Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Courageous Souls"

"Courage" is a word that often describes one's attempt at something frightening or uncomfortable.  However, it also describes one's heart or one's soul.  I have been blessed to know many courageous people in my of which is our dear friend, Paul Snyder.  He is the most loving, generous, and compassionate soul. He endured a horrible bicycle accident three and a half years ago that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.  He has had numerous setbacks due to extreme pain and complication -- something that as he puts it, "...just goes along with every spinal cord injury."  He is optimistic and is married to "Sally Lou" whom I admire and love more than words can express.  These two individuals are the epitome of friendship and love.  Both Paul and Sally are true humanitarians who have been involved in so many philanthropic endeavors.  The world needs more like them for sure!  I pray for Paul's recovery and I have had several dreams that vividly show him walking again.  For those of you that know me, I have been known to have many a "psychic moment", so I choose to believe that this will happen.  I pray for it often.

I also pray for those miners trapped in Chile.  My friend (and overly-generous contributor to this blog project), Nancy, shared the story with me of what these men have endured.  I make it a point not to read the newspaper because it is depressive and pessimistic all around...not how I like to begin my day! Nancy is another one that exemplifies a gorgeous human spirit!  I just knew that when she met Paul and Sally, they would just hit it off!  Nancy called me after a recent get-together, where Paul and Sally were also present, and she said, "I just LOVED them!"  I do not believe that anyone would ever say otherwise.   Those poor miners in the caves of Chile must be so scared, and I am praying that they have the courage to believe in their rescue and survival...thank God that they are alive, and I just hope that the heroes involved in the rescue attempts also allow their courage to prevail!

If only each and every one of the fortunate individuals on this planet could be courageous enough to trust that when one gives, they receive so much in return.  It is as if God just opens your heart and douses it with love -- it is a great feeling.  And, I truly believe that the reason it feels so good is because it is exactly how He wants it.  God's greatest gift is the ability to love and care for others.  Sorry for any atheists or agnostics out there -- obviously we will disagree on this point, but I invite you to put it to the test -- what do you have to lose?

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pesto
1 medium-size onion, chopped
1 medium-size green pepper, seeded & chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tube (18 oz.) prepared polenta, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 14)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese
4 cups chopped radicchio
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1.  In a large bowl, stir together the beans, 2 Tablespoons of the pesto, onion, green pepper and Italian seasoning.  Place half of bean mixture in bottom of slow cooker.  Layer half of polenta slices over top, pour 1/4 cup chicken broth over polenta then sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese.  Repeat layering one more time.  Cover and cook for 2 hours on HIGH or 4 1/2 hours on LOW.

2.  Stir together remaining 2 Tablespoons pesto and remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth.  Pour pesto mixture into slow cooker, add radicchio and gently stir to combine.  Place tomato slices on top and continue cooking for another 30 minutes on HIGH or LOW.  Serve immediately. 
(Makes 8 servings).

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