How to Be Happy When You’re in an Unhappy Situation

By Leo Babauta

Sometimes life throws you into a miserable situation, and it can seem pretty dark.

Just a few examples of unhappy situations:

  • You lost a loved one
  • You received bad news
  • Your finances are messed up
  • You’re having a bad day at work
  • Your partner is mad at you or has broken up with you
  • You’re sick or really tired
  • You’re in pain
  • Someone has hurt you emotionally

These are terrible, and it’s normal to be pretty unhappy when things like this happen. You might wonder why life sucks so hard. Why can’t things be better?

Often things are out of our control, and we can’t always fix these situations, at least not easily or right away. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness somewhere in that miserable situation.

Happiness is possible, if you learn a few simple techniques:

  1. Allow yourself to be unhappy. When we’re feeling bad, feeling in pain, all we want is to get away from it. Ignore it, pretend you’re fine, comfort yourself from the pain, shield yourself, lash out in defensiveness, numb it with drugs, distract yourself. This is a very human response. But actually, wanting to get away from the unhappiness doesn’t make it better. It usually just prolongs the pain, makes problems worse. Instead, tell yourself that it’s OK to feel unhappy, it’s OK to feel pain. Pause and allow yourself to feel it, to fully be immerse in that unhappiness. See that it’s OK, and be curious about it, explore it, become intimate with it. It’s not pleasant, but it doesn’t kill you. And in fact, it’s where the healing starts, where growth happens.
  2. See the pain as aliveness. Now that you’re face-to-face with the pain and misery, now that you’re touching it and intimate with it … see that in fact, it is a tender feeling of being alive. Life isn’t numbness and avoidance (at least, not exclusively), and it’s not all butterflies and sunshine. Being alive means feeling pain, feeling fear, feeling disconnected sometimes. Allow yourself to feel it, and imagine that this is what living feels like. Yeah, you could say, “That sucks,” or you could say, “What an interesting experience, being alive.” It’s like bungie jumping or how I imagine it would feel if you discovered you could fly: full of fear, excitement, shock and joy. That is an incredible experience. You’re having one of those right now.
  3. Find gratitude somewhere. Being fully alive, being fully immersed in this experience of this moment … what is there to be grateful for? Even small things, like the sight of leaves outside trembling in the wind or someone laughing nearby. Or things we take for granted, like eyesight and music. Having relationships. Being supported by millions of people. Being able to do all the things you can do. The taste of a strawberry or the smell of food being cooked. Your breath. You can find gratitude for any of these things, at any time, including right now. Find three happy things in this moment to be grateful for.
  4. Find joy in being alive. You are alive! You should be singing from the hilltops. Even in our worst moments, we can find some joy in this not-small fact, that we are alive. Your heart is pumping. How freakin’ awesome is that?

Yeah, I know. It’s hard. I’m not saying that doing this will magically make everything better. But there’s always joy to be found in every moment, if we dare to look.

Original Source: How to Be Happy When You’re in an Unhappy Situation

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Chicken fajitas and sheet pan suppers would seem like a marriage made in a busy home cook’s heaven. I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with the idea of chicken strips, bell peppers, and onions tossed in a Tex-Mex inspired marinade, oven-roasted for a few minutes, and plated up on a busy weeknight? Sadly, it turns out that the reality—like most fairytale Hollywood celebrity unions—rarely winds up as happily-ever-after as one would hope.

If you’re like me, you’ve no doubt been seduced by the noisy sizzle of fragrant onions and seasoned meat strips at a neighborhood Tex-Mex restaurant. (Psst! That sizzling cast iron platter? It’s just a prop to further a calculated marketing move called the “Fajita effect.” It doesn’t do anything other than make you drool while it overcooks your food.) I had high hopes of coming up with a one-pan approach to making restaurant-style fajitas, but my initial test batches were a let-down. The flavors were right, but the chicken, peppers, and onions ended up steaming in their own juices. I forced my family to choke down tray after tray of soggy, limp piles of meat and veggies swimming in orange-y liquid. Still, despite my kids’ insistence that I throw in the towel, I persisted.

Why? Because (A) I’m no quitter, and (B) I knew my flavors were right and sensed that a breakthrough was right around the corner. Also, (C) I don’t really care if my kids have to eat the same thing four nights in a row.

So I kept testing. I tried altering the cooking temperature, preheating the sheet pan in the oven before adding the ingredients, and adjusting the ratio of vegetables—all to no avail. Finally, Henry suggested that I raise the ingredients up on a wire rack—similar to what I do with many of my roasted chicken recipes (like this one and this one)—to see what would happen.

