Takeout Orange Tofu

So since moving to South Carolina the one type of food I really haven’t ventured out in finding a great take out in is Chinese. We’ve had awesome pizza, awesome Mexican (gosh, yeah… I could eat at the Mexican restaurants every other day if I allowed myself to), we even went to a ramen house! Well, when I was pregnant I had such a craving for the delicious tofu from my favorite Chinese take out place in NY, that I had to figure out something. So we picked out the Takeout Orange Tofu from Vegan Junk Food by Lane Gold and we went and bought all the ingredients and were super excited to make it… well, skip to an unexpected trip to NY, having a baby, staying there for almost 3 months… lets just say that tofu never got made.. UNTIL! We made it when we got home.

Alright, so you know how when you order Chinese take out tofu it’s got that pillowy texture and the sauce gets all soaked up and you regret not ordering another quart because you’ve just devoured that one in 5 seconds flat? Well that’s how this tofu was. I’ve never ever ever made such good tofu in my whole entire life. Seriously. And I’ve been known to make some killer tofu, and devouring whole bricks myself. This stuff was awesome. I started by freezing the block of tofu and then thawing it out, I added that awesome orange sauce from the cookbook that had such complex and yummy flavors it was absurd and then I added it to an awesome brown rice pilaf with edamame and steamed sugar snap peas. Delish!

Have I mentioned how much I’m in love with sugar snap peas right now? My favorite way to make them is to steam them lightly and to make a soy sauce – sesame – butter sauce to drizzle over the top. Or you know, just snack on them raw and enjoy the delicious snap and the cool refreshing sweet flavor that bursts in your mouth. GOSH. I want this dish right now.

 

Bon Appetit!

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Happy Pi Day! (3.14)

Yes I know I’m late. It’s not exactly Thursday (Pi Day – 3.14) anymore and yes I know that the REAL Pi day will actually be in 2015 (3.14.15)  but I wanted to tell ya’ll about my pie tradition I’ve been doing for a few years on March 14th. I know that technically it’s a day for the mathematical number Pi (3.14159265359), but it’s the perfect excuse to make a delicious PIE! And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few years… Last year I made chocolate crème pie and the year before that I’m pretty sure I made cherry… anything beyond that I can’t remember… but this year I made a Black Bottom Banana Crème pie and it was amazing!

Look at those delicious chocolate shavings and that luscious home made whipped cream!

It had a shortbread cookie & butter crust, a decadent layer of dark chocolate pudding (might I add it was home made), a layer of perfectly ripe bananas, a layer of vanilla custard and then luscious home made whipped cream. It was heaven in a pie plate. Seriously. I love all things banana and I absolutely love pudding too.. and seriously, home made pudding is so easy to make it’s ridiculous. I would much rather make home made pudding than buy the box (although on super super lazy days I will cave and buy the Jell-O brand pudding… it’s good, what can I say?)

 

And then, just because I believe in writing and broadcasting our cooking failures too, I present to you the most disgusting smoothie I have ever had in my whole entire life.

It’s called a “Clean Breeze Smoothie” (I believe it came out of an issue of EatingWell magazine) and it’s disgusting. Usually I love green smoothies and I frequently request my best friend to make me kale and peach smoothies, but this thing was repulsive. It had everything I usually love in it… kiwi, cucumber, cilantro, ginger kombucha…. but something about the mixture of everything with the extremely tart greek yogurt… Can I tell you how nasty it was anymore? haha If you’d like to try this beast out for yourself, here’s the recipe.

Bon Appetit!

 

Two of My Favorite Things

Today I just wanted to talk about two of my favorite things to eat.

Cookies and Salad.

Yup, I said it. A pretty much guaranteed unhealthy item and a fairly healthy item. They cancel each other out, right?

So anyways… one of my favorite cookies ever are the Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Book. When I first got this cookbook I was super excited because I loved the lay out.. I loved how in the glossary there was a picture of each cookie… so you didn’t have to go to the recipe to see what kind of cookie it was (if you were unfamiliar with it). Well… needless to say, the book is a 50/50 in my opinion. I’ve had some really awesome cookies and I’ve had some that were yucky and didn’t come out like she says they’re supposed to. But these gingerbread cookies, yum! Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorites and to add big chunks of chocolate, delish!

