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Spicy Blackeyed Peas and Cornbread with Jalapeño Honey Butter

January 1, 2015

Both

I’m a professional at reinventing myself. Not that I regularly change who I am on a fundamental level, but I wholeheartedly enjoy taking time to evaluate where I am in life and adjusting certain habits and behaviors to align with my evolving goals.

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I believe that each day (even each hour and minute) affords us the opportunity to make choices and decisions about who we are and what we aspire to. While there isn’t much that differentiates December 31st from January 1st aside from a few numbers on a calendar, for the sake of tradition, most of us wait for this one special day to commit to new dreams and goals that we’re determined to achieve during the course of our next trip around the sun.

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My past resolutions were typically of the garden variety, and I’m sure you’ve heard them a thousand times and probably even made them yourself (lose weight, save more, complete a challenging race, etc). They’re not bad goals per se, but they’re by no means revolutionary. Would I be happy if I lost 10 pounds? Sure. But, I’m also happy with where I am now and would rather accomplish something meaningful this year that affects more than just my waistline.

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After thoughtful consideration, I selected a few that I believe will have just as much of a positive effect on myself as it will on others, such as embracing authenticity, practicing gratitude more frequently and deliberately, and living in the now (ie: not stumbling through life with my eyes glued to my iPhone).

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In the aforementioned spirit of authenticity, I’m more excited about 2015 than I have been for any other year, primarily because 2014 was a toughie with a capital T.   I don’t understand the stock market any better than Scooby Doo, but am pretty sure I had almost as many ups and downs as the Dow Jones. (Maybe it wasn’t quite that tumultuous, but you get the point).

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Unlike my nonexistent comprehension of the stock market, I recognize that my own peaks and valleys directly resulted from a series of thoughtfully calculated and significant life changes that I made over the course of the last year. Although the year was difficult at times, it was also incredibly rewarding. I appreciate and am thankful for each transition and challenge, as they collectively played an integral role in paving the way towards a rewarding career and helped to set the foundation for an amazing 2015.

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Although I don’t consider myself to be superstitious, many people believe that consuming blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day will ensure prosperity in the coming year.  So in addition to the tradition of making resolutions, eating blackeyed peas on New Years Day is a Southern practice that I’ve come to appreciate.

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This year, I decided to pack some heat into my blackeyed peas with spicy chorizo and a dash of chili powder. Staying true to the Southern theme, I paired the peas with a skillet of fresh cornbread and butter infused with jalapeño and honey. It’s definitely not the meal to kick off a New Year’s diet, but it’s delicious and will be sure to nurse any residual hangovers from a night well celebrated!

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Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!

 

Spicy Blackeyed Peas

Ingredients:

16oz blackeyed peas

1 12 or 14 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles

2 large links spicy chorizo sausage

1 medium onion

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups chicken broth (plus more if desired)

1 tbsp olive oil

 

Directions:

Soak peas in water overnight

Dice and sauté onion with olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until translucent

Add sliced chorizo and cook for 5 -10 minutes

Transfer onion and chorizo from skillet to a pot

Add the drained peas, chicken stock, diced tomatoes, chili powder and salt

Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour, adding additional broth as necessary

 

Cornbread with Jalapeño Honey Butter

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

½ cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp course sea salt

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp minced or diced jalapeño

8 tbsp softened butter

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil to cast iron skillet. Place skillet in oven while heating

In a small bowl, mix the butter, jalapeño and honey thoroughly

Transfer butter mixture from the bowl to a 12-inch long section of saran wrap, forming a log as you roll the saran wrap around the butter and twist it off on the ends

Place the butter in the freezer for 30 minutes or until solid

In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix the cornmeal, flour, buttermilk, eggs (beaten), vegetable oil, baking powder and sea salt for 2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed

Remove cast iron skillet from the oven and pour in the mixure evenly

Place skillet back in oven and cook for 20 minutes or until golden on top

Serve cornbread warm with a generous amount of jalapeño honey butter on top

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