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pad thai & fried rice

Do you ever have wierd cravings for food?  Honestly, I rarely ever do.  I usually eat fairly similar, with a craving for sweets after a meal, but I never really have a strong craving for a type of food.

But, last week, I picked up some rice noodles at Trader Joe’s and ever since then, I have been dying to make Pad Thai!  So, I did just that.

Pad Thai

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces rice noodles
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1-2 tsp chile powder
  • 2-3 tbsp sucanat, or other sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Pad Thai is actually fairly simple to make.  The ingredients are simple and you can really add any veggies that you want to.  I kept this dish simple, but feel free to add carrots, peas, or other veggies that sound good to you.

Directions:

1.  Cook your rice noodles accoring to the package instructions.  I boiled a pot of water and added the noodles for 6 minutes, until tender.

2. Mix up your sauce – soy sauce, chile powder, peanut butter, sugar and hot water.  Set aside.

3. Chop your onion and garlic and cook over medium heat with 1 tbsp oil until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

4.  Add in your pepper (and other veggies if you wish) and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.  All of the veggies should be cut into small strips so that they cook evenly.  You don’t want them mushy, but you want them a little less than crunchy.

5.  Push your veggies to the side of the pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and crack the 2 eggs directly into the pan.  Using your spatula, scramble the eggs (they will cook quickly).

6.  Once the eggs are cooked, push them to the side with the veggies, add 1 tbsp of oil, the cooked rice noodles and 1/3 of the sauce.  Mix everything together, including the veggies and cook until the noodles are sticky.  Continue adding the remaining sauce and mix it all together well.  Keep mixing, as the noodles may stick to the pan.

7.  Top with crushed peanuts and serve warm!

I had a really hard time taking a good picture of this pad thai, but don’t let that fool you.  It tasted really good!  I was plesantly surprised and so was my husband!

Since I was already making pad thai, I thought I would make up some fried rice as well.  I never really understood fried rice…was the rice really fried?  Well, I’m still not sure, but this is a bit of a healthier version.

Pineapple Fried Rice

Serves 4-6

(adapted from this recipe at About.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 tbsp veggie broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (or peas)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup whole unsalted cashews
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
  • 2 tsp curry powder

If you already have pre-cooked rice, this recipe is very easy.  If not, then cook some rice and have it in your fridge ready to make this recipe.  The rice tastes better in the recipe if it is a few days old.

Directions:

1.  Cook your rice according to package instructions, or use leftover rice.  Have this prepared before starting to cook the rest of the recipe.

2.  Mix together your soy sauce and curry powder.  Set aside.

3.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large wok over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic and chile pepper and stir-fry until tender, about 2-3 minutes.  If the wok becomes dry, add 1 tbsp veggie broth to keep is sizzling.

4.  Crack the egg into the wok and scramble it quickly.

5.  Add the corn and cashews and mix for 1 minute.  If the mix gets dry, add more veggie broth.

6.  After everything is mixed and cooked, add the rice, pineapple and raisins.  Mix everything together with the previously made sauce and stir fry until warmed and the rice becomes crisp.  At this point, the pan should be dry, so do not add more veggie broth.  You do not want to end up with soggy rice!

7.  Serve warm!

Yum!  This was awesome.  I loved the rice with the pineapple and raisins.  They definitely made the dish.  The salty soy sauce and pineapple were perfect compliments.

This was an easy, cook-at-home, take-out meal.  And, to me, it tasted much better than any take-out.

So, don’t fight the craving!  Just make a healthier version at home!

keep your healthy habits on vacation

…or over a long weekend away!

When on vacation with a group it is sometimes hard to always eat what you want.  Not everyone has the same tastes, you don’t want to spend a lot, etc.

In order to keep from stressing too much about that, I just make sure to bring my own snacks and healthy additions to meals and desserts.  It is much easier to bring food along when you are going on a road trip, but it is definitely still possible to throw some simple things into your suitcase on a plane.

Before the weekend, I made a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some simple and healthy snacks.

I picked up bananas, almond milk, and a few packets of protein powder to make quick, simple, satisfying and healthy smoothies.  These can be made for a quick meal or for a mid-day snack.

I packed my small Magic Bullet, too!  I just got this blender, but I plan to take it with me regularly on trips now, including on a plane.  It does not take up a lot of room and you could pack protein powders in the cup itself to save room.

Yogurt, bananas and granola can always be eaten for a meal or snack.

Hummus, avocados and crackers (and I will be sure to pick up some veggies when we get down there) for me to bring out to snack on when the bags of chips and other snacks come out.  Hummus and avocados can also be added to salad or veggies to make a meal!

Another simple and easy thing to bring is pre-cooked rice and beans!  Trader Joe’s has a great variety, my favorite being the Black Beluga Lentils and the Brown Rice.  These pre-cooked packets can be heated on the stove or microwave in a couple of minutes and make the perfect addition to any meal.

Other snack items include dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars and peanut butter packets that you can pack and bring anywhere with you.

I also made sure to make some healthier homemade muffins and cookies.

Carrot Banana Muffins (see recipe here)

Blueberry Muffins (see recipe here)

Super Charge Me Cookies (see recipe here)

By bringing my own snacks, I can piece together simple meals if need be.  I feel better about myself and my body feels better when I continue to eat as I normally do.  I want to feel good while on vacation, so a little planning beforehand is well worth the effort.  Plus, once you get into this routine, it takes no extra time to prepare at all!

Yes, this may seem like a lot, and it is because we are taking our car, which means a cooler is available.  If you are flying somewhere, pack some granola bars, dried fruit and protein powder packs in your suitcase for snacks and hit up a grocery store for fruits and veggies once you arrive at your destination.

I also always pack my resistance bands and exercise clothes.

The bands are easy to use for 10-20 minutes each morning for a quick workout along with pushups and situps.  While walking and/or running is a perfect way to explore a new area and a great way to squeeze in some exercise!

Working out and eating well while traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!  All you need is a little prep and your vacation can be all that you want it to be. 🙂

Happy traveling!