A Second Thanksgiving

Or: My Neighbors are Awesome

Which they are. When we moved up here a year ago we totally lucked out in the neighbor department. Our next-door neighbors are a family of SEVEN – 4 girls, a boy, mom and dad, and their next door neighbors are a family of five – 3 boys a mom and a dad, and we are one big family. We often have “family” dinners on Sundays, watch football together, and watch out for each other. Or, as is more often the case, they watch out for us, especially me when the hubster is out of town.  As someone who grew up not being close with or really knowing any of my neighbors, I know how special this is. Last year, hubster and I spent Christmas together for the first time, away from any family, and he had to work half the day. After dinner they invited us over and we played apples to apples for HOURS. I have never laughed so hard in my life, and it totally filled the i-miss-my-family void. This week, one of them decided that since 2 of us families had been out of town for Thanksgiving we needed to have a second Thanksgiving, and so on the 1-week anniversary of Thanksgiving that is exactly what we did. Turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, stuffing, you name it, we had it! And it was both delicious and incredibly fun and wonderful.

The clean-up assembly line after dinner

The boys trying to look all cool after playing football outside

Playing with the dogs...

Rudolph is already casing the houses in Ohio

Holy Cow Batman! That is not something I'd want to meet on a dog walk!

Ok, I kid, that’s not actually a reindeer, I don’t think. I’m pretty sure it’s a deer, but that is one big/unafraid of humans/scary deer. Where I come from deer run away from humans but deer up here are psycho! This one walked within 5 feet of the side of our house, mosey-ed through the yard and across the street, and then cut through someone else’s yard. Meanwhile an unsuspecting human and her dog were walking down the sidewalk about 20 feet away, the dog is barking like mad, and the deer is totally unfazed. This, humans, is when you should run away from a deer.  I think I’m going to invest in pepper spray.

The Best Red Beans and Rice EVER

This recipe is something created by my friend Stefanie, and it is so delicious. I made it yesterday and it’s perfect for the cold winter days.

Beautiful ingredients = Delicious meal

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (diced? what is the correct term for garlic cut up really small? minced? you get the idea)
  • 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped – I added this because when I was buying ingredients I thought it called for both…totally optional.
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups veggie stock
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 1 large can kidney beans undrained (or 2 normal 15 oz cans, depending on your bean-amount preference)
  • 1 teaspoon each cumin, cinnamon, *salt, pepper, paprika – I would use a little less salt since you get salt from the bean juice and veggie stock, unless you buy low sodium veggie stock.
  • Hoisin sauce – optional
  • White wine – optional

Combine veggie stock and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30-45 minutes until done. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the onion and the garlic, until the onion starts to become translucent. Add celery and peppers and cook until desired softness of veggies (especially celery) is obtained, about 10 minutes.

Add beans, with juice, and spices and continue to cook another 5 minutes or so. When rice is done combine rice with veggie mixture in a big bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with a teaspoon of hoisin sauce and/or some white wine, if desired. Very very tasty!

Happy Saturday!

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