Tag Archives: healthy

Note to Self…

This morning, hardly awake:

First thought – DKM. Dropkick Murphys. YES! That was it! go back to sleep.

Second thought – Bran muffins. I want some bran muffins. go back to sleep.

Third thought – I think I’ll sleep in today. I’m a little tired and it looks crappy out so I probably won’t be going anywhere anyway. shut eyes.

Fourth thought – The phone would ring immediately after I declare I’m sleeping in, wouldn’t it?

_________________

So, basically I must have been driving myself crazy in my sleep because I still hadn’t thought of what DKM was before I went to bed. There were a couple bloggers who guessed it [e-mail me to redeem your prizes], which just made me laugh and remember waking up with “Shipping Up to Boston” in my head moments earlier.

And no, it’s not just because of the Bruins that I love that song. I mean, just listen to it. First thing in the morning, preferably. And do some Irish jigs around your butcher block in the kitchen while preparing your breakfast.

In a leprechaun hat, preferably.

Not that I would know anything about any of that scenario.

I would know something about flaxy French toast, though. So I’ll talk about that, instead. I’ll leave it to your own imaginations as to whether I was tap dancing around my kitchen while making this, though.

 

Being that I looked out my window and saw this yet again:

Really wet, heavy snow. Read: Sloppy and slippery. House arrest once again.

I decided to make something a little more time consuming for breakfast. I have pancakes down to a science so I can make them quickly in the morning, which carries over to mornings when I have more time, too. Having nowhere to go, I decided to put a little more thought into breakfast this morning.

I’ve been wanting to make French toast for a while now, but wasn’t sure if the mini slices would be enough for keeping me full. Today, I knew I’d be home all day. Worse comes to worse, I eat an hour later, right?! Surprisingly enough, it was difficult for me to finish it all! Don’t worry, though – I took one for the team and did.

Yes, it really is possible to get that same French toast texture without eggs! Making it with flax sounds strange at first, I admit. I mean, I think I was legitimately grossed out when I first heard of it, so I don’t blame you if you are, too.

But I mean, really. Have I ever lied to you? -insert shifty-eyes here-

Buttering/Earth Balancing your pan is critical to making any sort of pancake or sandwich – and French toast is no exception. You don’t need a lot, but you can’t even compare the flavor to that and just using non-stick spray.

And please, no need to be “neat” about it. We’re not after pretty awards here, we all know the ugly food is the best.

Huh, maybe that’s why I’m always disappointed whenever I go out to eat…

If you’re patient and give it enough time – the outside still gets crispy while the insides are still moist and flavorful. I’m sorry if you hate the word moist. I do, too – but really, what else can I say? Damp? It’s not juicy not is it soggy.

The Mixture I used (approximately, anyways…about that measuring thing…)

  • 2 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. coconut milk
  • 1/2 t. coffee extract (vanilla would work just fine, I just so happen to be the person who is all out of vanilla, yet has plenty of coffee, peppermint and coconut extracts. I would.)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg

Mix all with a fork, allowing to sit a few minutes. Add more milk if necessary. Poke each piece of bread a few times before dipping each slice in and saturating. Transfer to a greased pan, allowing extra of the flax mixture to remain on the bread. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side, until crispy.

Garnish with grilled banana and figgy peanut butter and jelly sauce. And chia seeds and honey-roasted almonds if you’re feeling feisty.

Note to self: I miss you terribly. (speaking of “bring me back” songs…)

Er, wait, what I meant was – note to self: make French toast more often.

And about those bran muffins?

They were not just a groggy early-morning sentiment, my dears. They were happening.

I promise these were muffins for me, not Teddie. I kept thinking how much he would love them. Carrots, applesauce, molasses, cinnamon and sunflower seeds? The kid would be in heaven.

I used these almost-forgotten about pressed dates that Mo sent me way back when. I got a kick out of the “serving size: 1 package,” as I imagined myself just plopping down on the couch and nommin’ on the brick like so:

om-nom-nom

The recipe I used was Kelsey’s. And they are fantastic! It’s a good thing I didn’t actually read the recipe before I printed it off and trekked into my kitchen, though. It requires the use of a food processor, which is usually a big no-no for me. For some reason, I detest cleaning the processor in addition to regular baking dishes. Or in general. Same goes for garlic presses.

