Smoked Pork Salad & Book Review

smoked pulled pork salad

I hope your summer has been awesome!!  Here in Missouri we are at 100 degrees or more every day and 101 on Saturday without the heat index!  So instead of swimming in the bathwater temperature pool, we had a family reunion on Sunday.  For the main meat, I purchased 10 pounds of pork shoulder to smoke.  I love this electric smoker!  It makes everything taste good.  Alton Brown had one in his episodes and I have been hooked ever since.  Thanksgiving will never be the same – we liked the smoked turkey better than the roasted.

Book Review:

Book review time!

I have been reading “Positive Discipline: Tools for Teachers” although many of the skills would work for parents as well.  Each section is very thoughtfully laid out and peppered with many real-life examples.  The chapters begin with the discipline tool such as “Greetings,” describes the tool, highlights several examples of using the tool in real classrooms, gives 3-5 tips on using the tool and finally – my favorite part – explains the research behind the tool.  The tools in the book remind me of “Teaching with Love and Logic” and “Discipline with Dignity” if you are familiar with those books and programs.  There are 281 pages of tools and examples in the book, so there is something in it for every teacher.  I would highly recommend this book for any brand new teachers and teachers that would like more discipline tools to use and try in the classroom.  In my experience, every tool does not work on every student.  Each child is different and some respond differently than others due to family history or simply personality.  One chapter in particular explains Curiosity Questions.  Instead of barking at the student to finish the worksheet, it begins with a conversational question.  This question starts a discussion and I know many of us have had those “Aha!” moments when they had a short discussion with the student: I can’t focus, my mom is in the hospital, my little brother cried all night, etc.  Of course, learning objectives do need to be met, but a little grace goes a long way when trying to start a conversation and make a plan on how to overcome those obstacles.

In short, there is something for every teacher in this book.  The cartoons and quotations peppered throughout the book break up the text well. The author’s tone is conversational and easy to read and understand.  I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.



Leftovers to the rescue!  I have made this with leftover restaurant smoked pork and homemade.  Both are equally delicious!  Scale this up or down for a huge BBQ or a small family dinner or a healthy and tasty lunch!!

This is my all time FAVORITE BBQ SAUCE recipe.  I whip it up in a jar, shake and good to go!  No high fructose corn syrup and preservatives necessary.  There is enough vinegar in my sauce to keep it in the fridge for quite a while.   I don’t use liquid smoke too often, but the price is cheap and it lasts a long time in the pantry.

The corn bread muffins were from my favorite corn bread recipe, too.  Feel free to use store bought.  Or make these and freeze the leftovers for another day.


Smoked Pork Salad & Book Review
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 corn muffins
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups smoked pulled pork
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the corn muffin into small cubes. Spray with olive oil cooking spray. Place on a cookie sheet and toast for 6 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Divide the lettuce into 4 bowls.
  3. Add about 1/2 cup pork to each bowl. Add tomatoes, some sliced onion and corn bread croutons on top. Now drizzle BBQ sauce or combine ranch and BBQ sauce together if that floats your boat.
  4. Enjoy!



White Chicken Chili | Instant Pot

Hey Everyone!  I’m still alive 🙂  Just took a long pause to continue my photography and teach 4th grade full-time for a few months.  Next month I will be a full-time student at the University of Missouri and possibly part or full-time teacher as well… we’ll see how this goes.  🙂

But hey, we are here for the recipes, not my opinion on the last presidential election that we missed on the blog.  Whew!  Maybe that’s a good thing we missed it….

Book Review: 

Rosalind Wiseman has written a comprehensive guide to helping girls through the teenage years and even the tweens. This is a must read for any parent that has a daughter! The author delivers in a conversational tone a plethora of advice from years of clinical experience. Quotations from teenage girls are scattered throughout the book giving firsthand knowledge of the world of “queen bees.”

