Monday, October 8, 2012

Tolerance is Strength and Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Dip

Tolerance and Patience

Here is a quote to consider this evening:

"Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness.  They are signs of strength."  -The Dalai Lama
How many world problems could be resolved if we shared more compassion with one another?  How many more smiles would exist if we were more tolerant?  How much happier would we be if we gave others the patience that we expect ourselves?  How much easier would our lives be if we were more accepting?  

Instead, we too often let our egos get the better of us, and we attempt to demonstrate our dominance by belittling others, though not in the obvious ways like a classroom bully picking on another kid for lunch money.  We are impatient and intolerant of others' beliefs and actions.  It's a more subtle put-down but is perhaps more painful to those on the receiving end, especially when these little negativities begin to add up.  We never know how much burden another person is carrying, so why add to their load when they could already be at the limit of their capacity? 

In addition, we expect others to treat us better than we treat them.  We get angry and hold grudges when we don't get the respect we deserve.  Of course, we have a right to expect respect; however, we must acknowledge that sometimes, our own actions create a vicious cycle of "what goes around comes around."  We are intolerant and impatient, so others return the gesture.  What if we were kind, compassionate, patient, and tolerant instead?    

We all struggle at keeping an open, tolerant mind and practicing patience.  Life is a course in these topics that few will ever master; however, that is not reason to not try to continue to improve.  I know that my impatience is one of my weaknesses that I need to focus on improving.  We don't have to become saints in a day.  Instead, we should focus on doing small things, and (as math tells us), when we add up small things, we get big things.  Today, I smiled at a stranger, did a favor for a lab mate, and spent 25 minutes after class helping one of my students and encouraging her in her long-term goals.  In return, someone held the elevator for me, another person opened the door for me when I was wheeling around a cart of rats, and the student thanked me for my help and left with a contagious smile.  How are you going to demonstrate compassion today?  

Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Dip

Now that it is officially Fall, I feel empowered to enjoy all the yummies associated with this season.  One of my favorites is pumpkin-peanut butter dip.  Interestingly, I learned about this dip at a Society of Women Engineers conference several years ago.  I went to a seminar on healthy eating, and they provided us with this snack.  It goes great with sliced apples, perfect for all the apples Nick and I picked last weekend.  To make a large batch, follow this recipe:

1 can pure pumpkin (I used a 15 oz can of Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin, this is NOT the same as canned pumpkin pie filling, which contains added sugar and spices)  
~2 cups peanut butter (about equal to the amount of pumpkin; I used generic brand creamy, simple peanut butter)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups brown sugar

Simply mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Keep refrigerated in a sealed container to ensure freshness.  Sometimes, I just take a spoonful and eat it; other times, I eat it with apple slices.  Either way, it's delicious!  It would be a great treat to bring to a potluck.  

The original recipe uses 1 cup pumpkin, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and still 3/4 c brown sugar.  I love this recipe, so I decided to use the whole can of pumpkin (I had no idea what I would do with leftover pumpkin mush anyway), but I did not think I needed to also double the amount of sugar.  Try it out yourself!

What do the nutrition facts look like for this masterpiece?  Well, that mainly depends on the type of peanut butter you buy and how much you eat.  But, you should know that a 1/2 cup serving of canned pure pumpkin has only 40 calories, 5 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 2 g protein, and 300% of your vitamin A!  We should try to incorporate more pumpkin in our diet.  Does anyone else have any delicious pumpkin recipes?


  1. Hey Sarah - blog's looking great! I made this pumpkin dish last night and thought of you. It's also really good with ground Italian Turkey Sausage and a big chunk of whole grain bread! (from Wegman's with a few tweaks by me, you obviously don't need to use their brand)

    2 Tbsp Wegman's Butter
    1 pkg (8 oz) Food You Feel Good About Cleaned & Cut Mirepoix
    4 cloves Food You Feel Good About Peeled Garlic, finely chopped
    1 tsp curry powder
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup Food You Feel Good About Enriched Long Grain White Rice, uncooked (I used brown)
    2 cartons (32 oz each) Food You Feel Good About Vegetable Culinary Stock
    1 can (29 oz) Food You Feel Good About Solid Pack Pumpkin
    1 pinch allspice or mace
    1 pinch cinnamon
    3 cups cantaloupe, 1-inch dice
    Salt to taste

    Directions: Melt 2 Tbsp butter in medium stock pot on LOW; add mirepoix. Cook about 15 min, until vegetables are softened. Add garlic, curry powder, and cayenne pepper; cook 2 min.

    Add rice, stock, and pumpkin puree. Simmer 20-25 min or until rice is fully cooked.

    Remove pan from heat; add allspice, cinnamon, and cantaloupe.

    Add soup carefully to blender, working in batches. Puree until silky smooth, pouring pureed soup into another pot. Season to taste with salt.

    P.S. Leftover pumpkin "mush" freezer really well, just stir in the water when you defrost. Add to quinoa "risotto" or oatmeal :)

    1. This sounds delicious, LeAnn! What an interesting mix with the cantaloupe. I can't wait to try it. And I hadn't thought of adding pumpkin to my quinoa or oatmeal-- great way to add in some extra vitamin A and fiber! Thanks for the ideas!