perspective

Perspectives can be skewed in life. They can be skewed by what another person has told us.  They can be skewed by our own frame of reference, worldview, and sets of beliefs with which we were raised.

One’s perspective and mental constructs seem to go hand in hand.  As humans, we form associations in memory and develop mental constructs around those associations. For example, many of us have probably developed over the years a mental construct of happiness. We believe, whether consciously or subconsciously,  we will only be happy in life if certain things happen. Therefore, we will most likely conduct our life accordingly to fit within those parameters, to the extent we can control it.  In other words, those mental constructs can control our actions and reactions.

What would it be like to live outside of those parameters we’ve set for ourselves?  Or, at least get a glimpse of what it could be like to live outside of one of the constructs each of us has created for ourselves.  Freeing?  Liberating?  I think so.

Most of us may also have some type of mental construct that defines for us what makes a good meal.  The meal below may seem a bit simple and peasant-ish or it could be viewed as a satisfying, hearty meal.

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Inspired by Sarah at In Praise of Leftovers, I put together this meal, tweaked things with what I happened to have on hand.  I thought the outcome was worthy of a spot on the dinner table.

The mashing of the beans combined with broth creates a sauce.  The spiced up sour cream provides a nice, cool counterpoint to the texture of the meal.  A squeeze of fresh lime juice adds a good dose of tart.

Below is a loose recipe.  Adjust the ingredients to your taste.  If you like more bean sauce and less rice, mash another can of beans.  Sounds very un -glamorous, I know.

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Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Rice

Serves 3 – 4

4 sweet potatoes, rinsed and sliced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. (uncooked) brown rice, prepare according to package directions, set aside
1/2 c. plus more to taste, chicken or vegetable broth
1 T. + a pinch, chili powder
1 T. + a pinch, paprika
1/4 c. sour cream 
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil 
lime, sliced, optional 

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Prepare the brown rice according to the package directions.  Set aside.

2.  While the brown rice is cooking, rinse and scrub the sweet potatoes.  Slice them into half – moons.  Pile them onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, about 2 – 3 T., over the potatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the mixture until potatoes are evenly coated.  Spread out on cookie sheet until evenly distributed.  Roast in oven 30 minutes or until fork tender.

3,  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat add the rinsed and drained black beans, 1/2 c. broth, 1 T. each chili powder and paprika.  Fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  Crush the beans into a soft pulp with a fork or a potato masher.  Once heated through, turn bean mixture to low.  Add additional broth if desired.

4.  Combine the sour cream with a pinch of chili powder and paprika.

5.  Serve the bean mixture ladled over the rice.  Top with sweet potatoes and a dollop of the sour cream mixture.  Add a good squeeze of lime, if desired.

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