I made the most outstanding tofu for two nights in a row, and I must share the recipe. It's very simple; you need to prepare a quick marinade, let the tofu soak in it, and then pop it in the oven (or you can cook it on the stove top). Easy, peasy.
I got the marinade recipe from The Vegan Foodie. You can view it on the website here
To make the marinade, you need the following ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1/2-1 T agave nectar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic smashed (I used 2 T of minced garlic)
Any herbs that you want (or none at all)
You also need a block of firm tofu.
Add tofu, preheat oven to 350, then bake for 30 minutes. Flip the tofu after 15 minutes.
This recipe serves 2 people.
Here is the process in more detail:
I made the marinade in a large bowl (just pour all of the ingredients in there and mix with a spoon) and then cubed my tofu. I know people like to press their tofu with a paper towel to absorb some of the water, but I never bother with that. I drain the water from the package and then start chopping away at the block. If you want to, though, you can plop the wet block on a cutting board, place a paper towel on top, and apply pressure until your paper towel is soaked through (at least that's how I do it). You can also put something like a heavy book on top of the block for a few minutes or buy a legitimate tofu press. For me, though, it's not worth the trouble.
I almost always cube my tofu. I can sometimes find tofu that is already cubed. If not, I cut the tofu in half by separating the top and the bottom of the block. I then leave the halves on top of each other and cut both width-wise and length-wise until I have relatively equal-sized cubes. It doesn't matter how big your cubes are; the most important thing is to try to get them to be the same size!
I then throw the cubes into the marinade and let it sit covered for a few hours in the fridge (about 2 hours is enough for me, but you can do it for more or less time). Marinating in a bag is a probably a better idea, because there is always too much tofu in my bowl for all of it to be covered in the sauce. I usually take it out of the fridge a few times and stir the mixture so that all of the cubes get some flavor.
I preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put the cubes in a baking pan that is large enough to spread them out in a single layer. I use a big spoon with holes (what do you call that?) so that the liquid can drain back into the bowl. Whatever you do, try to keep as much of the marinade as you can. Put the tofu in the oven and cook for 30 minutes (flipping them halfway through).
You can also sautee the tofu on the stove, but I find that the oven crisps it up
While the tofu is baking, I chop up a red onion (about 1/4 of a large onion; 1/2 of a small onion) and throw them into the leftover marinade to pick up extra flavor. When the tofu is finished, you can pour the marinade with the onions on top of it, and it's delicious. I also cut up a few slices of tomato to add and spread some goat cheese crumbles over everything. You can really garnish with anything- it's up to you.
My inspiration for this balsamic tofu came from a balsamic tofu wrap that I ate from Whole Foods
that was outstanding. I wanted to go home and make it myself. I still haven't eaten the tofu in a wrap, but I might try it next week. With some baby spinach, tomato, clinatro, and a whole grain wrap, I bet it would be a perfect lunch.
I hope you make this if you want a good vegetarian meal. It's so good!
I got home from California on Wednesday, and I hung around my parents' house for a couple of days before going back to the city. My mom started a vegan diet on January 1st, and she wanted me to make a vegan-friendly meal for Thursday night. She wanted spaghetti squash. Since I make it all the freaking time, though, I wanted to make another dish along with that yellow beast of a squash. I thought it would be fun to make quinoa burgers since I never had them or made them before, so I researched recipes and went grocery shopping.
They were a piece of cake to make. The longest part was preparing the quinoa. Once that was done, I threw a bunch of ingredients in a food processor, mixed everything together, formed patties, and cooked the burgers on the stove.
The mix that came out of the food processor was very tasty. That's one of the good thing about vegan food: you can sample the uncooked "burger batter".
I cooked the spaghetti squash in the oven and just made up a simple sauce by adding sauteed onions and mushrooms and spices to a store-bought (vegan) pasta sauce. It was just fine. It was even better when I added parmesan cheese. If I ever became a vegan, I would have such a hard time giving that stuff up.
