Finding your joy and finding your purpose – Pages of a Career Journal


“I’ve had my trials and tribulations,” he says. He’d always been in and out of kitchens: “It’s always been close to my heart.” But he struggled with addiction and ended up in jail. When he got out, his work experience wasn’t great, but a woman sitting next to him on the bus noticed the “shoddy little résumé in my hand.” She asked him if he was looking for a job; she was the head chef at the late Broadway Grill. “They took a chance on me,” Parr says. He ended up working there for five years, never missing a shift. “It was the first time I felt I could be a part of, not apart from,” he says. “Transformation is possible.” By the time he left, he was the kitchen manager.-Chef Will Parr


Individuals I encounter often say to me “It is evident that you always knew you wanted to help people. How did you know?” In response, I often share a quote I love by Pastor T.D. Jakes, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” The anecdote above takes me back to my childhood. I am passionate about ending childhood hunger, as I lived through it and I don’t wish it upon anyone. This is evident as my question to anyone I meet is always “What did you eat today?” and my work as gardener and “home ec teacher”. I introduce new amazing vegetables to middle schoolers and teach them how to grow food. I work with young adults in transitional living facilities and those aging out of foster care by providing individual and group therapy. However, somehow the conversation always turns to food. I want them to understand everybody needs a helping hand. So, they should never be afraid or embarrassed to sign up for welfare as long as they realize it is a stepping stone. I love talking to them about how they can stretch their SNAP for real nourishment versus the empty calories that are often found in junk food.

My work echoes OSL principle that “Everybody has the right to nutrition — that good, healthful food is not a privilege. A corollary tenet: that right should come “Without hearing other people’s dogma,” is a principal and a philosophy I can get behind. Yes, I believe in a higher power, but I don’t believe it needs to be verbalized. My faith should shine through in my actions and my work as a clinical social worker. Have you found your purpose? What are you passionate about?

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Linguine with Chanterelle,Shrimp & artichoke hearts


I know the rule- NEVER grocery shop when you’re hungry as it leads to buying more food… but we are all guilty of it on occasion. I recently found myself much in need of grocery shopping after the snow storm. I’ll spare you the play by play of ALL the extras I purchased. I will say I picked up artichokes at Trader Joe’s and fancy mushrooms at the farmers market ( I love mushrooms but I just learned I do NOT like chanterelle mushrooms yuck -if you love them use them! If you don’t, leave them out. ).

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package  Linguine pasta
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 pound large shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Chanterelle mushrooms

Preparation: strain artichoke marinade into a bowl. Place shrimp in a bowl with marinade. While pasta is cooking, sauté onion and garlic in oil for about three to five minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, wine, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, and pepper. Add mushrooms and shrimp (with marinade) to onions and garlic. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for four to five minutes. Toss with pasta and serve immediately.


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DIY Mailbox Makeover To Boost Curb Appeal


forgotten secrets

I came back from my morning run and laying there on the ground was my 15 year old mailbox, presumably a victim of a poor hit and run. I didn’t have too much time to focus on it .I propped it back up and hoped it would hold until the end of the work day. That evening I noticed my spouse had “fixed” it, but now I was in the mindset of a beautiful, leak free mailbox. A week later my new secure mailbox arrived. I channeled my inner Pinterest queen (real life confession, she does not exist) and it quickly turned into a beautiful blessed nightmare. I sent Abby a photo text that read “Thoughts?” My phone instantly rang “What are you doing? You already have serious curb appeal. Cute mailboxes are for those without any or those who are trying hook up with the mailman.” I laughed and thought, as always, Abby is right. I wiped the paint off my box, purchased some reflective numeral decals, and called it a day. Sometimes all you need to revamp your mailbox are some very cheap vinyl decals. I did keep the bicycle decal, as it is a reminder to not put outgoing mail in the box but to actually walk to the big blue mailbox. It is about a mile and a half away and makes for a beautiful walk. What has been your light bulb  DIY moment? I am also curious what does your mailbox look like?


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Are we going to Cuba or to the South?


I spotted the dusty canister of dry  black beans on my pantry shelf. I also remembered during the holidays I went to a wedding and the wedding favor was a seasoning blend that the bride had made (yes, she’s a chef) I was so excited to get this but never used it. Today I  thought I would show the dusty canister of dry black beans  and the spice blend some love today. Bon Appetit.

  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 carrot
  • Few pinches of heart seasonings ( insert your favorite seasoning)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 teaspoon pepper
  • Chorizo sausage
  • ½ red wine
  • 2 cups cooked long-gran rice
  • Juice of one lime

Directions In a large stockpot cover beans with water and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for one hour. Drain water and cover with fresh water (six cups). In food processor pulse Cook mirepoix (A mirepoix is a roughly chopped vegetable cut, usually a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery but that sounds so boring and tasteless. So for flavor am talking about onions, bell pepper, carrot, jalapeño and garlic.) In oil for five minutes, until tender. Add all remaining ingredients to the beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for two hours until beans are tender. Add more liquid if necessary. Add chorizo and cook 10 more minutes. Serve with two cups of cooked rice and roasted vegetables.


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Inclement weather and hungry!


So, have you ever had a natural disaster (flood , tornado , earthquake , windstorm or something worst?) or just been snowed in for a extended period of time? What did you eat, was it good, and what did you miss?The winter cold is kicking our asses. I crave nothing but comfort food that will warm my bones. Opening my fridge today, it was a little bleak as the snow isn’t allowing me to make it to my year round farmers market. I spotted a sad looking baby bok choy and one head of broccoli and had a fabulous yummy light bulb moment for Udon Soup. Bon Appetit

  • 1 half onion
  • Udon noodles
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 eggse
  • Thai spice blend
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 half jalapeño
  • Knob of ginger
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • 1 baby bok choy
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • Quarter of bell pepper (I used red)
  • Shrimp

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. In a food processor add garlic, ginger, and bell pepper. After a quick pulse, add to Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally for two to three minutes until the garlic and ginger is fragrant. Pour in the vegetable broth and water with Thai seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for five minutes. While broth is simmering, cut the end of the head of bok choy. Roll the leaves together and also cut into strips. Add the bok choy and broccoli to broth and cook for five minutes or until stems are starting to be tender. Finally, stir in the Udon noodles (one bundle is enough, you get three bundles in a pack) and shrimp. Simmer soup until the noodles are tender, four to six minutes. Whisk in eggs until soup thickens. Taste and add salt as needed. Divide soup into two bowls.


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