Tasty Tuesday: Peanutty Jap Chae Recipe with Soba Noodles

Welcome to any new readers! Check out my links in the sidebar to the right (must reads), or my tabs above (the salad story, yoga + fitness, recipes, and my recommendations).

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I updated my recipes page. All recipes are waist-friendly, most are vegetarian or vegan, many are raw or macrobiotic – there are tons of options. I will be updating the layout of the page soon (I hope) to make it more navigable and sortable, but for now I am so happy that ALL my recipes are actually listed. Go look! There are 214 recipes on there as of today. I am really happy that I have that as a history of my cooking for the last 3 years. Here is #214.

Korean Recipe Rehab: Healthy Jap Chae Recipe

Last night we ate in, and I cooked. I cooked! I have not truly cooked in ages and I have missed it so. I read Women’s Health this weekend and they had a recipe for Jap Chae (a traditional Korean recipe – it’s a noodle dish) and I wanted to make my own version of it. I used to make Jap Chae all the time, but that recipe is different from this one. It’s lower calorie, but not as filling.

Since I’m not trying to lose weight I’m going to stick with this soba noodle jap chae recipe (which has a peanutty Pad Thai twist). Here is my Very Low calorie Jap Chae recipe. The one I’m about to post is still not that hefty either! It is certainly a waist-friendly recipe. (Note the options in parentheses after ingredients that can make it a lower calorie recipe – the mods are simple and shouldn’t change the taste.)

I opted to do this in typical Maggie fashion: a fusion Asian dish – soba noodles (Japanese), jap chae sauce (Korean recipe), and the addition of peanut butter (Thai) – it was awesome. Bobby agreed. This dish is even kind of macrobiotic; I approve of eggs on a macrobiotic diet.

Peanutty Jap Chae Soba Noodles (AKA Spunky Soba with a Twist)

Ingredients (serves 3-4, depending on appetites)

  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (organic turbinado) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (could do less)
  • 3 tablespoons PB2 or 2 tablespoons peanut butter (could do less but this makes it tasty)
  • 1-2 tablespoons peanut oil (could do less; could use sesame oil if you don’t have peanut)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly minced (could do less)
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 (non-recalled) eggs
  • 3-4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned

Method

  1. Prepare the veggies. You will add them in the order listed above.
  2. Prepare the noodles according to the package. (Usually boil for 4 minutes then drain.)
  3. Mix the sauce while the noodles are cooking: soy sauce, sugar, chili flakes, PB2/peanut butter. (Do not need to dissolve the sugar yet.)
  4. Heat the peanut oil on high heat in a wok or large pan. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots. Saute for 3 minutes.
  5. Beat the eggs with a fork. Push the veggies to one side of the pan; add the eggs and scramble them there. It is ok if everything mixes together.
  6. Add the other veggies: celery and zucchini. Saute for 3-4 more minutes.
  7. Add the noodles (drained) and the sauce; stir a few times then turn off the heat. You can continue to mix to make sure everything is distributed evenly.
  8. Serve! This jap chae recipe is perfect alone: protein, carbs, and fat. Yum yum yum.

For dessert I had grapes; Bobby had a nectarine. I haven’t been into sweets lately. So strange.

What’s your favorite noodle dish?

Here are some of my other noodly recipes:

Enjoy, bookmark, share 🙂 Let me know if you make any of them!

P.S. Did anyone notice that Chrome had an update? I like it.

Walking For Health & Walking As Exercise

Happy Labor Day! In honor of this great relaxing day off, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things: walking. This weekend I got to walk a lot with Coco (and Star, her hubby). There are 2 reasons I walk (in addition to the fact that I just like it)…

Walking As Exercise

When I’m walking as exercise, I like to do a few different things:

  • Listen to music or podcasts
  • Read a book
  • Walk with my husband, or a good friend
  • Chat on the phone with my parents

And sometimes I just walk in silence. Walking in silence is sometimes just as good as (or even better than) yoga for clearing the mind. Walking is almost like meditation.

I use an iPod Nano for my podcasts. I am actually looking for new podcast recommendations so please let me know if you have any in the comments below! I like nutrition, yoga, linguistics, languages, and psychology, but I’m always open to other topics as well.

As for books, I tend to read books that don’t take too much concentration when I’m walking as exercise. I have tried to read more advanced books while I’m walking, but it’s too easy to lose focus because I do have to look up every so often so I don’t run into things/people/cabs. The Emily Giffin books were perfect for long walks.

