Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Some Amazing Tofu & Stir Fry

When I first decided to go vegetarian (almost 2 years in January) I started to explore other options and meat subsitutes. I have always like tofu just didn't know how to make it properly. I knew that tofu would absorb the flavors that you are cooking with and conform to that dish (mostly). The first time I attempted to make tofu kind of ruined it for me for long time. I hated it, I choked it down and threw away all the leftovers that had any tofu touching it, or I feed it to Kujo. One of the two.

Well my friends I am happy to say that I made some fabulous Tofu Stir Fry that I can seriously brag about. So fabulous that I have to share the recipe.

Tofu Stir Fry

  • 1 Package Extra Firm Tofu
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Green Onions
  • Vegetables of Choice
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Garlic
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cooking oil of choice, I used olive oil

Try to get rid of any excess water in the tofu by pressing it.

Chop into small cubes (bite size).

Get your oil, soy sauce & garlic heating up to get the flavors going.

Season tofu with garlic powder, red pepper flakes and ginger (just enough to cover the tofu).

After a few minutes I tossed in the mushrooms and onion - just because I like them cooked well, not raw or crunchy for that matter.

I believe the real trick here is to let the tofu cook awhile, about 20 minutes (over med-low heat) until its browned, that's when it becomes the most delicious.

Add in the remainder of veggies that you want and stir fry for a few minutes or until cooked to desired consistency.

Enjoy. I did multiple times. For dinner and lunch until it was all gone. I bragged and even showed pictures of it on facebook. haha yea I did. It was that good.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Working on my Fitness

I finally have been back into a groove lately with workouts. I did my Jackie Warner 40 minute workout right before Thanksgiving and I couldn't walk up and down stairs without screeching in pain!! Seems like that is over, thank goodness. I am looking at buying a treadmill and eliptical machine for my basement, because I lived about 10 minutes (at least) from any gym. They would be great for the cold winter months in Wisconsin that is for sure. Anyone know what the good deals are and the best equipment to get would be?

As far as eats go I made some poor decisions in the food department in the last couple of weeks so nothing worth posting about. However I did make some yummy taco salad with blue chips.

Blue chips, pinto beans, Vegan sour cream, spinach and tomatoes - all mixed up.

My first time making mashed cauliflower. I thought this was fantastic!

All whipped up and fluffy just like mashed potatoes.

I made some killer Tofu Stir Fry - recipe is coming soon!!!!! Until then -- puppy pictures!!!

My mother's 5 week old chihuaha puppy

awwwwwwwwwww so precious!!!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Wingin the Zucchini Casserole

I have a problem. This problem would be writing down recipes as I do it. I usually wing it but when I am finished I find myself, thinking geez I would really like to share this but I can't remember my exact steps.

I am going to wing it but I am sure this recipe will be pretty close to exactly how mine came out.

Zucchini Casserole

  • 4 Cups Zucchini (cut into slices)
  • 1 Can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Vegan Sour Cream
  • bread crumbs
  • salt, pepper, garlic
  • Vegan Butter (I used 1 stick of earth balance)
  • Daiya Shredded Cheese

In a large pot boil the zucchini until tender.

In a skillet melt butter and saute onions and garlic, remove from heat and add in sour cream and soup.
Drain zucchini and mix in, as well as half of the breadcrumb mixture.

I don't ever purchase bread crumbs, I throw some Ezekiel bread into a blender and BAM. Gorgeous breadcrumbs that are healthy :) I used 2 slices of bread here.

Pour into 3 Quart baking dish (I coating mine with earth balance).
Top with remaining bread crumbs. I also had some Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese to use up so I tossed it in here as well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until hot.

NOTE: This recipe is NOT Vegan due to the Cream of Mushroom Soup.

I really enjoyed this recipe and think I will be making it again :)

Possibly might add some big mushrooms to this next time.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vegan Lasagna

Happy December!!! Even though it is the beginning of a brutal winter in Wisconsin, I still love the month of December.
It's the first year I put my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I think I was eager to put it in the new house. I have been very productive lately getting lots of Christmas shopping done over the internet. Do you or anyone you know participate in the craziness that is Black Friday?

I really don't like to be in crowded stores to begin with. I avoid the grocery store at 5pm, unless there is no avoiding it, however that is the "after-work" rush. I prefer to do my grocery shopping later in the evening to avoid those crowds. For that reason alone I don't think I would fare well on Black Friday at any electronic store. I did go to a furniture store and it was not that crowded. I didn't buy anything but I am keeping my eye out for a good deal on a new couch.

I have been feeling pretty creative lately and I have been pretty busy in the kitchen. My favorite was over last weekend, and thanks to Mama Pea I enjoyed some "tofu ricotta" as well.

