Week 30/2021: chow mein

Week 30/2021: Week of 26 July 2021

What did I want to do better this week?

After turning all my alarms off, I wanted to get up a bit earlier and go for a walk in the morning.

So, how did that go then?

I kind of didn’t do that. I’ve got the packing up at 9.45 and being in bed by 10.15 thing happening consistently. The only night I didn’t do it this week, there was a lot of stuff I needed to write down while it was still at the front of my mind so I ended up staying up a bit later to get that done. But six nights is good.

I’m still waking up at least once in the night, which I’m sure I didn’t do when I was going to bed later so I’m half wondering if there’s any point in going to bed earlier. Though *they* do say that the sleep you get before midnight is more valuable than the sleep after midnight, so if that’s true (I don’t know what constitute valuable sleep), then it’s probably worth persisting with.

Getting up in the morning is a bit harder and I guess it being so dark and cold doesn’t inspire me to jump out of bed and go walking. I think I managed to do it for three or four mornings this week. And I made some nice photos when I was out so that made the cold a bit more bearable.

Some clouds over a beach at sunrise
Saturday sunrise

21 for 2021 update

Vegetable of the week (thing 2)

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from Alice Zaslavsky’s book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable.

I made the Snow Pea and Cabbage Chow Mein recipe (page 446), which actually involves two recipes, that one and the Mushroom Tempeh “Mince” (page 428), which is used in several recipes and which I adapted a bit for not having mushrooms.

I’ve never made Chow Mein before and have to confess I don’t actually know exactly what it is, so I googled it and learned from Nagi that “The thing that distinguishes Chow Mein from other stir fried noodles are the type of noodles used. Chow Mein noodles are thin crinkly looking noodles that are lightly coated in flour.” Alice’s recipe calls for “dried thin egg noodles”, which is not what I specified on my shopping list and, therefore, not what I got.

Nagi goes on to say, “Other than noodles, Chow Mein almost always has cabbage, bean sprouts and carrot, then your choice of protein”. So this recipe was pretty consistent with that description but I wish I’d read up on Chow Mein a bit more beforehand.

It’s basically a stir fry with a yummy but very salty sauce made up of things like Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and oyster sauce. And mild curry powder. Here’s what I think of that.

A hand holding a jar of powder labelled "X-Hot Curry"
My version of mild curry powder


A wok is something I keep thinking about getting and never do. I think it would make stir frying a lot easier and give me better results so I’m going to get one.

This recipe was a snow pea recipe that included carrots and cabbage, but I’m sure you could add in any type of veg that you’d add to a normal stir fry. I’m not sure if my mushroom-less mushroom mince was a good idea as it made true whole thing a bit sloppy. But it still tasted good.

A dish of noodles with snow peas, carrots and other vegetables
Snow Pea and Cabbage Chow Mein

Actually, reading Nagi’s concluding words on the dish, that, no matter what protein you use, what vegetables and even what noodles, you’re going to end up with “a bowl of slurp-worthy noodles”, perhaps sloppy is exactly how it was supposed to end up.

Kramstable’s videos (thing 8)

I did a bit of work on the next video but I was really tired on Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t get into it. But any progress is better than no progress.

My mother’s story (thing 9)

There was a bunch of other stuff going on this week so my weekly story time visit to Mum ended up being about helping her sort that out. But I did manage to find some photos of my great great grandmother, Helen, who died in 1914 and whose husband had worked on the railway in Wynyard. I want to find out a bit more about them, as they had come to Tasmania from Scotland when my grandmother’s father was very young. So they’re part of the beginning of my family’s story in Australia.

Brainsparker (thing 17)

This week I worked on Module 8 and learned about Luke Williams and his book Disrupt, which I now want to read. I learned that the word “disrupt” means “to drastically alter or destroy the structure of” and originates from the Latin word “disrumpere”, which means to break apart.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 3 (1, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (2, 8, 9, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 9 (4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)

And the other stuff

What I’m reading this week

Waking Up: Searching for spirituality without religion by Sam Harris

Habit tracker

I’ve added in the morning walks to the list. I’ve taken reading out because I don’t need to track that any more. I just do it.

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 5): 4
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 3
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7):
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.45 (Goal = 6): 6
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