Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baked Tofu with a Blood Orange Glaze

Ever since I found this recipe on Pintrest my mind has been spinning with recipe ideas.  After stumbling on a jar of Blood Orange Spread from Crofter's Organic I knew exactly what I wanted to do!   This jam is not super sweet, and has a slightly bitter taste.  It is delicious on toast, especially when mixed with cream cheese or butter, but it is not ideal for topping oats with.  The slightly sweet flavor is what makes this jam an ideal addition to a savory glaze!!

I usually stick to my favorite method of dry frying tofu,  but this glaze requires the protein to be baked! By roasting tofu the center stays tender, and the edges become a touch crispy, a great change to our typical stir fry!

Blood Orange Glaze

1/4 cup Blood Orange Jam
2 inches Ginger, minced
½ T garlic Powder
½ T Soy Sauce
Pinch Cayenne

Tofu + Veggies

1 Block Firm Tofu
10 mini zuchinni or 1 large zuchinni
1-2 Cups heirloom cherry tomatoes

Press and drain Tofu for at least 30 minutes.

Cut block of Tofu into slices approximately ¼ inch thick

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for glaze.

Place tofu on a foiled + greased cookie sheet and top with half of the glaze.  Roast for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, flip and spread the remaining glaze on the other side. Roast for a final 20 minutes, along with zucchini, tomatoes, oil S+P.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Adaptable Tacos and Getting Back on Track

Recently I have gone off the wellness wagon!  I have done a lot of traveling, spent some time with my amazing family, and indulged in some delicious but not very nutritious entrees, desserts, and brews.  After a few weeks of indulging, it is time to get back on track!

Getting back into a healthy routine is hard,  and I often find myself craving foods I normally go fine without.  It is important to recognize the pattern of your cravings, where they started from, and what actions/smells/tastes triggered them.  For example, a one serving glass of wine at the end of the day suddenly makes me crave the decadence of my aunts ricotta cake which I happily inhaled ate at my cousins batmitzvah a few weekends ago.  After a few days of wine+cake+more wine, my body made the connection that the red stuff should be accompanied by creamy sugary goodness and BOOM the craving hits.  Breaking the cycle means feeding your body the flavor it wants with a nutritional kick.  Greek yogurt and honey did the trick for this craving, and so did an extra glass of wine.  Hey, you gotta start somewhere. 

OK enough about me, time for a recipe.

Pinto Bean and Red Potato Tacos
Easily adaptable for carnivores and pescatarians

Corn tortillas
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 avocado
1 can Pinto Beans
5-7 small red potatoes
1 Bag TJ's instant brown rice (aka lifesaver)
Lime Juice

1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (or more)
1/2 packet Stevia

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Rinse beans, chop potatoes, onion, red pepper, corn and garlic and place in a mixing bowl along with a drizzle of oil. Add the rest of the spices tossing well. 

Place mixture on aluminum foil lined+greased baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes.  Toss the mixture every ten minutes or so to prevent burning. 

In the last 10 minutes of cooking chop cilantro, slice avocado, and cut limes into wedges.  Finally, cook your brown rice according to the microwavable directions.  Seriously, if there is a Trader Joe's in your area you MUST pick up a box of these.  It is a quick and delicious addition to any meal!  Mix brown rice with cilantro, salt, and lime juice to taste!

Assemble tacos according to your liking! I layered my taco mixture over rice and used homemade tortilla chips as an edible spoon.  Best way to eat Mexican food!!

The best part of this recipe is that it is EASILY adaptable to different diets! Just use the same spice mixture on chicken breasts or fish and cook in a skillet until done!  I love the idea of having a customizable taco party where people can choose their protein as well as their toppings!

Friday, July 20, 2012

For Your Reading Pleasure

Greetings from the Name of Wellness!  So far on the blog I have talked a lot about food, and not a lot about the other components of wellness.   Here are some excellent articles regarding health and wellness which I would highly recommend checking out in between your weekend festivities.  Enjoy!

A seriously fantastic Q&A that very bluntly explains the lunacy of fad diets (lookin’ at you low carb craze) and how people need to look to SCIENCE for answers to their health/nutrition ailments.  I personally have very strong opinions about celebrities, trainers, and even doctors who create diets purely for their own income.  And YES I think Dr. Oz is an idiot who is essentially performing prostitution, i.e. going against what is ethically and morally right (as a scientifically trained medical doctor who knows what he is saying is garbage) in seek of fame and money.  Prostitute.