Life’s tough.

I realize this is probably old-news, but my new trick is using an ice-cream scoop. I used to just spoon it in, but then I’d have really ugly muffin tops. This leaves them nice and smooth!

And perfectly sized! Well actually my mini-muffins are perfectly sized since I usually just want a little somethin’ somethin’ when it comes to muffins, but that would have required me refilling the tray about ten times.

Which wasn’t happening.

I am very picky about my bran muffins – a lot of bran muffin recipes use more oat bran than wheat, and are too sweet for my liking. I like my bran muffins to be dense, moist and…well…wheaty! These are just the ticket.

Another added bonus: they didn’t require any bananas. I love bananas, and have a great branana muffin recipe – but I’m down to my last banana and you guys know what happens when I lose my bananas. I think I might hide the last one, just as an extra precaution. You know…in case someone else might want it, heaven forbid.

But if I haven’t convinced you to make bran muffins or flaxy French toast…maybe I can convince you to do this:

Toast up some good bread…smother one slice with cashew butter…smother the other with a bit o’ butter/earth balance…throw on some good dried apricots…drizzle a smidgen o’ maple syrup…and chow down. Heavenly.

(but what’s with me saying o’ instead of “of”? Am I really feeling that Irish today?)

And I’ll leave you with this scandalous picture:

I had sausages with dinner! I love sausages…

What’s something you openly admit to having high standards about? I am definitely a bread snob!

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Filed under baking, banana, bran, bread, breakfast, brunch, carrots, chia seeds, cooking, dates, dinner, food, french toast, healthy living, muffin, muffins, recipe, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

I had a lot of decisions to make today.

Now before you go getting all concerned, relax! Relax. Fortunately for me, the hardest decision I have on days like today is what I’m going to have for dinner. Before you laugh, that’s a pretty big decision. I mean, it can make or break your day! …or maybe I’m just a little dramatic.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s snowing all over the northeast.

I’m guessing you’ve heard.

My first decision I faced was whether I wanted to call in to work or not. I’m guessing you can figure out pretty quickly that I called in.

Which meant that I decided sauteed apples were in the forecast for breakfast this morning. I was awed when I saw that my beloved Gala apples were on sale at Hannaford’s. Unless they’re fresh picked from the farm down the road, they’re the only apples I truly enjoy. (okay, so I probably prefer them over the local McIntosh apples, but I fear that might be un-Vermontan of me to admit, so I won’t. We have maple laws for Pete’s sake, I wouldn’t put it past us to have an apple law, too)

My, oh my, how I’d forgotten how amazing sauteed apples are.

I polished off the last of my bread yesterday, and knew I had to make more today. The decision?

Do I keep it as the original inventor intended, or mix it up again?

I kept it as intended, and think this loaf is a bit prettier (re: less embarrassing) and so won’t withhold the name of the kind woman who shared her recipe with me this time – it was the lovely Sarena, of course! I don’t think there is anything she can’t do in the kitchen. And if you don’t want to see really delicious looking pancakes with a beautiful pour of maple syrup, definitely don’t go to her blog right now.

While that rose, I faced another decision: strength or cardio?

Cardio won.

But these things can only keep me entertained for so long. It was 9:00 and I was already looking for my next project.

Biscotti or granola bars?

Biscotti, says mother – who also had a snowday.

Orange chocolate chip or cranberry almond?

Orange chocolate chip. Best biscotti I’ve ever made all thanks to Veganomicon. No I can’t share the recipe and no I can’t find it either. Buy the book. The biscotti and the chickpea-quinoa pilaf are worth that $15.

…but do I want peanut butter, jelly or maple cream on my hot-from the oven bread?!

Maple cream.

But what kind of nut butter do I want smothered into my date?!

It doesn’t matter because I’ll have another one in five minutes.

If I have hot cocoa in my Easter mug, will it be Spring tomorrow?

probably not, but you can try.

I love this Dagoba hot cocoa!

Should I shovel multiple times so that I only shovel a couple inches at a time, or once so that I’m shoveling more than a foot – but only one time?

