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!

Advertisements

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!

apples!

Back in early October, my fiance and I went apple picking out near Asheville, NC and acquired quite a bit of apples. I’ve been making various things with them, some note-able, most not. A lot of the apples were just eaten as is.. But! Since I’m going to be out of town until like a day before Thanksgiving and since there were only like a dozen apples left, I decided to make Apple Cinnamon Rice Pudding!

I know I’ve showcased rice pudding before.. but this is even better than the last one.

I used my regular rice pudding recipe but made a few tweaks to it.

Apple Cinnamon Rice Pudding

5 cups soy milk (plus more to your liking)

2/3 cup brown rice

5 shredded apples

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

Combine everything but the raisins in a large 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 (I found with the brown rice that it took wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy longer than with the white rice. In fact, I ended up just shutting the heat off and calling it done with some of the rice kernels kind of crunchy.. it seriously cooked for over 2 hours. I had to keep adding soy milk too and probably added an additional cup). Add the raisins and cook until desired tenderness and creaminess. Devour immediately.

I still enjoy my rice pudding with a pad of butter on top, the saltiness balances the sweetness.

Tomorrow, I’ll have another post about what we had for dinner tonight… it was absolutely amazing and blew my mind.

Bon Appetit!

a whole new world, via Whole Foods!

About two weeks ago I heard thru the grapevine that we were going to be getting a Whole Foods Market. I instantly became excited. When I moved to South Carolina I had high hopes for Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Cost Co. How disappointed was I when I found out the closest ones were 3+ hours away! I figured moving from a rural town in New York to a southern state like SC I’d find them, but no…  no I did not. But anyways, happiness now because two days ago I found out that it (being Whole Foods) opened its glorious doors on October 25th. So we set out this morning for a mere 26 mile journey and it was totally worth it.

After several spins around the parking lot we finally found a parking space and when I walked thru those doors, I was in heaven. There were fruits and vegetables piled high in amazing colors, I could see the bulk section from the doors, they were sampling chocolates and cupcakes and cheeses. Pure bliss I tell you. Unfortunately, even though it was a Monday it was still incredibly crowded. I’m assuming it was due to it only being open a few days, I’m hoping the crowds will die down eventually.. I don’t think I’d enjoy grocery shopping and playing bumper carts too. But anyways, my loyal boy pushed the cart dutifully thru the crowded aisles and never complained once. I even went thru the bulk section twice, just because I wanted to and he never said a word. This is why I love him.

So, my favorite parts were as follows:

Beautiful sparkling new bulk bins filled with all sorts of things.. including 10 different types of dried mushrooms, 8 different types of flavored sea salts, 6 different types of grind your own nut butters and all the regular beans and grains you’d expect from WF.

The produce section. Oh, my, goodness. I wasn’t joking earlier when I said the fruits and vegetables were piled high in amazing colors.. unfortunately I have been succumbed to Wal*Mart produce for far too long and I felt like my eyes were going to bleed from the insane amount of colors. Plus they had great variety and in the first cooler case were packages of freshly cut fruits & veggies and freshly squeezed juices… I’d normally not buy pre-cut fruits and veggies, but they were so beautiful.. soo soo beautiful.

The 10+ foot long bakery counter! They had bagels. BAGELS I TELL YOU. Do you know how hard it is to find a freaking BAGEL down here?! Creme puffs and cheesecakes and fudgy brownies, cookies by the pound… they had whole wheat breads, sourdough breads, rosemary and thyme. Baguettes and french breads and perfectly executed roses on top of decadent cakes.

The cheese counter. They had cranberry cheddar for sampling. I easily would have devoured the whole entire case if I had no self control. I’m thinking about buying some for Thanksgiving or Christmas to have as an appetizer.

Pretty much, I could just talk about every single aisle and department in the whole place all night and be perfectly content with it. Obviously I loved the whole store. My biggest disappointment was not having a ton of cash to spend and the fact that I will be out of town for 2 weeks and couldn’t stock up on too many perishable foods.

What I did buy was a few ridiculously good deals.

