Friday, December 30, 2011

Crunchy BBQ Tofu

Crunchy BBQ Tofu

* 1 Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (buy 2 if you want extra sauce for dipping)

* 2 Lbs of Extra firm tofu (frozen, thawed & pressed)

* 1 Bag of Panko bread crumbs

* 2-3 TBL Nutritional yeast

Take the frozen, thawed and pressed tofu cut it in to 4th’s and then into 4th’s again so you end up with fat strips of tofu. Do this with each 1 pound block of tofu.

Take a large ziplock bag and fill it with the whole bottle of BBQ sauce. Add the tofu and squish around a bit to make sure the tofu is entirely covered. Marinate for at least 12 hours. I like to do mine the night before.

After your tofu is finished marinating, preheat your oven to 375F. Grab out a baking sheet and a plate. On the plate mix together your panko bread crumbs and nutritional yeast. One by one take the tofu strips out of the bag and press the panko into them making sure they are thoroughly covered in crunchy goodness.  Lay on the baking sheet. Once finished coating the tofu in the panko put the coated strips in the oven for 15 minutes, flip then bake another 15 minutes. If you want your tofu super crunchy (which I ALWAYS do) then turn your broiler on and broil for 1 – 2 minutes on each side. Take out the oven and ENJOY!  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Whoops, It's been a little while.

Well Folks my apologies, it’s been “a little while” since my last post. We’ve all been in a different land this summer/fall/winter while living with my parents. There have been weird health mysteries, crazy drama and some serious asthma problems with R. I shall attempt to update you while I also attempt for what feels like the millionth time to watch Torchwood. I feel like I should love this show but for some reason I don’t yet.

A New Year is almost upon us which of course means we all make some sort of resolution. Mine will be to drink more fluids that are NOT coffee. I’ve been very bad about this lately and going days without drinking anything but coffee. Whoops.  Resolution number two will be to get the whole family back on track with eating healthfully and living frugally. During the stress of this summer we have all slacked into bad eating habits and ease of use products. The doing of this has ended me with an unhealthy and lazy feeling.
In other exciting news we will be moving out of my parent’s house and back into our own place again at the end of January. YAY! Thank the heavens because living here has gotten us all in a slum of sorts. 

The new place isn’t the best but it will be ours for the year. I will for the 1st time have access to a washer and dryer of my own and the boys will each get their own room. Yay for not having anymore toddlers sleeping in the same room as me, it will be nice to read with the light on.  Not with a flashlight under the covers.  

Plans for this new home will be a mini garden on the patio using hanging canvass shoe trees, adorable curtains in every room, a large playroom/craft room in the basement and LOTS of organizational things everywhere.  At this new home we will be close to downtown, a farmers market, a great foreign foods market and the zoo. Plenty of activities to keep R and H busy and happy.

T has started a new job at the insurance company he works for. He is now in his actual field of work, you know…  like the one he went to school for. I’m pretty sure he is very happy about this, I am very happy about this. Not only does it mean we have stable income above the lowest poverty line it means that my Hubby has a job he is proud of and enjoys doing.  

I think that pretty much brings us up to the present. I will try and start posting more often including my attempt at making crunchy BBQ tofu strips with baked potatoes and veggies tonight!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Burgundy Stew

Olive oil

1 Large leek, slice thin

4 tsp (or to taste) minced garlic

Half bag frozen pearl onions

4 turnips, cubed

3 parsnips, sliced

3 red potatoes (skin on or off), cubed

1 c. frozen green beans

8oz mushrooms, cut in half

1 glass red wine (8oz ish, whatever kind you have)

3-4 c. Veg broth (just enough to slightly submerge the veg)

1 can white beans (or whatever beans you have)

1 Tbl. Basil

1 tsp.ish caraway seeds (until it smells right)

1 small can (1/4c.) tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste (do this at the very end)


            Saute leek and garlic until soft.

Add in onions, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes, sauté for a couple minutes until veg picks up a bit of color. 

