Eat Clean: Summer Somen Salad

summer somen salad

When the weather heats up, I often find it a challenge to cook something tasty without spending too much time over the stove. Those warm summer days drain my productivity and I’m less inclined to shop for groceries or spend 30 minutes cooking. But when all the frozen and pre-prepared food has dwindled, I get pretty resourceful and I start uncovering some gems in my pantry.

Like somen.

Somen is one of the cheapest and simplest dishes to make. A cousin to instant ramen, it’s lighter and healthier since it doesn’t have a lot of preservatives and additives in the noodles. It’s one of the dishes that I lived off of in college and it’s one of my comfort foods.

Having somen brings back memories of dinners with the windows open, lights off, fan blowing, and lots of laughter and cheeky banter among friends. It’s a reminder that sometimes, simple dishes and good friends make for the best and most memorable meals.

Ingredients (Serving – 1 person):

  • 1/3 – 1/4 package of somen
  • 1/2 cup somen soup base
  • 1 cup red leaf lettuce (shredded)
  • 1 roma tomato (chopped)
  • 1 sprig of green onion (chopped)
  • 1 egg (scrambled)

Instructions:

  1. Chop and cut all vegetables.
  2. Scramble eggs, pour into heated pan for a pancake shape. When it’s cooked, remove from heat and cut into strips.
  3. Boil water in a pot. Add somen and wait for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. Assemble vegetables, add egg, and put somen on top.
  5. Pour somen soup base in a small bowl.
  6. Dip somen into soup base and eat with salad.

Eat Clean: Cooking With Friends

fish and salad

When your friends love to cook as healthy as you do, you can never go wrong!

Recently, my friends and I made this dish for dinner. It’s a citrus spring salad, an herb sole turbot with a bell pepper salsa, and roasted brussel sprouts. I picked some blood oranges for the salad since it’s such an “unusual” ingredient because its short harvest season. I love how colorful and fancy this dish looks even though it was super easy to make.

We bought whatever we found “in season” at the nearest grocery store. For the fish, I really wanted something with more firmness than a trout and yet, not as bland as a tilapia…so we opted for a turbot. It tasted like a really buttery cod with the texture of a trout and the bell pepper salsa was the perfect complement to this fish. LOVED IT!

We prepared and cooked everything in less than 30 minutes, so it was definitely a meal I’d duplicate again.

I’m hoping to have more cooking parties with my friends so we can all swap healthy recipes and still eat like kings!

Eat Clean: Clam Chowder

clam chowder

One of my favorite soups growing up was Campbell’s Clam Chowder.

As I grew up, I discovered several gourmet versions that changed my mind of what clam chowder should look and taste like. Places like Ford’s Filling Station (Los Angeles) and Hog’s Island (San Francisco) crafted a soup where you actually have clams in shell in a sea of flavorful broth.

My mother recently took it upon herself to make her own version. Coming from a Cantonese food tradition, my mother loves light seafood broths. She prepared a flavorful fish broth in which she added a few classic clam chowder ingredients. Super simple and super delicious.

I don’t have the exact recipe since she just sort of improvised, but here’s the ingredients that she used:

  • Fish broth
  • Milk
  • Russett potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Clams in shell

I’m sure I’ll be duplicating and refining a version of my own clam chowder soon. But at least I know it’s not so challenging to create. Clam chowder doesn’t have to be super heavy and fatty for it to taste good.

A little simplicity goes a long way.

Eat Clean: Chirashi Bowl

chirashi sashimi sushi

I love Japanese food.

It’s simple and tasty but it can be unhealthy if you overeat and indulge in too many rich foods. Recently, my favorite items to have at a Japanese restaurant is a chirashi bowl or sashimi plates.

Fish and rice.

Maybe a salad.

That’s all you need for a satisfying and healthy meal.

I try to avoid teriyaki, katsu, curry, and ramen. It’s alright to have it once every couple of months. But I find that I don’t crave those things anymore. It’s too fatty, rich, sweet, or salty for my taste.

When I think of modern primal eating, this is probably one of the best things you can get in Japanese cuisine.

When My Body’s Not Hungry

For the past 3 days, my body is making me crazy. It’s just not very hungry.

Not at all.

I’d make breakfast, lunch, and dinner…stare at my plate for a couple seconds and I can hardly bring myself to eat any of it. At most, I can force myself to eat 2 fruits and maybe a handful of veggies. But that’s it.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

One. I haven’t been exercising. In fact, I’ve been working out once a week for the past 3 weeks because I’ve been busy. I’ve got lots of events going on and volunteering is starting up again so…yes, no time to work out.

Two. I haven’t been moving. I sit at my desk most of the day and then sit in my car during my commute and sit at home in front of my computer. That’s a lot of sitting around and I guess my body doesn’t need a lot of calories to just keep me alive at my Basal Metabolic Rate.

Three. I’m eating healthier. I’ve been getting organic fruits and veggies delivered weekly so I am eating way better than before. Most of my meals nowadays are vegetarian but I do have meat at least one meal a day. Maybe I’m actually getting proper nutrients so my body doesn’t feel hungry all the time?

Guess it’s time to start finding the time to work out because I miss the taste of food. My body is fasting without me and I don’t like it one bit.

Feed me!

First Indulgence of the Year

choco ice cream

Being a girl affords you some luxuries when you’re not feeling well.

Once a month, I think you’re allowed to let loose and indulge in some comfort food. Most of the time, I don’t really care for sweets or desserts or fatty things…but every so often, my body just craves a little “devil.”

So this is my first bite of chocolate and ice cream this year. One chocolate square and 2 scoops of Cookies & Cream…that’s enough. I don’t need any more for today’s serving.

My boyfriend bought this bar and the cocoa content is a little higher than I’d like since I’m more of a 70% cocoa person. Oddly enough, because of the high cocoa content, it’s really difficult to eat  a lot because it’s quite bitter and tangy. You have to savor it and leave in your mouth to melt. It’s quite strange, but after having a piece of the bar in your mouth for some time, it quells the appetite for more.

Leave a little room for an indulgence and you won’t have crazy cravings later. 😛

Why I Don’t Eat “Bars”

Almost every health and fitness blog or article has some mention of bars.

Some to build muscle, some to keep you going, and some just because it’s “healthy”. But unless you’re doing something really specific, I don’t think the majority of us really need it.

Personally, my body doesn’t know what to do with bars.

Is it real, is it fake? Energy, fat, protein? What the heck is it?

Usually after consuming half a bar, my body has an adverse reaction and it doesn’t make me feel very good afterwards. So I only have eat these in extreme circumstances like during a race or a long run. Honestly, they taste like sickly sweet chalky cardboard to me no matter how much chocolate, peanut butter, or whatever flavoring is added onto it. There’s no way they could taste good but then again, most people who eat them probably don’t care anyway.

Instead of bars, I have home made granola that consists of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I don’t add any sweeteners because it doesn’t need it. The fruit is sweet enough.

Bars are another category on the grocery aisle that I don’t need to visit.