Breakfast/ Dinner

Thank Me Later

The chili was a success!

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It might have been some of the best I’ve ever made, actually. Really!

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Sadly I had to forgo the noodles (didn’t have any and wasn’t about to go back to the store to get them) but I did top my bowl with a copious amount of 2% Mexican cheese.
MAKE THIS TONIGHT! Or tomorrow night. You will thank me later.
Coupled with The Blind Side, this made for the perfect evening. This movie was soooooo good. Better than good…it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It also made me really miss the South and excited for football season this fall!

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Sandra, we love you!
Oats were pretty standard this morning (do y’all get sick of seeing my oatmeal pictures ever?! They are pretty boring to me…)

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On a side note, thank you for all the sweet emails and comments regarding this week. If you’ve been a reader for over a year you know that this week is the first anniversary of my brother’s death. And, yeah, it’s really hard. Harder than I thought actually. I’ve been super bummed out, crying on and off and over all, just feeling really homesick. I didn’t think I would feel this emotional but it’s hit me pretty hard. I appreciate everyone’s support and prayers…I know my family and I really appreciate it! And don’t mind me if I wallow in my sweatpants with chili and wine. Sometimes its just necessary.

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  • shannon (the daily balance)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:17 am

    sweatpants are crtical — glad you have a good pair handy. also? BATHS. Crank up the music and unwind with a glass of wine (or two!) and let the bubbles take you away πŸ˜‰

    thinking of you…xo

  • Katie (Life Discombobulated)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Jenna, A very wise person recently told me that you have to FEEL something before you can HEAL and that tears are a way of releasing pain. Eat all the chili you want, hang out in the sweats, and take good care of yourself.

  • Jil
    April 22, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Lots and lots of love, Jenna!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    April 22, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Ohhh I really want to see the Blind Side.. glad to hear its good!

    And I’m thinking about you and your family… I can’t even imagine how hard this must be for you.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    April 22, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Thinking of you Jenna and sending some prayers your way!

  • Rachel @ Suburban Yogini
    April 22, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I had realised and my thoughts are with you dear girl. You are brave and amazing.

    And I’m veganising your chili recipe for dinner tonight πŸ™‚

    PS I love Sandra. I need to see that film!

  • Amelia
    April 22, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Your chili looks divine! It reminds me of the kind my mom made growing up. Nothing touches a mother’s cooking.
    We saw The Blind Side last weekend. It one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. My husband turned to me during the movie and said “you are Sandra’s character in real life”. Hmm…except from the perfect career and house, maybe?
    I have followed your blog for a while now and am definitely praying for you & thinking of you during this time. While I can’t imagine what you feel like, I do know that wine does help. πŸ™‚

  • Laura @ youngDCliving
    April 22, 2010 at 7:21 am

    All of our thoughts are with you. Try to ignore any negative things people might be saying, it’s your life and you don’t need to answer to anyone πŸ˜‰

  • Diana
    April 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Totally necessary. Chili and wine does sound comforting.
    So sorry you have to go through that, Jenna.

  • Gina
    April 22, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Jenna, my brother passed away a couple years ago too. I know exactly what you are going through. Truthfully, the first anniversary of a death is the hardest, but it sounds like you are doing really well right now. As side from what you’re going through, you seem very happy right now (especially with the boyfriend) and I’m happy for you!

    Lately, your posts have had a lot of heart, comedy, and life. It’s really been getting me through this sucky first year of college. I’m at a place where I don’t know anyone and don’t have many friends, so when I read your blog I can relate to you (missing home, your brother etc) πŸ™‚

  • eatmovelove
    April 22, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Take care girl. Would you prefer to be closer to your family? You seem really family-oriented.
    Ah -yes cheese in copious amounts covers pretty much anything in my book…that and ketchup ;).
    I have yet to see The Blind Side…may have to give it a see…

  • Midgetkeeper
    April 22, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Sending lots of love and prayer to you and you family!

  • Kara @ Kara's Marathon
    April 22, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Lots of (((hugs))) and good thoughts headed your way this week. I know losing a sibling isn’t the same thing at all, but I had to take the first few anniversaries of my mom’s death off work (she passed a little over 4 years ago) just to be able to survive the day πŸ™

    It does get [slightly] easier with [long periods of] time; just do the best you can for now.

  • megan
    April 22, 2010 at 7:28 am

    i’m so sorry Jenna πŸ™ I said a prayer for you and your family before I even wrote this comment. Keep relying on God…He’s the only one who can turn ashes into something beautiful.

  • Danielle (Coffee Run)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:31 am

    *Sending good thoughts your way*
    Hang in there Jenna πŸ™‚

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    April 22, 2010 at 7:31 am

    We all know this is a tough time! You are in our thoughts!

  • Allie
    April 22, 2010 at 7:32 am

    thoughts and prayers to you and your family. you are not alone.

  • Kelly
    April 22, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I have been reading your blog for over a year so I thought you may be having some struggles this week. Just know we are all thinking of you and fully support any wine, sweatpants, chili and anything else you need to do to make yourself feel better.