They’ve got sugar on the outside to make them a bit crunchy, yet they’re soft and chewy in the inside. They are definitely a cookie from heaven.

Alright, now I’m going to admit something that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing.. It’s got to do with my salads. And no, I don’t crumble my cookies into them… although, chocolate chip cookies dipped in mustard are amazingly good… but that’s a different post.. (..maybe…?) Anyways. Here goes, I hope ya’ll don’t think I’m too weird..

I absolutely love, love love LOVE steaming hot brown rice or quinoa on top of my salads. I love it when it wilts the lettuce and makes the cucumbers all warm and toasty. I love how the dressing gets soaked right up into the grains and flavors them intensely. Every time I make a salad and throw steaming grains on top people look at me like I’m a weirdo. I used to do it at work on my lunch break and people would be “grossed out”, the boy thinks I’m weird and nasty… I’ve just never met anyone else who does it. Do you? Have you ever tried it? Am I as weird as everyone makes me out to be? Who knows.. but I highly suggest it to anyone who loves salads and hot steamy grains.

Mmmmm… yummy.

 

Bon Appetit!

 

 

mmmmmmmmm

Words can not describe what we ate for dinner last night. Seriously. I haven’t had something so delicious in a long long long time. Can I show you? Please?

Welcome to the land of glorious Tofurky, mashed potatoes, home made vegan turkey gravy, roasted carrots with onion and garlic and steamed snow peas. HELLO GORGEOUS.

So the boy and I had to test out the Tofurky before I went out of town (won’t be back until the day before Thanksgiving) and decided to bake it with some carrots, onion and garlic plus a homemade vegan turkey broth. The broth steamed the Tofurky and made it moist and delicious while also making the carrot mixture a creamy delicious concoction of… yumminess! The Tofurky reminded me of what I remember lower quality meats tasting like… like maybe a turkey cutlet Banquet tv dinner.  It was really satisfying and I was super pleased with how it came out. Thanksgiving is always the hardest for me because I love love loved turkey sooo much and I’m always drooling over it.. but honestly, knowing there are products like this out right now makes me believe I’ll never go back to eating real meat. I definitely recommend the Tofurky to anyone!

Now I just wanna find the Gardein Holiday Roast and I’ll be set!

sushi & the zoo

So yesterday I was let out of work super early so the boy and I decided to hit up the zoo and spend the day outside. I hadn’t been to our zoo in a really really long time so I was excited to go. They have a few new exhibits and surprisingly all of the animals were out and about even though its February and pretty cold out. My favorite animals are of course any of the kitties and I took a few photos of the lions (because they remind me of Munky).

This photo was taken while they were howling/meowing/whatever you want to call it at the glass and all of the people. It was really bizarre.. I’m not sure what their problem was!

So after the zoo we went to the grocery store and got the ingredients to make vegetable sushi and gluten-free tempura vegetables. Usually I use the tempura recipe out of my Moosewood cookbook, but since it’s made with flour and I’m avoiding gluten for a while.. I surfed the web to find something that used a gluten free flour. This is the recipe I ended up using. We battered and fried sweet potato chips, green bean strips and broccoli florets. They were sooo yummy!!

This recipe wasn’t as good as my usual, but it was pretty darn tasty! It uses rice flour and I feel like it fit perfectly with having sushi. I also made a ginger-soy dipping sauce that is pretty much drinkable in my opinion. It’s got soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, scallions, mirin and sesame oil. Sooo sooo sooo good!

The sushi had avacado slices, cucumber sticks, shaved carrots, scallions and a few of them had sweet potato tempura chopped into it. The boy was in charge of making the sushi and it was all very delicious =) I have a very love/hate relationship with nori, sometimes I like it, sometimes I hate it.. yesterday I ate like 8 pieces of sushi before the flavor of the nori caught up with me and was making me gag. So in the end I ended up peeling away all the nori and eating the rice and vegetables dipped in the sauce with just a little hint of seaweed. I’m not sure why I have such a problem with it.. I do enjoy it usually!

