I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Purple Potatoes?! Great Food and a Great IOOV Presentation

In my last post, my dilemma was that I did not want my really happy mood to change just because of the number on the scale, so now it's time to tell you why I was so happy-I had been cooking some really good food! I don't like making the traditional one meat, a veg, and a carb dinner. I usually go for a one-dish dinner, but last Sunday I decided to do something a little unusual-a two-side meal. Both of the sides had plenty of veggies with yummy turkey bacon for the protein. I made a potato salad with little purple potatoes, called "purple passion," and a succotash with thyme and a little bit of cream.

First-Purple Potato Salad (original recipe is at allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds red potatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced celery
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

I chose this recipe, because I liked the idea of using yogurt (and a little bit of sour cream) to substitute for the usual mayo, which I'm sure I could do for any potato salad. I used vanilla yogurt, because that's what I already had and it worked out fine. I also wanted to try a potato salad that uses red wine vinegar, as I had never heard of that before. The purple potatoes I used made the salad look very pretty!

Directions: In a saucepan, cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Cut up the potatoes and zap them in the microwave for as long as the ziploc steam bag tells you too. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine vinegar, oil, mustard, basil, pepper and salt; mix well. Add to vinegar and oil mixture while still warm. Toss to coat; cool completely. In another bowl, combine yogurt, sour cream and garlic salt. Add onion, celery, bacon and eggs; mix well. Add to potato mixture; toss gently. Cover and chill for several hours.I've never seen a potato salad so pretty! It tasted pretty too-the red vinegar and mustard gave it a nice zing and the egg and bacon tasted great, while adding protein. I really liked the yogurt and sour cream combination.


Next: Creamy Succotash

This dish was the star of the evening and I could have eaten it all night! It's funny, because I usually think of succotash as a nasty dish, as it's usually just a can of corn and a can of lima beans heated together in a very unappetizing way, but this version uses a little bit of cream, thyme, and bacon and this makes all the difference.

Ingredients:
4 ounces thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
1 (10 ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 (10 ounce) package frozen sweet corn
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives

Directions:
1.Fry bacon over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

2.Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the bacon drippings. Add onions; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add lima beans, 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer, covered, until partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add corn, cream, and thyme; return to a simmer, and warm until vegetables are fully cooked and cream doesn't pool, about 5 minutes longer. (Can be refrigerated at this point up to 2 days ahead.)


3.When ready to serve, stir bacon and chives into warm succotash. This recipe doubles easily. (I didn't use chives...)

Succotash has never tasted so good! Seriously, this was almost orgasmic!

I stayed happy Sunday all day and night and it's easy to see (and taste) why.

I was also happy Wednesday when I did my first In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentation at Charis Books with Ashley Smith from Overcoming Schizophrenia. It was a great experience. At first, I was pretty nervous, mainly for the fact that it was my first time doing the presentation, but soon Ashley and I settled into an easy rhythm, taking turns at sharing aspects of our story and answering questions from the audience. I was really glad that we were able to get a good dialogue about mental illness going. Through the dialogue, we able to find out that there are some commonalities between people with mental illness and those who do not-almost everybody has to take a medication of some kind and everybody has to figure out coping skills for stress. Stress affects everyone and that is a good thing to remember-we all need to take care of ourselves, which is sometimes hard to do in our always-on-the-rush society. The best thing about the presentation was that I truly felt empowered by the end. By speaking about my experience with mental illness, I am saying to my community that I am not ashamed about this part of myself. Also, I have talked with many people about their perception of the event and I know that I have made a positive change in this world for other people. Using my traumatic experiences to help others is incredibly empowering and special.

Several other good things are happening in my life right now, but I do not want to write about them just yet. I will say that I feel as if my hard work is finally paying off and I am extremely grateful. I feel blessed.

In what way are you blessed or feel empowered? Or, what's your favorite kind of potato salad?

1 comment:

  1. K.C. ~ I have been doing public speaking about my journey with mental illness for the past two years, and it has been VERY life-affirming, empowering, and helpful because it makes me feel (and not just feel, but KNOW) that I am making a difference, combatting stigma, and educating people, as well as letting others with mental illnesses know that they are not alone. I love doing it, on the occassions that I have, and it has also been through NAMI.

    In Florida, where I live, we don't have many IOOV programs, but our local affiliate is trying to get some of us trained in order to be able to do it here, and I am really looking forward to that.

    Good for you, for using your voice and making a positive impact on the world by telling your story. You will never know how many lives you have changed by doing this, but know that you have changed some. People need to hear our stories.

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