Easy Chili

Well Katie asked for me to post this recipe so I thought I would oblidge.  Anyone else have any requests, just let me know!

This is a really easy, tasty chili recipe that anyone can make.  My kids love it served with tortilla chips and a mexican shredded cheese.  I love it topped with sour cream and green onions!  Making my mouth water just thinking about it!



  • 1 pound mixed ground beef and sausage, browned and drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • Ground cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package chili seasoning mix
  • Shredded cheddar, sour cream, chopped green onions, for garnish 

In a skillet brown ground beef and sausage, drain and set aside.

Spray large pot withnonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery and sauté briefly. Stir in the diced and whole tomatoes. Add cumin and chili powder, to taste, and cook for about 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the beans, browned meat, and chili seasoning. Partially cover, and let simmer for 4 hours.

Serve with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions


I have had such a craving for these the last couple of weeks and finally gave in and made them last night.  These are some of my favorite cookies that my mother made when I was a kids.  They are an inexpensive easy recipe that is great to get the kids involved in.  Enjoy!

  • 4 ounces butter or margarine (8 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter, optional
  • 3 cups quick oatmeal or rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place chocolate chips, peanut butter (if used), oats, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Combine the margarine, milk, and sugar in a saucepan; bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 full minute. Combine the hot mixture with the oatmeal and chocolate chip mixture; stir well. working quickly, drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or parchment paper.   When cooled, they are ready to serve.  Store in refrigerator.





One of my family’s favorites.  Great for a cold night when only soup will take the chill out of the air!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound baby spinach, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 3 russet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 (15-ounce) can great northern beans, drained, rinsed
  • 28 ounces beef stock
  • 1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the spinach is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

 Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, andParmesean cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)

 Ladle the soup into bowls and serve!  Amazing served with a crusty bread!

When you think of hiking through the woods or down a trail, you often conjure up an image of smelling the fresh blooming flowers, hearing the birds chip as they come out from a long winter or enjoying the new spring sun.  While these are great aspects of hiking, people are constantly overlooking the benefits of hiking during my favorite season……the fall!

One of the most breathtaking views you can see is the foliage changing deep in the woods as you notice the squirrels running around hiding nuts beneath the freshly fallen leaves. 

The fall gives you an opportunity to experience the crisp air, amazing colors from changing leaves and an over abundance of wildlife.  As the leaves fall and ground cover begins to get sparse, it creates an opportunity to see wildlife that isn’t visible for much of the year.  Rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, and even the occasional fox.  I can’t think of a better way to share the wonders that this Earth has with your family then getting out first hand and showing them. 

Create memories that will last them a lifetime and start a yearly tradition of seeing the animals before they go to sleep for the winter.  You will create not only a budget friendly family activity but an invaluable curiosity in the minds of those little ones as they see and experience the wonders all around us.

If you’re not fortunate enough to live north of the “Mason-Dixon”, here are some places close to me:

Sunken Meadow State Park:   The shores of Sunken Meadow State Park, located in Northport, NY, are on Long Island Sound — the body of water in between Long Island and Connecticut. Explore six miles of hiking trails. Besides being a stunning home to many different sea birds, Sunken Meadow features beautiful shoreline, stunning rock bluffs, marshes, creeks and wooded rolling hills. Part of the 32-mile Greenbelt Trail passes through the park, taking you on a journey through woodlands and along a creek.The neighboring Nissequogue River State Park is an amazing place to hike through. The river, is one of four major rivers on Long Island, and has salt water, brackish and fresh water areas, loads of sea birds and stunning scenery. You can hike right alongside the river on the Greenbelt Trail.For directions and more information visit the New York State Parks Website.

Massapequa Preserve:  Explore the Massapequa Preserve in Nassau Country. It boasts 423 acres of the most diverse and ecologically valuable lands on the island, according to the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums. The beginning of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail begins at Merrick Road and Ocean Avenue in Massapequa at the preserve, and it runs through a lot of it. You’ll see freshwater swamps, marshes, runs along streams, lakes, and sandy bog areas.

Montauk State Park:  Hike to the seals. The Seal Trail at Montauk State Park will take you to a beach area where you can see seals that like to sunbathe during the late winter and spring. It’s a short, easy walk through a diverse eco-system of marsh, beach and woods. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the seals and the abundance of sea birds. The seal hike is located at Montauk Point, a 724-acre park with five miles of hiking trails and plenty of gorgeous beaches to discover.
Long Island Arboretum:   Take a hike through a Long Island arboretum. The Bayard Cutting Arboretum, in Great River, NY, is neighbors to Connetquot River State Park. The arboretum is divided up into eight different sections. Discover winding trails that run through wetlands. Be witness to spectacular views. Many types of birds flock to the land; so bird lovers will take delight here, too.

This is a fantastic recipe as winter gets closer and you want a hearty meal thats sure to please everyone!

Beef Stew


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds stew beef, or eye of round steak cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled, chunked
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat oil in heavy large pot (Dutch Oven) over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


1 cup Oats

2 cups boiling Water

1 yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup moLASSES ,  

1 1/2 TSP SALT, 


4 1/2 CUPS FLOUR    


Welcome to North of the Mason-Dixon!

I started this blog with the idea of connecting with people who share the same ideas and interests as I do.  Just what are those interests and ideas?  Natural, Simple living combined with family values and unselfishness.  The name came from my father who refers to those people so caught up in their own city lives, that they forget family, ideas, home-grown character and the benefits of living simple and only focus on selves.

To give you more about me:  My name is Kyle, I’m a father of two boys, ages 9 and 12, living on Long Island; about 20 minutes outside of New York City with my amazing fiance Kim.  Yes, well below the “Mason-Dixon” line!  I have a huge interest and passion in food and making as much at home as possible.  I have a passion for cutting household expenses as much as possible and living a simple life that gets back to core family values.

I’m hoping to use this blog to share things like recipes, ideas, advice and information to put family first.  Feel free to post and comment as we go through this journey together.