Spoiler: The rack worked!

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The extra liquid released from the chopped up veggies and chicken drip through the rack, allowing the fajitas to cook more evenly when elevated! Just make sure you buy a sturdy, oven-safe stainless steel rack like this one. (Chrome racks can flake with time or vigorous scrubbing and may not be heat-safe up to 575°F, like stainless racks.)

No rack? I’m giving you fair warning that your fajitas will steam, and the vegetables will end up limp. It’ll still taste good, but you’ll want to tilt the pan and spoon off the extra liquid before serving.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Me? I’m going with the rack. See the difference?

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

While you’re waiting for your fajitas to finish cooking, you might as well whip up my simple dairy-free Avocado Crema as a topping, too.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This zesty sauce was developed as an accompaniment to the Shrimp Tacos in my exclusive One and Done! bonus e-book for those of you who have already preordered our cookbook, Ready or Not! (You’ve heard about our new book, right?)

One and Done by Michelle Tam & Henry Fong http://nomnompaleo.com

This 40-page thank you gift is packed with 10 brand-new, never-before-seen one-pan/one-pot recipes. If you already preordered our second cookbook, you can download your copy here. Remember: These exclusive e-book bonuses will vanish into thin air come August, so don’t miss out!

Okay—enough blathering. Ready to cook up some incredible Whole30-friendly Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas?


Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch strips (Step away from the boneless, skinless breasts. They’ll dry out.)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, deseeded, cored and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, deseeded, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 small white onion, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Green or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
  • Grain-free tortillas (optional)
  • Avocado Crema (see recipe below)

Avocado Crema

  • 1 large Hass avocado
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Equipment:

Method:

Heat your oven to 450°F with the rack in the middle. Place a stainless steel wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, avocado oil, minced garlic…

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…kosher salt, chili powder, and cumin. Set aside.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Add the chicken thigh strips to the marinade. (Chicken breasts will dry it. Please use thighs.) Toss in the sliced peppers, and onions, too.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Use your hands to combine well.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Plop the chicken and veggies onto the rimmed baking sheet… 

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and spread everything in a single layer.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Place the tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Then, toss the chicken and veggies, and rotate the tray.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Switch to broil…

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and cook for  an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the peppers and onions are browned in places. Keep your eyes on the fajitas to make sure nothing burns!

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

While the chicken is cooking, make the Avocado Crema.  

Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the coconut milk, chives, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Blitz until smooth. Add some water to thin out the sauce if desired. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt, pepper, or more lime juice. You can refrigerate the crema in a sealed container for up to 2 days.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Once the chicken and veggies are finished cooking, pull the tray out of the oven. Serve the fajitas with lime wedges, lettuce wraps or grain-free tortillas, and avocado crema.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One last thing: Wondering how to clean the stainless steel wire rack? After everyone grabs the chicken and veggies off the rack, I take the pan ’n rack to the sink. Then, I flip the rack upside down, place it in the rimmed baking sheet, and cover it with warm soapy water. I let the rack soak while we eat dinner. When we’re done with our meal, I simply wipe the grime off the rack with a sponge. Then, I can either rinse it or put it in the dishwasher to finish cleaning.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But if I were you, I’d get someone else to clean—after all, you did all the cooking! Just don’t tell them how easy it was to make dinner!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!


Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema

Prep 10 mins

Cook 15 mins

Total 25 mins

Yield 4 servings

Sheet pan chicken fajitas are perfect for busy weeknight meals! Plus, it’s Whole30-friendly, even topped with a dairy-free Avocado Crema! (But you gotta use a stainless steel wire rack or they’ll be soggy!)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch strips (Step away from the boneless, skinless breasts. They’ll dry out.)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, deseeded, cored and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, deseeded, cored, and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 small white onion, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Green or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
  • Grain-free tortillas (optional)
  • Avocado Crema (see recipe below)

Avocado Crema

  • 1 large Hass avocado
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chives, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 450°F with the rack in the middle. Place a stainless steel wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice, avocado oil, minced garlic, kosher salt, chili powder, and cumin. Set aside.
  3. Add the chicken thigh strips to the marinade. (Chicken breasts will dry it. Please use thighs.) Toss in the sliced peppers, and onions, too. Use your hands to combine well.
  4. Plop the chicken and veggies onto the rimmed baking sheet and spread everything in a single layer.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Then, toss the chicken and veggies, and rotate the tray.
  6. Switch to broil and cook for  an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the peppers and onions are browned in places. Keep your eyes on the fajitas to make sure nothing burns!
  7. While the chicken is cooking, make the Avocado Crema. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the seed. Scoop the flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the coconut milk, chives, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  8. Blitz until smooth. Add some water to thin out the sauce if desired. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt, pepper, or more lime juice. You can refrigerate the crema in a sealed container for up to 2 days.
  9. Once the chicken and veggies are finished cooking, pull the tray out of the oven. Serve the fajitas with lime wedges, lettuce wraps or grain-free tortillas, and avocado crema.

