As a visiting nurse, sometimes my job can be really frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job! I care deeply about my patients and feel that I’ve found my calling in life. I think, however, that anyone who works closely with the general public (for example: retail workers, teachers, healthcare professionals, etc.) can relate to the fact that other humans are complex. They’re usually fun to be around, but sometimes folks melt down while you’re on the clock! Whether it’s a customer who yells at you because their latte isn’t “just right”, a student who causes a scene during your science lesson, or a patient who cries every time you ask him a question, you sometimes end up knee-deep in the problems of others.
I’ve been in the healthcare profession for a few years. I’ve worked in group homes and a nursing home, I’ve also been a case-manager for hospice patients, and now work as a medical-surgical visiting nurse. Through all of this I’ve learned that there’s a lot of suffering going on in my community and that people need a lot of grace, including me! It’s been my experience that when a patient is tearful, or even yelling for that matter, they’re usually going through something difficult that’s completely unrelated to me or how well I’m doing my job. Often it makes sense, such as when a patient finds out that they have a terminal or life-changing diagnosis, but it’s not always that obvious. Sometimes someone is upset because they have to give their favorite pet away, or maybe they’re concerned about their mentally ill son, or perhaps they haven’t taken a shower in a week because of surgery! All of these things, coupled with the stress of being sick, can leave a person feeling defeated and out of control of their life.
In the busyness of my job and my personal responsibilities I often have to remind myself to take a deep breath, look my patient (or my 3-year-old for that matter) in the eyes and really listen to what they’re saying. Sometimes that’s what they need in that moment – someone to hear them, to share in their suffering.
All of this caring and listening to other people’s problems can be exhausting, and this is where I need to show myself some grace. When I first entered the nursing profession, some of my interactions with patients would leave me so beat that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my time off and would often lose my patience with those I love. With experience I’ve learned the importance of taking care of myself; getting enough rest, exercise, and eating well. I’ve also learned the importance of making time for the things that I love in life. Cooking and photography have long been some of my favorite things to do for my own happiness, so why not combine the two? That said, I hope you enjoy this recipe for Shiitake Miso Soba Noodles. It was the perfect therapy to help me let go of some work stress this past weekend!
I encourage you, whether your carrying your own burdens, or the burdens of others today, to show yourself some grace and spend some time doing something you love!
Shiitake Miso Soba Noodles
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1 3.1 oz package of soba noodles
- 1 14 oz package of extra-firm tofu
- 1 red bell pepper
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 4 C baby tatsoi or spinach
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp peanut oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp dry garlic
- 1 bunch green onions (about 5)
- 4 Tbsp black sesame seeds
Stir Fry Sauce
- 1 C vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/3 C white miso
1. An hour before you want to begin cooking, drain your tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes, pat dry, and leave out. This will allow your tofu some time to dry out a little, which will make it easier to brown. If you don’t have time do this, don’t sweat it because it will still taste good if you take it directly from the package to the pan.
2. Heat the sesame oil and peanut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add your tofu cubes and cook, stirring every few minutes, until your tofu cubes are brown on all sides. Add 1 tsp of soy sauce and 1/4 tsp of dry garlic to the pan, and then saute an additional minute. This will flavor the tofu. Next, set tofu aside in a dish. While your tofu is cooking, cut your cored red pepper into long strips.
3. Add your red pepper to the hot skillet. There is no need to add additional oil, as there will be some remaining from the tofu. Sauté the pepper until it just begins to soften and brown, and then remove from the heat and set aside. While your red pepper is cooking, work on cutting your shiitake mushrooms into long strips.
4. Add the shiitake mushrooms strips to the pan. Sauté until the mushrooms begin to soften, brown a little, and release some water. Do not overcook, as this variety of mushroom can become rubbery if it’s cooked too long. While your mushrooms are cooking, heat 8 C of water in a large pot over high heat, and bring to a boil.
5. Once your water is boiling, cook your soba noodles at a hard boil per package directions, drain, and then rinse with cold water. Rinsing with cold water will keep the noodles from continuing to cook and will prevent them from sticking to each other.
6. Return your cooked vegetables and tofu to your skillet, including 4 C of tatsoi or spinach. Cook at medium-low heat until the greens are wilted and the vegetables are reheated.
7. While your vegetables are heating, whisk together all of your stir fry sauce ingredients, except miso, in a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer two minutes, then remove from the heat. Once your sauce is off of the heat, whisk in the white miso. The reason for this is the less you cook the miso, the more you’ll preserve it’s pro-biotic quality.
8. Add your noodles and stir fry sauce to your skillet on medium-low heat until heated through, without bringing to a simmer. Once heated, sprinkle with sesame seed and fresh green onions.
Stir Fry Sauce