Vegan MoFo & Baked Tofu

I am so excited to finally participate in Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo).

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Vegan MoFo goes through the month of September, and it’s a chance for bloggers to talk about all things Vegan. There are some various categories of bloggers, such as; Arts & Crafts, Baking, Beauty & Life, Comfort Food, Convenience, Desserts, Entertainment, Family & Kids, Gluten-Free, Travel, etc. etc. (There are some amazing vegan bloggers out there!)

I am not going to focus on a specific category of veganism. I plan to blog a few of my favorite recipes and open it up to my readers about anything you may want to read about. Do you have any questions about veganism that I can try to answer? Is there any recipe you would like to see me try to veganize? Anything else?

I want to kick off my VeganMoFo experience with a delicious recipe. I went to a work conference over the summer. The Hyatt, where it was held, was nice enough to always have a vegan option available for me, in place of the buffet food. I was served this delicious dish of tofu, brown rice and broccolini. It was so simple, not overly seasoned and flavored. The ingredients natural wholesomeness and taste stood out. Not to mention, it was incredibly filling and delicious.

I knew it should be relatively easy to replicate and I was right. The brown rice was simple, nothing fancy, just boiling water and steaming rice.

The broccolini I cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water, then shocked with cold water. I then gave it a very light sautee in a pan with Earth Balance, garlic and lemon zest. I only sautéed it a few minutes so the broccolini did not get wilted, only flavored. I wanted that beautiful crunch to stay in tact.

I started draining and pressing the extra firm tofu earlier in the day, so it was dry and firm by dinner. I cut the block into slabs, and put it in an oven pan sprayed with Olive Oil spray.

I drizzled Bragg’s Aminos & Vegan Worchestire sauce on the tofu, along with salt & pepper. I baked it in the oven at 375 degrees, for 10 minutes, then flipped the tofu slabs over, added more marinade, and baked for another 10 minutes.

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The tofu remained firm, but the flavors seeped in wonderfully. It all came together as a beautiful and hearty meal.

9642226808_9089f21905_o What would you like to see from me, during Vegan MoFo?

Angie’s eats of the week

I get so many questions and confused looks about  what I actually eat, when I tell people I do not eat meat or dairy. I think there is the misconception out there that vegans eat nothing but salads. While I do love a fresh salad, I eat much more variety than that. Here is a sample of some of my favorite eats of this past week:

Breakfast: Usually, this is a green juice or a smoothie. I did smoothies all this week. Besides what is listed, all smoothies also include 2 tablespoons of chia seeds & 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal. These usually make enough for 3 people.

  • 2 big handfuls of kale, 1 sliced green apple, 1 whole cucumber, 1 knob of ginger, a few sprigs of fresh mint and tons of coconut water (this one has such a fresh taste to it)
  • ginger apple cucumber
  • 2 big handfuls of kale, 2 cups of frozen blueberries, 2 cups of frozen pineapple, tons of coconut water
  • kale blueberry pineapple
  • 2 huge handfuls of spinach, sliced cantoloupe, 2 bananas, coconut milk (this one was a big hit with the other 2/3 of my household, who prefer the sweeter smoothies. I had such a yummy, creamy taste and texture).
  • cantaloupe

Lunch: I pretty much pack and bring lunch everyday. There are not many options around where I work, so I try to always be prepared.

  • Spinach, strawberry salad: I had this a few days this week, it is my favorite salad! I cover 1 block of cubed tofu in Brianna’s Poppy Seed dressing. I keep this refrigerated all week. To assemble the salad I use about 2 big handfuls of chopped spinach, 1 cup of sliced strawberries, 1 cup of tofu, slivered almonds and fresh mint. I top everything with a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • spinach salad
  • Brown rice wraps with tofurkyTrader Joe’s sells these awesome, gluten-free tortillas. I have been using them for wraps with hummus, tofurky, spinach and tomatoes. I also chomp on a few carrots on the side.wrap1wrap
  • One of my co-workers, who has been eating vegetarian since the beginning of this year (woohoo!), shared this next dish with me. He made it with quinoa, carrots, zuchini, onions and cilantro. It was mixed with a spicy peanut butter sauce. So yummy! Thanks, B!
  • quinoa

Dinner: I can not take too much credit for dinners. I make all breakfast and lunches, but my love usually handles dinner for us. Here is some of what he whipped up.

