Ahead of the game.

June 25, 2009

This afternoon, one of my co-workers offered to cover my evening shift and I thought about it for about negative point five seconds before I said yes.

That meant that I came home to an already prepared dinner and I got to sit around reading for an hour before the NBA draft, luxuriating in the fact that I didn’t have to cook anything. This must be what it feels like to be prepared.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I couldn’t handle all that excess time, so I filled it by cooking dinner for tomorrow. It’s kind of a sickness. In my defense, though, I’ll only have about 20 minutes to prepare and consume dinner tomorrow, so it’s good that I got it off my plate. Now I can use that entire time to savor the Corn and Edamame-Sesame Salad from Veganomicon.

Anyway, the Smitten Kitchen-inspired peanut sesame noodles turned out well, except that I forgot to toast the sesame noodles and toss them in. Oh well. I toasted some extra for tomorrow’s dinner, just to make up for it.

soba + veggies + tofu + peanut sauce over spinach

soba + veggies + tofu + peanut sauce over spinach

The love I have for peanut butter cannot be described. I like other nut and seed butters – almond, cashew, pecan, sunflower, what have you – but peanut butter is my desert island food. Still, I was a little nervous about how thick the sauce would get with as much peanut butter as the recipe indicated, so I cut it down a good bit, to about 3T. I’ll have a few spoonfuls from the jar later to make up for the deficit.

the breakdown

8 oz soba noodles = $2.79
1 red bell pepper = $.99
2 carrots = $.15
3T peanut butter = $.32
1T sesame oil = $.40
and some pantry staples (crushed red pepper, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ground ginger)

grand total = $4.65

Four servings at $1.16 a serving. I’m kicking myself for paying $10+ for various versions of this dish at restaurants. Curses! I had mine over spinach again (it’s still really hot out and it was on the verge of wilting. Actually, so am I).

On this side: my new favorite summer treat.

any day over 95 calls for a shandy

any day over 95 calls for a shandy

Our recipe: mix equal parts beer and lemonade in a pitcher. Chill. Enjoy. We used High Life and Country Tyme, but you might not be as classy. That’s fine. Just make sure it’s a beer that’s lighter in color, like a wheat beer or some kind of lager-style beer. I could have the lemonade myself but that’s like 3 extra steps, and I’ve had a long week.


Fake pho and real TCHO

January 20, 2009

I’m back again! This is probably my last post for a few days, so I figured I’d make something special for my readers.

I saw this recipe when I was working on my meal plan for the week and was intrigued (I know this is my second New York Times recipe in as many days, but I swear I don’t work for them. Although, if you’re in a position to make that happen, please feel free to contact me). It included things we’re not eating right now, like a chicken, but it made me think about noodle bowls and this awesome pho we had in Seattle a few years ago, so I decided to create my own version.

Tofu Noodle Bowls


Bear with me, because there wasn’t a lot of measuring that happened here, but I’ll recreate it as best I can.

You need:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • rice noodles (probably about 2 oz), soaked in warm water for about ten minutes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • ~2 tsp soy sauce
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • garlic powder (to taste)

And then you:

  1. Heat the oil over medium in a large pot or dutch oven
  2. Add cubed tofu. Cook for five minutes. Flip. Cook for five more minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms. Cook until just softened, stirring occasionally, about four minutes.
  4. Add water, broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add rice noodles and simmer, uncovered, for ten minutes.
  6. Stir in spinach slowly, increase heat to medium, simmer for five more minutes.
  7. Add garlic powder (and other spices) to taste.
  8. Serve.

It’s important to use just a little olive oil since tofu doesn’t really absorb it. I used too much and I think it would have been better with less. Still, it was a nice, warm, satisfying meal in a bowl. The beauty of this is that you could basically put anything you wanted to in it. I’m thinking now that I’d like to try it again with a tiny bit of green curry paste, some broccoli, some shredded carrots… so many possibilities.

I followed up my meal with some of the TCHO chocolate that Matt got me for Christmas. I can’t recommend this chocolate enough. The bars Matt gave me are “Citrus,” “Fruity,” and “Chocolatey,” all dark chocolates (my favorite) with really nice, nuanced flavors. I’m almost out, sadly, and I think it’ll be a little while before I recover from my December spending and have some disposable income to order more.


