Category Archives: Tofu/Tempeh/Seitan

Kale: Versatile and Nutritious

This week is all about Kale in our house.  We grow it in our garden and we are never lacking.  It’s super easy to grow.  It does well in high and low temps, humid or not, lots of rain or draught…this veggie is hard to mess up.

Kale was quite the “trendy” veggie among the health conscious for several years and now “they” seem to be trending away from it. However, you can’t deny the health benefits of this green goddess.  Kale is considered a superfood for many reasons.  It is incredibly high in Vitamin K, A and C.  It also boasts lots fiber, iron, calcium, folate and magnesium.  In fact, per calorie, kale is higher in iron than beef and higher in calcium than dairy milk.  Kale is high in antioxidants and can reduce your risk for many different cancers, including breast and prostate.

Kale is very versatile.  You can add it to just about anything from smoothies and dips to casseroles, soups and pastas.  I often use it interchangeably with cabbage…it is part of the cabbage family after all.

Here are a few of the kale recipes we enjoyed this week:

Kale Grapefruit Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 extra ripe banana, cut into chunks and frozen
  • 1/4 – cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or more depending on desired consistency)
  • 1/2  cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 red grapefruit, peeled and seeded
  • 2-3 cups kale, ribs and stems removed

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend for a couple minutes until smooth.  Add more almond milk if your smoothie is too thick.

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Cilantro Lime Rice w/ Kale

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I added mushrooms to the kale mixture.  It would have been great just like this before even adding the rice!  The original recipe served it alongside a filet of salmon, which obviously I did not do.  So, just make sure to leave out the directions for that if you check out the recipe.

 

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Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

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This was probably my favorite kale recipe this week.  At first we just enjoyed this with whole wheat crackers.  Yum!

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Then, I whipped up a grilled cheeze on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread.  I spread a little Earth Balance on the outside of the bread, slathered on a good amount of this kale hummus on the inside and topped it with a Daiya cheddar slice and the other slice of bread and seared until golden brown.  No, not the healthiest thing around, but it was yummy!

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Since the grilled cheeze was such a hit, I decided to try a vegan version of a BLT.  I toasted up two slices of Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, slathered on the kale hummus (instead of lettuce), topped with 4 slices of Tofurkey Tempeh Bacon (seared for a few minutes in a pan) and tomatoes.  This was super yummy as well!

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I also think this kale hummus would be great thinned out just a bit and mixed with pasta or rice.  How else would you use it?

 

Kale Chips

Last, but not least, what kale story would be complete without kale chips?  This is by far the easiest recipe I have come across.  I have tried “cheezy” kale chips too and they are great, but I thought I would keep it simple here.  These only take 15 minutes in the oven and a couple minutes of prep before that.  Super easy, super crunchy.

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There are so many more yummy ways to use kale.  I LOVE to throw a few handfuls into soups in the fall/winter.  And a cupful in almost any smoothie won’t be tasted but will up the nutritional benefit.

How do you like to eat your kale?

 

 

Crispy Breaded Tofu

I have tried so many yummy recipes lately that I had a hard time choosing which one to post first.  I decided on this Crispy Breaded Tofu because the WHOLE family loved it…even those that proclaim they don’t like tofu (M, our 5 year old for example).  He, along with C and K, our 2 yr old twins, all asked for seconds!  Hubby ate all of his first serving and went back for more veggies, but opted against a 2nd helping of tofu…but did I mention that he ate ALL of his first serving?!  That’s a win all around in my book.

Tofu

So, a little about tofu first.  Soy is a controversial food.  Soy is one of the most genetically modified foods out there and MOST of the soy the average person consumes comes in an extremely processed form.  Not good!  However, whole food forms of soy that have not been genetically engineered do have some amazing health benefits.  Tofu is very high in calcium and protein and has a good dose of healthy fats and iron too.  Non-gmo tofu is said to have cardiovascular benefits as well as cancer prevention benefits.

On a separate note, I find it ironic that most carnivores like to point out to vegan/plant based eaters the controversial issues surrounding soy foods while ingesting their sugar, cholesterol and saturated fat laden foods and chasing it down with a chemical laced syrupy beverage.  But, I digress……

Crispy Breaded Tofu

First you must press and slice your tofu.  If you’ve never pressed tofu before, learn how to do so here.  I doubled the recipe (in the link above) since one recipe of anything these days does not suffice for our family of five.  You will likely get 6 slices out of one block (so 12 for two blocks).  I cut one of my slices in half again (thus, the 13 pieces) because I thought the girls would eat smaller portions…I was WRONG!

