Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals, Spreadsheets, and Why I'm Awesome

That's what everyone else is writing about this time of year, right?  It's time for the annual recap of this year's goals and accomplishments.



My goal for the year was pretty simple--work out 10 times per month, every month, all year.  


When I started my magical spreadsheet a several years ago, my entire goal was to get fit.  In fact, "Get Fit" is the name of my magical spreadsheet.


I definitely had a more fit, more active year than I ever have before.




The last three months have been nothing short of insane, so I never got around to writing goal recaps for each of the months.  Instead, here are my workout summaries for each month.  (You can click to biggie-size them.)





So, the big question is: How did I do overall?


You probably guessed this already, but I kicked ass.





Basically, from 2006-2009 I worked out a combined total of 33 times.  Combined!  Yikes!


In 2010 I tripled that number in a single year and worked out 100 times.  I remember my last yoga class last New Year's Eve and how excited about the changes I had made in my life.


This year, in 2011, I tripled (!) my 2010 total and worked out 300 times (!!!!) in a single year.  



My workouts broke down as follows:  267 yoga classes, 3 extended walks, 1 heavy move, 3 times on the elliptical, and 26 bike rides (which is twice my number from 2010).  


In conclusion: I'm really, really proud of the fitness goal I set--and achieved--in 2011.  For 2012, my focus will be on maintaining my fitness, expanding to new areas, and focusing on other areas that I tend to neglect--like eating, sleeping, and finding balance in my life.

I hope that your 2011 was as happy and successful as mine has been and that you have a safe and exciting New Year's celebration!  

See you in 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm having a moment.

Maybe it's because I've been watching way too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy lately.  (Seriously, the show hits on way too many triggers for me--family issues, pancreatic cancer, dead mother, organ donation, people going nuts in the hospital.  Seriously. Seriously!)


Or maybe it's a delayed reaction to all of the heart openers we did in class this morning.  


Or maybe it's because I've spent a lot of time this week going through old belongings--sorting them, donating them, throwing them away.


Or maybe it's just because it's December--the month of my grandfather's birthday, my grandmother's death, family celebrations... and now we're in the post-holiday let down.


Whatever it is, I'm just a little blue today.  


2011 has been a great year in a lot of ways.  I focused on myself and on my fitness.  (I promise, I'll write a real post about those accomplishments.)  I've started working towards finding more balance in my life--although that's still a work in progress.  But It's a start.  My yoga practice has progressed leaps and bounds--starting with a series of workshops in January/February, then an amazing week where I took 22 yoga classes in Venice, and I made the somewhat spontaneous decision to start yoga teacher training which I finished a few weeks ago.


While this has been a year that I've grown as a person, it's also been a year when I've realized that I've grown apart from people.  I've spoken with one member of my own family on one occasion this year.  Many of my college friends have had their first (or second, or fourth) children--and we just relate to different things at this point.  Other friends have just drifted for no good reason at all.


So, I'm letting myself have a little moment.  I'll be better tomorrow.


And in the meantime, I'll keep reminding myself: I love my life and I have nothing to complain about.  Even if I'm a little blue today.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

[Almost] Wordless Wednesday


Duff Man & I stop for a photo op in front of the Capitol Building during a bike ride in DC in November.
Perhaps the most delicious sandwich I've ever eaten--the Choriqueso
(Homemade chorizo sausage, rosted poblano, artisan Jack cheese, tomatillo salsa on AMAZING bread!) from Rick Bayless' Xoco in Chicago.
Duff Man and his trio of sake during Christmas Eve dinner.
Disappointingly tiny desserts, also at Christmas Eve dinner.
The cutest dog in the world, Rowdy.

Click to Biggie Size.
Please note that I only lost my last two games of the regular
season by a COMBINED margin of less than 1 point.  
I won the subsequent playoff games and was crowned
CHAMPION of my Fantasy Football League this year!
Too bad it's not a paid league.

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recipe: Creamed Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes



Creamed-Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes are one of my favorite Christmas side dishes.




Seasoned with nutmeg, these red and green treats look, smell, and taste like Christmas.  Even better, they're quick to make and are pre-portioned for guests.


Ingredients:



2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose four
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bags of fresh spinach (or 2 boxes chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and thoroughly drained)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
10 medium tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella or parmesan cheese (divided)


Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan.  Once the bubbling has subsided, whisk in the flour and allow to cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the cream, turn the heat to low, and allow to simmer until thickened.


Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Once it's hot (but not smoking!) add the garlic and onion and saute until the onions are soft--about 3 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir, then add nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Add the cream to the spinach and mix to combine.  (Don't worry if your cream gets too thick in the pot--once you add it to the spinach, the water from the spinach will thin it out.)  Stir 1/2 c. of Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese.  (I used the "Quattro Formaggio" blend from Trader Joe's.)


Place the rack of your oven on the highest shelf and turn the broiler on high. 


Cut the tops off of the tomatoes; you want about a 2-3" opening at the top.  Use your fingers or a spoon to pull out all of the insides of the tomato--the seeds, the juice, and the piece in the center.  You should have a big, hollow space in the middle of each tomato.  If you'd like, you can also cut a small piece off the bottom of each tomato so they sit flat on the cutting board and won't roll around as you fill them.


Fill each tomato with 2-3 tablespoons of creamed spinach and place them on a foil-lined broiler pan.  Once all of the tomatoes have been filled, top each one with 2 Tbsp of cheese.  Broil the tomatoes until the cheese on top is golden and bubbling--about 3-5 minutes, depending on your broiler.


Transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish and enjoy!

Christmas Recap

Today was a good day.  It was easy to keep in mind all of the things I'm grateful for in my life.


Duff Man and I started our Christmas celebration by attending the Christmas Eve Mass at the church I grew up in.  It was the first time I'd been back to the church in many years, and also the first Catholic mass I've attended since the debut of the new translation of the Catholic mass.  I have to admit, the language felt awkward to me, but I was relieved when half the church gave the old response the first time there was a change.  It was comforting to know that I wasn't the only one making an adjustment!


Regardless of the words spoken, the mass itself was reverential and inspiring and the music was beautiful.  One of the things I loved the most about the church growing up was its grandiose size, its formality, and its beauty.  I know that those qualities can be off-putting for a lot of people, but to me they serve as a reminder that there is something bigger than myself out there.  


The dinner afterwards wasn't spectacular.  I think we'll be looking for a new restaurant next year.


I spent the rest of evening baking (Ginger-Molasses Cookies--in which I doubled the spices--and Pecan Puffs), cooking (Macaroni & Cheese for dinner and Fresh Pasta for gifts), and wrapping presents.  At midnight, I put Jesus in the manger of the nativity and kept on working like a good little Elf.  I finished up the food in the morning with my Creamed-Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes.  (I'll post that recipe later this week!)


Classic Mac & Cheese.  Bonus: The cast iron dutch oven kept the food piping hot until we were ready to eat!
Creamed Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes.  Recipe coming soon!
Once we packed up all of the food, Duff Man & I exchanged gifts.  


Check out that sexy Santa.
I got him some new gloves, a new wallet, and a bunch of fun gifts for his commute to work--a lighted Kindle case, some fancy new headphones, and a few other things.  Duff Man got me some fun yoga gifts...


Early Christmas present--Gingerbread Padmasana Ornament


Om necklace from Duff Man.  I love it!

...in addition to copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking volume 1 (Kindle edition) and volume 2.  


We packed up the food and the puppies and headed out to Duff Man's parents' house.  It was a really lovely day overall--lots of good food and conversation.  


 
I got some more awesome yoga-themed presents...


Yoga MagPo from my sister-in-law
...plus more books, some gift cards, and a serving utensil set.  


I'm rather proud that Duff Man's nieces seemed to like our present the best.  (We got each of them the same thing--plus a few books and a contribution to their college fund.)
If you're looking for a gift for a 3-6 year old, here it is: VTech Kidizoom Spin & Smile Digital Camera.


All in all, it was a nice, low key, drama-free, food-and-family-filled, food-filled, FOOD-FILLED day.


I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours!  





Friday, December 23, 2011

Random Friday Facts - Holiday Edition!




1) My favorite Christmas movies are Elf, Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  I quote all of these movies year-round.


2) I don't think I've ever seen "It's a Wonderful Life."  I saw "A Christmas Story" exactly once (about 2 or 3 years ago) and while I wanted to love it, I just didn't.  


3) I'm sad that we don't have any Christmas lights up outside this year.  I grew up in a house that had every tacky holiday decoration you could possibly imagine, so I feel like our house is naked without them.


4) Growing up, Santa always "stopped first" at our house, so we opened our presents on Christmas Eve.  Really, it started as a tradition that we'd go to Midnight Mass and open presents afterwards and then became "we'll open presents at midnight" and then... "Let's just open presents on Christmas Eve."  


5) I love Egg Nog.


