I made Mongolian Beef and Broccoli for dinner the other night. Not that you should throw me a parade, but it’s a great dish – one of JJ’s favorites.
When I first discovered the dish, it was delicious but challenging. It took 4 or more pans. 2 cutting boards. A few prep bowls. The timing was atrocious.
Now, the meal fits into our regular rotation and doesn’t make me flinch. I start the rice plenty early. I start the sauce and let it simmer, then chop the veggies before slicing the meat (and we’ve discovered that chicken is just as good as beef, though it’s a great recipe for using up some sub-par cuts). You steam the broccoli, not cook it until it’s mushy.
As I reflected on my ability to make the dish nearly without recipe, I realized that it wasn’t hard, it was unfamiliar. Unknown. Scary. I stepped lightly because I wasn’t sure of the ramifications of making a mistake.
I find something similar when I run a new course: it takes forever. I’m thinking and second-guessing the entire way. After a few times, the time seems to fly. I can tell exactly how up or down I am on time by passing certain markers.
Thus is life. We enter new stages, phases, places and experiences with apprehension. Getting adjusted sometimes seems hard, but what if we start believing it’s not hard – it’s new. Once it becomes habit, it’s actually pretty enjoyable.
We should give ourselves a bit more permission. Remember it’s new shoes are rarely comfortable to start – you have to break them in first. New jobs, new friendships, new ministries, new children, new schools – it might seem hard. But add it to your rotation and it might become familiar and even second nature.
Bonus track: Mongolian Beef & Broccoli
Saute in oil 4 cloves of garlic, minced + 1 tsp (fresh!) ginger, minced for a few minutes. Add:
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. arrowroot powder or corn starch
Bring to a boil, then simmer – stir frequently.
Cut meat (any steak, thin-cut roast or even chicken pieces. We’re trying to reduce meat consumption, but there’s enough sauce for 3 breasts or one large steak) into strips or bites and saute until cooked through.
Add sauce and 2 heads broccoli (chopped) and 1 can water chestnuts. Cover and steam until broccoli is bight green.
Serve over rice.
Feeds our family of 5.5