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Then set up your breading station.

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I used unsweetened organic soy milk in place of the soy milk creamer and a mix of almond meal and nutritional yeast in place of the all purpose flour.  (If you are gluten-free, that would be a good option for you too…but you’d also have to leave off the Panko breadcrumbs).

After the “milk” and “flour” stations, this is what you will have:

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Dip once again into the “milk” and then into the Panko and fry those slices up!  It will look like this:

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Just try and tell me that doesn’t look delicious!!!  So crispy on the outside, firm but moist on the inside.  Mmmmmmm.

I served it up with mashed potatoes, corn and broccoli.  The kids dipped their crispy tofu in ketchup.  BBQ sauce would be good too.  I found it didn’t need anything extra though.  Perfection!

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Be on the lookout for some more delicious recipes in the next week or so.  Enjoy!

Vegan “Egg” Salad Sandwich

Think following a plant based diet means you can’t have your egg salad sandwich?  Think again!  Crumbled tofu looks, feels and tastes just like crumbled hard boiled eggs.  It is also sooooo much easier than boiling and peeling all those eggs!  Dress it up with your favorite egg salad fixin’s like Veganaise (mayo), mustard, pickle relish, celery, etc. and you will never know the difference…I promise!  I didn’t really measure anything when I made this, so measurements in the ingredient list below are approximations.  If you really like mustard, then by all means use more..same with the mayo.  Don’t like carrots or celery, leave them out, or swap them out  for your favorites (radish, sweet peppers, green onion, cucumber…all would be good).

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Vegan “Egg” Salad

  • 1 block firm tofu (make sure it’s non GMO), pressed* and crumbled
  • 3 tbsp Veganaise
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp pickle relish
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced small
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place first six ingredients in a bowl and mix.  Drizzle with red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.  Mix again and enjoy!

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I toasted up some Ezekial whole wheat bread, added a little extra Veganaise and mustard to the toast, piled on the “egg” salad and topped with tomato slices.  Yum!  This would be great as a snack with whole wheat crackers or stuffed in a pita.

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Using tofu instead of eggs saves you more than 1/2 the calories and 2/3 of the fat and ALL of the cholesterol, but this salad is still high in protein and calcium.

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Take a big bite and enjoy!!

*To press tofu: Place block of tofu on a paper towel lined plate.  Place several more paper towels on top of the tofu and set another plate on top of that.  Weigh down the top plate with something fairly heavy (I usually use a few bags of dried beans).  Leave it like that for at least 30 minutes.  Your tofu is now ready to use!

The Fall Flavors Continue!

My house smelled AWESOME yesterday as I slow cooked apples in maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger for this amazing Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal.  The recipe is courtesy of the blog My Whole Food Life.  I’ve tried many of her recipes now and they are all delicious and healthy.  I suggest you try this one out for yourself.  Your kids will love it too!

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

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Last night’s dinner was Maple Glazed Tofu and Deep Dish Green with Millet Amaranth Crust.

If you think you don’t like tofu, I suggest you try it this way.  It’s sweet and a little sticky from the maple syrup.  The outside is crispy while the inside is just soft enough.  I slice the tofu in tiny cubes so they get nice and crispy and the sauce covers every bit.  So yum!  I pop these like candy.

The side dish comes from one of my favorite cookbooks Clean Start by Terry Walters.  I love all of her recipes.  They are so fresh and healthy.  Again, if you think you don’t like greens (kale and collard greens), I suggest you try them in this dish.  It is soooo good!  I like the crust to be 75% millet to 25% amaranth, but you can mix it up however you like.  Even my kids like this!

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The tofu pieces before I added the maple glaze.  They are delicious just like this!

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The tofu after I added the maple glaze…you can see the caramelized sticky bits….yum!

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Scrumptious!

As always, you can click on the recipe titles for recipe instructions.  Enjoy!

Smoothies, Scrambles, BLTs and Quesadillas

Breakfast

We usually eat grains and fruit for breakfast, but today I was craving something savory.   I had my leftover fajitas from last night, so I chopped up those veggies (zucchini, summer squash, onion, red bell pepper and portabella mushrooms) and sauteed them with a touch of olive oil.  I crumbled 1block of pressed tofu (click here if you don’t know how to press tofu) to the mix and added 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/4 tsp ground tumeric and 2 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or vegan soy sauce or tamari).  I let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn’t stick, but leaving it alone enough to allow the tofu to brown a bit.  Once done, I filled a whole wheat tortilla with the tofu/veggie mixture, the leftover cilantro lime rice and the black beans from last night and rolled it up.  Topped it with a bit of vegan sour cream (Tofutti) and cherry tomatoes fresh from our garden.  It totally hit the spot!