The first section is about friendships, groups of friends and the roles friends play. Next, parents and parenting styles are discussed. Then, anger management and what to do about parties. Online communication and boys are included in the chapters as well. The book is lengthy… which is a blessing and a curse. “Queen Bees and Wannabes” has so many scenarios that it will probably have what you are dealing with or what you will be dealing with in years to come. All 412 pages will not apply to everyone. But I can guarantee that some of this book will apply to all parents and help them – and their daughters – through whatever physical or emotional hurdles they may have to face and guide them through facing it together.

I received a sample of this book to read from Blogging for books so i can give my honest and unbiased opinion/review.


My Instant Pot is still my new favorite toy!   Check out this blog post with more things to do with the Instant Pot like:  make yogurt from just milk, make a 10 hour roast in 1 hour, cook chicken without drying it out, make chili in 10 minutes, hard-boiled eggs where the shell comes off in one piece, make perfectly cooked brown or white rice.

Now to the chili… we have tons of deer meat and been eating chili like crazy the past few months.  To shake things up a bit, I made white chicken chili.  I have tried several ways and finally came across some ingredients that help a lot:  Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced green chiles.  YUM!  Try to find them if you can.  If not, that’s okay and find the Mexican food aisle in your store and they will have canned green chilies.

*If you want to use dried beans – that works too!  1/2 cup dried beans = 1 can of beans.  So, I used my Instant Pot the previous day to pressure cook the soaked beans.  They were done in 12 minutes on high pressure using natural release.

White Chicken Chili (and Instant Pot Option)
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 and 1/2 cups diced chicken breasts or tenderloin (with tendon removed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium preferred)
  • 2 cans (3 cups) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces canned green chiles, diced
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  1. For regular pot: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink – about 8 minutes. Add garlic with the spices and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Once the garlic and spices are fragrant, add the broth, beans, chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. For Instant Pot: Turn on the Instant Pot to “Saute” on Normal/Medium. Add oil and once hot add the chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink – about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook those another 30 seconds. Turn Instant Pot off.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the Instant Pot back on to Manual mode and set for 10 minutes. Or press “Chili” and reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. Make sure the vent is sealed of course!
  5. Release the pressure and your chili is finished! If you want it thicker, put the Instant Pot on saute with the lid off to reduce the chili.



Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Herb crusted pork tenderloin recipe

On the home front is this super sweet family session from last week.  I love the nearby park and taking photos where families with small children that only need to drive 5 minutes away.  It’s so hard with small children especially in the evening!  These are some of my favorites…

Mary Riley Photography Children Photography Wentzville St. Louis MO

Mary Riley Photography Children Photography Wentzville St. Louis MO


Mary Riley Photography Family Wentzville St. Louis MO


Recipe:  If you are a busy family like this one, you need this recipe in your life!  Pork tenderloin is one of the most versatile, cheap, quick and easy dinners on the face of the planet.  And let’s face it.  We all get sick of chicken.  Okay, well I do.  Check pork tenderloin alternatives here!

So super simple to freezer and eat.  Or prep this on Sunday to make on Monday or Tuesday.  Costco sells pork tenderloin packages in 2 packs with 2 tenderloins in each.

Herb crusted pork tenderloin recipe

How I cook pork tenderloin:

If I have lots of time (25-30 minutes) –> Leave whole and cook.

If I have no time at all (10-15 minutes) –>  Cut into 1/2″ or 3/4″ medallions and cook in a skillet.  The increased surface area will cook it faster.   Or one of those large grill pans that go on your stove top.

