Archive for the ‘Tofu’ Category

Coasting

I don’t know about you guys but I feel like I have just been coasting through this week. A euphoric feeling of laziness has taken over my body and while I’m going through the motions, I haven’t been on my game as much as usual.

I didn’t get enough spinach when I went grocery shopping last week and ate the entirety of my supply by Tuesday. Spinach fail. I may or may not judge my entire day on whether or not I drink my morning smoothie (we won’t get into that) so instead of making a “green” smoothie, I’ve been opting for apple/banana.

This “coasting” smoothie contains 1 cup almond milk, 3 ice-cubes, 1 apple, 1 banana and flaxseed meal.

For those of you wondering what Flaxseed Meal is, it has a nutty taste and helps digestion. It’s also high in fiber and a powerful cholesterol controller. Just 2 Tablespoons gives you your daily supply of Omega 3 Fatty Acids too! Some people put it in their hot or cold cereal or oats, but I choose to put it in my morning smoothie.

Bottom’s UP!

Lunch has quickly become my least favorite meal of the day. Taking out meat throughout the day severely cut down on my usual lunch fixings! No half turkey sandwich, no leftovers from the night before, no Zaxby’s chicken house salad, no tuna salad, etc. My favorite go-to’s now are organic tomato soup and veggie crackers, a veggie wrap, a spicy black-bean burger with carrots or a kale salad with half an avocado. Those meals can usually tide me over till my afternoon snack, but I’m still craving meat for lunch.

Group Power really kicked my butt on Tuesday. So much so that I am trying to sike myself up for tonight’s class! We have changed our tracks and exercises and they are brutal! A lot of push-ups and the bicep track was insane, I almost had to give up. Maybe after Tuesday’s class is when things began to really coast…

I did recently stumble upon a tofu recipe that I really enjoyed and sometimes those are hard to come by. I appreciate the food and that being said, eat it quite frequently throughout the week but so far I’ve only found a few recipes that I would make again…this is one of them and it’s EASY. Score. Recipe courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Baked Tofu with Soy and Sesame

Ingredients:

  • I block (14 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Olive oil, for baking sheet
  • Optional: sliced green onions

 Directions:

Cut tofu in half crosswise. Blot each piece on both sides with paper towels, pressing down to remove as much liquid as you can. (The wetter the tofu, the longer you will have to bake it).

Turn oven on and set to 350 F. Whisk together the sesame oil and soy sauce  in a small bowl, then use pastry brush to brush both sides of the tofu pieces generously with the mixture. Let tofu marinate in the soy-sesame mixture for 5-10 minutes while the oven heats.

Spray a non-stick baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray and place tofu slices on sheet. Bake about one hour, not turning, but brushing with the soy-sesame mixture several times, until the glaze is all gone. It’s done when the tofu feels firm to the touch, and looks glazed and nicely browned. I cooked my tofu about 60 minutes.

(source)

It’s officially February. Moving right along through these winter months…am I the only one that is lusting after Spring?

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Chris Turns the BIG 3-0!

Last Friday Chris went out-of-town for the Moscone Conference in San Francisco and unfortunately we were apart for his 30th birthday.  We agreed to celebrate this past Saturday and thankfully everything I had planned, turned out great! Let’s recap…

In true Claire fashion, if it were up to me, I would have invited all his friends from all walks of life to a HUGE surprise party to help ring in his “dirty thirty.” BUT…Chris has a different take on birthdays and prefers to not make a big deal out of them…crazy! I wanted to respect his wishes by keeping it down-played and so instead I planned a fun-filled day with just the two of us…and plenty of his favorite foods.

On Friday I made him some rice krispy treats…just to get things warmed up….

I’ve really missed being in the kitchen and my all tofu/salad/semi-vegan diet has kept “cooking” to a minimum, so I really enjoyed making these.

Saturday morning was Starbucks and Belgium waffles from scratch!

