Authentic Chinese Beef Noodle Soup Recipe: Grandma’s Kitchen

Now that I live off-campus, I’ve realized how much I crave home cooking. I didn’t miss it while living off of dining hall food, but that’s probably because they distracted me with differently disguised fat.

While I’m trying to eat a balanced, temporarily-omnivorous diet (earlier this week I realized that I haven’t been eating enough protein), I try to find recipes that are more protein-based rather than carb-based. The good thing about this recipe is that it can be tweaked to reflect either!

Thankfully, my grandma’s taught me the Authentic Chinese Beef Noodle Soup recipe! And because I’m such a savvy cook (ha. ha.) I can cook this for myself anytime! I usually try not to eat red meat though, so maybe not.

(c) Chinese Grandma  Careful now, CG, there's a new grandma on the block.
(c) Chinese Grandma
Careful now, CG, there’s a new grandma on the block.

Chinese Beef Noodle Soup has always been a favorite dish of mine. Usually, Asian dishes are meant for everyone, to be shared and paired with a bowl of rice. However, when you ordered a bowl of Chinese Beef Noodle Soup, people knew you were serious about gettin’ your grub on. How could I have packed on the fat if not for this?

It’s simple and easily replicated so that you don’t have to go to a Chinese restaurant to get your Beef Noodle Soup fix! The next time you go to a Chinese restaurant, you can focus your taste buds on trying new dishes!

THE RECIPE 

Serving size: 4-5

Ingredients: 

ingredients: before
ingredients: before
  • Beef Shank [2 lb, chopped into pieces, usually large bite sizes. Remember: the smaller the piece, the quicker it cooks!]
  • Green Onion/Scallion [1 bunch, ends trimmed, chopped in half]
  • Garlic [1 whole bulb, peeled. You can choose to chop in large chunks]
  • Soy Bean Paste [1.5 tbsp]
  • Star anise [8 pieces] (optional)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Salt
  • Ginger [peeled, sliced 1/2 stem]
  • Sugar
  • Bacardi [2 ladles] (grandma’s special kick)

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Healthy: 

  • bunch of spinach

Directions: 

  1. Cover the bottom of the pot with vegetable oil and place garlic, ginger, and green onion in to sauté until the garlic is browned. Add the soy bean paste and stir, making sure it is evenly distributed.
    Grandma: “Browning the garlic makes the flavor come out. Smells good, right?”
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  2. IMG_1170
  3. Add the beef shank pieces and stir, adding the 2 ladles of Bacardi in while doing so.
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  4. As the beef is browning on the outside, first add 2-3 ladles of soy sauce. Then 2 tbsp of sugar.
    Grandma: “Taste it to see if you like it!”
    Me: But… the beef isn’t fully cooked ye—ok.
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  5. Add 4 cups of water, or however much gives you the ratio of meat to soup that you like. Add a few more ladles of soy sauce, to taste. If still not to taste, or, if you’re a poor college student like me, add some salt because that soy sauce ain’t cheap. And we don’t use it often enough to get the huge Chinese family economy size.
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Just so you know, the age limit to see a pediatrician is 18

One day after coming home for break, I told Mom I needed to see a doctor because of some mysterious rib pain (which still isn’t gone, by the way). She gave me a number and told me to schedule my own appointment.

Lady: Hi, how can I help you?
Me: Hi, I’d like to schedule an appointment for mysterious, annoying rib pain? (This is always said like a question for some reason)
Lady: Is this for you or for your child? (really, this should’ve been my first clue about this particular number)
Me: Me….
Lady: Ok! Can I have your name and date of birth?
Me: Michelle… 1991.
Lady: Oh… [extremely awkward pause as she tries to figure how to word it] We usually only accept patients ages 0-18… Do you still want to make an appointment…?
Me: Um… I’ll call you back.

I bet she and her fellow secretaries all had a good laugh that day. “You’ll never believe what just happened… a 21 year old just tried to make an appointment with a pediatrician!”

But I also had some laughs… and some revelations.

First of all, did I not go to the doctor’s for 3 years?? Not even a check up? How else was I (mostly my mom, really) so oblivious to this?? I guess I’m the poster child of health then. Go me. On another note, however, if I die sometime this year, we’ll all know it was because of a lack of yearly checkups.

Or death by chocolate. Or overeating. I guess my death will actually be more of a mystery. Should I be leading a healthier lifestyle?

Say What? Protein Powders?

No. No. No. No. No protein powders.

At least, that’s what I thought before this week. For the past two months, I’ve been on a lifestyle changing journey. Ultimately, I’ve been trying to shape myself and my life to reflect my passions and ideal life more. A part of that is to lose all the weight I’ve gained in college. And so far, it’s been a success. Before spring break (we don’t speak of what’s occurred during spring break), I was nearing the 10-pound mark.

However, upon coming home for spring break—whether this is coincidence or not—I suddenly experienced incredible fatigue. Mostly leg fatigue, since I’ve become a runner. Not even five minutes in and I’d be tired. My legs felt like someone came during the night and surgically replaced my bones with LEAD. If that’s the case, I’m blaming the protein powder junkies. They knew I was going to write an article about this and influence millions of readers (canyouhearthesarcasminmyvoicerightnow). I’m calling it right now.

But seriously, what the fuck, body? You’re roll, you’re on a roll! You’re losing weight, eating healthy. Are you trying to sabotage me??

Just so you’re up to date, my workout regime was: all-body weights 3X a week for 30 minutes, 25-30 minutes of cardio (usually running).

Thankfully, I was talking about this phenomenon to my uncle, otherwise I would’ve chalked that up the “Michelle is not an athlete” column and called it quits!

