Place the diced tomatoes, water, garlic, and bay leaves into a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and season with the cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Cover, and simmer 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in the black beans and kidney beans; return to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter until dissolved, then remove and discard the bay leaves, and season the chili with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove to a serving bowl and serve sprinkled with Cheddar, if desired, and tortilla chips alongside.
Cook’s Note: To make a different version using ground pork, just saute 2 diced onions with 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 pounds of ground pork. Cook until golden brown and then add to the mixture above and adjust seasoning.