Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ginger Carrot Soup

2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 cups carrots, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
8 cups vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Dash of dry sherry
Dash of nutmeg
Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)
 Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onion and ginger, and sauté, stirring, just until the onion is translucent. (3-5 minutes)

Add the carrots, potato and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and boil gently until the vegetables are tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor.

Add salt to taste and flavor with the sherry and nutmeg. Serve plain or garnished with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ways to cook tofu

Broiled tofu:
Gives tofu a nice dark, crusty skin.  Using the  broiler does require full attention, don't walk away and burn it!  Broiling tofu doesn't require you to press the tofu, just squeeze some of the moisture out with your hands.  Preheat oven to broil, cut the tofu into triangles, like so: slice widthwise into four equal slices.  Cut each of those slices in half, widthwise, so you have 8 squares.  Lastly cut each of those squares in half - diagonally to make 16 triangles.

Braising sauce:
1/4 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 tsp olive oil- or spray oil (for the pan)

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Grease your pan.  Dip the tofu in the braising sauce and place onto the lightly oiled pan.  
Cooked for 10 minutes until tofu is lightly browned.  Remove and pour a few more spoon full's of the sauce on the tofu and cook for 3 minutes longer.  Remove when tofu is golden brown.  

Baked Tofu:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Use a shallow 11x7 inch glass baking dish.  Whisk together your marinade ingredients.  Place the tofu cutlets in the marinade.  Carefully poke a few holes in the cutlets on both sides.
Bake for 45 minutes, flipping frequently about every 15 minutes.  The tofu is ready when most of the marinade is reduced.  Spoon the remaining marinade over the cutlets and serve.
This makes a great topping for cooked brown rice, quinoa or couscous.

1 tsp orange zest
1/3 freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger root
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 tbsp peanut oil 
1/4 tsp cumin 
1/4 tsp all spice
pinch of pepper

Curried Tofu: (Bake or Grill)
1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced into 8 equal pieces.

Curried marinade:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce
1/4 cup curry powder
1 tsp cumin seeds

Mix all the ingredients together.

Baked BBQ tofu:
Serve with brown rice, steamed veggies or mashed potatoes

1 pound of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed.  Cut into eights.
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

BBQ sauce:
1 tbsp oil
1 medium yellow onion
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tsp liquid smoke

Preheat sauce pan medium heat.  Place onions, sauté for 5-7 minutes, add garlic and cook for an additional minutes.
Add all other ingredients expect mustard and liquid smoke and cook for 30 minutes (up to 1 hour) stirring occasionally.  Lower heat if sauce splatters.
Add the mustard and liquid smoke, cook for 5 minutes longer 
To smooth, blend it for 2 minutes in your food processor or blender

Fried Tofu

1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
1 Pkg Original Shake ad Bake
Vegetable Oil 

1/3 Cup Light Tamari Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Teryaki Sauce
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup or Other Sweetner

Cut tofu into 1/2" slices (one block makes about 8-9 slices), and then cut the slices in half to make fingers. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour over the tofu. Cover the tofu and let it marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours (the longer you leave it in the marinade, the better it tastes. I usually let my tofu marinade all day).

When you are ready to use the tofu, remove it from the marinade and coat all the fingers with Shake and Bake. Cover the bottom of a non stick frying pan with vegetable oil. Place all the fingers in the pan, and cook over medium heat until both sides are golden brown.

When the tofu fingers are ready, pat them down with paper towel to get rid some of the excess oil. Serve immediately with plum sauce or other desired condiment. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Broccoli Noodle with Spicy Peanut Sauce
4 Servings

1/2 pound of fresh wheat or rice vermicelli noodles
1 tsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, cut into halves, then moon slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup Broccoli florets
1 cup peanut sauce (see recipe below)
1 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 tbsp roasted, chopped peanuts

Prepare noodles as directed on the package, rinse and set aside.

In a large wok or wide skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic, stirring, cooking for 2 minutes.  Add ginger, red pepper flakes and broccoli.  Stir -fry until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the peanut sauce and lime or lemon juice and cook for additional 2-4 minutes.
Add the cooked noodles and mix well.  Top it off with fresh cucumber slices, cilantro and roasted peanuts.  Serve immediately 

Peanut Sauce
Makes 2 cups

1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup warm water
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp pepper flakes

Place chunky peanut butter in a 1 quart mixing bowl.  Whisk warm water into the peanut butter until it begins to liquefy.  

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tune in to your nutritional needs and loose weight! Pay attention to what you eat of course, both quality & quantity.  Set time a side to plan out your meals, preparation  should not take long at all and its the most important step to healthy living!

When your starting off and creating new health goals...write down everything you eat.  Keep a daily dairy and log all the foods you ate and how they made you feel.  This will help you connect your mind with your body.  Listen to what your body tells will guide you to the right nutrition and foods your  body needs to heal and keep you healthy and energized!  Your dairy will also help identify emotional eating , helping you get rid of all those "comfort" food and snack you love.  Don't be sad you will eventually replace the "bad" snacks with new snacks that you enjoy more.

Step one in changing your diet, getting rid of ALL processed foods!!!!  When your in the grocery store next ...walk around with new eyes.  Read labels and be totally aware of what your eating!! If the label is long and contains things you either can't pronounce or normally wouldn't use to cook with....Don't eat that! Processed food is targeted for "quick" fixes not good for you or healthy by any means!  Make yourself priority in life, stop using "time" as an excuse for not being in control of your nutritional needs and preparing healthy meals.

Of course it all starts at the grocery store.  Are you making good choices and being mindful of your health when your surrounded by a million of bad vices? Start in the produce section, whole foods, vegetables and fruit should be the main source of your selection.  Choose fresh , whole organic produce whenever possible.  Fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum should make up most of your grocery items.  Always choose low to no sodium canned and packaged food.  A variety of grains, breads, cereals and legumes are great staple foods to stock up with.  Buy products made with whole grains not white or whole wheat flour.  Stock up on dried beans and lentils.  Avoid frozen meals that are high in sodium, choose healthier protein sources such as edamame or organic frozen foods.  Amy's is one of my favorite organic brands and has a lot of vegan options.  There's a variety of meat alternatives to choose from.  My staple products are: Tofu- extra firm, firm and soft, seitan which is a high protein meat substitute made from wheat gluten. Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans and very high in protein, it's a bit on the nutty and grainy side but delicious.  Textured soy protein also known as texturized vegetable protein TVP.  This is made from defatted soy flour that's compressed and processed into bite-size chunks.  TVP needs to rehydrated with water when using.

As it goes for non dairy products always read the label! There's a lot of hidden ingredients that are made from milk proteins such as casein.  Follow your heart vegan cheese is my favorite brand.  It's 100% dairy free and comes in a variety of flavors. Earth balance is a wonderful dairy free butter, make sure to buy the non-hydrogenated one!  There's a lot of milk alternatives.  my two favorites are: Soy milk which is made from soy beans, high in protein, vitamins and minerals and rice milk made from brown rice, water and a small amount of brown rice sweetener.  Almond and hemp milk is also very good!! 

Get crazy for nuts!!! Choose unsalted or low-salt varieties of nuts and seeds that are raw or dry roasted.  Store your seeds in the freezer for freshness.  Nuts and seeds are healthy fats essential for a healthy diet.  The benefits if almonds are plentiful.  They contain monounsaturated fats that help reduce the risk of heart disease, great source of protein to provide sustained energy, calcium for strong bones and magnesium which plays a role in a healthy metabolism.  Almonds should be a staple nut in your pantry!