To a brand new year

I have been enjoying time with my family immensely.  The first night back my mom made a delicious vegan meal of barbecue seitan.  She even made the seitan herself (she’s a pretty awesome woman).  Our lovely spread included green beans (with s&p, and butter optional for the non-vegans), butternut squash fries (courtesy of me), various rolls and breads for the barbecue, and of course the barbecued seitan itself.  I opted for the “flax and fiber” bread, which my brother discovered recently.

We ended up not going into the city (NYC) in order to spend more quality time at home.  Maybe next time!

I’ve made a few new years’ resolutions.  Among them – be happier with whatever comes my way, listen to my body, and stop obsessing over details.

I’m no longer going to be logging everything I eat every day because it hasn’t been that beneficial for me recently.  Perhaps in the future I’ll go back to it.  For now, I’m going to focus on blogging about good meals and good health and of course, good yoga.

Happy New Year my lovely readers!  I am so grateful for all that blogging has brought me in the past year and I have all of you to thank for it.  Thank you so much again.  I’m am so lucky to have found this niche.  Be safe and be well.

Japanese Bread and Toast

Bobby, Alex (a friend from Bobby’s work), and I went to a place called Verde for dessert tonight.  Dinner was Thai food (papaya salad and fresh spring rolls with fried tofu and a peanut dipping sauce, some curry sauce over white rice).  I left my camera at home so I do not have pictures, but I wanted to talk about Verde.  I’m actually getting the hang of this intuitive, unplanned eating thing.  I had a scone after lunch today because I felt like it, and I was hungry.  And it totally hit the spot.

Anyway, back to dessert. Verde is a boba place (bubble tea).  Bobby and I split a Hot Taro Milk Tea.  It had dark little pearls of tapioca swimming on the bottom and was delicious and so warming.

I was also tempted by the “Taiwan Toast” on the menu, so I ordered a slice of blueberry.  This was a thick (1 inch) slice of white bread, smeared with a lot of margarine (I think?  It didn’t taste quite like butter) and topped with blueberry jam.  There were lovely whole blueberries in the jam and it was so pretty!  I am so sad that I didn’t have my camera.  But I found pictures of this type of bread and wanted to share them.

I always knew this bread to be a Japanese thing, so I’m not sure why they called it Taiwan Toast.  Bobby first introduced it to me this spring.  I’m going to try try try to recreate it soon and I will have real pictures for you, I promise.  In the meantime, I leave you with Bobby’s and my poor translation of the ad on the bread picture:

“Shinpuru is oishi, (simple is delicious)

Shinpuru is anshin, (simple is peace of mind)

Shinpuru is besuto!” (simple is best!)

AND Merry Christmas to all! Can’t wait to see my family in Jersey tomorrow… 😀

Almost there!

We are so close to Christmas!  I cannot wait to go visit my family in New Jersey (Princeton area) and hang out in NYC.  I miss the city a lot.

I’ve been experimenting with big meals recently.  I had a delicious lunch the past 2 days, and I’m considering repeating it again tomorrow.  This sandwich consists of:

  • 2 slices of thick, hearty Trader Joe’s whole wheat bread (not diet, and not low calorie!  this stuff is great)
  • 1.5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons pumpkin pecan butter (from Williams sonoma)
  • 1/2 of a huge banana, thickly sliced

I proceeded to dip this in yogurt (peach today, blueberry yesterday) for a nicely balanced meal.  It actually kept me full for several hours, which is unusual.  I’m usually a big snacker, but with my recent carb obsession (thanks to Bobby), I’ve been feeling more satisfied.  I should probably call it a starch obsession – I’ve always been a carboholic, but more in the fruit sense rather than the bread and noodles sense.

I had a lovely dinner at a Japanese restaurant last night.  I got Sukiyaki, which is a big pot of noodle soup.  It had clear noodles, lots of veggies, and some tofu.  The broth is very very sweet (and last night’s was actually a bit too sweet for my liking) and gives the veggies, noodles, and tofu a wonderful flavour.  It came with rice, which I gave to Bobby, but I finished all of the noodles.  I also got a side salad and had some edamame.  I eat the shells – does anyone else do this?

On the gym front – I think I am going to join 24-hour fitness.  I took a kickboxing class last night that totally kicked my butt.  It was a turbo kickboxing class which I think makes it harder.  The only problem is that several hours later I was starving and had to inhale several pieces of that delicious (non-diet!) whole wheat bread with lots of smart balance and pumpkin pecan butter.