  • Quick Indian food: Tasty Bite has ridiculously convenient, reasonably-priced and delicious pre-made items. We had the Bengal Lentils and Tandoori rice, they just have to be heated up. We ate them alongside sliced bell pepper, warmed pita bread and THE most delicious jalapeno, garlic, cilantro hummus that my love made from scratch.
  • tasty bite lentils rice hummus
  • Soyrizo & potato tacos: This is a weekly staple meal. We usually prefer it on the weekends, after our run. Soyrizo is mixed with diced potatoes in a skillet and cooked till the potatoes are done. We serve them up in corn tortillas, topped with onion, cilantro and avocado.
  • soyrizo
  • Sweet potatoes + chili: I can’t rave about this meal enough. It is tasty and filling! We buy sweet potatoes at our local farmers market each week. They are so reasonably priced at $1/lb. We bake them and top with Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili, sliced scallions and avocado.
  • sp
  • Veggie hot dogs: My week is not complete without a stop at Haybird’s Hot Dog stand, at our local farmer’s market night. This week, I tried the New Yorker with a veggie dog. It was topped with sauerkraut, spicy mustard, onions and tomato. My favorite juice stand is also back! I drank a watermelon juice with my dogs.
  • haybird

I hope that helps you have a better idea of what vegans it. Let me know if you have questions, I love talking about food!

This Week’s Dinners

This week has full of some amazing new recipes I tried, that I have to share with you all.

Monday: First up was one of my favorite blogger Spabettie’s Avocado Shiitake spring rolls . I had never made spring rolls before, so I was a little nervous, but they turned out to be similar to sushi, even easier. Once all the ingredients were prepped, it just became a quick assembly line of work.

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My spring rolls did not turn out quite as pretty as Spabettie’s, but they were still pretty delicious.

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The REAL star of this dish though, is the Spicy Coconut Almond Dipping sauce.

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It’s amazing the amount of flavor that packed in with so few ingredients. I highly recommend trying this sauce for dips or dressings. Thanks, Spabettie!

Tuesday: Korean Tacos. These are one of my favorite fast, weeknight dinners. So much flavor is packed into this small dish. I filled my tacos up with korean tofu, avocado, bellpepper, radishes, cilantro, sriracha and black sesame seeds.

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Wednesday: Cabbage & kale salad and The Soup that Heals

I made huge salads this night using: kale, red cabbage, yellow bell pepper and hemp seeds. I topped it off with Lisa’s tahini cashew dressing. This dressing is so creamy and flavorful, I am glad I have leftovers. The dressing was hearty and decadent enough that I did not even put avocado on my salad, this is a huge deal because I add avocados to everything.

I also made a big batch of The Soup that Heals at the beginning of the week, and had a nice, warm bowl alongside my fresh salad.

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Thursday: Indian food

We went to my favorite Indian restaurant The Clay Oven. We started off with samosas, that ate too fast to take a picture of. Oops.

I ordered the Tikka Masala Curry and ate it with basmati rice and garlic naan. YUM.

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Dessert was my favorite carrot pudding topped with slivered almonds:

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Friday: Loaded veggie dogs with mac & cheese

We had a wild Friday night and made veggie hot dogs, while watching Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban (which I fell asleep half-way through), because apparently I am 8.

I loaded up my hot dog with veganaise, hot mustard, ketchup, onions, tomatoes and olives.

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We also had Amy’s Vegan/Gluten-free macaroni and cheese on the side. This was pretty tasty! I topped it off with paprika, garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper.

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Let me know if you try any of these recipes. I highly recommend the spring rolls & tahini dressing!

Last Week’s Dinners

Last week’s dinners were just too tasty not to share. All were pretty accessible to make during the week, without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

Monday: Baked sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and baked tofu. This recipe is from Bobbi’s blog.   I can not take credit for this dinner though, my love made the whole thing. He put the tofu to marinate in the morning and threw it in the oven when he got home, along with the sweet potatoes. While those were cooking, he sauteed the brussel sprouts. Super duper delish and filling!

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Tuesday: Bean tacos with pineapple salsa and green beans. I had some extra time this evening, so I made an easy dinner for the night, plus prepped the ingredients for the next night.

For the tacos, I kept it pretty simple; black refried beans and corn tortillas. (Trader Joe’s corn tortillas are my favorite. I have had a hard time finding tortillas without unnecessary ingredients, and these only have corn and lime.)

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I made a quick salsa with pineapple, avocado, onions, cilantro and garlic salt.

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For a side, I threw about 1 lb of greens beans in the oven, mixed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, sea salt and fresh black pepper.