The burgers were also fantastic. I got the recipe from sparkpeople.com. The link is here.
Here is the recipe for very easy and tasty vegan quinoa burgers (serves six people):
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (I used pine nuts)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup raw, diced onion
1 cup cooked black beans
1 tsp salt (I omitted this)
3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
bread crumbs (you can use rice flour for a gluten-free alternative)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. When finished, put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender except for the quinoa and bread crumbs. Blend them until they have a mushy consistency (look at my after-blending photo) and then mix the "mush" with quinoa and bread crumbs in a bowl. The recipe says to roll the mixture in the bread crumbs before cooking, but I just mixed everything together. It turned out fine.
Roll the mixture into balls, flatten them out so that they look like burgers, and then throw them on a hot pan on the stove top to cook. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or flip when they look golden-brown. My pan was too hot, so I slightly burned the burgers (see photo). I'm learning things, one day at a time.
If you're going all vegan on these, do not omit the bread crumbs! Your burger will fall apart and will resemble quinoa hash more than anything.
What a great recipe! Even if you're not a vegan, these are worth making.
Have a great night, everybody!
I can't believe that I'm done with my first week of grad school. Luckily enough, I love it. The people in my program seem so nice (there are only 18 in my specific track, but there are still lots of other nice nutrition majors that we take classes with who are either going for their bachelor's degree or doing another masters program without an internship), and the classes haven't gotten the best of me yet. We'll see how it goes once they pick up speed. The good thing is that while some of my courses are all exam-based, others are all homework, presentations, and papers. I'm happy about this mix.
Today, I want to share my favorite new breakfast recipe with you. As usual, I found it on Tina's website Carrots 'N' Cake
. This two-ingredient pancake is very easy to make and only requires one banana and one to two eggs!
To make it, mash together a banana and an egg in a bowl. I usually use two eggs, because we buy very large bananas. You need enough cement to hold everything together once you cook it. I also cheat and add a half scoop of chocolate whey protein powder. The recipe only calls for two ingredients, but you can still add other tasty things to it.
Once everything is mixed together, empty the batter into the pan.
You need to be patient here and really let the bottom cook before you flip it. The first few times I made this, it all fell apart. Use low heat and give it time to work its magic.
I've been eating my pancake with a scoop of natural peanut butter and Chobani black cherry Greek yogurt. It's a fantastic combo.
I highly recommend this for breakfast if you want something that's low carb and tasty and easy to make!
Hi friends! One of the lifestyle changes that I made during my quest to slim down for the wedding included a diet high in protein, fruits, and veggies and low in flour and grains. I was very reluctant to give up oatmeal, but I found a recipe on Carrots 'n' Cake (still my favorite blog this many years later) for "oatmeal minus the oats"
. Tina (the blog's author) said it was good, so I decided to give it a go.
Here are all of the ingredients that I needed:
I play around with recipes from time to time, but I already had all of the ingredients from Tina's recipe. I followed it exactly. I used:
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1-2 tablespoons flaxseed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or as much as you want)
- 1 mashed banana
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- some time to clean up your kitchen, because you will make a mess!
I used our newest measuring cups (I have some of my own in the basement that I can use as soon as I get my own apartment!) from The Pampered Chef
. My mom's friend hosted a party recently, and we stocked up on some cool new kitchen gadgets.
The rims are flared so that it won't drip when you pour liquids into the cup, and you can read the measurements from above instead of having to squat down, pour and watch from the side like we have to do with all other liquid measuring cups. What will they think of next?
I don't have ground flaxseed, so I ground it up along with the walnuts in the food processor until it resembled a paste-like consistency. It still had big pieces of flaxseed in there, but it didn't matter to me.
I put all of the remaining ingredients (not including the raspberries that are in the ingredients picture...or the wine) in the blender for about 20 seconds (just until liquid-like) and then poured everything into a pot.
I heated it on low and made sure to stir frequently.
After a few minutes, the mixture began to thicken up and started to resemble oatmeal! It was ready to eat once it was the consistency that I wanted.
