Monday Meal Review: Somalia

Keith falls asleep quicker than I can slip under the comforter and lay my head on the pillow. Most nights, I find myself staring out the window – watching the moon arc across the sky – while Keith snores next to me.

I don’t know how he does it.

My mind rarely clicks off… each night my head hosts a cluttered, clamoring PARTY of thoughts. Just as with the most ruckus of house guests, I’m lucky if I can control one out of ten of these thoughts.

There’s no peace in my mind. There is just swirling, swirling, swirling.

Worry, insecurity, negativity, hope, joy… it’s all bundled up in their, tied up and tangled in the confetti of my life.

And yet, the Somali people say:

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This beautiful proverb made me question what I am doing at night to keep myself from this kind of soul-satisfying slumber.

I asked myself:

What is my personal roadblock to attaining inner peace?

I sat with this question for a long time.

I thought about it while dicing vegetables for the Beef Suqaar.

I thought about it as the thin sauce simmered down into a thick gravy.

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I thought about it when my daughter ate the yellow corn without a second’s thought as to how much yellow sauce she was getting on her face.

She could care less. And when I wiped her face, she also didn’t mind.

She was in the moment.

And that’s when it hit me.

She’s always in the moment.

Ava with flower crown

And so is Keith. If he feels like laughing, he laughs.

If he’s tired, he sleeps. That minute.

He doesn’t give space to thoughts that have no bearing on what matters in the moment… sleep.

Maybe I need to be more like Ava and Keith.

Dive into life – live it for living’s sake – and don’t worry so much about all the if, and’s and butt’s. Maybe I need to let myself get messy when messiness happens. Maybe I need to clean up when it feels right. Sleep when it’s time to sleep.

And other than that?

Maybe I need to let the chips fall where they may.

Give a little control back to the Universe, so to speak.

Sasha with flower crown

If you have any tips for obtaining inner peace, I’d love to hear them. Do you struggle like this? Do you have coping mechanisms, or do you live with the rattling mind? I can use all the help I can get.

THE FOOD

Beef Suqaar [Recipe]

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What I loved most about this dish:

I didn’t expect suqaar to blow me away. There are no exotic spices in the mix. There isn’t much in the way of complicated cooking technique, either. Turns out my hesitation was misguided: I couldn’t stop eating it. Something about the gently simmered beef with garlic, onion, and vegetables was incredibly comforting. The fact that it pulled together with minimal effort was a definite bonus. Ava and Mr Picky both ate this right up.

The key is to season the dish with a good sprinkling of salt and to let the liquid reduce out, so that the flavor concentrates around the meat… instead of a loose sauce. Many recipes use precooked meat to ensure the most tender meat, so leftover rotisserie could be a fun option for this, especially on a weeknight.

What I loved least about this dish:

Nothing. I’d like to try it with lamb and chicken in the future.

Coconut Curried Corn | Galey iyo Qumbo [Recipe]

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What I loved most about this dish:

This is such a fun side dish. Aside from serving the corn aside a heaping plate of suqaar, the spiced coconut milk corn would be great with grilled meats. I could hardly keep Ava from chowing down on this… she loved it and ate two pieces in one sitting.

What I loved least about this dish:

There is no denying it – the turmeric, which stains the sauce a lovely golden hue, gets everywhere. The key is to provide plenty of napkins and let go of that “control” thing. Mr Picky hates getting dirty, so he had a bit more trouble with this than the rest of us. Ava was not bothered at all.

When it comes to the onion, it takes a while to soften. Just be patient and rotate that corn every once in a while. It’ll all come together.

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Comments

  1. This was a good reminder for me, to find my inner peace. I’ve been struggling the past few days with information and emotions. I realize that I need to let some things go, and just be in the moment. I reflect too much on the past. Thank you Sasha!

  2. Three suggestions immediately come to mind:
    Depending upon the time of day and circumstiances:
    Music…soft and soothing or go with the flow vibrant and upbeat;
    2 (two) plain Bayer Aspirins taken with a cup of hot chocolate & milk relaxes and induces sleep;
    Go to Mass & Communion – listen to the Homily – slows me down every time
    Peace…

  3. Dutchgirl says:

    Giving my sorrows away by praying to God when i’m lying awake at night. Just by telling them to Someone, relaxes me.
    Or trying to identify 10 nice things that happened during the day. I did that often with my daughter when she was feeling depressed when she was little.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      What a great idea – I’ll have to try that with Ava sometime when she’s feeling down. Thanks!

