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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Losing The Plot" of one's life, and Jonathan's Chili Soup

"In the end, only three things matter: how fully you have lived, how deeply you have loved and how well you have learned to let go of that which was not meant for you"~
~ Buddhist saying.

I love it when I have a moment where things click into place....ahhhh....I seeeee, kinda thing.

I was e-mailing a friend awhile back and we were comisserating over another fine fix I'd gotten myself into.  She's an artist and often has found her talents pulled into one project or another only to stop and think....why did I sign on for this again? ---so could relate to this most recent of conundrums I had created for myself.

I was telling her it goes something like this:  monkey is thirsty and heads off to yon water hole.  Along the way, monkey sees something shiny...oooohhh....shiny!!  Heads off on that path.  Along that path, monkey spies a banana.  BANANA!  Starts up the tree....half-way up the tree, monkey sees ANOTHER tree that looks easier to climb and has MORE bananas....gets down and heads that way.  Along the way to that tree, monkey says, hey, wait a minute....what am I doing here?  Didn't I want something shiny???  Noooo....what was it I DID want???

It's a wonder I don't die of thirst.

It's like A.D.D. on crack-cocaine.  A project comes my way and even though the little voice is screaming saying, you already have 30 hours a day of projects you are squishing into a 24 hour the math,...the OTHER voice...the BUT-BUT voice, is saying, but, but, but....these are such nice people, and oh, look it would be fun and so on.  Shiny.

Then soon after throwing myself into the project (and letting other things that are supposed to be my priority fall away, thereby suffering guilt for not attending to them), I begin to get that itchy feeling that something is just NOT.QUITE.RIGHT.


But, (and this is not the official BUT voice), I am progressing because I am seeing the light sooner and am now willing to bear the horrors of disappointment-to-others (shudder) to get back on track. 

I have found that I can go so badly off course that I completely LOSE THE PLOT of my life.

As someone who, despite being a healthy plant-based active no medical issues person, has more days behind me than I do in front of me,  I need to stay on the path of my life.  Take advantage of opportunities and be open to new things as they present themselves?  Absolutely.  But I need to take a pause and see if they align with what my true passions are.

I've charged my two closest friends with the responsibility to hit me hard and fast with two words if they see me do this again:   VISION BOARD.  As in, is X on your vision board?  And if it isn't, and you want to do it, put it on there, but remember to do the math and take something else off.

Simple.....but oh, so complicated.  Like most things.


Life is not without its balance and its consolation prizes.  And despite abandoning above-non-specified activity, through it, I met some really cool people.  One of whom is Jonathan.  Jonathan is an artist....truly an can see some of his wonderful pottery here:

Jonathan is a vegetarian....(interestingly, in a small artists' group, out of about 10 people there were two vegetarians and one vegan, me.....connection between right-brained folks and veggie-ism???).  It wasn't long before he and I started talking food.

 Turns out, Jonathan knows his way around a kitchen.  That's his kitchen....super cool on the kitchen-chic scale.  Check out the large colored lights...they go all around the kitchen.  Fun.

This was his stove the first time I visited his home; he had four different soups going (two of which were vegan).   Chili in the foreground on left and vegan veggie on right.

One of the walls in Jonathan's kitchen.....I really wanted to just take a picture of every wall and every room.  His house is basically one composite work of art.

Outside isn't a bad vista either....not a good picture, but cardinals and other birds were everywhere...

including woodpeckers...faintly visible....on this section of tree next to 'fake Jonathan'.  Great idea and Jonathan will eventually try to sit there himself and feed these beautiful birds.

Oh that's right....I was talking chili....(A.D.D.) attention span and the chili as in Awesomely Delightfully Delicious.

(NOTE:  this makes a LOT of soup.  Like you can feed Nebraska with this....not really, but seriously, it is a lot. You can half or even quarter the recipe.  But I believe it will freeze well, and you are going to want more).

Jonathan’s Vegan Chili Soup

(Note:  I’m calling this chili soup, but depending on how you make it, it could be a thicker chili too.  I love it as soup and it is just crazy good).

1.5 T oil (I will do a water sauté, so will omit this).

2 green bell peppers, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

2 C diced carrots

1 large can kidney beans (2# 8 oz.)

1 large can Brooks Chili Hot Beans (2# 8 oz.)***

2 reg. cans great northern beans

2-3 reg. cans black beans

2- 4 oz. jars fire-roasted diced green chiles

1 large can Rotel diced green chilies – 1# 12 oz.

1 large can diced tomatoes – 1# 12 oz.

1 large can crushed tomatoes – 1# 12 oz.

2-3 cans corn  15.25 oz.

1 lg. tomato juice  46 oz.

(1 beer – optional)

Salt – to taste, approx. 1 t

Pepper – a good grinding….to taste

1-2 C water (opt.  more liquid for soupier chili)

Chili powder – 1 -2 T….to taste

Hot sauce – 4 -5 dashes

1 ½ C tvp  (note: tvp is optional-  textured veg protein – adding it in will give more solidity to the chili, and without it, it is very soup like)
(***Note:  I don't use this product as it contains high fructose corn syrup.  I added extra and various beans and a dash of red pepper flakes instead.)

Get the biggest pot you have if making this quantity…..maybe two pots

Saute veggies in oil or water.  (NOTE:  I do a dry sauté on med-hi heat and carmelize my onions first---just a little extra flavor)

Add in peppers and carrots and water sauté til mostly tender.  Approx 5 minutes.

Start adding in remaining ingredients.  (Note:  Jonathan adds beans in with their juice….you could rinse beans first if salt has been added to reduce sodium).

Just keep adding all ingredients and then add spice to taste.  Cook to blend flavors over low to med heat for 20 mins or so.  Add in TVP and heat through.

(Jonathan said the chili really improves over a day or two in the frig and he prefers a good amount of tvp which can be soaked in some of the liquid prior to adding).

I see this as an incredibly versatile recipe.  I love, love, love it as a soup or plain as a chili.  We had it over whole-wheat spaghetti noodles, you could serve over quinoa, or use as a topping for potatoes or as a layer in a casserole.  Would be great to layer on top of mac not cheese recipe.

Change up the veggies and add different beans for variety as well.

Whether you call it Chili Soup, or just plain Chili, I think for sure, you will call it good.

Sue, eating well, in Ohio


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