Uhhh, well, I banked on multiple times, but this so-called “storm of the century” fizzled out, and I didn’t need to shovel after the once.

As it is, though, the snowbank to the side of our front porch is taller than the front porch, and if I venture off the beaten path I am up to my waist in the fluffy powder.

I hope I can go to the barn tomorrow so I can ride Teddie in it! Hopefully he won’t be like my Corona pony and decide it’s more fun to roll in said snow than it is to play in it. I’m not worried about getting rolled on, I’m worried about my saddle getting saturated. I paid more for the saddle than I did for the pony.

Do I make buffalo tempeh or barbecue tempeh?

Both! Sorry, guys – but I think I’m getting tempeh burnout. I’m sort of bored with it. When this block is done, I need to bid goodbye for a couple weeks. Needless to say, I do adore buffalo tempeh! Especially with the last of my caesar dressing and red onion (I heart red onion + buffalo + caesar)

I think I struggle making the decision between sweet potato fries or whole-baked sweet potatoes more than I struggle with the decision about what to wear.

It takes me a while to figure out what to wear in the morning. It’s too early to think clear, so I just stare into my closet for at least five minutes as if it’s some other-worldly realm.

And in case you were wondering, a whole baked sweet potato won, but I didn’t get to use this picture yesterday and was pretty proud of how perfectly baked and cut those fries are. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

Dinner was a big decision today, but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

I knew I should use the eggplant I had in the fridge, but nothing was particularly speaking to me.

Yes, when I flip through recipes certain ones call to me. I can plan “ooh I want to make that!” until I’m blue in the face but I can never decide what I want for dinner until 3:00 that day.

What did speak to me was Chickpea Piccata. (< Lucky for you guys, Isa has the recipe for this one on her website!)

But what to have it with?

Eggplant!

But how?

My new favorite way ever, of course!

I was flipping through my binder of recipes,and saw this very plain-jane recipe for roasting eggplant originally from Cooking Light. I was a bit apprehensive that it would be all that great – it is basically eggplant straight up, after all – but combined with the absolutely amazing piccata, this meal was enough to make me fall head over heels in love with…well, everything in site. It turned me into a hippie peace-love flower-girl.

For the eggplant, though:

Roasted Eggplant

slightly modified from cooking light, for one eggplant:

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1 lb.
  • olive oil for brushing (I used basil oil)
  • pinch salt, pepper and herbs de provence

Preheat oven to 450*. Carefully slice your eggplant the “long way” into 1/4″ slices, leaving the end in-tact. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and fan out the eggplant. Brush with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly tender. Remove from oven, press down to fan out more, and brush again with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Bake 15-20 minutes more or until tender and skin is beginning to crisp.

My mom: “are you going to eat that whole eggplant?”

Don’t mind if I do!

Decisions – do you find yourself sometimes having a terrible time deciding over the silliest of things, too?! Please say yes so I’m not alone. And don’t ask me who you should marry. I’ll just say “everyone! peace and love!”

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Filed under apple, baking, bread, breakfast, chickpeas, cookie, cooking, dates, dinner, eggplant, food, food blog, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, snack, snow, sweet potato, tempeh, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies

Going Bananas over Cashew Butter

You may recall that I’m often saying I’m relatively laid back. Not much ruffles my feathers, if you will.

This morning, I realized something.

I realized that’s all lies.

Do you see what's missing? It starts with "b" and rhymes with "shmershmanas"

Because I get upset about bananas.

I was somewhere in the middle of demanding my sister tell me what happened to my bananas, prompting her to tell me if she’d eaten any, and rifling through her purse and lunch box before I stopped myself and had this sudden epiphany of “oh my heavens, what has become of me. I’m being selfish over bananas.”

Sure, you can have my kidney.

Hell, take my liver, too!

But heaven forbid you eat my bananas. Because then the pancake batter that I’ve so lovingly prepared to go along with those non-existant bananas will, in fact, hit the fan.

Muffins I made Tuesday. There were 9 large ones and a dozen mini ones. I've only eaten one. None of my food is safe around here these days.