  4. I grew up on Cape Cod, so the ocean soothes me. Now, I don’t live by the sea, but when I have trouble sleeping, I picture the waves, and I breathe in as they swell and breathe out as they roll onto the shore. This puts me to sleep every time. P.S. I love your flower crown!

  5. Oh, man! I can totally relate to your experience. I spent most of my life as a “terrible sleeper,” because I couldn’t shut off my brain. About 2 years ago, I was FORCED (FORCED!) to go to yoga because I was having adrenal issues. I went very much against my will, and the only class that fit into my schedule was kundalini yoga. I didn’t know anything about it, I just went because the timing was right and everyone was telling me I had to go.

    It changed my life dramatically.

    It’s VERY groovy… most of the class is done with eyes closed and the “poses” are no the yoga poses with which most of us are familiar. There’s a focused emphasis on breathing and every class includes meditation. It took me a few months to start to feel the effects, but now, I feel peaceful IN the class, and I’ve learned tricks to help me manage my mind outside of class. I sleep 8-9 hours per night on a regular basis, and what I call the “swirly thoughts” have really slowed down.

    I also take Melatonin and Natural Calm (a magensium supplement) before bed, which has improved the quality of my sleep.

    If you’re curious about any of this stuff, I’d love to give you more info. I’ve written about my yoga adventures a lot on my blog; let me know if I can point you to the good stuff.

    Thank you SO much for your gorgeous posts every day. Your blog is in my top two favorites that make my heart sing.

  6. Samantha says:

    I’ve been thinking about exactly the same thing lately~~ about how to best go about life, or find one’s inner peace.

    For me, I find it helps a lot to pray to God, or even have simple conversations with him in my head ^_^ I feel a whole lot more peaceful once I’ve given thanks for everything I’ve been given… The day itself, the sunshine, the clouds. Even the icy, pounding rain that makes you feel alive. ;) It only takes a simple thought to be happy with everything you have! And I’m especially happy that we’ve been blessed with food :D I love how it can be simple, honest and delicious~ it doesn’t have to be over-complicated. It’s much the same with life, as you have said :)

    I know the whole “be-happy-with-what-you-have” advice is a little cliched~ but it really is the secret to finding inner peace! How can one be not at peace when they truly understand that they are surrounded by so many wonderful things? And I’m sure you already believe this >> Happiness can be found in the rocky places too. You just have to know where to look~ <3

    • Samantha says:

      I must also add… don’t feel too badly if you do feel frazzled at times ~ <3 Mums (or moms ;) ) should be respected for everything they do for their families. The amount of work you do everyday can sometimes be underrated :( When you're feeling wound-up or exhausted, take a deep breath of some fresh air, pick one thing you love to do and take 5 mins for that. ;) No one can be tireless or a superhero! It's important to realise when it's time to take a break too :)

  7. Gwen Larsen says:

    All week I’ve been thinking about your quest for a peaceful mind and sleep – and empathizing as well, since I have insomnia many nights the past many years. Like many who commented here, my faith that God is in control and provides ‘perfect peace’ IF I receive it fully (read one of the 150 Psalms every night as a reminder, as most include reference to peace, joy or hope and how to receive those gifts) But I balance that with the reality, as Jesus said in John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world. (and his recorded words by friend Luke in chapter 12:22) “Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing.” That said, it may help to cut out all caffeine – including chocolate at night, sadly – and to write down your day’s concerns rather than rehash them when lights are out. The next morning you can give thanks to God for his wisdom to deal with the ones you can address, accept the ones you can’t & thank HIM for a new day! And I thank YOU for your transparency & willingness to share this topic with us!

  8. Meditation (even just a few minutes a day) really helps me to be more peaceful and more present – it calms my mind enough that the worries take a back seat for awhile! I think also just being aware that you want to be more present in the moment can make a big difference – when you notice that you are not, you can gently remind yourself to let go of whatever is keeping you from enjoying that moment.

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