Sometimes life is funny, and sometimes, not so much. “Mama said there’d be days like this,” and for days like this you need three things: a good friend, some good clear-the-air advice, and some comfort food. Then, before too long, life can be funny again.
A single girlfriend and I were talking this morning about toxic relationships. Particularly we were pondering the differences between normal friends who are in a temporary season of pain who deserve and need our empathy, patience and compassion; versus toxic friends whose problems are unending and sap all the energy and joy out of every minute we spend with them, like an Emotional Hoover.
We came up with the 3 B’s that signal it might be time to Back Away from a Relationship. Red flags, we decided, are:
1. Belittling — when a person makes you feel small, talks down to you, uses superior tones
2. Blaming — when the person’s default mode is always to blame someone else and never takes any responsibility for their part in bad situations. If someone is constantly blaming others or the universe or God for their problems, it won’t be long before they are blaming and attacking you.
3. Black-Hole — normal people have seasons of neediness and self-focus following tragedy or during illness or stress; but toxic people are walking black holes of ever-growing, never-ceasing, and always-changing need
Having discussed relationship sticky-wickets to our mutual satisfaction, we turned the conversation to comfort food. In fact, we discussed the perfect food for washin’ a crazy-making friend or a bad day right out of our mind. In her book, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert quoted someone’s grandmother as saying, “There’s no trouble in this world so serious that it can’t be cured with a hot bath, a glass of whiskey, and the Book of Common Prayer.” I agree with the hot bath and Book of Common Prayer, but my preferred comfort beverage would be a frosty margarita alongside a big bowl of spicy, chunky, smoky, colorful homemade salsa and chips.
And it just so happens that I make the best chunky smoky salsa in the universe. (Ditto on the margs… but that is for another post, another time.) When my daughter Rachel had her baby this past summer, I made salsa day after day because her husband Jared loves salsa and chips like only a Texas boy can. This gave me a chance to perfect my recipe, and this is the best of the best!
So come to Mama for the recipe, then whip up a quart of this brain-cleansing salsa, grab some chips and your fave margarita, find a spot in the sun, chill out and let the stress fall away.
Life is hard enough, your salsa should be easy. This version is oh so forgiving, allowing lots of variations to the basic recipe.
Everyone I serve this to asks for the recipe, so be prepared to share! (Also usually makes enough to send some home with your grateful guests.)
Becky’s Killer Chipotle & Roasted Pepper Salsa
Makes about a Quart of Salsa
Into a food processor or blender put:
*I put three small peppers on my gas flame (set to high) and roast them while I’m tossing the rest of the ingredients into the blender, turning as they blacken. Simply scrape off most of the blackened skin (I use a damp paper towel for this job), seed them and pop in the blender. You can also halve them and broil them if you don’t have a gas burner.
** Here’s what a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce looks like. These babies are strong, and I often only use one or two, so I pop the rest (along with the sauce) in a small freezer bag and store them in the freezer. When I need one I just cut off what I need.