Tag Archives: tofu

In the Dark

Yesterday, the day I usually photograph my What I Ate Wednesday eats, my house lost power. It was a complete shock because the weather was not very hot (which is usually the cause of power outages thanks to the numerous air conditions running). Consequently, I was unable to document my eats as usual. No power meant no oven, no microwave, no lights. It was time to get creative.

I must have been wearing a pair of crabby pants because the minor inconvenience made me quite irritable and grouchy. I was a complete grump—I’ll own up to it. Fortunately, I used it as a learning experience. Instead of giving into myself and just going to sleep early, I stayed up late (as usual) and tried to find things to do. Sure, cooking was a challenge by candle light and flashlight, but reading was actually enjoyable. I very rarely read without any other stimulation (music, lights, tv, etc.), and by the end I found myself more relaxed than ever. Surprisingly, all my anxieties were gone.

Once I realized that I really had no immediate need for electricity and could get along just fine, I wondered what was really bothering me. It came down to this:

  1. Fear. I am very routien-oriented and fear any kind of deviation. Although I did not need power to survive, not having it made me feel off balance and fear the unknown. Ultimately, I was afraid that a bigger problem was at hand. I felt unsafe and powerless.
  2. Hunger. Truth be told, my blood sugar was low, and I needed food FAST. Usually I can keep my hunger-induced grouchiness under control (relatively), but not yesterday.
The first reason, fear, was difficult to remedy. By reading quietly, I finally relaxed. However, I know that the problem is much deeper. I’m a work in progress! Luckily, the second problem was much easier to solve. Here’s some of the eats that the camera caught before the power went out:

Vegan + Gluten-Free Strawberry Scones (made with avocado instead of butter/earth balance)

Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Chickpeas, Basil, and Tomato Sauce (Nooch sprinkles on top!)

Vegan Ceasar Salad (Made with Raw Avocado Dressing)

Blacked Tofu with Crispy Kale, Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus, and Eggplant Fries

In the end, I’m almost glad the power went out. It gave me a chance to relax completely and served as a learning experience. In the end, I’m just thankful to have power in the first place. I now realize that I often take this precious gift for granted.

What do you like to cook when the power’s out? What’s one thing you’re thankful for today?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

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Flamingos and Cake [What I Ate Wednesday]

Hi there! How’s your week going so far? I can’t believe it’s already May; time is flying by! In just two short weeks, I’ll be done with high school classes forever. Although I don’t graduate for another month, not sitting in class all day will be a very welcomed change.

Last Wednesday it was my birthday, so for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday I thought it would be fun to show you some of my birthday goodies.

First, my morning started off with a flock of pink flamingos sitting on my lawn. My mom and I had always joked about this quirky tradition, so it was fun to see it in action. The moment when I opened the front door to find my winged friends, a neighbor walked by my lawn and laughed. Needless to say we were the talk of the town that day!

My mom and I

Another wonderful morning surprise was an Edible Arrangement filled with fresh strawberries, pineapple, and grapes. I don’t know how they do it, but the fruit is always perfectly ripe, juicy, and sweet. Although I love flowers, you can’t really get much better than a basket filled with delicious, healthy fruit. As an added bonus, curly kale was at the bottom of the vase. I’m probably the only customer who gets just as excited about the kale as the fruit.

As far as tradition goes, I did have a cake for my birthday. It was a decadent vegan chocolate cake made by a little bakery near my house.

Since my mom and I know the owner quite well, she even decorated my special cake with hand-stenciled fondant in the shape of yoga poses.

I was amazed by how beautiful and delicious this cake was! I only had a few bites since my sweet tolerance is pretty low, but I can confidently say that this is the best “normal” (aka not health-i-fied) vegan cake I’ve ever had! Unfortunately, I underestimated the effect of the gluten on my GI system. I had to deal with an angry tummy for awhile, but at least I could still enjoy bits of the frosting. That was the best party anyway!

In true Kabochavore fashion, I had another “cake,” just like the one on my sixteenth birthday. I whole-heartedly enjoyed every piece of my perfectly caramelized, sweet kabocha squash. It’s always a treat! I even spread some of the roasted kabocha with sunflower seed butter for a frosting-like effect. I’m usually a coconut butter + kabocha girl, but this combination was delicious, too.

