11/26/13

Inspired Action: Thanksgiving 2013 and Sweet Smile Soup

Prayers of Gratitude an Ocean Wide  |  Mary Marcdante

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Melody Beattie

Thanksgiving 2013 is in two days and the Christmas music is already playing in the stores. Facebook is filled with Black Friday updates, holiday recipes, and my favorite – the gratitude posts. I can feel a deeper sense of gratitude and appreciation filling my heart and I love that! It makes any challenge I come across all the more meaningful, as a reminder that I am lucky, blessed, fortunate — pick your favorite word, they all fit for me — to be able to have these challenges because it means I’m still alive when so many others are not. It means I am dealing with “situations” that others would rather have than their own. It means that I’m able to write this message and share it with you. Thank you!

Another Thanksgiving favorite is making “Sweet Smile Soup.” The recipe below is the vegetarian version of the original 20 year old recipe that came from Audrey, the mother of my good friend Barbara who used pot roast, green beans, and brussel sprouts as the key ingredients.

I added green olives as an experiment because I love them and they tasted so good in an ancient spaghetti sauce recipe (you know how old that recipe is if someone uses the word spaghetti instead of pasta) courtesy of my friend since kindergarten Debbie. They worked!

The almond butter addition is an adaptation from a former housemate Scott, who said the secret to great tasting soup is a tablespoon of peanut butter. He was right. I also use almond butter. Either are great.

You’ll definitely want a big soup pot. Mine is 7 qts.

Here’s a link to a pdf of “Sweet Smile Soup.”

Sweet Smile Soup Ingredients

- One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen diced tomatoes with basil & garlic (you can also use Muir Glen Fire-roasted organic tomatoes w/ green chiles for a unique taste but then skip the green chiles listed separately)

- 3 1/2 tomato cans of water

- 1 1/2 tablespoons of “Better Than Bouillion” chicken base or vegetable base (THE BEST!)

- 8-12 brussel sprouts quartered (This is a key ingredient – adds a buttery flavor and texture)

- 4 carrots sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

- 1 small sweet potato or yam cubed

- 2 tbsps. of diced garlic

- 1 small can of green chiles (for kick!) or 1 inch fresh jalapeno (I like it really hot)

*1 can beans – kidney, great northern or black beans (rinsed and strained)

- 3 tbsps. of green olive juice (salty)

- 12 green olives (smaller ones or for fun use 6 jumbo green olives and give a prize for anyone who gets one in their soup – or add them one per bowl at serving if you’re not a fan)

- 1 tbsp. smooth almond butter (or peanut butter) – this is the surprise addition!

- 1/2 cup of frozen spinach or 1 c. fresh spinach, kale, or chard cut ribbon style

1 big handful of free green beans cut in 1-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Turn on music – Suggest Suitcase CD by KebMo.
  2.  Add tomatoes and condiments to big stock pot and turn on heat to high.
  3. Cut veggies and add as you complete.
  4. Bring ingredients to a boil and immediately reduce to low simmer.
  5. Simmer for 45 -60 minutes after last ingredient is added. Taste-test carrot for desired texture – slight crunch to soft (not mushy).
  6. While simmering, call Mary Marcdante and say hi (858) 792-6786.
  7. Vouella! It’s Soup! Makes 6-10 servings. Tastes even better 2nd day.
  8. Freezing works but it will be a little mushier.

Optional ingredients for a heartier soup and different tastes/more protein/carbs

* ½ cup dry lentils (add 1 cup extra water if you add lentils)

* 1/3 c. of dry quinoa grains or brown rice added along with veggies (add 2/3 c. extra water

* 1-2 skinless chicken or turkey breasts (use cheesecloth or strain before it falls apart, debone, chop in 1” chunks and re-add to soup)

* 1 pound pot roast, seared. Add all ingredients as suggested to seared pot roast

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What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe? I’d love to know; please share in the comment box.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Thanks for sharing!
08/1/13

No Smiling Allowed? Passport Photos and Facial Recognition

 

I recently got my passport renewed and was reminded of this wonderful short film, “Validation.” There’s a twist in film you won’t expect. Get ready to smile. Just don’t smile when you get your own passport photo taken.

It actually says in the directions for a passport:

             If you are applying for a U.S. Passport, you must provide one (1) photo. Your passport photo must be:

    • With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open

Having written Living with Enthusiasm: How the 21-Day Smile Diet Can Change Your Life, this really got to me. Not smile? What is that all about? Don’t we have enough problems in the world without telling people not to use the most universal positive gesture on the planet?

I discovered from someone who worked in a copy shop that did passport photos that people were told not to smile because if that person was arrested, the arrest photo should match the passport. Since most people wouldn’t smile in jail, they don’t want you smiling in your passport. Really?

Turns out, it’s actually about facial recognition technology for fighting against fraud and international terrorism. When your mouth is open it can make it difficult for facial recognition technology to work effectively.

I can appreciate this and it begs a deeper question, “How do we create more positive connection in a world with so many different cultures and regulations when we’re traveling internationally and in our own neighborhoods?”

Be generous with your smiles.

Thanks for sharing!
01/30/13

Smiling As A Competitive Business Advantage

Sir Richard Branson: "If you’re looking for the next big investment for your business, but don’t have much money to spend, start by looking at yourself in the mirror. A smile won’t cost you anything, and the returns to your business will start right away."

Sir Richard Branson: “A smile won’t cost you anything, and the returns to your business will start right away.”

When I wrote Living with Enthusiasm: How the 21-Day Smile Diet Can Change Your Life, some people thought it was hokey and too cute for business. Some people understood its power right away and saw it as a business opportunity, hiring me to spread the message to their organizations and clients.

I was delighted to read in Entrepreneur Magazine online that Richard Branson, CEO of The Virgin Group (50,000 employees worldwide, $21 billion in revenues) puts this same message to work in his business and life.

Communicating can sometimes be a little challenging, but it is a truism that everyone smiles in the same language…If you’re looking for the next big investment for your business, but don’t have much money to spend, start by looking at yourself in the mirror. A smile won’t cost you anything, and the returns to your business will start right away.” ~Richard Branson

If your organization is looking to increase performance, customer service, well-being, and profits, email or call me at (858) 792-6786 for a complimentary consultation on how we can maximize the smiles and enthusiasm in your workplace. Mary

Thanks for sharing!