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Vegan Ramen with Brown Rice Noodles

Oh mama.

First, just to clear the air - I have never actually had a bowl of real ramen. Yes, I've had the packaged instant ramen noodles back in the day. Does anyone else remember that terrifying phase in the 90s where kids just ate crunchy ramen noodles out the bag at lunchtime? Though I was sad at the time, looking back now, I am so glad my mom wouldn't let us do that. And I've had some fish or veggie ramen out at restaurants before, and they've been wonderful. But I have never had a bowl of delicious, high quality ramen out a good Japanese place or ramen shop - here in Canada, or when I was in Japan.

But don't worry. My guy T, who has indeed tried and loved many a real ramen in his day, loves this version just as much. So do I. I bet you will too.

It's super quick to make, very warming and satisfying on a cool winter evening, you can use up all the odds and ends kind of veggies in your fridge, and really let's be honest: eating squiggly noodles is just fun.

Vegan Ramen (with Brown Rice & Millet Noodles)

for two.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of brown rice ramen noodles. I use this one here, by lotus foods. FYI - they have it at Costco - a 10 pack for around $10 <3
  • 4 - 6 cups of water, or soup stock (we like a lot of broth with our noodles, so we use 6 cups)
  • Veggies of choice. We love: thinly sliced daikon or turnips, carrots, mushrooms of any kind, broccoli, greens - especially cabbage, and green onions.
  • Protein of choice: chickpeas, or some tofu are delicious. Sauteed tempeh would also be mega-yum.
  • lemon juice or vinegar.
  • 3 tsp miso paste of choice (we rotate through mugi miso, a millet miso I picked up, and brown rice miso) OR 1 tbsp shoyu.
  • some spice, if you like it hot: chili pepper flakes, a dash of cayenne, some grated fresh ginger
  • dash of nori flakes or other seaweed flakes.

Directions

  1. Heat up a dash of toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Saute your veggies, starting with the green onions (you can add a pinch of salt), and then add the rest one at at time, starting with the thicker or longer cooking veggies first. Leave out the greens to add in later (unless you're using cabbage, if so, throw them in now).
  3. If using tofu, add it in now and saute for a richer flavour. You can also throw it in later.
  4. Add in soup stock / water.
  5. Bring to boil, and let simmer with the lid on until veggies are fairly tender. If you slice your veggies thinly, then probably around 10 - 15 minutes.
  6. Somewhere along the way, add in a squeeze of lemon, or a dash of brown rice vinegar, and any spices you desire. If using shoyu rather than miso, add the shoyu in now.
  7. Add in sliced greens, and the ramen noodles, and let simmer for about 4 minutes (as per package instructions).
  8. If using Miso, after you put the noodles in, stir your miso with a bit of water or some stock, and add to the pot. let simmer on low (not boiling) for about 4 minutes.
  9. I usually throw in some seaweed flakes near the end, after the noodles are added.
  10.  Enjoy! I like mine with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime.

Macro Monday: Colour Therapy

Hi Friends,

Lately my life has been filled to the brim with COLOUR. All colours, all intensities, everywhere I look i'm seeing colours.

The more colours I see when I'm out for a walk, the more energized I feel.
The more colours in I include in my meals, the better I feel.
The more colours I wear, surround myself in & place around me, the more balanced my days are.

Have you ever noticed that at different times in your life you are drawn to certain colours? I sure have - I definitely go through colour phases.

So, this got me thinking about all the different articles, books & charts I've read about the healing effects of each colour. I find it super interesting :)

MM: Colour Therapy

Please find below some point form information about some of the mental & emotional states & feelings the colours are associated with, along some of the things that things each colour is thought to be healing for. This is all coming from things I've heard along the way, as well as from the lovely and wonderful charts I've included below [of course, there are many more colours out there, all with different meanings - these are just some of the common ones]. Also, along with most of the colours, I've included some of my daily inspiration for soaking in each colour - through food, and through seeing.

Also, you can easily not have enough, or be getting too much of each colour - meaning simply that you can become imbalanced if you focus all the time, let's say, on the colour red - but you can also be lacking in the qualities that the colour red can bring to your life, if you avoid red all together.  Balance & moderation, as per usual, are key :)

*Please note: The chakras are very much associated with colours, but I wanted to keep this post not too terribly long. Perhaps in the future i'll talk about colour and the chakra system in our bodies (our energetic centres).

Green

  • Harmony & Balance in all ways
  • Associated with wealth / affluence
  • Non-attachment
  • Beneficial for: the heart & lungs, also kidney problems


Yellow

  • Energizing
  • Uplifting
  • Joy
  • Light-hearted
  • Beneficial for: intestinal & digestive system, the nervous system

Blue

  • Peaceful
  • Trustworthy & responsible
  • Inner peace and serenity.
  • Beneficial for: throat conditions, migraines, soothes the mind

Magenta / Pink

  • Uplifts the spirit
  • Beneficial for: nausea, vomiting, depression

Turquoise

  • Communication & truth
  • Invigorating yet calming
  • General healing
  • Beneficial for: fatigue, acne


Red

  • Strengthening & Stimulating
  • Power
  • Love
  • Beneficial for: reproductive organs, also in can raise blood pressure


Orange

IMG_6621.JPG
  • Happiness
  • Enthusiasm
  • Promotes confidence
  • Social interaction
  • Beneficial for: indigestion, joint pain, and for increasing immunity

Violet or Purple

  • Purification & wellness
  • Intuition & Spirituality
  • Nobility & luxury
  • Wisdom
  • Beneficial for: Very calming - good for mental & nerve imbalances, helping promote healthy sleeping patterns

Indigo

  • Wisdom
  • Truth
  • Self-mastery
  • Beneficial for: hearing, sight & nerves.

