Jazz Up Your Ramen

Chris has a serious ramen obsession, and I mean with all kinds. Since we don’t have a usual ramen place here in Boulder, we usually go with the packaged stuff. Now I rarely ever eat that packaged stuff, because it’s not the best for you. However, I did get him off the Top Ramen crap and now he eats the stuff that actually gets imported from Japan (a little more expensive, but worth it). Most people who have ramen have just that–just the noodles with hot water. I, however, dare you to jazz it up a little! Make it healthier! There are many ways to do this, but this is how we did it.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Serving Size: 2
Finished product...oh so good

Finished product…oh so good

Ingredients

  • 2 packets of Sapporo Ichiban ramen 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 block firm tofu
  • 2-3 eggs

Directions

  • First, fill up a pot with water, about 4 inches of water. Start on high heat, aiming for a boil. Put the soy sauce in the water
  • Cut up the tofu into squares or thin strips
  • Wait for it to start boiling, and then put in the tofu
  • Turn down the heat slightly and let the tofu boil for about 20 or so minutes (I went and took a shower during this time)
  • Now it’s time to add the spinach or whatever kind of greens you want. Stir them around so they get submerged
Boiling boiling boiling

Boiling boiling boiling

  • When you’re two minutes out, go ahead and crack the eggs into the boiling pot
  • Get out the ramen packets. You can use the flavoring if you want. Put into large bowls so that you have room for all the other fun stuff

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  • Now slowly start to pour the contents of the pot into the bowls, you want to try to get the liquid out first and pour as evenly as you can. Then the other stuff will come plopping out too. And that’s basically it! Make sure to let the ramen sit a little bit so the noodles can expand
Not as appetizing as it tasted, but this is what it might look like when you first pour it

Not as appetizing as it tasted, but this is what it might look like when you first pour it

This is a quick meal with carbs, proteins, and fats in it to make it well-rounded. Yes, it’s still ramen from a package, but it certainly didn’t taste or feel that way after jazzing it up. Again, this is just one way of doing it. Next time I might add ground turkey for Chris’, more greens, and play with it! Add nutrients to food to stay hungry and fit!

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Chris ended up finishing mine too...no surprises here

Chris ended up finishing mine too…no surprises here

BONUS KITTY PIC 

The cats FINALLY realized Dovah exists last night. They were so curious and interested they didn't want to sleep

The cats FINALLY realized Dovah exists last night. They were so curious and interested they didn’t want to sleep

Welcome to the Family…. Dovah!

Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted a pet snake. There are few animals, if any, that I do not like. I’ve never had a fear of snakes and it’s hard for me to understand how other people do. If they are massive and/or venomous it’s easier to understand, but how can you say someone like Dovah is scary? After years of failing to convince my mother, who is petrified of snakes (not turned to stone), I finally convinced Alana.

After a hunt on Craigslist and some promises that people couldn’t keep (don’t expect anything from Craigslist), we ended up going to our local Petsmart. Petco had a baby ball python but it wasn’t quite as cute as the one at Petsmart. We bought a basic starter kit for desert reptiles, some extra caves and logs for climbing and basking, and some frozen baby mice. (Sorry everyone, I don’t enjoy feeding it but it has to be done.)

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We asked if they knew what the snake’s age and gender was but they weren’t sure. They estimated him to be under a year old but since gender testing in snakes is so mean and inhumane, we decided it would be best just not to know and we took him to be a boy. Since we are going to be getting a female dog and we already have a balance of males and females in-house, we decided to keep that ratio.

We had to decide a name for our new buddy and our typical method is think of a character from something “nerdy” that fits well. For a snake, for us, that means anything related to snakes or dragons in mythology, video games, books, etc. I thought of some Japanese words and some Naruto characters, but our quest ended shortly when I suggested a unisex name that was a no-brainer.

Hi!

Hi!

The Elder Scrolls video (first computer) game series moved into the mainstream this year when Skyrim was released. Most people just didn’t know about the series before this game and really no one knew about it before Morrowind was released for the PC and XBOX. However, Alana and I can both remember playing these games (Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim) since we were little. There was also Battlespire, Redguard, and a bunch of mobile games as well, but these were not as good as the major releases. Let me save you from our love for the series for now (It has been a pyramid effect… with Morrowind at the top. They really screwed up with Skyrim, in my opinion… which includes over 800 hours on Morrowind and 400 on Skyrim… before January of 2012.) (Editor’s Note: also check out the soundtrack…Jeremy Soule is brilliant. I actually use his ambient music for my meditations!)

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In the world of Tamriel exists the land of Skyrim, which was and is heavily populated by dragons. The native word for dragon in their tongue is dovah. What a perfect name for our little dragon. Dovah. It reminds us of a series that we have been attached to since 1994! A series that we have thousands of hours of gameplay and tens of thousands of more hours of thought. It’s a cute name but a powerful name. It was perfect. He just hasn’t learned it yet.

He likes to hug

He likes to hug

So Dovah is a “male” ball python. He is about a year old and weighs a few pounds. Dovah is about two feet tall but you’ll always find him in his cave wrapped in a ball. He is a picky eater and usually misses the pray and ends up snipping at my thumb. We’ll work on developing his senses. Ball pythons can live for up to 30 years and can grow anywhere from 4-5 feet typically, depending on how much you feed them. We will keep him on the small side and far away from the cats. The cats would eat him now but he might have the upper hand in a few years.

I don’t want to say too much now because we don’t know very much about him and haven’t spent a ton of time together, but we will keep you updated! It might seem like a strange thought but becoming more familiar with nature and animals can help you understand new ways to use energy, and energy utilization is a great way to stay hungry and fit!

