Miraculously Stuffed Eggplant

I’ve been living life on the fly a lot recently. For the past decade (or longer) I’ve planned every moment down to the second. Planning certainly has a lot of perks, but it makes our brain think in binary, rigid ways sometimes. In an effort to break out of this more, I’ve been actively trying to seek out spontaneity and go with the flow. I found eggplants on sale the other day, so I bought a few and just decided I would let an idea come–and if not, just chop and freeze them! I think living life without a guide, without a plan, without a recipe can be a great asset when you find yourself getting bogged down in and stressed by the arbitrary details.

Ingredients:

-1 eggplant

-1 bag prepared @miraclenoodle rice

-1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

-2 tsp olive oil

-1 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 tsp minced garlic

Directions:

1. Combine tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, & garlic in a skillet and let simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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2. Cut eggplant in half length wise and roast at 350 for 10 minutes.

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3. Scrape out inside of eggplant and mix the pieces of eggplant “insides” into your skillet of veggies. .

4. Add prepared @miraclenoodle rice to veggie mix and continue stirring.

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5. Stuff both halves of the eggplant with veggie/rice mixture.

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6. Return stuffed eggplants to oven and roast for 7-10 minutes at 375.

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7. Enjoy! Feel free to freeze or use the leftover veggie rice in another dish or as a side dish.

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🍜

Ted Talk Friday: The secret to great opportunities? The person you haven’t met yet

I found this talk and was immediately curious about the title. Tanya Menon does a great job melding a number of ideas–the value of personal relationships, diversity, and generosity. I hope you enjoy and start thinking of those around you just a little bit differently.

 

 

 

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Do you agree with Menon? Do you surround yourself with those who are different than you?

All the Colors Miracle Rice

I’ve been trying to have fun in the kitchen to cope with the more recent uptick in stress at work…mission accomplished! I’ve been loving the CSA boxes I get from Imperfect Produce as inspiration, which is conveniently delivered to my doorstep! A recent delivery included purple daikon radish, and oh my, these are delicious. Definitely a mild bitterness, but when cooked with coconut oil it blends perfectly with other flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag miracle rice, prepared according to directions
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 purple daikon radish
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 heads bok choy

Directions:
1. Chop bell pepper, purple daikon radish, onion, and bok choy into 1 inch cubes (I usually eyeball and guesstimate what a comfortable bite looks like). Toss veggies in 1 tsp warmed coconut oil.

2) Cook all veggies in you air fryer at 375 for 20 minutes, pausing once to stir. If you don’t have an air fryer, feel free to use the oven!

3) Meanwhile, prepare @miraclenoodle rice and add in garlic, 1 tsp coconut oil, and liquid aminos.

4) Combine veggie mix with  rice mixture and enjoy! This would be great with chicken, shrimp, or tofu!

I added some steamed broccoli on top and enjoyed this over a bed of dressed greens on the patio at work (I’m blessed with California’s sunny winter days 😉

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle!

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What’s your favorite colorful veggie? How do you cope with stress?

Ted Talk Friday: The gift and power of emotional courage

Dr. Susan David does a beautiful, brave job in telling her personal journey that led her to her research focus. Her story dovetails with my interest in the role of narrative in wellbeing. We so often shut others out of our story, but putting it down on paper has such a power–even if no one else reads it. I am passionate about positive psychology, but the description of a “tyranny of positivity” is a distressing by-product of how the field has been commercialized. The fact that one-third of us judge ourselves for our own emotions…there is something so sad and makes me believe that everyone needs to hear David’s message.

 

 

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Do you judge yourself for your emotions? Do you categorize emotions as good or bad?

The Dangerous Power of “Productivity”

I believe we have started a dangerous cult this country–I don’t know how far it extends, but I’ve noted almost all of my peers have a constant desire to be productive. Anything that is not productive is not worthwhile. How sad is that?

I understand this mindset since I had it for at least four years. During college, I would not do anything if I did not see its purpose:

  • Going out for dinner? No, a waste of valuable study time.
  • Taking a weekend trip? Nope, I won’t have time to work ahead.
  • Hanging out and watching a movie? No, I need do x, y, z unfulfilling “productive” activity.

 

After graduating, this led to me completely going off the rails without action items that needed to be done. My parents took me on a trip to the beach after graduation and I could not even take one day off. I would sneak back from the beach to our hotel room and look through potential jobs on LinkedIn–yeah, that’s nuts. But it’s not just me…it’s a lot of people.

