Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

We survived the Blizzard of 2016!  I’m always ok for welcoming one storm during the winter so hopefully this is where it ends.  Although I prepared to be snowed in a few days I grew tired of the food items I had on hand by day 4.  I needed the ‘curfew’ to be lifted so I can get to the grocery store and be creative.

I often look for recipes that inspire me and luckily I found a winner  Not only did it inspire me but I followed it pretty much word for word in creating it except for two ingredients and some minor changes in the cooking process. This is rare for me. When I say that recipes ‘inspire’ me it is just to give me an idea about creating something from scratch.  Not this time!   I saw the picture of the prepared dish and thought that it looked good, but when I went down the list of ingredients – brown rice, shredded carrots, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas and tofu – I knew it was worth a try.  The only main ingredient I changed was used shredded red cabbage instead of spinach and I’m glad I did.  Not only does it give it more color but it adds to the texture and flavor of the dish.  I think the spinach would be bland and tone the dish down too much.   For the peanut sauce the author used light soy sauce with sesame oil, chili garlic and peanut butter.  I substituted the soy sauce with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and didn’t use any sesame oil.  This sauce is delicious!  Sweet and spicy with a hint of peanut, I can see using this in various ways.

Do yourself a favor and make this REALLY soon!

Feed the wellness in you!

Peanut Tofu Rice Bowl

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3

Ingredients

  • Tofu Bowl
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tbl sesame oil
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if using canned)
  • salt/pepper
  • 16 oz extra firm cubed tofu, pressed and drained
  • Peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • ¼ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cube tofu and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. If you aren't using a non-stick baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray. Remove from oven and place in a shallow bowl.
  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter) until creamy and smooth. Add ½ of the sauce to the tofu bowl and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Toss the broccoli with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until just tender.
  4. Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, in batches, along with the marinating sauce until crispy and golden browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. To assemble, divide the brown rice among 4 bowls, top each bowl with ¼ cup shredded carrots, ½ cup red cabbage, ¼th broccoli, ¼ cup garbanzo beans and a few pieces of tofu. Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Alex Caspero - http://delishknowledge.com/peanut-tofu-buddha-bowl/

https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/peanut-tofu-rice-bowl/

 

My Frozen and Prepared Favorites Part 1

I believe in eating ‘whole foods’ all the time, but it is helpful to have some ‘go to’ items that are healthy and can be prepared within minutes. Here are just a few of my favorites:

This Organic Spinach and Cheese Ravioli can be found at Costco. I usually top with a little marinara (note:  my favorite brand is Rao’s).  The Ricotta and Spinach filled Ravioli is from Trader Joe’s.  Both low in calories per serving and delicious.  Add a salad on the side and you have a great meal.

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These already washed and chopped salads are fantastic!  The combination of veggies and toppings in each are wonderful compliments but I forego the toppings and dressing and use balsamic vinegar.  Both can be found at Costco.

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Trader Joe’s has a wonderful variety of cuisines in their frozen section.  As a person that cooks and is discerning when it comes to flavor, they nail it for me in these dishes.  They taste like home cooked meals and I love that they are bold with their combinations.

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I cook channa (chick peas) often so it’s a big deal for me to even give a frozen version a chance.  This does not disappoint and helps in a pinch at only 180 calories per cup with lots of protein and fiber.

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Let me spell this out for you – white and red quinoa, sweet potato, and zucchini wonderfully seasoned and a little spice.  At only 220 calories per cup it is also packed with protein and fiber.

 

 

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I’m not even a big risotto fan but I like this combination.  Plus one cup is only 160 calories without missing the flavor.  This is a winner.

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Sweet and Spicy Shaved Brussels Sprouts

sweet and spicy brussels sprouts

In my quick dash in and out of Trader Joe’s over the weekend, I picked up a 10 ounce bag of Shaved Brussels Sprouts. I’m a big fan of veggies that are already chopped and washed for me. I’ll admit I often wash them AGAIN but when in a hurry I just keep it moving.  I usually prepare whole Brussels Sprouts but use shaved in my salad mix. I thought I would sauté the shaved sprouts some way but wasn’t sure how.

When I arrived home I saw the simple recipe on the back of the package and the main ingredient for flavor was balsamic vinegar which I always use. I really didn’t have anything crazy imaginative in mind beyond what they described, I needed simple and fast.  Truth be told, I needed my dinner done before the US Open Men’s Final started at 4 pm.  Little did I know there would be a 3 hour rain delay!

sweet and spicy brussels sprouts 2.jpgI ended up using a dash of salt, onion powder, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar and the addition of Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce. It’s a great condiment, and I use it on veggie hotdogs, hamburgers, vegetables and have also used it as a substitute for duck sauce.