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Wednesday: Asian noodle bowls. The link to this recipe is here. It took about 20 minutes to prep and I did it all the night before. I made the rice noodles, dressing and sliced up the veggies. On this evening, I went to yoga. As soon as I came home, I warmed up the rice noodles. After that, it was just assembling. The dressing was perfect to tie it all together.

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Thursday: Veggie hot dogs. Most Thursday nights, we can be found at our local farmers market. I purchase nearly all of my week’s produce from here and the added bonus is there is a hot dog vendor, Haybird’s Hot Dogs, who carries vegetarian hot dogs.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but hot dogs are about the only thing I miss from my meat eating days, I know how disgusting that sounds.

Haybird’s cures the craving though, especially with all the fixings!

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Friday: The Clay Oven Indian food! This is one of my favorite, local restaurants. My number one favorite thing is the perfect samosas. They are crispy, without tasting fried and stuffed with delicious, flavorful fillings. My second favorite thing is that there is Bollywood music videos on, at all times.

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I ordered Bengan Bhartha, which is roasted eggplant with tomato and spices. I ate this with copious amounts of garlic naan.

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For dessert, we ordered the carrot pudding. This is pureed carrots with spices and slivered almonds on top.  It was uuuuhhhh-maaaaa-ziiiing.

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CSD: Day 11

Yesterday was Day 11 on the Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD). Everything is becoming much more of a habit, I am finding it much easier to eat clean and have not had too many cravings for anything off the cleanse. One the biggest improvements I have noticed is in my digestion. When I am eating too much junk, I tend to get acid reflux or bloating. I have not experienced either of this issues and feel much lighter.

I started off my day with hot ginger tea, cayenne pepper and lemon.

Around 8 AM, I had my green juice. In this batch was:
• 1 cucumber
• 1 green apple
• 1 lemon
• ½ bunch of cucumber
• a handful of broccoli rabe
• a knob of fresh ginger

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I was hungry again around 11 AM. I warmed up my lunch and dug in. I had leftover vegetable soup & a piece of Ezekiel bread toast + smashed avocado & a sprinkle of sea salt. This kept me full most of the afternoon. I did have a handful of almonds around 3 PM (not pictured) to power me through my afternoon run.

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I had a meeting to attend right after work, I knew the half hour commute home could sacrifice my daylight (and give me time to talk myself out of it), so I brought my clothes to change and started running as soon as my meeting was over. I do not often run in the area where I work, because there are massive HILLS. There is no escaping them, but, hills are good for me, so I may need to do it more often. I did 3 miles, I am very slowly building my mileage again, very slowly.

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By the time I got home, I was pretty hungry. I have another economical, fast and delicious dinner to share with you. This was the perfect meal to whip up quickly, but still nutritiously.

I warmed up 1 can each of Amy’s French Country Vegetable & Chunky Vegetable soup. ($2.99/ea.) My Love sauteed us up some brussel sprouts ($2.29), we topped everything off with fresh, cracked black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and red pepper flakes and dinner was ready in minutes. This dinner cost $5.28 and fed 3 people.

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I have a recipe for dinner tonight that I am really looking forward to and am excited to share here! Is it sad that the things I look forward to most in my day, are my meals?

Vegan on the Cheap

One thing I hear pretty frequently is that it is “too expensive to eat healthy”. This viewpoint does have some validation. I can rack up my grocery bill some weeks with good quality, flavored olive oil, kombucha drinks, coconut milk frozen desert and Gardein fake meat products. However, it can also be inexpensive to cut out animal products from your diet and eat whole, nutritionally dense foods.

Last night’s dinner is my favorite cheap, fast and healthy meal. This is great for weeknights, after work & yoga, when there is not much time and I do not feel like making a huge meal.

Baked sweet potatoes and vegetarian chili (canned, although you could make a big batch ahead of time) have that balance of sweet and savory that I love.

The sweet potatoes cook in the oven, wrapped in foil, poked in holes with a fork, for about 1 hour. I have also put them in the crock pot on high, as soon as I get home, and by the time I am back from yoga a few hours later, they are done. To serve, I put just a little Earth Balance on and top with a sprinkling of sea salt.

My favorite brand of chili is Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Chili. I also love topping it with chopped scallions & diced avocado.

1 can of chili is $2.59, 4 sweet potatoes cost $2.25, 1 avocado was $1.19. I already had the scallions from last week’s farmers market trip & the rice mixed with the chili was leftover from eating out Thai.

Not counting the scallions, this vegan meal cost $6.03 and fed 3 people. It was also fast and easy to make, not to mention delicious! This picture does it no justice, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

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