Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Greetings From Our New Home and Game Day Chili

SO, it's been quite a while since I have posted! For some reason, moving was  a lot harder this time around. Maybe because I was sadder to leave this time, or more worried about the kids (because they definitely didn't want to leave!), or just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff. We thought we did a great job of cleaning out when we put our house on the market, but still had to throw out a ton of stuff when we got to the new place. Much smaller closets and fewer kitchen cabinets, and just different in general so stuff didn't fit the same. So if you are moving any time soon, get rid of twice as much as you think you need to (or better yet, don't accumulate it in the first place!)

We drove all the way without stopping because our car was so full, we didn't dare take anything until we got to our destination. The kids and dogs were both great on the trip. We were worried about the dogs, as they are always bad in the car and have never been on a long trip. But I guess they were so nervous, and didn't really have any room to jump around, so they slept the entire 14 hours! We only stopped for gas and bathroom breaks and snacks - did not want to leave the dogs in the car when we were in a restaurant. We arrived in Georgia about 2:30 a.m. It was really dark (obviously) and we were exhausted, so just went to sleep on our air mattresses. The next day I awoke to find these in my yard (on December 31!):

Certainly a nice surprise and greeting in our new home! The weather has been outstanding, warm even by Georgia standards. We have been sitting on the porch in the sun on the weekends. The kids even wore shorts a couple of times!

This is the view from our deck. It is beautiful in the morning when the sun is rising (an hour later in GA than in Illinois!) and when the full moon is out over the trees. I am so thrilled with this, because in our last house we overlooked a busy road and some commercial buildings (at least in winter when there are no leaves on the trees). I didn't even know about the view, as I had not seen the house before we arrived and it wasn't in any of the pictures.

The dogs are loving their new yard. Although we had a fenced yard in the old place, it was always wet and muddy and they couldn't use it much. Here the ground seems to dry pretty quickly after it rains.

They are also enjoying their new couch potato status. In the old house, they weren't allowed out of the kitchen. Here they have the run of the first floor, and their crazy behavior has improved tremendously. Although they still have accidents, and now we have to keep sheets on the couch!

Happy doggies.

The girls decided to cook dinner one night and had their waitress gear on. At the end (it took them two hours), my 12 year old said, "Mom, how do you do this every night?" That comment alone was worth me doing the clean up for them!

And now for some food!

This is a Cesaer salad from Vegetarian Times. Not sure which month - it came via e-mail with the 21 day Yoga Challenge (which was really fun and motivating, by the way).

The sauce on the tofu is Mmmmm sauce from Peas and Thank You. My kids, who normally don't eat potatoes, really loved those baked fries!

Sweet Potato and Harissa soup from Veg Times October 2011.

Roasted chickpeas from Peas and Thank You. I never have success with roasted chickpeas, no matter which recipe I use - they always turn out unpleasantly chewy. Does anyone know how to get them crunchy?

Kung Pao Tofu and Singapore Curry noodles from the Chinese takeout place. We are so thrilled to have good Chinese food again! There did not seem to be any in Illinois. I really liked the noodles. I saw a similar recipe for them in Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. I need to try it and see if it is as good as these noodles were.

And finally, game day chili. Did you know that the NFL is making a stink about people using "super bowl" in advertising? Even my church, which hosts a big party every year on that day, got a letter from the NFL saying they can't call it a super bowl party. 'Cause they are not making enough money already on all their licensed stuff, they have to license the name, too. Anyway, my neighbor hosted a big party for the bowl, and I brought this chili. It was loved by vegetarians and meat eaters alike!

Game Day Chili

1 large red onion, chopped
olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans pinto beans
2 15 oz. cans black beans
4 T. chili powder (the regular supermarket kind)
1 t. ground chipotle chili powder
1 T cocoa powder
1/8 - 1/4 t ground cloves (start with the smaller amount) (or use 3 whole cloves, but then you have to fish them out or risk biting into one)
1-2 T soy sauce
water to barely cover

Saute onion in oil until browned, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Add peppers and saute another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt (I always tell you to salt each layer, don't I?) Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a while. Smash some of the beans against the side of the pot so the chili thickens. Serve with all the fixin's! (That's what my southern neighbors all say).