CSN Giveaway Winner

Random.org picked a winner for the CSN Giveaway… Click here to see who won!


I’m not sure if I will have a long post for you today; I have a ton to do at work and later today a best friend is coming to stay with me. She’ll be here until Saturday. Tonight we are both going to concerts (I’m going to the Belle & Sebastian one in Williamsburg) and then we are going to have lots of fun tomorrow (facials!) and Saturday. Hoping to take her to my gym at least once.

Speaking of my gym, these are the classes I’ve taken since my last update:

  • Tuesday: Yoga. I love this class and I am going to try to take it once a week. I would take it more but I’m pretty sure he does the same flow for all classes in a set week, and I like to vary it a bit more.
  • Wednesday: Vinyasa Yoga. This was a really interesting flow – I will probably go back to see what else he comes up with. It wasn’t a sweaty flow at all, but it was a cool combination of poses.
  • Thursday (today): Cardio Sculpt. Awesome class! Just enough cardio and weights for my liking (it was only 45 minutes) – I did not walk away wanting to die but I did get in a great workout and was very sweaty.

I am off to work. I also have to do a quick clean sweep of my house before my guest gets here tonight.

What’s your favorite workout class?

Marriage Advice & Maui Fruit Stand {Honeymoon}

The First Hana Highway Fruit Stand

About a week into our honeymoon (in Maui) Bobby and I decided to do the Road to Hana. It is a long, twisty, windy road with lots of one-way bridges and blind curves. I got to drive.

The first stop we made was at a roadside fruit stand manned by a raw vegan and another guy. There were also chickens…

They gave us some samples. First was a fresh passionfruit (local). Did you know that as soon as a passionfruit is cracked open the vitamin C starts to disappear? It must oxidize or something.

I chatted with the owners. They were so excited about their organic, local fruit. Unfortunately it was not cheap! I think it was worth it though.

Then there was real sugarcane (local):

You chew on it and suck out the sweetness. It’s delicious. These are the fruits we ended up with (2 types of passionfruit, 2 different kinds of bananas, and an avocado):

I cannot find this fruit stand online anywhere (they said it was just called the “First Hana Highway Fruit Stand” because it is the first one you hit when you start the drive). I did get pictures with the raw vegan (the guy with long hair) and his friend. And now I forget their names, which is terrible!


Bobby got a picture too:

Fruit Stand Marriage Lessons

We ended up chatting with the two guys, and the non-raw-vegan (really wish I knew their names!) gave us some very sage marriage advice. He asked us if we had done research on marriage before we got married (we hadn’t, really).

First he asked if we knew what the number one reason for divorce was – we didn’t – it is money. I don’t think we will have to worry about that! We definitely don’t fight over money now, anyway. Sometimes Bobby wants me to be more extravagant but that’s about it. (I think I am finally loosening up based on my big purchase last week.)

The second thing he said was that we must always show love and communicate. I would agree. I think a lot of couples (married or not) can get in the habit of not hugging or kissing and not putting in that little bit of extra effort to be affectionate. It’s so important though; that is what keeps a marriage going!

Lastly, he said that Bobby has to tell me I’m beautiful. I think this is self explanatory.

So his three main healthy marriage tips were:

  • Don’t fight over money
  • Be affectionate, show love, and always always communicate
  • Hubby tells wife she is beautiful just the way she is

What are your tips for a healthy relationship? (Romantic or otherwise – other relationships take work too.)

Tea Time and Relaxation

The Perfect Tea(Maker)

One of my very favorite things to do at night (or any time of day really) is make myself a nice big mug of tea. I’ve loved tea ever since I was in college. I got into loose leaf tea when Bobby brought me back some Lupicia loose leaf tea from Hawaii just a few weeks after we started dating. This was back in the winter of 2005-2006. Can’t believe that cute college boy turned into my husband! Things certainly do change over the course of 5 years.

A lot of my friends know about my love of tea too; my one friend that I talk about a lot (a bridesmaid) actually got me the Perfect TeaMaker from Teavana as part of our wedding present. It really does make the perfect mug of tea.

I have been loving the Earl Grey Creme flavor the most – it’s actually replaced my morning coffee. I sweeten it with a few drops of NuNaturals Stevia and drink it up as I do my morning routine. Here is the fresh loose leaf tea (you might recognize this from my header):

Going in…

Ready to pour the near-boiling water!


After it steeps you just set the Perfect TeaMaker on a mug (it fits with just about any size), which pushes up the bottom and lets the tea drain out. If you just have it sitting on the table (or its base) it does not leak. It’s very well designed! Then add your NuNaturals stevia (I only say NuNaturals because it is my favorite brand of stevia) and let it cool enough to drink. Speaking of NuNaturals, you have until Thursday to order and get 15% off! Click for coupon.

Tea & Yoga/Health

One reason I like drinking hot tea is that I can’t gulp it down quickly. I have to savor it. Something it’s hard to sit down and really savor meals/drinks/life. So tea makes me slow down and appreciate the moment. It’s almost like yoga or meditation. Savoring tea teaches you to savor the moments when you’re not drinking tea, if that makes sense. It’s the same principle in yoga – when you learn to hold a challenging pose you are practicing for how to face challenging situations in life. You breathe and you get through it. Tea helps you learn to appreciate moments of pleasure even when you’re not drinking tea.

Project Food Blog Entries That I Like (and that you should vote for too, if you like ’em)

Whew. Long post. Lots to say.

Do you drink tea? What’s your favorite flavor?

My favorite flavor is “cookie tea” from Lupicia. It tastes just like a cookie, especially with milk and a touch of honey.