After lounging around the house after breakfast, it was time to go to Victory Lanes for some extreme go-karting! We had a blast and Chris was really appreciative of our Saturday adventure plans that I had made for us.

I was kinda obsessed with the fact we got to dress up in fire-resistant suits….

The entire time we were racing around the track I was laughing inside my helmet! Seriously if you have not tried this and live in Charlotte, go!

When we got back we had built up quite the appetite so I made him a big BLT sandwich…

and a tofu wrap for me.

I tried to stay away from the waffles (I just had a green smoothie) and the heavy lunch, because I knew I was going to ditch my dietary standards for the night at the steak house that evening. It was inevitable…I don’t have the strength to order fish or vegetarian when I’m eating at a nice restaurant. It feels like such a waste.

While I can say dairy is all but out of my diet and eating animal by-products have been limited to only about 2 times a week, deep down, I’m still a meat and potatoes girl…

You can take the meat out of the diet, but you can’t take the desire out of the gal.

I had a filet and mashed potatoes for dinner and enjoyed every last bite. Knowing that I would go back to eating a mostly plant-based diet the next day, I figure what’s the point in living longer if you can’t enjoy a nice piece of meat and meltly mashed potatoes every once in a while? Everything in moderation….

I also took a few bites of Chris’ brownie sundae for dessert…

Wow how I have missed butter and ice-cream! I bought a Carvel ice-cream cake, that I will let Chris tackle himself, and leave my bad habits at our dinner table on Saturday night.

Today is a long day filled with cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and I’m hoping to get a mani/pedi in! It’s a beautiful day outside so I’m thinking a gym session will get nixed for an outdoor activity with Daisy instead!

What are your plans on this warmer than usual Sunday?? Did you all have great weekends!?

Current Conditions  updated 11:52 AM ET
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Intermittent Clouds

ALSO! I got a sneak peek at the new blog layout and I’m so excited to share it with you guys! I have complete faith in the graphic designer who is working on it and I’m supposed to see some final options on Monday. We are shooting to implement the new design on February 1st and I can’t wait to see what you guys think!


4 months!

4 months from today I will be Mrs. Claire Cilip! Things are rockin’ and rollin’ in the planning phase, it seems like every day is filled with decisions on flowers, cake, travel arrangements and bridesmaid dresses.

Basically, I’m in heaven.

Our invitations have been approved and I can’t wait to ship them off! Here is a sample of what they look like…

They are supposed to represent our color scheme along with the feel of our wedding…classy and beachy? Does that come across??

I’ve been living a pretty organic life this past week. Keeping with my practice “detox,” green tea has become a staple every morning.

I wish my meals were a little more interesting but the truth is, I’ve been so busy so I’ve had no time to get creative so they are relatively simple.  Sticking to a dairy and meat-less diet isn’t as bad as I initially thought it was going to be. Here are some things that I have happily been eating since I started:

  • Carrots
  • Salads topped with bell peppers, mushrooms, nuts, fruit, etc
  • tofu
  • couscous/whole grains
  • Peanut butter bread
  • Green smoothies
  • Beans
  • crackers
  • Hummus
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Celery
  • Spaghetti with tomatoes
  • Sushi
  • tomato soup

I’ve noticed my energy has picked up and I’ve even lost 5 lbs. I’ll take that, thanks. I can’t wait to see what other things improve based upon a more plant-based diet.

I think it’s important to recognize that while I’ve cut out dairy, I am aware that my body still needs calcium as well as other nutrients, especially when I’m working out. However, what some people may not know is that you can get calcium from all the foods below and honestly, the average person takes in way too much protein, way more than needed.

  • Almonds
  • Brazils Nuts
  • Soya flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Black molasses
  • Dried figs
  • Parsley
  • Kale

“The fact that vegans have a slightly lower protein intake and exclude meat from their diet encourages their bodies to retain calcium so their dietary need may be lower than the typical omnivore. In fact, the excessive protein in cow’s milk depletes the human skeleton of calcium and actually weakens bones.” -Thinkquest

Before I went to the gym, I grabbed a quick piece of bread with some peanut butter…YUM.

