I have a question for all of you – have you noticed something?
There’s been a lot of turmoil lately, just in the air. Not necessarily in my life…. My job is alright, my pony is behaving himself, my friends and family are alright, but the world seems as though it’s in shambles.
As I made a few new recipes for you all, an ad came on during a Seinfeld commercial break. It was some guy, Tom Steyer, that Google apparently names as a “leftist CNN-supporting billionaire against Trump”. I don’t claim to support this man – in fact, I only found out who he was a mere 20 minutes ago, and that descriptive quote I pulled was straight out of Google. Without discussing politics, where you stand on the political spectrum, or whose beliefs you support, I just wanted to bring up the concept of moral identity. And as this man’s commercial praised “following your moral compass”, it still carried a morose undertone that I just can’t ignore, even though it opposes a man that ruffles more feathers I can even convey.
What makes me think of “moral identity” are two particular old memories that I can’t seem to get rid of. The first of two was an awkward run-in with an elementary school bully. She took issue with me because I was scrawny, and obsessed with horses, had teeth that grew in before anything else on my body, and that I never felt it necessary to defend myself when she poked fun at me. I never needed my friends to defend me, but I also wondered why they never took issue with anything this nasty little girl said to me. Was it the by-stander effect? Were they afraid she might target them? I wasn’t quite sure. Years passed, I haven’t seen her, but it still bums me out that people carry that kind of energy with them where they get their strength by bringing down others.
Another time, many years later, I had a class with a girl who never seemed to have the awareness that others might not “jive” with her jokes, her hobbies or social quirks. Was that her problem? Absolutely not, it was ours. Yet, I knew how it felt to have everyone’s eyes on you, everyone waiting for you to take another misstep – I made sure to never say anything mean to this girl, because it’s just cruel.
There was a History class we had, with a teacher that may have not gotten his revenge on high school bullies, himself – he allowed the most asinine badgering, bullying and taunting, right during his lesson plans. I remember it like it was yesterday – he held a debate, and we got to choose our side. It ended up being the entire class against this same girl, who, while she didn’t agree, wanted to make a point by arguing “devil’s advocate”. She was wicked smart – you could tell she may not have agreed with what she was arguing for, but she made a darn good convincing argument for the sake of seeing the other side. After a few jabs back and forth, one punk decided to make his argument personal, bridging the divide between our classroom prompt, and her personal life. As he made his comment and looked behind him for support, each person gathered the confidence to make another small jab themselves – none were stopped by our teacher. This went on for what felt like an eternity, but after only a few minutes, I remember standing up and asking, ‘what the hell is wrong with all of you? Are you all serious, right now?’
Now, I don’t want anyone sitting here thinking I was some classroom hero – my brief bout of confidence was quickly shattered by my classmates telling me I was overreacting, that they were just kidding, and that maybe I needed the jokes towards myself so I would have thicker skin. It really didn’t feel that way in the moment, though. I truly remember that day like it was yesterday, and it makes me sick. It was really that moment where I drew a line in the sand with myself and what I felt was right vs. wrong, and it established that anything crossing that line was unacceptable to me. By doing so, it was up to me to stand up for something that I felt was morally unacceptable.
Do you know what makes me feel that same way? The divisive nature of almost everything I see, on every news outlet, everywhere.
I try to take a more humanistic approach – help those who need it by doing your best to teach them independence and self-sustainability. I’ve taken up volunteering, so that I feel as though I’m making at least whatever small change I can towards causes I feel passionate about. I know that I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love lower taxes, less worry about people I don’t know, and less money going out the door – but what’s our end result that we’re seeking? Are we really trying to help the greater good? Again – I am not taking side with any political party as they stand today… but when is the last time you removed yourself from the equation, looked around you, and said to yourself, “What is really going to help us all have a better day tomorrow?”
This seems idealistic, but I’m just yearning to see more compassion as I look around today. I want to see people helping each other, people acknowledging each other’s best qualities, and respecting each other’s flaws. Should you take a strong stance on any issue, I just hope that you bring it upon yourself to respect, acknowledge, and explore someone else’s opposing opinion before you disregard it.
On a lighter note, this recipe kind of signifies “looking at another perspective”, and respecting it as it is. Beans and Legumes are not paleo – in fact, I don’t like to eat beans anyway, because… they’re a bit noisy. But they do have their health benefits, and I know that someone somewhere out there likes them. If you make the portions smaller, you could even make these as an appetizer!
If you’re still reading – I’m glad you’re able to respect someone else’s viewpoint if you happen to stand on the other side of the fence. There’s a serious energetic shift going on right now – people are growing tired of the same-old. I truly hope we take this opportunity to put kindness first – I think all of us can use it.
Black Eyed Pea Cakes with Adobo Cream Sauce (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
- 1 4oz can of coconut cream, refrigerated
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
- 2 (14oz) cans no-salt-added black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 cup plaintain chips, finely crushed
- 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped; seeds and ribs removed
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups raw spinach, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp ghee
- In a small bowl, combine coconut cream, pinch of salt and adobo sauce. Once thoroughly mixed, place into the refrigerator to chill and prevent from melting.
- In a large frying pan, add onion, bell pepper and ghee. Sauté on medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, and continue to cook until onions start to brown, another 4-5 minutes. (do not cover the pan, as you want to allow the water to evaporate out of the spinach). Once finished, remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse one of the cans of beans, and pulse in food processor until completely mashed into a paste – you may need to add a pinch of olive oil to keep the mixture from sticking to the sides. Separately, drain, rinse and place other can of beans into a large bowl, and lightly mash with fork. You want to keep about half of the beans in this portion still intact for added texture.
- Once beans are finished in the food processor, mix both portions of beans together in the bowl, along with almond flour, onion, pepper, spinach, garlic, egg and spices. The mixture, at room temperature, should be sort of thick and sticky, like cookie dough. To make sure it’s easier to form, place in freezer for 15-20 minutes, so that mixture can hold a shape when formed.
- As the mixture chills, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Once the mix is removed from the freezer, take a small lime-sized scoop of it, and shape each scoop into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Roll the patty in plantain chips, ensuring it’s fully coated.
- Place each patty on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for ~25 minutes, or until crust starts to brown. About 10 minutes before the cakes are finished, remove the adobo cream sauce from the fridge, stirring occasionally.
- Top each cake with a spoonful of adobo cream mixture and serve… perhaps with some Garlic-Tahini Kale Salad? J