Browsing Category: Healthy Living

The Lemon Concoction You Want to Try Next Time Your Throat Hurts

Finally over it, but I caught a cough a few weeks ago and fought with it for almost two weeks. Started a new job, so it didn’t seem like I could really just call in sick my first day. It was downhill from there. My friend Yvonne recommended making this tasty concoction to mix in with hot water and drink. After a week or so of drinking luo han kuo (a.k.a. monkfruit) beverage* and so much pho I felt pho’d out, it was nice to try something different. It was really nice on the throat, and I just wish I’d managed to get up the gumption to start making it sooner so my sore throat could enjoy it for longer.

Lemon, Honey, and Ginger Soother for Colds and Sore Throats
Originally from Lana Stuart’s blog.

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 24 hours

Ingredients
2-3 lemons
1″ piece fresh ginger root**
1/2 to 1 cup honey
I pretty much winged it on the portions here to taste. Continue Reading

Exploring Seoul! Day 3
out to the ball game

Good morning Seoul! Pretty as a picture..
Good morning Seoul! Pretty as a picture..
Wandered Garogusil, a shopping street in Gangnam. Wasn't terribly impressed, maybe I've been shopping too much..
Wandered Garogusil, a shopping street in Gangnam. Wasn’t terribly impressed, maybe I’ve been shopping too much..

image

At Take Urban: apparently, if you show up just before breakfast ends you get tons of carbs with your coffee order (a.k.a. Free "smile time"). That's olive bread on the right.
At Take Urban: apparently, if you show up just before breakfast ends you get tons of carbs with your coffee order (a.k.a. Free “smile time”). That’s olive bread on the right.
2nd round: tastier.
2nd round: tastier options.
In Gangnam: a big fancy plastic surgery shop. Wow.
In Gangnam: a big fancy plastic surgery shop. Wow.
On the subway! A little excessively proud of having obtained a T-Money card (well, a competing product) to pay for the subway. If you google addresses in Google Maps, it will give you subway and bus routes (but no walking or driving), with lots of Korean..
On the subway! A little excessively proud of having obtained a T-Money card (well, a competing product) to pay for the subway.
Fun mirror art for silly tourists.
Fun mirror art for silly tourists.
At Geongbokgung Palace: these gents march around in costume in the hot, humid sun for a sense of going back in time. Kudos.
At Geongbokgung Palace: these gents march around in costume in the hot, humid sun for a sense of going back in time. Kudos.
Next to the marker for "bureaucrat #1" who would stand there to receive people if they didn't see the lower level bureaucrat numbers two through nine.
Next to the marker for “bureaucrat #1” who would stand there to receive people if they didn’t see the lower level bureaucrat numbers two through nine.
At Geongbokgung Palace: throne room ceiling.
At Geongbokgung Palace: throne room ceiling.
At Geongbokgung Palace: top left: food storage and fermenting area, right: palace grounds, bottom: entrance courtyard, middle left: royal throne!
At Geongbokgung Palace: top left: food storage and fermenting area, right: palace grounds, bottom: entrance courtyard, middle left: royal throne!
At Geongbokgung Palace: age-old man-made pond and structure.
At Geongbokgung Palace: age-old man-made pond and structure.
At Geongbokgung Palace: looks like the Koreans know a good napping bench when they see one too, just like in Seattle.
At Geongbokgung Palace: looks like the Koreans know a good napping bench when they see one too, just like in Seattle.
Outside the palace: not sure why there were tons of fresh-faced police swarming here..
Outside the palace: not sure why there were tons of fresh-faced police swarming here..

At the baseball stadium box office:
Will Call Attendant: Hmm, is your name Park?
Me: yeees…?
Will Call Attendant: When is your birth date?
Me: Well…S______ Park reserved the tickets for me.
Will Call Attendant: Do you have her phone number?
Me: (procures hotel business card with number)
Will Call Attendant: Aaaah, the hotel reserved the tickets for you?
Me: Yes!
Will Call Attendant: Oh, okay, here you go. (hands me tickets for outfield seats)
Me: 고맙습니다!
..Phew! Was looking dicey for a minute there!

