There are a few things that I always look forward to when I come home: family, the help I get from house hold helpers, my bed and the cool bedroom, a short visit to Salcedo Market and side trips to my favorite boulangerie. Sometimes it's nice to leave home and explore. Explore not only where you're going or what you're going to do but discover and find out who you really are without being pulled down by negative words and circumstances surrounding you. It takes courage and grace to live out your life but at the same time honor and respect the people around you. Life is full of choices and whatever I choose, I cannot please everyone. The good news is I wasn't born to please everyone. I used to be like that in one area of my life. I cook because I want to please the people around me. And if that is my goal, I will truly be upset if someone doesn't like the food that I have prepared for them. But my late father has been a testimony for me. He cooks for the family because he wants to not because he wants to please us. He doesn't wait for compliments but we do let him know how great his cooking was.
The world is full of comments and criticisms. Whether good or bad, I better get used to it because I'm not used to it yet. But I'm getting there, I think. We all have insecurities and for me, cooking is one of them. How ironic that I've been cooking since I was 17 and been trained in Switzerland and Canada and still feel insecure about cooking. And I teach in a culinary school!! Now, that is transparency. I know deep in heart that I am a great cook, that I can truly cook and that I am professional cook. I do believe that I am. But when negative thoughts attack my mind and I don't guard it, that's the time I start to believe that I don't deserve it, that I'm not good enough and that I'm not worthy enough and when I establish to believe that, it shows through my actions and my work. And when that starts to happen, I fail and embarrass myself and in front of other people. But my thought life has improved. It was worst when I was in elementary and high school and if facebook is your life, you will truly experienced unworthiness and low self-esteem. That happened to me while I'm taking care of my late father for years and even when I started working. You see your friend's pictures and how successful they are with their lives and their career and here I was staring through the computer screen asking myself, what am I supposed to do with my life when I don't even know (or have forgotten) what I'm good at. And I thought everyone's into cooking and photography. Is there something that I can do that people cannot do? Here's my thought life again... But then I remembered my sister-in-law's encouraging words - "You will be someone someday."
My life is still in a process and so does yours. Change is hard but it is good. But accepting change requires leaving my comfort zone and embracing courage and uncertainty in front of me. I think I did that and still doing it one day at time.
And when it comes to other simpler things such as eating healthier, it does require courage and guts to eat foods that are good for you. Changing people's eating habits is none of my business. I guess I have to do it differently and positively for change to happen. I honestly didn't eat healthy enough while staying in school. I had my fair share of eating bacon everyday for a week until I felt horrible. Being at home right now helps me to eat healthier foods. And for me, simple foods are always the best. Another thing I was looking forward to is Greek yogurt that I bought at Salcedo Market. Greek yogurt is higher in fat and just to remind you and in case you still don't know, I'm not an advocate of low fat foods. Life is boring without fats. I used to eat this Greek yogurt by itself, sometimes with a mélange of fruits, but today I'm eating it with sweet potatoes. If you want your sweet potatoes sweeter, bake them in the oven at a lower heat. The enzyme in sweet potatoes starts to break down tasteless starch into maltose beginning at around 135 F and stops at 170F. The sweet potatoes will have more time to break down the starch when you bake them low and slow and will have a sweeter result compared to cooking them faster (steaming, boiling, microwaving). Slow baking gives the enzyme a longer time to work than does rapid cooking.
This is what I had for breakfast and I served it with honey, raw sunflower seeds and hemp hearts.
Sweet Potatoes with Greek Yogurt
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
Greek yogurt (absolutely not non- or low-fat)
nuts such as walnuts or pine nuts OR
unrefined sea salt
To cook the sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Place them in a foil, add 2 tsp of water and wrap tightly. Place in a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes or until tender.
To assemble the dish, unwrap the foil place the sweet potatoes on a plate, add a dollop of Greek yogurt, sprinkle with sunflower seeds and hemp hearts. Drizzle with honey and season with a bit of salt. Serve immediately while still warm and enjoy!
How do you like to serve your sweet potatoes?