6) One year, I'd really like to make a crown roast for Christmas dinner.


7) I'd really like to go see The Messiah at the Kennedy Center, but it always happens when I'm out of town.  We're debating about going to the sing-a-long version tonight, but we know the line will be super long since it's free.  


8) I really do think the best part of Christmas is picking out the best presents for other people.  It makes me sad that I have so few people to buy presents for.  (I think I've said that in the past, though.)


9) I waited until the last minute to do all of my shopping this year.  Oops.


10) I received several trinkets from my students this year, but the best gifts are always the sincere note telling me how much a student appreciates my class.  I didn't get any of those this year.  (Okay, scratch that, I got one email and it was pretty awesome.)

Three Things Thursday

1)  Duff Man and I normally put up our Christmas tree during the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Somehow, we never got around to it this year and with the madness of the basement flooding + Winter Concert + Teacher Training + heading out of town, we only got to it yesterday.

Here are our trees--our big tree and the little teeny tree I've had since my Senior Year of college--all decked out in college colors :)


Duff Man gave me an early Christmas present--this super cute ornament of a Gingerbread Man in Padmasana.
If you like the ornament, check out these Gingerbread Yoga Men!  I want these cookie cutters!

Oh, and on the subject of putting things up late... we'll be sending out New Year's Cards instead of Christmas cards.  Oh well.  It's the thought that counts, right?

2) As of this afternoon, I am officially on Winter Break.  It marks my first real break since I started teacher training back in August.  I'm looking forward to reading, sleeping, making good food, watching Grey's Anatomy, taking an excessive number of naps, yoga (duh), finally seeing "The Muppets" and getting some stuff done around the house generally avoiding being productive as much as possible.  Unfortunately for me, Duff Man has also taken all of next week off of work--and he's not one to sit in the dark and make as little sound as possible.  Thanks to the basement flood, his office and our family room are out of commission, so our big house (for us, at least) could become cramped quarters by the end of the week.

3) We had two waterproofing companies come in to give us estimates on dewatering systems for our basement.  Sadly (hehehe) it appears as though we may need to knock out and rebuild the grody basement bathroom.  You know, the bathroom that was made with leftover construction materials.  The one where, when we moved in, they hadn't sealed the holes around the knobs in the shower so you could look from the shower into the laundry--or from the laundry into the shower.  Yeah, that one is going to have to get replaced.  (**happy dance**)

I know, I know.  How could I pass up this super klassy bathroom?



So, I think my thought process was on the right track back in September when we first flooded.  And again right around Thanksgiving.  I am grateful for what I have and I have nothing to complain about.  In this case, I am grateful for the flood because it looks like it's going to mean I finally get a renovated bathroom.  Woohoo!  (Somehow, I don't think Duff Man is going to see this one the same way that I do.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The End of the Beginning

Back in August, after some prodding thanks to a two-by-four the universe aimed at my noggin, I decided to pursue my RYT-200 Yoga Teacher Training.  
Our first day started out like this.



The funny thing is that I hadn't committed to training by the time Padma set this up...and yet, she set a spot for me.  

She said she'd have been more surprised if I hadn't shown up than if I had.  We all know how that turned out.


It's been an intense ride.  I've balanced 17 hours of yoga teacher training on most weekends with my regular full time (and then some) job, marching band, and taking or assisting yoga classes.  Oh, and there's a dude at home who looks kinda familiar.  I think I saw him at my house a few times in the past four months.  




We learned about anatomy, alignment, the Eight Fold Path of Patanjali, the Sutras, the History of Yoga, Ayurveda, Chakras, Doshas, Koshas.  We had a Yoga Book Club.  We taught Yoga I, Mixed Level, Partner Yoga, Restorative, Yin, and Meditation classes.  We studied a variety of styles of yoga, and even some Tai Chi.  I'm rather proud that I can recite the first four Yoga Sutras in Sanskrit.  Ask me the next time you see me!





The best part was that I bonded with an amazing group of women who all bring unique talents to their yoga teaching.  We practiced.  We failed sometimes.  We succeeded a lot.  We had fun and we laughed and we learned and we OM'ed.  I'm going to miss holing up at the studio with these ladies.  (But, fear not... we'll still see each other during our yoga book club meetings!)


After 4 insane months, 200 hours of training, taking 50 yoga classes, assisting 6 classes, a written exam, and a practical exam which consisted of teaching a 60-minute class to members of the general public, I'm finally done.

The puja to celebrate our graduation was held on Sunday evening.  We made it.