Founds some KS Wyverns vs. LG Twins playing baseball! Had to stop for some fried chicken next to the squid.
Founds some KS Wyverns vs. LG Twins playing baseball! Had to stop for some fried chicken next to the squid.
So excited for the game! and the constant cheering! Too bad the LG Twins lost..
So excited for the game! and the constant cheering! Too bad the LG Twins lost..
Beer was good, spam musubi looked good, until I opened the package...some how the more normal ham color put me off.
Beer was good, spam musubi looked good, until I opened the package…some how the more normal ham color put me off.
At the LG Twins v. KS Wyverns game!
At the LG Twins v. KS Wyverns game!
Pork skewers for a late dinner, slowly rotating on the spit, nom nom nom.
Pork skewers for a late dinner, slowly rotating on the spit, nom nom nom.

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps!

These days, my household tries to eat less carb-heavy things on a regular basis, and I’ve taken to making lettuce wraps regularly. One of the first google search results will give you a copycat of the P.F. Chang’s recipe, so that was my jumping off point. Frankly, that is where I’ve eaten most of the lettuce wrap dishes in my life. Not vouching for the authenticity of it here, going there kind of drives me nuts sometimes (okay, every time). I also halved all the sauces from original recipe for a full one pound portion of pork. You’ll want to adjust it to your taste, other people probably like more sweet, oozy sauce than me.
From there, I added things I actually wanted to eat..

Lettuce wrap close-up. I think this one is pork..
Lettuce wrap close-up. I think this one is pork..

(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Lettuce wrap montage! This one is from an earlier trial, before I decided I didn't like cucumbers and instead wanted oranges in it.
Lettuce wrap montage! This one is from an earlier trial, before I decided I didn’t like cucumbers and instead wanted oranges in it.

Ingredients:

For protein base:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, beef or tofu*
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1.2 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 7-10 crimini mushrooms, diced roughly

For the sauce (portions adjusted from original recipe):

  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Sriracha sauce or red peppers, to taste

To serve with protein base:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, rinsed.
  • 2 green onions, thinly chopped
  • 1 orange, rind peeled and pieces sliced (see video below)**
  • a handful of toasted cashews, or raw cashews if you can’t find toasted.
  • 1/2 an avocado, cut in bite-able chunks

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add ground pork and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks; drain excess fat/liquid. NOTE: adjust this time for other proteins until browned enough and reached safe eating temp.
  3. While this cooks, you can toast the cashews on the side.
  4. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha (optional) until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. It may already be salty enough before you add salt.
  5. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the pork mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, add cashews, avocado, orange and green onions, and enjoy!

*Note: I’ve tried this with ground chicken, turkey, pork, and salmon chunks so far, but you could pick any main protein base, including pressed tofu for the focus. For that reason, I’ve tagged this recipe as vegetarian, and paleo. I also marked it gluten-free -standard hoisin and soy sauce ingredients are NOT gluten-free, but you could buy or make a gluten-free version of this if you were up for it and I don’t think it would impact the taste much.

This trial picture had edamame, but I didn't feel that added much (besides good lean protein). Look at all the bright colors!
This trial picture had edamame, but I didn’t feel that added much (besides good lean protein). Look at all the bright colors!

This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5
I still haven’t made this dish enough for it to feel old hat, and every time the outcome is a little different.
Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
Also, always a different outcome if you try different proteins with it! Chopped up chicken rather than ground chicken would probably work too, and as long as you don’t get too carried away with add-ons, it doesn’t take hardly any time at all. Interested to try tofu too.
Lesson Learned: For this recipe, salmon is at the bottom of the priority list. Meh.
The portions of the recipe say four servings, and in fact it was enough ingredients that I ended up having to split it in half when sautéing -halfway through the process-, in order to get the mushrooms and onions to sear rather than boil. However, if the flavoring turns out good, you may end up with barely 1 mouthful left to put in the fridge between two hungry adults. Success! I think this otherwise could have fed a family of four if said people waited 10-15 minutes after having a few wraps, to feel full. You may also end up with leftover butter lettuce if you buy it in the live form I do, so a follow-up meal of tacos or sandwiches may be good later in the week.
This is definitely a somewhat messy affair to eat. Bring wet naps or be prepared to wash your hands after.
Also: I added the cashews for crunch, you could also try fresh, chopped daikon radish, raw carrots if you like carrots, or other toasted nuts.

