My post-parenting years begin soon. We are moving from a child focused life, back to our own lives. As parents of two amazing sons, who are fiercely independent, intelligent, humorous, kind and inspiring, this would be the time in our lives we pat ourselves on the back for a job well-done. If only it were that easy.
I remember like it was yesterday when our older son came by the house the night before he moved to Texas. We thought it would be less difficult because he had been on his own for awhile, but when he left that evening there was a swell of emotions. It was the moment when you realize your son is grown-up, he is ready. Your job was to let him go and it was hard.
Our youngest son will be heading off to college this summer. He is excited. We are excited for him. He is ready to fly. Our job once again is to let him go, and again, it is going to be hard.
We have spent half of our lives raising children and getting them ready for their future. As our last child steps out, we have to step out too. I think we are ready.
What does a meal have to do with a empty nest? A lot. How we cook for our children is different than how we would choose to cook for ourselves. Proof is this simple stir fry using plain ramen noodles, broccoli, mandarin oranges and baked tofu make for a quick weeknight meal.
Spicy Ramen Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Tofu, and Mandarin Oranges
Recipe from Vegetarian Times
1 7-oz package baked tofu, cubed
3 cups small broccoli florets
4 mandarin oranges, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons hot-chile sesame oil
1 3-oz package plain ramen noodles
Combine tofu, broccoli, orange segments, and hot-chile sesame oil in medium bowl, stirring to coat evenly. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Cook noodles according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Set aside.
Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with cooking spray, Add broccoli mixture, and stir-fry 7 to 8 minutes, or until tofu is browned and broccoli is tender.
Add noodles to skillet, and toss to combine with vegetables, adding cooking water to moisten. Season with salt and more hot-chile sesame oil, if desired.