I read that book 2 years ago – I searched my blog for her name and found this old post. Cool for me to see how I (and my blog) have evolved over the years.

Walking For Health

Okay, so walking as exercise is great, but walking is good for overall health as well. I have read so many articles lately about how being happy and leading a stress free life are actually more important than the foods you eat. That sounds a little bit crazy and unconventional, but I’m temped to believe it.

For one thing, walking is great for weight loss/maintenance. I don’t really do much other than walk these days, and I’m maintaining my weight easily. This weekend I did walk a lot (5-6 miles each day) but normally I only walk 2-4 miles a day. Walking for health = easy to stick to. I don’t really have any trouble fitting in my miles each day and I don’t dread them (unlike some other workouts).

Walking is also a way to take a break from whatever happened to you during the day/week. I like to walk home from work (it’s about 1.5 miles) when it’s not too hot and not too cold. Sometimes I window shop, sometimes I really shop (I got Bobby the jacket below the other day), and I always make sure that I stop thinking about anything stressful – humans need a way to get rid of stress. Stress is horrible for us – worse than cheeseburgers and fast food, for sure.

I think I am getting off topic! Back to walking for health 😉 Walking = relaxing stress-reliever. Walking = good cardio. Walking = kind to your joints. Walking = low-impact. Walking = doesn’t feel like exercise. Walking = awesome.

So instead of sitting here posting, I am going to go out for a walk with my hubby because we haven’t left the house yet today. We had delicious steel cut oats for breakfast/brunch (mine with butter and a touch of honey; his with a bit more honey and 2 pieces of fake bacon; this picture is not from today – it’s from another delicious blogger meetup day almost a year ago in San Francisco).

Why do you walk? Or do you like other forms of exercise better?

P.S. Got a bunch of good questions yesterday! Will answer them tomorrow I think. If not tomorrow, Thursday.

Being Spontaneous: A Healthy Blogger Weekend

Yesterday morning I hopped on the bus to DC to meet up with Coco. I’m on the bus back now (Sunday night). We had a lot of fun; I got to hang out with Coco and her husband (!). Next time Bobby will come along with me and we will go hiking and pick apples. It’s fun doing things with other married people.

Being spontaneous and being with a good friend is a great way to break out of a normal routine. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my daily regimen that I forget to stop and do something different. A weekend getaway is great for that.

A Perfect Blogger Saturday

On Saturday we walked a lot (5-6 miles). We had a yummy Malaysian lunch, we walked through Georgetown, we saw Eat, Pray, Love, and we ended the night with Vietnamese food. This is one dish from lunch (a noodly salad). I would have taken more pictures but I was too wrapped up in hanging out and good conversation!

A Blogger Inspired Sunday Breakfast

This morning we (we = Coco) made HEAB’s coconut pancakes. They were awesome. Unfortunately my stomach has been acting weird and bloaty all weekend so I wasn’t very hungry, but I did have a decent amount of these, plus some cherries. Coco said she changed the recipe slightly, but I don’t know the modifications. You will have to ask her.

We walked off breakfast by strolling through the touristy part of DC near the Whitehouse. Coco had gone running there this morning too before I woke up! (Maybe it wasn’t there… somewhere around there though. She is starting to taper for her half-marathon this weekend.) Think we did around 6 miles of walking. Walking = best way to exercise (in my opinion).

A Say Yes to Salad Lunch

Lunch was green and compost-friendly at Sweet Green (salad of romaine, edamame, cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, and sauteed mushrooms with some yummy creamy dressing). Our salads came with the best bread ever, which we both finished. Sweet Green was great – everything is labeled if it’s vegan, you can compost everything (even that “plastic” cup), and the food was delicious and satisfied my salad craving. I can never get enough salad. Ever.

I am now finished with my dinner (Whole Foods prepared food) and dessert (apple and a Chinese candy from Coco) because this bus’s internet is so slow and it has taken me over an hour to write this. I guess that’s why it’s free because I would not pay for this.

I am off to sleep, or read my magazine (Women’s Health), or do some pondering. This weekend was so fun! I’m in a great mood and I can’t wait to continue my great mood this week. Upcoming…

  • Skincare (this is your last chance to ask me any specific questions! So far I am going to chat mainly about oily skin, but I am open to answering more – please comment below)
  • Exercise inspiration
  • Yoga guest post
  • Food/bread inspiration
  • (not necessarily in that order!)

