Tag Archives: Diet

Play with Your Food – Vegan Tofu Peanut Wraps

Well, I subtitled this blog ‘adventures in eating to live,’ so I guess I’ll go with that theme and make my food an adventure.  Okay, so I’m not travelling the world to get this recipe: I’m just bringing the world into my home.  One thing I’ve learned about the Americanized recipes, especially Asian type recipes, have all been, well, Americanized:  you probably know what I’m talking about. Extra sugar and fat and even fake things have been added to cater to the American tastes.  Of course, eating nutritarian style, one tries to not add the extra sugars and fat.  I’ve only travelled to northern European countries, where they do try to add the extra sugar and fat, so I’m not an expert on authentic Asian cuisine.  I do know what I like to taste and I know the flavor profile I’m going for, so this is my version of southeast Asian cuisine.

I learned a trick for putting a crisp on tofu.  I can’t believe I never tried this before.  I just baked it.  Seriously, I’ve been cooking tofu for about 30 years and I’ve tried cooking it many different ways, but I’ve never baked it.  I love the texture of it baked.  It gets a little crispy and still is soft on the inside.  It’s very yummy.  I even have the non-tofu eaters in the family coming over to the dark side.  The baked tofu gives a nice mouth feel to the sandwich.

This sandwich makes a good dinner.  You could even serve it with a side of brown rice or quinoa.  It was satisfying enough to eat just on its own, though.  I had leftovers for lunch today, but I just put the tofu on the sandwich cold and then topped it with shredded raw cabbage and raw carrots.  I liked it as much as the cooked version.  There are a few steps to the recipe, but it’s a nice adventure away from the regular ‘beans and whatever’ meal I’ve been eating lately.  Hope you’ll give it a try.

Vegan Peanut Tofu Wraps

Vegan Peanut Tofu Wraps

Ingredients:

1 Pkg. Extra Firm Tofu, drained

½ Cup Vegetable Broth

3 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage

4 Carrots, peeled and julienned

1 Tablespoon Liquid Aminos, plus extra for tofu

1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Ginger

1 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic

4 Vegan Sandwich Wraps

Peanut Sauce:

Juice of 1 Lime

Zest of 1 Lime

½ Cup Natural Peanut Butter

¼ Cup Water

2 Medjool Dates

2 Tablespoons Liquid Aminos

¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

Grated Carrot, Chopped Peanuts, and Sliced Green Onion for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400◦. Slice the tofu into long, thin strips. Grease and cookie sheet. Place the tofu on prepared cookie sheet and drizzle with liquid aminos. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until it is slightly browned.

Prepare the sauce: in a small food processor, add all ingredients and whir until smooth. Set aside.

In a hot skillet, add in the vegetable broth, liquid aminos, and ground ginger. Add in the cabbage and carrots and cook over medium high heat until carrots are slightly tender.

When tofu is done, layer some tofu, cabbage mixture and sauce on a sandwich wrap and roll up. Top with some extra sauce, chopped peanuts, grated carrots and sliced green onion. Makes 4 servings.

Pantry Stew – Eating Healthy Economics 101

My husband’s a golf pro.  This means that we live kind of lean in the winter.  I spend the summer stocking up on pantry food, like beans, quinoa, brown rice and gluten free pasta:  stuff that can make cheap dinners to live off of in the leaner times.  I haven’t quite reached prepper status yet, but some people may think I’m a bit excessive.  Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  Well, we still have a couple of weeks left until he goes back to work so right now I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel for creative things to make that are still healthy and tasty.  Beans are definitely the way to go.  Come summer, we have our garden to eat from and, living out in the boonies, we have a lot of farm markets to go to as well for the things I don’t grow.  We have a large freezer that is still full of frozen veggies.

Here’s the economy of eating healthy:  you have to pick and choose what you can afford.  Thankfully, we have a ‘budget’ type of store around here, called Aldi’s.  They’re all along the east coast of the US, and I don’t know where else they are.  But, they just started selling a line of organic things:  canned goods like beans and tomatoes and broths (except they don’t have veggie broth), plus they have a limited amount of organic veggies.  If you’re one of those “I will only eat orgaclean-15-dirty-dozen-287x300nic vegetables and find extreme disdain with someone who doesn’t,”  you can stop reading here.  I buy organic when I can.  I try to buy the ‘dirty dozen’ organic only.  Other veggies, I stick to washing them really well and peeling them.  Once again, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  The way I figure it, if you’re eating healthy things, I think your body should be able to detox from the pesticides and junk that you’re getting from the non-organic stuff.  I try to eat non-GMO as much as possible, but really can’t afford to shop at the local co-op exclusively.  I just can’t with a family of 5 to feed on a limited budget.  And I won’t even go into my “shouldn’t ‘they’ make the good food cheap to eat so everyone will be healthy” spiel.

