I have my own path to follow.
My own trail to travel.
I make messes here and there,
and clean up what I can.
I’m far from perfect.
Accept me as I am.
I have my own path to follow.
My own trail to travel.
I make messes here and there,
and clean up what I can.
I’m far from perfect.
Accept me as I am.
For too long I’ve sat idly by while the good name of procrastination is dragged through the muck. For the sake of getting things done we’re advised to banish, kill, and avoid procrastination without any acknowledgment of the good it’s done.
We owe procrastination. Big time. It’s responsible for our best ideas and busiest hours. Used effectively, procrastination is a powerful motivator and source of inspiration.
Productive procrastination falls into two categories, structured and unstructured. With structured procrastination you use the desire to avoid an important task as motivation to crank out dozens others. Anything to postpone what you really need to do, right?
Whenever I need to avoid something important, I turn to a few tasks that rarely get the attention they deserve.
Structured procrastination is a great way to keep busy, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it. When you’d rather not do anything work related, unstructured procrastination is the way to go. It might seem like laziness, but what’s wrong with that?
Unstructured procrastination is essential for recharging creative energy and allowing the unconscious mind to work on difficult problems. These are 6 productive ways to avoid work completely.
Obesity rates have increased for all population groups in the United States over the last several decades. Between 1986 and 2000, the prevalence of severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) quadrupled from one in two hundred Americans to one in fifty. Extreme obesity (BMI ≥ 50 kg/m2) in adults increased by a factor of five, from one in two thousand to one in four hundred.
The Cause: Stress.
Okay not only stress there’s also laziness, over indulging ourselves (which could be caused by stress) in food, and of course lack of exercise.
So I’ve compiled a list of different ‘practices’ you can take into consideration (and I am recently trying to do as well) when your feeling overwhelmed and a little overly stressed. .
I’m getting so tired of everyone in my life telling me what I’m doing wrong, what I need to do to fix my life yadda yadda yadda.
I actually am really happy with my life and the only thing I would want to change is other people telling me what to do. I have my road to travel, I want everyone to back of and let me travel my way and at my pace.
I can’t make everyone happy. I’m sorry. I’m not a miracle child, I don’t have super human powers, and most importantly I am NOT
perfect. The conclusion I have come to (much to the dismay of others) the only person I can truly make happy is myself. I’m not here to make others happy so there you go.
I may be messing up my life more than I know, or I may be making some sort of change doing God knows what. So please. Let me be myself for a while.
On another note, I think too much, care too much, worry too much, and love to much.
Issue 1: Thinking
When something is bothering me I can’t seem to stop thinking about it, I worry (refer to issue 3) it will bother me for days (very unhealthy) and I can’t get it off my mind, it will literally make me sick to my stomach. (I also don’t like knowing others are upset at me, creating issues with thinking).
Issue 2: Caring
I have this deep issue that I can’t seem to get past, when I care for someone in my life it goes deeper than caring. I love that person with a passion. Not in that creepy way that’s like ‘ooh I love you’. It’s that I would go through anything to help you out, I would do whatever it takes to make sure your okay. Even to the point of taking care of others more than myself (not healthy).
I can’t do that anymore. Want to know why? To other people it doesn’t matter that if you care that deeply, if it’s not benefiting them why does it matter? Not good when all your wanting is that friend to actually be there and be a friend to you too.
Issue 3: Worry
I worry about others. Yes I do realize that I make way more than my allotment of mistakes. Me worrying makes me think about whatever it is that is worrying me. I begin to obsess. But I worry so much about others that GAHH. Moving on.
Issue 4: Love
When I love someone I love them from my core being. Refer to Issue 2. The reason this is an issue is because it creates all the above effects.
I should become a heartless uncaring person. One with no emotions. No feelings. No nothing.
Because the alternative is me stressing more than I should about other people, than can stress about themselves, for themselves.
This is me. Trying to decide who I should be cause apparently who I am isn’t good enough now.
