Gadget: Ice Shaving Machine Turns Soy Milk into Shaved Ice

Snow Dessert Yukihana

How to Use

1. Freeze soy milk to make soy milk ice

2. Place ice into the gadget

3. Slide to shave ice

The gadget is made by Takara Tomy Arts and sells for 3,800 yen plus tax in Japan.

Chinese Hot and Sour Noodle Soup


6-1/2 oz fresh Shanghai noodles
6-1/2 oz chicken breast fillet, cut into very thin strips
2 tablespoons garlic and red chili paste
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
3-1/2 oz enoki mushrooms, trimmed and separated
1 (4 oz) fresh baby corn, cut into quarters lengthways
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
2-1/4 oz black fungus, roughly chopped
6-1/2 oz firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal in long strips, to garnish


3 lb chicken bones, washed
2 (1/2-inch) slices fresh ginger
4 spring onions, white part only, bruised


  1. To make the stock, put the chicken bones and 15 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Cook for 30 minutes, removing any scum that rises to the surface. Add the ginger and spring onion and simmer gently, partially covered, for 3 hours. Strain through a fine sieve and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the laver of fat from the surface.
  2. Cook the noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water for 4-5 minutes, then drain and rinse.
  3. To make the soup, pour 8 cups of the stock into a non-stick wok, bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken, garlic and chili paste, soy sauce and white pepper and stir well. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Add the mushrooms, corn, vinegar, black fungus and tofu, season with salt, return the lid to the wok and simmer gently for 5 minutes — do not stir.
  5. Mix the cornstarch with 4 tbsp water. Add to the soup with the noodles, return to a simmer, then pour the eggs in a very thin stream over the surface.
  6. Turn off the heat and stand for 10 minutes before gently stirring in the sesame oil.
  7. Divide among the serving bowls and garnish with the spring onion strips.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Essential Wok Cookbook

Hormones and Neurotransmitters: The Differences and Curious Similarities

Alpana and Murari Chaudhuri wrote . . . . . . . . .


Neurotransmitters and hormones are two different types of chemicals that carry signals from one part of the body to another. Both chemicals play an important part in the body’s physiology. They control a variety of physical and psychological functions, including our mood, our eating patterns, our ability to learn, and our sleep cycles.

The Differences

Hormones and neurotransmitters are different chemical messengers, the former produced by the endocrine glands and the latter by the nervous system.

Hormones are usually secreted from the endocrine system and released into the bloodstream, but they act on distant target cells. Some hormones, like melatonin and cortisol, are actually produced in the brain, released in the blood, and affect other parts of the body.

On the other hand, neurotransmitters are released from the presynaptic nerve terminal in the brain. They move across the synaptic cleft, a small space between two adjacent neurons, and move to the next neuron (known as a postsynaptic neuron). There they bind to specific receptors, causing changes in the electrical properties of target cells, which can cause various postsynaptic effects. Neurotransmitters work locally and their actions are very fast.

Both hormones and neurotransmitters influence our thoughts and motivations, as well as our ability to learn and concentrate. However, neurotransmitters’ actions are short-lived while hormones act for longer periods of time. Furthermore, neurotransmitters can affect both voluntary actions (eating, bathing, walking) and involuntary actions (breathing, blinking). Hormones in the endocrine system always work involuntarily.

Curious Similarities

Research in the last couple of years has demonstrated that some hormones, work like neurotransmitters independently of their classical hormone actions. The most well-studied hormones are progesterone and estrogen, which are known as steroid hormones.

Steroid hormones are typically synthesized in the endocrine gland and bind to a receptor that then binds to a specific DNA sequence, affecting gene transcription. This process is a lengthy one, which means that steroid hormones work for a prolonged period of time.

However, Progesterone and estrogen are also synthesized in the neuronal circuit, specifically in the presynaptic terminal. They then bind to the membrane and intracellular receptors followed by neurotransmitter-like action, which is very fast and short-lived. These neurotransmitters-like steroids have multiple receptors. The steroid-receptor specific functions are not yet clearly understood.

Some well-studied neuroreceptors, like dopamine and serotonin are known to possess hormonal functions. Dopamine is a neurohormone released from the hypothalamus; its main function is to block the release of prolactin, another hormone, from the pituitary gland. As a neurotransmitter released from the central nervous system, it also has many functions including roles in cognition and motor activity.

Adrenaline and noradrenaline are two molecules that differ by one carbon atom. Adrenaline, which is produced by the adrenal gland, acts as a hormone. On the other hand, noradrenaline acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

This is just a piece of a growing body of research suggesting that many hormones work as neurotransmitters and vice-versa. The next area of research here is to determine the receptor-specificity of these molecules to understand how their function may change depending on the receptor and mode of binding.

Source: The Biochemists


Annamarya Scaccia wrote . . . . . . . . .

Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, a chemical nerve cells produce. It sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is found mostly in the digestive system, although it’s also in blood platelets and throughout the central nervous system.

Serotonin is made from the essential amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid must enter your body through your diet and is commonly found in foods such as nuts, cheese, and red meat. Tryptophan deficiency can lead to lower serotonin levels. This can result in mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression.

What does serotonin do?

Serotonin impacts every part of your body, from your emotions to your motor skills. Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It’s the chemical that helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting. Serotonin also helps:

  • reduce depression
  • regulate anxiety
  • heal wounds
  • Simulate nausea
  • maintain bone health

Here’s how serotonin acts in various functions across your body:

Bowel movements: Serotonin is found primarily in the body’s stomach and intestines. It helps control your bowel movements and function.

Mood: Serotonin in the brain is thought to regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood. Low levels of the chemical have been associated with depression, and increased serotonin levels brought on by medication are thought to decrease arousal.

Nausea: Serotonin is part of the reason why you become nauseated. Production of serotonin rises to push out noxious or upsetting food more quickly in diarrhea. The chemical also increases in the blood, which stimulates the part of the brain that controls nausea.

Sleep: This chemical is responsible for stimulating the parts of the brain that control sleep and waking. Whether you sleep or wake depends on what area is stimulated and which serotonin receptor is used.

Blood clotting: Blood platelets release serotonin to help heal wounds. The serotonin causes tiny arteries to narrow, helping form blood clots.

Bone health: Serotonin plays a role in bone health. Significantly high levels of serotonin in the bones can lead to osteoporosis, which makes the bones weaker.

Sexual function: Low levels of serotonin are associated with increased libido, while increased serotonin levels are associated with reduced libido.

Natural serotonin boosters

The following factors can boost serotonin levels, according to a paper published in the Journal of Psychiatry and NeuroscienceTrusted Source:

  • Exposure to bright light: Sunshine or light therapy are commonly recommended remedies for treating seasonal depression. Find a great selection of light therapy products here.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can have mood-boosting effects.
  • A healthy diet: Foods that can increase serotonin levels include eggs, cheese, turkey, nuts, salmon, tofu, and pineapple.
  • Meditation: Meditating can help relieve stress and promote a positive outlook on life, which can greatly boost serotonin levels.

Source: Healthline

Video: How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes According to the US Navy

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Do you toss and turn at night?

A good night’s sleep is necessary for optimal health.

So if you’re one of the millions of people in the world who suffers from a sleep disorder or you want to fall asleep faster, watch this video to learn a trick straight from the US military.

Watch video at You Tube (7:24 minutes) . . . .