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Foody Friday - Chili

I think most people love chili. It's so versatile whether you want it spicy or mild, with or without meat...even vegetables are optional. You can really make it anyway you want and today's recipe is for Beef and Guinness Chili. It sounds delicious and is so simple! It comes to us from the amazing duo writing team of Cathy & DD MacRae who you probably know best from their Hardy Heroines series. Who knew they could cook? Although Cathy is quick to give all the credit to DD...I like to think of them as an inseparable pair ;)


Beef and Guinness Chili Serves 4 and can be doubled 1 tbsp olive oil 1 large yellow onion, diced 1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped 1-1.25 lb ground beef 1 1/2-2 tbsp chili powder – I use half chipotle chili powder, half regular for more depth 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp ground cumin salt, to taste 2 tbsp light brown sugar 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes 1 (12 oz) bottle dark beer (I used Guinness) 1-2 tbsp cornmeal, optional

3 cloves of Garlic

5+ slices of Bacon (I use more, because why not?) 1. Warm oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Crisp bacon then remove. Add onions, garlic, peppers and sauté 5 minutes. Add beef. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in spices, salt, and brown sugar. Add tomatoes and beer. Stir and bring to a boil. Add bacon. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes or until thick and soupy. Stir in cornmeal if you want a thicker chili. 2. Serve chili hot, topped with any of the following: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, sliced scallions or fresh cilantro.



How easy is that? Hubby is the better cook, and this is one of his specialties. It takes him almost no time to make this lovely chili, and it’s even better the next day! And here's a bit about our new book, The Highlander's Pirate Bride.


Set just before Yule, the weather is cold, dreich, bitter. I’ll bet they’d like a good pot of chili bubbling on the stove.


As the pirate The Black MacNeill, Rona MacNeill has stolen more than one English ship to keep her clan from starving. With Yule only days away, will the theft of the wrong ship land her in a hangman’s noose? Or the arms of a Highlander?


Rona MacNeill has done everything she can to help her small, impoverished clan—except marry for money. Her luck seems to lie in stealing ships, not attracting suitors. Only days before Yule, she seeks one last ship with stores to keep her people fed over the long, harsh winter. Too bad her luck has run out.


Pedr MacLean is happy to be the younger (by three minutes) son of Baron MacLean. His days are filled with running the family’s shipping business and sailing the world. His heart belongs to the sea—or so he thinks—until one of his ships is stolen, and the woman responsible turns his world upside down.


Drawn to Rona’s strength and love of the sea, Pedr will agree to her father’s demand—information on the whereabouts of his ship in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Will Rona find herself caught between a marriage of convenience and a hangman’s noose? Or will she discover something far more compelling?


The Highlander’s Pirate Bride is the swash-buckling seventh addition to the Hardy Heroines series. If you like pirates, rags-to-riches, and swoon-worthy Highlanders, you’ll love this high-seas romance.



To whet your appetite for The Highlander’s Pirate Bride, here’s an excerpt. Pedr MacLean has arrived at the MacNeill keep on the Isle of Gigha, seeking the ship he believes was stolen by the notorious pirate the Black MacNeill. He’s also skirting his da’s demand he wed and settle down. Rona MacNeill just might change his mind. Enjoy!



Wind whipped the door to the hall open, slamming it against the wall. Water quickly patterned the floor as a black-clad figure raced inside.

“Da! There’s a strange ship . . ..”

The young woman skidded to a halt on the stone floor. Her gaze slewed from the laird to Pedr and Sten.

“My apologies. I dinnae know we expected guests.”

Her hair, dark with rain and sleet, plastered against her head, one heavy strand straying across her forehead. Her cloak, made of supple, well-tanned seal hide, dripped water onto the floor. Boots showed beneath the hem which rode several inches above her toes.

Smoky gray eyes stared intently at Pedr. He grinned.

“Good evening, m’lady. I am Pedr MacLean.”

Her eyes widened and she cast another look at her da.

“My daughter, Rona. My only child,” Laird MacNeill said. He leaned back in his chair and sent Pedr a speculative look. “Baron MacLean’s son, ye say? Ye’ve a twin.”

Pedr startled. This had nothing to do with his lost ship or pirates. The hairs on the back of his neck rose in warning.

“Aye. My brother Alex. I run the shipping business.”

A wily grin lit the laird’s face. “Ye run the shipping, eh? Could that mean yer brother is yer da’s heir? I heard a rumor there have been quite a few lassies paraded through Morvern this past sennight. Lookin’ fer a bride, is he?”

“Da.” Rona’s voice rumbled in warning.

Pedr’s brows arched. A tremor darted through him, and his heart skipped a beat. How did he go from hunter to hunted?

He firmly quashed the urge to run.

“He has chosen a bride,” he managed, his voice steadier than he’d feared. “The betrothal was announced yester eve.”

Laird MacNeill fingered his whiskery chin. “What about ye? Have ye taken a bride?”

Pedr shot a panicked look to Sten. His uncle shrugged.

“I’m here seeking a ship, nae a bride.”

“Of course ye are, laddie.” Laird MacNeill motioned to a serving boy hovering at the doorway. “Pour our guests some hot ale and ask Cook to provide a tray. We mustn’t stint on hospitality, and supper is an hour away.”

The lad scurried from the chamber. Pedr glanced about the room, noting again the barrenness of the hall. There would likely be no feast at the MacNeill keep this holiday season.

At the MacNeill’s gesture, Pedr and his men settled into chairs. Rona slipped the cloak from her shoulders and draped it on a hook near the hearth. Her slim figure displayed admirably in trousers and tunic. She appeared nothing like the lasses taking up space at the MacLean tables this week past.

Her hair, beginning to dry about her face, had lightened, and shimmered gold in the firelight. Pedr rather liked the effect.

The old man set his gaze on his daughter. “Rona, these gentlemen are here about a ship. Ye wouldnae know aught of a ship which shouldnae be in our harbor, aye?”

The look she shot him pricked Pedr’s curiosity.

“We’ve naught but our own birlinns, Da.”

Laird MacNeill nodded slowly. “Young Pedr MacLean asked about the Black MacNeill. Would ye know aught of the pirate?”

Her eyes widened, then she scowled. “The Black MacNeill is naught but a legend. A story to scare weans who misbehave.”

Pedr leaned forward, forearms on his knees. “The legend is of a pirate who doesnae leave a wake of blood and death. What sort of pirate leaves crewmen and guards alive—albeit with a lump on their heids as big as a ploughman’s fist.”

“As I said, a legend,” Rona retorted. She turned to the laird. “Da, if ye’ll excuse me, I wish to change out of my wet clothes.”

Without waiting for his consent, she bolted for the stairs.

Laird MacNeill waved a hand. “Forgive my daughter. She’s nae in the first blush of youth, and having such a man as yerself in the hall has addled her wits.”

Again, the hairs on the back of Pedr’s neck spiked. “Do ye have something ye wish to say?” he demanded.

A smile spread on the laird’s face. “I have a proposition for ye. In return for information about yer ship, I’ll ask ye tae wed my daughter.”


Grab your copy of The Highlander’s Pirate Bride here


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