I guess it’s a good thing, so I’ll just look at it that way. Even if last night I had three bananas left and this morning, 0. The other night, I still had a quarter of a loaf left of  an orangey-coconut barley flour loaf, and the next morning, none. So finally I made these muffins that were politely requested, using barely any sugar, and braced for the “these are terrible!” remarks, but apparently that wasn’t necessary.

I think we have secret leprechauns hiding in our cabinets that come out at night-time, because there’s only four of us. March is just around the corner, you know.

Luckily, being rendered banana-less doesn’t mean the world has stopped turning. I don’t think. I mean, I’ve still got three more days to go before I make it to the store because I’ve pledged no more groceries until Sunday, but I’m pretty confident that the apocalypse won’t come because of this occurrence.

Knock on wood.

Being all thrifty and wanting to save money lately, I decided to take it upon myself to make cashew butter.

Cashoo butter, if you will.

I guess I’m not really sure if that makes sense, since I don’t recall how much I spent on those cashews, but I’m sure the price would end up being pretty close.

At least I feel like I’m being more resourceful/economical/thrifty.

Do these pictures convey how runny it was?! Because it was. I was so giddy. It is so delicious. Cashew butter is easily my favorite nutbutter. So smooth and creamy all on its own. I refrained from adding anything to it, because I just love the plain cashew flavor it has on its own!

Well, I did add a bit of oil – but just because based on everything I read, it tends to be on the drier side, and the jar of it I had prior had oil in it, too. You could omit it, but I wanted it runny so I added it. It’s negligible, really, so you might as well just add it since it improves the consistency that much.

Cashew Butter

  • 1 1/2 c. salted cashews
  • 1-2 t. olive oil

In a food processor, blend cashews first, it took me about 5 minutes. When butter-like in consistency but a bit dry, add in the oil. Blend about 4-5 more minutes, until silllllky smooooth!

Such a shame all that gets wasted, too difficult to scoop out and into the jar…

Hah, syyyyke. You wouldn’t think I’d let all that creamy, cashewy goodness go to waste, did you?! You’d be silly.

I’m not sure, though. Between my pancake breakfast for lunch on Tuesday, and my clean-out-the-cashew-butter with bread lunch today, I’m probably being shunned by other health bloggers blog-wide. Please don’t hate. (appreciate?)

If it makes me look any better, at least the cleaning up was mainly done with homemade pumpernickel…which I realize is actually terribly unappealing, but there will be a post dedicated to this baby soon.

Although, speaking of babies – maybe I ought to mention how much of a rockstar Teddie was today after his little vacation. Oh, yes – it was 20* when I woke up this morning and was about ready to go running around outside in shorts and a t-shirt it felt so warm. Which meant Teddie’s sweet vacation must come to an end.

I thought his little eyeballs were going to pop out of his head when he saw a new scary monster in a new corner (now there’s scary things in all but one corner – eyeroll) but he was surprisingly gentlemanly about it. Truth be told, it scares me, too – it’s a cart (to be pulled behind a horse) that is quite large and propped against the wall.

He probably knows exactly what it is and is afraid I’m going to hook it up behind him. Maybe that’s why he was so good undersaddle…hmmmmmmm…

Now. Go protect your bananas. And make some cashew butter while you’re at it.

Are you “possessive” over anything? I should clarify that I wasn’t legitimately upset about the banana issue, but I was a little baffled and a little disgruntled I couldn’t have my grilled banana this morning. Eh well, it’s good for me to start having to think outside of the banana.

In terms of the baked stuff, I enjoy sharing because I know what the alternative is and I’d rather the fam eat homemade stuff than pure sugar from a box or bag :/

Have you ever made your own nutbutter? What was your favorite combo?

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Filed under baking, banana, breakfast, food, food blog, health, healthy living, horseback riding, lunch, muffins, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, teddie, vegan, vegetarian

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

I could actually step outside today without feeling like I was going to lose my toes and nose after a couple of minutes! Phew. Of course…that doesn’t mean I was able to get much done, still, considering it didn’t get warmer until about 10:30. I went out to make sure Teddie still had his toes and whiskers, but didn’t ride him, just played. I feel “wrong” if I ride after 11. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s what he’s used to, too.

The one time I rode him in the afternoon, we had the most miserable experience to date, so maybe that’s my excuse.