Notes

One last thing: Wondering how to clean the stainless steel wire rack? After everyone grabs the chicken and veggies off the rack, I take the pan ’n rack to the sink. Then, I flip the rack upside down, place it in the rimmed baking sheet, and cover it with warm soapy water. I let the rack soak while we eat dinner. When we’re done with our meal, I simply wipe the grime off the rack with a sponge. Then, I can either rinse it or put it in the dishwasher to finish cleaning.

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Tex-Mex, Sheet Pan Supper, Whole30, Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free, Chicken

The post Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema appeared first on Nom Nom Paleo®.

Original Source: Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas + Avocado Crema

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 78)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 78)

It finally feels like summer! I was away all weekend in the Hampton’s for an event I co-hosted, so I’m sorry for the delay in posting this. This week I featured some summer favorites. What’s on your meal plan? Please share!

 

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 78)

Monday: Angel Hair with Zucchini and Tomatoes
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lettuce Slaw, Avocado and Cotija
Wednesday: Cheeseburger Salad
Thursday: Korean Grilled Chicken Breasts with brown rice
Friday: Flounder Milanese with Arugula and Tomatoes
Saturday: Dinner Out
Sunday: Grilled Flank Steak with Black Beans, Corn and Tomatoes

(more…)

Original Source: Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 78)

Develop Resiliency: How to Move Towards Your Fears

By Leo Babauta

One of the things we tend to do habitually is move away from things we’re afraid of. How very human, how very loving, to protect ourselves!

Unfortunately that tendency to avoid fears is exactly what limits us.

We avoid our fear of pain, humiliation, anxiety, looking stupid, failing … and we develop all kinds of ways to protect ourselves, from walling ourselves off from danger and being overwhelmed, to avoiding difficult conversations, difficult projects, and any situations where we might flop on our faces.

But how can we connect with others in an intimate way if we avoid being vulnerable? How can we become more loving in our relationships if we avoid putting our pride aside and having those scary conversations?

How can we ever push into a new project, start a new business, pursue what we love … if we constantly put it off for fear of looking like an idiot?

How can we learn anything if we look for certainty and avoid uncertainty? You can’t learn chess (for example) without playing a bunch of games and losing them … so we avoid real learning and just read about it. Real learning is postponed while we shirk from uncertainty.

We want someone to give us the magic answer, when the real answer is that we have to become uncomfortable, we have to work hard, we have to allow ourselves to feel fear.

So the answer is to stop running. Instead, move towards the fear.

When you are feeling afraid of going to a social event, move towards that fear. Do it, and don’t allow yourself to run.

When you notice yourself wanting to avoid a conversation, steel yourself up and freakin’ initiate it.

When you are procrastinating on the hard stuff, open your hear to it and move towards it.

The fear you feel, the anxiety … it is your beacon. It is the place you should go to, instead of moving away from.

The fear is the place where you’ll grow. It’s where you’ll learn, and love, and connect, and become free of all your old limitations.

The fear sucks. And yet it is the most beautiful place in the world. Learn to love the beautiful suck, and be in that place whenever you can possibly stand it.

A Few Notes

I want to share a few things with you guys:

Original Source: Develop Resiliency: How to Move Towards Your Fears

Spicy Breakfast Fajitas with Eggs and Guacamole

I just love tacos with eggs, and these breakfast fajitas are no exception. Loaded with peppers and onions, guacamole and a runny egg on top (you can prepare the eggs however you like).

I just love breakfast tacos with eggs, and these breakfast fajitas are no exception. Loaded with peppers, onions and guacamole and topped with a runny egg (you can prepare the eggs however you like).

Not just for breakfast, these fresh fajitas would also be great as a meatless main (plan on 2 per person) which you could serve with some Mexican Cauli Rice.

I just love tacos with eggs, and these breakfast fajitas are no exception. Loaded with peppers and onions, guacamole and a runny egg on top (you can prepare the eggs however you like).

(more…)

Original Source: Spicy Breakfast Fajitas with Eggs and Guacamole