Lovely Earth

This month’s Hormel Extended Family Food Blogger post centers around something that should be near and dear to our hearts – the earth! I suppose you could say I celebrated earth day since I ran a half marathon, but I’d like to think I do a little bit every day to help try and keep us here, and enjoying what we’ve got. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I contribute every now and then to part of the problems, but for the most part, I try not to!

Since I’ve started running more, I’ve come to appreciate nature more. It’s still not my absolute favorite (I’d much prefer a hotel over camping on most days), but with simple views like this on my morning long runs, how could I not want to keep it alive?

Delaware & Raritan Rivers canal tow path

So, what do I do to try and keep nature beautiful? First, my husband and I always try to bring reusable shopping bags when we go to the grocery store. Some groceries even give you a little cash back (5 cents) for each bag you use! I’ve been collecting a few here and there, and of course have two obligatory cupcake related bags. Those usually bring a smile to the cashier’s face. The hardest part about using reusable bags? Remembering them.

Yes, I bring this bag to the grocery store.

While we’re at the grocery store, I try not to buy too many prepackaged foods, mostly because they’re more expensive. But in terms of the environment, they help keep excess papers and plastics away as well. I was happy to learn from Hormel that they try to use as little packing as possible. I love that their Natural Choice packaged deli meats come in recycled packaging! It also helps that it’s delicious.

Equally as important as bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, and buying products with less packaging, in my opinion, is the reusable water bottle. I’ve been using them for years, ever since Nalgenes became all the rage while I was in high school. I grabbed a purple Loyola College bottle on a visit my senior year of college, and I still use it today. The folks at Hormel sent me an awesome Camelbak bottle that I’ve used before and after two long runs and also after this past weekend’s half marathon. It has a straw that only lets out liquid when you bite it, like their backpacks. This feature is much appreciated since the wide mouth of the Nalgene usually results in water dribbled down my chin.

While you can’t call me “Mother Earth,” I’ve been making a conscious effort more recently to try and not only appreciate the earth and everything we have more, but to also make sure I’m not actively contributing to it’s problems. I’d have to attribute the majority of that to my husband who is a big fan of good ‘ole earth. I certainly have room for improvement, but I’m working on it!

Disclaimer: Hormel Foods sent me Camelbak water bottle as a member of their Extended Family Food Blogger program in order to blog about Earth day and the Hormel family. The opinions in this post are my own. 

Crisp Noodle Cake

Happy Earth Day!

Tonight’s dinner was an Earth Day celebration; a nice crisp noodle cake and TONS of veggies!

I had this particular recipe on my radar for awhile, but wasn’t able to incorporate it into my weekly meal planning until today. I was also a bit hesitant about the recipe in general. My fiancé tells me I need more confidence, since I’m always afraid my adventures in the kitchen are going end disastrously. He constantly reassures me that everything I’ve made has been delicious, and the few things that haven’t, have been at least passable.

That being said, I found this recipe on Serious Eats. It is, however, a Martha Stewart recipe. It seemed pretty basic, and really only called for a few ingredients; one of which was ginger. I personally have no aversion to ginger, but I know a lot of people (cough, my dad, cough) that loathe it. Because I don’t care either way, instead of getting the fresh ginger, I went with sushi ginger. That way, I can have it to throw into other recipes in the future, without needing to worry about it going bad as quickly. I’ve been avoiding scallions for no particular reason. Up until this recipe, if I was making something that called for it, I left it out. This time, however, I knew it was an important part of the meal, so I buckled down and bought some.

Once you get past the ingredients and mix everything together, you’re kind of left with a giant slop of egg, ginger, bean sprouts, scallions, and noodles, as you can see here:

I was unsure of the best way to grab the concoction and transfer it from the bowl to the bubbling hot oil. I decided to grab some with a fork, carry over the ends with my fingers, and as neatly as possible (without getting burnt) place the blob into the oil. Believe it or not, I managed to get it into a cake-like shape, without getting burnt!

While the noodles were cooking away, I decided to sauté some typical stir-fry vegetables as a side; broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas – yum! I doused them in some soy and teriaki sauces for flavor.

I don’t really know what about this recipe made me so nervous. When I broke it all down, though, it turned out to be really simple. The cakes were super crisp on the outside, and tender on the inside. To agree with Blake Royer over at Serious Eats, it was a kind of like a “noodle frittata, crisp and crunchy and yet still custardy on the inside.” There was just the right amount of ginger without being overpowering, and the scallion added a nice touch. I could definitely see adding some sautéed onion into the mix next time. It was also really great to have Sriracha as a dipping sauce.

If you’re ever in the mood for a basic Asian inspired crispy meal, I would definitely recommend this. My girl Martha knows what she’s talking about, as does Serious Eats!

Crisp Noodle Cake
[Serves 2]


3 ounces rice vermicelli or angel hair pasta
3 ounces soybean sprouts
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 scallions, sliced very thin
2 large eggs plus 1 egg white, beaten
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or safflower
1/4 cup pea shoots (optional)
Soy sauce and sriracha (or other chili sauce) for condiments


1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the noodles until just tender; drain and rinse under cool water. Add to a bowl with the sprouts, ginger, scallions, salt, and eggs and toss to combine.
2. Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet until very hot and shimmering and almost smoking (if it’s not hot enough, the cakes can be greasy), then lower the heat to medium. Divide the noodle mixture into 4 portions, then place each in the pan, pressing to flatten into a cake. Cook until golden brown, 6-7 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn out cakes to a plate lined with paper towels, then toss the pea shoots into the skillet to wilt.
3. Blot the cakes with paper towel and serve with the soy sauce and Sriracha.

Happy nomzing!