I sprinkled more cinnamon on top, a few fresh raspberries, and a spoonful of natural peanut butter.
It was surprisingly delicious! The only downside was cleaning up afterwards. It's a great breakfast to make on weekends when you have more time to do that. If you need some low-carb breakfast ideas, I highly recommend this one!
A few weeks ago, my mom and I came across Aussie Bites while shopping at Costco. We tried them, fell in love with them, bought them, cleared the box, and then went back to Costco two more times unable to find any more of them.
I was very sad for a few days. Then, my adventurous mother realized that she could make them on her own. With a quick internet search, she found the recipe
. She baked them, and they taste exactly like the real thing!
Now, it's your turn. You will not be disappointed.
This is what my thumb looks like when I don't take off my polish for weeks!
Aussie Bites (recipe from grouprecipes.com)
- 2 cups regular or toasted oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 3.5-oz can of coconut (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
- 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, dates, figs, cranberries, etc)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1/2 cup flaxseeds (not listed on this recipe, but was in original Aussie Bites recipe)
To make, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl. Melt the honey and butter together in the microwave. Mix in the baking soda with hot water, and add butter to the mixture. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Put the ingredients into a mini muffin or cupcake pan, flatten, and place them in the oven for ten minutes (or until golden brown).
This recipe makes about 48 Aussie Bites, but you will not be disappointed. My mom brought them to a Superbowl party last night, and people were flocking around them like vultures. Make these NOW!!!
Good afternoon, friends! I had a great run earlier today, despite the fact that I thought I might blow away in the wind. My Garmin Forerunner's battery also went flat just as I started to head out, so I'm also unsure of exactly how far and fast I ran. All I know is that I did a little more than three miles, and I did two runs in one week. What an improvement!
After runs or intense workouts, I like to do the following for recovery:
1) Use my foam roller. It's great for my muscles and for breaking up scar tissue.
2) Stretch. I make sure to get my hip flexors, quads and hamstrings
3) Make a smoothie. I don't do this every time, but I wish I did it more often.
4 )Ice. I put a bag of frozen peas on my sore spots for ten minutes.
Today, since I had time, I made a fantastic recovery smoothie. I'm calling it the Chocolate Banana Cherry Recovery Smoothie.
- 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
- 1 gross, almost-rotten banana
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk (although any milk will do)
- 1/2 cup tart cherry juice
Add them together, blend, and enjoy!
For my protein powder, I used Pure Protein
. I haven't tried many chocolate protein powders, but I like the taste of this stuff.
Did you know that tart cherry juice is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent? It's one of the best things that you can put in your smoothie for that, and it's much safer than taking ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Pass it on!
While icing, I drank my smoothie in my Tervis Tumbler
sent me from the Tastermakers Program
. I got it in the mail last week, and I am not kidding when I say that I have been drinking everything from it. Ask my parents if you don't believe me. I love this glass.
Here is what Foodbuzz says about it:
Tervis tumblers are virtually indestructible - they won't crack, melt, shatter, or chip, and they come with a lifetime guarantee. Even better, their double-wall insulation means hot drinks stay hot, cold drinks stay cold, and your furniture stays clear of those annoying condensation rings!
I haven't tried to smash it (haven't gotten angry enough, I guess), but I do believe that it would be hard to break. It looks like it's only for cold drinks, but I like how I can also put something hot in it and won't burn my hand off. I'll have to give it a shot in the winter.
Thanks Tervis and Foodbuzz!
Now, I'm off to a friend's house to watch the Blackhawks game. Have a great Saturday night!
Just like any Sunday night when I am home for dinner, my dad made something unique and tasty. For sides, he roasted broccolini
(which, according to Wikipedia, is "similar to broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thin stalks"). I definitely prefer it roasted to any other method. I like it when the florets are crispy.
He also roasted potatoes that he boiled in blackberry sauces (what?!?!
) before roasting and added seasoning. They didn't taste like blackberries, but they tasted good. He certainly gets an A for creativity.
