November 13, 2013
Sick = soup, always – right?
While I’m definitely not full blown sick, I have been feeling pretty drained and under the weather lately. I’ve been trying to keep up my workouts at a lower intensity and keep my body fueled with good healthy foods to fight off whatever it is that’s wrong with me (my money is on a Sinus Infection/Tooth Infection – yuck).
Yesterday was a particularly rough one and by the time I was home and had finished my workout, I had ZERO appetite. Not eating wasn’t an option, so instead I threw together this easy soup that reminded me of my “mom, can I have a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup?” days. Salty, comforting and with a few extra healthy bits and pieces to satisfy my lifestyle.
I started with half a cube of Veggie broth bouillon into 2 cups of water and added some diced carrots and celery I had already cut up in the fridge. Next went half a package of pre-cubed tofu cubes, some freshly grated ginger, cayenne pepper and garlic powder, a trifecta of sick blasters! Once the veggies were nice and tender and the soup was ready to eat, I threw in a handful of torn up kale and let it steam a bit, to up the greens factor.
The result was cozy and comforting, salty and nourishing. Not too heavy, but still nutritious enough to satisfy. A big bowl of this would fill me up on a regular (feeling good) day, especially with the addition of some grains or noodles. But for now, it was perfect as was. Tonight, I’m feeling like a hungry beast, so I’m hoping a nice solid biceps/back workout will put me in the mood for some roasted acorn squash….get in mah bellay!
I’m off to the dentist tomorrow (I really hate the dentist…) to try and figure out if the tooth is the problem, or the sinuses are the problem. Chicken or the egg?
See also – go give my friend Dom some serious love over at his page. He just got back from running the NYC marathon. Major inspiration right there.
July 3, 2012
And we’re back with a Tuesday addition of Tofu Trials!
Today you’ll get to read about my friend Lil. You’ve seen her a lot lately on this blog and based on the number of Tofu wrap lunch dates we’ve had in the past month, you can probably guess she’s not adverse to enjoying a tofu dish. But surprisingly, she’s never been comfortable with cooking one! So you know I had to get her to try.
Well here I sit, guest blogging again. The only stipulation this time was that my entry had to involve a tofu recipe. Thankfully, Katie told me how to properly prepare tofu by pressing it (see!? AGAIN!), which we never did prior to Katie’s helpful advice resulting in our tofu attempts being under-whelming. Since none of our previous tofu attempts really stood out as something we wanted to make again , I had to search for something my “meat-eating” husband would be happy trying. With both of our boys spending the week at the beach, it was just John and I at home so this was the perfect week to test the tofu recipe. I found two recipes and, when I asked John to pick which one he wanted to try, he said that we should try them both. Shocking!! So we went to the grocery store and picked up two blocks of tofu. John was intrigued by the vegetarian sausage, which is in the same case as the tofu, and made several comments about how much better the tofu would be if it was cooked in bacon grease. I only shook my head. John pressed the tofu using a stack of paper plates and a jar of spare change while I was at the gym. When I came home, we picked the recipe we wanted to try.
Together, we worked through the recipe, not that it was that involved but we were doing it together.
While the tofu baked, John ran out to get some bread. We decided to toast the bread using our panini maker.
And we constructed our sandwiches and sat down to eat them. All I can say is that they were delish!
My husband, the meat-eater who is a good sport and agreed to this right down to taking all the pictures, said that the sandwich was tasty enough that there was no need to add bacon. He said he would eat it again, and would not mind paying for it if ordered at a restaurant. I was shocked to hear him say that. I am so happy that my husband is so supportive and willing to try all the new things I suggest to him. So the good news is that tomorrow’s dinner is already in the plans. Yep, we are having this same recipe again to try and fine tune this great tasting meal. An added plus is that the adobo sauce is something we would not have tried if not for this recipe but now, we can see adding it to lots of foods.
How amazing do those tofu pieces look!? This is first on my list of “must make”, what a fun take on the traditional “BLT” sandwich! Many thanks to Lil (and John) for humoring me once again. First running, now tofu. What WILL I get her to do next?!? 🙂
Hopefully back tomorrow with success stories about how I stayed fit and healthy while vacationing in St. Louis!
July 2, 2012
Hey Everyone! I’m back with the second installment of the Tofu Trials and a guest post! Today you’ll be hearing from my friend Mike again. Mike was pretty hesistant to take on the tofu challenge, with the added pressure of trying to cook something his family would enjoy. Has anyone else ever tried to get a kid to accept they may like something that they have decided they’re going to hate before even eating it? Yikes!
Here’s what Mike had to say about trying out tofu in his own kitchen.
