This is the last Weekend Herb Blogging of 2005, and before I talk about black-eyed peas, I want to take time to reflect on the year that is ending. Without any question, 2005 has been a great year for me. Starting Kalyn's Kitchen has expanded my life in ways I never imagined. Writing the blog has been a rewarding way for me to combine three things I'm passionate about: cooking, writing, and photography.
In the study of Buddhism, one of the steps to enlightenment on the Eight-Fold Path is called Right Livelihood. The Buddhist principle of Right Livelihood means choosing work that at a minimum, does not cause harm to others, and at best, helps others in some way. Since my day job is teaching children, I do feel good about the work I do. However, I've come to feel that writing Kalyn's Kitchen is a continuation of Right Livelihood for me. I feel so lucky to be able to do something I love and have others possibly benefit from it. Also, as I said on my podcast Christmas message, I've learned so much from all the great people I've met from all over the world. I hope that 2006 will be a great year for all my wonderful readers and blog friends.
In the U.S., it's traditional to end the year with Resolutions of things you want to do better at in the coming year. I'm somewhat of a compulsively organized personality type, and love to make lists and check off what I've accomplished. My life is fairly much on track in lots of the things people make resolutions about, but I do have areas where I would like to improve. I think publicly declaring your resolutions can empower you to commit to them, so here are at least five of my resolutions for 2006:
- Maintain the 40 pound weight loss I have been able to accomplish through the South Beach Diet, with an increased commitment to exercising 4-5 times a week. (That means more exercising and less reading food blogs!)
- Drink more water and less soda. (Just do it. No explanation needed.)
- Be more diligent about not wasting food. (I have two plans to accomplish this. First, I'm starting a new blog feature called "Second Helpings" where I create a new dish from leftovers. Second, I have a college-student nephew who lives near me, and I'm going to start sharing leftovers with him in a more organized way.)
- Start another blog to feature South Beach friendly recipes and good cooking tips I find on other food blogs. (My list of bookmarks is out of control. Watch for my second blog, Food Blog Finds, coming in 2006.)
- Last, but not least, I want to seriously resolve to spend more time with the people I love. I'm always driven to create, produce, succeed, and I don't always take time to focus on simply enjoying relationships. (If I was listing my resolutions in priority order, this would be number one for 2006.)
Now, back to blackeye peas. They are also called black-eyed peas or cowpeas, but they are actually a type of bean which is eaten all over the world. What makes them a New Year's food is the tradition in the southern U.S. of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Day to bring wealth or good luck. Supposedly in this traditional southern dish called Hopping John, the peas represent coins while the collard greens represent dollar bills. I did find some interesting dishes on other food blogs using black-eyed peas. At Kitchen Parade, Alanna was showcasing Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad, which sounded wonderful to me. The other black-eyed pea dish that caught my eye was at Fresh Approach Cooking, where Rachel created Black-eyed Pea Risotto. Not for carb counters, but decidedly delicious sounding.
Tomorrow I'm having my annual New Year's Day "Soup Party" and as I type this I am cooking Hopping John Soup which contains black-eyed peas, ham, onions, celery, and collard greens. Check back tomorrow for that recipe, which will be my entry in Cooking Diva Melissa's New Year's Recipe and Photo Swap.
If you want to fit in a little Weekend Herb Blogging between drinking champagne and other festive activities, you have until mid-afternoon on Monday to blog about any herb, plant, veggie, or flower, link to me with the words Weekend Herb Blogging, and send me your permalink (kalynskitchen *at* comcast *dot* net). I will publish the recap of Weekend Herb Blogging posts from around the world on Monday evening this week, due to the holiday. Also, don't forget to check out Weekend Cat Blogging at Eatstuff, and Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnicks.