2001 was not a good year for our family. We lost an amazing member of the family and gained an amazing member. Neither was easy. A year like that makes me realize priorities sometimes need to be reexamined.
Obviously a death is never a welcome event while a birth is a welcome event. When a baby is born three months early and doesn't even weigh two pounds, that welcome event becomes rather scary. We learned a lot about premature babies that summer. The one memory that will always stay with me is this photograph:
Her whole hand is the size of the tip of her father's finger.
Whenever I find myself getting upset about stupid things I think about that picture. It makes me reflect on what is really important in life. When I encounter someone who is upset about waiting in a slow supermarket line or someone who is complaining about a messed up order in a restaurant or similar minor nuisance I want to stop and ask that person if they have ever dealt with loss or have witnessed a two pound baby fighting for her life. I don't, simply because if they have and are still letting themselves get upset over small things then they didn't learn from those life changing events.
Recently I was in a store and when the cashier went to print out my receipt the printer wasn't working. She had to call a manager who then had to perform a return on a different register and ring my purchase up again. They were both super apologetic. At times like that I think about that picture and my response is “if this is the worst thing that happens to me today then I am having a really good day.” That usually makes people smile and I hope it makes them think a little bit about what is really important.
Take a moment to think about what upsets you. Poor customer service is usually a good place to start. Perhaps you get angry if you miss a turn while driving. Or maybe not getting in a workout can set you off. I have heard people complaining loudly because Starbucks got their morning coffee wrong. Idiot drivers can certainly cause high blood pressure. Rain on a day you had outdoor plans is super annoying. Slow internet get to you? Stuck in a boring conversation? I have written about getting agita if I am running late. Is your blood boiling yet? When faced with these problems take a moment to reflect on the fact that you are alive and able to have even aggravating experiences. It might make you look at the irritating event in a more positive light. Also, think about how you can get through these relatively minor occurrences without getting a stress headache. Take a deep breath, perhaps say a few choice words in your mind and then smile and get on with your day. After all, things can always be worse!
By the way, we celebrated that little baby’s 14th birthday last month. She is beautiful inside and out.
This week's recipe is Fajita Tofu Kebabs. The great thing about this recipe is you can alter it to your own tastes. You could certainly sub out the tofu for meat. Any vegetable that can be stabbed by a skewer will work. (If you use a dense vegetable such as cauliflower or broccoli you might want to precook it with the protein). I cooked them in my oven but you could use a grill pan on the stove top or an actual grill. I served them over a bed of brown rice seasoned with the marinade I used on the tofu. If you do use meat throw away the extra marinade and make fresh. NEVER reuse marinade that raw meat has come in contact with!
Fajita Tofu Kebabs
original recipe from Making Thyme for Health
1 14-16 ounce package super firm tofu, pressed and diced into 1-inch squares
1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, deveined and cut into chunks
1 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, deveined and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon high heat oil (canola, grapeseed or sunflower)
2 tablespoon liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wooden skewers, soaked in water
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the oil, aminos, cornstarch, spices and salt in a large bowl. Toss the tofu with the marinade, making sure it is all coated. Place squares of tofu on prepared baking sheet and place in oven for 10 minutes, stirring half way through. Remove and set aside to cool enough to handle.
3. Toss the peppers and onions in the same bowl with the marinade from the tofu. If the marinade was all used up, you may need to make more.
4. Thread the tofu and vegetables on the soaked skewers, alternating as you go. Place completed skewers back on parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Bake 20-30 minutes, turning skewers at least once. Kebabs are done when vegetables are softened and tofu has a nice crust from the spices. (If you grill them they will cook much faster!).