Sunday, January 20, 2013

Enjoy You: Coconut Curry Soup

I wrote a whole post about sattvic eating and meditation and spring (or winter) cleaning.  In fact, I've written about ten posts over the past week, but I deleted them all because none of them said what I really wanted to say.

So I began again.

The other day my daughter and I had lunch with a former colleague.  It was both good and difficult to see him; good because I always enjoy conversation with him, and he is so full of joi d'vivre when we meet, and difficult because he reminded me yet again of everything I'd left behind when I left my job, reminded me of the things that were said to me that I still have difficulty forgiving.  But N. is good for distraction, and since I'd carefully selected a Mexican restaurant that had black beans and rice on the menu (separate, of course; N. doesn't do miscegenated foods), she enthusiastically finished almost everything on her plate.

We parted ways, I to walk in the cold and wind for a bit longer before putting N. in the car for her nap, he back to work for the afternoon.

There is a bakery in this town that I used to visit occasionally for cookies.  They have fabulous, fabulous cookies.  And since N. had done such a bang-up job of eating lunch, I thought that we'd make that our short walk destination.

Inside the shop, it was cozy, and it smelled of sugar and ginger and nutmeg, as it always does.  We spent a few minutes gazing through the old-fashioned glass at the cookies on the counter, and N. finally decided on a star, with sprinkles.  I settled on a triple ginger (grated fresh, candied, and powdered), telling myself that at least ginger improves digestion.

The young woman behind the counter smiled approvingly at our selections, and made small talk with N. as she packaged the cookies in a small white bag.  Handing the bag over to N., who insisted on carrying it, she told us to enjoy them.

"Enjoy you," replied N.

The young woman grinned.  "Enjoy me," she said, turning the phrase over on her tongue.  "That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time.  Enjoy me."  She paused.  "I will.  Thank you."

N. waved, and I carried her and the bag of cookies back to the car, where she enthusiastically dumped them onto her lap as I tried to buckle her car seat.

She fell asleep on the way home with a half-eaten cookie in her hand, forgetting everything, but the phrase stuck with me: "Enjoy you."

Last week I went to my endocrinologist, where I was weighed for the first time in over two years.  Fifteen pounds heavier than I used to be.  I spent days listening to the negative, self-deprecating monologue in my head, which had already been swirling for other reasons.  But as my yoga teacher says, sometimes a little gentleness is what is needed.  Scrubbing something with an abrasive cleanser makes it look shiny, but actually weakens it in the long run.

Enjoy you.

Enjoying you means being gentle.  Taking care of yourself.  Feeding yourself nourishing foods and thoughts.  Getting enough rest so that you can appreciate the marvelous manifestation of being that you are.

So that's what I'm trying to do these days.  It's good advice.

What do you do to enjoy you?

Coconut Curry Soup

2 T. oil (preferably coconut)
2 t. minced garlic
1/4 c. red curry paste
1 t. agave nectar or coconut palm sugar
2 (13.5 oz) cans light coconut milk
2 c. vegetable broth
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
3 T. thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. thai fish sauce 
2 c. thinly sliced carrot or cauliflower
1 1/2 c. green bean, 1" pieces
14 oz. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1" cubes
2/3 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. thai basil, chopped 

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat (melt if using coconut oil, and be careful because coconut milk has a lower smoke point than other oils) . Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add curry paste; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add agave nectar or coconut palm sugar; cook 1 minute, stirring well.

Add 1 can of the coconut milk, broth, juice, ginger, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.   Be careful not to boil hard, because the coconut milk will separate (it will separate some anyway). Add the other can of coconut milk and bring to a simmer.  Add carrot; cook for 6 minutes. Add beans; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Add tofu and basil to pot, and cook 2 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.
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  1. I love it, "enjoy you." Kids are so awesome. I totally get your mental place. I hope the lunch with your former colleague did at least reinforce at least a little, that you made the right decision.

    Enjoy me, I think that is perhaps the one thing that I have learned since my M was born. If I am not enjoying life then no one else in my home will be either. I have definitely gotten easier on myself. And this includes noticing that women who weigh more than me often seem quite happy. So, I should be too. Weighing a little bit more than I used to doesn't preclude me from happiness... I even noticed that women who weigh more than I also get pregnant, which means that they have sex, which means that some man finds them attractive. So, I should not worry so much about that either... :)

  2. Oh, how wise - but your posts always are. This can be so difficult - and especially for women. I am getting up from my desk and putting the abrasive cleanser in a drawer - and should it say there a long time.

  3. Oh, that's lovely. What a wonderful daughter you have.

  4. Gorgeous post J. Your daughter is adorable and wise. I love the phrase and idea of "enjoy you."

    This also really speaks to me:

    "Sometimes a little gentleness is what is needed. Scrubbing something with an abrasive cleanser makes it look shiny, but actually weakens it in the long run."

    I enjoy me by taking care of myself, as you said, but exercising, practicing yoga, spending time with my family and other loved ones. I enjoy me by writing and dancing, among other things.

    Thank you for this inspiring post. Reading it was a wonderful and self-confidence building way (when I was already feeling a bit down) to begin my day. :)

  5. I love, love, love this post :)

  6. I love the thought of enjoying you as you are. Out of the mouths of babes...Simply wonderful!

    Thanks so much for sharing this and for stopping by my blog earlier and leaving such a sweet comment. :) Have a great rest of your week!

  7. It's a lovely phrase. And I liked your analogy about using an abrasive cleaner; I'll take that to heart today.

  8. Wouldn't it be great if N coined the phrase of the decade, the one that encouraged people to nourish themselves with their thoughts and actions?

    Love it.

    I enjoy me by showing up on my yoga mat. And by making your drinking chocolate recipe on occasion :-)

  9. What a beautiful post and a wonderful phrase - Enjoy you. I think that I rely on the abrasive cleaner way too much because yes, it makes it all neat and shiny but I've been learning a lot over the past year that I do need to be more gentle. So glad to have found you through Ilene!


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