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Even though I knew my husband was right when he told me visitors wouldn’t be opening and looking behind closed doors while our home was on display for the Washington School Tour of Homes, I knew I would feel much better if they were tidy and cleaned out anyway – something I had been meaning to do for a while.

While uncluttering and organizing cupboards, closets and the old garage that was piled high with things my husband exclaimed over moving from his old house 15 years ago to that very spot, where they stayed until they were carried to the dumpster temporarily located in our front yard!!

We filled two dumpsters, a local Thrift Store came out twice with their enormous truck to collect the items we had set aside for donation, a friend loaded up 33 bags of clothes, shoes, belts and purses in her mini van to take and look through and I took two loads of old paint and chemicals to the hazardous waste site in our town, where they graciously helped me stack them carefully onto their cart and took them away for disposal.


The day we had the first of our dumpsters delivered, I was meeting a friend to walk and catch up, and then another friend in the early afternoon for a yoga class, my daughter had a riding lesson after school and my husband and I were going to see a theatre show, so with little time to devote to dinner, preparations needed to be quick and easy.


italian sausage chili

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup chili powder

1 pound Italian sweet pork sausage, casings removed

1 can (28-ounces) tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock

2 cans (14.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed

1/4 cup grated parmesan

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and the chicken stock and beans, bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low until the flavors meld, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the chili among bowls, top with the Parmesan.