by Jenny Lee Stern
Three years ago, in a flash, life as I knew it suddenly changed. I was half of an up and coming “Power Couple,” had two happy babies, two Broadway credits, and was living my Bugaboo dreams in the City that Never Sleeps. Enter the Ginger-locked, 20 year old chorus girl.
Husband: gone. Hit show: closed. Future: undetermined. I was ripped from the warm waters of my razzle-dazzle brownstone. I felt cut in half and thrown in to the flames of my high school bedroom. Starting over. So scared. So unsure. Certainly not where I thought I'd be. But where I WAS. Well…where I AM.
I managed to pull myself up within a few weeks and go out on an actual date. He was a very nice man who I enjoyed spending time with, but it was a beautiful, unsuspecting crustacean that caught my eye that evening. A sea creature that would ultimately make me rethink my circumstances and give me hope where I thought there was none. Here's how it went down:
Date night at Hamilton's Grill Room in Lambertville, NJ
We got an amazing spot “at the grill.” Its like sitting at a bar, but you get to watch the chef prepare the proteins in an open style kitchen. Smells amazing and fun to watch. Giant steaks, beautiful cuts of meat and fresh seafood. I watched, mesmerized, as my date faded into the background. I was fascinated my the artistry of the cook and the choreography of the fire. Then came the lobster. She arrived alive to the burly chef. He split her in two with his large steel knife which is almost certainly a death sentence, but not for this queen. The wriggled and squirmed as her shell hit the hot iron. She was thrashing back and forth and if her head had still been fully in tact, I’d swear I could hear her cries. As the flames grew higher and hotter, something amazing happened, something equally heartbreaking and hopeful. She stopped fighting. Her little arms stiffened, turned upwards to the heavens, and she sunk into the grill. She let the fire sear her flesh and she melted into her fate.
It's not about giving up. It's not about surrendering to mediocracy or sacrificing your dreams. It's about being in the moment, evaluating your circumstances, and suddenly realizing: Maybe the plan YOU had for your life isn’t ultimately your destiny. OR, perhaps you've lost hold of your purpose somewhere along the the line and a heated situation is the reminder you need to get yourself back on track. Are you living your fullest life, or are you trudging through the muck of your own ocean’s floor? Have the dirty waters of your every day become the new normal so much that you cant see through it to the crystal blue streams ahead?
If nothing is an accident and we are meant to be exactly where we are in every moment of everyday, imagine how freeing – how liberating – it would be to just sink in and melt into your destiny. When in the midst of trouble and conflict, when you feel cut in half, with a splitting headache. When the flames are all around you, take that moment to understand that you have been thrown into the furnace for a reason. That God might not have delivered you FROM the fire but He will deliver you THROUGH it. You and your beautiful shell are strong enough for the battle. You will endure. You will survive.
Feel like you’ve been ripped from home, cut in half, and thrown to the flames? Life is just awful? Well, after wading through all that green, slimy, brain-poop stuff, you're ready. When you are able to release the control, thats when you become truly ready to LIVE your truest life. Ready to absorb all the blessings the universe has been saving up just for you. Ready to be slathered in herb-infused butter and become the most delicious morsel anyone has ever tasted. A tastier version of the you that you know is inside.
Rarely do you hear about the wonderment of a raw lobster who’s moping around in the dirt. Now, we can find beauty in anything and everything, but this brown, spotty, slightly creepy creature is far from the Belle of the Ball. However, once she’s been tested, once she’s been ripped from her comfort zone, once she’s reached her boiling point…that’s when she becomes the shining star we all know her to be. A Diva-Queen in her sassy red armor, ready to impress. She’s suddenly a head-turner and the object of everyone’s desire. And for the world to TASTE the height of her sweetness, she must be cracked again. And again. And again. Embrace your trials and stumbles. Shed your old skin! Surrender to who you're meant to be. Follow a plan that is bigger then your own. You’ll be strutting in that crimson coat and feeling like the most expensive item on the menu in no time! Life is YOURS. Time to take a bite. Bon Appetit!
I wonder if crawfish ever swim about thinking that their destiny was to be a real live lobster! Crawfish or Langostino tails are a quick, easy, and budget friendly way to make the lobster dishes of your dreams. Here’s a super simple recipe thats great for lunch or dinner.
- 12 oz bag of Langostino or crawfish tails, peeled and fully cooked (mine came frozen, if you have access to fresh, obvi get those)
- 1 c Seafood stock (lobster, shrimp, fish, veggie stock would be fine. I actually used a prepared creamy corn soup and it was delicious!)
- Wondra quick mixing flour
- 1 1/2 c grated peeper jack cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer. jack, cheddar, cheddar/jack would all work equally well)
- 8-10 small tortillas (corn, flour, whole wheat, flavored, whatever you like)
- 6 oz Salsa Verde (half of a standard jar)
- Salt and pepper, if desired
- Fresh Cilantro, garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring 1 c of your stock or soup to a slight simmer. briskly start wishing in the wondra. You want the broth to turn into a thick gravy. Eyeball it. Salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat.
Stir in your frozen tails. They're already fully cooked, so you're just starting the thawing process. They will heat through in the oven. Fully combine and coat.
Lay tortillas out one at a time. Spoon a SMALL amount of the mixture into the center of each tortilla. Fold the sides in. The roll the other way about 1 1/2 times depending on the size. Place SEAM SIDE DOWN in a greased pan. I used a pie dish. Repeat until filling is bona and pan is full.
Bake for 15 min or until tortillas crisp up a bit.
Smother with salsa verde, then top with cheese & crushed chips
Bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, pick up a fork and start stuffing your face.