Vegan Lasagna
1 package of lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat noodles)
1 jar of organic tomato sauce or make your own
1 T garlic
1 small onion
tomatoes (optional)


First step boil lasagna noodles in big enough kettle. Or wait for them to get soft and press them in the kettle, like I did.

Meanwhile I was warming up the frozen Boca Crumbles on the stove with some minced garlic, tomatoes, and a small onion that I chopped.

When noodles are cooked, I layed them out to dry.

Layer Ricotta over noodles with a spoon to spread it, then layer meat and sauce mixture & topping with the cheeses. Repeat Layers.

Bake for one hour at 375 degrees.

Try to take a picture before indulging into this masterpiece.

Don't share with Kujo, no matter how long he stares.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are able to spend Thanksgiving with family or friends and the loved ones that make this holiday so special to share!

I can't wait to share this very meaningful time with my loved ones and share food, time and a special holiday together.

I am very thankful for a wonderful family, great friends, health, a roof over my head and food.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Back

Hello friends! It has been awhile since I have gotten back into the swing of things since my big move, about a month ago. It seems like longer than that. I haven't so much picked up a dumbbell in the last month...(or 2). Until today.

I did some personal training with Jackie Warner this morning. It literally kicked my butt- all 40 minutes. My glutes were shaking with fear. And walking up the stairs to get into the shower was a chore. I really need to get back into the habit of working out because when I am I really enjoy it. It is definately hard when you go through a big change (change is good!) to get back to old routines or even sticking with new routines. I find myself organizing and trying to get other things done because I don't feel fully settled into the new place. Either way I am determined to get back to my old self! Also I am not a 5 minute drive to the gym like I used to be. So when I want to work out it's going to have to be planned on the way home or during lunch on work. A minor setback but nothing that I can't handle. Something just irks me about driving 20 minutes to go the gym.

What are your gym habits, workout routines if any?

You know what is finally back in the stores after a 3 month hiatus?
KOMBUCHA how I have missed you!!!!!!! This will definately help me GET BACK!!

I made Averie's Carmelized Chick Peas for a quick afternoon snack.Very easy to make and definately satisfies the sweet tooth.
I think these will make a great topping on salads.

I made another version of my Eggplant Parmsean, this time I breaded it and baked it instead of grilling it. That may have something to do with the tempature change.

For the breading I used:
1 slice of ezekiel bread, toasted
1 teaspoon italian seasoning

(I still marinated the eggplants overnight)
Dipped them into the breadcrumb mixture and brushed with olive oil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Not a very thick breading but enough for me. I suppose you could get more breadcrumbs on the eggplant but brushing with olive oil beforehand. Topped with Marinan and Daiya Mozzerella cheese this is a HUGE hit in my kitchen again.

Eating some leftovers today...
I actually like this "soup" better, now that it has sat a couple days and I think the flavors have really come out more.

Hope you have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Cold Weather Meals

Happy Friday!

Less than a week until Thanksgiving is here and I can't believe it snuck up so fast this year!

Look what I found in my garage... well actually Kujo found it.
That is a salamander. Didn't think they could survive the winter months in Wisconsin??? Either way I couldn't find myself to put it outside, I actually let it be, not sure if it will live or die?!!?

Moving on to some yummier things....

My favorite meal in the winter...

Vegan Chili, lots of veggies (lunch portion)
Find my Chili Recipe HERE.

I had some sweet potatoes that I needed to use up as well as some other random ingredients that went along very well with Averie's recipe for Savory Pumpkin, Potato & Carrot Soup.

I used what I had on hand and didn't follow her recipe exactly but I am sure it was pretty much the same soup. 

I used 3 Sweet Potatoes (chopped)
1 can of pinto beans
and 1/2 can pumpkin that I had leftover
1 C carrots (chopped)
salt & pepper to taste
Red Pepper flakes
and some other spicy/savory seasonings on hand
4 C of water
1 cup of vegetable broth as well was mixed in

A great cold weather soup. Couldn't taste pumpkin at all.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Why did I wait so long?

To have this sandwich?

I have ordered a lot of salads & soups from the Rochester Deli in Waukesha, WI  in the past. I have always stuck with the same salad and never swayed much because I really love it. I think I have a new favorite over there. It's called "Grilled Vegetable Panini" and it is filled with grilled zucchini, red onion, sweet bell pepper, carrot and portabella mushroom, olive relish with montrachet cheese. So yummy and the flavors really went so well together. I felt a little indulgent but hey it's okay to indulge every now and then ;)

Have a great week! 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Clean House.