Herb crusted pork tenderloin recipe

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 2 – 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed (silver skin removed)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 lemon zested, optional
  1. Add olive oil to a 12″ cast iron skillet and preheat the skillet on medium high heat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While they heat up, .combine the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl: garlic, thyme, basil, rosemary and a little zest of a lemon if you like. Rub these onto the pork.
  3. Cut the pork into medallions if you like. Or I usually cut mine once in half to ensure faster cooking.
  4. Once the pork is full of herbs, put into the skillet. Brown on one side about 4-5 minutes. Flip. Brown on all sides and the last side, don’t flip. Just put the skillet into the oven
  5. The size of your pork tenderloin will greatly determine cooking time. I start at 20 minutes. I also use a probe thermometer and set it for 145 degrees. Once the internal temperature hits 145, pull the skillet out of the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
You could also make this in the pressure cooker for 14 minutes on high.[br]You could also make this in the slow cooker for 4 hours on low.


Pot Roast & Instant Pot Recipes


Pot Roast Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Happy Sunday!



There were over 200,000 Instant Pots sold on Amazon on Prime Day.  I have been posting about it since I received mine this winter and thought I would compile.

Use these recipes as guides.  The shredded chicken can be used with BBQ sauce, salsa or just plain to freeze for later.  The rice pudding can be made using the Rice or Brown Rice instructions and served for a side dish with fish or a stir fry.


Rice Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Rice Pudding

Homemade Yogurt Instant Pot Recipe

Greek Yogurt and Plain Yogurt


Shredded Chicken Instant Pot Recipe

Shredded Chicken

Pork Tenderloin Instant Pot Recipe

Chili Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Pork Chops Instant Pot Recipe

Asian Style Pork Chops with Broccoli

Chicken Enchiladas Instant Pot Recipe

Chicken Enchiladas


I realized I have made pot roast in the pressure cooker half a dozen times and never posted it!  Here is the pot roast we make.  Cut into chunks for beef stew and faster cooking times 🙂

Forget to put the 3 pound roast in the slow cooker this morning?  Make it in the Instant Pot tonight!  We think it tastes BETTER than the slow cooker.  Plus you get the added health benefits of the pressure cooker.  Woo hoo!

For this recipe, I combined the list of America’s Test Kitchen’s pot roast ingredients with the method of a pressure cooker.  America’s Test Kitchen know their stuff.  If I had to have just one cookbook to carry with me on a deserted island, it would be “Cook’s Illustrated” by America’s Test Kitchen.

For Beef Stew, I basically follow the same recipe.  I toss a few tablespoons of flour in there and the meat is already chopped of course.  Then, I cook it on high in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

Pot Roast & Instant Pot Recipes | I Have Made So Far
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 3 lb. chuck roast (I have used bottom round and top round too), trimmed of fat
  • 1-2 onions, quartered
  • 1 carrot, 1″ pieces (or I use 1 cup baby carrots)
  • 1-2 celery ribs, 1″ pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tb. tomato paste (freeze the rest for later)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp, kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1-2 russet potatoes or red potatoes, 1″ chunks (optional)
  • 1 cup water or beef broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
  1. Put your oil in the instant pot and hit “sauté”. Once hot, trim the meat on all sides. Turn machine off.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except peas) into the pot. Seal the pot and make sure the toggle is on “seal” instead of “vent.”
  3. Put the machine on “Beef” or use “Manual” and cook on high pressure for 70 minutes.
  4. Once finished, vent using the quick release method.
  5. If you want to add peas, simply add them now and close the lid. They will cook in the pot for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm and eat!


Asian-Style Pork Chops and Broccoli | Instant Pot

Asian Style Pork Chops and Broccoli

Most stir-fry dishes are the same:  chicken or beef.  I like to have another option in my pocket because well… sometimes you get tired of chicken and beef.  Or, pork chops go on sale and you want to do something else to them other than fry them up in apples and rosemary.  Which happens 99% of the time.

This is another recipe from the super cool book The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.  **I include the recipe for pressure cooker AND stove top**


Even without a pressure cooker…. this $15 book has 500 recipes on a lot of different flavor profiles like Asian style pork, tomato-chile pork chops and rice, turkey breast with mushroom gravy, turkey breast with prosecco and fennel, etc. etc.    I’m not sure the pressure cooker really saved any time on this dish.  But it was fun to try and the pork chops did not dry out as they sometimes can do when cooked on the stove top.