Don’t forget to enter to win $65 from CSN Stores! Deadline is tomorrow night.

What’s Up Monday – 9.27.10

Sorry for not posting this on Saturday as usual! Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes (fortunately). I think that part of being a good blogger is knowing that it’s okay to take a break for a day if you have other things in your life going on. This Saturday I had an all day choir “retreat” which was really fun – we sang, lunched, had a little workshop with a great voice teacher, and sang some more. That night Bobby and I hung out with a college friend and didn’t get back until late.

Salad Week in Review

Around the Blogs

Other Stuff I Think Is Cool

Random Stuff

  • I took a “Nia” class at my gym. Loved it. More on this later. Have you ever taken Nia?
  • Also took “Fit, Fierce, & Fabulous” – too hardcore for me. I’ll stick with my yoga/pilates/ballet/nia classes 😉
  • I have an email problem. In the last week I have sent 45 emails total. I have received thousands. How can I stop them??

Any cool links I should check out that you liked this past week?

Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe {Project Food Blog}

Today’s post is my second Project Food Blog entry (see my first entry here). The challenge? “The Classics”. Each contestant must pick an ethnic classic that (s)he is unfamiliar with. We’re supposed to keep it as authentic as possible.

Ethnic food? Nothing new to me. Authentic ethnic meals? Okay, now you’re onto something. I make a lot of so-called “ethnic” dishes, but they are not usually true to the traditional recipe. I’m always modifying and Maggie-fying dishes, sometimes to the point that they are unrecognizable by the end. I always enjoy the outcome, but I will admit that I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. So this challenge is very… well, challenging for me (as it is supposed to be). The main reasons that I usually change a recipe are:

  • I don’t have all the ingredients and I make substitutions
  • I healthify recipes by reducing the amount of oil or adding extra vegetables
  • I simplify recipes to make them quick and easy

My Challenge: Yasai Yaki Soba

Japanese food is a definite favorite for me, but I rarely make traditional dishes. I use a lot of Japanese ingredients, but I don’t make a lot of Japanese dishes. I leave that up to Bobby’s mom (one of my two favorite cooks – my mom being the other one). In my googling I came across a few recipes for Yasai Yaki Soba. I had to pick it because Bobby and I have an inside joke about Yakisoba (it involves a hysterical commercial they used to play on California TV). Turns out that I had almost all the ingredients needed and I only had to run out for 2 things: the garnishes.

Yasai Yaki Soba: What does it mean?

I know there are linguists out there (Lauren and Amber Shea!) that share my passion for words, so let’s break down this recipe to see exactly what Yasai Yaki Soba is.

Yasai = vegetable. Yaki = from yaku, which means “to bake or to grill”. Yaki appears in a lot of Japanese dish names – teriyaki, sukiyaki, takoyaki, okonomiyaki. Soba = buckwheat noodles. I had a lot of trouble finding Japanese etymology resources online, so all I can offer are these definitions. (If you know of a good resource please let me know!) So this is a veggie noodle dish that is “grilled” in a wok (fried). This version happens to be macrobiotic (if organic eggs count) and vegetarian.

Yasai Yaki Soba: The Recipe & The Details

I set about setting up my ingredients.

The main source of panic for me for this recipe? The vegetable oil! I never use that much to stir-fry things. I got over it though; I had to follow the recipe to be authentic. That is the point of this challenge.

Yasai Yaki Soba Recipe (Serves 2)


  • 6 ounces soba noodles (dry weight)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced and chopped
  • 1 large thinly sliced carrot (I used a mandoline)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Seasoning Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Yasai Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)

Garnish Ingredients

  • pickled ginger
  • sesame seeds (black or regular or both)


  1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package (usually 4 minutes in boiling water). Immediately rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  2. Beat the 2 eggs and mix in the seasoning ingredients. Add the veggies (pepper, carrot, onion, garlic) and then add the noodles (gently so they don’t break).
  3. Heat a wok over high heat for 1-2 minutes until it’s very hot (almost smoking), then add the vegetable oil. Add the noodly veggie egg mixture and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix together the yasai sauce ingredients while the noodles are cooking.
  4. Remove from heat, add the yasai sauce (while still in the wok), and mix. Divide between 2 dishes and top with the garnishes – ginger and sesame seeds.
  5. Enjoy!

Yasai Yaki Soba: What was challenging?

I had a few difficulties with this…

  1. I followed the recipes to a T – I actually went out and bought the specific garnishes that the recipe called for. And those garnishes made this dish exactly the classic dish I was hoping for! I don’t usually do this, but maybe I am missing out. The little things really do make a difference.
  2. The oil content. When I stirfry I don’t usually use this much oil. I use enough, but I never take the risk of using too much and making it soggy with fat. I used the amount it called for, but it turns out I was probably right – Bobby and I both prefer it less oily.
  3. It didn’t have as many veggies as I usually use, and I was tempted to add more in. When I make noodle-veggie dishes, I always use at least half veggies (in terms of volume). This had more noodles than veggies, but it made me appreciate the simple flavor of the soba.

So this challenge was awesome in that it made me appreciate the fact that I am actually a very good cook (Bobby loved it), I don’t have to always make uber-healthy food, and it solidified my love for true Japanese cuisine. Thanks Project Food Blog!

I will remind you how to vote for me tomorrow. I will also be back either later today or early tomorrow with my weekly roundup – I was out all day yesterday and didn’t get to it.

What’s your favorite ethnic dish?

Mine is papaya salad, duh. I would have made that except I’ve already made that lots of times.

*Note: I combined elements of 2 recipes to get this recipe. See here and here for my inspirations.