He, and a bunch of savvy internet articles, informed me I was not getting enough protein. Now, I had been vegetarian for three years and had just started eating meat again this past summer. I had never even encountered this level of fatigue before. Not that I’m advocating against vegetarianism. Groove on, yo. I’m just saying that for those of us that are building lean (or bulky) muscle, more protein is definitely necessary.

Charlotte at Wild Things RUN Free says that some of the signs of not getting enough protein include: headaches and fatigue and loss of energy. Oh man… I’ve been wondering why I was getting more headaches lately—nothing to do with hangovers, of course….

So, now what? Don’t only bodybuilders drink protein shakes? Am I going to be one of those people shaking those bottle shakers like bodybuilding maracas? Am I buying into the industry that sells me completely useless shit?

Also, see this picture on the right here? I got it from a site called PUMPJUNKIES. PUMPJUNKIES. If that’s not concerning I don’t know what is. AM I GOING TO BE A PUMPJUNKIE??

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Well, I like to conduct SHIT TON OF RESEARCH before I part with any money, my dear little friends. First of all, if you’re a woman and you don’t want to build up bulk, this will do nothing. Like people have said time and time again, women do not build up bulk. We all invalidate this by pointing to any women bodybuilder, so the key word is “easily.” We do not bulk up easily. We build lean muscle first, which is definitely what you want so that you can spike your metabolism.

Now, I had to tackle WHAT kind of protein powder to get. Good thing I get my rocks off learning pointless new things. And I’ll give a quick rundown.

Two categories: animal-based, vegetable-based

Within animal based: milk protein derivatives, whey (most popular), goat’s milk, egg white.

Within vegetable based: soy, rice, pea and hemp proteins.

If you’re also thinking of protein powders, choose your poison above and then google best brand of that category.

Remember, not everyone needs protein powders. According to WebMD:

  • When you’re growing
  • Starting a program
  • Amping up workouts
  • Recovering from injury
  • Going vegan

Since I was only some of one of the above, we have to remember that these cases are individual. Apparently, my body just needs more protein than others.

On a final note, when I was researching, this popped up:

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YOUR?? People. Are we all skipping 2nd grade now? Or are the people who are googling this younger than 2nd grade?? I don’t know if I want to be in a world where almost-2nd-graders are trying to bulk up.

What’s your stance on protein powders? If you do take protein supplements, how have they changed your workouts? 

Crushes History, or, Crushtory (If You Will) Part 1

Before actually entering (a more accurate description here would be pushed into the deep, dark pool of) the dating scene, I only had a few crushes. But the few that I had basically took over my life. It was like being in reciprocated love—the highs when we were together—with a sucker punch of Just-Kidding-you’re-a-crazy-bitch.

Let’s jump back through the time portal.

A few crushes here and there in Junior High and High School which were mostly me slapping a face onto my “ideal man.” Actually, it was me vomiting idyllic projections onto the guy without him knowing. Stalking Admiring from afar.

Give me this instead. I know exactly what to do…

But in college, boy did I wise up. Actual dating seemed weird to me my first two years of college. You didn’t even know them, how would that interaction even happen? “Hi, uh, I think you’re gorgeous so on the off chance that you have an awesome personality, let’s subject ourselves to an hour and a half of maybe-good conversation”? What if you don’t click at all? Then it’s going to be awkward the next time you see each other around campus. “That’s the girl I almost had a thing for. Thank god I found out she’s crazy…”

So, I friendzoned myself. All the time, with a side of Creepy.

That’s a step up, right? Going from admiring from a distance to actually talking to them? I think I deserve a gold medal. It’s not like I have to tell them I liked them. They’re going to fall for me first! … publicly… !

Mario and I met where any other couple meets: the badminton courts. If you’ve ever wanted to climb up the social ladder, I suggest you not look towards badminton. If you wanted a good recommendation for grad school, however…

He caught my attention because he was the first normal-looking white guy I’ve ever seen on the courts.  Usually it’s nerds of all colors in the yellow-brown family. But I dismissed him immediately because he was attractive. In my experience, attractive guys provide the least stimulating conversation.

During this time, it was my Lost Years at the university so I was jonesing for some close friends. Around the time I met Mario, I met Jonie, who was petite and fiery. We clicked on and off the court and were soon inseparable.The three of us traveled to tournaments together, stayed in hotel rooms together, and went out at night together. I wasn’t 21 at the time, so I was the Super Baby of the group.

My love for him grew. But I refused to hang out alone with him. Guys had to make the first move and at least I was getting SOME airtime with him, right? The fact that they hung out without me meant nothing.

A comic strip has never described my love life so well...

The one time we hung out it was at a dive bar indie concert. And it was clearly not a date, although I did treat it like one. I got a little too tipsy on pre-mixed margarita, stood awkwardly while I waited for him to pay cover (not part of the plan, but I made it so), and then bought him donuts afterward. I felt bad, so I paid him back during the ride home.

I was getting desperate because I knew Jonie, my only connection to Mario, was moving away at the end of that year. And Mario? He was graduating soon. But that didn’t matter as much because without Jonie, there was nothing.

So it continued. Nothing. Nothing. Something? Nothing.

Soon, it was summer and whatever small momentum we had was lost.

Anytime anyone asks me about what happened, I get snappy. And they’re confused because everything happened in my head. 

Mom: So, what happened to that Mario guy? Is he still on campus?
Me: I think he left. (Actually he didn’t, but explaining why we haven’t hung out is worse)
Mom: He left without saying goodbye?! I thought you guys were friends.
Me: HE’S JUST LIKE THAT, MA. Pull into McDonalds right now.

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People You Meet at a (All-Ages) Concert

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Imagine Dragons at House of Blues Chicago Monday night, I went to the House of Blues in Chicago to see Imagine Dragons on their Night Visions Tour. Brief review: They. Are. Amazing. This is one of those bands that puts their heart and soul into their … Continue reading