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?

 

 

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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!