Did I ever mention that it's hard to be healthy? In our society, eating right and getting enough exercise can be difficult, even for the dedicated. I consider myself to be dedicated but not fanatical about good health. And I find it difficult to do the right things every day. Exercise is pretty easy for me. I like to dance, swim and ride my horse. When the weather is this lovely, I enjoy long walks. I even like challenging myself to hold that yoga pose longer or do more sit ups. However, I realize that not everyone loves to sweat or be sore the next day.
Eating is my problem. I love food, all kinds of food so I fight the battle everyday not to overeat. Just yesterday I made chicken and dumplings, one of my favorite comfort foods. Chicken and dumplings usually leads to me eating way more than I should but I did manage to restrict myself to a reasonable serving. Nor did I indulge in a chocolate milkshake though I would have loved one. So I sympathize with those of you who not only don't like to exercise but who don't like to cook and eat too much of all the wrong things.
However, the more research I read, the more I realize that my health is in my hands. I was just reading about how certain foods can affect the appearance of your skin. If you want more youthful skin, skip refined sugar. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. And please put down the cigarettes! Nothing ages your skin like cigarettes and the sun.
While I have not read his entire book, Dr. Nicolas Perricone has a new book, Forever Young, which discusses the importance of diet to your skin. He is a big proponent of the philosophy that you are what you eat. He gives specific recommendations of what to eat to lessen the effects of aging. You might want to check it out. Of course, following a healthy diet such as the one he suggests will do great things for your insides.
Since we have a chilly weekend ahead, here is my sister's recipe for Red Beans and Rice, just the thing to warm you up. Plus, you can freeze the leftovers for another meal.
Pat's Red Beans and Rice
16 oz. dried kidney beans or 3 cans kidney beans
1 1b. spicy smoked sausage links
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
pinch of cayenne or Tabasco or to taste
2 cans of chicken broth if using dry beans
Rinse and pick over dry beans. Place in a large soup pot; add bay leaves, broth and enough water to cover beans. Simmer 2 to 3 hours or until tender. If using canned beans, drain beans and place in pot. Add broth and enough water to cover beans. Saute celery, bell pepper, onion and garlic in 3 Tbsp. olive oil till lightly browned. Add to beans along with the remaining ingredients. Simmer another 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with hot cooked rice. You can also simmer a ham hock in the beans or add diced ham at the end if desired.
If you are pressed for time, the canned beans work just as well and greatly reduce the cooking time. Make some cornbread or corn muffins and you have a complete meal. Have a lovely weekend and be sure to get out and enjoy the wonderful fall weather.