Tofu’s where it’s at yo.

Tofu, not scary!

I think tofu gets the short end of the stick when we talk about healthy food. Tofu is to food as rap and country are to music. I often hear people say, “I like all music except rap and country (and I live in Nashville). It’s the same with tofu. Rarely do we hear anyone going on about their love of tofu. However, just like rap and country, I think if you give it a try and know what to make, you might really enjoy it.

I think Eminem said it best in the into of his Oscar-winning song “Lose Yourself”

Look, if you had one meal…one recipe,

to seize everyone’s taste buds in one dinner,

would you cook it?… or just get take out? … and the hook…

You better lose the fear of the bean curd, the soy bean.  Just cook it!  It doesn’t have GMO’s.

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to prove that tofu’s an ingredient that begs to be used!

At least that what I think he said:)

Or that famous country song,”She thinks my tofu’s sexy”?

Anyway…on to the tofu recipes. I used one block of tofu to make all three of these recipes. Make sure you buy organic tofu, it is not expensive, so as to avoid those pesky GMO’s.

The first recipe is a Double Broccoli Quinoa. This meal was fabulous, creamy, hearty, comforting and full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, good carbs…You name it, it’s here.

I am not posting recipes for the next two meals, because they are fairly self explanatory. I had some leftover broccoli pesto and 3/4 of the block of tofu leftover from the above meal. I decided to add to the pesto and make some tofu ricotta (recipe below). I used this tofu ricotta in the next two recipes. The first being a gluten-free white pizza with artichokes, sautéed spinach and the remaining roasted broccoli from the quinoa dish.  Just buy a pre-made whole grain pizza crust or make your own (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix), these are easy to find at any grocery store. The next meal was really easy. I made some pasta and dumped the remaining ricotta and all of our leftover pizza toppings into the pasta, it was awesome and took maybe 15 minutes.

I am adding a bonus tofu recipe as well that is sure to please everyone! I call it Tofu Pie, but you should not call it that. Maybe, Chocolate Mousse you’d never know it’s made of tofu but it is, pie? This recipe is beyond easy and has the added bonus of being full of protein.

Broccoli Quinoa

Double Broccoli Quinoa

4 Cups Broccoli Florets

3 Cups cooked quinoa

1 quarter block of extra firm tofu

1/2 cup almonds

juice of half a lemon

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 Garlic Cloves

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but easy to find at Kroger or Whole Foods)

Salt to taste

Cook Quinoa according to box instructions

Lightly steam half the broccoli

Roast the remaining broccoli at 400 (spray with a bit of non-stick cooking oil and salt) until crispy

Put steamed broccoli, tofu, red pepper, garlic, almonds, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Taste and adjust seasoning then stir the sauce into the quinoa.

Top with the roasted broccoli and some of the slivered almonds (avocado would be great as well)

This dish is full of protein, fiber and creamy goodness!

White Pizza with tofu ricotta, artichoke hearts, broccoli and spinach.

Tofu Ricotta

1 block extra firm tofu (remove, drain and squeeze the as much water as you can from tofu) crumbled

1/4 – 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and Pepper

You could also add chopped spinach or fresh basil to this.

Add all ingredients to a food processor, a blender or a bowl and mix. Lightly process if using a food processor or blender until it is the consistency of ricotta cheese. If mixing by hand just use a fork to mash and blend all ingredients together.

I have several friends who have successfully tricked their husbands with tofu ricotta:)

Tofu Pie (AKA, the I can’t believe is has tofu, tofu pie)

Tofu Pie (AKA, you will never guess there is tofu in this pie, pie)

1 Block Silken Tofu (this is the tofu that is in a cardboardish box, not the kind in the produce section)

1 Bag dairy free chocolate chips ( I like Trader Joes Brand)

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler

Combine the tofu and chocolate chips in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.f

Transfer to pie crust and chill in the refrigerator until pie sets.  You could also just eat this as pudding.

You can put this in any crust you desire, I make the one below;

Easy Oat Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups Oat Flour (you can make your own by processing oats in the food processor) – I buy gluten-free oats and oat flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp Coconut oil (melted)

4 Tbsp Water

Optional add ins here could be cocoa powder and agave or honey.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl (adding the water as you combine) mix with a fork

Transfer to a pie plate and press it into the mold with your fingers

Poke several holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake for 18 minutes at 350.

I hope you enjoy these recipes while listening to your favorite rap or country music.

Much Love,

Your Vegan Friend

It’s getting Chili!

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Colorful, easy, healthy, Veggie Chili

Hi Friends!

I am writing this post in my fuzzy robe and fuzzy socks. I love fuzzy sock weather. There is something so comforting about a warm blanket and cozy clothing. Maybe it’s because we know that wonderful fall/winter activities are on the horizon. Who can resist the pumpkin patch, warm apple cider, that crisp cool air filling your lungs, running or walking outside without feeling as if you may melt? Fall is magical, beautiful and filled with delicious food!

As soon as the temps started to drop I started craving chili. It’s easy, quick, inexpensive and lasts for days. It’s the perfect no fuss weekend meal when you want a dinner, lunch and dinner again kind of recipe. I make mine as easy as possible by using canned beans. Soon and very soon I plan to venture into the land of dry beans. This is not as daunting as it may seem, just requires some additional time and planning.

I also wanted to include that other fall staple, pumpkin, in my meal. My goal was to get a bit creative. I came up with pumpkin cornbread. Truth be told, I am not a huge cornbread fan. I always think it to be a rather dry, boring buttery spread vehicle. So my mission was clear. Make a flavorful, sweet, not dry cornbread…that is also gluten-free. Baking is not my forte so feel free to tweak this recipe as you see fit. I was pretty pleased with my first attempt. It tasted good on its own and also dunked in the chili, yum!