I didn’t make it to the gym this morning (surprise surprise). I couldn’t fall asleep last night, and the idea of going to the gym on 4 hours of sleep was really unappealing. Maybe I’ll give it another go tomorrow.

Quick and simple.

October 6, 2008

I’m in the midst of a big work project, so this is going to be a quick one. Matt’s not feeling well, so I let him pick dinner, and he decided on “Orange-Lacquered Tofu” from the Vegetarian Times cookbook I mentioned a few posts ago. Good call on his part, because it was quick and fairly simple.

It was a team effort, and we served the final product with some soba noodles and roasted broccoli. The sauce didn’t get as syrupy as I think it was supposed to, but that turned out to be a good thing, as that meant it coated the noodles and broccoli better. I love it when a plan comes together.

Back to work!

Mas stretchy

July 13, 2008

We had another busy day, and my toe was kind of sore, so I decided to skip my usual Cardio Craze class in favor of a 90 minute yoga class. All classes are hit or miss at my gym, since the instructors are primarily undergrads, so I don’t venture out and try new ones often, but this time I’m glad I did. I’ve been having lots of hip pain in recent weeks, and when I went to get a massage last weekend, I almost started screaming whenever my left hip was touched. She gently suggested that I might want to come back and work on that and recommended yoga in the meantime. But I didn’t make it to noon yoga all last week, so this was my first opportunity.

I was nervous when the instructor walked in wearing platform flip-flops, but she was actually really good. It was a nice blend of vinyasas and balancing poses and tons and tons of leg stretching. Now my hips feel all stretched out. Next stop: hamstrings! I will be able to touch my toes one day. I BELIEVE.

The only bad part was when there was a brown recluse crawling across the floor towards the woman in front of me. They’ve had an “outbreak” of them at the gym, which just makes everything more exciting. Whatever, I pay 13 dollars a month, so I can’t really complain. The instructor killed it and then, visibly upset, told us that she usually doesn’t kill bugs. Um. Not a bug, my young friend. An agent of death.

When I got home, we ate some peanut noodles that I prepared earlier.

Tasty. We took a short walk, as it’s nice again today, and then stopped at the grocery store behind our house for a few things. I was overcome with a craving for chocolate milk, and we could only find reduced fat kind that also had HFCS. I bought it anyway and mixed it with my regular milk. Even at a 1:3 evil chocolate to skim ratio, it’s awesome.

Now I’m going to go make my muesli for tomorrow morning and read and pretend tomorrow isn’t Monday.

Crispy, Crunchy, Peanut Buttery…

June 18, 2008

…stir fry.

This was good. Tofu, rice noodles, carrots, peppers, snap peas, cauliflower, and mushrooms. In peanut sauce.

It looks gross, but it wasn’t. I promise.

I feel like I say that a lot. Hmmm.

I took the afternoon off, and I think I’m more tired than I would have been if I’d just stayed at work. We went to the laundromat, got our announcements printed, got food for dinner, and came home to cook and eat. Oh, I also did noon yoga, which is my new favorite thing. Crane pose, I will conquer you!


Maybe not. It actually reminds me of the “tripod” that we did in dance class when I was five, which I couldn’t do and which haunted me for years.

After dinner, some friends came over and we practiced wedding hair and played a little Wii. My head looks funny right now. But it looked nice before. So, we’ll see.

Miss Wrap Supreme

May 27, 2008

We just enjoyed some lettuce wraps while watching Miss Rap Supreme. I know it’s not a good idea to eat in front of the television, but when you don’t have a table, options are kind of limited.

This is “soba” vegetable salad lettuce wraps with chicken “sate.” Lots of air quotes because I broke a  few rules. For instance, those are not soba noodles. Soba noodles were 4.69 for 12 ounces. Whole wheat spaghetti was 1.89 for 12 ounces. Decision? Made. Also, this chicken sate was supposed to be in skewer form but we don’t have a grill pan or any other pan in which to effectively cook skewered meat.

Either way, it was great. I also made some spicy peanut dipping sauce for my serving, which was a delight. I’m really getting the hang of that stuff.

I also had a cookie. I’ve been starving all afternoon, which I trace back to cranking the Arc Trainer up to resistance 50 this morning. I’m surprised I lived to tell about it. I’m sure lots of my fellow gym-goers have also been telling about it, because really, my sweat level was obscene.

Speaking of sweating, I think it’s time to go log a few minutes with the Wii Fit so it won’t act all disappointed in me for skipping a few days.