Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thai Tofu Quinoa Bowl

I found this recipe on Pinterest. This is a fabulous dish!!  Everyone loved it...even my teenage son!  The flavors are incredible and I like the "kick" that the Srircha adds.  This is a great one pot meal for those hot summer nights!  It fed our family of 5 and I have a little left over for lunch tomorrow.  Enjoy!

For the quinoa:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I use vegetable broth)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu ( 15 oz), diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon Srircha
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 1  teaspoon grated ginger
30 Minutes Before Cooking: Drain and rinse the block of tofu. Wrap it in a clean dish towel (or paper towels), and place it on a rimmed dinner plate. Place another plate on top and weight it down with something heavy, like a can of tomatoes or a heavy skillet, to press out some of the excess liquid. Let sit 15 – 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Toss the tofu, soy sauce, and sesame oil in bowl. Place the tofu in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes tossing every ten minutes to crisp the tofu on all sides.
Toast the quinoa: Place a medium sized saucepan on medium low heat. Add in the dry quinoa and toast for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and nutty in scent.Pour toasted quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly. Return to pot and  add in the broth, lower heat slightly, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork once cooked, and set aside.
Make the sauce: Place the peanut butter in the bowl first and throw in the microwave for 10 seconds to melt slightly. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
Toast the almonds: Place the almonds, sesame seeds, and vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Cook or medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the almonds are a deep golden brown.
Toss together the quinoa, vegetables and herbs, tofu, and 3/4 of the nut mixture. Pour over the sauce and toss well to combine. Spoon into bowls, top with remaining nuts, extra lime and Sriracha if desired. Can be stored in fridge up to one week.

Racing Plant Strong

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't race without eating meat.  I hear all the time "you need more protein to compete like you do".  That is a myth.  I get plenty of protein from plants, nuts, beans, tofu, etc.  I just competed in a marathon this past Sunday and qualified for the 2014 Boston Marathon!  I was 8 minutes faster than I was 4 years ago, and back then I was eating meat!  I feel stronger today, and healthier, now that I've cut animal protein out of my diet.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chinese Salad


*I wanted a salad to go with my spring rolls so I turned to the internet.  I found this Chinese Chicken Salad recipe and made it without the chicken.  It is a healthy makeover recipe so it is different than the typical Chinese salad recipes out there.  It was awesome!  The whole family loved it.  I will absolutely make this again.  It does require some prep time so I prepped my veggies in the afternoon and tossed it together at dinner.  It made great leftovers the next day.  Only dress the amount you will eat, that way the salad doesn't get soggy the next day.  Enjoy!


3 cups purple cabbage, shaved or thinly sliced
3 cups napa cabbage, shaved or thinly sliced (They sell this in a bag already shaved at Trader Joes)
2 cups bok choy, thinly sliced
1 cup sweet peas, roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and cubed
3 mandarin oranges (you can use canned if you need to...just rinse thoroughly before chopping)
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raw/unhulled sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup almonds, chopped and toasted

1 small carrot
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup cilantro (stems included)
2 tbsp fresh ginger
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

*Prepare the leafy purple  cabbage, napa cabbage, and bok choy by slicing thinly with a sharp knife.  Then, shop/cube/slice the sweet peas, cucumber, mandarins, cilantro, and green onions.
*Toast sesame seeds by placing them in a small frying pan over medium heat.  After a few short minutes, you will notice a toasty smell and hear light pops-place them in a dish to cool.
*Roughly chop the almonds and place them in a toaster oven or regular oven at 400 degrees until toasted.  Set aside to cool.
*Prepare the dressing by throwing everything into a blender or food processor.  (I used my Vitamix).  Taste and add more salt, lemon, or honey to your liking.
*When you are ready to serve, use a pair of tongs and large bowl to toss salad ingredients with dressing.  If you know that you will use some for leftovers, keep the ingredients separate and toss before serving.