Although I don’t have photos of my birthday dinner at Chipotle, here are some veggie-filled dinner staples that I’ve been enjoying in the past week. You bet I’ve been sticking to the veg-pledge (as if I needed an excuse to eat more veggies haha)!

One of my all-time favorite combinations: roasted purple sweet potatoes (I’m almost out!), asparagus, red bell peppers, and crispy kale.

Another quick weeknight meal: crispy tofu, roasted asparagus and bell peppers, and sauteed kale.

What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake? Do you have any fun traditions for birthday celebrations?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Time Flies [What I Ate Wednesday]

One thing I’ve learned over the past few days is that time flies. Maybe I should revise that; time flies when I  have a million things to do, but it seems to drag when I count down until the weekend. Does anyone else feel like that?

Somehow it’s already Wednesday. How does that happen? Regardless of all the things I have to do, there’s comfort knowing that What I Ate Wednesday will come every week and be a fun time to share meals, even if only through the computer. Let’s do this!

Breakfast: breakfast salad with chocolate protein dressing 

No surprises here! The thing about healthy eating is that it’s sometimes hard to adapt a new routine. But once you’re on the healthy eating train, it’s actually easier to keep going. Case in point: it was easier for me to prepare a breakfast salad than to think of a potentially less healthy alternative. Since time was of the essence, I went with it. I couldn’t be happier that I did. Seriously, breakfast salads are my new favorite thing.

Lunch: salad with ABC roasted vegetables (asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower) and chickpeas 

Here’s another example of food prepping ease. Since I was already chopping romaine lettuce for my breakfast, I decided to throw in some extra and use it for lunch, too. The night before I had roasted some veggies while using the oven for dinner, so prepping the rest of my lunch was a breeze.

Dinner: blackened tofu with sauteed kale and roasted asparagus and red bell pepers

I’ve been crazy about tofu lately. Usually I just eat it plain (after crisping it on the stove top), but this time I decided to do something a little different. It was a complete success!

The tofu was firm, chewy, and even a little spicy. I love enjoying the natural flavor of food, but sometimes it’s fun to ramp it up a little bit (or a lot a bit, as was the case!). I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all later this week.

Naturally I also worked on a dessert recipe, too. I’m on a quest to find the best vegan brownie recipe, so this was just another trial. This brownie’s claim to fame was it’s slight banana sweetness and ooey-gooey fudgey texture. These got rave reviews, but I still want to try more recipes. Regardless, I’ll be sure to post the recipe because they were just too good not to share.

What are you enjoying today? Do you have a healthy eating prep method or ways to keep yourself on track? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

WIAW #18: Cake For Breakfast Edition

Hey hey hey! How’s your Wednesday going? Have you entered by giveaway yet? (Click here to do so!)

Today is pretty chill around here after an exciting Monday. Yesterday I spent most of the day working on a new recipe, vegan + gluten-free cookie dough cake with creamy chocolate avocado frosting. Because of that, my eats were pretty out of the ordinary, so today’s What I Ate Wednesday is going to be a little…different.

I stayed up pretty late Monday night reading a new book, The Help, and exploring every nook and cranny of one of my colleges’ websites. I’m pretty convinced it’s perfect; if I don’t get accepted anywhere else, I know I’d be happy going there. ❤

Anyway, because of my late night, I woke up pretty late yesterday. I’m definitely taking full advantage of spring break by listening to my body’s natural queues. However, sometimes that means not eating right after waking up. SInce I wasn’t very hungry, I proceeded to bake a celebration cake. I certainly had enough cake to qualify as a meal, though. I had to try it to make sure the photos were worth snapping.

(Oh, and they were. They most certainly were.)

I think that since this cake involves whole grains (buckwheat + oats), healthy fats (coconut + avocado), veggies (pumpkin), fruit (banana + avocado), and a good amount of protein, it qualifies as a meal. So that means I can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Am I right?

I continued my dessert-y day by eating a chocolate protein smoothie (pumped up with spinach!) and a steamed veggie salad for “lunch.” I wasn’t very hungry after all the cake taste-testing, but I did have a serious hankering for some sort of protein and greens. Problem solved.