Over the past six months since graduating, I’ve been actively working to disengage from certain routines that make spontaneity difficult (I don’t always have to go to bed early, I can ask to reschedule). In addition, I have been forcing myself to be just a little bit lazy…I might just lie in bed for an extra ten minutes in the morning. Today I woke up without a plan and drove to the beach–no plans, nothing productive in store. I laid down on the sand and just read my book. Afterwards I spent the day wandering around the area, going into local shops and people-watching.

I don’t want to diss productivity too much–it gave me a solid GPA, amazing experiences, and it’s an inherent part of who I am. At the same time, it can’t be all I am; there is a high price for living a life that constantly prioritizes productivity. For me, it sacrificed the things that matter most: relationships, mental health, and physical wellbeing.

In sum, I think it’s knowing when to prioritize productivity, and when to let it go and enjoy life for all it is–the fast, the slow, the mundane, the powerful.

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Do you prioritize productivity? If so, at what cost?

Ted Talk Friday: My failed mission to find God — and what I found instead

Anjali Kumar does a wonderful job explaining her experience; as someone who feels spiritual but still checks the same “none” box, it is refreshing to hear someone’s journey on the path of finding spiritual community. She sprinkles in plenty of humor for a topic that is often so serious and difficult to discuss. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

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Do you consider yourself spiritual? Have you experimented with other religious communities?

Going with Your Gut with GLG

If you’ve been in my life during the past 6 years, you might know I’ve struggled with a lot of GI issues. Without any clear answers, the various doctors I saw decided it must be IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which has no real cures. The symptoms are highly varied and flare ups can come at any time. I’ve learned that my trigger is often times of high-stress, but I’ve also learned what foods I can use as tools to keep my gut happy.

I’ve been taking some form of gelatin nearly everyday for the past 3 years and I’ve recently started incorporating collagen as well.

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I have been taking it for a few weeks now, and I’ve heard it takes a bit longer to see and feel all of the benefits that come with collagen supplementation. There are numerous benefits beyond gut health: skin elasticity, joint health, and bone health, to name just a few. Collagen is shown to create measurable improvement in skin hydration and elasticity. [1] There is evidence that collagen can help repair the lining of the intestines, which can improve overall gut health. [2] I am curious to note whether or not I experience any changes in my joint health, although I am lucky enough to have few joint-related issues.  It is full of necessary amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) that keep our skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones healthy.

As a fan of functional foods, especially as an alternative to prescription drugs for treating my IBS, I’ve been pleased with my results from incorporating gelatin into my diet..so I have high hopes for the benefits that come with hydrolyzed collagen! If nothing else, I will have incorporated more healthy proteins into my diet. The regular collagen powder can be mixed into just about anything–your morning cup of coffee, your oatmeal, a smoothie, soup, etc. The cherry-flavored Collagen Endurance product has been a ton of fun to try out as well…

One of my favorite recipes reminds me of little gummy candies–they are my energy gel bites! These are a great pre-workout snack with B vitamins for natural energy and a good dose of protein for satiety.

Ingredients:

-1 scoop Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance
-8 grams gelatin
-1 cup water

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1. Combine Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance and gelatin with 1/2c boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Stir in 1/2c cold water and pour into a lined baking loaf tin.
3. Place in fridge for 4-6 hours or into firm.
4. Cut into small squares and enjoy!

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While many companies have recently started popping up promoting their own collagen supplements, I love Great Lakes; the company has been around since 1922 and does research to evaluate the real benefits, not simply hopping on the trendy bandwagon.

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Disclaimer: Great Lakes Gelatin & Sweatpink sponsored this review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions

Sources (because when I make claims, I base them in science):

1: Choi, S. Y., Ko, E. J., Lee, Y. H., Kim, B. G., Shin, H. J., Seo, D. B., … & Kim, M. N. (2014). Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: A prospective, randomized, controlled study. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy16(3), 132-137.

2: Graham, MF. Collagen Synthesis by Human Intestinal Smooth Muscle Cells in Culture. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3792777>.

Ted Talk Friday: You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them

I am always attracted to any Ted Talk focused on psychology or emotions. Feldman Barrett breaks down how we feel and what emotions truly are. She truly dives into the double edged sword of our own emotions–they are not hard-wired, and they are malleable. Curious how our brain fills in the blanks to create emotion? Watch the video below to learn more.

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Do you agree? Where do you most often fill in the blanks?