Tofu Eye for the Carnivorous Guy
I’m no stranger to the kitchen, but tackling tofu seemed to be a daunting task. It’s such a seemingly foreign ingredient and, frankly, I’m not too keen on food with a very soft texture. I think that’s a big part of why meat eaters have such a visceral reaction to tofu, either never having eaten it or their only experience being a few mushy cubes floating in soup while watching an onion volcano erupt on a hibachi grill (“Get on with the shrimp and steak already!”). But I had had some tofu dishes in the past that were quite good, both eating out and at friends’ homes, and so I was encouraged to try it out on my own and accept the Tofu Challenge.
Several key pieces of advice were extremely helpful. Like finding out that tofu comes in varying degrees of firmness. Extra Firm seemed like a great starting point.
Pressing it seemed like an even better idea (thanks KRH!). I used the traditional two plates method to squeeze out excess water and firm it up even more. This takes a while, so I let it go about 40 minutes. Enough time for a relaxing cocktail on the deck … which was a nice bonus! (see guys, pressing!)
The Joy of Pressing
Once pressed, I sliced the tofu very thin (about ¼ inch – thanks again KRH!) and let it marinade in light soy sauce, shredded ginger and sesame while I cut vegetables: green beans, scallion, green pepper along with fresh herbs from the garden (parsley, basil, chive). Sauteed the tofu in vegetable oil, making sure that it was pretty thoroughly done (about 5-7 minutes) before flipping and finishing.
Nicely well done
After the tofu was done, I did a quick separate stir fry of the remaining vegetables which were then simmered in vegetable stock for about 15 minutes. Then the tofu was served on top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds:
As a starch, heated up some garlic naan from Fresh Market and we were good to go. I liked it a lot, the tofu was definitely firm – about the consistency of eggs scrambled hard. It was most definitely flavorful and had a nice outer layer of crispness to it. It complemented the vegetables and went well with the garlic naan. I thought it was a successful first attempt at using tofu as the main dinner ingredient.
I’m definitely keen to try tofu again, although I think one thing I would do differently would be to cut the tofu into smaller pieces for more crispy surface and perhaps add it in as a part of a more general stir fry recipe rather use tofu as the centerpiece. And I’m planning to stick with Asian seasonings initially before venturing out further with other food palates. But most definitely happy to get over my “tofu-cooking phobia”!
Um, if that doesn’t look delicious, then I don’t know what does. I love me some crispy tofu! 🙂
Do you see that last line?? “happy to get over my ‘tofu-cooking phobia'” SUCCESS!! 🙂
Are you guys trying out any new tofu recipes?? Share!
June 29, 2012
Hi everyone! Its FRIDAY! 🙂 And I’m hopefully making my way through the streets of St. Louis by now. While I’m away, I thought I’d do a small segment (With some guest posts!) on a topic that I always find really interesting to talk about.
I’m pretty sure I just saw everyone cringe. And that’s EXACTLY what’s so interesting to me about it. So many people have this knee jerk reaction when I mention tofu. I used to have the same knee jerk reaction. Its…its tofu. Its this white blob of tasteless stuff in some scary sort of liquid. Pretty appetizing, right? What’s funny, is that tofu can actually be pretty tasty, ifyou take the time to prepare it correctly. And even then, its not THAT much time to prepare. Strangely enough, it is now one of my absolute FAVORITE things to eat. A complete 180 from my original perceptions. Tofu can be a fun, easy and healthy addition to a meal. And here’s the kicker, making, eating and ENJOYING tofu, doesn’t mean you’ve automatically sworn off meat for the rest of your life. Its perfectly acceptable to appreciate and enjoy a tofu dish every now and again, without having to give up all of the other things you eat. Its just that tofu has this strange reputation for being…something.
SO. In an effort to change that thought process, I’ve come up with a devious little plan, called the Tofu Trials, where i’ve asked two of my non-vegetarian, “oh, its Tofu, no I can’t cook that” friends to try any tofu recipe of their choice, make it, eat it and write about it. They didn’t have to like it, they didn’t have to not like it, I just wanted them to be honest. The result is pretty interesting, I think 🙂 But of course, I couldn’t ask my friends to do something without participating (and who am I to pass up a chance to cook tofu). So this week, I threw together a quick and easy summer meal, recreating one of our favorite sandwiches, the Chicken parm, with tofu.
The recipe is simple enough and like most recipes, one of the most important parts about prepping the tofu is to PRESS it. Super easy to do, and there’s a great example of pressing in a later post. But this helps to drain out and get rid of any excess liquid that may make your tofu mushy when its cooking. While I don’t mind it as much, most people aren’t big fans of it.
