Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

The original recipe for this dish, which appeared on the Whole Foods Market website, was for a pureed soup.  I prefer my soup to have a little more substance, so I lightly mash the potatoes into the soup instead of pureeing. In order to bring a bit of heat, I added chili flakes and cayenne pepper.  Feel free to add more, or less, depending on your preferences.  Sweet potatoes or yams can be used interchangeably in this recipe.

2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp chili flakes
8 cups water
½ tsp ground coriander
dash cayenne pepper
2 cups dried yellow split peas
2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste


Sort and rinse peas; set aside.

Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pot.  Once oil is heated, add onion. Sauté until onions begin to brown slightly.  Add garlic, ginger and chili flakes, stir for 30 seconds.  

Add water, coriander, cayenne, peas,  and sweet potatoes.  Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 1 hour, stirring often.  

Remove lid and gently mash sweet potatoes with potato masher (alternatively,  press potatoes against side of pot with spoon to mash).  Add salt and pepper.  Cook 15 additional minutes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weight Loss Photos

Christmas 2006, 2007, 2008
In my experience, the process of losing weight was an extreme confidence booster.  I loved seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while because they would always compliment the way I looked.  I felt so accomplished.  At the time that I reached my goal weight, I moved to a different state.  All of the new friends that I met did not know that I used to be heavy.  I still received compliments when I saw old friends and relatives, but eventually, everyone just knew me as thin.

This felt like the biggest accomplishment of all.  I had lost weight, and kept it off long enough that people were starting to forget that I wasn’t always thin.  That is when I started trying to erase history.  I deleted photos from Facebook, removed the largest photos of me from my hard drive, and even trashed an entire album worth of photos from my only trip to Hawai’i.   I was completely ashamed of my past.

It wasn’t until I started this blog that I realized what had gone on with me emotionally.  I enjoyed sharing my photos and stories with all of you on this site, but I was always tentative to tell anyone close to me about this blog.  I was afraid that they would judge me.  I didn’t even like my husband seeing the old photos of me.  After all this time, I was still ashamed of my past.

When I went home for the holidays this year, I decided to face my fears and look through my mother’s photos.  I wanted to find the pictures of where I started from, so that they could be used as a source of motivation for others.  I also wanted to find them for me, so that I could work on my New Year’s resolution of being “less hard on myself, and more proud of my accomplishments”. Luckily, my mother’s hard drive had not been erased, and I was able to recover the parts of my life that I had deleted.  

In looking at the photos below, I do feel accomplished, as well as motivated by the visual image of what major changes a person is able to make in such a short amount of time.

Enjoy the journey:

Fall 2006
Winter 2006
Spring 2007
Summer 2007
Fall 2007
Winter 2007
Spring 2008
Summer 2008
Fall 2008 (Halloween!)
Fall 2009 (Halloween!)
Fall 2010
Fall 2011
Fall 2012 (Halloween!)
Sunday marked the one year anniversary of this blog. Wow! That went fast.  I truly enjoyed spending 2012 with you, and I hope that you will continue to read along throughout 2013.  Please let me know if there are any topics that you would like me to address this coming year!