Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Indian Food (Explorations in Tofu: Part 2 of 5)

I love Indian food- it’s delicious and super easy to get vegan. Although Palak Paneer (or Saag Paneer? I think Palak is a type of Saag...) is one of my favorite dishes. After going vegan I missed those chunks of cheese. Yummmm. 

Anyone so last night I decided to make a vegetable curry because I had leftover veggies from a party platter I made last weekend. While I was cooking the curry, I forgot I had some long lost frozen spinach and a block of tofu, and decided to try a vegan palak paneer, for my explorations of tofu series.

Vegan Vegetable Curry

1 can of light coconut cream
1-2 tbsp of curry powder (I love a ton of curry, but start with a little and work your way up to taste)
2 tsp of garlic salt (Use more if needed)
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
A vast array of vegetables (I used broccoli, snap peas, and carrots)

1.              Heat up the coconut milk over medium.
2.              Add all the spices and stir till combined.
3.              Add all the vegetables; stir till vegetables are all covered.
4.              Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. I like my vegetables still a bit firm so do this to taste. 

Palak Tofu

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 cups frozen spinach (next time I’ll try fresh)
1 medium tomato
¼ package medium-firm tofu (optional)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegannaise (or coconut milk + sprinkle of salt)

1.              Heat up half the olive oil with the onions over medium
2.              Right as the onions get glassy add the spinach and stir. Let simmer.
3.              Chop the tomato up and throw it in the blender or food processor till pureed. Add to the spinach.
4.              Add all the spices and vegannaise and stir till combined. Taste it- add any additional amount of spices to get to the right flavor for you.
5.              Chop the tofu into bite size pieces. Add to the spinach, stir till covered and reduce heat to low medium. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Serve both dishes over rice and enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why you should be vegan

Bet you are expecting a few studies, PETA videos and charts right about now. But let me be frank: I don’t give a cheeseburger whether or not you eat cheeseburgers. You are reading and that is pretty awesome to me. If nothing else I would be happy a meat eater tries a recipe as I write it and likes it. But I am ALSO very happy finding out people tried my kale pizza recipe and added prosciutto or added chicken to my spaghetti squash recipe. Since I was in fourth grade and following retro recipes in an American Girl cookbook I’ve wanted to write my own. Finding out people are toying with recipes too is exactly what I want.
But back to why you should go vegan, gluten and sugar free: It’s up to you. There are studies on why certain things are bad for you but I honestly believe you should listen to what your body wants. Try out diets, find out what works for you, or don’t change your eating habits at all. Food is fun, and I personally feel that my blog would probably be less fun (or even inspiring) if I showed pictured of animals being treated horribly.
Please never feel I’m being preachy- a preachy vegan was actually a roadblock NOT an inspiration to my adventure into this way of eating.
Have fun and eat well!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gluten Intolerance

I get headaches. I thought they were migraines, my doctor said, “NO, they are not migraines, are you pregnant?” After several negative pregnancy tests, disappointing appointments, bad reactions to medication, and no end to them in sight I gave up. I figured it was time to live with them. Okay- let’s that that aside and get along with my story.

So, a few years ago a dear friend told me that she not only was allergic to gluten but it was terrible for anyone to ingest. I shrugged it off- I was a die hard “carbavore” and was addicted to French toast and sandwiches. But it was always there, especially as other people were starting telling me that gluten was bad. Gluten free items started popping up in stores.... but alas, I loved my bread.

A couple months before my 10-day-turned-no-end-in-sight vegan/gluten free adventure began someone asked me what I was allergic to. I was very confused because I didn’t feel at all like I was having an allergic reaction. (Side note: I’m allergic to peaches and my whole mouth and throat breaks out and I have a hard time breathing if I accidentally eat them.) I laughed it off- my skin gets weird bumps sometimes it’s something I had also learned to live with.

A month into my 10-day-turned-no-end-in-sight vegan/gluten free adventure I wanted to eat my favorite non-vegan/gluten-free veggie burger at my favorite restaurant. The next morning I had a raging headache.

I looked at my hands.

They were blotchy.

I thought...

I have NOT had a headache in a month.


It all made so much sense. So that’s how I discovered I am intolerant to gluten.

Yay for no more headaches!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Explorations of Tofu: Part 1 of 5

I love edamame. In my opinion it is the best soy form. That said- Tofu is definitely not my all-time favorite food, I used to eat and drink a lot of soymilk and tofu. But as I discovered almond milk I also realized that tofu wasn’t my only option in vegetarian cooking. That aside, I’ve been getting some twitter requests for some tofu recipes, so I’d love to share a few of my favorites. Maybe while I show you how versatile it is, I’ll remember why I loved this forgotten food in the first place. Expect 5 recipes over the next week and a half, in between, I'll be mixing in a few vegan/gluten free/sugar free/soy free recipes too!

I used to be a firm believer in when I give something up; I needed to give it up. I didn’t like meat, so why would I want meat substitutes? Dairy replacers didn’t bother me because if you have an allergy- why would you give up French toast? But as I’ve started to give up gluten, dairy, and eggs I do find myself missing certain things.

I used to eat scrambled eggs and Greek yogurt every breakfast, I always felt great with the burst of protein right in the morning. Now that I’m not listing that as an option I usually go for smoothies and granola. I’ve been interested in the idea of scrambled tofu, but I never found a recipe that quite made it taste enough like eggs.

Then it hit me: I’m not TRYING to make scrambled eggs. I’m making scrambled TOFU so it WILL taste different and I need to get a handle on that.

So ladies and gentlemen, please step forward and this scrambled tofu recipe:

Spiced Scrambled Tofu

1 package of soft or medium tofu
2 large leafs of kale torn into small pieces
1 small zucchini diced
2 tsp of turmeric
2 tsp of mustard seeds
1 tsp of paprika
2 tsp of onion powder
2 tsp of garlic salt
2 tbsp of coconut or olive oil

1.              Puree tofu with spices.
2.              Heat up oil on skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini.
3.              Saute for 2 minutes then add tofu.  Stir and let cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.              Once the tofu starts to brown, add kale and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
5.              Serve immediately with fresh ground pepper.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gluten Free "Lasagna" recipe

I recently tried a new spaghetti squash recipe, and although it was nice- I always return to this recipe. I was trying to figure something new for dinner and my coworker, Lisa, just rattled off this recipe off the top of her head. It sounded great so I added a few things and Brian and I loved it.

If you’ve never cooked spaghetti squash before, you are in for a treat! It’s very easy, very fun, and very interesting. The texture is amazing for being a squash! I found this great page with easy directions on all the different ways to cook the squash. This website gives very easy step-by-step directions on how to cook a spaghetti squash. I prefer the boiling method.


1 Spaghetti squash cooked and scooped out
2 cups of tomato sauce
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
Olive oil
1 large zucchini, sliced very thin (I use a vegetable peeler)
1 cup of Daiya mozzarella “cheese”


1.              Preheat oven to 350. Sauté onions in olive oil over medium low heat. Add garlic. Sauté till translucent.
2.              Add sauce and tomatoes and continue cook on medium low.
3.              In a 12”X9” baking dish evenly lay about half the cooked spaghetti squash out. Spread a cup of the tomato sauce mixture over. Then sprinkle half the cheese over the sauce.
4.              Next lay out the thinly sliced zucchini out over the cheese like lasagna strips. Spread the rest of the squash over the zucchini, the rest of the sauce over the squash and the rest of the cheese over the sauce.
5.              Bake for about 30 minutes.