Like human, like pet. Maybe we’re both morning people. Are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? I wouldn’t say I use the afternoon to laze around – but if I’ve got a big project to do, it’s getting done in the a.m., not the p.m.!

Take, for instance, this morning: I baked cupcakes and date bars before it was even 10:00. And yes, I made my own breakfast and even got all dressed, too.

And for what it’s worth, let this be a lesson to you all: do yourselves a flavor and use fresh baking soda. I’ve been using old baking soda for…well, probably as long as I’ve been blogging…and never really cared.

I figured the things I bake just don’t rise too much due to the fact I’m usually using whole grains and…er…different…techniques.

Well, that may have something to do with it…but not when I’m making something perfectly “normal.” The first picture – cupcakes I made this morning with fresh baking soda. Above – cupcakes made with old baking soda.

There’s a bigger difference than it looks.

I’ll be making sure I use in-date baking soda from now on, thankyouverymuch.

I bet at least half of you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sometimes, I just do the weirdest things. Borderline stupid, but I’d rather not call myself stupid. I guess we’ll just settle on “spacey.” Head up in the clouds, nah’mean? Just this morning, I can think of three things that made me immediately shake my head at myself:

  • Oiled a GreenPan. I had no idea they were as non-stick as they are so the oil just sat in one spot in the middle, and as soon as I poured eggs in, oil pooled at the top of the eggs. I felt like the guy on the Worst Cooks in America.
  • Speaking of the eggs, I was making an omelette for my mom’s b/f and totally spaced on how to make an omelette. I used to love eggs, and now I don’t even remember how to cook them. An omelette, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t that be almost second nature?!
  • While making these date bars, I put all the crust on the bottom, said aloud “Wow, I didn’t remember the crust being this thick last time!” only for my sister to say “wasn’t there crust on the top last time?” D’uh, Jess.

I’m glad my sister knows what’s up and Henry will eat just about anything served to him, because otherwise I might be in trouble. It’s a wonder I made it out the door with my head on this morning.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what’s the spaciest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?

Luckily, for all the things I do completely wrong, I can do things completely, right, too. I whipped up some rhubarb cupcakes on a whim based off of a request, and made some more date bars, too.

My mom and I were huge fans of the date bars out of Vive le Vegan last time I made them, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them again.

Since I can’t make the same exact thing twice (apparently) I switched it up a bit this time.

Well, it’s either that or the fact that lately I’m obsessed with anything cranberry-orange, in case you haven’t been able to tell. It’s becoming a little bit of a problem.

A problem I really, really don’t want to fix.

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

Adapted from Delish Date Squares from Vive le Vegan

makes 16 squares. Or 8, if you like them as big as we do.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from one large orange
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • zest from one orange
  • generous pinch of ground clove

Crust:

  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I use WWW – there are so many other wonderful flavors in these that even the most sensitive of palettes can’t detect the disguised whole wheat flour!)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. date syrup (agave or maple syrup would work, too)
  • 3 T. almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 3 T. coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except for the zest. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the dates break down. It might not seem like that will happen – but just keep stirring occasionally and the mixture will become smooth and thick. Once it is done, stir in the zest.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the date syrup and almond milk and combined until clumpy, and then stir in the oil, again combining until clumpy. You might have to use your hands. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together okay when pressed.

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish (or thereabouts) and press 2/3rds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread the date mixture over top, and then sprinkle and then gently press the remaining crust mixture over top of that. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

I was going to save some to bring to work tomorrow…but they might not be good enough.

Which is actually just Jess-speak for “These are too damn good to be giving away.”

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, oatmeal, recipe

Orange-Cashew Tofu

And yet again, I win the “world’s worst mother” award. It’s a good thing I’m not a little-kid person, because otherwise I’d probably leave my kids waiting for me in the rain after school when I was supposed to have picked them up an hour ago.

I didn’t ride Teddie Thursday because I didn’t feel like dealing with the snow.

I didn’t ride Teddie again today because I didn’t feel like dealing with the cold.

Truth be told, he’s probably not complaining – but it’ll probably be too cold again tomorrow, and the little bugger’s bound to be a handful for me on Tuesday! I even did an extra-long workout in attempts to kill time and give it a chance to warm up.