Add in green beans and mushrooms.
Add red wine and let bubble for a minute then pour in the veg stock and tomato paste, stir.

Add basil and caraway seeds.

Cover leaving the lid slightly vented and cook for 20-40 minutes or until veg is tender. Time depends on how large you chop your veg.

After you veg is tender and your stew looks thick, taste for salt and pepper. 

Season as you see fit.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day Seven and a half: After effects

Yesterday was the birthday party lunch and I decided to go the route of not offending anyone. I am definitely paying the price. At the lunch there was roast beef (which I passed on), cheesy potatoes, salad, carrots(covered in butter) and biscuits with a topper of pineapple upside down cake. I ended up eating a very large salad with small helpings of the potatoes and carrots, a biscuit with a tiny piece of cake. Of course I felt guilty, anyone does when they go off any diet but that was not the worst thing...

A preemptive statement: I guess my body much prefers eating a vegan diet and wanted to let me know what would happen if I deviated from it. Just for reference Tom and Raeden are fine. This morning I had one of those moments of slight panic where commercial theme songs start running through your head like "gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now" and "Nausea, heartburn, indigestion! Upset stomach, diarrhea!" It was awesome. With a few hours past and a good cup of coffee I feel fine. Those 15 minutes of terror were enough to scare me into straight up lying next time I have a lunch thing!

Fun times.

We did have a yummy dinner last night though. Cauliflower red lentil curry with brown rice. I love curries. They are so comforting, like a tasty warm blanket... sort of. I didn't always think they were so good. Definitely an acquired taste but also one that is easily developed when eating vegan.

Off now to buy cleaning supplies (seventh generation brand) and do a second mini move. Then lunch with my parents and supposedly a workout tonight (we will see, heh).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day Six: Nuggets

Sometimes there is just nothing like a nugget. A tasty crunchy delicious nugget and that is exactly what we ate tonight. Chick-Un nuggets with mustard sauce, tater wedges and corn. Very yellow, very almost junk food and very needed for a Friday night. Raeden even ate 3 helpings of corn! Sometimes you need a little "gross" to feel a little good.

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. Going to Toys R Us to buy Raedens birthday present, Glodes futon to get prices for a new super high end futon (to replace our couch and bed when we move again) and then off to Grandma Rubys for Bobs (Toms father) birthday lunch.

Lunch, eating at someones house who eats/cooks meat. This always seems to be a difficult and awkward thing. I never know quite what to do. Do I say "Sorry I don't eat Animal or Animal by-products." I'm guessing that would end in LOTS of questions, teasing, and general annoyance for a long period of time. I could go the route of "I'm not feeling very well." That's straight up lying though. Last option I could shut up and eat the food so I don't alienate any of Toms family or piss off his Grandma for not eating the food she made for us. Which would leave me with serious food eating guilt. Oh the troubles. I think I may need to wing this one. Feel out the moment and see what I can and cannot get away with. 

I Will report the out come tomorrow.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day Four/Five: African stew and Comfort food

Yesterday was mini move day. Accomplishing yet terrifying at the same time. The realization of how many things I really do own... oh Lord. Food the past two days has been awesome though.

Yesterday was an African sweet potato stew with peanuts. It was sweet and a little spicy. Totally creamy and we served it over couscous, Amazing (thanks for cooking Hunny).

Tonight was comfort food night. Twice baked potatoes with earth balance "butter" and Tofutti Better than cream cheese mixed in. Giant portabella mushrooms braised in a wine, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar marinade. With a salad of mixed greens dressed with a little bit of the mushroom "sauce". It was AWESOME, one of those meals that you bite into and are like Holy F*** Best Thing EVER. I love meals like that, so simple and yet so tasty.

Went shopping for big boy beds today. Decided that when we finally move out of our "transitional" housing that we want the boys to have whats called a Jr. Loft bed. They are like bunk beds only shorter and not dangerous for a 3yr old. It was Raeden approved which is what really matters. Well the fact that it's built out of solid pine and rated up to 400lbs per bed doesn't hurt either. 