If this article doesn’t get you moving I don’t know what will!  After sharing some unique new statistics about the obesity rates in North America, the article goes on to explain how physical inactivity is just as dangerous as smoking or being severely over weight, even if you are otherwise “healthy”.  In fact, 5.3 million people die every year from diseases related to physical inactivity.  Time to get moving people, ANY physical activity helps!!

An interesting article about how weight loss surgery may not decrease health care costs in the long term like traditional weight loss can.  It is clear that more research needs to be done in this area.

A look at how schools are incorporating fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains into lower calories and lower sodium dishes.  It appears that school systems are (finally) headed in the right direction, but as the ending paragraph states, what you put on the plate is only a piece of the puzzle, kids have to actually eat the food to get the benefits. 

I am getting ready for my move to Colorado, and am trying to eat up all of my pantry staples! Here are nine vegetarian recipes, and one pescatarian (although easily adaptable to vegetarian) to help you cleanse your pantry AND your body! 

For the boyfriend who is hopefully reading this post as well as all of these articles, here is a link to the PERFECT fall boot.  My boyfriend/any generous person should know that I am a size 8 and prefer them in brown. 

Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Savory Tomato Galette and Melon Avocado Soup

This weekend I traveled to my hometown in Ohio for my best friends wedding!   The entire weekend was amazing, filled with good friends, good times, and GREAT food!!

Whenever I go home I try to make a healthy meal for my parents.  DaddyN.O.W loves his meat and potatoes, so I often see this as an opportunity to expose him to delicious, healthy, vegetarian food!  

Savory Tomato Galette
Inspired by a recipe I found on Pintrest

For the crust:
Subbed GF flour for half white flour and half whole wheat flour
I added fresh rosemary and fresh oregano

For the Filling:
I highly recommend using tofu ricotta, but I decided to go with traditional ricotta for my daddy.  I added fresh rosemary, basil, and oregano to the spice mixture.

For the Topping:
Sadly no good heirlooms in Ohio, so I stuck with halved cherry tomatoes.  I also omitted the parmesan and added a drizzle of truffle oil. 

Do not be intimidated by this recipe! The galette came together perfectly, my mind is already spinning with ways to lower the butter in the crust.  Im thinking pumpkin or chickpeas?

Of course, my family couldn't stop calling this a pizza, which infuriated me!   This galette is so much more than a pizza, it has a buttery flaky rust filled with herbs, a creamy ricotta filling, and tomatoes that just melt in your mouth.  Like I said-NOT a pizza!

Cold Melon and Avocado Soup
5 Cups Cantaloupe, cubed
1 Avocado
2 T Good olive oil
1/2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper*
5-8 fresh mint leaves

Greek yogurt, and more olive oil to garnish

Combine all ingredients except mint leaves and garnish in a large food processor or blender.  At one point the entire recipe looked like disgusting baby food, but as the cantaloupe continued to process the soup became and interesting orange with a pale green tint.

Once the soup is pureed, add slices of mint leaves and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

*This soup just needs a touch of spice, I added a pretty heavy pinch which tasted perfect at first, but as the soup cooled and the flavors melded the spice level went up!!

Top with a dollop of greet yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, and more mint leaves.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Beans N' Greens

On my last trip to whole foods I picked up a couple heads of baby bok choy.  I have wanted to create a recipe with these cute little creations for a while now, and I finally jumped on the opportunity.

Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with White beans and a Lemony Vinaigrette
For Beans
1/2 can of white beans
2 T Olive oil
2 T White vinegar
2 T Lemon juice
½ Onion Chopped (left raw)
~4 leaves fresh basil
~2 leaves fresh mint
½ Stevia in the Raw packet
Drain and rinse beans and set aside.  Chop onion and add to beans.  In a bowl, make your vinaigrette by mixing the remaining ingredients adjusting seasoning to taste.  Add vinaigrette to bean mixture, toss and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

For Greens
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 heads baby Bok Choy, separated, and rinsed
~2 T Olive Oil
½ Cup Vegetable Broth (or water)
Since this was my first time cooking with bok choy, I found some wonderful instructions on the internet!
 Cut base of Bok Choy off, separate and rinse leaves.  
Heat ~1T olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok, add garlic and fry until fragrant.  Add the greens and thoroughly toss!  Pour in veggie broth, immediately cover, and cook for one minute.  Season with a pinch of salt
Toss beans n’ greens together in a bowl and serve!

