Productivity and Protein

Today was full of reviewing learning, finishing my last paper(!), and protein.

It pretty much started with a question…

What does one do when one is forgetful and forgot to put the ice bucket back into the freezer last night?

Go to the nearest coffee shop of course!

Starbucks just happens to be my nearest coffee shop so thats where I stopped by after the gym this morning. Actually, I didn’t exactly stop in since this particular Starbucks has a drive-thru. More like drove by. Laziness to the max? Yeah, I think so.

I couldn’t exactly just drive by and ask for a cup of ice now could I?…so I ordered myself a nice large cup of iced coffee. Something I haven’t had in a while.

Along with my iced coffee, I got my large cup of ice.

So why did I want this ice so badly? – I’ve been wanting to make a cold protein shake/smoothie for a couple days now and since I keep forgetting to put the container back in the freezer to actually make ice, I’ve had to resort to semi-cold chocolate milk. It’s good, but just not as good as it would be with ice. Especially in this heat.

Since I had a huge cup of coffee, and there was no way I could stomach both a protein smoothie and 20 ounces of coffee, I figured I may as well use it as my liquid.

So in went 1.5 cups of iced coffee, 1 serving of chocolate protein powdera couple glugs of unsweetened almond milk, and about 2/3’s of my venti cup of ice.

The outcome?

I poured it into the previously ice filled Starbucks cup and it actually almost looks like a Starbucks frappe. I either put way too much liquid in or not enough protein powder, so it ended up tasting just like what I would think a Starbucks coffee frappe would taste like. yum 🙂

I think the coffee I added in that ‘protein frappe’ may have given me some super concentration powers or something because I plowed through my paper like no other. Three cheers for coffee!

Shortly after it was lunch time and I found out that not only do I not have ice in this house, I have no food. Well, there’s some food, but the majority of it is expired.

After some scrounging around I finally came up with soba noodles, silken tofu, and eggs. Um…protein in a bowl? I think by that time, my stomach was ready to eat just about anything in a bowl.

Layer 1 – Soba Noodles:

Soba noodles pack quite the protein punch. Surprising, yeah?

Layer 2 – tofu:

I don’t think silken tofu is meant to be sliced. I couldn’t even pick move it to the bowl without it breaking on me.

Layer 3 – 1.5 eggs:

Basically just 1 egg + 1 egg white sprinkled with cayenne pepper.

A nice sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Plus some chopped basil. (I LOVE (!!!) the smell of basil)

All mixed up with a little more toasted sesame seeds and cayenne pepper.

(Not to be gross or anything but…Don’t stare at the photo too long or else the noodles start looking like worms – don’t say I didn’t warn ya! 😉  )

I don’t think I’ve had such a protein packed lunch in a long time. It was actually so filling I never finished it. I ate all the other layers, but left some of the soba.

Right before dinner I had another protein bowl. Just a mini one though.

cottage cheese + a generous sprinkle of cinnamon + operations management notes

I wonder if protein has anything to do with productivity because I was certainly able to concentrate a lot better today than the previous days. Protein = full = satisfied = more concentration on work & less concentration on hunger pangs?

Or it could have been the fact that I finally got into study mode.

I think my brains reached capacity for the day so it’s time to crash and start new tomorrow.

Night! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Black Bean Milk

Since I got back from Singapore and the Maldives, it’s been raining everyday here in Hong Kong.

As much as I love the rain, I’m kind of hoping it lets up soon since I have to walk outdoors in order to get places. But in the meantime I’m taking the rain as a sign to spend more time in the kitchen.

I haven’t really done much cooking or baking since I’ve been in Hong Kong. Wait, who am I kidding. I’ve barely set foot in the kitchen, aside from last nights steamed dinner, since I arrived here.

Here are two reasons why:

1) There’s too much tasty and easily accessible food throughout Hong Kong. Restaurants, hole in the wall restaurants, street vendors, bakeries, you name it, Hong Kong’s got it. And EVERYWHERE. I like to consider myself a health-concious person, and I still try to make the best possible food choice when dining out, but I still think I may have fallen off the healthy wagon a bit since I got here. Its time to get back on it!

2) Kitchen space here is limited. Actually, all space is limited in Hong Kong. People can live in teeny-tiny apartments. And I’m talking 100 sq ft apartments. Thats tiny, people!

This is my kitchen here. I’m pretty sure it fits a maximum of 3 adults.

It’s tiny compared to the one I have at home (which is about average in size), but I guess I shouldn’t be complaining after I just mentioned that people live in 100 sq ft apartments.

So, in an effort to get back on the healthy-wagon and appreciate my ‘large‘ kitchen space, I’ve been cooking blending. Gotta start off with the easy stuff 😉

Actually, it’s more like the ‘necessary’ stuff. Since almond milk costs an arm and a leg here, well mostly just an arm, I’ve decided it’s easiest to just make my own milk.

Enter:

Black Turtle Beans, better known as black beans to most people (including me).

They’re also called black soyabeans here, but they’re really just black beans of some sort. I’ve seen a lot of people refer to them as cuban black beans.

