Superbowl recipe: Butternut squash and turkey chili

The Big Game is this Sunday – are you ready for the festivities? We know preparing delicious and crowd-friendly foods in large quantities can be a daunting task , so here’s a make-ahead recipe you can finish in time (and reheat if needed) to find your own spot on the couch before the Super Bowl starts.

Whether you are rooting for the Seahawks or Broncos, you and your buddies will find common ground in this delicious butternut squash and turkey chili. Enjoy!

Best,

All of us at Aardvark Automotive

Yield:

Original recipe makes 12 cups (12 servings)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 pound butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chilies

2 (14.5 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans with liquid

1 (15.5 oz.) can white hominy, drained

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes, then add the turkey. Stir until crumbly and no longer pink.
  3. Add the butternut squash, chicken broth, green chilies, tomatoes, kidney beans, hominy, and tomato sauce; season with chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Looking for more game day food? Check out our tailgating-ready recipe for cowboy casserole.

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A special message from Aardvark Automotive

Aardvark Christmas card

Wow, are we at the end of the year already? As we here at Aardvark Automotive get ready to wrap up the year, we wanted to let you, our wonderful  customer, know how much we appreciate you stopping by this blog. We’ve enjoyed sharing our tips, shop news, and community events with you, and look forward to bringing you much more in 2014!

As this year draws to a close, we wanted to share a few of our favorite posts from this year.

Happy Holidays, and see y’all in the New Year!

  1. Aardvark Automotive honored as the Non-Profit of the Month by Welcome Pardner!
  2. How to transition your car from winter to spring
  3. Aardvark’s Wheels to Prosper Timeline
  4. Highlights from our Wheels to Prosper giveaway this past weekend!
  5. 6 fall and early winter car care tips from an ASE Master Technician

P.S. If the mood strikes you, you can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, where we post a constant stream of fun trivia, shop events, and car news.

Wishing you the best,

Robert & Lynda Archer

Thanksgiving road trip driving tips

Thanksgiving Travel Forecast 2013

AAA’s Thanksgiving Travel Forecast 2013

This Thanksgiving, the AAA estimates that 43.4 million motorists will be on our nation’s freeways and roads. That’s approximately 14% of the U.S. population. And more cars equals more traffic and driving hazards. While the solution may simply be to stay home and take cover from the onslaught of congestion, according to the AAA, most of us will make at least a 50-mile trek for that coveted turkey dinner.

So if you’re commuting this year, follow these simple tips to make the journey a little easier.

Have a driver who’s connected to live traffic

Holidays are one of the worst times for driving since everyone is out on the road trying to get to family and friends. Thus, being able to check on live traffic is a great tool for navigating your route. However, since distracted driving is a major cause of traffic collisions, the best plan of action is to have someone on your passenger side looking at live traffic on his or her phone or GPS.

Apps like Sigalert.com, Beat the Traffic Plus+, and Waze Social GPS, Maps & Traffic give you an accurate, up-to-date map with current traffic conditions. Sigalert.com will even give you route time estimates based on speed and traffic.

Plan an alternate route

It never hurts to have a few escape routes established ahead of time so you’re not caught off guard. You can use sites like routes.tomtom.com or maps.google.com to see how you can escape congested areas by taking surface streets or lesser used freeways.

You may have to drive a few miles longer on an alternate route, so in the end it’s your choice: drive 12 miles extra at a reasonable speed (and probably on an enjoyable scenic route), or sit in a parking lot of cars on the freeway for an extra hour.

Avoid major metropolitan areas if possible.

Load your cell phone with numbers and keep it charged

Winter equals bad weather, especially in Amarillo, so create a buffer for yourself by having a group of people you can call in case of an emergency. In addition to family numbers, take down local emergency lines. Log all your numbers on both your phone and on a piece of paper.

Remember to bring charging cords for your smartphone or GPS.

Leave – and return – at off hours or on Thanksgiving

Most people drive during the day, so your solution? Drive at night. Rest during the day and make sure you switch off with another driver every few hours to avoid fatigue.

Another option: it may not sound appetizing, but leaving on Thanksgiving will cut down your drive time significantly. Making your trip on Thanksgiving also means you won’t have to leave at an awkward time to beat traffic.

Yet another option: If you have the vacation days to spare, leave on Tuesday and come back Saturday or Monday, since Wednesday and Sunday are the busiest days to travel.

Prep your kids and/or pets

Oftentimes, kids + road trips = a contained nuclear explosion. To do your best to buffer your kids’ boredom, pack snacks, lots of games, water, DVDs, and music.

And if you’re hitting the road with a furry friend, secure him or her with a harness or a crate. Pets can present a driving distraction and jump out onto the freeway without these safety measures in place.