I feel a little less stressed. And apologize to the few who decide to follow this blog.
You may be curious as to why I haven’t posted a Pad Thai recipe before, well I’m a beginner. Durr.
I don’t actually have a recipe! Is that a good enough reason?
But what I have, and will share with you here, is way better than a recipe. It’s in fact a fool-proof way to make Pad Thai -Pad Thai for just about anyone from beginners to experts. I must warn you that I will a bit wordy. I could easily write a very short description and make everything look and sound easy -but that means I’d be leaving you to figure out the details on your own. Or I could explain every step of the way so that you understand what goes into a Pad Thai and what distinguishes a great one from the usual blah. The piece might look a little intimidating, but I think it will in fact be easier than any easy-looking recipe. And, I promise you, if you read through the entire thing, you’ll never have to look at another Pad Thai recipe. You’ll be set. Really you will.
There are so many silly Pad Thai recipes around, a quick google reveals one with ketchup as an ingredient. What an abomination! I couldn’t even call myself a cook. Ketchup. Oriental. NO.
A few other recipes I came across would have us make four or more portions of Pad Thai at once –which, I can guarantee you will result in clumps of oily, sticky noodle unfit for human consumption.
The textures and flavors of a proper Pad Thai derive largely from the way the dish is cooked, that is to say its quick footloose dance in an ultra hot wok. That simply means you can’t do many servings at once.No, no, I’m not going to make you drive around town procuring all the exoticities required to make a proper Pad Thai only to feed just you and your sweetheart. It is entirely possible to feed a whole crowd. You just have to do it like they do on the streets of Bangkok -cook one or two portions at a time. Your friends and dinner guests must be a bit patient, but they will kiss you in the end –no, not the rear end, just the end of your party, get your mind off the gutter you!
Another common mistake in a Pad Thai recipe is to season while cooking in the wok, which once again get in the way of that super-heated wok-quickstep I mentioned before. If you follow those recipes that have you measure a tablespoon of fish sauce and one of tamarind and yet another of palm sugar into the hot wok during the cooking, you are –it pains me to say- doomed to failure. By the time you’re done adding all the whatnots, your noodle turns gooey, your protein done to the texture of a rubber eraser, and your perfectly innocent Pad Thai becomes what I call a sorry excuse of the dish. Bad all around.
Pad Thai vendors in Thailand don’t season their Pad Thai one portion at a time. They usually have a giant vat of sauce pre-made waiting patiently by the wok station. As they cook a portion they add the sauce -no guess work, no fumbling with this bottle and that, a ladle full of the pre-seasoned sauce and that’s it. Easy enough, yes? Us silly Americans making everything difficult on ourselves. That’s how I do it. I make my sauce beforehand. I don’t even care if I make too much sauce, since it keeps quite well in the fridge for a long time –comes very handy for a quickie Pad Thai fix later. I also prepare all the other ingredients and have them ready.
There are four ingredients in the Pad Thai sauce, Tamarind pulp (for the sour flavor, you can also replace with a white vinegar I use Rice vinegar), Fish Sauce (for the salty part, or soy sauce), Palm Sugar (for a slight sweetness, white or brown sugar), and Paprika or Thai chilli powder (for the spice). Two cups of sauce will make about 6-8 portions of Pad Thai.
To make about two cups of sauce, you should begin with about ½ cup each of Tamarind (*see the note below for how to prepare tamarind pulp), Fish Sauce, and Palm Sugar. If you substitute white and/or brown sugar for the Palm Sugar, you should use only about 1/3 cup. Melt all these together in a small pot over a low flame. Taste and adjust the flavor balance until it suits you. Then add the chilli powder, begin with a teaspoon or two, depending on your taste, and keep adding until it tastes the way you like it. By the time you’re done flavoring the pot should be simmering happily. Turn off the heat and let the sauce rest while you get to the other ingredients. At this point in the game I like my sauce to lead with a salty flavor, follow by a mild sourness, then just a gentle sweetness and a soft caress from the chilli at the back of my throat at the very end.
