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Posts tagged ‘healthy’

Dubu Jorim (Korean braised tofu)

When my roommate was living with me she often made this for me, and the other night I had a craving for it. So I decided to attempt it myself. I went a little red pepper happy but other than that it was perfect. I made it with what I had on hand and that was spinach. My friend made it with spinach and bok choy before. I believe usually it’s made with green onions or scallions on top.

To make this I first bought firm (もめん)tofu. Then I put it in a strainer that was sitting on top of a bowl so the liquid can drain out. To help that along I put paper towels then two heavy bowls on top to press the water out.

Next is to slice the tofu and set the pieces on paper towels. In a pan I put some oil and let it get hot and pan seared the tofu on both sides for about 4min each. Then I removed the tofu onto a plate. TIP: the more water left in the tofu the longer it will take to get a good sear on it.

I sautéed some spinach then added a few spoonfuls of sauce for flavor. (I’ll write the recipe for the sauce at the bottom.) Then I removed these onto a plate.

Once you have cooked the spinach and removed it. Add the tofu back in and dump in the sauce. Let it simmer and soak in all the flavorings. If the sauce reduces all the better.

To plate it up I just put the rice first, then spinach, then the tofu and TADA! A simple yummy meal.

 

Sauce recipe

3 tbs of water

3 tbs of soy sauce

1 tbs of sesame oil

2-3 tsp of brown sugar

2-3 tsp of red pepper flakes

1 tbs of sesame seeds

minced garlic (i love garlic so i added way more than 2 cloves)

 

I like to double the recipe because I’m one of those people who love sauce.

Bento

So, here’s the thing. I’m broke… I wasn’t expecting the big resident tax bill you get slapped with here in Japan, because my first company didn’t tell me to expect it. I’m still paying it off. But I’m out of time. My visa is up for renewal and I have to pay it off by the end of the month. So I’m in money saving mode which equals me packing my lunch for work.

There are of course other benefits. It’s way way healthier for me to pack my lunch. Every time I walk into a conbini I get tempted with their goodies. I know they design the store that way but I still fall victim to a good ole’ chocolate bar or bag of chips… or both. Also, I’ve recently gained weight, read the previous sentence for the cause. So yeah it’s getting colder and I consider my winter weight gain my extra coat but I’m not liking how my clothes are fitting me.

So about my bento. I’m not interested in those crazy character bentos you see when you google bento.

Here is a picture of a cute Winnie the Pooh Karaben made by a fellow wordpress blogger!

Why is that? 1) I’m not that creative and 2) I make my bento at 5am do you really think i care if it’s cute.

So I will post practical looking bentos on my site. I will warn you though I am a beginner. You may see many burnt, misshaped, dry food. Again I’m cooking at 5am, and anyone who knows me is fully aware that I am NOT a morning person. I often get made fun of because of how grumpy I am.

So why am I posting about this now? I was a cooking machine tonight! I decided to get a lot of prep done tonight (sunday night) and then just throw my bento together in the mornings. So I wanted to try my hand at kimpira gobo, it is a very popular dish here for bentos. I also salted some cucumbers and cut up some takuan its a type of pickled Daikon radish I think. I’ll post pics—->

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Also, here are a few bentos i’ve made —->

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Oven Fries

I’ll admit it… I love fatty, oily, creamy, sugary bad for you food. It’s my favorite. I love junk food. Well, now that I have passed my mid-twenties i decided its time to get serious. My body can’t handle it. It didn’t handle it well in the first place but I deluded myself into thinking that i’d shape up when i’m on my way to thirty. Well, i don’t what made me change but i had the urge for a serious lifestyle change. I’m still going to eat all my fav junk. Just do it in moderation, and look for ways that are healthier and tasty. Mind you I didn’t say healthy… I said healthiER!!!! (i’m still making excuses… i promise i’ll get past it at some point!)

So I really wanted some fries today. But number 1 I don’t want to deal with the hassle of deep frying, number 2 frying is really not good. So I looked up some recipes for oven fries and none of them were really doing it for me. So I looked at the basics, you know seasoning ratio to oil ratio and came up with this tasty recipe!