Yummy Gluten Free Pumpkin Cornbread

Easy Veg Chili

1 package frozen onion and pepper medley (mine had onion, red, yellow, green peppers)

2 cloves fresh garlic diced

1 jalapeno (diced, I seeded half of mine)

1 sweet potato peeled and diced

1 28 oz Can stewed tomatoes plus 1 14 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes

1 can black beans (drained)

1 can red beans (drained)

1 can kidney beans (drained)

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 cup frozen greens (I used turnip, you could also use collards)

3 Tbsp Chili Powder

3 Tbsp Cumin

1 Tbsp Garlic Powder

A dash or two of Cayenne (more for extra heat)

Salt to taste

Spray the bottom of a large pot with non-stick cooking spray and saute the onion/pepper combo, garlic and jalapeno until the onions are translucent.

Add your spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the remainder ingredients and bring to a boil, stir, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender and salt to taste along the way.

Pumpkin Cornbread

3/4 cup yellow corn meal

1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix (if you don’t need to be gluten-free, I’m sure you could use busquick)

3 tbsp agave nectar ( you can use maple syrup, or 1/4 cup of sugar as well)

Flax Eggs ( 2 tbsp milled flax-seed mixed with 3 or 4 tbsp water, set aside until a gel forms and add to recipe)

3/4 cup frozen corn kernels

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup to 1 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice… I would avoid rice since it has a watery consistency)

Mix all ingredients leave the milk for last and adjust for moisture. The batter will be quite thick. Since we are not using any raw animal ingredients you can taste the batter for sweetness and adjust to your taste.

Pour batter into a cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees until a knife or toothpick come out clean.

I hope you will enjoy these recipes as much as my family did.

My kids are on fall break this week so finding time to write is more difficult! I will be sharing my 3 tofu recipes as well as homemade veggie burgers (so easy) and Meatless meatloaf in future posts. Stay tuned my friends!

As always, thanks for reading, please pin or share this post with your friends and family.

Much Love,

Your Vegan Friend

May I speak with the chef?

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Where I vegan.

My big catch of fish! I was fly fishing (waders and all) and I believe these are rainbow trout.

This was my front yard growing up.

I grew up eating meat. I grew up in a family of hunters. I grew up on a lake. My dad owned (owns) several hunting rifles, fishing poles, filet knives etc… We also owned an ice fishing shanty. EVERY prom, homecoming, special occasion picture of my sister and I growing up are in front of our fire-place and underneath some mounted fish that our dad had caught.

Me, my sister and a family friend…under the fish:)

My sister Emily, years later…prom?…we have added more fish!!!!

My sister once walked into our dark garage straight into the carcass of a deer. On more occasions than I can count my mom cooked dinner while my dad fileted still flopping fish on the kitchen table. I will refrain from posting any hunting pictures…your welcome.

Vintage Dad

I have only choked once in my life…on a squirrel bone…yes, a squirrel bone. My dad held me up by my ankles and shook me until it dislodged (I’m sure he learned that technique from the Red Cross:)).

One of my favorite snacks growing up was chicken necks, gizzards and hearts. I remember sitting on our front porch with a bowl of them and a salt shaker…. Keepin’ it classy!!!

You can’t make this stuff up.

I say all of this to say, I have not always been a vegan. In fact, I was far from it for most of my life. I did not grow up in a family of “tree huggers” that set me on the path of healthy eating.  One of my specialties while I was in college was a hot plate meal of ground beef, beef rice ‘r’ roni, a can of corn and melted cheddar cheese on top. I loved my #2 meal from McDonald’s, 2 cheeseburgers, fries and a diet coke (of course) for $2. I loved it, had it my way, nacho supremed it and then some.  A healthy salad was iceberg lettuce, cheese and heaps of ranch dressing.

I dabbled while I was in college with a vegetarian diet, mostly for weight loss. Then, just decided that I liked food too much and started eating the way I normally had. Just to set the record straight, I can throw down. I love food, I love to eat. I think about food quite a bit, it is very important to me. I have never been one of those bird eaters who diet.

I have never worried so much about my weight, I have been blessed with some great genes. However, once I started working in an office environment where food seemed to just materialize I gained about 10 pounds and my cholesterol hit 211. I remember my Dr. telling me to lay off the butter… so that was all I did.

Then, when I was pregnant with my second child I developed an aversion to meat. I could barely look at it without wanting to hurl. I have always had a love of animals and just preferred not to think about where my food came from. The more I read about meat production and consumption the more it made sense to me. It started to become difficult to turn a blind eye. You know better, you do better, or so I have heard:)

Finally, I ended up seeing a television show produced by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) called 30 days. This particular episode centered on animal rights. It was my tipping point and I decided right there and then that I was done with animal products. I knew too much to turn my back any longer.

My reasons for going plant-based started there and have grown exponentially since then. The more I learned about the benefits going vegan had on animals, the environment, world hunger and most notably our health and wellness the more passionate I became. This was no longer a lifestyle, this was a crusade. I not only felt better than I ever had health wise, I also ate with a clear conscience. Not only did I not miss meat or cheese for that matter, I loved the new foods I was eating. I realized that I had the tools to help others change their habits as well. If this gizzard eating, squirrel choking girl can do this, anyone can!

I will be sharing in the weeks to come some reasons to check out plant-based living. The impact you can have on our planet. The myriad of ways you can shape the future of humanity. Ways that you can virtually bullet proof yourself against most of the diseases that plaque our great Country.

Keep reading my friends!

Much Love,

Your Vegan Friend