  • Andrea J
    April 22, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Hang in there Jenna! I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and I think you are amazing. There are so many great bloggers out there that do great things, but I have to say..you are my favorite πŸ™‚

    Also, I never get tired of seeing your oats πŸ™‚

  • chrissy
    April 22, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Thinking of you and your family during this tough and emotional time. Feel free to drown yourself in wine and chili – no judgment here!

  • Betsy
    April 22, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Lots of love to you, Jenna. I think you’re such a strong person. Look at all you have accomplished in the past year, despite everything. You rock!

  • allison @ livingoneday
    April 22, 2010 at 7:35 am

    while most of us cannot fully understand what you are going through, we are here with you for support. you don’t need to justify anything or answer to anyone. just continue being yourself. the support group you have wrapped around you will make you feel better. and if we got tired of seeing your oat pictures, we wouldnt read! =)

  • Ashley
    April 22, 2010 at 7:35 am

    thinking of you and your family during this tough time. <3

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs
    April 22, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Oh I had no idea – I’m so sorry!! I can only imagine how hard it must be πŸ™ I say if you need to take a blogging hiatus to gather your thoughts/relax/do whatever you need to do, go for it! Everyone would understand πŸ™‚
    I really want to see The Blind SIde, just to support Sandra Bullock! Poor woman with her nasty cheating (soon to be ex) husband!

  • Lindsey
    April 22, 2010 at 7:37 am

    So random. I watched The Blind Side last night too. And I made whole wheat berry banana muffins for some breakfast treats over the weekend and they MAY have turned into dinner. Haha – whoops.

    I miss the south TOOOO! I grew up in Virginia and live in Wyoming now. I think I miss grits and BBQ the most. Nah, I know.

  • D
    April 22, 2010 at 7:40 am

    You will feel so much better once the rain goes away – I swear sunshine makes everything better! WIne and chili too! πŸ™‚
    I live in so cal and saw we’re getting your storm…bring on the sunny skies!

  • Alexandra
    April 22, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I think “sometimes it’s just necessary” should be your blog tagline. Or at least this month’s theme. Hang in there. Some people say the first year is the hardest, but truthfully it never gets easy. Sure, it gets easier – the sting subsides a little and the tears may become less frequent. But this year marked the 10 year anniversary of my father passing away (I was 15) and I was and am still flooded with the same emotions from the very day it happened.

    You are so strong and beautiful and bold. I’m glad to see you have such a massive support team and that you can reach out to them during these tough times.

    So so much love going out to you!

  • Emily
    April 22, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Take care.
    Thinking of you.
    Wishing you peace & comfort.

    Em

  • Lauren (Health on the Run)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Just wanted to let you know that I will be thinking of you this week and will say a prayer for you and your family. I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I hope you find some comfort and support in your family/friends and all the wonderful people who seem to so strongly support you through your blog.

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love
    April 22, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Sending happy, good thoughts your way. Hang in there!

  • M(a different M than the other M!!)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Jenna
    My thoughts are with you and your family this week leading up to the anniversary of your young brother’s passing.
    Thank you for sharing this info with your readers so we can send some good vibes and wishes to you and your mum and dad and all his beloved school buddies and of course treasured pets.
    Wishing you all continued strength.You have been such a trooper so far,and so tough to not be hugging your mum and dad this week.Wishing you dreams at night of happy memories
    from the past of time together.
    Bless you all and I my deepest sympathy in your loss.

  • Christie
    April 22, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I haven’t been blogging for a year yet, but know that I will be reading your blog for years to come.
    Thinking of you and your fam and sending prayers your way.
    Definitely agree that sweatpants & wine are critical!

    ~Christie

  • Jenny
    April 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

    You are allowed all the chili and wine you want! My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Abby
    April 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I’ll be praying for you and your family, Jenna!

  • M(a different M than the other M!!)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:49 am

    PS Just want to add that when my best friend died suddenly I found the first anniversary even tougher than previous times.
    Courage to you now and always,blessings.

  • Melissa
    April 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

    I didn’t want to say anything in the comments about that, but I’ve been a reader for long over a year and figured that was the reason. I admire you for staying true to yourself and not pretending all is well through your blog. Your blog is you, and it makes me like you even more. I am so sorry for your loss – for you, for your family, for your brother and the people he touched in his life. You are amazing and inspiring – and he is with you – dont ever forget that.

  • maren
    April 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

    been thinking of you during this time!

  • Annie D.
    April 22, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I understand the whole home-sick thing. Boy oh boy, call me Miss Homesick. I think we’ve all been there. College was a rough time for me… getting married and moving out of the house was a rough time for me… even going away and working at a band camp for a week was a rough time for me! Have you ever tried EFT? It’s a little kooky and ‘out there’, but it helps! Look up EFT (emotional freedom technique) on youtube… πŸ™‚

  • Angela
    April 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I started reading your blog the week after your brother passed away. I cried and felt so horrible for your family. You are in my prayers this week that you may find comfort in fun memories of your brother! Take care Jenna.

