Archive for May 7, 2011


I love that song. If fact, here it is for your viewing and listening pleasure.

Ok then, back to the food. This was one of those Ok, I Have Some Yakisoba Noodles and Random Vegetables So Let’s Throw Them Together “recipes”.  So let’s get to it!

1. First, I said a word of thanks for living in a town with a Trader Joe’s because they have organic tofu for well under $2/lb.

2. Then I cut one block into cubes. Yeah, I know my cuts were kinda uneven. Oh well. While I was cutting the tofu I was heating about 1 Tbs. oil (canola and corn blend, but use whatever you want as long as it holds up well to heat) in a large skillet. Just a note here about tofu – if you have time and you’re planning on browning it, press it first. You’ll get much better results and it won’t stick to the pan as easily. I was in a hurry so I didn’t do it this time.

3. I added the tofu to the skillet, giving it a quick shake to keep the cubes from sticking and cut 2 medium carrots into strips. Kind of like wide matchsticks, but feel free to cut them however you want. Go on…go crazy.

4. Then I sliced 1 yellow onion into strips about 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide. I also check on the tofu because it was starting to brown. Once most of the moisture has evaporated from the pan it’s important to check it every few minutes so it doesn’t stick. Or you could use something other than tofu. Whatever you want.

5. Once the tofu had browned on most sides I removed it from the pan before adding the carrots and onion because this was a particularly soft block and I knew it would fall apart if I left it in while cooking the other ingredients. If I had mushrooms I would’ve used them, too, but I used them all in the Turkey Tetrazzini the other day.

6. While the carrots and onion softened on medium heat I cut 2 large celery stalks and about 3 cups green cabbage into thin strips. Some other veggies that would be nice to add if you have them on hand are zucchini, Napa cabbage, baby corn, water chestnuts or snow peas.

7. I added the cabbage and celery to the skillet (I’d love to have a wok, but don’t have room to store it) and continued cooking it all for a couple of minutes.

8. You may be wondering, “Where’s the garlic??” Don’t worry, it’s coming. Next I broke up the noodles a bit with my hands before placing them on top of the veggies. I don’t know the exact measurement of the noodles, but I got them at Costco and they come in a two pack. I used one of the packages.

9. Let me just apologize in advance for this section. I made the sauce while the noodles steamed over the veggies and just like every other time I’ve made this I didn’t measure anything except for the 1/4 cup light soy sauce I used as the base. I added maybe 1 Tbs mirin, 1 Tbs sugar, 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp ground ginger (fresh is so much better, but I didn’t have any), 1/2 tsp black pepper, 6 cloves minced garlic (fresh, that I minced myself) and enough water so the whole thing equalled 1 1/2 cups. Just be sure to taste the sauce before adding it to the pan. It’s a lot easier to adjust before it’s mixed in. I stirred it until the sugar dissolved then poured it over the noodles, mixing it in and breaking up the noodles with the spatula. Then I added the tofu back to the skillet and tossed with the noodles and sauce, heating the whole thing through.

10. I topped the finished product with sesame seeds. Yumm! This one’s a family favorite.

One of the most interesting and exciting things about being human is that we have the power to change our circumstances by changing the way we think. Once we catch a bit of inspiration and turn our new thoughts into new behaviors incredible things happen. Since it is so easy to fall back into our old ways of thinking, it’s critical to protect our new, fragile, positive attitudes. Sadly, the people closest to us can be the ones who present the greatest danger.

In the past week, I’ve seen several instances where a friend was talked out of something that would’ve been so good for them by a friend or family member who probably thought they were protecting them from failure or disappointment. The problem with that is that if we don’t push ourselves to try new things or try something again after we’ve failed we will never change anything!

People think they know us and want us to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, the way they go about it isn’t always helpful. If I’m saying negative things about myself because I feel like I’m failing, I don’t need someone to baby me and say it’s ok to think that way. I need someone to tell me to stop it because they know I can do it! We need to encourage each other to be better, do more, and make positive changes; not to feel that it’s ok to beat ourselves up and stay where we are in life. I saw a perfect example of this on facebook the other day and I know the person meant well, but the situation made me want to scream.

If you’re trying to make positive changes DO NOT listen to people when they try to hold you back even when they think they’re being supportive. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. Just be aware of what they’re really saying and move on. If what they’re saying is reinforcing your negative self-talk, push those thoughts away and replace them with positive ones. Like Chalene Johnson says, “be your own biggest cheerleader”. You can do amazing things, but not if you continue to think about yourself and your life the same way.

If you’re one of those well-meaning friends or family members who feels like you’re protecting someone from disappointment please reconsider the way in which you show support. Instead of encouraging them not to try and to keep thinking the same way, show support by telling them you believe they can succeed. You have no idea how much that means to someone who’s decided to face a challenge and push forward. Not to sound cliché, but be part of the solution, not part of the problem. They will have moments when they want to quit because nothing worthwhile is easy. They way you show your support can be the difference between their success or failure. If deep down you’re afraid that their change will take them away from you, by being there and encouraging them through the tough times you’ll earn their appreciation, love and respect bringing you closer together. If you make every step they take that much harder you’ll drive a wedge between you which may result in the thing you fear the most.

I am very passionate about this topic because I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and I’ve let friends and family hold me back because I listened to them when they said things that made me feel like I could never change. I’ve also cultivated a habit of not finishing what I’ve started and no one has ever held me accountable. They didn’t realize it, but what they were really saying to me was that they didn’t believe in me. We think and do based on our habits so it’s time to start paying attention and to form new ones. We need to stop being afraid to take on challenges and follow through. Sure we may fail, but then we pick ourselves up and try again and again and again. If we quit or never even start we guarantee failure, but when we keep going no matter what we will succeed!