Do you have a hang up?

Do you have a hang up? You know, that thing that you are self-conscious about…the thing about yourself you hate bringing attention to.

For years, my hang up was my feet…specifically my toes. I was convinced that I had the ugliest feet in the history of the world and that no one else had feet like mine. In my mind, my toes were just unsightly. I refused to wear sandals or any opened toed shoes. I was sure everyone would point and stare and laugh at my ugly toes.

In reality, I just had long toes. At the time I didn’t have bunions or corns, just long toes. Of course reality doesn’t matter when you have a hang up.

Getting Past It
I got tired of hiding my feet. I wanted to wear flip-flops and cute sandals like everyone else. I also started paying attention to other people’s feet and realizing everyone was wearing sandals not just people with “pretty feet.” I even saw some feet that made me realize that if they could show their toes so could I.

That first time was scary. I felt self conscious and hyper aware. But, no one paid any special attention to my feet…no one pointed and no one laughed. I’d built it up so big in my head that the experience was anti-climactic. Then, the more I did it …the more comfortable I became. Now you can’t keep me out of flip-flops or sandals. I now love my feet…go figure.

It turns out they were fine all along. It was my mind that needed fixing, not my feet.

What I learned is that whatever we think IS. I’d thought my hang up into existence. I’m not saying my feet are perfect, but they are the only pair I have and I have to love them as they are.

Do you or did you have a hang up? How did you get past it?

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Steamed Red Snapper and Okra

Ingredients:
Two medium sized red snappers scaled and cleaned
Small onion sliced
Two carrots
Sliced Frozen okra
2 Sprigs of Thyme
Cilantro
Half of a Lemon
Half of a green pepper
Whole habanero
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Fish Stock or Water

Season fish with black pepper and salt, rubbing the outside and inner cavity with seasoning. Stuff fish with cilantro and sprigs of thyme. Refrigerate and set aside. In a large frying pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil..stir in 1tsp butter. Add onions and saute for 1 minute or so…then add carrots and okra. Cover frying pan and let vegetables steam until carrots and okra is tender but firm when poked with a fork. Uncover and nestle fish between vegetables…add in green peppers and whole habanero. At this point you may want to add some liquids to the pan. I recommend Grace Fish Tea seasoning mixed in some water. I made my own seasoned liquid by adding salt, black-pepper and some other seasoning to water before adding it to the pan. Re-cover and let steam for about 15 min or until the fish is cooked through. Flesh will turn white.

Note: If you are squeamish about cooking fish with the head on, you can use a filet, or request that the head is removed. Having the whole fish adds a lot of natural flavor to the dish though.

Steam Fish an Okra
Prepped and ready to go! Yes, I blocked the eyes out for the faint of heart.

Steam Fish an Okra
Veggies cooking in the pan.

Steam Fish an Okra
Fish added to the mix.

Steam Fish an Okra
All done. Yummy! This is delicious over brown rice.

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My Long Lazy Weekend

Lazy Day Pillow
Image via Lazy Human

I love long lazy weekends. The kind where I have no specific agenda, no to-do-list, and I don’t feel as if I’m running out of time if I haven’t gotten to the 10th thing on my list.

I decided to make this past weekend a long and lazy one. For the past month or so my social calendar has been jam packed with engagements. With work, blogging and everything else I just felt a little burnt out. I needed some me time to relax, reflect and generally not do much of anything.

I did do some not so enjoyable things like doing laundry, but hey a girl needs clean clothes.

So how did I spend my me time?
In the kitchen: I cooked one of my favorite meals…steamed fish and okra…recipe coming tomorrow.

Couch potato: I caught up on some Law and Order episodes…this is my all time favorite television drama. The new casts is great and all, but it’s just not the same with Stabler.

Camera Hog: I did some photography. I’m still learning my DSLR camera, and haven’t had the time to really practice as much as I should, so it was nice to get some practice time in.

Gamer: I downloaded the Township game from the App Store (as if Candy Crush wasn’t bad enough). It’s one of those build your own city type of games and the first of its kind I’ve played. I usually reserve my game playing for subway rides to and from work. It was nice to indulge in some mindless behavior.

Pamper time: I treated my hair to some much needed TLC. Haven’t been able to keep my hands out of it! Feels great today.

That’s my lazy weekend in a nutshell. I thought about reading one of the books I started…but even that required too much energy on my part.

So when’s the last time you had a long lazy weekend?

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Penne Puttanesca

Over the weekend I had pasta with Puttanesca sauce at a restaurant and was craving it again last night. Puttanesca sauce is very basic, but tasty. The essence of the sauce is in the capers and anchovies. I’m definitely a savory over sweet girl and so I love the briny and salty flavors…for me it’s the best of both worlds.

I didn’t really follow a particular recipe as I normally cook from memory or by experimentation. I did try to document as best as I could though. So here goes:

1 pint or 10 oz of Grape Tomatoes Halved
1/3 Medium Onion Diced
Capers – add to taste
Anchovies – add to taste
Pitted olives Halved
Marina Sauce (about a third of the jar)
2 Table Spoons Olive Oil

Add olive oil to a heated sauce pan. Next add onions and saute until the onions begin to soften. Add tomatoes and stir together making sure the onions don’t burn. Cover pan for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Follow with the anchovies, olives, capers, and marinara sauce. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil to combine the ingredients and flavors. Add cooked penne to sauce and toss together.

I garnished the finish dish with some grated asiago cheese.

*note this portion is good for two individual servings. You may choose to add garlic or pepper flakes…I didn’t want the spiciness.

Grape Tomatoes
Halved Grape Tomatoes

Diced Onions
Diced Onions

Tree Ripened Olives
This can of “tree ripened” olives cost me $8.49! I was wondering why my bill was so high at the supermarket. Because of my laziness I ended spilling 2/3 of the can on the ground. I was attempting to pull the penne off the top shelf of my cupboard with a kitchen utensil…rather than use my step-stool. The penne came crashing down and knocked the olives off the counter. There went my $8.49. I wouldn’t by them again for cooking as they are pitted and just wasn’t worth the price.

Capers and Anchovies
Organic Capers and Anchovies

Ragu
Ragu Marina…I love using this basic sauce and then jazzing it up with my own ingredients.

Sauce in the Pot
Sauce percolating!

Penne Putanesca
Finished dished…can we say yummy? It was delish. The whole dish took less than 20 minutes to prepare.

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