De Ma Cuisine



June 2014



Half Birthday Fun – Beef Chili

Written by , Posted in Beef, Cheese, Dinner, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Main Dishes, Meat, Potlucks, Sides, Soups, Thoughts, Vegetables


Tim’s birthday is on Christmas Eve. We always try to make it special. But, the day is usually a mixture of birthday and Christmas Eve celebrations.

He is always a good sport about it.

But, this year, I thought that a half birthday celebration would be nice. An entire day devoted to celebrating him.

The day was filled with things that he loves.

We started with doughnuts. We’ve discovered a place that’s close enough to walk to. Often on Saturday mornings we will take the dog for a walk and get ourselves a treat.


Then he went to a movie with a couple friends while I set up for later.


We invited a few friends to continue the celebration of things that Tim loves.

Things like candy, caramel corn, and Blue Moon.


Dinner was more of his favorites: hot dogs, beef chili, store bought potato salad, fruit salad, and chips.

He loves the things that I cook. He’s fine with our healthy lifestyle. So it’s fun to surprise him with things that aren’t so healthy once in a while (although I used organic hot dogs and organic grass fed beef for the chili, so I still felt good about eating it).

It was a fun treat. (I maaaay have felt a little bit sick afterwards, but it was worth it. ;))


There was laughter. Lots of laughter.


Another favorite is ice cream. It’s pretty much an entire food group for Tim.

A serving size for him is a third of a carton.

We’ve discovered a little ice cream shop called Quenelle (pronounced kuh-nell). They make all of their ice cream. It’s insanely good. An ice cream cake from Quenelle seemed like the perfect way to end our little dinner.

It was.

I don’t know that I’ve heard as many exclamations about how good a dessert was as I did that night.

The cake was a layer of nutella, a layer of cookies and crème fraiche, with a devil’s food cake layer at the bottom.

That expression “we all scream for ice cream” – yeah, we did.

I accidentally put trick candles on the cake. I didn’t know that we had them. It was a trick on everyone.


As the light faded, we lit candles and sat for hours around the table.


The evening was one of those times when, as I went inside to get something and looked out the window, I just kinda stopped, and almost got a little bit choked up, looking at some of our dear friends gathered around our table. We’re so thankful for the little community of loved ones we have here in L.A.


I figured I should feed people chili. It’s easy and most people like it. It’s perfect in a bowl, or to top hot dogs. I made it the day before, then re-heated it the day of and kept it hot in the crock pot. Finding as many things to do beforehand made half birthday day so much more relaxed. I don’t think I stressed out at all. We had fun the whole day long.


Tim loves chili with beans. He’s happy eating it when I add tons of veggies. But, since it was his day, I though I’d try something new, and just do it with beef.


It’s pretty simple. The beef is cooked for a little bit with some seasonings. Onions are added partway through.


Since bell peppers are one of his favorite veggies I added two. Plus one hot pepper for just a bit of heat.


I have a hard time cooking without loads of garlic. Whatev.


And then piles of canned diced tomatoes are added in to make it saucy. I cooked it for two hours the first day, then probably a good 4-5 on half birthday day. It doesn’t need the extra day of cooking, but it sure didn’t hurt.


What a fun way to celebrate. It was a good day.

Happy 31 and a Halfth Birthday, Tim!

Beef Chili
Recipe type: Main, Side, Beef, Meat, Dinner, Soup, Chili, Bell Peppers, Easy, Potlucks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 1 T chili powder
  • ½ T sweet paprika
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • pinch cumin
  • pepper
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, leave seeds and ribs (optional), chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2-28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t sriracha hot sauce
  • 2-3 t salt
  • cheese, grated, for topping
  • onions, chopped, for topping
  1. Heat a large soup pot. When hot, add beef and seasonings through pepper. Break apart (or mash using a potato masher) and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add peppers and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  4. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar through salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours, stirring every once in a while.
  6. Served topped with cheese and onions.



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