Where the Magic Happens

by Jen Wanous

It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to meet a star. Friday night I went to the Food Network’s Food and Wine Festival in New York. I was there as a culinary volunteer for their annual “Burger Bash”. There, twenty of the city’s top restaurants were set up in stations and served bites of their burgers for a ‘best in show’ award. I was set up with a Brooklyn staple, Bark. I was working with a small crew flipping buns and cranking out burgers for 600 people an hour!

It is in the places where we push ourselves outside of what is comfortable that really special things happen. I barely motivated to ride my bike down to the event on that dreery Friday night. It would have been a whole lot easier to stay home with my puppy and watch Project Runway–but I rallied and tried something new–and look–magic happened–I met Whoopi!

The challenge then is to be open to the opportunities around you; say yes a little more and have radical trust that the universe will take care of you (usually with magical things).

Here is a quote that a friend recently shared with me. It was a good reminder for me and I hope it is for you too. Of course, “God” can be replaced with whatever serves you.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I have included a recipe for a warming soup to fill you and ground you through this change of season. As always, be gentle with yourself too. Enjoy.

Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup

Serves: 6 – 1 cup servings

Preparation Time: 8 hours  Cook Time: 1 hour 


1 cup dried white beans, (Great Northern or Cannellini)*Soak for at least 8 hours

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 onions, small dice (1½ cup)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 sprig rosemary, minced (1 teaspoon) or 1 heaping teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 carrots, small dice (1 pound)

2 stalks of celery, small dice (½ pound)

1 pound kale, remove the stems, coarsely chop

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

Parmesan, grated to taste (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


1.  In a medium pot, cover the beans with water and soak over night, or at least eight hours.  Drain and rinse the beans then return to the pot.  Cover with two inches of water, add salt and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2.  While the beans are cooking, in a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and some salt stirring until the onions look glassy.  Add the garlic and rosemary, cook for 3-5 minutes more, being careful not to brown the garlic.

3.  Add in the stock, carrots and celery.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add in the beans.  Cook for 20 more minutes.  The beans should be tender.  In the last 10 minutes, add kale.

4. Top with fresh parsley and parmesan and serve with warm crusty bread.

7 Responses to “Where the Magic Happens”

  1. You’re the bomb. I love you, your wisdom and adventure!

  2. Where’s the like button? LIKE! :) Wait, LOVE!

  3. i just read that quote in brene brown’s “i thought it was just me,” and it totally blew my mind. thanks for sharing! also that soup is one of my all-time faves; i usually make a similar recipe from greene grape that includes ground turkey (in case you’re in the mood for meat!) http://blog.greenegrape.com/2010/01/19/lacinato-kale/


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