Trying to get back in the swing of things after days of eventful and exciting travel, bouts of illnesses and days of being in a rut. If I can be a tad introspective for a change, something about life has always intrigued me – do things always happen as ups and downs in sequence as in moments of happiness or “up” moments followed by “down” times? Or is it all merely what we perceive as an up or a down moment? Are we just conditioned to expect happy times to be automatically followed by stress and down times?
Over the past month it feels like we have experienced just that – fun and travel to exotic destinations, days of adventure and excitement that were quickly followed by bouts of illnesses in the family and of course the vagaries of work and home and life’s decisions that seem to be looming large with no respite in sight.
I have come to the realization that it all boils down to how you react to situations and what you really label as an “up” or “down” moment in life. It’s all relative.
When I really put things in perspective, illnesses are the body’s way of telling you to slow down when you’ve had a “bit too much fun” or have exerted the body to beyond what it can endure. Is that really a down moment or an opportunity to applaud and cherish the body for letting off steam and resetting itself?
And all the uncertainties that seem to befall us? They are just life’s way of telling us that at times it’s okay to just “let it be”. It’s not always that things will go “as planned” and when they don’t, it’s time to just step back and watch the drama unfold. Be tossed around a bit but hang on like you were hanging on to that raft when you were rafting amidst the whitewater rapids in Australia (that we just experienced a few weeks ago and despite all the uncertainty that came with the experience we definitely labeled it as all fun – an up moment at the end of it all:). Take care not to fall off (and even if you do, jump right back on) and after all the jostling and tossing you will almost always get back to floating on the calm of the river. Now you could call any of this an “up” moment or a “down” moment – it’s all relative at the end of the day.
So there you have it. That’s the frame of mind I am in and it actually feels good to jot that down and put things in perspective for a change. It’s almost cathartic.
Getting back to what I really started to write about which was to clear my backlog of the lunchbox series, here’s another recipe from that protein lunch week that I wrote about a while back. Soba Noodles with marinated tofu, bean sprouts, cilantro. Packed with some mung sprouts salad, cut fruit and you have yourself a nutritious lunchbox that you can look forward to in the day.
- 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot thinly sliced
- 1 (8 oz.) package of buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 10 oz extra firm tofu, cubed and sliced.
Spicy Miso Sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- juice of 2 limes
- 3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1½ Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon white miso
- 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- ½-1 Tablespoon chili sauce or Sriracha
- 2 teaspoons bragg’s liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
- ¼ cup water, to thin
Note: If you don’t have miso you may just use soy sauce or tamari but the flavor will be different. You can also add dulse flakes or crushed seaweed for that “umami” flavor.
- Prep the bell pepper and carrots by washing and chopping it.
- Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender, blend and then set aside. Add the cubed tofu to this mixture and set aside for about 15-20 minutes to marinate.
- Cook the soba noodles according to package directions in a large pot. When done, place noodles in a colander and rinse with warm water, drain and place back into the pot.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ tablespoon coconut oil to pan. When hot, add red pepper and carrots to pan; sauté 6-10 minutes or until half cooked.
- Once the veggies are cooked to your liking, pour sauce over the mixture. Mix well to make sure the sauce gets distributed evenly. Add the noodles and stir well to evenly coat the noodles and veggies with the sauce. Add the bean sprouts and tofu. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, mix and switch off the heat.
- Garnish with cilantro, basil leaves (optional), and sliced lemon wedges.
Moong Sprouts salad:
- Sprouted whole green gram or mung – 1 cup
- 1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1/2 raw mango, chopped fine (optional)
- Black salt or chaat masala, to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Mix all the above ingredients and chill before serving.