Easy amaranth greens, beef and noodles recipe 牛肉莧菜米粉湯

September 1st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

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Amaranth greens in garden

We always grow amaranth greens every year. Amaranth greens are super healthy vegetables high in vitamin A, C, and K. Home-grown amaranth leaves taste way better than the store-bought ones. The roots of this vegetable are edible as well but do take longer to scrub and remove all the the dirt.

My favorite way to cook amaranth greens is with beef and noodles. Amaranth in soup has a mild sweet flavor and gives off a beautiful pink purple color that is delightful to the eye. You can use the liquid as a natural hair care product and use it as a natural food dye.

Amaranth greens are easy to grows. We have them growing all year round. Consider growing some. It’s super satisfying to pick and eat from an your own organic garden.

Beef and noodles soup (beef ho fun)

Flat rice noodles, like ho fun, is my favorite noodles to go with this beef and noodles recipe. This recipe is very easy and loose. You can adjust to your own taste and use the ingredients you have. Like many Asian moms, my mom never had specific measurements for recipes, it’s a very flexible way to cook.

I’ll pass this flexible cooking style to you so you can give it a try. It’s a good way to adapt to personal health conditions and flavor preferences. The meat and noodles can be replaced with your favorite meat and noodles. My preference and ideal combination for this amaranth greens recipe are mainly beef and flat rice noodle sticks. Sometimes I like to add an egg and some chili oil to spice things up. Cooking freestyle can accommodate your mood at the time of cooking. I’ll show you the basics and you can add to it what you like. Here’s a short video I made to help you get started.

Ingredients: 2 servings

Soup

Beef flank steak marinade

  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch

Serve with

Massage body aches and pains away: Do you owe a beating?

July 31st, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

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Usually in Asian dramas mothers would often say this to their kids, “你欠打!” (You owe a beating!!!) and trust me it’s not a question. This threat often comes when kids do something obnoxiously wrong or bad. Ok, I admit, it’s doesn’t only happen in dramas :p

Why do you need to beat yourself up?

In Chinese medicine there’s a saying, “痛则不通, 通则不痛”. It means where there’s pain there’s blockage, where there’s no pain there’s no blockage. A sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of stagnant blood circulation in the body. Beating yourself, even though it sounds a bit psychotic, is a very simple way to stir up blood circulation to relieve muscle aches and pains.

If you have lots of body aches all over, look into your lifestyle, what bad behavior have you committed to deserve a beating? Or in this case it’s more like muscle pain management. I admit you are not alone. I sit in front of the computer all day and night with no exercise. I don’t sleep until late hours, I don’t drink enough water. Years of built up stagnancy led up to feeling sluggish and sick. Overworked and no rest for my body and organs to heal. I have treated myself badly. Behavior correction time!!!

How to make a (massage) beating stick

Roll 4-5 sheets of newspaper, thick magazine spreads or pages from a huge calendar into a roll about 1″ thick. I am 4’10”, 103lbs, if you are bigger than me and can’t feel the pounding much add a few more sheets of paper to make it thicker. If the wand causes a painful uncomfortable feeling than it’s too thick.  The key thing is to make sure you leave the core about half empty so the roll is not solid. If it’s solid you may really get bruised instead of a massage. Last, wrap clear tape all around the tube to prevent it from breaking and falling apart. If it rips after use just wrap more tape around to fix it.

paper massage wand

You can also use a massage knock hammer if you prefer something more permanent. I have this one I bought from a Japanese store in Japantown.

How to use a beating stick to massage body aches

Although beating yourself is one simple way to stir up your blood circulation you don’t want to literally beat yourself to death. The beating process is a very gentle. You feel sore pain but not pain that is hurting. You feel relief after your sore pain goes away. You feel better and better as you beat yourself.

Beat where you feel sore. When your body is normal you will only feel soft hits like a massage but when you are sore you will feel  a slight to intense pain, but it feels good after you hit it. Sounds like self abuse, but trust me, the more you hit that spot the less pain you will feel. What you are doing is inducing circulation at the spot. As more blood flows to the spot and circulation increases the pains goes away. Remember the Chinese medical saying in Chinese, “痛则不通, 通则不痛” (If there’s is pain there is blockage, if there’s no blockage there’s no pain.) When you gently beat the blockage it breaks apart and allow your circulation to flow and the pain will dissipate. Beating yourself wherever there’s pain is a massage that you can do yourself anytime.