So, this was my pantry meal of the day:  a bunch of beans and chopped veggies.  Also, I need some good carbs in me.  Now that I’ve been feeling better for the first time in a long time, I started exercising.  I’ve been weight lifting (arms and upper body 3 days a week a legs twice a week) and walking every day (about 2-4 miles, depending on the route).  On the weekend,  do some sort of cardio.  Today, I did 55 minutes of Zumba (that I took out of the library).  This stew was very filling and fulfilling without feeling heavy on my stomach.  And it gave me some energy post workout.  Plus, it made a really big pot, so I’ll have some quick lunches this week.  Enjoy!

Pantry Stew

Pantry Stew

Ingredients:

28 oz. Can Chopped Tomatoes

15 oz. Can White Beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. Can Kidney Beans, not drained

2 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 Cup Lentils

1 Cup Cauliflower Florets

⅓ Cup Almond Butter

2 Carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 Medium Sweet Onion, chopped

2 Teaspoons Cumin

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Add more vegetable broth if it seems too thick.

Quick Vegan English Muffins

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  When I was single, my friends and I were always getting together for breakfast, more than any other meal.  Growing up, it was the only meal that my family actually ate together.  To me, it’s always been more than a break from fasting:  it’s been an experience.  Now that I have my own family, we love to sit down in the morning and have breakfast together.  My kids love breakfast for dinner as well, so, I’m always looking for new breakfast ideas.  We’re homeschoolers and we have the luxury of being able to have a leisurely breakfast together.  Today I made homemade gluten free English muffins for the family to use for breakfast sandwiches.  Since I’m the only one eating vegan, I wanted to make myself one for breakfast.  This is a revamped paleo recipe which was high in eggs.  It’s a quick and simple recipe to make, but the important step is the sautéing in the skillet after it has baked.  That really ramps up the taste and the mouth feel of the muffin.  I had it with some natural chunky peanut butter and a side of blueberries.  It was a nice breakfast.

Vegan Quick English Muffins

Vegan Quick English Muffins

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Flax Meal

5 Tablespoons Warm Water

2 Tablespoons Almond Milk (can use vanilla almond milk for a little sweetness)

2 Tablespoons Chickpea Flour

2 Teaspoons Applesauce

½ Teaspoon Vinegar

¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda

Pinch Salt

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix the flax meal and water. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes until it is the consistency of egg whites. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased 500 ml ramekin. Cook in microwave for 2 minutes (or bake in a 400◦ oven for about 12 minutes). Remove from pan. Carefully cut in half horizontally. Fry in a greased skillet for about a minute on each side, until lightly golden brown. Makes one muffin.

Tempeh Jambalaya

Jambalaya is one of my family’s favorite meals. It’s an easy one pot meal and doesn’t take that long to make. It’s pretty versatile too: you can add different types of meat to it (whatever you may have left over) or even shrimp. You can add as much spice as you want. I learned a recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook a long time ago and I run with that. I’ve made it so many times that I don’t even use a recipe any longer. So, I gave a whack at making a vegan version last night. I liked it. It was easy. It was definitely healthy. I have to admit though, it was a little less jambalaya-ish and more like just plain rice and beans. You could leave out the tempeh. I just threw it in because I had it, otherwise, I would have just gone with the beans. It’s a good one pot meal, with leftovers for lunch or a quick dinner. Hope you like it.
Vegan Jambalya

Vegan Jambalaya

Ingredients:
1 Stalk Celery
1 ½ Cups Sliced Mushrooms
½ Cup Onion
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper
2 Carrots, sliced
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
14.5 oz. Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 ½ Cups Vegetable Broth
2/3 Cups Brown Rice
1 Cup Black Beans
1 Teaspoon Basil
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Bay Leaf
8 oz. Tempeh, cut into cubes
Salt, to taste

Directions:
In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, pepper, celery, onion, and carrots in ½ cup of broth about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add in remaining ingredients except for the tempeh. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add extra broth as necessary. Stir in the cubed tempeh and cook another 5-10 minutes, until rice is fully cooked. Makes 4 Servings.