 I have been having so much looking at all the bloggies Food Buzz festival blog posts. Amazing pictures and looks like everyone had an amazing time.

Meanwhile I have been busy busy busy. Does life ever stop and slow down a bit? Not really. At least it hasn't for awhile for me. I have been on the go go go!!!

I am ALMOST ready to rent out the old duplex. Problem is just when I think I am ready I find out something else needs to be done. Something else broke, the basement isn't clean ETC!!!!

So last Friday I designated to cleaning up that old place. I washed walls and sure they looked purty in a picture...
In reality they really need to be painted. This house is old, really old. Built in 1912. One of the original farm houses in the little city, I am sure. When we were remodeling the kitchen we found paperwork in the walls from the 1920's in regards to insuring, refinancing or selling the home. I found that very interesting.
Anyway the walls are plaster. It would be very expensive at this point to have them drywalled so I opted for some "knock down" or texture on the walls. This was done over the weekend and it looks like this..

I am sure 110% better once there is some new paint on the walls. Which I am planning to do tonight. *sigh*
At least everything is taped up and ready for primer and paint!!

Moving on to dinner yesterday... it was a little of this and a little of that. Nothing too exciting.
Re-heated sweet potato fries in the toaster over. A little burnt and crispy.

Salad with spinach, cucumbers, walnuts, cranberries and goat cheese.
SO GOOD! Eating these until the goat cheese is all gone!

Happy HUMP Day!



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hard Vs. Soft WATER

I recently moved into a house with well water. Well water does not taste good to drink (to me anyway) and it has a funky smell... that is why I got one of those "reverse osmosis" systems put in by Culligan. Basically I am renting it out for a little under $25/month. They installed a little faucet in the kitchen so I can use it for drinking water, cooking, cleaning vegetables, etc. There is a previously installed water softener in the home as well so basically everywhere else in the house has "softened water". This is all very confusing and I was determined to figure out some answers on what is best for drinking, cleaning, and washing.

Basically rain water is naturally soft water, when water comes from the ground it picks up minerals and because of this it is supposed to be good to drink (because of the essential minerals). However like I said, it stinks! It has a rotten-egg like smell to it. Basically the water softener takes all the minerals out except sodium. We put "salt" into the tank to clean out the water softener about once a month.

This is great and all but my main concern was the iron in the water. Will it turn my hair orange? Will the toilets, sinks and bathtub be orange and extremely hard to clean? Will all my precious white clothes turn a dingy shade from soaking in iron filled water?

Apparently you can get additional iron filters that are supposed to help prolong the life of your water softener as well as get rid of any trace amounts of iron. Apparently my water softener is doing a great job of getting most of the iron out but will a hint of iron in the water really matter? That is what I am still unsure of.

Thus far showering in softened water has taken sometime to get used to. It kind of leaves a "slimey" feeling on your skin and to me feels like the soap, shampoo and conditioner are not rinsing out of my hair/body. This was hard to adjust to. I moved out of Milwaukee county and was using city water and didn't really have any complaints. I never really drank the water from the tap (I always filtered it with my Brita pitcher, which I just found out only makes it taste better).

So far it has almost been 2 weeks since I moved into the new place and my hair hasn't turned orange (yet) and I have washed 1 load of white clothes with no noticeable iron-y orange color. My hair is soft and very manageable, my skin is not dry either so really - no complaints. I just need to decide if I want the additional iron filter for close to $2,000. I am not sure if it will be worth the cost if the water softener is doing it's job.

Do any of you have well water or a softener at your home? Any advice that you could give would be well appreciated.

For now I will be sticking with the drinking water coming from the reverse osmosis system.

My take everywhere drinking bottle.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hot Bar & Halloween

I was in the area of Good Harvest Market today during the lunch hour, why not stop by for some delicious organic hot bar food????
That was a whole bunch of vegan veggies and I am really stuffed. This was too much for me and almost $12 so next time I think I will get a smaller container when I approach the hot bar, my problem is everything smells so good, and my eyes are bigger than my stomach! ;0

How was everyone's Halloween? I did NOT pass out candy. I just moved into a nice suburban area and they did trick-or-trick from 6-8pm on Saturday night. I was not home to pass out candy but if I would have been I would have loved to see all the kids dressed up!

I, however did dress up and get fancy for Halloween, because I love dressing up!

I was a "rabbit in a hat"
Just missing my bunny ears in this picture
Basically had a top hat as my skirt and a magician's wand in my hand most of the night... haha

My friend Kate as a Greek Goddess
Natalie was a Monarch Butterfly

We had a lot of fun and saw a lot of hilarious costumes.

Can't wait to do it again next year!!!!