Today I took it easy with lots of yoga (Buns and Thighs this morning, then Detox and Power Vinyasa Flow #3 tonight).  Buns and Thighs comes from Exercise TV (On Demand with Comcast) and the other two are from  If you haven’t checked out the site do so!  And always feel free to email me or comment asking for advice or recommendations.  My email is on the sidebar now.

Have a great night and Merry Christmas Eve!  What are your plans?

Healthy Carrot Burdock Kinpira (BSI Entry)

Remember that Carrot Kinpira I made the other week?  Well I tried a different variation with burdock, too.  This is going to be my Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) recipe.  This week’s BSI is being hosted by Catherine over at Stevia ‘n’ Spice and she chose carrots!  They are one of my favorite things.

Kinpira is a Japanese method of cooking.  It’s typically used when cooking root vegetables.  The popular seasonings are soy sauce, mirin (cooking wine), and chili flakes.  I never have mirin on hand, so I just omit it, but I find that some rice vinegar is a great substitution.  Kinpira is a perfect addition to a lunch (think bento boxes), a side dish for dinner, or even part of a savory breakfast.  I adore the Japanese way of eating – simple, fresh, and always in moderation.  There’s a reason that less than 3% of the Japanese population is obese!  Take this recipe and run with it – let me know what you think and what other veggies you would use.

Carrot and Burdock Kinpira is typically called “Kinpira Gobo” in Japan.  It’s definitely a staple.  Oh yeah – it’s vegetarian and vegan to boot!  Give it a try…

Healthy Carrot Burdock Kinpira


  • 2 large carrots, chopped into matchsticks
  • 5-6 pieces of burdock (the carrot to burdock ratio should be about 1 parts carrot to 2-3 parts burdock, but you can change it as you like)
  • scant tablespoon sesame oil
  • dash of chili flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons white sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • about 3 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Prepare the burdock – scrub it (like you would potatoes), then cut it into matchsticks and soak it in water for a few minutes.  I like to use hot water.  Drain the burdock, then add fresh water to cover it, and soak for another couple of minutes.
  2. Heat the sesame oil on medium-high in a wok (or large saute pan) and add the carrots and burdock.  Toss them to coat.
  3. Add the chili powder and cinnamon (if using).  Toss again.  Add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and about 2/3 cup of water.
  4. Lower the heat a bit (to medium) and simmer until the water has evaporated, tossing every 20-30 seconds or so.  If the burdock is still too crunchy (taste it!), add some more water and repeat until it’s soft enough for you.

Enjoy!  What would you eat this with?  Have you ever tried burdock?  It’s delicious and incredibly good for you.  It’s earthy-tasting (in a good way), and very versatile.  My mom used to make burdock tea when she was pregnant with my little siblings.  It’s also good for your blood (cleansing) and apparently does wonders for the hair and scalp.


I made an Amazon store!  Check out the link on my sidebar to see my favorites.

I also got a 7-day pass for my local gym (24-hour Fitness) to see if I want to join.  My company has a great deal ($15/month) but I wanted to make sure that I would use it.

Yesterday morning I finally tried… Zumba!  It was awesome.  As a former dancer, I miss dancing and I love taking dancey exercise classes.  The instructor was so energetic and she could move.  After Zumba I did pilates (same instructor as Zumba) and I am so sore today.  Based on these two classes it’s worth it for me to join even if I only go every Saturday.

Last night we went out to dinner with Bobby’s cousins.  We went to our favorite Vietnamese place and I tried something new!  I got Vegetarian Pho – noodle soup.  Yes, noodles!  It had fried tofu, lots of veggies, and oodles of noodles.  Pho (the soup) always comes with fresh sprouts, basil, and lime that you add in right at the table.  I also dipped the noodles in a mix of hoisin sauce and chili sauce as I was eating them.  I adore Vietnamese food, and I’m so glad that I was able to enjoy something new!  I ate almost everything but the last few bites of noodles that Bobby gladly downed.

After a few hours Bobby and I wanted to get dessert so we went to a place we haven’t been to in a while – Gelayo Gusto!  We got a shaved ice. Start with crushed ice doused in lots of condensed milk, add sweet red bean paste (it’s an Asian thing and it’s delicious – try it if you ever get a chance), various fruits, and top it all off with frozen yogurt (this was a twist of mango and plain).  Heaven in a bowl!  It’s really big, but it’s actually very light.  I never feel sick after eating one of these.

My plans for the day include yoga at some point, maybe a walk, maybe some shopping with Bobby, and general Sunday chilling out.  What about you?