"STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM" CHILI

March 8, 2016

 

 

The summer was almost over, I was alive and walking, Chels and I were married, and we were a family. I thought the next few months would be like an extended summer vacation, easing back into “normal” life.

 

I thought I would have a couple appointments a week, maybe spend some time blogging in a coffee shop and working out at the gym, and then I would get back to my pre-accident life.

 

 We soon realized that those assumptions were all very inaccurate and uneducated. We had no idea what recovering from such an accident would look like and how much an invisible brain injury would affect my whole life and the lives of my family and friends.

 

We were back in Hamilton, Chels was starting second year of Child and Youth work, Max was starting at day care, and my schedule was very quickly filling up with weekly appointments. So much for an extended summer vacation! Accident rehabilitation is a full-time job!

 

We had no idea what to expect. Why would we? What is traumatic or acquired brain injury anyways? I wasn’t drooling…anymore…my slurred speech was improving… I knew who I was, and I could carry on a conversation pretty well… But with the sudden change of pace and environment, I quickly started displaying signs of traumatic brain injury.

 

I struggled immensely with emotional regulation, I started having anger outbursts over things that made no sense at all. I cried for hours every day that first year; often following an outburst or meltdown. I was feeling so out of control and ashamed. It was probably hard to tell how much we were struggling from the outside looking in. I was trying so hard to stay the positive person that I was, and am, and it was difficult to admit the struggles I was experiencing. Even those closest to us had no idea how much we were struggling. We couldn’t figure out why it was happening so it was hard to even know how to talk about it. We just suffered in silence. That year I had thoughts of suicide almost every day. Why did I survive, I would cry? But somehow, by God’s grace and strength I carried on as best as I could; I was still a dad and a husband after all.  Through all of this, my amazing wife and son have been so strong, loyal and loving and I am so thankful for their patience and support.. This whole process has been just as hard on them as it has been on me. They must really love me…or at least my cooking!

 

This emotional rollercoaster was not the only new things I was struggling with. I was taking a lot longer to process information, I was losing my train of thought, and I was having difficulty maintaining focus. Social situations became a struggle, especially in large crowds. Socializing suddenly became scary and exhausting. These are just some of the challenges I was finding myself facing, and continue to face. Thankfully as time goes on, not only do I have more awareness of my struggles, but through therapy and counselling, I’m learning how to compensate and I’m learning healthy coping skills and strategies. I will continues to share more about this as my blog goes on, but if you are interested in learning more about traumatic brain injury, please check out:

 

http://www.hbia.ca/symptoms

http://www.hbia.ca/brain-injury-facts

 

 Every person with a brain injury experiences unique challenges, much like every batch of chili is as unique as the chef who makes it!  Beans or no beans? Ground beef, or beef short ribs? Spicy, sweet, vegetarian, or ‘every-thing-but-the-kitchen-sink’ chili?

 

Who doesn’t love a piping hot bowl of chili with some fresh bread and butter. However you make chili, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.

 

This pot of chili brings a whole new level of complexities to the table. From making sure the beef is properly browned, to whole toasting and hand grinding spices, this recipe requires a little extra attention and time but it really isn’t difficult.

It also calls for a variety of whole dried chillies to make a chilli paste to replace the store bought chili powder. It may look like ordinary chili but I assure you that the extra steps are worth every extra minute and you’ll look like a pro and totally impress your guests!

 

 

 Scroll down for a full list of ingredient and step by step instructions.

 

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you have a great week! 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace + Love,

Jonny Aps

 

PS. If you try this recipe please let me know how you liked it! You can leave a comment, rate it, or upload a picture on Instagram and hashtag #EatAnEdibleTherapy

I would love to see your creations!

 

 

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