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!
07/16/13

How to Reduce Stress and Feel Presence: Take a Nature Walk in Your Mind

oceanflow_presence_mm_150

Since both of us are probably sitting somewhere — you reading, me writing — and you may not be able to get out for a Presence Walk until later, here are two simple things you can do right now to reduce your stress and feel more Presence in your Life:

1) Get a nature walk scheduled on your calendar this week. Anticipation of something you’re looking forward to increases joy and peace of mind and allows you to be more present to the moment. One of my favorite spots on the planet to feel Presence, joy and peace of mind is Torrey Pines Reserve, where I took this photo. Such a calming moment to appreciate the beauty of Life.

2) Do what I did just before I started writing. Look at your favorite nature photos on your computer or in a photo book or go to your own mental nature preserve in your mind, and while you’re looking, take ten long, slow deep breaths, put your hand to your heart and smile for 60 seconds, feeling the energy of Presence breathing you, giving you life. Relax into the spaciousness. (Feel free to download this photo and use it as your screensaver).

If you want to up the relaxation factor, add one of your favorite songs for three to four minutes with the nature photos full screen on your computer. One of my favorite stress relief songs/CDs is Deuter’s Sun Spirit. You can sample it on Amazon.

What’s your favorite place to walk in nature and what is one of your favorite stress relief songs? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for sharing!
03/12/12

Inspiring Your Present Moment…

“I see beauty all around, and I’m reminded once again…
Here and now I have all that I need.
Here and now this is where I am meant to be.”
~ Jana Stanfield ~

A sunset walk at Torrey Pines State Beach Reserve this past weekend and Jana Stanfield’s song “Here and Now,” inspired me to create a photo collage for you from my photos. It’s a great way to take an inspiration break at your computer when you make it a desktop background. [Right click on the photo and then click "Set as desktop background."] Enjoy!

Torrey Pines State Beach Reserve - photos (c) MaryMarcdante.com

Thanks for sharing!