The secret of a good stir-fry is to have all of your ingredients at hand, sliced, chopped, minced, and measured before your begin, so that you can proceed quickly. That way the end result will be vegetables that are crisp and colorful, not soggy or discolored by over-cooking. Start with the longest-cooking ingredient and finish with the bean sprouts and green scallions. Do not add all of the oil at once but as it is needed, a tablespoon at a time. Serve the stir-fry with steamed brown rice.
Serves 4, 634 calories (half of the calories came from the tofu)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, or 1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup broccoli crowns, stems sliced thinly and florets cut into small pieces
- 1 cup bok choy, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup low-fat, low-salt chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot.
- Add one tablespoon canola oil and stir-fry the mushrooms.
- Add the sesame oil a bit at a time as you add broccoli, bok choy, garlic, and ginger.
- Stir-fry the vegetables until they just begin to soften.
- Add the tofu and stock.
- Cover and heat through, about one minute.
- Finally, add the bean sprouts and stir well to heat through.
- Stir in the soy sauce, scallions, and cilantro.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I have to say I had a lot of strategic issues with this dish. I was appalled at the idea of throwing in raw tofu last instead of sautéing it first. I like my tofu cooked and flavorful! Also, I thought it was really strange that the mushrooms should be cooked first instead of the broccoli. Still, it taught me how I might make even better stir fry: cilantro and scallions, a must have next time I make my own stir fry! I’m also really leery of putting vegetable stock in my stir fry because then it becomes less of stir fry and more steamed veggies, but I suppose the original cook was aiming for a lower fat meal than oily stir fry.
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This morning I went to a Unitarian Church. My mom goes and I’ve been there before. I felt it was uncomfortably churchy… but it’s a church so what was I expecting?? But honestly, it was a little weird for my tastes. There were sermons, a choir, and singing and such a strong sense of community that it made me uncomfortable.
I have to admit that it seems like a great place where people can feel like they’re part of a community that takes them in with open arms. There was quite a variety of people and they were all very nice. During one of the sermons (is that the correct terminology for this?) many people in the room were brought to tears, it was a very powerful experience, and I realized that in this kind of environment no one would judge you if you cried. I plan to keep coming, and overcome my fear of being open with complete strangers.
There’s just this cheese factor that throws me off I guess, I feel like such a jerk though. I mean they are genuinely nice people, why should I feel uncomfortable? I really want to learn more about it and see if it makes me feel more spiritual. Hopefully I can push past that feeling of suspicion; if I can then I imagine my new self to be more secure in my own skin around strangers. That would be a great feeling!
The church program
Later that day I celebrated Mother’s day with my wonderful mother, who has been supporting me with this project and encouraging me to continue (mom, you are the best!). We had Indian food (again!) and I realized a lot of the awesomeness of Indian food has to do with the fact they ingeniously put yoghurt in their dishes. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t allow for any type of dairy in my diet, and while it was still delicious, that previous wonder I had for awesome Indian food had somewhat faded.
Well, I’ve always truly loved Asian food anyway, which is also more vegan-friendly as they rarely use milk or cheese.
We stopped at the expensive New Age shop again, this time mom was with me and we exchanged gifts. There are so many awesome things here; it’s just so unfortunate to see how expensive they are. Mom got me a cool New Age bag to replace my ugly leather purse and some ayurvedic soap that was strangely only $1.50.
The bag is amazingly light compared to my old purse; I’ll probably use it after this experiment. I have yet to use the soap; I’ll probably use it for Day 10. I don’t think I’ll like the soap, though it smells like India, I just have serious doubts because it was so incredibly cheap compared to every other product at the store. You know they were selling Nag Champa powder for $8?? It’s supposed to be burned and helps you become spiritually awakened. It was interesting because this little tiny baggie of loose powder compared to a box of Nag Champa incense that was sold for only $5 seemed so much less efficient.
Oh and guess what I saw today while in the car with mom? An eagle soaring above us; that’s the third hawk sighting!
During the teepee yesterday, someone mentioned what he called the “Simion” book (Later I found out it was called “Keys to Soul Evolution” and “Simion” are a collective of light beings here to guide humans). He said he asked a question to it and opened it and he would receive cryptic but relevant responses. I found out that I had this book at my house and decided to try it out. I asked “Will my blog be successful?” and the reply was about the great and infinite potential humans have. So this means I have a lot of potential? I was pretty disappointed with that revelation, and felt that it said a whole lot of nothing.
Maybe I’m just doing it wrong? I found out from my mom it wasn’t a tradition stated within the book itself, it was one that was formed elsewhere independently.
I also finally got around to reading Eckhart Tolle (“A new Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose”). His stuff is incredible! I am very skeptical of abstract concepts, and his book began with the concept that flowers, birds, crystals, and precious stones held a lot of significance because contemplating them would open one into the realm of the spirit. It seemed a little much to me, a little…”wtf” I guess would be the best way I could explain how I felt about it at first.
