Since returning from Australia three weeks ago, I’ve totally stayed on mental vacation mode. Not eleven-thirty-a.m.-cocktails vacation mode (I wish) – I’ve actually been extra busy working – but I’m still in the (much-less-exciting) planning part of vacation mode. I haven’t lost any momentum with organizing things like I do on vacay – excursions and activities and day trips (which we did almost every day in Melbourne).
The weekend before last, we took a boat trip from a local spot and had a guy take us fishing (which you might have seen in my Instagram story). I learned how to put out crab traps and fish for salmon. Unsuccessfully, mind you, but still a fabulous way to spend a Sunday.It was so beautiful and out of the ordinary and fun.
Vancouver is an absolutely stunning place to live, with so much to do, but we don’t take advantage of nearly all it has to offer. It really takes effort and organization to get out and do new things, doesn’t it? Something I was really thinking about on our Australia trip, as we got deeply acquainted with a city and its surroundings in just three short weeks. While we were there, we didn’t bat an eyelash at driving for two hours every day to go see something new, but in Vancouver, we only do road trips like that once in a blue moon.
Since our return home, I’ve done some serious advance planning of summer weekends – something I really never used to do much of. I tend to find it stressful committing to locations and accommodations. (What if there’s something better that I haven’t found yet? How do I choose between these sixteen million options?!) So I bookmark a dozen and book zero.
But I recently read an article that my very good friend Laura, a psychology PhD, shared about 4 rituals that will make you happier and the one about making decisions really stuck with me. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Pulling the trigger on small decisions like vacation plans and, heck, even meal plans. (Ever sit down to do meal planning, flag two hundred recipes, then order sushi? )
And you know what? Making “good enough” choices really does feel great. It feels confident and powerful.
So far this summer, we are confirmed to be going camping twice, renting AirBnBs in a couple of new spots, including visiting new islands, and staying on not one but TWO different farms. I’m pretty excited.
If you haven’t started your summer plans, why not nail down a weekend or two? Decision-making endorphins are real!
This recipe today is a totally spontaneous, ten-minutes-of-effort meal to balance out all of the organization.
It’s crispy, pan-fried tofu in a three-ingredient teriyaki sauce and it makes a very yummy quick dinner that even the kids love. And I made the leftovers into wraps for lunch with lots of greens.
Notes: tofu is one ingredient that (weirdly) is better after freezing. I buy the three-pack at Costco and pop them straight in the freezer. The water in it freezes and expands, then when the ice crystals thaw, the water leaks out and you’re left with a network of spongy holes that soak up the sauce way better than non-previously-frozen.
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp honey
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 12- oz 350-gram block of firm tofu (preferably previously frozen, see above), cut into bite-sized pieces or fingers.
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 1 carrot julienned or thinly sliced
- a few handfuls of greens spinach, chard, bok choy - whatever you like
- Whisk soy sauce, honey and garlic together in a shallow baking dish. Add tofu and turn to coat. Marinate it for at least 15 minutes.
- Place cornstarch on a small plate. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pick up one piece of tofu at a time, let excess marinade drip off (reserving marinade). Dredge in the cornstarch to coat on all sides, shaking off excess. When oil is shimmering hot, fry tofu in single layer, flipping only when it releases easily from the pan. Fry on all sides, then transfer to a plate. Add vegetables to same pan and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. Return tofu to pan and along with remaining marinade and toss to coat. Cook a minute or two until sauce thickens.