The Vegannaise Experiment

I’m the type of person that does things my own way. Plus, I tend to be cheap. If I can make something cheaper than buying it, I always take the cheapest option. I figure I can do it better myself anyway. Paying 5 bucks for a little jar of Vegannaise? Um, no thanks. Besides, there’s a ton of oil and other ingredients, that I don’t want, in Vegannaise.
Spring is springing. It hasn’t sprung yet, but it’s springing. It only got down to 36 last night. Yesterday was pretty nice here so we shoveled off the deck Snow on Deck
and made room for the grill. Nothing says ‘spring’ like the smell of grilling in the air. My favorite is grilled portabellos.
To get ready for grill season, I decided to take a crack at making vegannaise, without the oil. I tried a couple of variations. The one with oil in it tasted quite close to real mayonnaise, but it was quite runny. This one, using cashews, turned out with a great texture, but it definitely does taste like cashews. I don’t mind it though. It does have the ‘taste’ of mayo, kind of, but with a nutty aftertaste. I’ll keep working on it to perfect it, but in the meantime, this is still a tasty alternative. Served on a grilled portabello and bun, it’s like springtime on a plate. Hope you like it.
Vegan No Oil Mayonnaise

Ingredients:
¾ Cup Raw Cashews
6 oz. Silken Tofu
1 Tablespoon Almond Milk
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Process until completely smooth and thick.

Chickpea Burgers with Curry Peanut Sauce

After a couple of months of travelling, and working on the house, I just needed to try something new. Since I was always busy, I was resorting to whatever was quick and easy: soup, chili – whatever I could toss together into a pot and make a lot of so I would have leftovers. The weather’s getting a little nicer around here. It seems like the arctic death grip that has had its hold on our area is starting to lift a bit. So, now I’m starting to think more along the lines of fun food, picnic food, grilling, etc. Today I threw together some chickpea burgers, of course, with some mushrooms and onions in them to raise the nutrient levels. It was a typical burger template: some sort of wet veggie (the mushrooms), with some sort of beans (chickpeas), some spices, and then a binder (the oatmeal). Using that template, you can really adjust your burger to your mood. hmmm…I feel kind of South Pacific today. Okay, so curry it is. I wouldn’t necessarily call this Thai or Indian. The sauce is sort of Thai and the burgers are sort of Indian, but with my own flare (and considering what I had in the pantry). I didn’t have limes, so I adjusted the sauce to taste kind of Thai. I don’t have a lot right now in the pantry, so I just went with what I have.
My daughter ate one burger on bread and the other one she ate off the pan, dipping it in the sauce. I had mine on romaine and red onion with some roasted pepitas on top (I roasted them the last 5 minutes that the burgers were baking). These aren’t that hard to make; it just takes time. So, I worked on other things while they were baking.
Hope you enjoy them.
Chickpea Burgers

Ingredients:
Chickpea Burgers:
8 oz. Mushrooms
1 Small Onion
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
2, 15 oz. Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Teaspoons Curry Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
3 Tablespoons Whole Oats
Lightly Toasted Pepitas for garnish

Curry Peanut Sauce:
½ Cup Canned Coconut Milk
¼ Cup Raw Cashews
3 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Liquid Aminos
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Directions:
For the burgers: Preheat oven to 375◦. In a food processor, combine the mushrooms and onion. Process until finely chopped. To a hot skillet, add the vegetable broth. When broth is heated, add in the mushroom/onion mixture. Sauté until broth evaporates and onions are translucent.
Process the chickpeas in food processor until finely chopped. Add chickpeas to the mushroom mixture. Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten out and lightly oil the tops of the burgers. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and thick.

Serve burgers on lettuce, topped with the peanut sauce and pepitas. Makes 10 burgers.

Vegan Taco Salad

Why does everything have to be so hard? I just had to say that. Actually, everything isn’t so hard. This was easy. Yes, taco salad: that’s easy. We’re still working on fixing up our house. My husband goes back to work at the end of this month, so it’s crunch time now. Today I spent the day refinishing our kitchen island. I was tired and sore and annoyed that I didn’t get as far along as I thought I would and then the kids ask the age old question: What’s for dinner. argh Okay, just breathe. Don’t dump the stain on the floor and walk out on strike. Breathe. Yes, left overs it is. Actually, it was kind of ‘clean the refrigerator out’ night. We had a dinner at church yesterday, so I had a large pot of chicken soup with gluten free noodles leftover. There was left over taco meat from last week (no mold: check – smells okay: check. Come on – admit it: you’ve done that too). But, I had no left overs for me. I liked the idea of a taco salad. I had the taco sauce and vegan crema fresca that I made last week for the flautas. I had some black beans in the pantry and some green pepper and red onion that I had already chopped up for a salad this weekend. So, taco salad it was. Easy peasy. If you want a quick, satisfying meal, this will fit the bill:
Vegan Taco Salad

Vegan Taco Salad

Ingredients:
Taco ‘Meat’:
1 Cup Black Beans
2 Tablespoons Chopped Green Bell Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chopped Red Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Minced Onion
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Vegetable Broth, as needed

Romaine Lettuce
Chopped Tomato
Chopped Fresh Onion
Crumbled Corn Tortillas
Taco Sauce
Vegan Crema Fresca

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the black beans, bell pepper, onion, and spices. Saute until beans are heated through and onion is translucent. Add some vegetable broth, as needed, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan.
Top your salad with the bean mixture and top with taco sauce and crema fresca.