This dish gives the beans a very light and summery feeling, as opposed to a spice laden vegan chili which is equally delicious, but not so nice with the rising summer temperature. 
Happy Vegan Challenge!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Evolution of Chili

When I first moved out of my parents house I only knew how to cook two things.  The first was an easy dish involving a box of cooked pasta, and entire container of ranch dressing, sliced grapes, and a cut up pieces of a rotisserie chicken.  The second dish I knew how to make was chili.  I can hardly even call it that, because it was more like ground beef + taco seasoning topped with Fritos. Not vegan, not healthy, and not very creative.

Fortunately, my journey to wellness has included an interest in healthy cooking and the desire to cut animal products from my diet.  My chili has come a very long way in the last five years, and I am proud to say this is one of my FAVORITE dishes! 
Vegan Pumpkin Chili
1 Sweet Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Cup of Frozen Fire Roasted Corn (or one can)
1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Juices
1 Can Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 T Smoked Paprika
1 T Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chile Powder
1 tsp T Oregano
2 Bay Leaves

In a pot over medium heat, sauté garlic in ~1T olive oil until fragrant.  Add onions and continue to stir until they become translucent. 

Add in broth, pumpkin, tomatoes + juice and bring pot to a low boil.  Add in spice mixture reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.

I served my chili with store bought corn muffins (vegan) and homemade corn tortilla chips!

Easy Tortilla Chips
Corn Tortillas
Olive oil Spray

Pre heat your oven to 325, spray tortillas with oil, and sprinkle with salt.   Cut the tortillas into what ever shape you want, and place them in the oven on a greased+foiled cookie sheet.  These chips literally only take minutes!  Rather than set a timer I just plopped myself in front of my oven and watched them crisp up.

Day TWO of the vegan challenge is a success!! 

Weekend in Boston

Friday and Saturday I was a good vegan, but Sunday dissolved into a to-die for pescatarian sandwich! 
Here are some stand out pictures from my weekend in Boston with my brother!

Lunch on Friday! Simple dressing of equal parts apple cider vinegar and olive oil, drizzle of honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  So easy it doesn't even require measuring.  Massage dressing into kale leaves, and top with segmented orange and raw fennel.

Normally I would pack Greek yogurt and honey in addition to my salad, but since I am thinking about becoming a vegan, I bought some soy yogurt instead.  I was hoping this would serve as a good protein source, but I was wrong!! Only 6 grams compared to over 20 I would be getting from Greek yogurt.  AND it had both fat and saturated fat when the Greek yogurt I buy usually buy has none! 

Friday night the bro and I headed to one of the local beaches for a picnic.  I packed a teriyaki tofu sammi and a crisp apple, which I ate in the car because the second we got there it started to rain!  Fortunately we stumbled upon the bar from Good Will Hunting, and we waited out the storm with a Sam Adams in true Bostonian style.  

On Saturday we headed into the city to walk the freedom trail, and do some sightseeing.  We stumbled upon a fabulous market in the North End, and snacked on fresh fruit as we trotted around the city. 
Unfortunately we got caught in ANOTHER down pour, and made a dash for the closest restaurant.  Cold and wet, we were happy to sit down for big bowls of warm Vietnamese soup.  I had some sort of curried pho with tofu, while the bro had an AMAZING fish stew with pineapple.  Sounds strange, but the sweetness made for an interesting flavor combination.
On Sunday we headed to a Red Socks game!  My other brother was nice enough to get us tickets, and we had a blast! Thanks Luke! 

After the game, we headed to Boston Beer Works.  I couldn’t decide what beer I wanted, so I opted for a tasting flight.  Blueberry, watermelon, Boston red, and bean nut brown were my flavors of choice and they were all fantastic!  I was torn between the Blueberry and the Boston Red as my favorite!

I also devoured an incredible scallop Po Boy, and since my vegan streak had been broken, I ate the last of the ice cream in my fridge as well.

After my not so vegan weekend, I am officially announcing the beginning of my 10 Day Vegan Challenge!