Monday, January 9, 2012

Baby it's cold outside (Not really, but it should be!)

Oh....My....Gravy!  I cannot believe the weather that we are having here in Iowa!!  It was in the 50's today and we have yet to see snow on the ground!  I find myself forgetting that we haven't even HAD winter yet!  As much as I enjoy the warmer temps, I do hope it cools down or I will find myself with hostas and tulips poking through to catch some rays too.  With such a beeeee-autiful day and no work for me, I had to get outside for a refreshing run.  I actually heard birds chirping as I worked my way through the streets of our small town!  Poor things, they are probably so confused....
I can't believe that I'm about to type this, but I really enjoy running.  I find it is a great way to clear my mind and breathe in some fresh air.  I haven't always liked running...actually, I can say that I pretty much hated it.  I have vivid memories of running the 1 mile in PE class for The Presidential Physical Fitness tests.  Any of you remember those?  Thought I would die and had a headache the rest of the day.  This continued through my college days and into my adult life.  Then, about 5 years ago, my husband and I started jogging.  At that point our kids were too young to stay alone and we didn't want to pay a sitter, so we got them all to bed and headed out to the driveway.  We would take turns running AROUND THE BLOCK, so that one of us was always here at the house with the kids.  It was a huge feat for one of us to come chugging around that last corner and report to the other that we had ran the WHOLE way.  I know, we were a sorry pair!  As time went on, we found it easier to run for longer and we would take the kids along in the burley or on bikes.  Our real motivation for running came when we had a cause bigger than ourselves to work for.  We decided to train for a half marathon as a fundraiser for the Parkinson's Association.  You see, my dad had Parkinson's for 23 years.  We wanted to run for my dad and for others like him, who have lost their ability to walk, and even move.  Our team of 5 raised over $7000!  Here is my family after that race:

After that event, I found that running for this cause truly motivated me.  We moved the next year into the marathon relay and have continued to do that each year.  My dad passed away this past April, and now I find running as a way to honor him and the fierce battle that he fought for so long.   My advice to you is to find a cause greater than yourself to motivate you to get moving.  Maybe it isn't Parkinson's disease research, but maybe it is breast cancer, lymphoma, Down's syndrome, Alzheimers....there are so many great organizations that tie in 5K's and races with their organization as a way to raise funds.  Choose something close to your heart and you will find new meaning in may even like it!

OK, now onto din din!  Being as it is January 9th, I thought something winter- like would be yummy---who knew it would feel like MAY!  But anyhow, chili was on the menu for tonight.  This chili recipe came to me from my friend, and my kids say this is the only kind of chili they like!  It really is tasty and it is easy to throw together. It makes a big batch so you could freeze it if you wanted, but the leftovers taste even better!
Here are the ingredients:

Start by browning the hamburger, using lots of garlic powder and onion powder.  Brown thoroughly and drain any excess fat. 
This is one of the best inventions ever made! I got it from my mom for Christmas last year and it works so good.  I have no idea what it is called.....let's call it a hamburger chopper upper thingy, ok?  Just get one!

Put salsa and stewed tomatoes into a blender to chop them all up.  
Add salsa mixture, soup, chili beans and tomato juice to the browned hamburger. Add a small amount of chili powder to taste.  Simmer away and dinner is done! 

I put it in the crock pot after it simmered a bit, then it was ready when we all piled through the door late tonight.  Having the tomato soup and salsa in there makes it a bit sweeter than other chilis I have had and I just love it.  Add a little shredded cheddar, some sour cream or crackers to the top and you are good to go!
Dinner is served.
Hunter's Chili

2 lbs hamburger, browned and drained
1 diced onion (omit if onions are in your stewed tomatoes)
2 cans tomato soup
1 40 oz can Mrs. Grimes chili beans
1 cup salsa
1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes (with onions, celery and green peppers)
46 oz tomato juice.

Use lots of onion and garlic powder when browning the hamburger.  Add salsa and stewed tomatoes to blender to chop into small pieces.  Add all ingredients together and simmer.  Add chili powder as needed.

This is the best chili----try it out!
Have a great night~

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