 1 cup of dry black beans soaked in water

Soaked for 7-8 hours or overnight

Drain and rinse the beans

1/2 cup black beans + 2 cups water

I know I soaked 1 cup of beans, but I prefer to make smaller batches each time so I just used 1/2 a cup of beans and refrigerated the other ones for my next batch.

Blend until smooth. About 2-5 mins depending on the blender.

I prefer my milk unsweetened, but if you prefer it sweet, now is the time to add in your sweetener of choice so that it gets thoroughly mixed in…agave, honey, sugar, stevia, anything you like.

Sieve the blended milk through cheesecloth into a pot

Usually I would use a cheese cloth to wring out all the liquid (milk), but since I have no cheese cloth and my blender here has a filter attachment I just used that instead. It doesn’t work as well, but it still traps the remaining pulp.

Pour the sieved liquid into a pot and bring to a slow boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat.

There may be some foam on the top, but no worries, I just scooped it out before pouring the milk into a pitcher.

And there you have it…Black bean milk!

Be sure to store it in the fridge. I’m guessing it should last at least a week, but since I only made it two days ago, I’m not too sure.

I’m not sure what to compare the taste to, but I guess I’d say its most similar to soy milk. A little creamier though.

So far I’ve had black bean milk in my morning cereal mix.

And I’ve mixed it with other milks, 70% black bean milk and 30% soymilk.

I’ve also used it in my protein shake.

1 cup black bean milk, 1/2 packet true vitality chocolate protein powder, 1/3 block silken tofu, 5 frozen cubes of black bean milk, 1/2 frozen banana.

I only used a half packet of protein powder because it’s my last one 😦 Therefore, I added some tofu as extra protein.

I still have 1/2 a cup of soaked beans in my fridge, which I brought to a boil, then simmered for about 15 mins with 1 cup of water after soaking. I plan on blending it with some almonds for a black bean-almond milk once I finish my current pitcher.

Oh, and I forgot to mention…black beans are good for the kidneys 🙂

What’s your favorite kind of milk? – I prefer unsweetened almond milk most of the time, but I also like soy milk.

Do you prefer homemade or store bought milk?  I prefer homemade, but most of the time I’m just too lazy to make it 🙂


Steamed Dinner

Ahhhhh…

That’s me breathing out a sign of relief.

I’m finally caught up (for the most part) with my summer school assignments and can relax a bit for a day or two 🙂

I spent the majority of yesterday working on a project and an assignment, which I completed a little earlier today.

It wasn’t all work though. I took a couple breaks in between.

During my mid-morning break, I went to buy a snack at my favorite bread shop downstairs. I needed to get my blood circulating in my legs 😉

After perusing a bit I decided on a sweet potato bread.

Doesn’t it actually look like a sweet potato from the side? I didn’t realize it until after I had snapped a photo of it.

The outside is soft bread, and inside is actually a sweet potato.

It’s definitely not the most attractive looking bread, but it’s a tasty one.

After I very slowly ate my snack it was back to work.

A while later I took my second break and had lunch. I ate the other item I had purchased during my mid-morning trip to La Creation de Gute.

Any guess what my lunch was?

How about now?

It’s a tuna sandwich! Well, I guess it doesn’t qualify as a true sandwich since it’s not between two slices of bread, but I don’t know what to call it. Tuna roll? eh..

Whatever it’s called, it was mighty tasty.

And I ate it all. After all, I am a member of the clean plates club 😉

I had some golden kiwi and watermelon on the side.

Anyone know if you can eat kiwi skin? I didn’t try it, but I feel like I should.

After lunch I finished up my assignment (finally!) and headed to they gym for 22 mins on the elliptical, 17 on the bike, 17 on the treadmill, and 10 mins of abs.

Then came my favorite part of my day today. A walk to the grocery store! 🙂

I have no food here and needed some veggies stat. Plus I really wanted to use the steamer in the kitchen here.

I’ve never used an actual steamer before and this thing is amazing! You can make anything in it from rice to de-crystalizing honey, or even make yogurt!

Since it was my first time using it, I kept it on the simpler side.

I decided on some chinese spinach, carrots, tofu, and half of a mini Japanese pumpkin.

During it’s 15 mins in the steamer, I showered off and had some salmon rolls as an appetizer.

Then, voilà! – Veggies were ready.

I think I may have overcooked the spinach slightly, but it was still good and not tough at all. Just a bit brown.

After I was about 2/3’s through, I realized I didn’t season any of the veggies before steaming them, but I don’t really think it needed anything. Fresh veggies are always best as is. The carrots gave the spinach a slightly sweet taste, and the pumpkin was delicious on its own.

I couldn’t read the label of the tofu to see whether it was firm or silken, since it was all in Chinese, so it was a surprise 🙂 I usually eat firm, but luckily I like all tofu because it ended up being silken. Delicious and smoooooth.

This has to be one of the easiest dinners I’ve ever made! Aside from my instant noodles last night…

But that doesn’t count 😉

Now I’m off to find something to satisfy my sweet tooth 😛

I’ll also be making something with these in a bit!

Any guesses what I’ll be doing with them?

Have a terrific tuesday!