Unfortunately for me, “warm up” meant it raised a couple of degrees…from 10 below to allllmost 0.

Anytime you feel your nostrils freezing and your lungs burning when you step outside, I declare too cold to ride. Yes, I give you in the colder regions permission to poke and laugh at me.

Instead, I took the unplanned “morning off” to search for more ways to sell artwork other than just my Etsy. Including attempting to photograph a shot I printed, matted and framed yesterday.

Wouldn’t this look lovely hanging in your home?! I think so. (kidddding. Well, not really…)

Anyways. I won’t lie about being a leetle bit excited that it being so cold gave me an excuse to watch a mid-day hockey game against the Penguins. Usually I hate laying/sitting down and watching the tub in the middle of the day…but curling under covers and snuggling with a cup of hot tea was just the perfect activity for a cold day.

It was at this point that I got so upset I decided I might as well start marinating my tofu...

Oh, who am I kidding. I didn’t watch this game curled under covers, I watched it screaming and shaking my fist at the television. I sound a lot more sane if I just leave it at “sipping tea,” though.

...and it was at this point that I abandoned my tofu on my photography chair and went running back into the room.

….aaaaand, we lost. I’m just going to say they felt bad for the Pens after beating them so bad last time. That’s why we passed the puck to them so often, right, Susan? (just heckling – I’m happy for your boys. And you being a fan makes me not feel so grumpy about losing, because I’m sure it made you very happy.)

What better way to lessen the blow of a bad game than good food, right?

I’m talking tofu, not takeout.

One recipe that stuck out to me while flipping through ED&BV was the cashew-ginger tofu. Ironically, I liked it a lot more before I read the ingredients past “cashew butter,” but I was pretty well sold on the title and the fact that it uses cashew butter alone.

…and then I read the rest of the recipe and decided I probably wasn’t going to like it as it used tamari.

Not surprisingly, I did my own thing.

And loved it. A lot. Of course, one thing you guys miiiight not know about me is that I’m a closet cashew butter freak. Best nut buttah evah? I believe so.

The mellow flavor of the cashew butter combines so perfectly with the subtly sweet orange juice and orange zest, and the soft spice given from the ground ginger and clove. This tofu would be wonderful atop a nutty grain like bulgur or brown rice, preferably one seasoned with more orange and dried cranberries, too!

Orange-Cashew Tofu

Inspired by Eat, Drink and Be Vegan’s Cashew-Ginger Tofu

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side (?)

  • 1 serving tofu, as indicated on the box (for me, 1/5th of a block)
  • 1 T. cashew butter
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground clove
  • 1/4-1/2 t. honey (I’m sure agave or maple syrup would be just as good if you’re vegan, or it could probably even be omitted)
  • 1-2 T. water as needed

Slice the tofu into approx 1/4″ slices, and then cut into triangles. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth. It will look like it’s separating at first, but if you whisk fast enough it will come together in no time. (yes, you might need to use your big muscles) Pour half the cashew mixture in a small sealable container, and then layer in the tofu. Pour remaining cashew mixture over top, cover, refrigerate and let sit at least one hour.

When ready to bake, heat a drizzle of oil in a nonstick pan. Spread out the tofu and cook until golden on both sides. Reserve the marinade in the container, and serve by drizzling it over top. Note that you could probably pour it in the pan while the tofu is browning, too, and cook until it gets thicker, but I wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t get “thick and pasty” like the original recipe warns of. Next time, I’d give it a try, though, as it was a little liquidy still.

What’s that? You want to know what that mess is I served it with?

Oh, okay…

That, believe it or not, was my attempt at a neat plating arrangement, but it really just backfired.

Once I tasted it, I didn’t care, however. Because this meal was good.

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 4-5 large white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • juice of half an orange
  • zest of one orange
  • ~2 T. dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg

Heat olive oil in pan, add in onions. Cook until almost translucent and tender, add in garlic. Stir, add in mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, cook until tender. Add in carrot, cranberries and juice of orange. Cook until most of the juice has been absorbed. Shut off heat, add in spinach, and cover until spinach is mostly wilted. Stir in nutmeg, orange zest and spinach until incorporated.