Of course, we're not really finished.  Our real learning begins if and when we decide to go out into the world and start teaching.  As Padma stated (quoting my friend/yoga teacher J) during our Puja, "Finishing yoga teacher training is a lot like puberty.  It's where the real growth begins, but it's really awkward."  




I'm still deciding where yoga teaching will have a place in my life.  I think it does--I mean, after all, even Duff Man asked me when (not if) I would do this some day.  I think I have an idea of where I want to go with it, but I am still in the process of getting my head to understand what my heart already knows--and trying to find a way to maintain some balance in the process.  


Maybe I just need the universe to swing another two-by-four in my direction.










Thanks to Cheri for all of the photos!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three Things Thursday



1.  Last night was my Winter Concert.  It was one of those Murphy's Law scenarios: Our theatre is under construction right now, so it had to be at another school.  I was supposed to have had three buses, but only two showed up... it was pouring rain and we had to rearrange all of the students and equipment; Duff Man called me and told me the basement was flooding yet again. Everything ran 15 minutes late.  BUT... in the end it was a nice evening.  My students performed well and I was really proud of them.  (And REALLY thankful for the other school and their band director who were willing to host us!)


2.  The up side of having a flooded basement is that I had an excuse to purchase some really cute wellies... which I'm using to clean up the flood today.






3.  I get to teach my first yoga class to the public this weekend and I'm SUPER excited!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three Funny Yoga Things Thursday

There have been a confluence of funny yoga links and articles and jokes that have come my way in the past week or so, so I thought I'd share them and spread the laughs.


TGIAF!




Number one:




Number two:


This fabulous article from The Onion (from 2005): 
Report: One In Five Women Training To Be Yoga Instructors


Number three:


This is quite possibly my favorite.  From the same guys who brought you The Whole Foods Parking Lot comes "Yoga Girl."  I love it--it's funny and catchy... and it makes me miss Venice






Monday, November 28, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Today was one of those days where I tried to hit the ground running and instead I tripped and fell out of the start gate and ended up getting my face stomped into the mud.  There's no one thing that happened today, but I just feel down.  Defeated.  Tired.  


I've hit the Doldrums.




And what's even more irritating is that I feel bad about feeling down because really, I'm feeling down over nothing.  I have a lot to be grateful for in my life.  I really, truly have been happier in the past year than I was for most of the last decade.  I've lived through bigger, badder things and come out on the other side, and the little things today really shouldn't defeat me.


Right?


So I've been trying to keep happier mantras in my head.  


"I am grateful for what I have and I have nothing to complain about."  
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."  ~Eleanor Roosevelt


For pete's sake, a week ago I taught a pretty awesome yoga class on enlivening your personal power and self-concept... and how being yourself and knowing you you are allows you to be free.


I'm hoping this is kind of like the time that Snoopy stopped dancing--not because he wasn't happy, he was just tired.  (I really wish I could find particular clip or strip I'm thinking of.)  




Unfortunately, for today, it just feels like I'm putting on a happy face but not really feeling it in my heart.  So here I sit.  Consenting to allow other people to make me feel small.  Hanging on to the little things I need to let go of.  Reading more into things than I probably should. 


Sometimes living your yoga is really effing hard.


Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thanksgiving Mala



On Wednesday evening, I took a meditation class at the yoga studio.  Meditation isn't normally part of my practice (although I really should do it more), but I figured I'd give it a shot--especially since I missed some of the meditation classes during teacher training last weekend.


Padma selected a mantra for the evening: "I am grateful for what I have and I have nothing to complain about."  Too often, our gratitude is tempered by complaints.  We celebrate Thanksgiving but complain about how much work it is or how certain family members can get on our nerves.  Sometimes we need to take a step back and be thankful for everything we have--warts and all.


During our teacher training retreat last weekend, we talked about malas--whether a physical mala asana practice (108 sun salutations) or mala beads (108 beads plus the "guru" bead) for counting mantras in a meditation practice.  I decided that I wanted to write out a mala for all of the things for which I am grateful--in no particular order.