January is still in full effect at the gym…unfortunately. I was denied access into my Group Power class because it was at capacity and I was even 5 minutes early. Arg! Instead I did some strength training on my own with the machines and caught up with Newsweek on the Elliptical.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the gym. It’s like my own little private getaway where I can think or zone out or completely sweat it out=feeling fantastic.

For dinner I had some Capellini Pomodoro and a salad.  Roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil tossed with capellini.

Off to bed, dreaming of our very own, far away destination location….

(Las Caletas, Mexico)

Ice Ice Baby

Yesterday’s snow day was beyond AWESOME. It was like playing hookie, guilt free.

Apparently I was really missing the “dining” part of this blog because I felt like every meal we ate yesterday was exciting and therapeutic to make. With 2 jobs, wedding planning and my romance with the gym rekindled…there has been very little time for experimenting in the kitchen.

The snow day helped ease all that.

When I wasn’t checking my work e-mail, or organizing (because let’s face it, I just can’t sit still for an entire day) I was making us a yummy breakfast, unique lunch or tasty dinner.

Lunch was a tuna sandwich on an everything bagel. I added some cheddar and mozzarella cheese and put it in the broiler to melt. I mixed in some red onion, salt and pepper with the tuna and topped it off with some iceberg lettuce, apple slices and some carrots for a hearty, warm and healthy lunch.

Dinner was a couscous bowl with tofu and I did not follow a recipe. Instead I just diced up some red and green peppers along with a  jalapeno pepper, red onion and some tofu. Placed it all in a wok, added a little TJ’s low sodium soy sauce, cumin and lemon juice. Mixed it all together and threw it in a bowl with a glass of Pinor Noir on the side!

So side-not in the midst of all the excitement of a snow day, I broke my toe. How does one do this you ask? Well in attempt to re-arrange my living room furniture, I stubbed my toe HARD!

Has anyone ever seen the movie, “Because I Said So?” Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore play a mother and daughter who both have tendencies to re-arrange their furniture as what can only be described as an alternative to therapy. I have this sickness….feeling cabin fever? Rearrange furniture.

(source)

Anyway, moving along, it hurt so bad that I literally dropped to an Indian-style position on our living room floor and had Daisy so worked up she was racing circles around me. Meanwhile Chris  was just trying to get me to verbalize what had happened instead of grunting. He wrapped my toe, which apparently is all you can do when you break one.

It still hurts and I’m even more bummed that it looks like heels are out of the picture for the next few weeks.

Tuesday morning we woke up with a 2-hour delay at our office. Being so far out, I opted to stay home in hopes that Wednesday would bring drastically different conditions and I could actually make it into the office.

The lovely snow has now turned into ice and the novelty of this inclement weather has officially died off.

Daisy and I went for a short walk, but even she was annoyed. Everywhere we stepped there was cracking beneath our feet.

For breakfast I decided to use the last bit of bread we had to make apple cinnamon bread pudding. This was quick to throw together but took about 45 minutes in the oven. I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, threw in a load of laundry and did some work to kill time.

I was ready to scarf it down once the timer went off. This nice breakfast treat along with some hot chocolate is definitely a silver lining for having to take  PTO.

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Gotta get back to checking my e-mail and maybe a podcast of pilates since my gym is still closed 😦  Hope everyone is staying warm and safe in this weather!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lg. loaf french bread
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups apple sauce, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 small lemon zest

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cut the loaf of french bread into one inch chunks. If it is stale already, move onto the next step. If it is fresh, spread it out on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring once. This will remove some of the moisture from the bread allowing it to soak up the custard mixture.

While your bread is in the oven drying out, prepare the custard. In a large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, 1 cup of apple sauce, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk until well combined.