Bring food, water, toys, dog waste bags, and a leash.

Make sure your car is in good shape

Even if getting your car to the shop is the last thing on your mind, a dead car means a stranded family and a missed Thanksgiving.

So here’s your checklist before you drive:

  1. Make sure every light works correctly
  2. Check fluid levels
  3. Check for loose belts and hoses
  4. Check that battery connections are good
  5. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that there’s a good amount of tread (especially important if it’s snowing)
  6. Ensure your windshield wipers work well

More winter car care and driving tips can be found on our blog on winterizing your car.

Watch the weather

Our tip for this is simple: if there is a blizzard in the forecast, don’t drive! And if you simply must go out, clear off snow and ice, reduce your speed, and drive defensively. Allow plenty of space between you and the person in front of you (in rainy or snowy conditions, leave 6 seconds of following distance).

Check your vehicle’s load capacity

The total weight your vehicle can carry should be on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb.

Be extra careful when driving around trucks

Be careful around a truck’s blind spots. If you can’t see the trucker in his/her mirrors, the truck driver can’t see you. On a similar note, don’t cut trucks off – trucks are heavier and take longer to stop.

FYI: You may be underestimating how big a truck’s blind spot really is. Check out this video to see just how much a trucker can’t see.

We hope y’all have a great Thanksgiving! Drive safely!

Robert & Lynda

Help us help Teen Christmas!

Teen Christmas provides a $50 Walmart gift card for clothing and shoes.

Teen Christmas provides a $50 Walmart gift card for clothing and shoes.

Oftentimes during the holidays, teenagers get overlooked. Many organizations hold gift drives, but these drives are typically aimed at younger kids. As a result, very little attention is put on older kids and what they need for Christmas.

For our shop’s Thanksgiving special, we offer you a choice: get $15 off a repair or service, or donate that $15 to Teen Christmas, a charity that provides clothing to teenagers in need.

Please visit our website for our special – you can help brighten up Christmas morning for our Amarillo teens!

And if you would like more information about Teen Christmas or wish to donate, please visit the Amarillo Teen Christmas website. You can also read the Teen Christmas mission below by DJ Stubben, owner of Welcome Pardner!, a marketing company based in Amarillo. DJ Stubben created Teen Christmas in 2006, inspired by her own experiences growing up in a household where her mother passed away in her teen years and she felt what it was like to be overlooked at Christmas.

You can see for yourself how Teen Christmas has given hope to the teenagers of Amarillo on Teen Christmas’ Media page. 

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Robert & Lynda

Here is DJ’s Teen Christmas mission:

Teen Christmas

This Christmas you can make a difference in a teenager’s life by joining us in sponsoring a teen for our 8th annual Teen Christmas.  Right now in Amarillo there are hundreds of teenagers in need. Thankfully, this Christmas, YOU can make a difference.  There are many great organizations helping those in need and I encourage you to continue to support them. However, many of these programs have a gap for children between the ages of 13-18–our teenagers.  This is where Teen Christmas steps in.

Teen Christmas was established in 2006 to provide clothing and/or shoes for our needy teenagers during the Christmas Season. Last year we were able to provide clothing and shoes from Walmart for over 400 teenagers. Unfortunately, this only accounted for about half of those in need.

This year we are hoping to increase sponsorship so we can help all of the teenagers. Your sponsorship will help us achieve this goal!

A $50 donation will sponsor a teenager and enable him or her to purchase needed clothing and/or shoes this Christmas. 100% of your donation will go to the teenager in form of a Teen Christmas gift certificate. Each teenager who qualifies will receive this gift certificate and redeem it at the Walmart located on the corner of Coulter & 45th, We invite you join us during this time to see how your generous donation has touched the life of an Amarillo teenager.

Please help us make a difference in a teenager’s life by being a needed sponsor this Christmas Season.

You may send your donations payable to:

Teen Christmas/Generation Next Worship Center

c/o Welcome Pardner!

PO Box 30926

Amarillo TX 79120

If you have any questions or need more details, please contact DJ Stubben at 356-1555, Ext. 5.

We have plenty of teens to serve, and we need to raise the funds to give them a great holiday.

Thank you for your sponsorship and have a Merry Christmas!

-DJ

6 fall and early winter car care tips from an ASE Master Technician

Wintery conditions put extra stress on your car.

Wintery conditions put extra stress on your car.

While you should keep your car up-to-date on maintenance year-round, November is a particularly important month because all the prep you do now will set your car up for impending harsh winter weather.

Nobody wants to be stranded on the way to a holiday party or family dinner, so do yourself and anyone who rides in your car a favor by following this checklist of fall care tips.