And as you can see in this photo, we had pickled ginger, wasabi and STAR FRUIT with dinner!

He had never had star fruit before and since it’s one of my favorite fruits we bought one yesterday. If you’ve never had one before the best description is if you combined a kiwi and an apple. It’s very mild and very juicy, super crunchy and soo very delicious. Plus! It’s super cute! I think we’ll be hooked on them for a while… He bought another one today =)

Today consisted of leftovers and grilled cheese sandwiches for the boy. Although, I did make him drink a green smoothie. I usually only have green smoothies when other people make them for me.. but today I decided to try them out for myself. I added a big handful of both kale and baby spinach, some frozen peaches, a few strawberries and an apple. It was awesome! He and I both had big glasses and finished them both. I unfortunately do not have a picture, but you get the idea.. it was a super green drink. We also made home made guacamole and munched on that with some of my favorite tortilla chips.

So far this whole ‘no dairy, no gluten’ thing is going awesome. There were some broken cookies at work today that I wanted to eat terribly bad, but I refrained and stepped away and went about my merry way. I’ve been eating pretty healthy (not that I really don’t anyways) and we’ve been walking every day. I had to have something sweet and indulgent though so since I can’t make cookies or cake or eat candy, I chopped up a banana and microwaved a small block of semi-sweet chocolate with a tablespoon of peanutbutter and chocolate soy milk and drizzled it all over the banana. So simple yet so satisfying. Tomorrow I’m probably going to make vegan chocolate pudding with silken tofu and try that out.

 

little pillows of ecstasy

Alright, so. I’m slacking on the posts again, and I apologize. But here I am!

So in the last few days:

The boy and I made P.F. Chang Lettuce Wraps – but of course, I made some changes and/or I have no photo.. we used tofu in replace of the chicken and I doubled the marinade/sauce recipe. I’m super glad I doubled it though because as you know, tofu sucks up any moisture and if I had only had the single recipe of the marinade I don’t think it would have been nearly as flavorful.. but needless to say, the recipe was awesome and the wraps were fantastic. We also steamed some rice to go along and some edamame (in their pods!). I swear, the boys got me addicted to edamame and I bet you’ll be hearing about it a lot.

Meggy and I had a cooking/baking night in the beginning of the week where she so generously made me kale & peach smoothies with her sweet Vitamix and we dived into a huge vat of vegetable quinoa chili and freaking awesome brownies. You can read about that adventure here. She also convinced me (just by having the book on her table and me devouring every page of it) to purchase Vegan Junk Food and I’m super excited to experiment with the recipes… especially the homemade meatballs and the meatball pizza.

I also made fudgy wudgy blueberry brownies outta the Veganomicon with vanilla bean ice cream.. yum!

I of course had to wash the brownie down with chocolate soy milk in my sweet dino cup! (anyone remember those welch’s grape jelly jars that turned into awesome cups when you finished the jelly? I think my brother and I had numerous growing up as kids..)

I also made the chicken style seitan outta Vegan Slow Cooker one night this week for upcoming recipes.

Yesterday I made the jambalaya outta Vegan Slow Cooker with the seitan and it was delish! The boy actually liked the seitan and although I’m always terrified to try it (I’m not sure why.. I think it has to do with the brain like look and the weird squishy texture), I actually enjoyed it as well! I’m excited to use the rest up in maybe a chicken fried steak recipe or something.

The jambalaya was pretty tasty… the recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of rice but I thought that would be too much so I only used a cup of rice and it turned out pretty good. The rice was a little mushy because it soaked up more liquid than it should have, but it was tasty either way.

Now, for the absolute best thing about yesterdays meal.

Home made potato rolls and bread.

Holy crap.

Freaking fantastic.

They came out absolutely perfect. They were soft and moist and full of flavor… they made my house smell fantastic and they were like little pillows of ecstasy. Soooooooo damn good. Sooo sooo soo good.