There’s a Chinese saying, “打者爱也” (Beat those you love) so you can do this with a partner. I’m not promoting physical abuse, don’t take it so literal in its meaning. In this case we want to beat the crap(toxins) away. This beating is to show yourself or loved ones some love, take turns to beat each other up gently. You’ll both feel a lot better after the pains beaten out of you. 

Super Easy Crockpot Chicken Porridge/Congee (慢炖锅鸡肉粥)

March 26th, 2020 § 0 comments § permalink

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Healthy Chicken Crockpot Recipes

Chicken soup is one of the healthiest soups. When I was sick my mom would make plain congee with just rice and water for me to detox my body. When I was weak she’d make chicken soup for me to boost my immune system. Today I will show you how to make the fastest and most lazy way to make a delicious combination of both. This is one of the easiest chicken recipes that will take less than 10 mins to prepare.

I love congee or porridge. One of my all-time favorites is chicken rice congee. This is one of the easiest chicken recipes, slow cooker recipes that you can cook in a crockpot. Crockpot chicken recipes are my favorite because they are so easy to make. I am using a 5 quart crockpot. It takes no time to prepare and no maintenance in front of a stove. All you need is chicken, rice, dried scallops ( optional), and water. Watch the video below for more details. Enjoy this crockpot chicken porridge soup on a cold day or any lazy day. You don’t have to slave all day to get a nutritious meal. What’s great about this slow cooker chicken recipe is you also get a nutritious bone soup all mixed in the batch. I hope you’ll give it a try. Enjoy.

How to Make Chicken Soup (Congee)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups, Rice (1 cup to 7 cups of water)
  • 14 cups Water
  • 2 Dried Scallops
  • whole chicken, chicken carcass, chicken thighs, or chicken breast ( Use whichever you have)

What to Serve With Soup

  • Diced scallion or parsley
  • Sliced ginger slivers
  • white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Fried donut (optional)

Access Fresh Coconut Juice with just a Straw

May 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

I wanted to share a small bit of happiness with you that made my day. I learned a super helpful tip from my mom. If you love coconut juice you will love this method, it requires very little effort. Bonus tip at the end. A little violent but very easy to open the coconut to access the coconut meat.  Hope you will find the tips useful.

DIY Treadmill Desk: Daily Effortless Exercise

January 20th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

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I LOVE my DIY treadmill desk! I finally found an effortless way to exercise which means I just reached one of my hardest goal to exercise daily from my Top Goals List.

After hacking my treadmill into a desk, exercise takes no conscious effort. I have lost about 1-2 lbs and 1 3/8″ around my waist in about one month. I am surprised by my perseverance and urge to walk more and more, there’s immediate improvements to my health and  it’s really easy to incorporate into my daily routine. Exercise has always been a challenge for me. I have millions of excuses for not exercising although I know it’s good for me. I’ve tried countless forms of exercise with abundant failures and guilt for not persevering.

I work from home with a job that requires me to sit in front of a computer over 8 hours a day. After work I love to watch movies online. My bottom was to glued to a chair until I finally went to bed in the late hours. Even if I hadn’t read any articles about how sitting is the new treading killer, I could feel deteriorating changes in my body. Visible fat were building up especially in my belly. I had numbness in my feet, arms and fingers. There were odd pains in the tips of my fingers and toes tips and strong headaches at the top of my head. I was always sleepy after eating and was always feeling very tired during the day. Insomnia is also a big problem that’s been following me for over 5 years.

My longest track record of exercise was about two months which took all my willpower and self  discipline. I lost 1-2lbs and slimmed down a bit. Not long after doing two favorite forms of exercise, jump rope and slow jogging, I developed ankle and knee pains. I had to stop. In October 2014, I decided to pick up on exercise and hoping to stick with it. This time I started really slow, jumping at 30sec sets days and hoping to build better muscle support. Within a week or two the pains started again. I was not happy and didn’t know what to do. Upon hearing the success story of a friend who lost 20 lbs using the elliptical, a low impact exercise, I decide to do some research. Most elliptical had a large stride. The elliptical that fit me, 4’10.5″ tall, had a steeper price.