We got…

a small Tofurky roast to try before Thanksgiving.. the boy wants to make sure his vegetarian turkey is up to par before the big day arrives. I know for a fact I enjoy it, but we got it for $6 and I really couldn’t say no to that since it’s usually $10+ dollars.

Two different and unusual flavors of Tofurky sliced deli meats… a roast beef and an Italian deli. I’m a fan of the sliced deli meats because I enjoy making a sandwich every now and then and it’s a lot more convenient to have them pre-cut and ready to eat.

And the hummus was to awesome of a deal to pass up. 99 cents for those suckers. Hummus is usually pretty expensive so the shelves were almost wiped clean. Plus, have you ever seen Cinnamon Raisin hummus?! Couldn’t pass it up. Same with the wasabi… I do love me some wasabi.. especially with cucumbers… yum! The artichoke and spinach is for the boy, he claims he doesn’t like hummus but said he’d try this flavor. So whatevs. 99 cents, who cares! I’m freezing these packages since I’ve already got one opened, so I can’t vouch on their flavors yet, but I’ll definitely be reviewing them as I open them.

I also bought a bag of sea salted Rice Chips (not pictured) because I love them. All together, I spent 15 bucks. Megan, I know you’d be disappointed. But I assure you, when I get home from NY and I’ve got some groceries to get, I’ll surely be going to Whole Foods.

october is seriously my favorite

I absolutely love October. Love it. I love everything about it. The leaves are almost always completely changed and beautiful, the air is crisp, apples are in abundance, pumpkins, Halloween, scary movies!!! My list could go on and on and on.

This year is quite different however. I’m no longer in apple country… it’s no longer 50 degrees out and rainy/windy/just plain ol’ cold. The leaves haven’t QUITE changed yet.. it was 80 when I carved my pumpkin!! Life has certainly changed.

Wanna see our pumpkins? Okay!

This is Matt’s (my fiance) pumpkin.. he chose the bat clawing the pumpkin. So cute =)

This is mine! It’s a cute little kitty with a pumpkin and some spoooooky bats. Adorable.

These are all 3 that we did… the third one we worked on together and although it was the easiest one, it ended up looking the crappiest.

They always look so much better when they’re lit up!

So obviously, if you carve pumpkins, you should always always always roast the seeds. And of course we did. We decided on plain ol’ salted and cinnamon & sugar. The cinnamon sugar ones could have used double the amount, but they’re still delicious.

We all had quite the debate though… Half the family was saying you aren’t supposed to eat the harder shell on the outside and the other half was saying you could, and should. I had never really heard of anyone cracking the shells open like sunflower seeds until I met this family.. I always eat the seeds whole. The only time I actually eat the inside part by itself is when I buy them specifically (also known as pepitas!). What do ya’ll do? Do you shell them like sunflower seeds? Do you suck on them and spit them out? Or do you devour the whole delicious thing?

alright…

So unfortunately, my whole plan for the no dairy/no gluten posts failed miserably. I had planned on posting the delicious food I was eating and updating regularly and actually doing this whole blog thing right.. But unfortunately, in the middle of the two weeks my boy got really sick and I spent a few days taking care of him (I actually made REAL chicken noodle soup for the first time in my whole life and I had to tear the chicken apart with my own fingers and I haven’t touched chicken in like 6+ years and it was the strangest thing ever.. but I’ll admit, it smelled fabulous in my house) and then since we’re so inseparable, I ended up getting sick as well and missed some work and he ended up taking care of ME (making me some delicious spicy black bean soup) and then we had like maybe… two days? before he got a massive stomach bug that led me to taking care of him again and now I’m on the verge/brink of having it or not having it, just feeling plain ol’ weird.. SO!

