Monday, May 9, 2011

"Love Incarnate" White Bean and Kielbasa Stew

To celebrate the one-month anniversary of this blog, I want to take a moment, step back, and really reflect what Meals with Morri has done for me. As Finals (with a capital “F”) are mere days away, other stresses have come at me in waves to the point that I’m questioning my place in this beautiful world of ours. For one brief moment I wondered if this blog was worth it, and the calorie counting and poor body image reared their obnoxious heads. I know people visit this site, and for that I am honored, but it suddenly occurred to me why I was doing this.

I’m not posting recipes and taking pictures of food for recognition or popularity. I’m not competing with other bloggers to see how many times my blog is visited for the rush of being heard. I have no ulterior motive other than sharing my experiences, insights, and recipes with the rest of the world.

This blog has been in the making for a little over a year. I would have started posting sooner, only I had been in Sweden and simply surviving abroad took up plenty of my time. Then, I dropped my point-and-shoot digital camera, so I waited until I had enough money to buy a digital SLR camera. In the meantime, I adjusted to life back at Mason, purchased a Bento box and food scale. I met up with old friends, making new ones along the way. And after my beautiful camera finally came… well, the rest is history.

On Thursday I witnessed something that upset me greatly. As I was walking to class there was a ring of students around an individual, laughing and calling out things I couldn't hear. The individual was a man who he and others like him go to colleges around the country to “Preach the Good Word”, essentially harassing the students with verbal abuse until one cracks and takes a swing. I kid you not, people use a good idea to sue universities.

It wasn’t the response from the students that angered me, but the fact they gave him the attention he wanted. This man was shouting out words of intolerance, so filled with the h-word and not at all what that philosophy was originally about. When the three-hour class let out for break, he was still there, shouting at the top of his lungs. The students laughed, and I was near tears.

Part of me wanted to buy the man some water (because all that screaming must be hard on the vocal cords). That same part of me wanted to get in the middle of the circle with the man, and do what he was not. I wanted to spread love and shout it to the heavens, to tell every single person (even the h-word driven man) that they are loved and cherished. Images of me spreading compassion and acceptance with encouraging messages tied to flowers came to mind.

I just may do that.

Please don’t misunderstand me, however; a “Good Word” of any idea, religion, or discipline that preaches togetherness and love for the world is wonderful. And I have no problem with people doing that on campus, be they Christian, Agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Pagan, etc. But this man was doing no such thing. He was preaching his agenda where the love should’ve been. What I saw was h-word in action.

You may have noticed that I am using "h-word" instead of spelling out the word that rhymes with plate. This unwelcoming and counterproductive word has no place on this blog (except for here, and it was to quote Charles M. Schultz). This blog is about what happens in my life revolving around health, food, fitness, and healing. That is why I don’t use bad language or discuss politics or religion in detail. Yes, I’m a spiritual person. Yes, I have personal opinions regarding my existence and the world around me. But my answer to that is: “Hey, who doesn’t?”

I want people from all over the world to visit this blog, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, and political views, for the recipes and a brief moment or two knowing what it is like to be me. Nothing more, wonderful readers, and nothing less. Should I stray away from this promise, if I use the blasted h-word (other than to quote someone), send me an email and I will correct it.

After Thursday’s class let out, you can bet your bottom dollar I was bummed. It was dinner with the folks for the week, and the boyfriend was due to come by. I wanted to make something that was comforting and filling the void where the man’s words had dug into my being. There was so much change happening in my life, and I wanted the open arms only loved ones can give.

I wanted the warmth of a kitchen, and this recipe was exactly what a Down-in-the-dumps Morri needed.

Above all else, lovely readers, thank you for making this month such an enlightening experience, with plenty more months to come.

"Love Incarnate" White Bean and Kielbasa Stew

32 oz Veggie stock
8 oz Dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 tbsp. Olive oil
30 oz (2 cans) White kidney beans
16 oz (1 bag) Frozen petite peas
14.5 oz (1 can) Roasted tomatoes with green chiles
3 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 – 2 oz Frozen chopped spinach
1 Medium white onion, diced
8 Frozen colossal wild shrimp, raw
12 oz Kielbasa, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper 
3 Bay leaves   
1/4 tsp. Sage
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch of Tarragon

Place the ingredients (excluding the shrimp and kielbasa) in a large cooking pot or pressure cooker on medium heat.
When the liquid comes to a boil, add in the shrimp.
Once the shrimp are fully cooked, take them out and set aside.
Place the kielbasa in with the rest of the ingredients and let the stew cook up to an hour.
After an hour (more or less), the beans will have thickened the broth, and will be ready to eat.
Serve with the shrimp and a dollop of sour cream on top (I heartily recommend eating it with gluten-free rice Pad Thai noodles, but it is delicious without).

Serves 4 with a definite chance of leftovers. 

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