Tragedy and Triumph

This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Vegan Vegetable Stew

I made this today!  It is wonderful!

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • ¼ cup of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 oz Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • ½ cup of white wine (ok to sub with more broth, but the wine really adds a good flavor)
  • 3 cups of low-sodium veggie broth
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 15oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, rough chopped
  • 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp kitchen bouquet
  • 1 tbls balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbls cornstarch
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  1. Mince the carrot, celery stalk, and small onion very fine.
  2. Saute this mixture in ¼ cup of veggie broth until the veggies are nice and soft.
  3. Add the large chopped onion and continue cooking until softened.
  4. It’s ok if the liquid gets a little low – the brown bits add to the flavor.
  5. Stir in the seitan. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium high until they lose their liquid.
  7. Season with the rosemary and italian seasoning.
  8. Add the wine and deglaze any brown spots in your pan. (This is the good stuff!)
  9. After a few minutes add the rest of the broth, the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  10. Add all your chopped veggies and turn the heat up to boil.
  11. Add the rest of the seasonings – but not the cornstarch.
  12. Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat to low and add the peas.
  13. Mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water and stir this in to thicken.
  14. Simmer to desired consistency.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Andersen's Split Pea Soup - Copy

Andersen's Pea Soup is so good, but we can't purchase it in Colorado, so I had made a copycat recipe that is GOOD!

  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled into very small pieces
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Sort the peas and rinse them clean.
  • Combine the peas, celery, carrot, onion, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne in a soup pot and cover with eight cups of water.
  • Bring the pot to a boil. Keep at a high simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the mixture cook for another 25-30 minutes till the peas are completely tender. Towards the end of cooking, add the seasoned salt, then add salt and pepper to taste.
    • Once the peas are tender, put the hot mixture in a blender and liquefy.

      Pour the liquid soup into a large serving bowl and enjoy!  

      Note: We like eating this soup with croutons and veggie bacon bits!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Panera Bread's Black Bean Soup - Copied

Everyone in my family loves Panera Bread's Black Bean Soup.

We found several copy cat recipes online, but decided to duplicate with this one at the link below:

Yields: about 4 servings
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 small chicken bouillon cubes (I actually used 2 cups of vegetable stock in place of the chicken bouillon and water)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 (15 oz) cans black beans, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
In a pot, combine the first six ingredients; simmer for 10 minutes.
Add 1 can of beans, salt, chili powder, cayenne and cumin; cook for 5 minutes.
Puree soup in blender or food processor.
Add the rest of the beans to the soup.
Combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water.
Add the lemon and the cornstarch to the soup; cook until thickened.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Maccabeats in Denver 12-25-16!

We went to see the Maccabeats Live in Denver on 12-25-16! I filmed most of the songs. Enjoy! The Maccabeats were incredible!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Duchess's New Toy! 12-25-16

Our dog Duchess loves her new toy!

Special and Wonderful Happy Hannukah Gift 2016!

This was a gift to my family from my sister-in-law Amy and my brother Billy and my niece Phoebe and nephew Charlie Schneider. It was hand made by Amy's dad, Jim Sutherland, before he passed away in 2016. It made me cry when Amy told me her dad made this. So much love went into this gift. Thank you Amy. Huge hugs to all of the Sutherlands. Thank you for being a part of my life for the past 25 years.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Merry Hanukkah Happy Christmas 2016!

I wrote this holiday letter yesterday, December 17, 2016, on a "snow day" in Colorado from the Schneider family's Colorado vacation home in the mountains.

There is so much snow outside! I'm grateful that this heavy snow came on a Saturday! I don’t think Dan could have driven to work even in the Springs if it had been a weekday. The roads are just covered with so much snow! It’s like a very white winter wonderland here.

I bought a ton of food on Friday to prepare for being snowed in. After the snow stopped, I couldn't resist going outside to ski with my dog! Today I plan to nordic skate ski at the new nordic center in Monument which is on the Woodmoor Country Club's golf course!

Speaking of golf courses, my dad and Dan and I went to a very fancy community dinner at a mountain golf course restaurant last Thursday night. I felt like we really were in a small Colorado town at that meal.  Everyone was so friendly and were anxious to meet us. The meal was so elegant too. I felt like we were in one of those Hallmark Channel Christmas movies since the golf club restaurant was so elegant!

