Noodling, in another context, is catching fish bared handed, typically catfish as it is a Southern tradition. It can also be used to describe a form of musical improvision, typically in a desultory manner. Dictionary.com included the definition at issue (and disdained) here:
noo⋅dle[nood-l] Show IPA verb, -dled, -dling.
–verb (used without object)
However, there is no etymology for this use. The nuance, of course of this definition, is the addition of "creativity" to the type of thinking one does while noodling. Maybe I am a food addict, but my creative thinking when I hear someone use the word is to dream of pasta or chinese food. MMMM.