Cute lil guy

Cute lil guy

Mama’s Rhubarb Pie

Let me start by saying I have the best mum in the whole world. Let me say next that she makes the best rhubarb pie in the whole world. And let me say NEXT that she surprised me by sending me a package Halloween day with fresh-cut rhubarb from her garden two states away along with goodies like a movie and candy. She sent it that morning and it came that afternoon. I couldn’t believe it. Totally surprised me. She’s always sending me pictures and telling me she’s baking a rhubarb pie or crumble and I’m always unhappily drooling in Colorado (she lives in California). SO, I have rhubarb (a lot of people curiously don’t even know what this tart food is) and it really doesn’t require many more ingredients. It’s an easy recipe, but I called my mum a few times to make sure I was doing it right.

My mum and I trying not to laugh

My mum and I trying not to laugh

Finished product. Yes I did make shapes on it

Finished product. Yes I did make shapes on it

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Baking Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rhubarb (roughly)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 piece pie crust

Directions

  • Thaw out the pie crusts (if you’re doing frozen) by leaving out for at least 15 minutes
  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F
  • Chop up the rhubarb into 3/4 inch pieces (roughly) and toss them in a large bowl
Rhubarb from California! Straight from the garden

Rhubarb from California! Straight from the garden

  • In a small bowl, mix the sugar and flour together
  • Now, toss the sugar/flour mixture with the chopped up rhubarb in the big bowl. Mix it around so that the sugar is evenly distributed among the rhubarb
This is the part where I always snack

This is the part where I always snack

  • Put that sugar-coated rhubarb in the first pie tin
Drooling...

Drooling…

  • Now, this is probably the trickiest part: getting the other crust to come down evenly on the bottom crust. So the rhubarb should be a little heaping in the bottom pie tin. Thus, you want to flip that second pie crust so that its bottom is on top.
  • Press upon the bottom crust and rhubarb. Use a fork to press and bind the two crust together all away around the edges. You will get some extra dough so get a sharp knife and slice around the edge to get the rest. Use the extra dough to make shapes or faces!
Looks weird, but I promise it turns out well!

Looks weird, but I promise it turns out well!

  • Make three small slits in the pie to let it breathe
  • Now this next step is to ensure that the pie crust doesn’t burn: get some tin foil, fold it in half and just cover the edge of the crust. It may take a few pieces of foil. Nobody likes a burnt crust!

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  • Put it on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake it for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F. Then turn it down to 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes. It should be golden brown on top and you should be able to go through those slits cleanly
Just waiting for me to dig in

Just waiting for me to dig in

And that is it! This pie isn’t as fun to make without my mum because I have nobody to tell me not to eat the sugar-laden rhubarb and smack my hand. But it still turned out pretty well. Actually, it turned out to be delicious. The rhubarb was still tart but balanced off with the sugar, and the crust didn’t get burned at all! Maybe it’s in the blood. I’m glad I didn’t botch this one! Thanks, mum! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Nommmmmmmmmmmm

Nommmmmmmmmmmm

BONUS KITTY PIC

Cuddles, obviously.

Cuddles, obviously.

Movie Monday: Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I can read over and over again. I think the first time I read it I was either in middle school or high school. The last time I read it was about four years ago, so it wasn’t too fresh in my head but also I still remembered all the main plot points. I was very excited for this movie to come out, and it seemed to take forever for it to actually release! But that’s my anticipation talking. Let’s get to the review.

This movie had a solid amount of great actors: Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield (boy from Hugo, who was brilliant in that as well), and a grown-up Abigail Breslin. If a movie has Harrison Ford in it, I’m going to get excited. Leave me alone, I’m a Star Wars nerd. However, I was slightly anxious that they would botch it up when it is such a great and captivating book. It also made me nervous that by the time we saw it, it had only 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. Still Fresh, but not as high as I would’ve hoped. However, I was not disappointed. 

enders-game-poster03

I really thought I would be, honestly. However, the movie kept me engaged the entire time. The acting was superb by all involved and they were able to show the depth of Ender’s emotions. That’s what I was worried about. A lot of the book is in Ender’s head. Of course, the same complexity isn’t there, but I wasn’t expecting it to that degree. However, it surprised me with showing all the steps that led him to the end. I think it helped that Orson Scott Card (the author) was one of the producers. 

For those who haven’t read the book, the basic premise is that the International Military is recruiting children to become the next great commander to defeat the alien race that previously invaded Earth. The story centers around one boy, Ender, a “third” (third-born), who has been chosen and pushed towards what the military wants from him. However, like many action flicks, it isn’t a straight-shooter. Ender is deeply conflicted at many levels, and the movie actually depicted that. Perhaps not as well as in the book, but it certainly came across. Ender is the world’s hope.

enders-game-promo-poster

Surprisingly enough, they hit all the major plot points I hoped for. Sure they skipped a few too many battle room scenes, but I understand. They kept it under two hours, impressively. The movie built up properly, from the beginning, until the very end. I am not one for giving spoilers, but the one of the most powerful scenes (the end battle), I feel, really captured the intensity and emotion from the book. That was what I was most concerned with.

Overall, I suggest to Ender’s Game fans to see this movie. It’s not going to be exactly as you imagined. It never is with book to movie adaptations, but this production gets close, at least for me. It gets a hearty thumbs up from me and I will most likely get it on DVD/Blu-Ray. The plot is captivating, the acting is believable, and you feel for Ender the whole way through. Use impending-doom-movies to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Belly out!

Belly out!