After I pressed the tofu, I made nice thin slices, dipped them in some almond milk and then coated them in a self-made breading mixture of flour, spices and nutritional yeast. After that it was into a hot grill pan with some “made it in a hurry marinara” (a simple recipe of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, tadaaaaaaaaaaa).
Once they were properly cooked on all sides, its as easy sub roll, tofu, sauce, chomp.
I sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top and served it with a side of sauted’ squash/zucs and onion. mmmmMMMMMmmmmm.
Did I mention it makes great leftovers for lunch the next day? Its a bogo deal for meals!
So there you have it! A simple and easy meal that you can make with tofu chicken or even eggplant. New to tofu or just want to join in the fun? Cook up a tofu dish and write about it, message it to me or leave a link in the comments if you blog about it. Happy weekend!! 🙂
March 19, 2012
I once heard, that telling an Italian you liked their tomato sauce, was the holy grail of compliments. At the time I laughed.
Until someone told me they liked my tofu.
Now I get it.
Tofu is one of those foods that gets the lip snarling, eye rolling, disgusted look from most people. Ya’ll know I love it. So to hear someone say they love the way I make it, enough to enjoy it? Day. Made.
The key, I’m finding, is to press it, then make sure its cut thin enough so that it can cook. I like to pan sear or roast mine, with just a touch of oil and sea salt, until each side is good and crisped up. Tonight I finished it off with a tamari/maple syrup glaze, that even had Brandon rethinking his tofu snarl.
And can we just talk about these sweet potatoes for a second? I wanted to recreate some pub fries I had a year ago in Old Town Alexandria, but with a healthier sweet potato version. Without knowing exactly what they did at the pub, these came out great. I baked the sweet potato, then cut it into some rounds. I threw the rounds into a pan with a bit of hot oil and let the sides crisp up a bit more. Dipped in Ketchup, these babies were a perfect sweet compliment to my maple/tamari glaze on the tofu and some simple pan roasted veggies leftover from the fridge.
Not bad for a Monday night 🙂
Time to rest up for my last week of training runs before my half marathon in two weeks!!
March 9, 2012
I also love veggies and a homemade peanut sauce.
This meal was insanely delicious after Yoga on Wednesday night. I almost feel badly about not sharing it with you sooner. It was originally planned as a wrap, but I decided to throw mine on top of some salad instead. Best. Decision. Ever. The bowl was a mix of salad, roasted tofu, carrots and zucchini, black beans and a homemade peanut sauce.
I’m home in Lancaster for the night – but NOT before I managed to squeeze in a run outside in the sun! My knee has felt a little tweaky lately, but I think it felt better when I was running, rather than not :-p a sign? I also think that it may be time for me to start thinking about getting a new pair of sneaks, although I’m a little nervous about getting new shoes so close to the race (eek!!!) I surprised myself for today’s run.
1. I was TIRED.
2. My knee was hurting
3. It was crazy windy.
All of these combined led me to the conclusion that I’d only run for as far as I felt comfortable and no faster than what was comfortable. And what was awesome, was that despite all the above that were seeminglyagainst me, I clocked in at a time that was a little faster than my normal slow run pace, even though I was making a conscious effort to not push too hard. I guess that means pushing myself yesterday was worth the tired legs this morning! 🙂
Friday Fiver, done. Now…how to get better from here???
February 1, 2012
The post I had for today, is MIA. So the post you will get today, is food 🙂
Don’t worry though -not everything I touch in the kitchen comes out looking delicious.
My first foray into a Vegan Scone was not so hot and is exactly the recipe that has me diving into my Vegan baking book this week to learn. Most of the recipes you see above are pretty Vegan friendly (save the noodles maybe, and the yogurt in my chick pea salad up top) and I’m really proud of how they taste. And our dinners this week have been getting the surprised Carnivore’s Seal of Approval.
And in case you were worried I haven’t been keeping up with my training – no worries! Despite having a rough go of dragging my butt out of bed – I’ve had great workouts this week. This morning I added on a “catch up” mile on the treadmill to the end of my bike XT. I call it a catch up mile, because I spent the first minute barely walking to mess around with my headphones. 8 minutes later, I had finished up a total 9 minute mile, which means I was running a solid sub 9 minute pace for the general duration of my run. Definitely a great way to end a morning workout!
I’ve also been trying to focus a bit more on my core and gluts to help gain some strength for running and found some fun exercise ball moves that after trying briefly last night, I was giggling from how horrible I was at them. Definitely going to have to get better at these, because I could 100% feel them working.
Welllp – just 2 more days to go before I can sink into my couch and enjoy some pizza and a nice big glass of wine 🙂