And that’s a scoop of bulgur on top, with some of the marinade spooned over and all topped with cashews.

I die.

Are you a wimp in the cold, too? Does weather have influence over your plans, or do you tough it out no matter what?

 

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Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

Bulgur and Tempeh Salad with Citrus

Okay. I’m sure there was at least one of you who was willing to bet that I wasn’t going to wait much longer to “break into” my new Mac. Who cares that I don’t have a place to put it – throw it on the floor, right?!

Well, maybe not quite the floor. Maybe I’ll just steal the coffee table from the living room. And it’s really just because now that I’ve got the photos from my old computer on the new one, I really needed to put through a senior picture print order I’d received just after the computer crashed!

Sorry. You know I had to go there, though.

Anyways. This is Maxwell. Naming credit goes fully to Tatianna! And I’m going to put this out in the open: I respect Maxwell too much to let him become a complete mess of unorganized pictures and unnamed files. From here on out, I will be ORGANIZED with my images. Right down to naming my food folders with the names of what they contain. And we’re starting right off with “OrangeBulghurSalad”. You’ll see why soon…but I think it’s pretty self explanatory.

But first.

I did something I never thought I’d do today. What you see in the blender above is a mish-mosh of black beans, orange zest, orange juice, almond butter, my computer is making noises and I don’t know what they are, parsely, garlic and other weird things. I was a little queasy thinking about it.

But no fear. It was hummus. Weird hummus. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta trust people.

When I saw the Black Bean and Orange Hummus in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan I skipped on by.

When Daniel suggested I make it to have with my sweet potato obsession, I considered it before grimmacing again and passing.

When I saw the grocery store had no hummus and I’m all out, I knew I’d have to suck it up and make my own.

When I realized there was no way my blender could puree chickpeas like the folks at Cedars can, I grumbled, sucked it up, and made the damn black bean hummus. Because black beans are softer. And I’m on a zesting kick anyways, remember?

I’d probably like this hummus better if someone made it for me and I didn’t know that I was eating a puree of black beans, garlic, almond butter and orange. But as it is, it’s okay. I think I’d prefer it sans garlic, though.

Somebody call the news, I just said sans garlic! That is earth-shattering, my friends.

But while we’re on the topic of what goes good for sweet potato dippage, I don’t think I’ve quite told you all my true passion for this barbecue sauce:

Good old Grandpa Jim’s. You know something’s good when the brand starts with Grandpa or Uncle.

…our original BBQ sauce…best used on meatloaf, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, venison and more.

And sweet potatoes. He forgot to mention sweet potatoes. This BBQ sauce (which was developed just a drive away, I might add – which makes it even mo’ betta’) has me so spoiled rotten that I tried another brand the other day and had to spit it out. It wasn’t attractive. And no, the sauce wasn’t “technically bad,” as my sister had no problem gulping it down.

Anyways. Enough rambling. (…but you know me and you probably know that even after saying “enough,” I’ll continue to do so…)

For Valentine’s Day last year, I received a Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook.

Before you say “awww! how sweet!” it was from my mother. Which is still sweet, but not awww how sweet, you know?

For some reason, I’ve been a bit…tardy…going through it. This is quite unusual for me. But, I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that back when I received it, I wasn’t as comfortable altering a recipe to make it “animal friendly” or a little healthier. Now that I am, I think I have a brand new appreciation for the book.

I might even go so far as to consider it a “grain bible.” There are so many recipes that utilize various flours, grains, cooking methods and a wide array of flavors, too. I flipped through it the other night, not expecting to find much, but fell in love with about five recipes in a row, and then had to stop browsing because my imagination was running too wild.

The first one that caught my eye was a recipe involving rice, chicken and a orange vinaigrette. I decided I’d tweak it just a bit, and utilize bulgur wheat, tempeh and keep the vinaigrette pretty much the same.

This salad is wonderfully refreshing – it can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and I love it over a bed of mushrooms and greens, but I bet it would be wonderful wrapped in a large collard leaf or a wheat wrap.