So if you’re looking for a quick and easy side dish that is also low in calories, and very high in Vitamins C and K, give this a try.  This recipe also works well with green beans. Stop in your local  Trader Joe’s if you want no chopping and washing, pick up the few ingredients needed and this will be done in less than 15 minutes!

Sweet and Spicy Shaved Brussels Sprouts

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg of 10 oz shaved Brussels Sprouts (I use the Trader Joe's brand and they always have it)
  • 2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl onion powder
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup sweet chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Sautee the Brussels sprouts in olive oil on a medium heat for 2 minutes until it starts to wilt.
  2. Add garlic powder, onion powder and balsamic vinegar and stir for another 3 minutes.
  3. Turn to low heat for 5 minutes then add the sweet chili sauce.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/sweet-and-spicy-shaved-brussels-sprouts/

No Dressing Chopped Salad

 

No Dressing Chopped Salad

We’re seeing lots of creative salads on spring/summer menus and freshly made salad is the main concept for many of the newer ‘fresh’ casual eateries.  I like to make a batch of salad no matter what season it is that I can use throughout the week.  In order for the salad  to stay fresh all week you have to keep some ingredients separated from others to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.  It’s easy  to toss in the remaining ingredients when you’re ready to sit down for your meal.  Let’s face it, despite salad being a healthy option if we add creamy, sugar laden dressing on top you might as well be eating dessert.  Most of the time when I make a salad, the ingredients I use nullify the need for a dressing.  If I want dressing, I use balsamic vinegar alone hence the reason why I’ve added a little to this recipe.  I thought it would be helpful to share the way I create a salad with a variety of ingredients to minimize the need for heavy salad dressing.

I like a lot of crunch so instead of lettuces I use a coleslaw mix of cabbages and carrots along with chopped spinach.  When I thought about the salad I would make for the week, along with my ‘go to’ leafy greens as the base, these are some of the items I decided on while in Whole Foods and a few from my own pantry.

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I added a few more items after taking the picture but you get the gist.  A salad is free reign to be as creative as you want and the flavors are endless WITHOUT the dressing.  The main items that give this salad flavor is a little bit of balsamic vinegar, hearts of palm, a little parmesan cheese, your favorite items from an olive antipasti bar, and blueberries.  The items I included from the olive bar are minimal as you can see in this picture, but will add lots of flavor.

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Add a grilled protein of your choice, chop and mix well, and you will have a delicious, low fat salad complete with great protein, iron and fiber.

Feed the wellness in you!

No Dressing Chopped Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6

The first nine ingredients serve as the base of the salad and will yield 4-6 servings depending on the size of your servings. The remaining ingredients are added when you are ready to serve the salad. The prep time does not include the recommended 20-30 minutes for allowing the base salad to rest in its ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Whole Foods Organic Cole Slaw Mix
  • 1 pkg of Whole Foods Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 7.5 oz (1/2 can) of garbanzo beans
  • 7.5 oz (1/2 can) black eye peas
  • 1 can hearts of palm, chopped
  • Antipasti (items of your choice from olive bar of your choice) chopped - in this salad are 6 pitted olives, two tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, and about 6 gigantes (white beans)
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Mini seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 5-6 Grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbl Shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Crispy onions
  • Avocado (I use at least half but it is optional)
  • 1 tbl pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry your baby spinach, coleslaw mix and sugar snap peas. Make sure all vegetables are dry before proceeding as you don't want excess water. Water will make the salad soggy quicker after storing.
  2. Chop your baby spinach, coleslaw mix, sugar snap peas (remove ends) and put in a large bowl
  3. Add your garbanzo beans, black eye peas, hearts of palm, blueberries and antipasti; mix well with balsamic vinegar. Move to a tight lid container for storage. I like to let the salad sit for about 20-30 minutes before serving but it is not a prerequisite.
  4. To serve, place a serving of salad mixture on plate or bowl.
  5. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, crispy onions, avocado, pumpkin seeds and protein of your choice. Mix well and enjoy!
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/no-dressing-chopped-salad/

Weekly Wellness Tip – Save Your Soles

Running shoes. Barefoot running shoes closeup. Female athlete ty

Spring Fever! You’ve dusted off those sneakers so you can walk or run during your spare time and that is fantastic. It is great to switch up your routine and take advantage of exercising outdoors. But before you hit the streets, let’s start by answering a few questions –

  • Do you own walking or running shoes?
  • If so, how old are they?
  • Did you get your shoes properly fit for your activity?