I used instant mashed potatoes with a bit of garlic in them and it was pretty faint in the bread, but still a bit noticeable.

The boy and I pretty much ate the whole pan of rolls but I have the loaf saved for sandwiches or burgers or something.. pretty much I have no idea why I ever buy bread.. its so simple to make at home and its so satisfying to make a perfect loaf of bread that you’re proud of and can make you smile ear to ear. Plus it makes your house smell awesome and has people who generally don’t come out of their rooms coming down asking what that delicious smell is.

Pretty much, I’ve decided to make more bread… it’s seriously one of my favorite things to do cooking wise and I’m not entirely sure why I don’t do it..

panini heaven

So, due to just an unattractive looking sandwich (at least with my photography skills and my dinner plates and such) I do not have a photograph of the genius we re-created last night, but I must blog about it anyways.

Last night, the boy and I decided to make (well, I decided… he eats whatever I make) BAKED POTATO PANINIS.

I got this ingenious idea from BS’ In the Kitchen (who by the way, has some pretty freaking fantastic ideas for paninis… think baked potato, broccoli and cheddar cheese soup and jalapeno popper!). Their photograph of the sandwich is absolutely delightful (of course).

I substituted bacon bits for the bacon slices and unfortunately I didn’t have any crusty type breads so I just used the farm-style I buy from my bakery every week.

This sandwich was phenomenal!! We warmed up some tomato soup for a dipper and oh my. Sooo sooo soo soo soo good. I will admit to it being quite a heavy sandwich, but hell, who the F cares right? Whats better than potatoes and cheese crisped in a delicious sandwich?!

last few nights!

So the last few nights I’ve been cooking up a bunch of “in the head” kinda food… Meaning, I don’t necessarily have a recipe, I’m just combining whatever it is I have in the fridge that’s either going bad or is an oddball out or whatever.

So Monday night I combined roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli and orecchiette pasta (did you know that orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian?! I learned that from Rachael Ray haha I’ve never forgotten it though!) with a balsamic cream sauce. Pretty much I combined an equal amount of half&half and vegetable stock with a bunch of minced garlic and a couple of tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar. I add a bay leaf and some herbes de provence and it was pretty freaking fantastic! I know I always say things are fantastic, but what can I say? I’m cocky about my cooking haha

And of course, we made a big ol’ salad too… for some reason I can’t eat pasta without salad… something about how heavy the pasta is compared to the lightness of a good salad… I don’t know, makes me feel healthier!

So then last night, my brother and I decided we were going to make dinner and then go see The Artist. We needed something quick and easy and that we could run to the grocery store, make, devour and get to the theatre in 2 hours. He’s been on a wicked kale kick lately so we brainstormed and decided to make a kale pasta dish.

Soooo what we did was, minced a bunch of garlic, sauteed the kale, added a can of cannellini beans and a added a whole jar of Prego (ugh, I know! but he loves it! and it was actually really good) chunky marinara sauce. We boiled some spiral shaped noodles and threw them into the pan and called it dinner. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Also paired with leftover salad and big huge honkin’ pieces of bread (my brother is the king of everything Italian bread… choosing the loaf, slicing it, eating it, devouring it and finishing it off).

the sauce!

the whole dish!

the whole shebang!

So anyways, like I said, my bro and I went and saw the Artist last night… It was phenomenal! It was so strange seeing a silent film, it took a little getting used to.. their facial expressions were so exaggerated… I like going to the movies with him though, who else is going to smuggle in two very large pieces of Italian bread and a ziploc baggy of dried cherries for a snack?!

Annnnd then tonight, the boy and I made some sort of asian style noodle dish that I made up. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of it, but I can promise you it was delicious. Marinated some tofu in an asian style marinade and sauteed broccoli, snow peas, carrots and scallions. Used some of those thai style rice noodles and combined it all together. We also boiled a bag of edamame in the pod and salted them a ton. Between the two of us, we finished off the whole bag. yum yum.