There’s a couple different routes you could take with the tempeh preparation. In the instructions, I tell you how I did it, which was lightly boiling for five minutes and then panfrying. If you’re against boiling things, by all means – skip that step. If you’d prefer your tempeh boiled for the full ten minutes to remove any trace of bitterness, by all means, do that.

Bulgur and Tempeh Salad with Orange-Dijon Dressing

adapted slightly from Bob’s Red Mill

serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side

  • 1/2 block tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 t. basil oil
  • 1/2 c. bulgur wheat
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 1 orange, cut into sections
  • 1 t. whole-seed dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey (if veganizing, I’m sure maple syrup would be a wonderful substitute)
  • 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 t. dried chives (fresh would be even better)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • walnuts, to garnish

Prepare the bulgur: bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat and pour in the bulgur. Stir once and cover. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes to absorb all the water.

Prepare the dressing: Whisk together juice of orange, mustard, honey and vinegar. Set aside.

Prepare the tempeh: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, place the tempeh pieces in the boiling water and simmer for five minutes (ten if you want it more tender and less bitter) After five minutes, drain and toss with the basil oil. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat and transfer the tempeh to the pan. Pour half of the dressing over and stir to coat. Continue to heat until dressing is absorbed. Remove from heat.

To combine: In a bowl, combine the diced onion, pressed garlic, dried chives, orange sections, salt, pepper, cooked bulgur and tempeh. Toss to combine and then stir in the remaining dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

May be served warm or cold – top with walnuts, if desired.

Uh-yuhm.

So, I made orange black-bean hummus today by combining black beans, almond butter and oranges – weirdest things I’ve ever combined to make something edible. What’s the “scariest” ingredients you’ve ever combined to make something surprisingly tasty?

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So Long, October

I’m still in a wee bit of disbelief that October is gone already and November is upon us.

I’ve even ordered my Christmas cards already! I’m taking part of our “Earlybird Special” at work Winking smile

But – I feel like October was a good month. A good month for food, especially. I definitely got my bake and my cook on and whether I was following a recipe or completely winging it, I had some favorites.

So, if you’re looking for a little somethin-somethin to spice up your kitchen life with, maybe one of these will float your boat? It was tough – but I’ve limited myself to ten. Yes, just ten.

October Food Favs:

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Eggless Kale & Apple Strata

You wouldn’t expect to see this relatively grotesque looking dish on a list of “top ten,” but mark my words it is good. And I’m serious about my stratas.

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King Arthur Flour’s White Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf

Maybe it’s because I challenge myself to say that name five times fast while I cut it, or maybe it’s because it’s really good. Or maybe it’s a little bit of both…but this is some goood bread.

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Really Yummy Pot Pie

Another “comfort food.” Another vegan comfort food. With sweet potatoes. And corn…and tempeh. And holy moley, it’s good. I know I keep describing food as “good,” which really isn’t all too convincing. But work with me here – I go to art school, not smart school.

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Figgy Peanut Butter

Figs. And peanut butter. Peanut butter and figs. Do I need to continue? Yes – just to reinforce the fact that it’s a magical marriage that should be in your cabinet, too.

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Eggplant-Hummus Pizza

I think I need to work on my dish titled. They’re getting a little…blunt, don’t you think? Like the title suggests…it’s pizza. With eggplant. And Hummus “cheese.” Oh, and I’ll throw in that it’s good, too, since I seem to be on a roll with that and all.

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Gingerbread Muffins

It was the month of ginger – and these muffins are definite winners. I fact, it still sort of baffles me how darn…good…these things are. They’ve only got a banana and a bit of molasses to sweeten and no oil. If I were you, I’d be skeptical of a recipe like that, too – but I promise they won’t disappoint. I’ve been having one nightly since I made them.

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Gingerbread Waffles

No explanation necessary.

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Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie

Apparently, I need to take everything that’s traditional and make it…untraditional-ified. I have no complaints when they come out better than the original, though…and that’s not being vain. It’s the food that makes it good, not me.

 

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Pumpkin

I’d be more specific…but everything in that post is equally deserving.

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Gingerbread Overnight Oats

I would chose the simplest thing to be number one, wouldn’t I? I’m just a sucker for a good breakfast, I guess.

Did you have a “favorite” of October, food or otherwise?

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