What did you do this weekend? Do you have plans for Labor Day tomorrow?

I’m hoping to meet up with some more friends and spend some quality time with my husband (who I missed very much while I was in DC). Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder.

What’s Up Saturday – 9.4.10

As I write this I am on a bus down to Washington, DC. Last night I was gchatting with one of my best friends and decided to take a short and very spontaneous trip down to visit her. See you soon Coco! The last time I saw her was at my wedding which was over a month ago. (Coco’s recap is here.)

But more on that later. It’s time for another weekly roundup post.

In Salad News

Around the Blogs

Other Randoms

That’s all, folks. I owe you a skincare post next week, and probably more stuff on intuitive eating. I also have a great guest post coming up too!

What’s up for you this weekend?

The Rational and Emotional Brain Battle

I’m going to go off on a tangent for this post; it’s completely unrelated to food, but very much related to health and well-being. I am watching a really interesting documentary called “This Emotional Life” on Netflix this week. It was first aired on PBS in January of 2010. That’s what made me think of this post.

The second episode (I will get to the first one later) is called Facing Our Fears.

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Overview of the Rational and Emotional Brains

The main topics in the segment are anger, fear, anxiety, and despair. Every human feels these emotions. So how do we deal with them? And why do we feel them? Apparently we have two parts of our brain; one is quite ancient and the other is fairly new. The older part (this part has been around since brains first developed) is the emotional part. The newer part is the rational brain. Unfortunately they don’t always get along very well.

Many many years ago, our emotional brain protected us from lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Today our emotional brain protects us from angry cab drivers and rude people that cut in front of us in the line at the grocery store. We don’t need the same reaction for rude people as we do for bears. But (unfortunately) our brains do have that same reaction anyway.

Humans are still evolving, so maybe over time the communication and the relationship between these two parts of our brain will improve. But for now…

A Brain Metaphor

Earlier this year I went to see an acupuncturist. He gave me some very solid advice in the form of a metaphor.

The Brain as an Elephant…

Pretend that the two parts of your brain are an elephant and a rider. There is an end destination that they have to get to. The rider has to figure out how to get the elephant to that destination. There are lots of roads, but none of them lead where they need to go. To get to the destination, they have to forge a new path.

Some roads are already paved but do not lead anywhere worthwhile. Some of them just go off to randomness and others lead towards bad, scary places. The rider and the elephant should not take those roads, even though they are smooth and paved, because those roads don’t go to the right place.

If you didn’t figure it out already, the rider is the rational brain and the elephant is the emotional brain.

Day 1.

The rider starts to guide the elephant into the woods to make a new path. The elephant gets scared. The rider beats the elephant and the elephant refuses to go further. Maybe the elephant starts going in the wrong direction. The more the rider beats the elephant, the more the elephant resists. The rider gives up for the day and they both sleep.

Day 2.

The next day, the rider again tries to get the elephant to go into the woods. The elephant remembers the beating from the day before and associates it with the woods. He refuses again. At this point the rider will either beat the elephant, or soothe the elephant and let him stay where he is. If the rider beats the elephant, the elephant will run, spooked, down the paved road that leads nowhere good. If the rider calms the elephant, they stay where they are.

Day 3.

Let’s say the rider did not beat the elephant again. Now the elephant is remembering that maybe it is okay to go in the woods. Yesterday the rider was nice; maybe he will be nice again. The elephant is not fully at ease though, because the rider beat him a few days ago. Maybe they make it 10 feet. The elephant is still scared of the rider and hesitant.

And beyond.

Over time, the rider can choose to beat the elephant repeatedly and get nowhere (or go backwards, or go towards somewhere bad) OR the rider can choose to comfort the animal and treat him well. The elephant reacts the the way the rider treats him. The rider must realize that because he beat the elephant in the past, the elephant is not going to trust him for a while.

The elephant’s reactions are automatic and unconscious.

The rider is conscious and rational.

Our emotions are like the elephant, and our rational brain is like the rider. If we want to tame our emotions, we cannot beat them up first. We have to accept them, and only then can we begin to convince them to do what we want.

Beating the elephant is like beating yourself up for something that your unconscious did (or “made” you do). It is not helpful and not productive. Accept whatever it is about yourself that you don’t like – and then you can start to change it.

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Do your rider and elephant get along?