I like to put up my Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t mind November, actually, I really love it, but I get so excited for Christmas. Christmas lights, hot chocolate, getting off work, baking, gingerbread decorating, playing games, watching holiday movies, the list can go on! But, the thing that I look forward to the most is just spending time with friends and family.
Five years ago, nothing looked like it had as a child. My parents had moved from my hometown to a small loft apartment across the state of Texas, my sister was packing her things to move to St. Kitts and Nevis, I had just finished my first year of grad school in Southern California and to add to that, my grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer. The holidays were not something that I was looking forward to. I cringed thinking about returning to Texas, to a new “home,” a sick grandparent, and a sister who I felt was abandoning me.
In my personal life, I had begun to date someone who was kind and sweet, but I didn’t feel like I could commit to a relationship because I felt like my foundation was broken; so, before I left for Texas, I broke things off with him (this was a pattern I did quite often with him). I really wasn’t looking forward to anything about the holiday season that year. I became one of those bah-humbugs who sat and moped that things didn’t look the same.
Initially, the Christmas of 2010 stands out to me as being one of the bad ones, but when I stop to really think about it, I remember wonderful moments about the holiday. I am overcome with gratitude for the people who love me and continued to help my holiday be a great one. It’s like Cindy Lou Who loving the Grinch. I remember going to my grandmother’s and baking cookies with my female cousins and decorating the tree together. It was the last time that all of us were able to do that before she passed away. I remember my mom desperately trying to find the right kind of green beans for us to have Christmas day because she wanted it to be special. My parents apartment was small, but she decorated the windows and put up a small Christmas tree to make it feel like the holidays I was used to.
My sister was moving out of the country a few weeks later, and this would be the last time I would get to see her for almost two years. I remember us staying up late talking about the aforementioned boy and her telling me to just let my guard down a little, things would be okay. She was right. He turned out to be the boy I married.
Sometimes just because you anticipate things turning out a certain way, doesn’t mean that the outcome has to be negative. We have to learn to shift our perspective and see the other side. Doing that has really helped me enjoy the holiday season, no matter what changes it brings. When you are cooking for people who have food allergies or a different diet than yours, we can feel burdened about it, but try to shift your perspective and think about the person you are cooking for. They will be grateful for having something to eat and feel a part of the community that is around them, I know that I always do.
That brings me to the recipe today. It is unusual. I was nervous to serve it. But, it is delicious. Don’t be afraid to add more spice to it and serve it with pita bread (if the people you are serving can have that).
- 15 oz (1 Can) White Kidney Beans (Rinsed and Drained)
- ¼ C. Tahini
- ¼ C. Feta Cheese
- ¼ C. Olive Oil
- 1 Whole Jalapeno (leave the seeds in if you want more spice)
- 1 Lime (Juiced)
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- ½ C Cilantro
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- Blend all ingredients in an electric blender.
- Pour into a nice bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Serve with chips, crackers, or lettuce leaves (depending on allergies)