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CULINARY THRILL SEEKING: Aim to nourish your whole self

“Love at first bite” is the motto at Crown Pizza, with a funky vintage crown sign as a calling card. I argue that you could be in love with dining in a box car even before you order something like gnocchi pasta or kale salad and sit where you can watch the kitchen make thin crust canvases.

Vodka Pie, The Meat Wagon, Pork Love and Boogie on the Bayou are among choices that make you want to fall in love again and again. It’s tiny, it’s fun and it tastes good. It’s on Calder Avenue in Beaumont, by Willie Burger and Tia Juanita’s

“Nourishing Your Whole Self”

I just had spaghetti squash and decided to have it again soon. I’ll want to try mixing in artichoke hearts, feta and olives, like Marci Izard does. Her book is “Nourishing Your Whole Self,” and it comes with fabulous recipes and photos and inspirational quotes. You’ll just feel good about reading and planning and dining.

Would you prefer zucchini or black beans in your brownies? The zucchini adds moisture and lightness while the bean version replaces flour. What’s hidden in the apple pie? Why nothing that you wouldn’t expect in a pie full of natural goodness. She say it is “a piece of cake” to prepare.

The author wants us to eat mindfully and eat well. She says she’s not at all perfect in her choices, and shares a chicken wing hoarding incident from her youth. Of course, she always aims for the nourishing stuff.

Just so you know that it’s not all kale and sesame salad (not that there’s anything wrong with that) here’s a recipe for something Tex-Mex, which we down here know to be rejuvenating, as she puts it:

Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

12 cups chicken broth

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

one half cup chopped carrots

1 green, yellow or red bell pepper, diced

1 cooked rotisserie chicken

1 can corn, rinsed and drained

1 and one half cups chopped cilantro, divided

5 tomatoes, diced

2 limes

one half teaspoon cumin

salt

2 to 3 avocados, peeled and chopped

shredded jack cheese

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a light boil.

Add the garlic, onion , carrots and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the meat from the chicken, corn, one half cup cilantro, diced tomatoes, juice from one lime, cumin and salt to taste. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Top each serving with extra cilantro, avocado, Jack cheese and a slice of lime.