I snacked on some fruit, nuts, and a little more cake before going to yoga… you know, just to make sure it was okay. (And yes, it most definitely was.) After yoga, though, I couldn’t imagine eating anything more sweet. Savory for dinner it was!

Stir-fried veggies (kale, red cabbage, asparagus, red bell peppers, purple sweet potatoes) were really the only thing that sounded good, but I decided to add a block of tofu to pump it up.

However, despite my efforts, my hunger randomly appeared with a vengeance. Many snacks followed, as well as some more cake. What can I say, I’m in love with this cake (and it’s so healthy, it’s crazy!).

What kinds of delicious food are you enjoying today? And what’s the best dessert you’ve had lately?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

WIAW #16: Idea Edition

Hi there, beautiful people! How are you on this wonderful Wednesday?

 

What’s so wonderful about it? Well, aside from it being one Wednesday closer to spring break, it’s also one of the first days where it’s felt like spring. The Midwest enjoyed some pretty beautiful weather yesterday, and fortunately it’s supposed to continue today. I hope you’re enjoying some sunshine where you live, too!

 

Of course another thing that makes this Wednesday so wonderful is WIAW @ Peas and Crayons. I love sharing my delicious eats and getting inspired by everyone else. Isn’t it amazing how many different ways of balanced, healthful, and tasty eating there is?

 

 

Breakfast: baked cocoa strawberry oats 

I suppose breakfast was a no-brainer today; it’s the third Wednesday (or really Tuesday) that I’ve enjoyed it. Truth is, I love dark chocolate cocoa powder. Since I didn’t have my usual chocolate banana soft serve for dessert the night before, I was left craving some chocolatey goodness. Naturally dark chocolate (88% cocoa, of course) was involved as well. You can never have enough chocolate.

***

Snack: chopped mango

Fun fact: my best friend used to called me Mango and I would call her Kiwi. Everytime I eat either of these fruits now I can’t help but smile.

 

***

Lunch: crispy tofu dippers with sugar snap peas; apple, Mary’s Gone Crackers, and salad with yellow tomatoes (unpictured)

My lunch was actually eaten in stages + in a hurry because I had to quickly jet off to my school’s girl’s middle school. I am a mentor for a small group of 7th grade girls, and today we met together. Every time we gather for good food (homemade donuts will make anyone listen. seriously.) and constructive discussions.

Today’s topic was substance abuse. Although it was a little heavy at first, once I opened it up to hear what the girls had to say, I think it really got through to them. Many of the girls expressed an open disgust for alcohol and drugs. (I hope it stays this way!) Sharing my honest experiences with them and expressing that not “everyone” does it was hopefully a good lesson.

***

Dinner: roasted purple sweet potatoes, asparagus, red bell peppers, and pan-sauteed crispy kale (+ lots of munching on extra tofu like I made for lunch; yum!)

After the rest of my busy day at school and a relaxing yoga practice, I made a simple dinner while doing homework. I’ve had extensive plans to make homemade pizza for a few weeks now, but everytime I have time to do so, it’s just not what I’m craving. Does this ever happen to you?

Purple sweet potatoes, however, were definitely on my radar. I’ve been quite the purple sweet potato fiend lately, so my stock is running out. Must find some more ASAP!

***

Dessert: gluten-free + vegan strawberry donuts

One word: yum!

***

Now for my idea explanation. Usually before I go to bed I have a big bowl of steamed or roasted veggies with some raw nuts. While I prepare this snack, I am able to immerse myself in the meditative chopping of vegetables. As I unwind from the day, I often do my best thinking. Last night was no exception. I finally put two and two together: my interest in baking, mentoring young girls, entrepreneurship, and possibly even yoga might be able to come together to form my career one day (or at least something fun on the side). Inspired by Molly Barker or Girls on the Run, I think it would be fun to start a program for young girls that empowers to to love their bodies by teaching them how to cook healthy (and delicious!) food. I have many years of school left ahead of me, so for now I’ll tuck that idea away. However, it’s a great to know that something finally clicked!

***

How did you choose your career? And what foods are you enjoying this Wednesday? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Take THAT, Gluten

I have what you’d call a “Type A” personality.