  • Sarah
    April 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

    thinking of you jenna and hope you are doing ok and get through this:). i haven’t personally lost someone very close to me but i have watched my brother and best friends go through it and i think time really does help. hope you can find peace:)

  • kayla@letslivewholesome
    April 22, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Jenna-
    Girl, you are an amazing person, and so right. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, and seeing you are REAL is an encouragement to all of your readers. You’re definitely in my thoughts this week. Much love.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun)
    April 22, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Jenna, I hope you do whatever you need to do in order to make this particularly rough week easier to deal with. Aside from Grandparents, I’ve never lost a family member that close to me…so I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you. I’m sending warm thoughts your way!

  • kate
    April 22, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Were all thinking of you! Wine and sweatpants are sometimes just what the doctor ordered!

  • jennifer (take the day off)
    April 22, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Hi Jenna,
    I actually started reading your blog last year at this time so I remember your strength, honesty and composure through the pain that you were going through last april. I know it doesn’t get any easier and grief is a long and painful process. Do what you need to do to comfort yourself at this time, be it indulging in comfort food or watching movies in bed. You are blessed to have so many people who love you and your family. I’ll send a special prayer your way.

  • Karen
    April 22, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Jenna, that was a great post yesterday, loved the pictures….it was like having our own cooking lesson, you may be onto something here….A very wise man once told me, 1/3 of the people are going to hate what you write, 1/3 are going to love what you write and another 1/3 won’t give a damn. In your case I think more than 1/3 love what you write, but you can’t please everyone you have to just go with your heart. Hey, how much longer could you write about green monsters, I love the fact that you have changed your style a bit, it’s been fun to read and your sense of humor is very evident.

  • VeggieGirl
    April 22, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Beautiful post, as always. And you know I’m here for you (since I’m blessed that we’re “real life friends” as well as fellow bloggers), as are all of your loyal readers.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg
    April 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I can’t even imagine how hard this week must have been for you. Know that you have so many people out there thinking about you and sending peaceful, calming graceful wishes your way.

  • runnerforever
    April 22, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Keep your spirits up as best you can this week and be sure to get in plenty of time with friends who can support you. Thinking of ya!

  • Paige
    April 22, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I hope you found some comfort in your mom’s chili and a movie reflective of your “home.” You’ve had a roller coaster of a year, but I think you have had a great attitude through it all. I’m sure those who were critical this past week are feeling a little sorry for themselves now. Or at last I hope they are.

    Go get yourself some noodles today for your leftover chili!! πŸ™‚

  • Sara
    April 22, 2010 at 8:25 am

    You do what you need to fo for yourself, and that includes drinking wine while wearing sweatpants and writing however you want!

    Thinking of you and your family.

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness)
    April 22, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year already. You are so strong, Jenna. I know your brother is watching over you with so much love and pride. You’re in my thoughts.

  • Kara
    April 22, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Hi Jenna. I never comment but I really felt compelled to. I lost my brother tragically nearly 3 years ago… he was my older brother and he died at 27. It felt like I was ripped wide open by unimaginable pain and his death nearly killed my family. The first year is the hardest… the year of “firsts” I call it… Thanksgiving without him, Christmas, Easter, Friday dinners, birthdays, the first year sucks and something we just have to “get through”. And while it sucks to spend every subsequent year without that person, that throbbing in my heart has been reduced to a dull ache and a lot of happy memories as I approach the 3 year anniversary of my brothers death.
    You own nobody any apologies or explanations for how you cope through that kind of pain. We do what we have to do to survive and get through it. My thoughts and prayers are with your family…. from someone who truly understands your loss as it is a loss I carry too. xoxo

  • Becky
    April 22, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Okay- just gotta say- totally UNDERWHELMED by the Blind Side! I mean, seriously, that role was so straightforward (as was the movie) that anyone could have played it. I love Sandra, but she did NOT deserve an Oscar for it!

  • Kara
    April 22, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Hi Jenna. I never comment but I really felt compelled to. I lost my brother tragically nearly 3 years ago… he was my older brother and he died at 27. It felt like I was ripped wide open by unimaginable pain and his death nearly killed my family. The first year is the hardest… the year of “firsts” I call it… Thanksgiving without him, Christmas, Easter, Friday dinners, birthdays, the first year sucks and something we just have to “get through”. And while it sucks to spend every subsequent year without that person, that throbbing in my heart has been reduced to a dull ache and a lot of happy memories as I approach the 3 year anniversary of my brothers death.
    You own nobody any apologies or explanations for how you cope through that kind of pain. We do what we have to do to survive and get through it. My thoughts and prayers are with your family…. from someone who truly understands your loss as it is a loss I carry too. xoxo

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    April 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

    It’s good you’re letting your emotions out and not bottling them up inside. Better to release and remember.

  • Rachel S
    April 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I’ve been reading for over a year, and I rarely comment, but I just have to say that the strength that you have shown this past year has been really inspiring. You are in my thoughts and prayers this week. Hang in there…you have a lot of support from people you don’t even know, myself included!

  • Tricia
    April 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Lots of love and prayers being sent your way Jenna
    πŸ™‚

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad
    April 22, 2010 at 8:32 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Wallow all you want. This has got to be a really tough time.

