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Italian Sausage and Kale Soup #Recipe @DonnaFaz

Please don’t let the kale put you off! This green leafy vegetable is nearly flavorless, but it’s packed with nutrition. What you will taste is everything else: Italian sausage, chicken broth, carrots, celery, onions, beans, fennel seeds, basil, and creamy potatoes. Mmmmm! A bowl of this hot soup and a slice of bread slathered with butter will cure whatever ails you. You have to try this recipe! Your family will love it. Mine does.

Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, halved length-wise, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 bunches of kale, chopped, large stems removed
1 15-ounce can of cannelloni beans, rinsed, drained
32 ounces chicken broth (I use organic)
2-4 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
6 medium-sized red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, cubed

1.     Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large soup pot and turn heat to medium. Add the sausage and fry until brown, using spatula to break up the meat. Once there is no pink left, pour the sausage into a sieve to drain and set aside.
2.     Place the pot back on the burner. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions, carrots, and celery. Sweat the vegetables for 5-7 minutes until the onions are slightly translucent.
3.     Add the sausage back into the pot. Then add the kale, beans, chicken broth and enough water to cover the ingredients. Stir in the garlic, basil, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary to keep ingredients covered with liquid.
4.     Add the potatoes and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve with biscuits or hearty bread and butter.

Zen 101: Mindfulness by @DonnaFaz

Mindfulness is active, open attention to the present. It’s the state of observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance without labeling them as good or bad. Living mindfully means to be in the moment and awake to each experience. Practicing mindfulness brings calm where there was chaos, peace where there was turmoil. Here are some suggestions that will help you live with more intention and less judgment.

Your only true reality is this moment, right now. If you’re not in the here and now, you’re either judging the past or anticipating the future—the first can’t be changed and the second is completely unpredictable. Focusing on This Moment—the people you’re with, the situation you’re in—is what is most important for your well-being.

There is a wilderness that can only be walked alone. Even when you are surrounded by people, no one can walk in your footsteps but you. Allow yourself the opportunity to get to know who you really are, what you really think and believe, how you really feel about your experiences.

Everything is created twice; once in the mind and then again in your life. Keep good moral standards at the forefront of your mind. If you do, then nothing you say or do will harm another.

Negative thoughts are harmless…unless you believe them. Don’t attach yourself to negativity in any form: thoughts, actions, or emotions. If bad thoughts invade your mind, simply let them go. There’s no need to reprimand yourself for the thoughts. Just let them go.

You will not be punished for your anger. You’ll be punished BY your anger. Annoyance, enmity, jealousy, resentment, they’re all normal human feelings. Dwelling on these gloomy emotions, however, will result in a pessimistic outlook. Life is too short to be anything except the best, most positive you.

Inner peace is knowing and loving yourself. The validation of others isn’t necessary for you to live a good and happy life.

To strongly believe in something and not live it is dishonest. Follow your intense passions mindfully. Live your beliefs and you’ll never be fooled by the words or desires of others.

The right path and the easy path are rarely one and the same. Every struggling step you succeed in taking toward your goal makes the reaching of the goal all the more satisfying.

If you truly desire the benefits, you must accept the costs. Every want (dream/goal) comes with some sort of sacrifice. You must welcome the suffering in order to achieve the dream.

The burden of too much responsibility inhibits a peaceful, mindful life. Every moment doesn’t have to be filled with something to do. Give yourself space to breathe, to appreciate, to be.

Embrace spontaneity. Work is necessary, yes, but some of life’s best experiences arrive at unplanned moments. Be flexible and open.

Make rejuvenation part of your daily schedule. If all we do is pour out of our buckets and never refill them, we’d all walk around carrying empty buckets. Take time to refill yourself—seek quiet solitude and focus your attention inwardly on a regular basis.

How has mindfulness, or the lack of it, affected your life? In what area of your life could you benefit from being more mindful? Do you have a suggestion for how others can live a more mindful life?

~  ~  ~

A note from the author: In a world filled with mass shootings, starving refugees, and myriad other tragedies, how do we keep our sanity? My book, PRAYER OF QUIET, describes a simple yet powerful spiritual practice I have used to help me escape the chaos of the world. I wrote the book so others might also benefit from this calming daily devotion.