All Is Calm

Father time has gifted us another year! I suppose these last few days of the calendar are ripe for reviewing the past 12 months. I‘m all for taking stock of what came before but I’m much more interested in what is to come! What’s on the other side of 2014? 

The New Year brings the promise of opportunity. The opportunity for more: more abundance, more health, more success, more love, more adventure. My year was full of so many of those things but, and not to be greedy, I want more. There is enough for everyone and we are all deserving. I think the winners of the game are those whose eyes and arms and hearts are open wide enough to receive all the goodness on its way.

I’ve wrapped up this year spending the holidays with friends and family in my hometown of Joplin, Missouri. For me, coming home is my reward for getting through the hustle and bustle of November and December in New York City. These last 2 months of the year are jam crammed with wrapping things up, fitting in last minute to-do’s, and then heaping all things holiday on top. It’s a lot, no matter where you live, I am sure. And it all goes by so fast, it’s hard to savor. 

Life is slower in the Midwest. There is an ease and contentment among the people there. Not that NYC is uneasy and discontent, but it sure felt nice to sing the words “all is calm, all is bright,“ at midnight mass on Christmas Eve. It is such a reminder that when we stay calm, the brightness of the future is visible. I might actually adopt that as my mantra for 2015 to ground me in the moments that seem anything but peaceful and calm. 

It’s so easy to get carried away on the negative train of thought when things get extra crunchy in my schedule. How will I get it all done? Will so and so be pleased with my efforts? What if I run out of food? Will I be chosen for the job? Those questions never slow things down, nor do they give me peace of mind. Instead of worrying in this next 12 months, I hope to remember to stay calm and look for the brightness of situation.





I am closing 2014 out with a big ole’ pot of black-eyed peas. I believe there is symbolism and deeper meaning in what we eat and I love that black-eyed peas are associated with luck and abundance. They are so simple, inexpensive, and tasty. I’m not sure why most of the world only eats them in the New Year. I’ve been making this dish for years and I always called it Hoppin’ John. Come to find out, Hoppin’ John has rice and pork in it, my recipe doesn’t. I think it is actually closer to Texas Caviar with the peas served cold after marinating in a vinaigrette. 

Whether you share a big pot with friends or only manage to choke down a spoonful of black-eyed peas like my sister, I hope you nourish your soul for the coming year and that the symbolism of luck and abundance rings true for you. I wish you more of everything and may we all look for calm in this bright, bright world of ours.

Black-Eyed Lucky Peas with Vegetable Confetti 

  • 1 lb black eyed peas soaked overnight
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Drain and rinse peas, add them to a big soup pot. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour, skimming off the foam. I like my legumes a little toothsome, but simmer for another 30 minutes if you like them softer. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl. In a glass jar combine the rest of the ingredients, shaking well to combine. Pour over the peas and vegetables, stir well. Chill in the refrigerator to let the mixture marinate. Stir again before serving. Happy New Year!