Baja-Style Chicken Bowl

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.” -Veronica Roth, Allegiant

baja from top

Lately when I’m in the kitchen cooking I’m either listening to a Ted Talk or reading something on my IPad. In between seasoning the chicken and grilling peppers for this recipe, I read an article on Buzzfeed titled 25 Things You Do Everyday That Are Secretly Very Brave.”  While the article had the touch of humor Buzzfeed is known for, it was also based on the idea that we really need to give ourselves more credit for the things we do in our everyday lives. We are braver than we think we are. There were five points that really resonated with me, and my goal is to keep these in mind moving forward.

#3. When you ask someone for help, even though your ego is begging you not to.

Sometimes we think we’re on this journey alone. It feels like we have burdens only we can bear. To some extent, that might be true. But there is community all around us and all we need to do is tap into that when we’re feeling lonely and burned out. We can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to. Asking for help is an important step in taking care of ourselves.

#4. When you meet and talk with someone face-to-face instead of through text and email.

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When I signed up for City Fit Girls Run Club, I didn’t identify myself as a runner, and I remember second guessing myself each second leading up to my first run. However, the anxiety I had was mainly aimed towards the experience of meeting new people. Would I have anything interesting to say? Can I keep up a conversation while running three miles? Will I find anything in common with someone who runs marathons when I’ve only ever run 5k races? Eight months later, I can say without a doubt that this run club has been one of the most rewarding experiences of the past year. It’s a blessing to be included in a group of strong women who work hard to pursue their health and fitness goals. Each week I’m given the opportunity to run side by side with women who have pushed past their limits and chased their dreams. I’m inspired by their bravery on a daily basis.

#6. When you make a list of all the things you’ve been putting off and check them off one by one.

We live in a digital world. Distractions come easily and, let’s face it, most of the time we welcome them. It’s easy to procrastinate, to rely on excuses and think “I’ll get to that later…” Sometimes it’s simply being lazy, because we’re able to watch multiple seasons of T.V shows in one sitting (thank you Netflix!). Other times, the fear of failure just might be the reason we’re not getting anything done. Admitting that to ourselves and pushing past that fear is an extremely brave act. Get it done and move on.

#11. When you cook a food you’ve never tried before.

This one may come a little easily for me because I love being in the kitchen, but I still get nervous when I make a recipe with ingredients I’ve never used before and have trouble pronouncing (quinoa anyone?) and have no idea if it’ll taste good. In my house we’ve certainly had our share of burnt chicken, clumpy gravy, dried muffins and smoke alarm filled mornings…but why would I let those experiences stop me from continuing to try? I’ve been in a rut lately with my lunch recipes and this recipe really hit the spot. It’s simple, but it can easily be doubled to make more. The mixture of black beans, corn, and bell peppers is a classic vegetable base, toss in some brown rice and seasoned chicken and you’ve got yourself a winner.

small full chicken pic


side chicken

#14. When you accept that you just can’t control everything, even though that thought makes you anxious.

I think this is something we all struggle with, and while we certainly can’t control everything I think if we dig deep and reflect, we actually have more control than we think we do. We can control our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions.  Some day we will get that phone call that brings us to our knees. We will have that fight with our spouse and that disagreement with our co-worker. We will lose our patience and make a hasty decision. We will have the rug pulled out from underneath us with no warning. On the other hand, we will fall in love. We will build a family. We will travel to distant cities, making connections we never thought possible. We will take risks, and have amazing outcomes. The ups and downs of life affect us all, sometimes we have control and sometimes we don’t. Some days bravery is just accepting that fact and embracing it.

last chicken

I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do. More importantly, I hope you have the courage to be brave, in whatever way that might mean for you.

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