1. My husband, who deals with my eccentricity on a daily basis
2. My family 
3. My girlfriends
4. My friends in general, who often serve as a surrogate family
5. Yoga, which has helped keep me physically strong and mentally/emotionally sane
6. My dogs, who are eternally devoted and affectionate
7. My home
8. My career.  I get to play for a living.  How fun is that?
9. My awesome colleagues
10. My past experiences--good and bad--which have formed me into the person I am today
11. The farmer's market--I'm loving the locally-sourced, seasonal fruits and veggies every week!
12. My rockin' fellow yoga teacher trainees.  They inspire and challenge and support me like whoa!  
13. Music of all kinds.
14. My education
15. JMU (Duuuuuuuuuuukes!)
16. My master's degree program.  I've met some seriously awesome people all over the country as a result!
17. Books--I've loved reading my entire life.
18. Kindle--I really love being able to download books in an instant.  Even better, I'll actually read magazines now that I have my Kindle Fire!
19. Facebook.  Lame, I know, but I love keeping in touch with people.
20. Twitter.  Sometimes I need to get my thoughts out into the universe.
21. Laughter.  I love being silly and goofy.
22. Knowledge
23. Independence
24. Being debt-free (except for a mortgage)
25. Creativity
26. Freedom of speech
27. Strength--physical and emotional
28. My health 
29. Sunshine
30. My life
31. My warm duvet.  It keeps me cozy when it's cold out.
32. All of the great teachers in my life.
33. Beauty
34. Common sense
35. Clean water
36. My community
37. Every lesson I've ever learned
38. Blogs and bloggers--I've met new people, read interesting things, and made LOTS of good food because of blogs!
39. Health insurance.
40. Granny's Pumpkin Pie
41. Coffee.  (Especially grateful for this on Monday mornings!)
42. Chick lit.  Sometimes a girl needs some brain candy.
43. Guilty pleasures
44. Snow
45. Confidence in myself.
46. Silly movies (which are frequently quoted in my house!)
47. Christmas
48. Financial stability
49. Courage
50. Naps
51. Birthday cake
52. Music Ed conferences--I get to learn, get excited about my profession, and see old friends!
53. Hardships--because they make me appreciate everything I have here and now.
54. My breath
55. All of the opportunities I've had in my life.
56. Persistence & dedication.  I wouldn't be where I am (or who I am) without them.
57. My intelligence.
58. My knack for remembering numbers.  (Thanks, Pop.)
59. Self-discipline
60. Compassion
61. Peace
62. Ugly cries
63. Joy
64. A clean house
65. Ice cream
66. The city where I live
67. 70-degree days in November
68. Healthy fear
69. The smell of rain in the summer
70. The smell of fireplaces in the winter
71. Sore muscles
72. Indoor plumbing
73. Hard work
74. Inner peace... or at least the journey towards it
75. Trust
76. Nature's beauty
77. Being able to make a difference in other peoples' lives.
78. Poetry
79. Riding bikes with friends
80. Patience
81. Intelligent conversation
82. Heating pads and ibuprofen
83. My glasses
84. Living in a place where I get to experience all four seasons every year.
85. Internet friends
86. Technology
87. Being able to cook healthy and delicious meals
88. Clothes that make me feel confident and beautiful
89. Bear hugs
90. Free will
91. People who do the right thing, just because.
92. Forgiveness
93. Having fun
94. Encouragement
95. Going out to dinner with friends
96. Dancing
97. Unconditional love
98. Good deeds
99. A healing heart
100. A good night's sleep
101. Quiet time to myself
102. Christmas carols
103. Random acts of kindness
104. Passion
105. Vacations
106. Happiness
107. Celebrating the little things in life
108. Having a holiday every year that is specifically dedicated to gratitude!




I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving, filled with food, love, family, and friends!






Friday, November 18, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1. I am writing this post from my Kindle Fire. /swoon

2. I always think of fun facts when I am away from my computer...usually while driving.

3. I have to practice teach I a 75 min yoga class this weekend. I have a great plan but haven't had a chance to physically test it out yet.

4. I saw someone I knew but didn't want to talk to at lunch today so I sat at the other side of the restaurant.

5. I think sandwiches taste better when they're cut on the bias.

6. I have been wearing my hair down a lot in the last few weeks because my hair has gotten so heavy that ponytails make my neck hurt.

7. I am wearing sassy red patent leather heels today. I love them, even though other people probably think I look like a Hooker.

8. The fire just capitalized the "H" in "Hooker." Also, I wonder how many referrals I'll get from crazy Russian websites now that I've written the word Hooker three times.

9. I really want to see The Muppet Movie... and Breaking Dawn Part 1. Let the judgment commence.

10. This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but I think it's kind of cool: I was one of three teachers nominated by my colleagues as a candidate for my school's Teacher of the Year. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is an honor just to be nominated.