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I also whipped up some green smoothies.  These were a big hit the kids

Peach Mango Spinach Smoothie (serves approx. 3)

  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 banana
  • 2 large handfulls fresh spinach

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and enjoy!

ImageNever mind the three straws…I shared mine with my 18 month old twin girls….and then refilled my glass just for me!

Lunch

We brought in our first large tomato from the garden yesterday (we’ve had cherry tomatoes for weeks now) and ever since I saw that red beauty I’ve been craving a BLT.  I didn’t have any tempeh bacon on hand, so instead I fried up several pieces of the seitan pepperoni from pizza night and layered that with lettuce and tomatoes both fresh from the garden on whole wheat toasted bread slathered with Veganaise.  Delish!!

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Snack

This afternoon, both M and I were jonesing for a snack.  I found an easy recipe from Welcoming Kitchen and had to try it.  It is loosely based on the recipe in the link.  I couldn’t find the actual cookbook recipe online.

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal

I didn’t have any crispy rice cereal, but I did have puffed rice cereal and Grape Nuts.  I pulsed the puffed rice cereal in my food processor to chop them up a bit, but not turn them into flour, then added that to the Grape Nuts (so about 1/2 cup of each cereal).

Combine sunflower seed butter and agave syrup in a large bowl.  Thoroughly mix in the oat flour.  Stir in the cereal.

The recipe from Welcoming Kitchen said to form the dough into balls, but I couldn’t be bothered with that.  I pressed the mixture into an 8×8 brownie pan.  Bake 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven .

Yum!  Unfortunately, no picture.  We were too busy eating them up!  Perhaps tomorrow.

Dinner

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas from My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn.  Side note, if you aren’t convinced a Whole Foods Plant Strong diet is the way to go, I HIGHLY suggest you read this book.  It’s a very quick read, to the point and written so anyone can understand it.  And the best part is that it contains 140 plant strong recipes to get you started.  Go read it!

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ImageServed with a side of Edamame Guacamole.  Pick your favorite guacamole recipe and replace 1/2 the avocado with edamame.  My 5 year old went crazy for this…eating it with a spoon!

Workout

70 squats

Pizza night!

Breakfast

We had pancakes for breakfast with a side of strawberries.  These Banana Ginger Pancakes that are quickly becoming my favorite go to.  They are super simple to make, made with whole wheat flour and sweetened only with banana, applesauce and a little bit of agave.  In fact, I think they are sweet enough on their own that syrup is not necessary.  Even my 5 year old doesn’t ask for syrup for these.  If you do feel you need some syrup, PLEASE PLEASE use pure maple syrup instead of that awful chemical laden pancake syrup.  I whipped up a batch of Berry Kale Smoothies as well.

Berry Kale Smoothie (Serves 1, easy to double if necessary)

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen berries (today I used strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 cups kale, ribs removed

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and enjoy!  If you like things a bit sweeter, feel free to add about 1/2 cup of pitted dates to the blender with everything else.)

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ImageThis did not photograph well…and, honestly, it wasn’t that awesome looking in person either, but it was super yummy!

Lunch

The kids ate the leftover Black Bean Burgers, but I had some buns leftover so wanted to  make use of  those.  I also had some eggplant leftover from the other night, so I added a few slices to a frying pan and quickly heated them up.  Piled that on the bun along with fresh from the garden cucumber slices, radish slices and tomato slices and, voila, a scrumptious sandwich is served.  I had a side of the Carrot Apple Slaw from last night’s meal as well.

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Dinner

I made homemade seitan pepperoni for the first time today.  Wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out awesome!  I ended up snacking on it all day.  It could use maybe a touch more spices, but it definitely didn’t disappoint.  And I can’t believe how quick and easy it was to make.  Wow!  Definitely a keeper of a recipe!