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner
    April 22, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Take care and enjoy the wine and sweatpants. You deserve it.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    April 22, 2010 at 8:36 am

    i can’t even begin to imagine how hard this week is for you, but know that your faithfulness through it all is a huge inspiration. i’m thankful that you’ve so openly shared how you feel!

    in other news, i adore The Blind Side, and it makes me miss the South too! Memphis was somewhere we considered moving and when I see that movie it kinda makes me wanna go πŸ™‚

  • Lizzie
    April 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Hey Jenna – I don’t really have any words that would be comforting enough to help you deal with all that you’re going through, but by the looks of this blog you have so much love both near and far that you’ll never run out of support! Everyone deals with whatever, whenever, in their own way – and being connected to yourself enough to have the courage to do that . . well, I’m pretty sure you’re brother is more than proud of you. Be what you need to be now – big and brighter steps are ahead!

  • karen
    April 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Jenna!!!!! I LOVE your blog, love your pics, love your posts…You rock sistah!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been reading for over a year too, and have to say this is the first blog I read in the morning. You inspire me and make me laugh every day. HUGS!!!!! :))))))))))))))))))))

  • Heather
    April 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

    There is nothing anyone can say to alleviate your pain…but we can inspire you and show our love for you! Know that we’re here and so is the Lord. <3

  • SP
    April 22, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Jenna, I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire your strength and spirit. Sending good thoughts your way! And on a lighter note, I’ve always dreamed of moving to California and I’ve decided to just do it – no job yet, no plans, just taking a risk. You were part of my inspiration. πŸ™‚ Take care of yourself!

  • rachael
    April 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

    All my best to you at this difficult time:)

  • Donna
    April 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I have never commented before but i’m in tears and have to. I’m so sorry for what you have to face.
    I read all of your blog over the last year and really did have you in my thoughts for days after reading about that sad time, even though i’m thousands of miles away and don’t know you. I couldnt shake it. I was very sad.
    Then my dad died suddenly a little over two months ago, i am 22 and he was 59, it was too young for him to go. And I am faced with a long stretch ahead of me and all the things I have to go through in my life without him, as I’m sure you feel that way faced with losing your brother so early in life.
    Grief is such a weird, disabling and fundamentally life altering emotion.
    I’m glad you are taking it easy on yourself and doing what you need to do.
    I personally find i’m craving just weird combinations of food at the moment. My appetites gone and only certain foods will spark my interest. I have just finished eating toast with a mixture of mashed up avocado, peanut lemon curd, raisens and pumpkin seeds on top. Eat what you crave and do what makes you happy. Be selfish and do what you want to do to get through this time.
    Writing is such a good tool to get through the bad times. It has helped me and i’m sure your blog and journalling helps you.
    That chilli looks immense, I salute you.
    Keep taking deep breaths and enjoying the simple pleasures in life.

  • jentrinque
    April 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Yes, I have thought often of your brother’s passing being about a year ago and wondered how you were doing. I’m definitely sending good vibes and wishes to you and your parents. I don’t mind the sweatpants and wine AT ALL.

  • Adam
    April 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Stay strong, you don’t always have to provide the light all of your readers know you for! Everyone goes through tough times in their lives, but you have handled everything with courage and class…

  • Carrie (Love Healthy Living)
    April 22, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Losing a loved one is so painful. I find that talking about that person, saying his or her name, re-living memories with others who knew him or her is a nice way to keep the memories alive and ease the pain for an instant.

  • Julia
    April 22, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I know this week is tough for you. Please know I’m thinking of you and your family. Lots of strength are coming your way from Europe…

    (And that chili: have to make it soon! Can you believe I never had chili in my entire life…and now I’m craving it so much!)

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  • Amy
    April 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Hi feel for you. My father committed suicide 8 years ago. I hope this gets easier for you.
    Unfortunately for me, the older I seem to get the harder each anniversary is for me. I’ve been considering doing a suicide awareness walk in Boston in June, an 18 mile overnight walk through Boston, but I just don’t feel ready yet. =(
    XOXO

  • Sarah R
    April 22, 2010 at 9:05 am

    There’s no reason to explain/defend wallowing in your sweatpants with chili and wine. A year later, I still can’t imagine what you are going through. It’s never easy, but remembering the good times makes it a little more bearable. Hang in there, and look to your friends and family to help you through. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    April 22, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Jenna, you’re so incredibly strong. I think I’d stop blogging for this week and curl up in the floor in the fetal position. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I pray the Lord hugs you all deeply these next few weeks and gives you peace.

  • Steph-exercise physiologist and artist
    April 22, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I had a feeling this was the week. I wasn’t sure but based on the tone of your posts recently I thought it might be.

    I am not surprised by how you are feeling. I lost my father in an accident when I was 13yrs old. I remember the year anniversary being particularly hard. I think it is just so hard to believe it has been a year. It flies by but at the sometime creeps along. I can assure you it does get easier. I cried for many years on the day of the event but for the last 2 years I have done something that he would have loved to do in celebration of his life. It has made the day more tolerable and actually fun and happy for me. the last two years I have taken a pontoon boat out on the St. John’s River (near Orlando) with friends and family. Of course we bring TON of food and beer and just have fun.
    You will get there I promise you. I will be thinking about you and hope you find peace.
    Thank you for your openness. We all appreciate it so much.