Car Care 101: Read your owner’s manual and follow the recommended maintenance schedule

While it may seem obvious to read your owner’s manual, many of us admittedly don’t. Your owner’s manual will let you know when you need to check your car’s tires, brakes, filters, and fluids. If you’re still confused, just visit us! We have recommendations for the best time and mileage intervals.

Oil and air filter changes are especially important for keeping your MPG high and your engine humming along. Most modern vehicles only need an oil change every 5,000 miles, while older vehicles may need an oil change every 3,000 miles.

Ensure your tires are in good condition

The weather here in Amarillo changes in the blink of an eye, especially in the fall and winter. We might get snow one day and 80-degree weather the next. As a result, our tires literally weather a lot.

In order for your car to survive an Amarillo winter, you will have to make sure your tires can take the chill. When tires are cool, check their pressure as well as the pressure of the spare. See if your jack is in good working condition.

Keep your tires properly inflated, since underinflated tires will make the engine work harder and eat up more gas. They will also be susceptible to road hazards (which increase in winter) and heat damage.

Simply look at the sticker on your door jamb to see the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

If you come to the shop, have a tire tread depth inspection done with each oil change or before winter hits.

Have your battery tested and correct engine performance problems

Battery

Have you ever trudged through snow to your car on a dark winter morning, only to turn the key and feel your heart drop as you hear the dreaded click click click? Very hot summer weather can damage a battery, but this damage will not be noticeable until a big temperature change occurs. Because of this, the cooler months are the source of many a dead battery. Have a technician check your battery’s health during the fall. Your technician may clean away corrosion and re-tighten connections.

Engine Performance

Just as you’re more likely to get sick during the winter, cold weather can cause and aggravate engine problems. Correct drivability problems like stalling and idling at the shop. Fixing engine problems will give you better fuel mileage along with more reliability.

Keep your gas tank filled

Ice crystals look gorgeous outdoors, but are less desirable when they’re in your fuel. To ensure you don’t end up with a fuel popsicle, keep your gas tank filled.

Make sure your cooling and heating systems are running smoothly

Cooling

Check the condition, level, and concentration of your coolant.

We recommend a BG Cooling System Service every 2 years or 30,000 miles. At our shop we check the coolant level with every oil change, as well as your belts and hoses.

Heating

Get your heater checked in the fall so you can avoid the long lines of people waiting to get their heaters fixed in the winter. After all, the heater will be one of your most prized possessions when it’s 17 degrees outside and you still have an hour to go before you get home.

Extra Tip: Don’t forget an emergency kit!

Make an uncomfortable situation a bit more bearable by packing necessities like a flashlight, tire chains, boots, blankets, a shovel, gloves, and snacks.

 

Wishing you and your family a safe fall and a wonderful holiday season,

Robert

Aardvark Automotive owner and ASE-certified Master Technician

For more driving tips or questions about your car, feel free to contact us at (806) 242-1073 or visit our website.

Enter Aardvark’s Pumpkin Decorating Contest – Deadline October 31st!

We couldn’t let Halloween go by without sharing some tricks and treats with y’all!

To celebrate one of our favorite holidays, we are holding a Pumpkin Decorating Contest, and all are welcome to enter! The rules are pretty simple—just carve or decorate your pumpkin however you wish, take a photo of your work of art, and post the picture on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/AardvarkAutomotive). The grand prize consists of two tickets to the November 22nd Bulls game and a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Deadline is October 31st. Full details are in the flyer, and feel free to contact us at the shop at (806) 242-1073 for more information.

Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Fall and Halloween activities around Amarillo + safety tips!, part 2

Be safe this Halloween!

Be safe this Halloween!

Welcome to part 2 of our blog on Fall and Halloween activities around Amarillo + safety tips! Today, we’re going to focus on Halloween driving safety. Since the streets will literally be crawling with people, it is more important than ever to drive alertly, especially during the peak trick-or-treating hours of 6 – 9 PM.

A few tips for Halloween driving:

  • Watch for children darting into the street and between cars – according to Progressive, most young pedestrian deaths occur in spots other than intersections.
  • Slow down and stop for young pedestrians who may not be checking for cars – especially if you are driving in a residential neighborhood. Some kids might be wearing masks that impair their vision.
  • Dropping off your kids? Pull over and put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers you are pulled over.
  • Enter and exit driveways carefully, since you never know when a group of excited trick-or-treaters will dart past.

 

A few tips for trick-or-treaters (we like this list by the CDC):

S             Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

A             Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F             Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E             Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Don’t eat any candy until your parents say it’s okay. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

 

H            Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.

A             Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

L             Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

L             Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

O             Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W           Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

E             Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

E             Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

N            Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Leave us a comment if you have other useful Halloween safety tips to add.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Aardvark Automotive!