Avocado Spring Rolls

From: Nature Box delivered

If there is one thing you need to try, it's these spring rolls!  I altered the recipe by cutting out the chicken since I don't eat meat.  They were fabulous!  My children loved them as well with the peanut dipping sauce.  They made great left overs the next day for lunch and traveled well to school for a healthy lunch for my girls!  I love how my girl's friends are always intrigued by the healthy lunches they bring.  This recipe takes some prep work but it is so worth it!  Makes a great appetizer as well.  On a hot Arizona day, this was the perfect meal!  I served my Chinese "chicken less" salad along with the spring rolls for a hearty dinner.  Enjoy!

12 rice paper wrappers (found them at Sprouts in the Asian food aisle)
1 cup arugula (Trader Joes has organic washed/bagged arugula)
1 cucumber, julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and thinly sliced (I used 2 avocados since I love them!)

For the spicy peanut sauce:
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used organic creamy)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp hoisin
1-2 tsp Sriracha (I used twice this...I like spice)

*Working one at a time, wet rice paper for 10 seconds and transfer to a work surface.  Pace arugula in the enter of each wrapper and top with cucumber, carrot, red onion and avocado.  Bring the bottom edge of the wrap tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the sheet is reached, being careful not to tear the rice paper.  Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

*To make the dipping sauce, whisk together peanut butter, water, hoisin and Sriracha in a small bowl.  (I wanted a thinner consistency so I added slightly more water)

*When storing, do not have them touch because the rice paper is sticky.  You don't want them sticking together.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Speedy Sweet Potato Chili

Speedy Sweet Potato Chili (found this on a blog)
vegan, serves 4
**This dish is delicious!  My family loved it.  I added chick peas to the kidney beans and lentils.  I also added celery, carrots, corn and topped it with avocado.  It was a one pot meal I will make again!  It says it serves 4 but mine served 6 easily with the added ingredients.  

1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled/diced into large cubes
1 12oz. can cooked red kidney beans, drained/rinsed
1 12oz. can cooked lentils, drained/rinsed
1 6oz. can tomato paste, organic
2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp chili powder (use less if you like your chili mild)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
salt + pepper to taste
1 bay leaf (optional)
optional: Add 3/4 cup corn if desired (fresh corn in summer adds a seasonal tone)

garnish ideas: vegan sour cream or Vegenaise + sprig of cilantro or parsley + crushed peanuts

1 avocado, thinly sliced or diced (1/4 of an avocado to each serving dish)
(optional: toss avocado in fresh lime juice)

* Add more or less veggie broth according to your thickness tastes
* For a cheezy accent, add in a scoop of nutritional yeast or to serve
* For ultra cocoa-y chili - add more chocolate chips or a tbsp of cacao powder
* If you do not have lentils or kidney beans, you could sub with other varieties of beans like chickpeas or navy beans
* Adding grains is another way to pump up your vegan chili. Try kamut, quinoa, barley or basic brown rice
* This chili re-heats like a dream and delicious as leftovers
* Add more veggies like chopped celery, diced carrot, chopped kale or whole tomatoes
* Add a diced vegan sausage, crumbled tempeh, TVP or other high-protein ingredients if you want a "meatier" (vegan chili)


1. Prep your ingredients: peel and dice your sweet potato. Dice your onion and pepper. Rinse your lentils and beans.
2. In a large pot, over high heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add in onion and peppers. Saute for a few minutes until onions become translucent.
3. Add in the sweet potato, bay leaf and veggie broth. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until broth is absorbed and sweet potatoes are tender.
4. Once sweet potatoes are cooked, add in the lentils, beans, chili powder, chocolate chips, tomato paste and optional corn. Simmer over medium until the flavors all melt together and the chili thickens. Reduce to lowest heat setting and allow to simmer until ready to serve. If your chili is quite thick, cover with lid to keep in moisture. If it still seems a bit thin and watery, simmer uncovered to thicken.
5. Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste. 
6. Serve warm with avocado and other optional garnish like cilantro