**If you’d like a demo on how to cut citrus fruit to avoid the bitter pith, check out this random video I found of a charming guy with an entertaining shirt. Fight scurvy -eat more oranges!

Sweet Potato Pesto Pasta

Thanks to Abby for loaning me a spiralizer so I could try it out!

Spiralizer!
Spiralizer!

Thanks to Fitnessista for this recipe combo, the proportions I made up from my trial.

Ingredients:
For the pesto:
1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
1 tsp garlic
1 cup spinach
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon goat cheese
Kosher salt

For the rest:
1 large yam, peeled
your protein add of choice (shown below are seared scallops, made the Alton Brown way).

Sunflower seed pesto - cheaper than trekking to Afghanistan to harvest your own pine nuts.
Sunflower seed pesto – cheaper than trekking to Afghanistan to harvest your own pine nuts.

Steps:
Purée sunflower seeds, garlic, spinach, basil, oil, goat cheese and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Season with salt. Thin pesto with water if too thick.
Cut off ends of sweet potato and install flush against spiralizer, spiralize to your heart’s content.
Boil sweet potato spirals in water no more than 3 minutes.
Combine with pesto.
Serve with blindfold on.

Peel, spiralize, clean spiralizer, boil.
Peel, spiralize, clean spiralizer, boil.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars.
Extremely novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 50%
I couldn’t get my ‘roommate’ to eat much of it, but I’d like to try it again -next time with the julienne blade of my food processor.
Lesson Learned: If you boil it too much the ‘pasta’ crumbles fast (similar risk with reheating). Yes, you could buy a single-purpose tool like a spiralizer if you think you’ll eat a lot of spiralized things every week, but a food processor might work just fine for a rare occasion. Also, I always forget how easy it is to make pesto, I need to do this more, especially since you can make cheaper versions without pine nuts! Yum! I have read that real sweet potatoes are more dense and jam up the machine, better stick with the soft orange ones –yams? Whatever they are called..

I ate this with seared scallops, but the color combo was still a little disconcerting..
I ate this with seared scallops, but the color combo was still a little disconcerting..

Cranksgiving Seattle 2013

Gasworks Park, Seattle, WA

In the last few years, through a dramatic health-related life event, I have (a)become a little more acutely grateful of being alive at all, and (b)felt a more urgent need to put in the time investments now to ensure a longer and healthier life. So in that vein, after the unhappy consequences of Reduced Sugar Challenge October, November is Sustained Exercise Month, with a weekly minimum goal of 150 minutes of exercise activity (also smaller portion month, but that’s a different post). It feels like an uphill battle with the increasingly dreary overcast weather outside and waning hours of daylight, but also a necessary one to get a jump on holiday eat-o-ramas (not to mention snowboarding season).

I prefer tricking myself into exercise, like getting outside running before you are awake, so you have no choice but to continue running, or accidentally agreeing to long hikes with friends when you imagined a 2-mile flat path. Happily, this weekend a good friend of mine agreed to try out Cranksgiving Seattle 2013, a charity bike scavenger hunt that donates to the Rainier Valley Food Bank. So I got to fulfill my remaining 30+ minutes (bike commuted to and from work once, and yes, I counted the 40 minutes of raking too) while getting some sun, and helping some other folks who need it more get fed.

It was a pretty nice day for a ride, a little chilly but sunny. I like to tell myself that trying new routes (a.k.a. getting really lost) helps exercise your brain cells to ward off Alzheimer’s later too. The gathering place was Gasworks Park, and it was darn scenic:

GasworksnBike
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