Anyways, the whole non-dairy, no gluten thing was fantastic. I loved it, I felt great and I actually felt GUILTY eating gluten and dairy again! I had thought I ruined it the last day, we all went to the movies to see The Lorax (great movie!! I’d recommend it to anyone!) and had some popcorn, where I would have bet money on the fact the dry popcorn had butter on it, but apparently it didn’t! So I actually lasted the whole 2 weeks and I feel accomplished. But, of course it was a Monday the first day off the 2 weeks and all you Moe’s lovers out there know about Moe’s Monday and how you can get a burrito and drink for 5 bucks.. so the boy and I went (of course) and I had a burrito.. I can honestly say though that my tummy felt a bit off after eating the gluten… like it was pissed I was eating it again. But oh well.. I have been nibbling on cookies at work, even tried eating a piece of baguette (didn’t even taste good, I threw it out after a bite) BUT, I haven’t eaten ONE CROUTON. Which, you all should be especially proud of me for. They don’t even smell good anymore.. the crouton addiction is officially, OVER.

I still want pizza.

And I’ll be devouring it as soon as we’re all done being sick.

So anyways. I did end up making my Morrocan Red Lentil soup.

It’s a recipe I developed while working at the organic market I used to work at.. It was derived from a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks with numerous changes. I’m not going to post the recipe, for some reason I’ve still got it in my head that I must hoard my own recipes, call me selfish.

I also made potato wedges that night to dip into the soup.

I love potatoes. In any form. Love love love them. I just baked them with a little olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. yum!

I also made sweet potato hummus!

I used this recipe, without the cumin flat bread chips because obviously I wasn’t eating gluten at the time. I dipped mine with rice chips, which were absolutely fantastic and I would continue buying them always. The hummus was amazing though.. seriously, it was. I had some the first night I made it while the sweet potato was still a little warm and it a creamy, well spiced dip. I then proceeded to devour it in the few days afterwards, while it was cold,  and it was still fantastic. I could probably admit though that it was a TAD better when warm. But I’ll definitely be making it again, for sure.

I recently re-organized my 1000+ bookmarked recipes on my computer, so I’m going to start (hopefully) bulldozing through those recipes in the near future.

Tootles!

week 1 of work down!

So today marks the end of the first week of work without gluten or dairy. It’s definitely a lot harder without the gluten or dairy at work since I work in a bakery/cafe. There’s tons of bread and cookies and pastries that are always calling my name, screaming at me to eat them as I walk past. Especially the croutons.. those little buggers have like 50 calories a piece and it’s super easy to just grab 10 or 12 or a 100 and munch on them periodically. Their smell is just so intoxicating when they come out of the oven and I swear they put crack-cocaine in them because how else would they be so damn addicting?! So obviously, I’m hoping after these 2 weeks I won’t even be phased by them. I’m not going to start eating them again, I can tell you that!

And with ending the first work week without gluten or dairy, let me tell you how freaking easy this is. I thought it’d be crazy hard since I’m already a vegetarian and I’ve obviously got a bunch of stuff already that I can’t eat.. and I’ve never really gone full out vegan before.. and as I stated above, I love me some bread. But honestly, I’m not missing any of it. The biggest thing I suppose is the fact that I’ve really been wanting pasta lately.. and even with that, as long as I get my butt to the grocery store I can just buy some quinoa pasta or gluten-free pasta to get past my craving. I honestly feel a lot better.. I really do, I feel like I’m eating a lot healthier and I’m hungry at appropriate intervals.. I do feel like I’m eating  more, but it’s really  not that big of a deal because what I’m eating is super healthy for me and not full of chemicals and preservatives and all that garbage. I’m eating more fresh fruits and vegetables (not that I wasn’t before, but now I am cramming them into my mouth like they’re cookies) and the grumblings in my tummy when I’m hungry feel like good ones, not the “hey, I’m growling because all you did was eat a bunch of junk and now I want mooooooore!” kind of grumblings. But anyways. Let me tell you what I’ve eaten the last few days.

One: A LOT of guacamole… and tortilla chips. It’s actually kind of embarrassing. I made the guac Wednesday with 2 avocados that I had sitting in the fridge and on Wednesday I ate a ton and then yesterday I went to Moe’s for lunch and ate tortillas and salsa and guacamole and then never ate a real dinner but then stuffed my face with even more tortilla chips and guac.