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion
    April 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

    That chili looks great!!! YUM!. I love the Blond Side too, such a great movie and that fact that it is a true story makes it better. I have been thinking of you all wee and sending prayers your way.

  • Ver
    April 22, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Jenna,
    I’ve read your blog forever, but never posted a comment. Your blog is great, honest, and it’s yours. You do what you want with it. Of course it’s going to change as you and the times in your life change. Do your thing any way you want – we obviously love it! Prayers for you and your family on this anniversary. It will never be easy, but hopefully easier as time goes by.

  • Sarah
    April 22, 2010 at 9:16 am

    The Blind Side is just my kind of movie! Warm and fuzzies that you know ends happily!
    Definitely thinking about you and your parents this week, prayers all around.

  • Erin
    April 22, 2010 at 9:19 am

    What a year Jenna… Hope you surround yourself with good people and lots of love…. Keep on keepin’ on girlfriend:) Much love.

  • Katie
    April 22, 2010 at 9:21 am

    girl that chili just made my stomach rumble. i starred it in my reader and you bet i will be going back to make it next week. yum.

    enjoy your sweats and wine πŸ™‚

  • Macrae
    April 22, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Haha- You know your a true southerner when you think about college football year round πŸ˜‰
    Know that God has you in His arms right now and is holding you tight. You are in my prayers.

  • Jess @ MTL Veggie
    April 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Your chili looks delicious- I usually make a huge batch with very similar ingredients, minus the turkey, every winter and then divide up the portions into single servings for freezing. They make for the perfect comfort food. I typically serve mine up with cornbread or mashed potatoes if I’m really in need of comforting πŸ™‚
    I know this week can’t be easy for you and your family and I could never begin to understand the sense of loss you’re feeling, but my thoughts are with you and your family during this hard time.

  • The Ceci Sipper
    April 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I join some of the others, in that I too started reading your blog about a year ago. I think that was the main thing that attracted me to your blog at first. I just could not believe what you and your family had just gone through at the time. Your loss was close to home for me as I have 2 younger siblings and I am so far away from them, as I am studying in France. I just felt for you so many times. Prayers from France were being sent your way A LOT during those times. (and they still are, each time I read your blog) I always keep it in the back of my mind that your brother passed away with every post of yours that I read, and it is truly impressive to see all that you have accomplished, celebrated, and enjoyed since that time. I am truly sorry for your loss. Your perseverance and love for life is incredible. So I will drink a glass of wine in your brother’s honor and one more for you, your family, and friends who knew him. Enjoy your wine and chili! I send my thoughts, prayers, and luv your way during this time….alllll the way from France! – Ceci

  • The Ceci Sipper
    April 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I join some of the others, in that I too started reading your blog about a year ago. I think that was the main thing that attracted me to your blog at first. I just could not believe what you and your family had just gone through at the time. Your loss was close to home for me as I have 2 younger siblings and I am so far away from them, as I am studying in France. I just felt for you so many times. Prayers from France were being sent your way A LOT during those times. (and they still are, each time I read your blog) I always keep it in the back of my mind that your brother passed away with every post of yours that I read, and it is truly impressive to see all that you have accomplished, celebrated, and enjoyed since that time. I am truly sorry for your loss. Your perseverance and love for life is incredible. So I will drink a glass of wine in your brother’s honor and one more for you, your family, and friends who knew him. Enjoy your wine and chili! I send my thoughts, prayers, and luv your way during this time….alllll the way from France! – Ceci

  • Whit
    April 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Jenna, you and your family are definitely in my thoughts and prayers this week. I know the last year has been an emotional roller coaster for you guys, so just know that we [all the blog readers] are always here for you.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair
    April 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while and I seen some other readers write in the comments that this was the anniversary of your brothers death.

    I’m so sorry but it sounds like you are very strong. Lot’s of people are thinking of you! XO

  • Angela (ohsheglows)
    April 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Jenna. xo

  • The Ceci Sipper
    April 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I join some of the others, in that I too started reading your blog about a year ago. I just could not believe what you and your family had just gone through at the time. Your loss was close to home for me as I have 2 younger siblings and I am so far away from them, as I am studying in France. It scared the crap out of me. I just felt for you SO many times. Prayers from France were being sent your way A LOT during those times. (and they still are, each time I read your blog) It is always in the back of my mind that your brother passed away with every post of yours that I read, and it is truly impressive to me to see all that you have accomplished, celebrated, and enjoyed since that time. I am truly sorry for your loss. Your perseverance and love for life is incredible. So I will drink a glass of wine in your brother’s honor and one more for you, your family, and friends who knew him. Enjoy your wine and chili! I send my thoughts, prayers, and luv your way during this time….alllll the way from France! – Ceci