Asian Style Pork Chops and Broccoli2

Asian-Style Pork Chops and Broccoli
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 and 1/2 Tb. toasted sesame oil
  • 4 – 1/2″ thick pork chops (bone in or boneless worked for me)
  • 6 medium scallions (or 1/2 yellow onion in a pinch)
  • 1 tsp. minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tb. dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 Tb. rice vinegar
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (frozen works as well, but try thawing first)
  1. Pressure Cooker: Hit “brown” or “saute” on the pressure cooker and heat the oil. Brown the pork chops slightly. Add the onion and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  2. Add the broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook 10 minutes on high pressure.
  3. Bring the pressure back down quickly with the valve/quick release.
  4. Add the broccoli. Put the lid back on and allow the broccoli to cook for about 5 minutes. Closer to 8-10 minutes for frozen.
  5. Serve meat with broccoli and sauce at the bottom of the pot.
  6. For Stove top: Take a large wok or pan and heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat. Brown the pork chops slightly. Add the onion and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  7. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT broccoli. Stir that around. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium/medium low, simmer and cover for 5 minutes. The pork chops will be done and should be 140 degrees internally.
  8. Add broccoli and put the cover back on the pan. Cook 5 minutes longer.
  9. Optional: serve with soy sauce.
Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to increase the heat.[br][br]If you don’t realize the pork chops are finished so quickly, then simply microwave the broccoli and add to the sauce/pork chops. Mine finished so fast that the pot was now on warm instead of hot – not hot enough to cook the broccoli. So, I had to cook the broccoli in the microwave.[br][br]As a side, I cooked brown rice in the pressure cooker before the pork chops. 22 minutes on high pressure with 1 cup brown rice and 1 and 1/8 cups water. The rice was kept warm in the oven.[br][br]Recipe from The Great Big Pressure Cookbook


Tortellini with Italian Sausage

Tortellini with Red Sauce on Whisk Together 2-3078


I purchased a rash guard last summer for swimming and it was the BEST investment I ever made, so I thought I would share it here.  Since they went on sale, I purchased another one so that I have one for swimming and one for just hanging out at the pool or if I know we will be outside a long time.  I know they are $31 or so (normally they are $50), but I find this cheaper than skin cancer and/or 5 bottles of sunscreen.  With a UPF of 50, you don’t have to worry about your chest or shoulders getting burned.  I wash mine in the washing machine on gentle.  They dry super quickly and the new designs this year are super cute.



Recipe:  The entire family LOVED this meal.  The kids even asked for seconds!!  Super simple and delicious, I cannot wait to add this to the binder of all things pot luck and serving crowds.

Tortellini with Red Sauce on Whisk Together-3097

Why we loved this recipe:

1.  Easy and every day ingredients.
2.  Fast!
3.  Different ways to cook it so I can change the cooking method based on time I have.
4.  Freezer friendly
5.  Delicious

Tortellini with Red Sauce on Whisk Together-3099


Tortellini with Red Sauce on Whisk Together-3078

Tortellini with Italian Sausage
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
A delicious tomato based pasta dish with an Italian sausage base and topped with creamy cheese.
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage (no casings)
  • 18 oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 9 oz. cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. For the stovetop: cook ground beef and Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain if necessary.
  2. Add marinara sauce and diced tomatoes. Heat through.
  3. Add cheese tortellini. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until tortellini is cooked through.
  4. Sprinkle mozzerella cheese on top. Allow to melt (about 5 minutes). Serve with Parmesan cheese, sprinkle with parsley, or serve as is.
  5. For slow cooker: cook ground beef and Italian sausage in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat until brown. Drain.
  6. Add meat to slow cooker. Add marinara sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook on low 4-8 hours. Add cheese tortellini and cover. Cook 15 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Let melt for about 5 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese or parsley or as is.
Recipe adapted from


Slow Cooker St. Louis Style Ribs

Slow Cooker Ribs-2623 on Whisk Together

Happy June Everyone!

