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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It should always be Thanksgiving somewhere, shouldn’t it?? (for my in-laws, aka the GPs)

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

It should always be Thanksgiving somewhere, shouldn’t it?? (for my in-laws, aka the GPs)

 May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
Ruth 2:12(NIV)

It’s good to be home.  We lost power Saturday, and didn’t have it restored until 4 days later.  We spent one very cold night at home, and were blessed to have family (my husband’s parents, the GPs) who took us in and made us feel like home.  No awkwardness.  We didn’t get in each other’s ways.  My family cleaned up after ourselves, and tried to stay on the right side of the line dividing good houseguests from underfoot interlopers… hanging out too much.

We didn’t eat or drink the last of anything.  We shared only our first (breakfast Sunday) and last meals (dinner last night) together.  We talked…including a very helpful conversation between Mother and me (yes, that’s what I call her…no MIL foolishness here) about our wanting not to be underfoot all the time and respecting their time and space.  We’re the ones with a teen, a tween, and a dog; they are comfortably retired.

Yesterday, which I hoped and prayed but did not know at the time would be our last day, I promised the GPs that I’d make a big pot of Chili.  My daughter and I hit the grocery, as I explained to her that we were purchasing all the ingredients, knowing they were staples the GPs kept in their pantry.  I explained that it was a subtle way of giving back, saying a thank you that wouldn’t go unnoticed.

We began cooking; chopping ingredients and watching the dish come together.  Every time Mother mentioned that she had something, e.g., peppers, onions, I cooked with what she had and replaced the item with something fresh from our bag.  We set up the crock pot, tossed all the ingredients in, and told them we’d be back for dinner. As I finished, we quietly put away what we hadn’t used, washed the dishes and wiped the counters. 

We left, hopeful, heading home.  When we rounded the corner, we saw an illuminated porch light as my cell phone rang (my husband).  We celebrated restored power together!

We returned to the GPs for dinner, and found them just settling in at the dining room table.  Mother had even cooked the rice.  We shared a pleasant meal, chatting about everything and nothing.  Knowing we had to pack AND get ready for school and work in the morning, we finished eating and prepared to leave.

Saying goodbyes, I hugged Mother and told her that we were exceedingly grateful.  The moment didn’t have to be mushy, but I needed her to know.  She looked at me and said “We were glad to have you.  Nothing more need be said.” Wow.  As I kissed Dad and grabbed my bag, he said, “I am sorry to see you all leave.” Game.  Set. Match.

We packed the car, and backed out of the driveway.  We shared a prayer, blessedly assured that we could turn right around and go back if necessary.  Our son said, “Mom, does that mean we didn’t overstay our welcome?”

In that moment, it was Thanksgiving.  No turkey, no pies or fancy plans, but Thanksgiving, nonetheless.  It should always be Thanksgiving somewhere, shouldn’t it?? We survived again. It could’ve been worse but it wasn’t.  We once again hold cups that overflow.  I pray, that in the face of my next disaster (there is always another looming), I keep both my sense of gratitude AND my sense of humor.  Having both reminds me…once again…that God is Good. 
Today’s Feast: It’s Always Thanksgiving Somewhere Chili

Back story-You just read it… 

4 sweet peppers (I used yellow, red, green an orange), diced
2 yellow onions, diced
2 cans (about 15 oz each) Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes (with basil, garlic, and oregano)
2 cans (6oz) Hunts Tomato Paste
3 or 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 package turkey Italian sausage (I used Shady Brook Farms)
1 package ground turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lg can Goya black beans
1 lg can Goya red beans
1 bottle beer (I use Carib or Guiness Stout, depending upon what I have on hand…)
Chili powder
Olive Oil

Heat about 1T olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  Caramelize onions first, sauté peppers until they begin to soften, add in the garlic; add all cooked vegetables to a crock pot.  Add olive oil as necessary and cook the Italian sausage, first removing skins and breaking the meat into small pieces. Toss this in the crock pot as well.  Finally, cook the ground turkey, adding the tomato paste once the meat is browned. 

Add meat to the crock pot, and then toss in both cans of diced tomatoes, along with both cans of beans, rinsed well.  Since everything is cooked, now is the time to taste and add salt, pepper, and chili powder as suits you.  Finally, add beer, turn on the crock pot, and look forward to dinner. 

Making it sexy….serve with any or all of the following:
  • ·         Cooked rice
  • ·         Sour cream
  • ·         Shredded cheese
  • ·         Sliced avocado or homemade guacamole
  • ·         Freshly chopped cilantro
  • ·         Homemade tortilla chips (yes, I make them)

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