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Vegetable Soup

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recipe: The best vegetable soup ever, no kidding
Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of "The Food Matters Cookbook"
3/4 cup olive oil, more or less
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped, thick stems discarded
2 or 3 cabbage leaves, chopped
1 bunch chard, preferably white, washed and chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 4 cups cooked white beans, like cannelloni, with their liquid if possible
Put about a third of the olive oil in the bottom of a deep pot and turn the heat to medium.
Add half the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, which takes about 10 minutes.
Add about half of the remaining oil and repeat the process, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
Add the remaining oil with the parsley, cabbage and chard and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is softened but not browned.
Add the tomato paste and stir.
Mash the beans so that they're about half mashed and half more-or-less whole. Add this mixture to the pot, along with any bean cooking liquid and enough water to make the whole mixture stewy but not watery.
Continue cooking, tasting and adjusting the seasoning as necessary, until all the vegetables are very tender and the soup is hot. Serve hot or warm.
Serving Size
Makes about 10 servings

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BASILIC 10/23/2010 9:01AM

    I may try this soup today. I will probably cut back the oil by 1/2 and plan to substitute the onions with leek that I already have. I also will use colored chard that I have growing in my flower bed. I prefer the white chard, but I've been using the colored chard as an ornamental and white chard isn't easily available at my local grocer.

Comment edited on: 10/23/2010 9:08:47 AM

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Yum yum yum sounds great.

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NIKIMO11 10/14/2010 12:44PM

  The recipe sounds great!! Can't wait to try it!! emoticon

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URSULA125 10/14/2010 3:23AM

    Yum! Thank you, Rita! I've been looking for good bean recipees! emoticon

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HAPPY1049 10/13/2010 9:36PM

    Sounds great! Yummy!

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USMAWIFE 10/13/2010 4:42PM

    Considering how the recipe reads, the amount of olive oil could easily be reduced in the browning process for the veggies.

SOunds like a good recipe. Most likely would not even miss the potatoes.

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DEBRITA01 10/13/2010 1:01PM

    Sounds good Rita...love anything with cooked cabbage! I agree with Buggys about substituting vegetable or chicken stock for some of the oil. Although olive oil is healthier, 3/4 cup seems like a lot. Wonder if this could be prepared in a slow-cooker...

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SUNNY332 10/13/2010 12:23PM

    I will try this recipe - definitely but agree with the others about the oil.

Thanks so much. Sounds great!


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BUGGYS 10/13/2010 11:57AM

    I agree...don't think you need that much oil...can use chicken stock instead...

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MARYLQ11 10/13/2010 11:34AM

  Way too much oil

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September 1-- A New Beginning!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I am tired of failing to work my plan! It's been a challenging two months of being sick and having all of my family home for my son's wedding, changing jobs, losing a dear friend that I worked for and starting two new jobs. The excuses need to be put back in the drawer and a new plan has to be implemented. I have composed a list of my goals for the month and will check back in at the end of the month to tell how I did. I made them do-able goals. Since I've been out of the practice of going to the Y since my water aerobics instructor had to quit my goal for strength training is very minimal.

September 1, 2010

1. Stop emotional eating, especially at night.
2. Exercise aerobically 3 x a week
3. Track food
4. Track water
5. 50 situps a day
6. go to the y and do strength training at least 1 x a week
7. read my Bible daily; including a Proverb a day
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COLD_GOLD 9/28/2010 8:07PM

    hey! these are really good goals... sounds like you went through a lot in the past little while... keep on keeping on!

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COLD_GOLD 9/28/2010 8:07PM

    hey! these are really good goals... sounds like you went through a lot in the past little while... keep on keeping on!

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KASEYCOFF 9/2/2010 7:33AM

    Attagirl, Rita! Those are all SMART goals, and your plan sounds really good. (I might crib a couple off your list, my own self, lol!)

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ANDI571 9/1/2010 10:35PM

    I started fresh again also. I think Sept. 1, 2010 will be our time. emoticon

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DEBRITA01 9/1/2010 10:26PM

    emoticon Your goals are specific and measurable and more importantly, doable. With so much happening in your life lately, you are now back in control and ready to do this! I know you can, Rita!

Summer fun is over, "Class" is back in session - for all of us! Wishing you a terrific September!

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HAPPY1049 9/1/2010 2:56PM

    Those are reasonable and good goals. You're on the right track! Good for you!
I especially like your Bible reading daily, and a Proverb daily. I know that the Lord will help you when you call upon Him.

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SONYATAYLOR1 9/1/2010 11:45AM


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REMIAM 9/1/2010 10:22AM

  September 1 is a great kickoff date for recharging! Good luck with your reaffirmations and goals. emoticon emoticon

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BUGGYS 9/1/2010 8:11AM

    I'm with you on your September goals! I made way too many excuses over the summer which I have to work through. We'll do this together, Rita! emoticon

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SUNNY332 9/1/2010 8:04AM

    Best of wishes on your September Goals. emoticon and I will be here to emoticon you on to victory.