This one goes to 11: I really hope to see one of my best girls today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TSWIMMWER!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Tastes Like Home: Ba Mee Moo Dang

ba mee = Egg noodles
moo dang = Red pork

This is a simple dish that reminds me of my childhood.  We'd go to Thai restaurants in any number of places and order it--thin egg noodles with blanched greens, fried garlic, and thinly sliced roast pork; usually topped with chopped peanuts.  Sometimes with bean sprouts or (blech) sugar on top.  
Sometimes it's listed as a noodle soup, so I always specified that I wanted mine served hang, just in case.  (hang is Thai for dry--as in, without broth.)


I can't even tell you how offended I was when it was served to me as a variation on my beloved dish--with noodles that were too wide or with ground pork instead of roasted pork.


I also used to laugh at my mother--who hated fishballs.  (Yes, those are exactly what you think they are.)  Then she'd cuss at my dad and always over-pronounced the "ing" at the end of the words.  "G*D damn it, Boone... you didn't tell them no fishballs.  You know how much I hate the f#*%ING fishballs."

Hey, I never said I grew up in Mayberry.  And anyway, this is my blog and it's funny to me.  (Well, and to the people who knew my mom--but they probably don't read my blog anyway.)

I also can't tell you how sad I was for YEARS when the Thai restaurants in my area, for some inexplicable reason, stopped serving my favorite dish.  We used to be able to find it anywhere we went, then all of a sudden it was gone.

A few years ago, I finally found a recipe online and it was glorious--glorious!--to have my favorite dish back in my rotation.  

The recipe wasn't perfect--I still can't quite seem to get the moo dang quite right.  But everything else is just as I remember.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a binge and ate this every.single.day.  And it was amazing.

The funny thing is, now one of my local Thai restaurants has suddenly started carrying it again.  

See?

Unfortunately, this version comes with the f*&%ING fishballs.  And tofu as well, which I've never seen before.  And I've already mentioned what I think of variations on this dish.  

Ah well.  Except for the roast pork, I think mine tastes better anyway.  And once the pork has roasted, the rest only takes about 10 minutes to cook and assemble.  


BA MEE MOO DANG (Egg noodles with roasted red pork)

For the roast pork (moo dang):

1-2 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice (or more, if you like it.  It's pretty strong though.)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Place all ingredients in a one-gallon plastic bag.  Mix well and seal the bag, squeezing as much of the air out of the bag as possible and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake the tenderloins until the center reaches approximately 155 degrees.  I use my handy dandy probe thermometer for this.  (This is the one I have, but as you can see it appears that it is no longer available.)


Remove the tenderloins from the oven, wrap in foil, and wait until the temperature of the meat has risen to 160 degrees.

 

Once the meat has risen to temperature AND has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice thinly.


PS: There's no food coloring in here.  The soy sauce turns the pork red.


For the rest of the dish:


Ingredients:


Peanut oil (bad for you, but delicious--and has a high smoke point.)
Garlic (lots of it!  2-3 cloves, minced.)
Fish sauce (don't be scared.  If you've ever had Thai food, trust me--you've had Fish sauce.)
Vinegar
Sugar
Bok Choy (or any kind of asian greens--chinese broccoli, mustard greens, etc.)
Cilantro
Thin wonton noodles
Chopped peanuts (not shown)


Put a saucepan of water on the stove to boil.



In the mean time, heat up some peanut oil in a small saute pan; fry the garlic until it is golden brown but not burned.  Be careful--it can happen quickly!



Once the water has boiled, add your greens and blanch (cook for 1 min), then fish it out with a spider (strainer, not insect) and divide it up among your serving dishes.  (Note--don't dump out the water, you'll need it in a minute.  Put it back on the stove and bring it back to a rolling boil.)



Prepare the rest of your ingredients--chop some peanuts, chop some cilantro, prepare your garlic/oil, and combine 1 tbsp sugar with 2-3 tbsp white vinegar and 1 tbsp fish sauce.


Take out a ball of fresh egg noodles and loosen/separate the strands as you drop them into the boiling water.  Cook for 1 minute--and be careful not to over cook them!  (Mushy noodles = bad ju-ju)




Add the egg noodles into the bowl with the blanched greens.




Add the garlic/oil and toss with the noodles immediately to prevent them from sticking together.  Then add the fish sauce/sugar/vinegar mixture and top with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and sliced roast pork (moo dang.)





Enjoy a stroll down memory lane and laugh about the fact that your ba mee moo dang doesn't have any f&$%ING fishballs--just the way mom would have liked.




Recipe inspirations: Ba Mee Moo Dang