I am outgoing (but an introvert). I like to lead. I am a perfectionist.

I like to challenge myself, even if I do it subconciously. And usually, I don’t take no for an answer.

Case in point: even though yoga is a totally relaxing experience for me, I take ever advantage to try to rub up against my “edge.” Attempting binds? Sure. Lifting my toes or heels in buddah sqat? You better believe it. Extra push ups? Without a doubt.

Me (in black) doing acro yoga last summer

Even though I certainly brought my thighs to their edge today in yoga, it was what happened afterwards that was the true challenge. As I steeped into the showers immediately following my practice, I realized I had forgotten my towel. I was hot, sweaty, and itching for a shower ASAP. I like to get my sweat on, but I also like to get it OFF my body. If the toxins are coming out, they are surely not staying on my skin. No sir.

And as for the shower? It was going to happen. I wasn’t taking no for an answer. Luckily, I found a small towel in my bag so it wasn’t a total dilemma. You better believe it was a challenge though. Have you ever tried drying a soaking wet body with a washcolth? Let me tell you, it’s not fun, but I did laugh at myself multiple times. Sometimes you have to get creative.

My words of advice? Don’t try this at home. I was able to dry myself enough to get into clean clothes, but my hair was helpless. I kept squeezing out buckets of (fresh, nicely smelling) water.

**

My second challenge of the night was getting my family to like vegan cheeze sauce. They’ve taken to the other vegan meals I’ve made them, so I finally decided to take the plunge and introduce them to the wonders of nutritional yeast. I took a total gamble by using a tofu + nooch sauce rather than a creamy cashew sauce, which I’ve heard non-vegans take to well.

As I combined ingredients, I did some serious praying. Fortunately, one lick and I knew my prayers had been answered. It was delicious! When my grandmother walked it in door, she took a little spoonful and proclaimed how creamy and flavorful it was. I sighed in relief.

Everything was going well until I decided to put the bowtie pasta, vegan cheese sauce, and peas mixture into a casserole dish in the oven. When I took the casserole out just 15 minutes later, it was steaming hot. However, the saucy pasta had transformed into a thick mixture. “What gives,” I thought to myself.

And then I knew what it was. Gluten, my arch nemesis, had made the pasta so starchy it absorbed all the moisture. Sorry, Gluten, but you ruined the dinner I made for my family and don’t make my tummy happy; you just don’t have a lot going for you.

Don’t worry, though. This pasta is absolutely fantastic with brown rice (or other gluten-free) pastas. No gluten means no starch so the pasta stays creamy no matter how you choose to serve it. Gluten-free is how I prefer things anyway. However, if you are of the whole wheat persuasion, I recommend using less pasta or doubling (or tripling!) the sauce. Just be careful and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Gluten is a tricky little guy!

Vegan Mac and Peas (aka Mac&Cheese)

  • 1 16-ounce package Brown Rice Pasta
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • **Optional: 1/4 cup cashews (soaked for 5 hours) + 1/4 cup water, blended in a Vita-Mix for a creamier and a little more decadent sauce
  • 1 16-ounce block firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard (I use Organicville)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional), for color
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • smoked paprika, for topping
  • 1/2 cup brown rice or panko bread crumbs (optional), for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on package, adding the peas in the last few minutes of cooking to take the chill off. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a Vita-Mix or food processor, blend cashew mixture (if using), tofu, almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, salt, turmeric, and olive oil until creamy.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together drained pasta, peas, and cheese sauce until well combined.
  5. Pour into a large casserole dish. Top with smoked paprika and bread crumbs, if desired.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.

Even though dinner didn’t go as planned, I wasn’t giving up yet. No sir-eee. Gluten wasn’t winning this one.

Gluten definitely worked in my oey, gooey peanut butter blondies. Oh yes.Take that, Gluten.

So, my friends, the moral of the story is to stick to your guns and never give up. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would have just made the dish again with gluten-free pasta. But instead, I decided to show gluten what I made of. However, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t get my family eating gluten-free if they could stand it. One step at a time. 🙂

Are you Type A? Do you cook gluten-free? If so, what’s your favorite thing to make? And have you ever had a recipe that started out amaing but somehow something went wrong?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee