Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Black Bean Soup

This post is the first of what will be a weekly series entitled Soup on Saturday. Every Saturday, I’m going to post a soup/stew/chili recipe for you to try out.

Since it’s snowing here today, I was looking for something hearty.  If you use this recipe, please post a comment and let us know how it turned out. Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup

1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight in cold water

1 1/2 tb olive oil

2 red onions, diced

1 red pepper, diced fine

1 green pepper, diced fine

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

2 tsp oregano

4 cups low sodium vegetable stock

2 tb tomato paste

3/4 cup corn kernels (I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn)

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse soaked beans under cold water, drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy sauce pan on medium.  Add onion and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until soft.

Add peppers, celery and garlic and cook for another four minutes.

Stir in black beans, bay leaves, stock, tomato paste and oregano, along with two cups water.  Simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, then add corn and cook for another 15 minutes or until beans are tender.

Remove bay leaves from soup, stir to taste, and serve.

Recipe serves six.  Prep time 30 minutes.  Cooking time 1 hour.


Happy New Year

What better way to start a new year than with a fresh, updated look 🙂  I hope the stylistic/editorial changes taking place on Making All Things New will help you navigate around the site a bit easier.

Please bear with me as I do some additional updating over this long weekend.  I’m still new at this, and from what I can see all my subscribers might get some additional email notices as I make changes.  So far, I haven’t been able to figure out how to avoid this, but I promise there won’t be too many.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis 🙂

I hope it’s a beautiful day wherever you are, and that the New Year will be filled with health, positive transformations, and peace.



Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that I posted the recipe for Zucchini-Corn Quesadillas under the Appetizers tab to the right

I also found a very good video done by Dr. Robert Lustig, MD entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”  Dr. Lustig is UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology.  Although the clip is quite long (90 minutes) it answered a tremendous number of questions that I’ve had about the reasons why there is such a health crisis in our country.  If you don’t have the time to watch the clip, there is a link to a summary PDF right below the clip.  You can find everything under the Type II Diabetes tab to the right.


Dealing with Disappointment

I loved this plant.  You have to baby trailing begonias, and I worked hard for the past two years at turning this one into, as my mother put it, a “show stopper.” 

She asked me about it the other day, and I had to tell her how I killed it.  At the end of the season last year, I did everything I was supposed to do with this begonia, one of my favorite plants. 

After the first frost, I brought the plant in, put the very ugly tuber into a contain filled with peat moss, then placed the whole thing into a dark closet.  Come spring, I brought it out, put it in a sunny window, and was supposed to lightly water it. 

My problem was I put way too much water on the darn thing, and it rotted.  By the time I realized it, Whiteflower Farms had sold out of all their stock, so I’m doing without my Orange Cascade this year. 

Now all this may sound trivial,  and in the big picture, it is, but I was really disappointed in myself for not following the growing instructions and killing a $30 plant. 

It seems like we deal with some disappointment just about every day.  Some relate to very serious and important things, and others are about minor issues.  The question is, how to we get over them?

I think the key is perspective.  If we suffer a minor setback, we can pick ourselves up and keep moving.  Figure out what went wrong and develop ways to keep from being in the same situation again.

For the more serious issues, it might take time to get over it.  Praying about it will help.  Talking it over with a good friend might ease the pain.  Realizing that there are many other people in far worse situations could help you understand that, in the grand scheme of things, your situation is a blip on the screen.  You’ll deal with it and move on.

Life is too short to be trapped in negative thinking.  Tomorrow, God will give us all the chance to turn things around and make things right.  Give it a try.


It’s Over… Or Is It?

Two big things finished up for me today.  First, I “officially” completed the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  This 40 + week spiritual adventure was a life-changer, and the perfect companion to my physical transformation.

I guess in some sense these kinds of things never really end.  Maybe a good way to look at it is like a book series.  The latest book begins where the previous one left off.  I’m looking forward to seeing how my own personal sequel turns out.  I’ll let you know 🙂

I gathered with some friends for a discussion about the experience, had some great prayer time, and finally, a little brunch.  All in all, a great way to mark the conclusion of this leg of my journey.

The other thing that wrapped up today was our religious ed. year.  1,100 students are now ready to move on to the next level.  We’re already taking registrations for next year.  In a lot of ways, it’s been a long and hard year.  The level of frustration on the part of many people is more and more evident.  No doubt this is caused by the difficulties our country finds itself in.  It seemed like we were easy targets. It doesn’t appear as though things are going to get better any time soon, so we’re trying to respond as best we can.

We’ve been thinking of ways how we can make things easier for people.  Fewer meetings, fewer forms, fewer hoops to jump through.  I think people will be happy about  the changes we make, but, well, you can’t please everyone.    That’s not going to stop us from trying!  It shouldn’t stop you either…


Catching Up

I took a little time off from work yesterday in an attempt to catch up on some personal things.  The grass growing season is in full swing.  Having been cut just four days before, it was already time for the next trim. The first round of edging was needed, along with some general clean-up.  As I was racing through the yard, I stopped to see how beautiful this little Bleeding Heart’s (Dicentra) pendulous flower sprays were.

Like all good things, these early spring blossoms will come and go.  Time keeps moving, and the next things to bloom are just forming their buds. It is good to be alive in springtime, and what a gift it is to have eyes that can see, noses that can smell the fragrance, ears that can hear the birds.  We are so blessed.

I am in the last days of my 34 week retreat based upon the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  After cleaning up around the house and garden, I just sat for awhile in my back yard.  It’s a time for reflection.  As I was flipping through the pages of my journal that I’ve been keeping since I began the retreat, there were so many great thoughts, quotes, prayers that could/should be shared.  This one comes from a book entitled Spiritual Direction, written by Henri Nouwen,

Remember, you belong to God from eternity to eternity. You were loved by God before you were born, and you will be loved by God long after you die.

Your human lifetime, long or short, is only a part of your total life in God.  The length of time doesn’t matter.  Life is just an opportunity for you during a few years to say to God, “I love you too.”  (pg. 49)


Running in the rain

There was lots of things to do this week, and I got most of them done.  Making it to the gym every other day didn’t happen, though.  I’m trying to be consistent, but sometimes life gets in the way, but I guess you know that.

To make up for it, I thought I’d squeeze in a good run this afternoon.  There were some clouds on the horizon, but it didn’t look too bad. I made it through about three quarters of my jog when this massive wind hit me, along with pelting rain.  I wasn’t paying much attention to the sky, and when I looked up, it was black, black, black.  I was getting drenched, but I was enjoying it.

The wind was so strong, a tree (bradford pear) snapped in half about twenty feet away from me.  I just kept running, laughing as I went.  Now, the funny thing is, in the past all this would have really bothered me.  I would have not been happy that I was getting soaked.  I would have started worrying when trees started coming down around me.  I most certainly wouldn’t have been laughing.

But, now, I’m not letting things get to me as much, especially things that are out of my control.  Getting upset or frustrated generally doesn’t solve the problem.  Remember the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?  Well, I guess there’s a lot of wisdom in that book from, when was it, the 90’s?

So, I think that needs to be my message for today:  Try to enjoy things a bit more, and don’t stress about every little thing.  Being stressed usually adds to the problem rather than eliminating it.

Years ago, I heard a cool little tidbit:  “On the day of your funeral, your in basket will still be full.”  It seems like there’s always too much to do, not enough time.  This weekend, enjoy the company of friends.  See a movie or take a drive.  Visit a park and see some nature.  Whatever it is you do, lighten up and have fun, even if it means taking a run in the rain.


Psalm 46

Over the last week, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about Psalm 46, and it seems as though the comforting words found within it are bringing encouragement  to many folks.    Here’s the NAB translation:

God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.

The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,

Though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging.  The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

 Streams of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.

God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken; God will help it at break of day.

Though nations rage and kingdoms totter, God’s voice thunders and the earth trembles.

The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

Come and see the works of the LORD, who has done fearsome deeds on earth;

Who stops wars to the ends of the earth, breaks the bow, splinters the spear, and burns the shields with fire;

Who says: “Be still and confess that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”

The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

As I wrote in an earlier post, I think this psalm has important  relevance for us right now.  Nearly everyone I know is facing some type of struggle.  A few  are minor, but others are major and life changing.  The word epic comes to mind.  Anyone trying to overcome these difficulties in isolation is, I believe, almost sure to fail.  The Psalmist writes, not about me, but rather about our and us.  No doubt about it.  We are all in this together, and it’s time to realize how little we can accomplish by ourselves.  Together, and with God’s help and presence, we will do great things.  We have nothing to fear.


Ah, St. Patrick’s Day.  To all the Irish, whether by heratige or desire, enjoy the day!  St. Patrick, pray for us.


I’m embarking on a new adventure!  For the last eleven months, God has been doing some amazing new things with me.  It’s been a radical transformation of my body, mind, and spirit.  I want to share with anyone who will listen what’s happened to me, with the hope that maybe they will find some good advice and make some changes for themselves.