I could go on with some additional questions but instead, I will just quote the store ‘Fleet Feet DC’ where I got my first pair of running shoes.  A visit to a running shoe store is where you should start before embarking on your outdoor Spring activities AND you should get this level of attention and service in the store you choose –

“Being FIT in the right shoe is an important step to preventing injury and enhancing your FITness experience. Whether you are just beginning a walking program, training for your first marathon, or are on your feet all day and need some foot relief – we can help.We listen carefully to your FITness goals and interests, take into consideration any aches and pains, and evaluate your experience with your current footwear. We then measure your feet, assess your foot type and watch your gait cycle. Using all of this information, we utilize our training and experience to make individualized footwear recommendations.”

Getting properly fit will help you perform your activity comfortably and avoid injuries.  It is an investment that pays high dividends.  You won’t truly know if you have the right shoes for you until after you start using them.  Use them for a week and if they are uncomfortable or causing pain, return them for another pair.  After a few shoes you will know what brands work for you.

Fitness experts suggest replacing your shoes every 300-400 miles.  If you run or walk frequently, rotate between two pairs to extend the life of the shoes.  Also, while at the shoe store PLEASE get some new, cushioned socks!  They make a huge difference in your comfort.  Now find a good walking/running path and get to work!

Feed the wellness in you!

 

Weekly Wellness Tip – Can You Eat This?

Vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan tags.

There are different ways people identify as a vegetarian and it’s been VERY confusing. If you ever had to choose a special meal on a plane you are presented with several options and the vegetarian options alone are plenty!  Despite my choice to be a vegetarian for several years now, I am still referred to as a vegan by some or asked if I eat certain foods, like seafood. A vegetarian diet excludes all animals, and fish are animals.  I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian – “lacto” comes from the Latin word for milk, and “ovo” for egg ; I do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products.   Here is a list of the other various types of plant based diets.

  1. Lacto-Vegetarian – a type of vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.
  2. Ovo-Vegetarian – describes people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.  If you are lactose intolerant you may have to prescribe to this type of vegetarianism.
  3. Vegan – Vegans do not eat meat or fish of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar, some wines and even honey.
  4. Raw Vegan – a diet that combines vegan and the raw food lifestyle.  No animal products are consumed and primarily consists of unprocessed, organic vegan foods that have not been heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius). The idea is that foods cooked above this temperature destroys the nutritional benefits.
  5. Macrobiotic – the guidelines that I’ve read seem to vary but this diet is comprised of unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. However, some vegetables are avoided or used  sparingly like spinach, beets and avocados.  WOW!  The macrobiotic diet was developed in Japan so you will find an emphasis on Asian vegetables.
  6. Flexitarian/Semi-Vegetarian – this diet is really what I hope most people that eat a meat based diet move toward. The goal of my blog is not to advise you to become a vegetarian.  It is an effort to inspire you to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of your overall diet.  A flexitarian is one who eats meat occasionally but eats mostly a vegetarian or even pescatarian diet.   The American Heart Association says semi-vegetarianism can be healthful and nutritionally sound if it’s carefully planned to include essential nutrients. Balance and good food choices!
  7. Pescatarian/Pescetarian/Pescovegetarian –  A pescatarian abstains from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish and other seafood.  So a flexitarian can be a pescatarian, a pescatarian is never a flexitarian, and a vegetarian is neither.  Is that clear as mud?  On a serious note, studies have shown that the pescatarian diet is a very heart healthy diet and helps prevent chronic disease.  And if you’re worried about mercury levels, the guidelines on this diet recommend the lower mercury level fish, not the higher ones like albacore tuna and shark.

Some of these diets are motivated by health, spiritual, financial, or environmental reasons.

Whew!  There you have it!

Feed the wellness in you!

Weekly Wellness Tip – Natural Energy Boosters

Female walking on path in running shoes

I’ve been asked if I eat or drink anything in particular before going to the gym for an extra boost of energy.  Absolutely!  If your body isn’t given the right fuel, you’re not maximizing your time spent at exercising.  Here are a few recommendations –

 1. Nuts. Grab a handful of almonds before heading out the door.  Magnesium in nuts helps break glucose down into energy.

2.  Bee pollen. The carbohydrates, protein and B vitamins can help keep you going all day by enhancing stamina and fighting off fatigue. Add a spoonful to yogurt and you’ve got a great protein and energy combo.

3.  Bananas.  You see tennis players eat these on breaks, they’re handed to you at races, they are an athletes friend! With approximately 30 g of carbohydrates and over 450 mg of potassium, they provide energy and minerals for blood-sugar maintenance and proper heart function.

4.  Dark Chocolate.  Treat yourself!   Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, natural sugars, and natural fats from the cacao bean.  This is great incentive to work hard in the gym.  Find some dark chocolate covered almonds for an added boost.

5.  Avocado.  I am a big fan of this green delight and can just scoop out the flesh and eat it with no accompaniments.  This good dietary fat  provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients.

6.  Water.  Yes, the obvious.  Many people are not hydrated enough before a work out and are easily fatigued as you start to sweat.  Water is your body’s cooling system so replenish, replenish, replenish.  All day, every day.