****Like all my recipes I NEVER measure. Also, each person has different tastes, adjust to your own. I made this recipe using my nose, and tasting it and stopped when it made my mouth water. I don’t believe in measuring unless i’m baking which requires exact measurements. ****

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OVEN FRIES (idk… got a better name?)

Ingredients

potatoes- skin on cut into steak fries

just enough EVOO to generously coat each fry (coat not drench ok? also, you will add parm cheese, this will soak up some oil please keep that in mind)

garlic powder

seasoning salt (you can use regular… i love salty food)

fresh cracked pepper(I added a lot)

grated parmesan cheese

if you want that restaurant flavor you can add a SPRINKLING of sugar (this one is not to be eyeballed! I mean it when i say a sprinkling!)

Directions

I microwaved the potatoes a bit first since i am extremely impatient!

Next throw them in a bowl and toss together. save the Parmesan cheese for LAST! Especially if you are throwing them in the bowl after microwaving… cheese will get melty.

Then put them on a cookie sheet skin side down. This should help with them not sticking. but for good measure spray a little pam on there.

Baking times… so here’s the thing… I’m in japan using a microwave/ oven so it cooks differently from a regular oven. But here’s what i did… 180 degreesC for about 30 min (idk i lost track) or until they are crisp on the outside and i can stick a fork in through the inside (which is what I did).

***the cool thing about this recipe is you can add what ever you want. Next time I might add some rosemary!

 

Smoothie Kick!

I have been wanting a blender for the longest time. Last summer was the hottest recorded summer in Japan and I was dying. I couldn’t help but think smoothies would be the perfect cure to a hot day. Unfortunately, I was going through financial issues last year. I was only working part time and looking for another job but jobs in Japan like schools over here start in April! I was looking in July… So anyway I couldn’t afford a blender last year 😦

Back to the good stuff! I bought a blender a couple days ago. Now, they only sell blenders with glass pitchers over here. I was irritated because I was going to have to carry it. After using this blender though… I have to say glass pitchers are awesome and I’m glad I dragged the thing home. ( I found out the reason for the glass, apparently years ago there was a scare with plastic. It was leaking some kind of toxic something, so that is why blenders are primarily glass in Japan now).

So, now that I had my blender I went to the grocery store that sells bulk foods designed for restaurants. I figured I’d get more bang for my buck when buying frozen food. I picked up frozen strawberries and mango, fresh spinach, milk, and yogurt. I also bought various canned fruits to experiment with. I did not go anywhere near the blueberries!! 600円 ($7.66) for one small frozen pack of blueberries?!? i don’t think so! So with my heavy glass blender in hand and my heavy grocery bag full of goodies I headed home. Side note: I lost some weight recently and all my protective fat in my shoulder area is gone. I was really feeling the weight of my grocery bag… ouch!

I get home and the first smoothie I whip up was for me and a friend. I added coconut milk, strawberries and mango. It was delish!

The next day I decided to do something a bit healthier. I decided to make a matcha strawberry honey and spinach smoothie. This mix may sound weird but man oh man is it delicious! I promise you, you can’t taste the spinach but it adds a really healthy element to your smoothie! I have a low iron count so this is a good way to get my dark leafy greens into my diet. Also matcha is green tea so it’s a good way to intigrate those anti-oxidents we keep hearing about!

Day three of my smoothie making and I made my matcha strawberry smoothie but i added some frozen mango. BINGO! This is the final product! Keep in mind I just eyeballed everything but here is the recipe if I had to add measurements. These are not exact, so tweak it yourself!

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MATCHA STRAWBERRY-MANGO SPINACH SMOOTHIE

1/4 cup of milk

3 spoonfuls of plain yogurt

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1/4 cup of frozen mangos

2 tablespoons of sweetened matcha powder

1 tablespoon of honey (to taste)

1/4-1/2 cup of spinach leaves/ no stems! ( i just did a handful)

In a blender, add in order of ingredients! Start with liquids, milk, yogurt, strawberries, mangos, matcha, honey and spinach at the top. Always add fresh ingredients at the top. Always add liquids at the bottom, this will help your blender process everything!

Make sure you don’t over-blend, this can affect the quality of your smoothie!

** If you want something to hold you over better like from breakfast to lunch, use a banana that has been sliced and frozen. You can also add 10 almonds!!**

Let me know what you think! The good, the bad, ugly! I want to know!

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