Spray the interior of a glass casserole dish with non-stick spray (I used a large 9×11 dish. You can use an 8×8 to make a deeper/taller bread pudding). Fill the baking dish with the bread chunks, pressing down if needed.

Pour the custard liquid over the bread chunks as evenly as possible.  Drop chunks of butter on top if desired (2 Tbsp total). You can add the second cup of apple sauce on top before baking (drop dollops of it on top and wiggle it down between bread chunks) or you can add it after baking. I like to add it cold after baking because I like the temperature contrast.

Bake the bread pudding at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Another Tofu Trial

I LOVE pumpkin bread.

Breakfast was some left-over pumpkin bread from this weekend and it was still so moist and good! I’ll be sad when it is gone 😦

 

Last night I enjoyed cooking a meal for one-after work and after a great run with Daisy.

The weather was perfect and lately I have felt pressured to squeeze in a run after work more often than not because I know it won’t be long before my workouts will take place in the gym, thanks to daylight saving time. With Chris still on his drive home from Baltimore, I decided to give a tofu recipe a whirl.

Chris is pretty good about eating whatever I make-but I think he still may be on the fence about tofu. I thought this recipe was going to be a slam-dunk but it STILL was lacking a bit in flavor. Maybe it was me? Maybe it was the brand? I’m not sure-but I want a tofu recipe that packs a punch!

I really liked the switch from Asian flavor to French but I was expecting a bit more finesse.

Panfried Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14-ounces) packages soft tofu (not silken)
  • 6 large eggs (4 hard-boiled and 2 raw)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup tarragon leaves

 

Directions:

Cut each tofu block lengthwise into 3 equal pieces. Drain on paper towels.

Peel hard-boiled eggs and halve lengthwise. Remove hard-boiled yolks and place in a food processor. Thinly slice whites crosswise and reserve.

Add lemon juice, water, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to yolks in food processor. With motor running, add 1/2 cup oil in a slow stream, processing until emulsified and smooth and scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in shallot, parsley, and capers. Reserve 1/4 cup dressing for serving.

For salad-gently toss with arugula, tarragon, and egg whites. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, lightly beat remaining 2 eggs in a medium bowl. Pat tofu dry and season both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt (total). Coat tofu with egg, letting excess drip off, then fry, turning once, until golden and heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels, then serve with salad and reserved dressing.

On a completely un-related note: my birthday gift from Chris’s mom was “Style” by Lauren Conrad and I was delightful to get it when he came home last night. I could not ask for better in-laws and am so happy to be marrying into the family I am! Thanks so much Jane (and Michelle!)

Naturally being an impatient person-I’ve combed through most of this book. 3 things that I noticed that could be helpful for anyone interested in picking up this little manual are as follows-

1.) There is an entire section on editing your closeet-can’t wait to purge this weekend!

2.) How to fold, hang and store pieces so that they last longer! Great tips!

3.) Daytime and Evening looks on make-up-along with of course staple pieces every girl must own.

Just thought I’d share!

Tofu and Yoga Pretzels

Yesterday I actually stuck with the meal plan (yay-go me) and made a Tofu dish that I had been wanting to try that I found off Healthy Tipping Point. I’m pretty sure I didn’t squeeze as much water out of the tofu as needed because it didn’t hold the flavor as much as I had hoped, but it was still very good. Let me tell you how easy it is to whip up a tofu dish too! There is no defrosting, its soft and easy to manage and there is tons of ways to cook it! If you are looking for a few ways to get started either eating tofu or cooking it, try this website:

http://www.nasoya.com/ 

I decided not to run last night because I think on Monday night I pulled a muscle in my leg. It’s been really, really sore and I didn’t want to push it so instead I checked around on Exercise TV on Demand and decided that a good stretch was what my body was craving. I rolled out my yoga mat that has literally been collecting dust in my closet and promptly picked a Yoga tutorial by Brooklyn Decker (because who doesn’t want to look like her right!? ) Well, I am severely out of practice and got frustrated about half way through, but it still felt really good to stretch. I think I will try to incorporate more Yoga/Pilates throughout the weeks to help with my running. Anyone else enjoy Yoga? Where and how do you practice?