While contemplating health vs money in my research I found a video online with a man using a treadmill desk. My eyes bulged at his before and after picture. He had lost 80 lbs in a year!  He walk at a very slow speed, 1-2 mph, while working. When he got tired he stood while working. He was using, LifeSpan Fitness TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk, it is costs $1,499.00 !!! Again the question was money or health??? A huge investment to consider and commit to. I didn’t know if this type of exercise would cause any problems for me or if I could stick with it. I had issues with walking / running on a treadmill and preferred walking and running outside. The bulkiness of the desk and treadmill would make returning it a pain.

Some people online hacked their treadmill into a treadmill desk and I thought I’d give it a try. I had an old treadmill sitting in dust. I was super determined to follow his steps. Not greedy, just 10 lbs and my health back is all I ask.

My DIY treadmill desk hack:

I found a piece of thin board that fit across the treadmill, some leftover 1″ x 2″ boards to block the board from sliding down, and enough wires and plastic strings to wrap and hold the 1″ x 2″ boards together. I used our swamp cooler to hold the monitor and laptop in front of the treadmill. It was the perfect height for my monitor. Use whatever works for your treadmill, be creative. Just as long as it’s sturdy, anything would work.

Using the treadmill desk:

My normal speed in the first 2-3 weeks was about 0.5 – 0.8 mph. Then I slowly increased to 1.0 – 1.4 mph. In the beginning I had to adjust the time and speed a lot to make my ankles and knees comfortable. My goal was to exercise long terms and was not rushing for results. I found 1.3 mph to be the most comfortable speed to watch videos, email, talk on the phone, and some repeating tasks. I can walk about 2-3, 1 hr, sessions throughout the day now. In the beginning I over did it and cut back on the duration and sessions until I built up to it. Most importantly I learned to pay attention to my body an sat down if i needed to rest. You can view my notes for details and progress here.

Pros:

  • Amazingly, I can sleep throughout the night now.
  • I don’t feel sleepy during the day.
  • I feel more energized.
  • Concentration is better reading and learning while walking.
  • Walk 15 min after eating, at a slow speed, helps move my intestines and help with digestion. I don’t feel bloated like usual when I sit all day.
  • A dream for me. I love watching Chinese dramas. I can watch it for hours and exercise at the same time. No time wasted.
  • No guilt for not exercising, actually I want to walk more because I am fully enjoying movies.
  • Multitasking saved more time to do other things.
  • It doesn’t feel like exercising. There’s no conscious effort, time flies by really quickly.
  • I don’t dread exercise.
  • Simple exercise I can persist. My 60 days challenge is almost done and I am aiming to keep going to 90 days, 120 days, 150 days etc.  to build a healthy habit of exercise.
  • I feel more confident about my health and improvements, most if not all my symptoms had gone away.
  • I can exercise in any weather, very convenient.
  • An exercise I can keep doing until old age, as long as I can walk
  • Cost me $0 to make.

Cons:

  • A bit noisy for talking on the phone.

Tips:

  • Ergonomics
    • Hands should rest 90 degrees level with the keyboard
    • Monitor should be eye level and tilted up about 10 degrees
    • Stand up straight with stomach sucked in
  • Standing
    • A foam mat makes it a lot more comfortable to stand on when you are not walking
  • Shoes or No Shoes
    • Barefoot walking didn’t really go well for me although it’s suppose to be good for circulation. It’s doable at such slow speed but I was not comfortable after about a week or two.
    • Good sneakers really helped. I bought a pair of Sketchers with memory foam gel-infused sneakers. It’s been a dream to walk on and I no longer have any ankle or knee pains.
  • Don’t concentrate on lbs lost, concentrate on health improvements. The treadmill desk is meant to give you an opportunity to move more and minimized sitting time. It is not a quick way to loose weight. Some have lost lost of weight but some have lost only a few lbs in 6 months but most have more stamina and clothes fits a lot better. It is important to listen to your body cut back or walk more according to how you feel. If you don’t feel well, REST a day or more to recover before you continue.

I had an opportunity to try the LifeSpan Fitness Treadmill Desk at a local sport equipment store. there’s practically no noise at the lower speeds below 2pmh, anything above creates some noise but is nothing close to my treadmill’s noise. It also has a automatically adjustable height that is perfect for my height at the lowest setting. I will definitely invest in a treadmill desk after my DIY treadmill desk dies.

Update 4/2017

I was a bit over zealous and hurt my knees using the treadmill desk too often. You can read more about it here. Please be sensible and don’t repeat my mistake 🙁

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