Alternatively titled, “Will all the sexy women please stand up?”
If you were lucky enough to see me in person this week, you might notice a little extra swagger in my hips. A slight curl in my lips. A halo above my head (sorry, but is there another body part that rhymes with hips and lips?) Why is that? I’m having a pretty darn good week. Maybe it’s been the slew of relatively good hair days or my new purple boots. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been eating really well and working out really strong. Or maybe because I picked up a new book and already feel smarter, just a few pages in. Whatever it is, I feel good and I look good. And I’m not afraid to think that.
In fact, I’ve been thinking about that all morning (self-indulgent, much?) but didn’t actually want to say it. Because we all know it’s not nice to put ourselves above others. But really, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’d just be putting myself above, well, myself.
So isn’t it ironic that this afternoon I was pointed towards this blog post. In it, Single Dad Laughing shares the ridiculously long list of complaints that women often make about themselves. It saddens him that so many beautiful, real women are constantly putting themselves down. It makes me sad, and frustrated too. Why is it more common and acceptable to hear a woman making a negative comment about herself than it is to hear a positive one? Why does it feel so rare, even offensive and absurd, for a female to feel good about herself and want to share that? And he offers a solution to end the madness: he suggests that men need to stop looking at other women. Which women? The one on the cover of the latest Cosmopolitan, of course. The scantily-clad one on the poster hanging in Victoria’s Secret. And the one at the next table, with longer legs and bigger breasts than the man’s wife or girlfriend. Apparently if men stopped looking, us regular gals would no longer recognize those women as “ideal” and be able to accept (or better yet, love) ourselves.
I do think it’s pretty sweet of him to assume some of the blame for his gender, and to admit they might have done something wrong. That alone is a big step for mankind. But let’s face it – women are far more likely to dress, behave, and talk in a certain way out of concern for how other females might judge them, not men. Really, this article made me want to shout it from the mountaintops today: “Hey you! Look at me! I look good! I don’t hate myself!” Certainly, I’m not every man’s ideal woman. But I know I am to at least one, and that’s enough for me. Furthermore, I’m fitting very well into my own definition of gorgeous, smart, sexy and fun. And I’m not trying to brag. I’m just trying to share this idea with you: If you think it, you can be it. Try it.
And one more thing. If what he’s saying is true, if men should stop looking at other women and ignore what is a biological instinct, does this mean that I can never stare at another hot male? As if I am incapable of finding my husband hot and sexy, inside and out, even though he may not be every other woman’s ideal? Ladies, I certainly don’t want to give up my eye candy, so we need to stop setting this double standard that our guys shouldn’t be able to admire anyone else.
Anyway. You may have noticed that here we have a picture of Roasted Eggplant and Tahini Soup, not Alexander Skarsgård. I don’t know how this soup relates at all to what I said above except that it is one of the things that has contributed to my feeling good lately.
If you think it’s going to taste like baba ganoush in hot liquid form, you’re wrong. The roasted tomatoes and garlic give it a hint of sweetness that make it unique. If you taste it before it’s done and think I’ve made a big typo on the amount of spices, you’re wrong. The tahini is going to totally mellow it all out. If you think it’s totally wrong to make a bowl of soup where almost half the calories come from fat, well, you’re partially right. But only if that fat came from cream and butter. Tahini is the nut butter made from sesame seeds, and it’s full of those good fats you hear so much about and it has tons of good nutrients, even ones known to reduce cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure. I don’t think it’s on the list of “superfoods”, but maybe it should be considered. And if you think that just because you’ve never had either eggplant or tahini in a soup before that it can’t possibly work, just try it. Trust me, it works. Kinda like how envisioning yourself as one totally awesome and sexy being just works.
3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), halved lengthwise
1 medium or large onion, halved
1 head of garlic
4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2-3 teaspoons ras al hanout*
1/4 cup tahini
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
4 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt (optional)
fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant, and onion on a baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper. Cut a small square of aluminum foil. Slice about a 1/4″ from the top of the garlic, to expose the cloves. Place it on the piece of foil, spray with nonstick spray, and wrap up tightly. Put this on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
Roast for 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and brown in spots. Remove from oven and let cool until eggplant and garlic can be handled.
Scoop the eggplant out of its skin and into a large saucepan. Squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of the head and add to the pot, along with the tomatoes and onion. Add the broth and ras al hanout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until onions are very tender.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, working in batches and returning to the pot. Add the tahini and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Finish the soup by squeezing in the lemon juice, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 8.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 614.1 mg
Total Carbs: 24.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.7 g
Protein: 9.6 g
* Ras al Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend. It’s available for purchase somewhere, but I like to make my own. Hint: store the extra in a small spice jar and sprinkle on salmon before broiling, make some spicy Moroccan meatballs, or my North African Chicken Spiced Chicken.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
One last thing: The featured ingredient for October’s SOS (Sweet or Savory) Challenge hosted by Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Affairs of Living is sesame. I’m proud to share this healthy recipe with them, and hope you’ll head over to find many others. And while you’re at it, check out Michelle’s Wholesome Whole Foods Friday #22 – I’m featuring this recipe over there as well.