy?

Maybe you’ll let go of some control, so that you can control the things you want to: family time, hobby time, the weekends, etc.

Maybe you had some goals, but they didn’t work, so you’ll focus on what you don’t want and make Anti-Goals?

Maybe you are stuck in a rut, so you expand your mind? (Possibly not appropriate for students)

Maybe you’ll repurpose an assignment into something that benefits others and involves your community? (see PBL)

Maybe you’ll decide to change the way you talk to yourself?

Maybe you just say, “Lets do this!” and get into the biggest state of flow you or your students can get into?

Maybe you’ll embrace the chaos and are still moving forward?

Maybe you didn’t want to come to school today, but did anyway.

Maybe you’ll implement research-backed brain-based strategies that work so you know your teaching will be effective?

Maybe you’ll sign up for some EduProtocols PD that will change the way you teach?

Maybe you’ll add more visuals and will learn how to draw faces quickly?

Maybe you’ll start a deeper reflection period to help manage and understand yourself like talent-based branching, like they do in the Army?

Maybe you’ll ask more questions?

Whatever it is, keep trying new things. Keep leaping. Keep finding ways to reinvent yourself and your systems (I’m reading this currently). Cut the fat. Focus on the main things. Try to find times for yourself. Keep going. Keep being awesome, because you are.

Keep finding ways to reinvent yourself and your systems.

Maybe the struggle has benefits, even if we don’t want the struggle?

Put one foot in front of the other. When you’re tired, rest. When you’re rested, pick up where you left off. Ask for help when needed. Lean on others.

May your day be great.

Stay Curious.

Give more than you take.

Try something new.