Friday, March 1, 2013

Yummy Food Finds

I got a lot of feedback from the recipes I posted last week. I decided I'd try to post my favorite recipes of the week each Friday. It may not be every Friday, but I made some good ones this week and wanted to share :)

This week was all about experimentation. I wanted to make a few things I haven't tried and I think they came out pretty well. The first item of business was tofu. I'm not much of a soy eater, simply because too much of a good thing isn't a good thing anymore. But good quality soy products every now and then aren't horrible for you. I wanted to try tofu because it's a good source of protein and has other great health benefits (high in calcium, iron, other minerals and antioxidants and more!). I decided to try soft tofu first since it may be the easiest to tolerate.

Let me clarify something. I say "tolerate" because I had a terrible tofu experience when I was in college. Yes, I've been traumatized by tofu. But we went to a Vietnamese restaurant and I had some braised tofu dish. It was a crime against food. The taste, the smell, the texture. I wanted to die. And I most certainly thought I was going to when I revisited the meal later as I puked it up all night. It was a very bad night, indeed.

Needless to say, I haven't eaten tofu since. But I figured enough time had passed, I could try it again. And if I make it myself, I can control the potential hideousness. So I took the plunge and bought some soft tofu. Here is the result. I have to say, this was really good. Even the little people in the house liked it and didn't even notice the tofu. By the way, as I type this, I keep typing "tofun" instead of "tofu" and have to go back and correct myself. Maybe my subconscious is telling me I'm now a tofu lover. First it was no-fu. Now it's tofun!

Veggie Stir Fry with Sesame Tofu


1 large bunch Bok Choy, chopped, including greens
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 cup Romanesco broccoli, chopped
12 oz cooked Udon noodles
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 block soft tofu
2-3 tbs sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup hemp seeds
Crushed red pepper (optional) 

1. I first pressed the tofu between two plates and paper towels for about an hour to remove excess water. I then chopped the tofu super fine. Because it's soft, it's kind of difficult not to chop it finely. Once chopped it has the consistency of finely chopped or minced chicken.
2. Saute the tofu in half the sesame oil with the garlic and onion. Saute until the garlic and onion are soft, set aside.
3. In the same pan, heat the rest of the sesame oil. Add the cooked noodles and toss until they begin to brown. I use Annie Chung's organic vegan Udon noodles, so they're already cooked but you do need to soften them and heat them.
4. Add all the vegetables and saute until the greens of the Bok Choy begin to wilt. I like my veggies a little on the crisp side, so I don't cook them very long. You can cook the veggies longer if you'd like. Nutrition note: the longer veggies are cooked, the less nutrients they have.   
5. Add the cooked tofu to the noodles and veggies. This made about 6 servings. Top each serving with the hemp seeds and crushed red pepper.

Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding with Fruit

For some reason, breakfast is the hardest meal for me to find healthy options that sustain my hunger for an extended period of time. Cereals don't do it for me and I find myself hungry an hour later. Lately I've been sick, so I've been trying to increase my vitamin C intake through diet. I've also been increasing my iron. Nutrition fact: iron found in non-heme sources (i.e., those found in non-animal products) is better absorbed when eaten with vitamin C-rich foods. And this concoction was the result of these efforts. It's loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals and will fill you up for most of the morning. Nutrition fact: chia seeds and hemp seeds are excellent sources of protein, fiber, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and more. Raw pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are also great sources of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium. Eat these foods. This concoction is pretty darn yummy, if I do say so myself, and it's very filling.


1/2 cup chia seed pudding (recipe below)
1/4 cup blueberries
1 medium blood orange, unpeeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium naval orange, unpeeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4-1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3 tbs hemp seeds

For the chia pudding:

2 cups almond milk
 (I use unsweetened vanilla)  
1/3 cup chia seeds

Agave nectar to taste

1. To make the pudding, add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Stir and allow to rest for a few minutes and then restir.  The chia seeds have a tendency to clump on the bottom so it is important to restir.  Let set covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or over night. Restir before taking out the 1/2 cup for the breakfast pudding.
2. Add all the ingredients together. Eat up and enjoy!

Homemade Creamy and Delicious Almond Milk

We go through a lot of almond milk in my house. I wanted to see how hard it was to make it myself and it's not difficult at all. If I could bottle it and sell it, this is what it's official name would be :)


3 cups filtered water
1 cup raw almonds
1 tbs agave nectar

If your almonds have their little skins on them, it's best to soak them first and remove the skins. Just add the almonds to a bowl and fill it with water to about an inch above the almonds. Soak for a good hour or more; the longer the better. Soaking helps those little jackets come off easily (it's actually a biologic process that causes this, but I won't bore you with that). After soaking you can just manually remove the jackets. Nutrition fact: soaking all raw nuts before using them helps become more digestible, allowing us to absorb as many nutrients as possible!

1. Add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix. If you don't have a Vitamix, a strong food processor or blender should be fine just process the ingredients very well.
2. Process all the ingredients for at least 2 minutes, but as long as it takes to get the consistency you like.
3. Pour the milk through a fine mesh strainer to make it as smooth as possible. This is really important, so use as fine a mesh strainer as you can. You can also use a filtration bag such as this one from Vitamix. There are others less expensive out there, I just wanted to show one that I know works well.
4. This makes about 4 cups of milk. Place it in container and store it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. You will want to shake it before you use it.

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