As I bundle up to keep warm every morning I find it hard to believe I was in a bathing suit a little over a week ago soaking up the warmth on a beach. Modern travel is amazing because it allows us to experience so much outside our neighborhood. Unfortunately, it also reminds us how nice it is to be somewhere warm when outside our door it is hovering in single digits. Ah well, I have to keep reminding myself I wouldn’t know how great it is to be warm if I didn’t know how much I don’t like to be cold!
Speaking of bathing suits, while we were in Aruba a story came out about something called the “bikini bridge”. Turns out it is a made up term someone on a social media site created to see if it would go viral. Did it ever! It was ironic that I heard about it when I was actually wearing a two piece swimsuit. The awful part is I actually entertained the thought of seeing if I had this body attribute! Yep! Slap me in the forehead and yell “D'oh!” First there was the thigh gap and now a bikini bridge. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we continue to judge ourselves based on characteristics that only 5% of women have? If you haven't seen any of the videos out there about how computers are used to totally change what an actual model looks like into what the perceived “ideal” woman looks like check this one out. It saddens me to think how many people use these fabricated images to judge their own body. Dove did a fabulous commercial that had women describing themselves to a police sketch artist who could not see them and then had a stranger describe the same woman to the artist. If you have not watched it, or even if you have, it is worth the 6 minutes it takes to view it. I saw so many body types on the beach in Aruba. It was so obvious to me the women who have self image problems because they would be kind of huddled up and almost trying to hide behind towels and coverups. Then there were the women who accepted their bodies and were walking around proud as could be in all manner of suits. They did not give a hill of beans for what others thought about their body because it really doesn’t matter. Treat yourself well and be kind to yourself.
Speaking of beans (I know, that was a bit of a stretch), I want to talk a little about using them. The other night my husband suggested we have a simple pasta dinner that included mushrooms, peppers, olive oil and garlic. To add protein I threw in a can of white beans. Two nights ago I made hush puppy tacos. To add protein I made some smoky black eyed peas. If you do use canned beans I suggest looking for cans that do not use BPA. We know to look out for this in plastic, but did you know manufacturers use it to keep canned foods fresh? Trader Joe’s does not use it for their canned beans. Eden foods also steers clear, but they are quite a bit more expensive. That is why I like to use dried beans whenever possible. They take a little preplanning, but the prep is almost totally hands off. You need to soak them and cook them, but the texture and flavor is worth the time. There are tons of web pages about how to do this, including this one from Whole Foods. If you have a day, such as a weekend day, when you will be staying in to catch up on laundry, cleaning, reading etc., throw some beans in water the night before and then cook them up while you are doing other things. A half cup dry is equal to a can, so do a couple cups and you will be set for the week!
Smokey Black Eyed Peas
Adapted from Beard & Bonnet
1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil or your favorite flavored oil (I have a smoked olive oil I love for this)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in sauce pan over medium low heat. The longer they cook, the thicker the sauce. Add more water if it becomes too thick.
Serve as a side or use in tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, etc.