Annabelle is now working on Saturdays at an outdoor ice skating rink in Castle Rock, but her boss cancelled her job yesterday since was below zero and then her boss cancelled the rink opening at all! I'm so glad. I was really concerned about how she would get there, but also her working in below zero temperatures. Next week, she is working at the rink every day in the afternoon. She should make a lot of money for her first job with all those hours!  She also took part in the filming of ICE: The Movie in Denver on December 5, 2017.  She was told she was a "featured skater" in the production, signed a contract, and would be paid for a night's work.  The filming took place from 10 pm to 10 am!

I have been more organized than usual and am almost done with our holiday shopping. I even got a bunch of little Chanukah presents for everyone in my family and mailed out gifts to those who are far away!

Thanksgiving 2016 was wonderful (we made a huge meal with vegan and real turkey), but for xmas, I think I will buy some ready made food at Boston Market or King Soopers, but on Christmas Day we are going to a Chanukah concert in Denver in the afternoon to see a group called The Maccabeats. It the weather permits, we’ll go skiing Christmas eve.  After the concert we will come home and eat our ready made food.

Joel spent the summer in Japan, and has been in the UK since early October, 2017, and is in London starting today, 12-18-16 (Sunday) and then after the New Year, the Disney On Ice Frozen show moves on to Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Portugal, and France!  He climbed Mount Fuji with the Disney On Ice Frozen cast when he was in Japan!

It looks like Annabelle will be going to Israel for 2 months. She is scheduled to leave January 29 and returns March 24. It's a school program for juniors in high school where she will go to a boarding school in Israel for two months. She hopes to pass another international ice dance before she leaves. She passed the Silver Samba on November 13, 2016 and made an adagio video in early December. Also, in 2016, she was honored by the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and in SKATING MAGAZINE for becoming a US Figure Skating Sextuple Gold Medalist!  In addition, she received congratulations card from the Broadmoor Skating Club Board of Directors!

Rebekah is going to play the mayor's daughter in a community theater Ballet Society production of The Music Man in June, 2017. Right now, she is on break from Pikes Peak Community College and seems so relaxed and happy during her time off from school. This past semester was really hard on her. She was so busy! She worked all summer at Ramah Outdoor Adventure as a counselor. She had a scare in September when a teratoma mass was found on one of her ovaries. Surgery followed, but the mass was benign, and she is recovering just fine.

My dad is doing great. He's now officially retired after teaching at the Chicago Medical School for 40 years and has officially moved away from Chicago.  After Annabelle leaves for Israel, I may go out to California with him (where it is warmer).

 In addition to being Temple Shalom Colorado Springs members, we are members of Temple Israel there and I really love that congregration. Even when we are in Colorado, I tune into services via the video livestream and the video archives so we can enjoy the services. When I am in California, I love going to Torah study and Tanach study with my dad and to the Kabala studies at the JCC. Cantor Sara Hass makes the services amazing too!

Dan is doing about the same. Driving from the Schneider family's Colorado vacation home to Colorado Springs every day so my dad is not lonely in the house has been exhausting, but worth it once we get here. The house is so cozy! It is really fun to cook here too. On Friday night we ate in the big dining room and Annabelle made spaghetti. Yesterday it was pizza and tofu and rice, salad, fruit, and cookies for dessert.

Last Saturday, Annabelle (who got her drivers license in October, 2016!) saw a mountain lion as she was driving near the mountain house and Dan wouldn't let me ride my bike alone that day! I’ve been nervous ever since about riding alone. Then, she saw a moose on Tuesday! The weather has been so cold that the only exercise I've been able to do is indoor ice skating. I want to go swimming, but it is hard to get myself to go to the indoor pool in such freezing weather!

It was really windy on Friday 12-16-16 and the fence in our backyard in Colorado Springs was knocked over. I hope we get it back up quickly. I collected all the dog’s toys that were scattered all over the yard. Hopefully, our yard will be put back together soon.

An update of my book, MY SKATING LIFE, was published in 2016. It is edited by Phil Corey and can be found online and in print. Let me know if you'd like a signed copy!

Anyway, for our friends and family who read this....Happy Holidays...Merry Hannukah and Happy Christmas!

JO ANN, Dan, Joel, Rebekah, Annabelle, and Duchess (the dog) Schneider-Farris

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I had these photos on a digital photo frame which finally broke. I'm now sharing the contents of that memory card on this blog. Enjoy my memories! kids and Dan and I have some wonderful photo memories!

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.