These are just a few suggestions but ultimately you have to find things that work for you.  Natural energy boosters are foods high in B vitamins, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, and other vitamins and nutrients. Take a close look at what you’re doing now and adjust if needed.

Feed the wellness in you!

In Season Wellness – Guava

Guava with a half isolated on whiteThe Guava fruit brings back many childhood memories for me,  spending time on the lovely island of St. Vincent.  With rich volcanic soil, fruits and vegetables are grown in abundance on that small agricultural island.  Guava is everywhere, literally falling off the trees. It is made into several things –  jelly,  cheese,  stew, pudding, juice, ice cream.  Low in calories, high in vitamin C and potassium, they can also be eaten plain.  What a joy it was to just walk along the beach and see Guavas in the sand that dropped from Guava trees.  We would just pick them up, go to the sea, wash it off and eat it.  That is organic food at its best!  You can eat the entire Guava from the outer skin, to the flesh and the seeds.

Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene—an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer and prevents skin damage from UV rays —than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana weight per weight. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Guava also contains vitamins like Vitamin E, K, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6 and minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium which are important for blood formation. Also due to high content of Vitamin C, guava increases body’s capacity to absorb iron. Lastly, Guava may also be the ultimate high-fiber food: There’s almost 9 grams of fiber in every cup.

Find Guava near you and dive in.

Feed the wellness in you!

Chickpea Deviled Eggs

Chickpea Deviled Eggs

I had some friends over for drinks and nibbles last Friday (has it been a week already?) and in addition to dips and cheeses I wanted an easy appetizer to have along with a glass of wine.  I am a fan of deviled eggs although I had not made them in quite some time.  No one in my family likes them and there are also so many more creative appetizers that I enjoy preparing so I tabled the idea of making deviled eggs a long time ago.  However, deviled eggs have found its way on to restaurant menus in delicious combinations.  I’ve seen it with truffles, cheeses, tuna tartar, caviar, crab meat, even potato salad.  I love the freedom you have to refill the egg and with a variety of herbs and spices – tarragon, dill, curry – there could be so much going on in just one bite!

I shared this chickpea idea of deviled eggs with my friends and they really enjoyed them. I wanted a different way of presenting deviled eggs particularly for those watching calories and cholesterol levels. Chickpeas are a great way of getting protein so I eat them often and coupled with the egg white makes this doubly powerful.

I like that you can eat it with one hand and in two bites, with your glass of wine in the other.     It doesn’t take long  to boil the eggs and blend the chickpeas with other simple ingredients!  Quick, easy, classic and tasty.

Feed the wellness in you!

Chickpea Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24

Prep time includes time for the eggs to cool.

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 c red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil eggs in water and 2 tsp of vinegar until fully cooked. The vinegar helps the brightness of the eggs and the peeling process.
  2. Once cooked, immerse the eggs in cold water. Add ice to keep the water cold.
  3. Cut eggs in half and discard the yolk. Set aside.
  4. Blend the chickpeas, red onion, sea salt, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, onion powder, 1/2 tsp ground white pepper.
  5. Add juice from one large lemon.
  6. Mixture should be smooth and thick.
  7. Fill each halved egg with the hummus mixture.
  8. Sprinkle smoked paprika on the eggs and serve.
https://eatlikeavegetarian.com/chickpea-deviled-eggs/

In Season Wellness – Kohlrabi

Purple kohlrabies

Have you ever had Kohlrabi? Have you ever even HEARD of Kohlrabi?  A few weeks ago I encountered this curious vegetable.  I was presented with a lunch menu that had an appetizer of winter root vegetables, and Kohlrabi was one of the vegetables. I ordered it and although I wasn’t blown away with the chosen preparation, it didn’t deter me from learning more about Kohlrabi.

After a quick search I realized that I had seen Kohlrabi many times before and thought it was a turnip. It is also known as knol-khol or German turnip with its origins in Germany.  In the German language Kohlrabi means ‘cabbage turnip’, aptly named since it is in the cabbage family of Brassica.  The brassica family also includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and brussels sprouts. Vegetables in this family are very high in Vitamin C, phytochemicals that help protect you from cancer, and many other vitamins and minerals.

Very much like cabbage, Kohlrabi has two varietals – white and purple. The bulb has a thick outer layer and looks like a cabbage, but once you cut into it, it is dense like a turnip.

Kohlrabi chopped

You can eat the leafy greens on the stem as you would the fleshy part.  It can be eaten raw, grilled, stir-fried, in soup; apparently very versatile.

I will return with a recipe soon now that I have Kohlrabi washed and chopped – I plan to give Kohlrabi validation in my kitchen.

Feed the wellness in you!