You can see the blackberry seeds on the potatoes!
He also grilled some tuna steaks on the pan. He made sure not to cook them all the way through so that they were slightly pink in the middle. He wanted to cook it Asian-style.
He also made a wasabi sauce to put on top. It included:
- Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise
- Chopped ginger
- Chopped cilantro
- Teriyaki sauce
- Mirin sauce (sweet cooking rice seasoning)
- Szechuan spicy stir-fry sauce
I'm not sure how my dad measured out the proportions, but it was a stellar sauce to put on top of tuna.
I went up halfway through dinner to get more sauce. It was also great for the potatoes and broccolini.
The tuna steaks were just the right texture so that they seemed to melt in the mouth. As always, my dad made a wonderful meal.
This week is all about cleaning my room. I mentioned yesterday that I still hadn't completely unpacked from Australia. I had my giant pink duffle
and another suitcase in my room with a few things in each of them. I finally took everything out and put the bags in storage today.
I also started cleaning out my closet. I went through tons of my skirts and jeans and realized that there are tons of them that I don't want anymore. I found so many skanktastic skirts that I wore in high school and college. Since I no longer feel the need to wear clothing that makes me look like I'm not wearing clothing, I am getting rid of those babies. Sorry...don't need 'em!
I also found some clothes that I like but don't have any intention of wearing soon. For instance, my pleated white skirt that looks like I am going to play tennis:
It is not nearly as slut-ish as some of the other skirts in the photo above. I guess I could wear it if I go to a tennis-themed party. Who knows. I'm sure it happens more than you think. Some people really like tennis.
I also found this skirt that I bought when I was 16 from Rampage. It's very unique, and I just can't get myself to get rid of it. When long denim skirts are back in style, it will be a hit!
I also found these studded jeans that I wore in high school. I always liked them, because they made my legs look really thin. However, these jeans are so long on me (and if you look at the bottoms, you see that I can't shorten them easily) that I could only wear them with one pair of shoes. It was a pair a platform shoes that almost made Lady Gaga shoes look tame. It was like my shoes got stuck on a pair of steps, and the steps broke off and became part of my shoes. They were absolutely enormous. To this day, I still can't understand how I ever fit them in my suitcase when I traveled. I brought them everywhere with me, because I loved those jeans but needed the damn shoes. I had to throw out the shoes when they fell apart from wearing them too much, so I have no clue when I will be able to wear these jeans again. What a pity.
I also had to get rid of my Sutters jeans. Does anybody remember Sutters? I think that they discontinued the brand years ago. I held onto these jeans for that reason. They looked horrible on me, and I never had any intention of wearing them.
thenI put my cleaning on hold to get my hair cut/colored. Did you know that I have to get my hair colored every six weeks since I am a premature grayer? Like, a very bad premature grayer? Well, now you know!
I'm actually traumatized, because I didn't have much cash on me and the salon doesn't allow you to tip on the credit card machine. They told me to go to the bank in the shopping center, but it was closed! I had to tell my stylist that I couldn't tip her today. My mom is going there next week, so she will cover for me. I was still upset about it and could not stop apologizing. I've worked in a job before where you rely strongly on tips, so I can't imagine how it feels to not get one from a customer. I know that she'll get one next week, though. I just feel so bad! It also makes me miss the tip-free world of Australia.
I didn't get home until around 7, and I was starving. Luckily, my dad had already cut up the leftover tuna from last night so that we could make quesadillas.
I made my own by using one of these wraps:
There is so much fiber in these (12 grams per wrap), so it's almost like eating nothing. I swear. Just don't overdose on them. Like I said, there is a lot of fiber!
I added shredded mozzarella cheese and put some non-fat Greek yogurt on the side.
That was one healthy tuna quesadilla!
Today, I also had the pleasure of beginning to read through my Lonely Planet San Francisco City Guide book.
I am getting so excited to go! My parents have been there several times, so they already know a ton about the city. I still always need to read up before I go somewhere new. I went when I was nine, but this is a little different!
Back to cleaning now!