Take care, Rita, and have a Super September!


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PMAY0313 9/1/2010 7:52AM

    Keep the faith!

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Lowest lows and highest highs

Friday, August 06, 2010

Sometimes we are called upon to do difficult things that we think are beyond our abilities. Today was one of those for me. I was asked to eulogize the man I cared for over the past two years. He was my hero and had a huge impact on my life. What complicated the request is that our 5 children are home from all parts of the USA for our oldest son's wedding. The rehearsal dinner is tonight.

We just got home after the service. It was an honor to talk about this man that has taught me so much. It was hard when my emotions took over and I cried but the emotion was genuine and I feel like I honored this amazing man.

So thankful for friends who stepped in to help with the prep work I had planned to do myself for the dinner.

Off to the dinner, to rejoice with my family, glad for a few minutes to sort out my emotions.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINIS_THIN 8/11/2010 3:21PM

    I just read about him moving to the home and now this ... so quick for the blog reader! lol
Thanks for forewarning me in my blog.

Having read both blogs I am happy that he gave life his best shot. I am sure he is happier now. AT PEACE.

"May the peace of God which passes understanding guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." Phil4:7

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SMILINDI 8/9/2010 10:13AM

    This was truly a bitter sweet day for you my dear. Bidding farewell to a hero in your life, who has moved on to the promise land with God~where all is perfect, peaceful, and loving for eternity. Then heading off to bless your son and new daughter in law to be with a rehearsal supper~the beginning of their life together and many memories waiting to be created as a family~ever precious.

How great you had a few moments to be here to sort out your feelings. What you just went through in one day was a whirl wind of emotion and truly bitter sweet. I admire you with all my heart. May God Bless You Always!

~Diane~ emoticon

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HAPPY1049 8/8/2010 3:00PM

    I am so glad that you were asked to speak, and that you accepted the challenge. I know you did a great job. So glad the others in your family stepped up to help, too.

I know it was a great wedding.

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SUNNY332 8/7/2010 8:23AM

    Talk about an emotional roller coaster of a day. Wow! So glad you were ask to Eulogize him as he meant so much to you and obviously, he also loved you and so did the family. What an honor for you, Rita.

Hope to see photos of the wedding.

Take care and Be Blessed today.


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DEBRITA01 8/6/2010 10:53PM

    emoticon Wow, you are having an emotional day...all over the spectrum. Take some time for yourself although I know it will be hard with all the wedding prep.

I know your "Hero" is watching over you and smiling at the amazing person you are...I am sure he would be so proud.

Enjoy your son's special day...you will be a beautiful mother of the groom, I just know it!

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ONEKIDSMOM 8/6/2010 7:59PM

    emoticon God bless and keep you and yours.

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JUST_TRI_IT 8/6/2010 7:48PM

    wow... what a challenging days. Best to you at the dinner :)

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MSWEEZER 8/6/2010 7:07PM

    Wow, what an emotional day indeed. Glad you were able to share such honor of this friend you've lost. So sorry. And how wonderful your family is home for your son's wedding and you can rejoice and share this time together. Family is such a wonderful thing. Enjoy and am glad you have wonderful friends who stepped in to help out. You are truly blessed.

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CAROL3SAN 8/6/2010 6:43PM

    Enjoy your dinner tonight and always relish your friend and hero in your memory. emoticon

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    i am so sorry for your loss. and i am so happy for you that you had this amazing person in your life - a man that you learned so much from. people like this are true gifts & very rare. i hope you are comforted in the coming weeks with the knowledge of how special you were to him as well. god bless! emoticon

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My Most Unforgettable Character--Gene-- His Life Lessons for Me

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What an emotional week this has been! For the past month I have dreaded Tuesday when I would be losing the job I've loved. I have taken care of Gene, an 89 year old man with Parkinson's Disease for the past 2+ years. He has been such a source of inspiration to me as I've seen him fight his disease with grace and strength and very little complaint! This while I was trying to learn to eat more appropriately and exercise regularly to lose weight and improve my health.

When I didn't want to exercise I would think of Gene and his response when I would ask him daily if he would like to exercise. If he was feeling weak or poor he would say, "we'll see what we can do." He would then proceed to give it his 100% even under trying circumstances. This spoke volumes to me as I was in the process of learning to exercise regularly and learning to stop asking myself, "do I really FEEL like exercising?" I now don't ask that question, instead I just do it! After making exercise a priority and feeling the very positive results of it, I know that I will be very satisfied that I did exercise. I'm even at the point where I LOVE the process of it.

My heart is full of gratitude for Gene and the lessons he's taught me. I delighted in telling him that he was my hero and that he taught me how to just do it no matter if I wanted to or not!

