How do you get things done? Do you just do it? Are you a procrastinator? What is your motivation?
I recently have figured out that I can get just about anything done if I offer myself a reward. It makes me feel better, kind of like getting a smiley face sticker on homework or a pat on the back for a job well done.
On the same note, if it doesn’t get done, I punish myself.
Now so you don’t think I live in some weird masochist world. (Wait, masochist is a sex thing….maybe not the right word…because I don’t….that is weird…those handcuffs were a gift…they aren’t used…I lost the key…strike that…they never had a key…seriously….how did we get on this topic….stop reading this paragraph now….I feel awkward.)
By punishment, I meant, that I don’t do weird things like hit myself with an al dente noodle or push uncooked rice under my fingernails. I don’t stick my hand in boiling water or poke my finger in an electric socket. (I think I’m watching too many scary movies.)
More or less, my forms of punishment are pretty mild. I just deny myself something I enjoy like sitting down to read, TV watching or cuddle time with my monkeys. (I just read this post back to myself….I think I’m a little off my nut today.)
The other day I really wanted to go out to eat BUT I had just bought some really pretty pink Key West shrimp from Whole Foods. (I know you are shedding a tear thinking “Poor Barb, she has to eat shrimp for dinner. I am so sad for her.” )
It isn’t that I didn’t want to eat the shrimp (reward) but I just didn’t want to make a mess and cook the shrimp. I felt that the waste of money was a huge punishment for putting off making them for dinner and I hate wasting money. (Or food for that matter.)
As dinnertime approached, I asked my husband if he would help clean the shrimp….or he didn’t get to eat. (Another form of reward and punishment in our household.) He gladly joined me in the kitchen. (If by gladly, you interpret that as he stomped his feet a little, grumbled and washed his hand about six times to defer his kitchen task then you would be correct.)
I convinced him this was romantic and that I wasn’t a sadomasochist trying to inflict pain on him. (Wait….that is another sex term….have I been watching the adult channels….I hope my mom isn’t reading this….um…our cable box must be broken because I don’t know about such things…yep…let us go with that.)
The reward here will be staying home and enjoying our time together. I decided that I really wanted Thai food and that I would take a leap of faith and try to make some sort of Thai dish with my shrimp without running out to the store again. (We didn’t want to go out because if we went out….we’d be too hungry…we’d go eat….hence losing our precious shrimps and defeating the purpose.)
I scoured our pantry and fridge. I found some glass (cellophane) noodles, peanut butter, carrots, cucumber and soy sauce. That’ll do it. I can make this work. I cooked my noodles per package directions. (I take that back, I couldn’t read the directions so I just cooked them and kept testing them every few minutes.)
I might have whacked my hubby with one “by accident” because he was working a little slowly for the quick pace of the dinner. (He was not a fan of the noodle-flogging…note to self….good punishment)
I shredded up the carrot and cucumber and let them sit in some rice vinegar just to add a little sour zip to our dish. (Are there pickles in Thai food? There should be.)
The sauce was made up with a quick whisk of soy, peanut butter, honey, fish sauce and sambal. (I originally didn’t have the fish sauce in it but it was just the thing to make it taste like I was in a little Thai restaurant and not my kitchen. )
The shrimp were done being peeled and after a quick toss in a hot pan with some peanut oil, I added the noodles, sauce, drained pickled veggies and was done.
There was a moment where I looked at the dirty pans and the multiple bowls my husband used to peel shrimp (Why so many bowls?…Why?…My punishment for asking for help) and thought was this worth it?
With one slurp of my salty-nutty noodles and a bite of that sweet fresh shrimp…I was rewarded for a task well done. It wasn’t just good…it was fabulous….and no one was hurt in the process!
- 1 pound fresh shrimp, shelled
- 1 tsp togarashi (Japanese pepper mix. )
- peanut oil
- 1 carrot, shredded
- ½ cucumber, shredded
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sambal
- 1 heaping TBsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 6 ounce package glass noodles, cooked per package instructions
- 3 green onions, sliced
- ¼ peanuts, crushed
- In a small bowl, mix cucumber, carrot and rice vinegar.
- Set aside.
- In another small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sambal, peanut butter, sesame oil, honey, brown sugar and fish sauce.
- Set aside.
- Season shrimp with togarashi.
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat about 1-2 TBsp peanut oil over medium-high heat.
- Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes a side. (Don’t over cook. They’ll have a few more minutes in the pan once you add the noodles.)
- Add cooked noodles and sauce. Cook another minute.
- Drain cucumber and carrots and add to the mix.
- Toss with green onions and peanuts.
Another beautifully written piece about a beguiling recipe.
Your mom read this! I am shocked….those were my handcuffs!
I think that is the best reply ever!!! Love you Mom!!!
JIM!!! I’ve been thinking about you! Thank you…expect an email soon!
Love your blog!