Those of you with a scientific mind might want more precise measurements or proportion or whatnot. I’d do it if I could, but the problem is most Thai ingredients are not standardized in the way that a Western ingredient, say, white granulated sugar, is. A cup of granulated sugar is always the same, but a cup of your Palm Sugar or Fish Sauce might not have the same intensity as mine. So the easiest thing to do is just to taste. And herein lies another beauty of preparing the sauce ahead of time. You can take your time to taste and adjust the sauce precisely to your liking, which would be hard to do last minute in the wok.
Now that you have your sauce ready and waiting, you can prep the other ingredients.
Here’s a list of what you need, and the quantity to use per portion.
Thin rice noodle, also called Rice Sticks, Banh Pho, or Chantaboon.
You can buy Rice Stick noodles at your local Asian supermarket or get them online. Soak them . Don’t soak until the noodle is soft enough to eat, or it will turn into mush in the wok. Just do it until it’s pliable and almost edile, like very al dente pasta, then drain well. You will need about 1-2 loosely packed cups per portion, depending on how carb-happy you are. You can use more or less, entirely up to you and your friends. A 500g (or about 16oz) bag of dried noodles should be enough for 6-8 portions. Buy a little extra just to be sure. It’s cheap and, if left unsoaked, will last just about forever.
If you can find fresh rice noodle at your market, depending on the freshness, you might want to soak it anyway just to soften it a bit more. Follow the same step as the dried noodle but do not soak for as long. One normal bag of fresh noodle, usually around 500g, will be enough for 3-4 portions.
Shrimps, or chicken, or for vegetarians see under ‘Tofu’ below
The more traditional version of Pad Thai uses shrimps, use about 7 pieces of medium size shrimps per portion, peeled of course. You can be as generous as you want.
You can also easily substitute chicken, about 2oz of chicken meat (cut into bite-size pieces) per portion will be plenty.
I like to use the pressed tofu that comes in square blocks. You can use just about any firm-textured tofu you can find, even the pre-fried varieties from Chinese markets. As long as it doesn’t disintegrate when fried in the wok, you will be fine. I cut the tofu into thin, bite-size pieces, and use about a small handful in each carnivorous portion. For a vegetarian portion, with only tofu and no other meat, you will have to use more. A little guess work is involved here but it’s easy enough, yes?
I usually crack one small egg into the wok while cooking each serving. If you dinner guests like less egg you can make two servings at a time and only crack one egg into the wok while cooking, essentially cutting the egg quantity in half in each portion.
I use roasted and unsalted peanuts (sometimes I roast my own) for this. Ground the peanuts roughly, beware not to overdo it as you will end up with peanut butter and not ground peanuts. You will need 1-2 tablespoons per portion, depending on how much your friends like peanuts.
Flat-leaf Garlic Chives, also called Chinese Chives
Bai Gui-chai as they are called in Thai. Although most restaurants use the green part of green onions or spring onions, Garlic Chive is the more traditional herb for Pad Thai. Wash and dry the chives carefully, then cut into 2 inches pieces.
Toast yourself with a glass of champagne now that the prep is done before your dinner guests arrive. A nice off-dry and not oaky champagne will go well with the Pad Thai later too. Lovely Rieslings will do fine as well.