He's not adjusted to his move to assisted living yet. His daughter called and asked if I would come in to exercise with him a few times a week. I'm so happy to do this as I know without the exercise he will be in a wheelchair soon. I miss him so much already. I am so grateful for his many examples on how to live a graceful life that is a blessing to others.

Gene is truly my most unforgettable character!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINIS_THIN 8/11/2010 3:15PM

    Beautiful story.
When one chapter of your life closes another opens...
Look with eagerness at what your life will bring!

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LINDAKAY228 7/24/2010 7:13PM

    I work with elderly and disabled and have since 1995. I see some that are so inspiring and work to overcome so much and I love working with them. I also see a few who don't have near as much wrong with them and whine and cry all the time about how miserable their life is and how no one cares. I try to treat them all the same and actually learn a lot from both groups. From the whiners I learn to watch my own attitude and make sure I be grateful instead of focusing on the bad. From the hero's like your gentleman, I learn so much much more. Some of that is about what it is to keep pushing on and not give up and how much courage they have.
I believe you have touched his life tremendously too, especially since many people want to avoid those with disabilities and illnesses and your willingness to look beyond what is initially seen and to see the beauty of the man underneath is a precious gift you also gave, and still continue to give, to him.

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KASEYCOFF 7/24/2010 6:04PM

    And I have no doubt, Rita, that he learned as much from you as you did from him. It's wonderful that you can continue to visit him - and even better that it will give you additional exercise and help keep him more fit. His life is a blessing to others - and so is yours. emoticon

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HAPPY1049 7/24/2010 3:25PM

    You are probably his most unforgettable character! That's why he needs you to be there to keep helping him cope.
It's amazing how our attitude can be such a blessing to others along the road of life.
Thanks for sharing about Gene.

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2010 12:42PM

    OH wow... This is inspiring. TO know that someone with his condition still gave his 100% can remind us all to get things done even if perhaps we do not feel like it.

Thank you for sharing your most unforgettable character, Gene :) emoticon

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MSWEEZER 7/24/2010 12:41PM

    What a wonderful story and clearly you impacted one another's lives at a most important time. I love the elderly and hope to find a way to interact with them again. I spent a lot of time at an assisted living facility when my mom was still alive. I grew to love so many of them and they looked forward to my visits just as much as my mom did. And when it got to where she didn't know me, some of them would know me and appreciate my stopping by, sharing a smile and a touch. You've been truly blessed, as has Gene, to have the 2+ years you've had together.

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APRILLSCOTT 7/24/2010 12:07PM

    Rita what a wonderful patient you had! People like this give us a whole new prospective on life! They make us see that anything is possible! They help us always be positive even when life is not the greatest! People like this have so much to offer if someone will just take the time to help! I know you will miss him and have learned a lot being with him! God puts people in our lives sometimes for a reason!

Remember though the season has changed! God has put you in this job for a reason and evidently He has someone else that needs that positive energy passed down to or is there someone else coming in to teach you something new? This will be interesting to find out! emoticon

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SUNNY332 7/24/2010 11:40AM

    Awe, what a wonderful person Gene must be. Thanks so much, Rita, for sharing his story and your story. I am happy that you will get to see him at his new place and how nice of his daughter to call and ask you.

What a blessing your brought to us this morning. Thanks so much!

Hugs, Sunny

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DREMARGRL 7/24/2010 10:49AM

    This brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart this morning. To find strength and inspriation....to learn and love the elderly is truly a blessing. So many don't even want to sit down and talk with a sick person or old person. They have so much to offer, if we would just take the time to listen. I'm sure you mean as much to Gene as he does to you and that YOU have made his life better. In his mind and heart, I know he loves you, too, and appreciates all that you do for him. Keep up the good work....keep exercising. I think I'll think of the both of you when I do my elliptical this a.m. Have a blessed day and give Gene a little hug for me, too. Thanks for the inspirational blog!!!!!!!!! emoticonYou are emoticon!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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70# in the rear view mirror

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm literally shocked that I've lost 70#! The journey began April 2009 on my own after my doctor told me I was going to be a diabetic. I tried to exercise and eat better. I think I lost about 12 pounds until August when the program my doctor signed me up for started on diabetes prevention. To get into the program I had to agree to 1)track my food daily and 2) weigh myself daily. I was upset on both accounts, but to be part of the program I had to do it, so I did!
After a month, I was into it and looked forward to watching my progress.

Spark People came along for me when my program was winding down and I was in panic mode about how I could continue to lose weight. It has been so much more than I would have dreamed or even hoped it could be!

I have a mini goal that I've been working toward since April for my son's wedding August 7th. I am 7# away from that. I don't think I will reach it, but even if I don't I've been chipping away at the 20# goal I made in April.