Books:  I started Brenda Maddox’s book “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Side of DNA” which is a biography of the woman behind the famous “X” photograph of the crystallized DNA molecule.  This photograph led Watson and Crick to the structure of DNA and the Nobel Prize in 1962.  Since Rosalind died of cancer in 1958, she was never even nominated.  

Exercise:  I’m going to try and update the Exercise workouts I like.  I have already posted all of my DVD’s here on the blog.  The following workout is Tabata style – where you work hard for a certain amount of time and then rest for 10 seconds.

45 Minute Total Body Tabata Workout

Plus, it’s free!

Slow Cooker Ribs-2628 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  I am all about the slow cooker during the summer.  It heats up our food and doesn’t heat up the house!   This recipe comes from America’s Test Kitchen “Slow Cooker Revolution”.  The slow cooker is perfect in breaking down the connective tissue in ribs as well as developing a nice tender cut of meat.

I get the St. Louis style ribs not because I’m from St. Louis, but because I like the cut.  The meat seems more substantial than baby back ribs as well.  St. Louis doesn’t have anything to do with how they are cooked.  This cut of rib is a spare rib with the sternum bone, cartilage and rib tips removed which create that nice rectangular rack.  Sometimes you can find them with a seasoning already rubbed in.  If so, simply skip the spice rub step and go directly to putting them into the slow cooker!  Grab some cole slaw and corn on the cob and LOTS of napkins for a full summer meal.

For the BBQ sauce, I use my homemade no-cook sauce.

Slow Cooker St. Louis Style Ribs
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 pounds St. Louis style ribs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
  • cooking spray
  1. Spray the inside of a 5-7 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the spices together: paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Rub onto the meat.
  3. Place meat into the slow cooker with the meaty side facing outward.
  4. Pour half of the BBQ sauce onto the ribs.
  5. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  6. At this point, you can remove from the slow cooker and serve with the rest of the BBQ sauce.
  7. Alternatively, at this point you could move them to a foil-lined cookie sheet and tent with foil. Meaty side DOWN.
  8. Broil the ribs 10″ away from the heating element. Skim the leftover liquid in the slow cooker of fat and discard. Brush some of the leftover liquid onto the ribs. Broil about 3 minutes – until browning occurs. Flip and brush again with liquid. Broil another 10 minutes – until browning occurs. Rest 10 minutes. You can boil and reduce the liquid more to serve on the side.
Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Slow Cooker Revolution”


Slow Cooker Chicken Nacho Chili

Slow Cooker Chicken Nacho Chili-2162 on Whisk Together

Book Update:  “I hate affected, niminy-piminy chits!”

Louisa May Alcott said it.  Not me!  Ahhh, you gotta love those non-conforming transcendentalists.  Oh wait.  Everyone conformed before the 1960’s.  Right?  😉

Quinoa Spaghetti-1513 on Whisk Together


This is a new favorite find at Trader Joe’s.  Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa Spaghetti Pasta.  My kids would never eat the whole wheat spaghetti pasta I purchased at the normal grocery store, but they do like eating this!  Tastes great and a fast meal with the Three Cheese Pasta Sauce.

Slow Cooker Chicken Nacho Chili-2173 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  So… this recipe is awesome because….

1.  You make it in the slow cooker.  I needed something ready to eat after Easter service, so I threw this in the crockpot before getting ready and heading off.

2.  It’s easy peasy and no fuss ingredients.

3.  You can turn it into more of a soup by adding more chicken broth.  Or you can use it as nacho toppings.  Or you can eat it as a thickened chicken chili.