While you’re savoring your champagne, let me tell you a bit about that temperamental beast that’s your well-seasoned wok (**see note below). The success of your Pad Thai depends on it. A wok is not built for heat retention or long and even cooking, unlike Western style pots and pans. A Le Creuset pot, for example, is built like a marathon runner, slow to warm up but has a long staying power. A wok, on the other hand, is more like a sprinter. It heats up really fast, and loses it just as quickly. The thin iron steel material in a good wok transfers more or less all the heat from the flame directly to the content inside. This is great for the ability to control heat, you can turn the fire up and down and the heat in the pan will rise and fall just as quickly. This also means that a wok can sear and cook a small amount of food lightening fast. Adding too much all at once and letting the heat escape would turn a wok into a useless piece of tin in a blink of an eye. And since the caramelization and charring from a hot wok is where the wok-flavor, or wok-breath as some call it, comes from, your utmost goal in wok-cooking is to start out hot and keep it hot! Make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature, and that you add them in sequence and let the wok reheat back up before each addition. At no time should you add a huge amount of ingredients all at once, unless you want a Pad Thai stew.
Now you are ready to make a Pad Thai.
Follow these steps carefully and the best Pad Thai you’ve ever had will be the one you’ve just made! Keep the sauce pot warm on another burner next to your wok. Keep a bowl of water handy too, if things get to hot in the wok you can sprinkle the water on it to slow it down.
You can buy tamarind in blocks or readymade pulp that comes in plastic or glass containers (see the photo above). If you can’t find a local market that carries tamarind you can order it online. If you buy readymade pulp, check to make sure that the ingredients only contain tamarind and water, no sugar or anything else. If you buy block tamarind, soak the block in 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl. Mesh the tamarind and water together and let sit until the water cool down enough not to burn your hands. Stick your hands -your impeccably clean hands as Julia Child would say- into the bowl and work the tamarind and water together until the consistency is a bit looser than room-temperature ketchup. Add more warm water if needed. Then, strain the mixture to remove the pits and tough membranes from the tamarind pulp. The consistency will be thick enough that you’d need to press it through the strainer. Use as much as you need for the Pad Thai sauce and keep the rest in a glass jar in your fridge. You’ll have tamarind pulp handy for a long time.
This recipe is highly adaptable. Some people don’t like the intensity of tamarind. Fine, just use less tamarind and add simple white vinegar til your desired sourness (pun intended). You won’t be able to get rid of tamarind all together. Without it your Pad Thai won’t be much of a dish, but you can use about half the tamarind I use and supplement the rest with vinegar.
**A well-seasoned wok
First of all, you’ll need an iron steel wok -the cheapest kind made of a thin layer of iron steel that’s sold in practically any Chinese market. There’s no need to buy anything fancy, mine was less than $5 and it’s working out great. You just have to keep it well-seasoned and it will last practically forever.
At any point in the making of this superb Pad Thai, if anything sticks to the pan and won’t come out easily with a gentle push of a metal spatula, your wok isn’t well-seasoned. No, no, you don’t have to rush out to buy a replacement. You just have to season it again.
There are plenty of ways to season a pan, here’s how I do it. First, add to your wok one cup of oil –make sure you brush the oil over all the inside surface of the wok- and heat the wok until it is smoking. Tilt the pan around to keep lubricating the surface with oil and let it continues to smoke for a few minutes –make sure your smoke vent is running and all the windows are open, by the way. Then, take the pan off the heat and dispose of the oil. Pour half a cup of kosher salt into the wok and, with a kitchen rag, rub the salt all over the inside surface of the wok. Throw out the salt, wipe the wok clean with a damp towel. Pour a small amount of oil into a paper towel and wipe the oil all over the inside surface again. Your wok is now seasoned and ready.
There is really nothing that perks up a recipe like the use of freshly picked, organic herbs from your own garden. Chopped in sauces, used as garnish, added to salads any dish you add them to seems to just sparkle with the essence of lazy summer afternoons. Many people sadly begin using dried herbs after the frost has killed off the fresh but there is no real need to. Most herbs are simple to grow in a sunny window. South facing is best but I have grown them in nearly every window in the house and find that they are able to adjust in most situations
Of course, some herbs will do better in the house than others. Basil, lavender, oregano, parsley, cilantro, sage, chives, tarragon, and mint are good choices to start from seed. I find that rosemary is better if bought as a small plant. Since space will normally be at a premium consider why you want the herbs and what you will be doing with them.