  • The Ceci Sipper
    April 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I join some of the others, in that I too started reading your blog about a year ago. I just could not believe what you and your family had just gone through at the time. Your loss was close to home for me as I have 2 younger siblings and I am so far away from them, as I am studying in France. It scared the crap out of me. I just felt for you SO many times. Prayers from France were being sent your way A LOT during those times. (and they still are, each time I read your blog) It is always in the back of my mind that your brother passed away with every post of yours that I read, and it is truly impressive to me to see all that you have accomplished, celebrated, and enjoyed since that time. I am truly sorry for your loss. Your perseverance and love for life is incredible. So I will drink a glass of wine in your brother’s honor and one more for you, your family, and friends who knew him. Enjoy your wine and chili! I send my thoughts, prayers, and luv your way during this time….alllll the way from France! – Ceci

  • The Ceci Sipper
    April 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

    P.S. There may have been duplicate comments sent your way as the “submit comment” button was taking me to a 404 Forbidden page….if so, I am sorry for the duplicates =(

  • Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]
    April 22, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I was unaware…sending you extra love. I’m sure your brother would be crazy proud of all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished this past year! =)

  • Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary
    April 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Your chili looks YUMMY! I just made my chili day before yesterday (great minds…?) and posted about it today… Love a stove top chili, but sometimes I just ‘don’t got that kinda time’… hehe! – Mary

    http://whatscookinwithmary.blogspot.com/2010/04/marys-slow-cooker-chili.html

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight
    April 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I LOVE THAT MOVIE! I saw it with my parents…while eating cake. Warm and fuzzy all over. I can’t believe that it’s based on a true story! I love when people commit acts of kindness like that it makes me happy and gives me hope. That chili looks awesome I hope you are all snuggly and feeling good!

  • Laura-Ashley
    April 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Hey Jenna! I don’t typically comment, but I have been reading your blog for close to a year now and… you’re fabulous! I would run out in a hail storm for a good bottle of red (especially in wine country). Wine is just necessary. Hope you feel better.

  • Jessica, Haute Teapot
    April 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Jenna, I’m so sorry for your loss and your openness with something that is so private and dear to your heart is admirable. Instead of crawling into a ball and not wanting to come out, you continue to share with others. You are such a strong light to those around you…you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Big hug.

  • MyThy as in "Mighty"
    April 22, 2010 at 9:58 am

    3 things:
    1) I was supposed to make pineapple shrimp fried rice but saw your chili and made it for DF (vegetarian sans turkey but added 1 celery + 1 carrot). It looked so good and it was cold & rainy here in SoCal too so chili seemed perfect!
    2) Paired it with the BEST cornbread: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Grandmothers-Buttermilk-Cornbread/Detail.aspx
    I used evaporated milk + lime juice to make the “buttermilk”, no sugar as evaporated milk is sweet, and used Earth Balance instead of butter.
    3) Been reading your blog for so long and my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Let those tears flow and just release. You are so motivating without even knowing it!

    I’m going to Santa Rosa to see FIL’s (future in laws) and bridal shower next weekend. Any eatery recommendations. They’ve been to A LOT all around SF & Sonoma…but do you have any “insiders trade secret” recommendations? πŸ˜‰

  • liane
    April 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I love Sandra too πŸ™‚
    Thinking of you and your family {{hugs}}

  • Christie {Honoring Health}
    April 22, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Hang in there, lady. This past November marked 5 years that my brother passed and it was still really hard. Siblings are part of who we are at the deepest level and that kind of thing never gets easy. It just becomes different and I believe that we have to do whatever it is that allows us to grieve and honor that connection that we could never feel with someone else.

    Peace to you and your family.

  • Aimee
    April 22, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Jenna, my thoughts and prayers are with you. You are so brave for sharing. Sending you lots of sunshine from the east.

  • theemptynutjar
    April 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

    hang in there pretty lady.
    remember u are not alone. so many hardships and pains amongst us behind closed doors…i know that doesnt help…but look at what you do have and not what u dont…its the only one to not go crazy
    like i am

    and nope, will never get sick of oatmeal pictures.

  • Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition
    April 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Your family is in my thoughts and prayers

    xo

  • Shelly
    April 22, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I think it’s very normal to have a hard time on the anniversaries of things. I actually had a horrible life experience (though not a death) take place on my birthday nearly 4 years ago. Since then, every year, for a week or so around my birthday, I feel awful and have horrible nightmares. I celebrate anyway because dwelling on it and letting it sour all of my birthdays from now on seems like it would be worse for me.
    But I think it’s really common- so just a word of advice, expect that this will be a time, for quite some time, in which you need to treat yourself kindly.
    I am still so sorry that your brother died, and am sorry that you are sad. I hope you feel better soon.

  • Rachel
    April 22, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I just started reading so no, I did not know this. I went back and read a couple of your posts from that time and it touched me a lot. My little brother is the same age yours would have been, I don’t know what I would do. I get sick thinking about it. I am beyond sorry for this, I hope you curl up with your wine and that great looking chili and get comfort somehow.

    xoxoxo

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    April 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Jenna I started reading that week and was so amazed at your strength. I’m still amazed. Enjoy the time to relax and know that your family is with you even across the miles.