I've been surprised by my determination to walk wherever possible even when the weather is challenging. It was a pleasure to learn that every week just walking to and from work is 20 miles! The walking is very enjoyable and the time passes quickly.

I learned last week that the job I have caring for an elderly man with Parkinson's Disease in his home will be ending next week as he moves to assisted living. I'm very sad about this change for him and for me!

He's taught me so much about determination and just doing what you have to do no matter how hard it is! Every morning and evening during the week I exercise with him, even when he's having a bad day, when asked if he's ready to exercise he tells me, "we'll see what we can do!" His legs hardly work anymore, but when we do our exercises it's like he's a new man. I will miss him so much. A few months ago, in the middle of exercise he turned to me and said, "don't you realize I'm almost 90 years old? That's OLD!" I will miss him and his great sense of humor!

It's with a grateful heart that I blog this morning, realizing if not for Spark People I would not have gotten to this point in my weight loss journey. Without my spark friends encouraging me along the road, I would not be here, without the Lord I would not be where I am today. He gave me the tools at just the right time for me to use them and have success. I thank the Lord for his mercy, grace and kindness in my life!

Have a great day fellow sparkies!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LONELYMOON86 8/4/2010 10:01AM

    70 Pounds!! Congratulations, that's amazing! I haven't been able to get off more than 25# a year, which is discouraging seeing what others can do. I don't know how you do it, but I'm very happy for you! emoticon emoticon Have a wonderful day emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2010 12:45PM

    Just catching up with your journey, Rita. WHAT a great view in that rear view mirror. Ciao, so long.. bye bye 70 pounds. And in the front view you see... a stronger you.. an healthier you. Pretty darn awesome, my dear, pretty darn awesome :)

emoticon on all the lessons learned along the way.

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WOODSYGIRL 7/23/2010 11:01PM


I'm catching up on my friends' blogs and was so happy to see yours! CONGRATULATIONS on losing 70 lbs!!!! That is just terrific and I couldn't be more proud of you! I love your commitment and determination and your wonderful attitude about all facets of this journey. You are an amazing inspiration!

I am sorry to hear that you won't be working with your gentleman any longer. I remember the stories you've shared with me about him and I know he is very special to you, and will remain so. Perhaps you can visit him in assisted living and help to encourage him to keep those exercises going while he can. God definitely had a plan when He put you two together, and you're both the better for it. Keep the lessons this man taught you and remember the joy he brought to your heart.

I can't wait to hear all about the wedding--it's only 2 weeks away!! Wow! You are going to look mahhhhvelous, darling!

Love & hugs,

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KASEYCOFF 7/15/2010 5:53AM

    Rita, you are doing just great - and you are a real inspiration for me! Your blog gives us a view of one facet of the jewel we call Life. You are changing, becoming healthier... the man you've been working with is moving to the assisted-living, bringing change for him and for you... and the Wheel turns. Not to wax too philosophical, but that's what your post brought to mind. :-)

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LJCANNON 7/15/2010 12:24AM

    emoticonCongratulations on the 70 pounds being gone forever!! I imagine your Doctor is thrilled too.
emoticonI so understand about your job ending. The man I took care of for almost 4 years passed away in October, and the woman I took care of for the same amount of time went in to a Nursing Home two months ago. He was 95 and had Alzheimer's, but most of the time he had a WONDERFUL sense of humor. They are precious people and we are Blessed to have known them.

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MELAPHANTN 7/14/2010 4:02PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANONALEE 7/14/2010 3:48PM

    Congratulations, Rita! What an awesome accomplishment and a wonderful tribute to your patient. If each of us could hold ourselves to doing the "hard things" on our own behalf, we, like your patient, would feel better too.

You're doing a wonderful job becoming a person you can rely on.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUCICAMP 7/14/2010 12:32PM

    emoticon 70#!!! How wonderful. I, too , understand about your client. I'm in homecare and some people just get into our hearts more than others.

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BUGGYS 7/14/2010 12:20PM

    emoticon emoticon You have accomplished so much and you are to be congratulated! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 7/14/2010 12:01PM

    You are definitely my "SHERO" of the day - more likely the year. What a GREAT job.

I am so happy for you.

BTW - what color is your dress for the wedding. I can't wait to see photos.

Hugs, Sunny

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MSWEEZER 7/14/2010 11:30AM

    Oh what a great blog and congratulations on your success. I can understand about your client. He clearly is/was much more and I know you will miss him. He was blessed, as were you, to have each other during this time and individual journies.

You will be beautiful inside and out at your son's wedding next month. Please do share with your Spark family so we can be there for you to applaud you!!!

Have a lovely day!

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BIKERBABE2BE 7/14/2010 9:52AM

    You are an inspiration! You have done such an amazing job and stuck to your plan. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!

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FLUENTFROG 7/14/2010 9:15AM

    Wow, wow, wow -- HOORAY for you!
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