White

  • Purity, purification
  • Innocence
  • Beneficial for: purifying the mind

Some colourful meals:

Enjoy these colour charts below <3

http://s228.photobucket.com/user/Pyctsi/media/Random/ColourTherapy.jpg.html

http://s228.photobucket.com/user/Pyctsi/media/Random/ColourTherapy.jpg.html

http://beryll.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Colour-Therapy.gif

http://beryll.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Colour-Therapy.gif

http://www.cpfirst.org/images/COLOR%20therapy3.jpg

http://www.cpfirst.org/images/COLOR%20therapy3.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EuxRpFlWfOA/UAY_prwHouI/AAAAAAAAClw/qZVRarm0w7s/s1600/chromo-colors.jpeg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EuxRpFlWfOA/UAY_prwHouI/AAAAAAAAClw/qZVRarm0w7s/s1600/chromo-colors.jpeg

What colours have you been craving in your life?

Have the best week friends - full of colour & life!

xo Jess

Macro Monday: Macrobiotics' Secret Ingredient

How do you thicken gravy, make a pudding, pie filling or fruit sauce, and also help relieve indigestion using Macrobiotic friendly ingredients?

Well, get yourself a big bag of magical white powdery stuff...NO, I don't mean THIS KIND of white stuff. :)

I mean the kind of white powder that you'll find in the "odds & ends & weird ingredients" aisle at your health foods store. It's called Kuzu!

MM: All About Kuzu (Kudzu)

 Macrobiotics' Secret Ingredient:

kuzu.JPG

What is it?

Kuzu (Kudzu) is a vine that grows in Asia, and is also known as Japanese Arrowroot. Thanks to Wikipedia, I finally understand why there are multiple spellings of the same word: The Japanese word for the plant is kuzu (γ‚―γ‚Ί or θ‘›), but when the word was first put into latin script (romanized) it appeared as kudzu. Same plant, same meaning, two ways to spell it: I'll go with kuzu.

Traditional & Medicinal Qualities & Uses

Both the roots & the flowers of this vine have been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine & in Japan to treat many health ailments, including but not limited to:  headaches, diarrhea, colds, rashes, migraines, stomach problems & indigestion, the flu, hangovers and even hayfever!

Because of the isoflavones (especially isoflavone puerarin) and other plant compounds in Kuzu, it can help relieve many other complaints, such as undesirable menopausal issues & hormone imbalances. Kuzu also appears to have cardiovascular benefits: it decreases blood pressure, and can even assist with circulation within the heart itself.

Kuzu has been used historically in the treatment of alcoholism (it can suppress alcohol cravings) and irregular heartbeat, and in China it has been used when giving treatment for strokes. It is even said to have antioxidant & anti-viral activity, and can help with blood sugar levels & insulin resistance.

Um....Wowza!

I have read about Macrobiotic remedies using Kuzu, but I did not know the full extent of its powers. The sources where I read about all these mind boggling health benefits are here & here  .

In Macrobiotics

In my understanding, Macrobiotics would classify kuzu as having a YANG effect: a downward & inwards moving energy --> perfect for helping the lower intestine and strengthening digestion!

Kuzu root is also an extremely alkalizing food. Outside of cooking (see section below), kuzu is most often used in Macrobiotics as an alkalizing remedy for health issues that are caused by over-acidity, such as indigestion caused by over-consumption of acidic foods and/or overeating, and even cancer as it is a highly acidic condition.

In most Macrobiotic books you'll find a recipe for some sort of an umeboshi & kuzu healing drink. Sometimes it is made with teas, sometimes with shoyu (soy sauce), and sometimes with ginger! I haven't personally tried it myself yet, but I do recommend consulting a qualified health care practitioner before undertaking any new remedy.

But, if you are curious, Here's a simple recipe for ume-sho-kuzu with cute pictures!
**please note: I have more commonly seen this recipe with a smaller amount of umeboshi, such as this one, but I just loved the pics with the first link.

Culinary Uses

Kuzu starch (powder / rock chunks) is used in cooking to thicken liquids! You can use it like you would cornstarch or arrowroot powder. But, unlike corn starch that may thin if the liquid cools, kuzu just keeps getting thicker & thicker. I like it because it's a more natural alternative that has undergone much less processing than regular ol' starches. It is the perfect ingredient to use when making gravy, soups & dessert!

Here are the directions on the back of the package: 

photo (2).JPG

I have used kuzu as a thickener in many dishes, including:

And one of the most delicious treats I tried in Japan was Kudzu Mochi.

YUM! 

 

Expect a delicious new dessert recipe that uses kuzu up on the blog mid-week, so please check back soon <3

Have you ever tried Kuzu in cooking, or in a remedy?
I'd love to hear about your experiences!