Friday, January 2, 2015

Back Eyed Peas and Goal Setting for the New Year

Hoppin John 2015
Let's ring in the new year with luck and happiness- would you like the recipe?
My new year’s table always includes a southern dish with black eyed peas.  I did a little research to investigate why this food is considered lucky and found a few theories. The story that makes the most sense to me dates back to the civil war.  In the process of winning the war (spoiler alert) Sherman and his Union troops ravaged the southern homesteads.  Certain crops were spared because they were believed to be food for livestock.  Post-war fields of black eyed peas were plentiful for southerners back in the day.  Lucky for them, the beans are filling and easily harvested. 

Black eyed peas are traditionally served with greens (to represent money) and cornbread (gold). There is also typically pork in the form of ham, bacon, or roast as another nod to agrarian life.  My family likes the combination of black eyed peas with bacon so we have developed our own version of “Hoppin John” 
Wishing you good luck!
Hoppin’ John (Marotta style)
1 cup raw rice
½ pound bacon
½ yellow onion
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (to taste)
1 Can Black Eyed Peas

In a saucepan, cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.
Reserving ½ cup of liquid (“aka bean juice”) drain and rinse the black eyed peas.
In a skillet, fry the bacon until crispy. Reserve some of bacon grease in skillet and set aside bacon on a paper towel to drain.  Add onion to skillet and cook until translucent.  Your House will smell really good! 
Cut bacon into small pieces and add to onions in the skillet.  Stir in rice, beans, and bean juice.   Flavor with salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Mix and serve!

At Casa Marotta the main dish changes every year but we always include a side salad for the greens.  The gold will have to wait for 2016- I am all about Jiffy Cornbread! Not sure if any of this really brings luck but I love the tradition. Feel free to serve Hoppin John anytime this week for a great start to 2015.

Now my recipe for happiness.  This is trickier, but two of the key ingredients for happiness are challenge and personal growth.  Between my German heritage (Yager) and my doctoral training- my roots pull me strongly toward goal setting at the beginning of January.  Here are my “big picture” goals for cultivating happiness in 2015:
1.       Establish a Writing Routine. I love to write, I need to develop a habit of writing regularly.
 2.       Renew Relationships.  Sadness and struggles in friends and family have encouraged me to put more energy into regular positive connection.
3.       Focus on Health. I figure if I don’t have health it is hard to make anything else happen.

Over the course of the next few months I will allow these goals to organically form into smaller steps.  I don’t like to call them resolutions, I see them more as intentions. Use this template and take some time this week to begin setting your intentions. Big picture goal setting gives us the freedom to change the process of how to get there- without skimping on the motivation for challenge and personal growth. 
Wishing you happiness!
Thank you for reading, following, recommending, and/or sharing posts from my blog.

Happy New Year!