The Perfect Baked Tofu

Recipe from Healthy Tipping Point

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Press excess liquid from tofu.  Wrap several paper towels around tofu, and place tofu in between two plates.  Let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Cut tofu in 1 inch by 1 inch pieces.
  • In a small, microwave-safe bowl, mix EVOO, honey, chili powder, black pepper, and paprika.
  • Microwave marinade for 35 seconds and stir thoroughly.
  • Spray cooking sheet.
  • Coat each piece of tofu in marinade and place on cooking sheet.
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of tofu.
  • Cook at 375 for 30 minutes, turning once.
  • Serve & Enjoy!

Some Good, Some Bad and some Dashing

Some Good:

My new obsession is with Tofu. I know some of you reading might think it is just plain gross, but don’t knock it till you try it. Plus, it basically absorbs whatever seasoning you add, so you can change the taste with ingredients and or how you cook it. It’s quite the flexible and easy food. Last week I made another Tofu Stir-fried dish and the beauty of this meal is that there wasn’t really a recipe as much as I just threw some goodness into a wok.

Tofu ala Claire

I made some couscous separately and then in the wok through in some tofu (diced up) along with some red onion, red bell peppers, 2 Tbsp. of lime juice, salt and pepper and some spinach. Once everything was lightly cooked I added to the couscous and then decided to add some carrots and hummus just because I had a craving. If you are looking to find another recipe for tofu, try this.

The Bad:

So I am trying to stay away from as much meat as we normally eat so I’m finding recipes like this cheese enchilada meal. I was stoked to try it because I love me some Mexican but it didn’t turn out quite as good as I had hoped. I do not blame this on the recipe but rather my sometimes-disastrous cooking skills. I followed the recipe exactly and don’t know what was missing…probably the chicken! haha 🙂 What can I say? I grew up on meat.

Cheese Enchiladas

recipe from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • Grapeseed oil (or another high smoke-point oil such as peanut or canola oil)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 3 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb of jack cheese, mild cheddar or longhorn or any mild yellow cheese, grated
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • Half a head of iceberg lettuce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large fry pan at high heat add 3 Tbsp of grapeseed oil. Add a tortilla to the pan. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift again, both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath. Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding a little more oil if needed. This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat. You do this process to develop the flavor of the tortillas. As the tortillas brown a little, remove from the pan one by one to rest on a paper towel, which absorbs any excess fat.

Sauté up the chopped onion and garlic, then turn off the heat. Add 1 cup of salsa. Dissolve 3 Tbsp of tomato paste into 1 cup of water, add to pan. Add 1 cup of crushed fire roasted canned tomatoes. Taste. If the sauce tastes too vinegary, add a teaspoon of sugar.

Put some olive oil on the bottom of a large casserole pan. Take a tortilla, cover 2/3 of it lightly with the shredded cheese, then roll up the tortilla and place it in the casserole pan. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled. Add sauce to the top of the tortillas in the casserole pan. Make sure all are covered with the sauce. If not, add a little water. Cover the whole thing with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Garnish with cilantro and sour cream. Serve with sliced iceberg lettuce that has been dressed only with vinegar and salt.

I will point out that the browning of the tortillas was an excellent idea for soaking up some flavor. I will remember this trick for years to come…

DASHING:

I’m happy to report that I have broken through my running plateau. I am now running a constant (as in no intervals and or walking) a 3 mile run pretty much daily. My ipod has A LOT to do with it. I think my trick is going to be making playlists that last the entirety of my run, and maybe even strategically place inspirational type songs (like Rihanna’s Rude Boy) when I know I will be about to gas out….

This weekend I will once again run 5 miles and hope that through a cooler September I will finish the month strong with an 8 mile run. That is the goal-stay tuned to see if I make it! 🙂