  • MMiller
    April 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, this week and always! I started reading your blog last summer, but went back and read what you had been through. I lost my sister two and a half years ago. You always hear that the first year is the hardest, but it takes a while for it all to really sink in! On the first anniversary of my sisters death, we had a big get together with family and a few of her close friends! It helped to all be together. I’m sure your brother is watching you live your life and is so proud! He would have loved what you are doing! My sister was 45 when she died, that is hitting me harder this year as I am 45. You need to do whatever you feel you need to help yourself get through! Maybe the beach is in order! If I remember correctly, your brother loved the beach too!
    I also loved The Blind Side! Sandra Bullock did a fantastic job! And your chili looks awesome! I usually have mine over rice! And with plenty of cheese! I may have to make your recipe and compare! Also, I usually use 1/2 turkey and 1/2 beef!

    Love ya Jenna!

  • Suzanne
    April 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

    You are in my prayers. God bless, dear.

  • Sam
    April 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I’m really sorry to hear you’re struggling with the anniversary of your brother’s death. I’m sure it’s hard for all of us to even understand since we haven’t gone through it.

    Hang in there!

  • amanda
    April 22, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I love day after chili. πŸ™‚ Sorry to hear you about your brother’s death anniversary. I can’t imagine what it is like to losing a sibling. I know it is hard to lose a family member, my father passed away from cancer and it will be 11 years this June. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal
    April 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

    That chili sounds amazing!!
    Sorry you’re having a hard time, Jenna πŸ™ That has to be normal though…you take care of youself, girl. *HUGS*

  • Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble)
    April 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, Jenna πŸ™‚

    xo
    K

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething
    April 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

    we watched the blind side last night too πŸ™‚
    so sorry about your brothers death. now it makes sense why you have been having a hard week. so sorry……

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    April 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I remembered this was the anniversary week and figured that was what had you upset. It will be two years July 23rd since my brother died—and I’ve gotten better–but still am off on crying jags if think about it and already dreading/thinking of what to do 7/23. People don’t realize unless it happens to them–that they are one tragic moment away from an entirely new reality. But we will see them again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqWHaDG5TZs

    A FB friend, Teri, lost her darling son, Tyler. His B-Day is this Saturday. He loved Italy, studied there and was back home in Malibu and on his Ducati with his best friend from childhood riding down Pacific Coast Highway to meet friends for dinner. A man made an illegal turn across 4 lanes of traffic and two beautiful lives were ended. Teri started a winery to fund a Foundation in his honor that awards an annual scholarship to students from his HS to study in Italy. Here are pictures of Tyler, and his sister’s poem. I wrote the poem about sons. http://www.gioiawine.com/tyler-gallery.html

    You and Teri have been my inspirations. You are both are extraordinarily brave, optimistic, striving and can be very proud.

    After your book is released–your life will change in marvelous ways–and at some future time you’ll be able to make a profound tribute to your brother–whether private or public. But his best tribute will always be his beautiful sister who a lot of readers admire and love. Along with your adorable parents. And Dexter, too.

    Mom’s homemade Chili and ‘Blindside.’ Sounds Perfect!

  • Teresa
    April 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    JENNA……MY THOUGHTS ARE WITH YOU DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME. YOU TRULY ARE AN INSPIRATION AND I LOVE READING YOUR BLOG.

  • Jenna
    April 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Sending hugs your way! Take care of yourself Jenna!

  • kellyO
    April 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I remember the first anniversary of my brother’s death – so hard! Do whatever you’ve got to do. Nobody deals with this the same way. Sweat pants and chili? Perfect! Praying for you…

  • Camille
    April 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Jenna, you are a strong and inspiring woman and you will get through this!
    You have everyone’s love and support.

  • Camille
    April 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Jenna, you are a strong and inspiring woman and you will get through this!
    You have everyone’s love and support.

  • Kelly
    April 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I will be thinking about you! You deserve some chilli and wine time. Possibly even some chocolate?

  • Evan Thomas
    April 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Sending positive thoughts your way! Looks like you’ve already got the best thing for comfort: a good bowl of chili

  • Christina
    April 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Jenna! I found your blog through a friend and I absolutely love it…for the cheerfulness that comes through in your posts as well as the great food ideas. I was not a reader a year ago and I went back to read about your brother. I am so sorry you and your family had to go through that. It’s such a tragic ending, but I love that you choose to celebrate his life in a bright blue dress. My prayers are with you all as your remember his life this weekend.

  • Kat
    April 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Jenna,
    Take care of yourself this week. We are all thinking of you- all of your readers clearly love you and have you in their hearts… stay strong as always.

  • Red
    April 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I started reading your blog about a month or so after your brothers death and I can only imagine how much you’re not coping right now. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my little sister. She’s my best friend and the first person I call about anything and everything. You stay in your sweatpants with your wine. You deserve it.

  • Juniper
    April 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    You are stronger than you know. Having lost someone as well, all I can say is… **HUG** It gets easier as time passes, but there is always the fact that although they are in spirit form and probably livin’ it up heaven style, we still miss them down here.
    my thoughts are with your family and you.

  • Cinthia
    April 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Oh, Jenna. My heart is with you. My sister died eight years ago and on the anniversary of her death I cook her a meal, lay it out over the table and eat beside her. It’s very comforting. I also run a grueling mountain race in her honor.
    Time heals, as they say, but you never lose the memories. And oh, the nights when she visits in my dreams are precious beyond words!
    Take care, honey.
    Cinthia

  • Rachel
    April 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Thoughts and prayers from Dallas, Texas for your family during this difficult time.

  • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
    April 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    mmm…chili.

    Thinking of you today. <3

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    April 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Came back to read all the remarks while eating lunch–some made me laugh MAO–others cry–all good. Made me realize the best I can do for my own lost brother is love him even more and make him proud.

    But the drinking wine in sweat pants remark is priceless…..lol. A lot of that kind of therapy went on down here in Carmel, too.

  • lola
    April 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Jenna! I’ve been reading your blog for exactly a year and I’ve got to tell you, my heart and prayers go to you in this moment!

  • Katharine
    April 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    *Hugs*
    LOVED the move “The Blind Side.” And that it gives a (big) shoutout to my Ravens. πŸ™‚

  • OK Chick
    April 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    April 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Oh girl, I support you SO VERY MUCH! I know how hard this must be for you and I think you are coping incredibly well, as well as one can really “cope.” I admire you so much and you are truly a big role model to me. I’ve been reading and loving your blog for years, and I’m not about to stop anytime soon! You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Amanda (WannaBe Chef)
    April 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Jenna. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now but have never commented. I just wanted to say that I lost my dad very unexpectedly almost 9 years ago, so I can empathize with what you’re going through. Although the pain never goes away completely, it does get easier with time. The first year is by far the worst. I think it’s amazing that you are able to use your blog to write about your feelings and share so many good memories of your brother. My thoughts are with you and take care.

  • Liz
    April 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I can only imagine what you are going through this week. You seem to have such a great outlook on life and you should be proud of yourself for getting through the hard stuff. You and your family will be in my prayers. Keep your head up.

  • Jennie {in Wonderland}
    April 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Oh, Jenna. I’ve been reading your blog for ages and was obviously thinking about you a lot this week. Thinking about your brother too — the pictures we’ve seen of him on the blog, the stories you’ve told — and just thinking that no one can ever truly know/understand how you feel, but that we’re here for you. Across the miles & the universe, I know all your blog readers are thinking of you and of your brother, including me.

    Have a glass [or two or three or oops, floor] of red wine and hug Dexter. <3 We all love you.

  • Jennie {in Wonderland}
    April 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Oh, Jenna. I’ve been reading your blog for ages and was obviously thinking about you a lot this week. Thinking about your brother too — the pictures we’ve seen of him on the blog, the stories you’ve told — and just thinking that no one can ever truly know/understand how you feel, but that we’re here for you. Across the miles & the universe, I know all your blog readers are thinking of you and of your brother, including me.

    Have a glass [or two or three or oops, floor] of red wine and hug Dexter. <3 We all love you.

  • Amy
    April 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Jenna, this is probably my first comment, although I have been a reader for a few months. I really love your way of life and your outlook on diet & nutrition. Anyway, because I haven’t been a reader long enough to know about the tragedy that happened to your family I went back in your archives and read the post to your brother. It really brought tears to my eyes, even though I don’t know you or your family. It was written so beautifully. Loss is one of the hardest things anyone will have to deal with, so it seems that your doing the best that you can. And that’s all that you can do.

    On a lighter note, I saw The Blind Side too and it was amazing! It’s a real “feel good” movie. πŸ˜‰

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly
    April 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    My thoughts are with you…today and always. Hang in there honey.

  • Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/
    April 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I didn’t know. I’m so sorry for your loss. We lost my mother in law last year on Easter and this year it hit me pretty hard also. I guess it’s just the reminder and the reality of what has happened that comes back and makes it hard.

  • sherri
    April 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    hugs and peace to jenna! what’s not to like about you or your blog? my fav thing now is to enjoy overnight oats in an almost empty jar of almond butter. not to mention i have most of my running buddies hooked on green monsters! in fact i’m dedicating an entire raised bed to growing spinach. my guy is out turning the soli as i type (he really liked the chili i made last night) truth!

  • Karla
    April 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Thinking about you during this especially tough time. xoxo

  • Nancy in Naples
    April 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    John and I have been thinking you, your Mom and Dad all week too. Hang in there, Jenna . . .

    Nancy and John Woodbury

  • Shelley
    April 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    The chili looks amazing and I agree The Blindside is a great movie! I just started a blog and I think we have some similar ideas. I’d like to invite you to stop on by.

    Take Care,
    Shelley

  • jenna
    April 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    thinking of you jenna πŸ™‚

  • jeannie
    April 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    chili looks good!! And the first year is the hardest, it DOES get easier which is kind of bittersweet in itself. So yes, put on the sweatpants and do what ya gotta do! πŸ™‚

  • Emily S.
    April 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Jenna.

  • Amanda
    April 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    It’s ok to wallow : ) We love you!

  • Kait
    April 23, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Hang in there, girl. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  • KatieTX
    April 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I remember so clearly last year when your brother passed so tragically. I just sad there and sobbed. After that I have been regularly following your blog. So horrible that people have been judging you so much recently when they have no idea what is going on in your life. I wish you the best as you deal with this week.