This summer was the first time I really felt appreciative of the warmer weather, the beach days, longer daylight, the ability to be active in the evenings, play tennis outdoors, eat dinner on the front porch, hangout in lawn chairs in the driveway – all the little things. As the summer passed by and June turned into July and August was upon us, I got SAD. It felt like summer flew by and I just didn’t get to soak it all in.
Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. I would’ve taken some random days off work to go read a good book at the beach. And I would’ve run outdoors more. And entertained more. And grilled more, of course.
But I’m trying to summon some perspective and soak up all things winter that I enjoy. Because, um, I do live in MICHIGAN after all. If snow, cold, and the seasons are not my thing, I’m in for a long haul of disappointment.
So, I’m all Christmas-y and loving it. I’ve recently become obsessed with puzzles – a great indoor activity (and challenge!). I’ve been playing more tennis…indoors – and focusing on the blessing that is having an indoor facility a mile from my front door. I’m also enjoying hockey and the fact that Mark plays now, too. We’re even signed up to play on Tuesdays – outdoors! Because 1) we’re badass and 2) we live in a tiny town with TWO ice rinks! I bought a few sweatshirt dresses because if we have to be in layers, it’s fun to look cute. And, leggings and boots! ‘Nuff said.
And then there’s football. And basketball. And chili! This time of year in our house is a busy one with sports watching and chili making!
As the football season comes to an end (Illini’s season wrapped up long ago – but for those of you who have the privilege of rooting for a winning team…congrats!), so does my chili season. I’m a bit behind in posting, but this Vegan Chili has been worth the wait. As entry #5 (of 6) in this year’s challenge it was a hit! I wasn’t so sure about a vegan chili being winner-worthy, but Sara’s chili is award-winning for a reason. We served up this chili straight up as well as over baked potatoes and pasta (different meals, obviously 😉 ). This chili was loved by all and is a must-make recipe! All that chili powder…gets me every time!
- 2 (12 oz) pkgs vegan meat crumbles
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups of water
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
- 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
- ⅓ cup chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, for spice)
- Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add vegan crumbles and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic; saute 3-4 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
- Add in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.
Weekly Menu: December 2nd – 6th
- Sunday: Stuffed shells (from freezer) with turkey meatballs and mixed vegetable
- Monday: Homemade Hamburger Helper with salad
- Tuesday: Sesame Chicken over brown rice, steamed broccoli
- Wednesday: Chicken and Shrimp Easy Sheet Pan Fajitas with guacamole
- Thursday: Roasted salmon with Quinoa-Broccoli Slaw with Honey-Mustard Dressing