4.  It is DEE-licious.

5.  You can freeze the whole meal before you cook it.  You can make 2-3 of these to stash in the freezer for a quick meal later. Or, freeze the leftovers!

6.  And I’m making it again tonight.

Slow Cooker Chicken Nacho Chili-2177 on Whisk Together

So there you have it and why you should make it!  Now print it, pin it, or whatever you want.  You need to make this.  And yes, I vote for purchasing smoky paprika.  Sooooo good and smells heavenly.  Most paprika I buy has no flavor or scent, just a red color.  But the smoky paprika always added some nice smoky notes to my food without me having to actually smoke the food.  Or just use what you got!  I usually have most of the ingredients for this dish.


Slow Cooker Chicken Nacho Chili
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 16 ounces (or 1 -14 oz. can) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes (or use Rotel if you like spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or pizza seasoning if you’re out of oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) pinto beans or light or dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 (about 2 lbs.) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  1. In a slow cooker, dump all of the ingredients with the chicken breasts on top nestled into the ingredients below.
  2. Cook on low 3-4 hours. Shred chicken inside crock pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips, corn tortillas, chopped scallions, salsa, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, guacamole
If you need to increase the cooking time, or have skinless/boneless chicken thighs on hand, then you could use those and increase the cooking time to 4-5 hours on low heat.  [br][br]Recipe adapted from


Maddox’s Favorite Chili

Maddox's Chili-1690 - on Whisk Together

Greetings everyone!  I’m so happy we have some new readers from Money Saving Mom and from Blogelina with us.  Today I would like to share with you the new friends we have in our backyard.  They like our bird feeder quite a lot!  There are normally about 8 of them together, but here is a close up of the three amigos.  The kids and I have named the squirrels: pecan, almond, peanut and cashew.  We haven’t named the deer yet.

**Can you spot deer #4?  He’s hiding!**

Deer-1813 on Whisk Together


Here is a preview of our next craft project how-to.  I love how if fills up a large wall, is customizable to your color scheme and inexpensive.  I found the idea in a Pottery Barn Kids catalog with picture frames and adapted it to a lower cost solution:

Butterfly wall-1700 on Whisk Together

Book update:  I am still plowing through “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doer.  The writing is excellent…. trying to follow to different characters with two different voices flip flopping between time periods is a little difficult to follow.  The setting is World War II Germary and Paris.

Maddox's Chili-1698 - on Whisk Together

Recipe:  I know I know…. it’s getting warmer outside.  But we still love a big bowl of chili here at the Riley household.  🙂  It’s fast, easy, the kids like it, the adults devour it and we’re all happy.  Or pin this recipe for later!  We have had our tummies full of almost every chili recipe imaginable that uses every day ingredients.  Once you get into the big leagues, they start making their own chili powder from scratch and purchase a lot of specialized ingredients for their prize winning chili.

Maddox's Chili-1693 - on Whisk Together

Instead, here is a chili recipe that my son at age 8 can make himself.  This is his favorite chili recipe ever and he has had his share of chili recipes such as:

Chicken Chili,
White Chili,
Texas Chili,
Venison Chili,
Taco Chili,
Chili Mac,
Turkey Pumpkin,
Three Bean Chili,
Plain Ol’ Chili
and Chili Corn Dog Casserole.

But out of all of these, Maddox likes my mom’s recipe the best.  And so here it is and I hope it becomes a favorite of yours as well.

Maddox's Favorite Chili-1553 on Whisk Together

Maddox’s Favorite Chili
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 lb. ground beef or ground venison
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can Chili Magic, mild
  • 1 can Chili Magic, medium
  • 1 – 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  1. In a dutch oven, cook onion and ground beef over medium heat until brown.
  2. Drain meat onto paper towels if needed.
  3. Return meat to pot and add contents of the two Chili Magic cans and crushed tomatoes.
  4. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Turn down heat to medium low and simmer about 45 minutes. Feel free to cover and keep warm up to another hour.

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