As George Michael sings in his Heartbeat song, “Another summer, another vacation is over …” . It felt like just yesterday when the chirping birds, the bright and beautiful flowers, and the sweet juicy berries announced the arrival of Summer. It is hard to believe that the season is now behind us and we’ve started to feel the chillness in the air already. Kids are back in school, trees are shedding their leaves and pumpkins have started to adorn everyone’s house. Fall, of course is my most favorite season of the year, but the thought that Winter will soon be upon us, starts to lower my spirits and make me feel lazy already. Summer did go by fast, really fast.
When there’s several feet of snow all around, when the wind at sub-zero temperatures makes you go numb from head to toe and when you are forced to dress in several layers of heavy clothing, you certainly would yearn for warm and sunny days. If you are like me, you’d also make a big list of summer resolutions. To hike at least every other weekend, take kids to the beach a few times, and buy fresh produce from farmers’ markets are some resolutions I make every year. This year was no exception.
This past summer has been the busiest of all for us. I, not only let my resolutions go for a toss, but did not take time to even get out of the house/work place and feel the warmth in the air. Being part of a new initiative at work and many important things happening at home, leave alone the resolutions, I could barely find any time even to breathe. However, it was all good stuff that kept me happy and excited.
Most of the activities that happened in the household were circling around one of the biggest milestones of our lives. Our little boy was moving to college. When did he grow up to become a young adult? Where did all the time ago? How can he get into college so soon? I don’t think there could be a thing more bittersweet than that. The only other time when I had experienced pleasure, pride and pain all at the same time was when my kids were born. That mixed emotion is a new feeling that’ll stay on in my heart and mind forever. If you have moved one of your kids to college, I’m sure you can relate to all that I’m saying.
We planned the entire summer having this big event as the center of our attention and priority. My in-laws had traveled all the way from India to be with the boy, bless him and also help us with the moving. We had a small reunion to celebrate two high school grads in our family. The celebration also included a beautiful vacation to the state of Oregon. We threw a good party for the grad and his friends. We shopped till the last minute procuring the dorm essentials. Ah! It was one hectic summer for sure. Our house was packed and our calendars were overflowing but our hearts were delighted. That was a fun period to recall throughout our lives.
It was also a moment for me to fondly recall the time when I moved to college several years ago. I had no clue of the emotions my parents would have gone through then. It was all about me, my excitement, my new journey and all other things that I was looking forward to experiencing in the new phase of my life. That’s exactly how my son was as well, but I wasn’t able to put myself in my parents’ shoes until I had to go through this stage of life myself. For certain things, you’ve got to be a parent to understand and relate to their experiences. Do you agree?
The house feels empty and quiet now. Life would have been very depressing if the little one wasn’t around. She keeps us busy in her own ways and we seem to have developed a different frame of mind to handle her dramas and tantrums now. For all you know, one day she’ll have to be away from us too. Her wings would also be soon ready to fly her off to heights that she is destined to.
Kids grow up faster than you know. I don’t think there will ever be a day that’ll make you feel contented about the time you got to spend with them. You’ll always long for more, regardless of your/their age. So, take time to be with your kids folks. Be around for them, make them feel special, give them a memorable childhood and hug them as often as you can. We will all be left with a quiet, organized, mess free, spot less, and squeaky clean house one day, when it wouldn’t matter to you anymore.
I hope you enjoyed reading my little story. I’m sure you’ll love this simple and healthy recipe as well. This has been our family’s recent favorite. My daughter can have this salad any time of the day. The bold flavors bursting from the spices on the tofu, the fresh and crisp lettuce and, the creamy avocado dressing – all come together to make a hearty and healthy meal. You’ve got to taste it to know what I’m talking about. Read on.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 /2 cup thinly sliced red onions
For Tofu Croutons
1 1/2 cup cubed extra firm tofu (pressed)
1/2 tsp red chili powder or cayenne pepper
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
For The Dressing
¼ cup plain yogurt
½ jalapeno (seeded) – optional
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup water
Toss tofu well with chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, lime/lemon juice and salt in a mixing bowl. Heat oil in a skillet, add tofu and saute (medium to high heat) until all sides are toasted and browned.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy
In a wide salad bowl, toss the lettuce and red onions with the salad dressing. Top with tofu croutons and enjoy!
- You can sprinkle some crushed red pepper for a little bit of extra heat/kick.
- Some shaved Parmesan or crumbled Feta will be a great addition to the salad too
- You can substitute tofu with Paneer for a change. Kids love it
- I kept the salad very simple. But you can add sliced cucumbers, olives, shredded carrots etc. Get as creative as you can.
- I love squeezing in a wedge of lime over the salad right before I dig in. It’s delicious.