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I used that seitan pepperoni for pizzas.  I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix (which is ironic since the seitan pepperoni is nothing but gluten).  Topped one with Seitan Pepperoni and Vegan Mozzerella and the other with fresh spinach, tomato slices and Vegan Mozzerella.  I prefer Daiya cheese, but there isn’t anywhere to find it around her except Whole Foods, which is a good 30 minutes from me, so I opted for Trader Joe’s Mozzarella.  I definitely should have made the trip for the Daiya.  The Trader Joe’s brand was kind of gummy or something…hard to describe.  It coated my mouth like peanut butter does, but thinner.  The taste was okay, just a texture thing.  It did melt beautifully though.  And FYI, if you don’t want to mix your own dough (which is really super easy, but does take time for the dough to rise), Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough is accidentally vegan….so feel free to open the tube, roll it out and pile on the vegan toppings!

ImageImageImageI pan fried half of the pepperoni slices first before adding to the pizza just to see the difference in taste.  I didn’t think there was much difference.  I liked it so well as is that I wouldn’t bother pan frying next time.

Workout

60 squats (Day 3 of the 30 Day Squat Challenge)

50 calf raises

50 push ups

250 jumping jacks

60 minutes Advanced Tae Bo DVD

Whew!

My aching arms!

So, yesterday, I thought the 100 pushups I did were pretty easy.  And then I woke up this morning with aching shoulders.  And I had to do 100 more today, which I did.  My forearms are now tingly and numb feeling and the front of my shoulders near my underarms are throbbing.  Guess it’s working!  100 more each day for 5 more days.  Yay!  (Note the sarcasm there!)

Breakfast

I didn’t feel like cooking or putting together anything too grand this morning, so I went simple.  Two pieces of Sprouted Whole Wheat Toast with Raw Creamy Almond Butter, slices of banana and a few sprinkles of cinnamon.

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Lunch

Nothing exciting.  Leftover mashed potatoes w/ mushroom gravy, leftover roasted asparagus and the remaining leftover Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad.

Dinner

It was soup and salad for dinner and it was great!  We started with a Blueberry Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.  This salad just screamed summer, especially because I used fresh lettuce from our garden.  This would also be great without the lettuce, which is how I fed it to my toddlers.  This recipe came from Kim Lutz over at Welcoming Kitchen.  I recently checked out her cookbook from the library and am loving it.  Her recipes are not only vegan, but also free of the 8 most common allergens (dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, fish and shellfish).  It’s sometimes hard to find recipes that are vegan AND soy-free!  Check out her blog and/or cookbook if you get a chance.  We followed up the salad (which would be filing enough on it’s own) with Tofu Noodle Soup from the cookbook More Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny.  I couldn’t find the exact recipe posted online but the recipe is basically this but with baked tofu added in at the end instead of the chickpeas.  Though I’m sure the chickpea version is just as delicious.  This soup was a huge hit with our 5 year old and everyone had seconds (even the little girls!)

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Workout

Day 2 of the 7 Day Pushup Challenge.  100 pushups!

Plus 30 minutes of running around a soccer field with the family after dinner.  Fun!

And scrubbing all the bathrooms…does that count as exercise?

Here’s to another great week!

Happy Saturday!  Hopefully, you were able to get

Happy Saturday!  Hopefully, you were able to get out to enjoy the nice weather today during this holiday weekend.  We spent the majority of the day putting our 5 year old in timeout.  Yesterday, he had an awesome day with no warnings or timeouts and today, the opposite.  Oh, the joys of parenting young children.

Breakfast

I grabbed a banana first thing this morning for a quick pick me up before my morning run on the treadmill.  I was sooo tired today that I figured if I didn’t get it out of the way in the morning, it probably wouldn’t happen.  After my run and a quick shower, I toasted up a half of a 100% Whole Wheat Bagel and topped it with the Raw Herb “Cheese” Spread that I shared yesterday and cut up an apple to go along with it.

ImageI need to take some lessons in food photography.  Good thing the food tastes better than my pics make it look!

Lunch

Once again, we found ourselves eating out at a restaurant.  I swear we do NOT usually eat out this much, but the hubby replaced some tiles on the kitchen floor that were looking very ragged and it needed to dry.  We couldn’t have little munchkins walking all over it and dropping their lunch on it, so out we went.  I got to choose where we went and I chose Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen, one of my faves!  They get most of their meat, dairy and veggies from local farms, use organic when possible and they are VERY vegetarian and vegan friendly!  Each menu item even indicates if it is or could be made vegan.  Love it!  I started with the Wild Rice Minestrone, which was great.  My main meal was the Coconut Curried Butternut Squash with apples and golden raisins, served over rice.  It had a delicate curry flavor and I thought it was delicious!

ImageI ate half of it before I remembered to take a picture.  Oops!