Two: Tonight I made vegetable stir fry with dry-fried tofu and rice. I used the sauce for the tempura vegetables from the other night to coat the vegetables. Have you ever dry-fried tofu? Megan showed me the ways of dry-fried tofu and let me tell you. It’s soooo good. It smells like fresh popped pop corn and it gets all crispy on the outside and miraculously soaks up the marinade a hell of a lot easier once it’s fried. Pretty much all you do is press your tofu, dry it off with a paper towel or something and then smack it into a super hot pan (no oil!!!!) and leave it there untouched until you smell popcorn and it easily comes off the pan. Flip it and repeat! Eat as is or use it like you normally would tofu. My stir fry tonight consisted of broccoli, snow peas, carrots, scallions, tofu and rice.

Three: Vegan Chocolate Pudding. Yes. Amazing. Simple. Luscious. All I did was throw a box of silken tofu into the food processor with like 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons of agave nectar and whip it up. Stored it in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up and then chopped some strawberries into it and then devoured. Also, can we talk about how good agave is? Not gonna lie, I actually licked the side of the jar where it had dripped down the side. I could probably just eat spoonfuls of agave. Sooo so good.

So there you have it! My last few days in dairy and gluten free land. I’m not sure what this weekend will entail, but I think I might have an encounter with some Moroccan Red Lentil soup. Meggy you know what I’m talkin’ about =P ohhh yeah.

lost… again.

I suck at this. I’m not on the computer enough, I don’t get my camera out very often and I just plain ol’ don’t cook much anymore. I could throw out a million excuses as to why I don’t do this the right way, but that’d just be boring. To make a long story short, my life has changed drastically the last 4 months or so and I just haven’t had the… what should I say… the motivation? The ambition? I don’t know, either way, I haven’t been blogging and although I don’t want to PROMISE I’m starting again, I’m going to try to start again. Honestly though, this space might have a bit to do with the whole “I’m not cooking very often” excuse.

So anyways, this weekend has been boring, sloppy, messy, filled with mixed emotions, burnt food, destroyed pantries, long talks with best friends and lots and lots of Gordon Ramsey. Today I finally decided to cook something worth the effort and time and decided on Healthy.Happy.Life’s curried quinoa wrap with avocado citrus slaw.

It was delicious! Absolutely positively delicious. I’ve been pretty keen on quinoa for a week or so. It was made exceptionally well for me about a week ago and I’ve been obsessed since.

Quinoa! with all it’s delicious yummy bits.

The yummy bits!

Delicious slaw!

I had to make a few tweaks to the recipe.. for one, my tahini was absolutely disgusting. It was a mass of bone dry crud on the bottom of about 3 inches of oil and no matter how much mashing, stirring, coercing it just wouldn’t turn into the creamy substance it’s supposed to be. So I omitted it from the whole entire recipe. Where it was called for in the slaw, I just used some vegan mayo and it turned out just fine. I also didn’t have a tangerine, so I opened up a can of mandarin oranges and used those instead. My quinoa wasn’t white, I used black quinoa. And I had no mint!! So aside from all those issues, it was fantastic!

Also, here are a few other things I have cooked in the last however many months.

Best cookies ever… seriously. They’re my favorite. Anytime I feel down in the dumps or want to impress someone or I have to go to some shindig where I’ve got to bring something, I make these freaking cookies. They combine everything glorious into an awesome, dunk in your soy milk cookie. (recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance… they’re the gigantic cookies or whatever with added chocolate chippies)

Awesome freaking mashed potato handpies that me and Vegan Whore made some odd months ago. Pretty much we mad an awesome coconut butter crust and added delicious mashed potatoes, slathered them in chick pea and traditional brown gravy (not shown) and scarfed them down like we hadn’t eaten in months. Seriously one of the better ideas we’ve had in a loong long time. I also think we made peach and grape pies too, but unfortunately no pictures of those beauties.

Roasted cauliflower that I used in a made up recipe for Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower soup that I experimented with.

And finally, the Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower soup that I made. It wasn’t necessarily soup when I was done with it, more like this delicious mash of carrots and cauliflower.. but it was scrumptious, so who gives a damn about what it looks like… right?!