But soon enough the concepts began to come together to a fundamental idea of “awakening”. Here I realized that Eckhart Tolle had really done his research. He cited many religions and their similar concepts of “awakening”, from “salvation” to “enlightenment”. He said we were suffering from “dysfunction” which was the cause of all the destruction we caused upon ourselves and the planet. If we did not become awakened soon, then it would be our failure to adapt and we would all die.
This really struck a chord with me. The concept made perfect sense. Still, a lot of it seemed to be more from psychology than spirituality, and that whole new idea made me wonder if this “awakening” could be done without seeking spiritual guidance.
Could someone seek to better themselves strategically in such a way that made them eternally happy? A lot of spirituality seems closely related to psychology, so why wouldn’t it be possible for a psychologically minded person to find eternal happiness, or maybe something different but akin to the same concept of awakening. Perhaps I’m confusing awakening with supreme wisdom, I don’t know if I truly understand the concept yet, so I should just ponder it after I’ve read it more.
The way Eckhart Tolle speaks of his teachings makes me wonder if Texe Marrs (author of “Dark Secrets of the New Age”) was on to something when they said the New Age movement is trying to dominate the world. Of course, I don’t think the intentions are malicious, and Marrs acts as if that were something terrible and unheard of (despite Christian attempts to convert any and every country they can).
What if there will be a movement, a divide not between Christians and New Agers, but Atheists and New Agers. What if society begins to devalue spirituality and value only what has been proven through studies and experiments? What if society begins to value the benefits of multiple spiritualities, recognizing that no one religion is meant to be the only right way.
It always seemed to me that culture has leaned toward Atheism and further away from religion. But now that I’ve done this experiment, I see spiritually minded people absolutely everywhere! Spirituality never seemed necessary to me before this, but I can see at some points it’s vital to explore one’s spirituality. It’s a journey that takes a lot of balls to be honest. To sit there and read something you know sounds ridiculous, to wear clothes you know make you feel good but are seen by others are tasteless, to practice exercises that put you in very unflattering or silly positions.
It takes some guts to be that open to new things, and I honestly must applaud New Age men for being so much stronger than the typical man. You are so ignored in this genre, so much so that when I was at the New Age store with my mom there was a bookshelf that was divided in halves: Women and Men. The men’s side was on the left, and there were 8 books that filled this section (the rest of the bookshelf was filled with books about women)! A man exploring his spirituality should be revered more than a woman in my opinion.
Whenever a man does something that has the potential to emasculate him in front of his “manlier” peers and he doesn’t care, that to me is true confidence. When a woman does it, it of course is respected, but it doesn’t put them in a position as it does for men. What’s interesting is how traditional that dynamic is; women are more emotionally in tune and thus wouldn’t be judged if they chose a spiritual path to self betterment while men are expected to be skeptical and objective.
Not to say that I honestly expect these things of either. I myself am more like a man at heart while Noah seems to have a much easier time becoming spiritually in tune. The dynamics still exist though, despite many of us knowing that they aren’t needed.
Anyway, later that night since it was Sunday I realized I needed food to tide me over for school on Monday. I decided to make my favorite dish: stir fry!! Not to toot my own horn, but honestly, I make phenomenal stir fry. Just look at it! I’m going to jump on the foodie blog bandwagon for a second:
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Corrina’s Delicious and Addictive Stir Fry
This is an incredibly flexible dish; you can add/remove ingredients to your taste (or to what you have in the fridge) and it should generally always taste amazing. Honestly, the ingredients are incredibly relative. I prefer LOTS of broccoli and collard greens, but it really just depends on which veggies you love to have stir-fried. The soy sauce and sake are also relative to how much flavor you want in you stir fry (but I suggest using them together). Sometimes I just make a sauce on the side or use a bottled sauce to add flavor later. I suggest you just rifle through the fridge and see what ingredients you have on you and they’ll probably work just fine (unless you’re the type of weirdo with no veggies).
- 2 or 3 stalks of broccoli (chopped into somewhat large chunks)
- 1 red bell pepper (cut in quarters and chopped)
- ½ red onion (chopped into large pieces)
- Collard greens (leaves separated, stems chopped)
- Canned bamboo shoots
- Canned water chestnuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2″ long piece of ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
Other great ingredients for delicious stir fry:
- Chinese broccoli
- Any bell pepper
- Any edible type of mushroom
- Take the broccoli, collard greens stems, red onion, red pepper, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts (both cans drained first) into a medium bowl
- Cut the collard green leaves (torn into chunks first), the broccoli head (cut into smaller chunks) into a different medium bowl
Get a wok or large pan out, put olive oil in pan and turn it to medium/high heat
- Put the garlic, ginger and if desired, onion in the pan and sauté them until they begin to brown
- Put the garlic, ginger and if desired, onion in the pan and sauté them until they begin to brown
- Put the contents of the medium bowl in the pan and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
- Put the contents of the large bowl in the pan and stir occasionally for 1 minute
Put the sake and soy sauce in the pan/wok and stir it in for 2 minutes or so.
Wow, making a recipe SUCKS! You foodies can have at it, I think I’ll just stick to saying I make amazing stir fry and hopefully I didn’t make a recipe for disaster, but I know that’s how I do it, so it can’t be that bad!