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Dinner

I don’t usually think of sandwiches as dinner fare, but I saw this recipe on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try.  It’s called the Tempeh Reuben Sandwich, but truth be told, it tasted NOTHING like a reuben.  That was just fine by me because I don’t like reubens!  This sandwich had homemade vegan Thousand Island Dressing, marinated and sauteed strips of tempeh and a tangy tahini brussel sprout salad all sandwiched between two pieces of toasty rye bread.  It was great.  The hubby even had seconds!   I served it up with the leftover Pasta Salad from the 4th of July.

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If you’ve never tried tempeh, you should really give it a try.  It is super high in protein (20g per serving) but low in calories and fat and has a meaty texture.  In fact, on this website, tempeh is listed as one of the world’s healthiest foods.  If you steam it for 5-10 minutes first, it takes marinades really well…which is how you use it in this recipe.  Click here for tempeh product info (the Fakin’ Bacon is AWESOME on a BLT).

Workout

Today, was day 1 of the 7 Day Pushup Challenge, so 100 pushups (modified pushups, that is) I did!  It was actually easier than I thought it would be.  I’m sure as the days tick by, it will get harder as my arms get more tired.

I also got in 2.3 miles on the treadmill.  First time in a LONG time that I ran non stop with no walking breaks.  I have been following the Couch to 5K.  I just finished the last day of Week 5.  I have done this program a couple times before and it does work.  I just wish I would stick with the running thing so I don’t have to keep starting over.  That’s what I get for having complicated or high risk pregnancies and being told not to exercise.  I’m just glad I’m getting back on track finally (about time since the girls will be 18 months in just a couple weeks).

Off to watch a movie on the couch with the hubby.  Good night!

The Journey Starts Here

Ok, guys, so here goes.  Day 1 of the Vegan Whole Foods challenge was a success.

Breakfast was Banana Ginger Pancakes and a Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie.  Recipe for the pancakes is from The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook by Dr. Neal Barnard.  You can find the link to the recipe here:  http://wholefoodideas.blogspot.com/2011/02/banana-ginger-pancakes.html

The smoothie was my own concoction:

1 cup rice milk

1 ripe banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup fresh spinach

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I LOVE my Vitamix Pro 500)) and enjoy!

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Please excuse my very poor food photography skills.

Lunch was leftovers from the other night – Tahini Lemon Brown Rice & Beans with Pan Fried Tofu.  The recipe (minus the tofu) is from Vegan Yum Yum and can be found here:  http://veganyumyum.com/2007/03/tahini-lemon-rice-and-beans/.  I left out the seitan because I didn’t have any and making it from scratch takes a long time, thus why I added the tofu instead.  It would still be great without either though.  For the record, I haven’t met a recipe I didn’t like from  Vegan Yum Yum, so check out her blog and/or cookbook for some delicious healthy dishes!

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Dinner was a new recipe I found on Pinterest.  I am in love with Pinterest…just like I love my cookbooks.  The recipe for Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad can be found here:  http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/04/crunchy-cashew-thai-quinoa-salad-with-ginger-peanut-dressing/#more-5586  It was delicious and gorgeous!

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I forgot to take a pic before we ate, so these are the leftovers in a tupperware.  It looks just a gorgeous in tupperware as it did in our bowls.

Between lunch and dinner my sweet tooth kicked in so I indulged in one of the Raw Peanut Butter Cookies I made the other day.  Shortly after I also had about 1 cup of raw sugar snap peas (no picture…I think you all know what those look like…they were super yummy though!).  The cookie recipe can be found here:  http://www.sweetestkitchen.com/2013/01/raw-peanut-butter-cookies/.  So yummy!  The kids love these too and you won’t feel guilty about giving them this treat.  They taste like peanut butter cookie batter…delish!

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Workout:  I have been doing the 30 Day Burpee Challenge for the last few weeks.  http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com/classes/30-day-burpee-challenge/  I’m on day 27, which calls for 85 burpees…so that’s what I did.  This challenge ends for me in just a few days (thankfully), but I’m looking for a new one.  Any suggestions?  I’m thinking the 30 Day Squat Challenge or the 7 Day Pushup Challenge.  The pushups would probably kill me as right now I can do about 10 modified pushups without my arms shaking.  So, of course, that’s probably the one I’ll choose.  🙂

I also ran/walked 2.68 miles on the treadmill while watching some of the drama unfold on The Bachelorette.  I didn’t see the end yet though…does James stay or go?  Or who really cares?