Basil It comes in many flavor varieties such as lemon, cinnamon, and even a Thai basil, which is spicy with an aftertaste of anise! It is an important herb for Italian, Greek, and French cooking and can be used in so many ways.
Oregano Like basil, a lot of flavor is changed or lost in the drying process. Oregano is a strong flavor and drying can make it bitter. Use the fresh leaves as you would dried, being sure to strip the leaves from the stems. Use in pasta sauces, Greek and Italian dishes, with chicken, tomatoes, or chopped over feta cheese. Marjoram is related to oregano and has a similar, yet more delicate, flavor.
I have heard that cilantro can be tricky. It likes a cooler temperature than many herbs and so I usually try to keep it in an eastern window where it gets the coolest sunlight. It is delicious in Mexican foods and fresh sauces and can be used in place of basil to make a fantastic pesto. I love it in salads because it adds an unusual warm flavor.
Lavender can be grown from seed, although I have had the best results buying it as a small plant. Most people think of potpourri when they thing of lavender but it is a delicious addition to many foods. Lavender is an part of Herbs de Provence, and can be used to flavor many things from meats to desserts. It has a slight citrus flavor to it and pairs well with lemon, orange, or even lime. The purple flower buds are beautiful strewn in a salad or sprinkled throughout a loaf of lemon bread. It also can be used to make a delicious jelly, and tea.
Sage is another herb where the delicate flavor is lost in the drying process. The young leaves are perfect with poultry or game birds, can be used with citrus in fish dishes, and is delicious with strong cheeses.
Of course, mint is delicious in tea and great for settling the stomach or relaxing the nerves, but the leaves add a refreshing taste to salads, and it can be used in desserts and quick breads.
Tarragon comes in two culinary varieties, French and Spanish. The French tarragon is the better quality of the two, having a distinct spiciness that the Spanish lacks. It is good in chicken, fish, and vegetable dishes, or can be used to make tarragon vinegar.
When you want a delicate onion flavor chives are what you want. Use in eggs, cream soups, potatoes, salad dressings, and salads. Do not dry them, do not buy dried chives. The are totally flavorless and a waste of time and money!
Parsley is good for many things besides a nice garnish. Use it in salads, sauces, soups, and herb mixtures. It generally comes in either curly or flat leaf varieties.
If you want a plant to scent your entire kitchen Rosemary is that plant. It is a perennial that gets quite large when grown outside. You can often find it in stores around Christmas time because of its similarity to a small Christmas tree. You can use the leaves in poultry and lamb dishes, and many vegetables. For a delicious shish ka-bob you can strip the leaves from the stem and impale the meat cubes and vegetables on the rosemary stem. It gives it an intense flavor.
Many containers are acceptable for herb growing. As long as they have holes int he bottom (or can have holes added) for drainage, and fit on the windowsill they will work. Plant seeds in a rich potting soil and keep damp. The soil should not be soggy! Water when it begins to dry out but is not yet dry. Soil PH needs to be near neutral for successful herb gardening. Use organic fertilizers as recommended, usually once a month.
Make sure your plants get at least 5 hours of sunlight daily. If you live in the south watch that the sun is not too intense coming through the window because it can burn the leaves. Leave plenty of room around the plants for air circulation. Use them often. The more you use the plant by pinching off leaves, the healthier it will be.
Yes I know it’s a mouthful for a title. But each mouthful is delish. It’s an absolutely amazing recipe I found (and changed a BUNCH. I tend to do this to anything I make, recipes are a good way to get a base idea for what I’m going to cook, times, temperatures etc). Turned out to be one of my new favorites for sure. I actually cut this in half BESIDES the butter, flour and I used about 6 cups of milk. Making it nice, thick and creamy. I don’t like my chowder soupy, because then it just isn’t a chowder its potato soup. I also added more potatoes so that it would be a hearty chowder. It’s easy to add more or less according to your personal taste.