I’ve been wicked craving chocolate lately, been scouring the internet for a simple one serving brownie recipe (I don’t need a whole pan of brownies sitting around!). Any suggestions on a single serving brownie or chocolate cake recipe?!

leftovers & muffins

So that tortilla soup and salsa? Makes awesome leftovers!! I turned the salsa into bangin’ grilled cheese sandwiches and warmed the soup up for a killer dipper. (I made the grilled cheese with a little shredded cheddar cheese on plain ol’ white bread with a little bit of Frank’s Red Hot spread on the inside of the bread… yum!!!!!!!!)

Today, I slept until a god awful hour and then decided it was an opportune time to make the cranberry orange nut muffins I’ve been wanting to make since Christmas. I gathered up all my ingredients and went to my giant freezer to get out my cranberries and oh.my.god. It’s an absolute disaster. I couldn’t find anything to save my life, so although I was already freezing, I set out to clean the beast out.

Findings? Soup in freezer bags in all sorts of shapes and sizes, fish fillets from last ice fishing season, venison (uhm? hello? I don’t even eat meat!), frozen and then unfrozen and then frozen again frost bitten berries, like 8 packages of rolls? Plus an assortment of a bunch of other crap. Pretty much, I’m embarrassed to say how much I threw out today. Butttttt, now I can see what’s in there and it’s not going to be such a hassle to find what I want.

So anyways, after I did the whole freezer thing, I set out to make the muffins. My Nanny got me giant muffin pans for Christmas and I’ve been pretty excited to use them and along with the pan she also got me 750 Best Muffin Recipes, which is where I got the recipe from.

NOW, I absolutely love love love love love love love Panera Breads cranberry orange muffins.. they are my favorite, like EVER. So I was kinda hoping these muffins would be sorta like them… but I knew instantly that they probably wouldn’t be. For one, they’ve got cinnamon and nutmeg in them… and Panera’s does not… For two, they’ve also got pecans (I subbed walnuts) and Panera’s does not… but hey smelled absolutely fantastic baking and they look pretty darn good…

Annnnnd, I just had one and they’re awesome! The cranberries are super tart, the muffin part is the perfect sweetness, and you get a little hint of orange. The nuts are pretty tasty as well! (Although I must say, Panera’s are still better.. but these can be a good at home replacement)

Yum!

rice puddinz

So I was always one of those people who couldn’t stand rice pudding. I never understood it. Why would anyone want to eat cold mushy nasty rice? And that stuff you could buy out of the tub on sale every week at the grocery store? Forget about it!! Nasty nasty nasty!! It wasn’t until recently that I became a lover of rice pudding. One day I was asked specifically to make homemade rice pudding and being the nice person that I am, I obliged and took a stab at making it.

I was a little hesitant at first, with all the horrid experiences I’ve had with it… but let me tell you, it was a life changer. It’s still mushy rice. But when it’s warm and right off the stove, raisins all plump and delicious… I don’t see how it could be made or enjoyed any other way. And actually, I’ve even enjoyed it at a few diners or two since then as well.

It’s been ridiculously cold here lately, with the snow and ice and persistent slush that covers the road and for some reason I decided that tonight would be a good night to devour some comforting rice pudding, cuddle with my Fernie and get to bed early.

Here’s the recipe I use:

5 cups milk

2/3 rice

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

Combine milk, rice, salt and sugar in a medium sized pot. Cook on medium high heat until bubbly and then switch the heat to low. Simmer until the rice is tender and there’s still a good amount of liquid/creaminess (it takes a stupid amount of time, I’m usually super anxious by the time its half way there). Add vanilla, cinnamon and raisins and cook to desired thickness.

I of course, always tweak the recipe. Tonight I halved it, since I was the only fatty eating it and I also pretty much dumped enough raisins in to scare any normal human being. But I do love me some raisins.

ps: I always add a little pad of butter on top of my pudding. Something about the saltiness of butter always makes it taste a hundred times better to me.

Also also also, after I had already started it and it had almost finished simmering, I opened up my fridge and realized that HELLO! tazo chai tea concentrate would probably be freaking awesome in the pudding and that will probably be my next experiment. It’ll probably be heaven in a bowl. Yummm.