It's already time to make a new meal plan and grocery list. Shopping on Sunday and then it's already been one week. I think so far I have very easily fallen back into eating vegan. Even my husband hasn't complained (which is VERY nice). Off to a good start and hopefully it will be a long run this time. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day Three: Mmm Stir fry... eh packing.

Today I packed and packed. I tried to pack all the non-essential items I could find. I feel like I did not pack enough. We shall see tomorrow.We're doing a "mini" move tomorrow. Trying to lighten the load off of the major move. Eh. I really hate moving, it's so stressful and disorganized. On the plus side we have decided on where we shall reside next (after this interlude). DOWNTOWN MADISON. Yes folks that's right, downtown Madison. I'm tired of feeling like an old person at 22. Time to be able to walk to things like the co-op, farmers market, the children's museum and many coffee shops! Ahh sigh of relief. Okay Continue.

Tonight's dinner was one that I have made several times before. It's an easy Asian stir fry using Pan fried tofu, sesame oil coated whole wheat linguine and a veg mix of nappa cabbage, shredded carrots, green onions, peapods, fresh ginger and garlic. Quickly stir fry, add in a bit of soy sauce (chili paste if you wish) and TA-DAH tasty dinner.   

Weirds me out a bit how much that piece of tofu looks like a fillet of fish...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Second day of eating vegan and I thought I should make a point to explain what exactly it is I/we are doing here. My family and I are EATING vegan. We by no means claim to be burlap wearing super vegans. By eating vegan I mean exactly that. It's like using a title such as omnivore, it explains our dietary habits not lifestyle. We still wear leather (mainly my new cowgirl boots), and use soaps that contain dairy products and things like that. I commend anyone with a big enough moral compass to live a vegan lifestyle but for me.... no thanks.

A few years ago before I met my current husband and had my children I was eating vegan. I felt great, looked great and the food was awesome. With the pressure of being newly married and then 2 children in 2 years we succumbed to a life of take out pizza and canned soups for ease and cheapness. Well, now that life has settled down (uhh.. in a way) we are able mentally to concentrate more on things like our own health. Speaking of our own health, in the past year I have been on 8 different antibiotics, a few antivirals and a couple other random medications. Right after I had my second boy I got endometrisis which is a crazy infection of the uterine lining that happens sometimes after more difficult childbirths. That was horrible and draining and the cause of most of the antibiotic use. After that I've just been plagued most of the year with strange random illnesses and constant colds. The most recent traumatic event is having all four of my wisdom teeth removed resulting in every complication you can have with them. I had them removed 6 weeks ago now and they are finally now JUST starting to close.

Back to the point. I've always felt that what you eat and how you live has a VERY direct effect on your overall health and mental being. When your body is not getting the fresh living foods (plants) that it needs it can't function properly anymore and starts to malfunction which just results in a cycle of never ending health issues (me). Of course there are other things that effect health such as sleep amount and quality, toxins that you're exposed to on a daily basis..ect. I do think personally the most detrimental is not eating properly. Insert eating vegan here.

Eating this way you're forced in a way to eat the proper grains, veg and fruit that you need. After a while it becomes normal and natural. You never feel restricted or like your on a diet. There are so many choices for foods to eat and how to prepare them its crazy. All you need is a willingness to try and the ability to read. Seriously I can't go around tying people up and force feeding them Kasha all day long. Although...

Tonight's dinner was an easy simple one we have enjoyed for a long time. Crunchy tacos. Just everyday plain old tacos (with a few variations). Personally I don't like ground fake meat, I think it's weird and chewy. We make our taco filling with black or pinto beans, sliced onions and taco sauce. Top with Tofutti Better then Sour Cream, lettuce (or in my case spinach), clinatro, salsa, black olives, and whatever else suits my fancy that night. Most brands of taco sauce and shells don't contain animal products/by-products but always double check. I have good luck with Ortega which is a local company here.

Now to sleep. Hopefully breathing through my nose and wake-up to Grandma day! (That means one less child and more things get done. Yay.) 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day One: The sickness is over whelming.

Okay, so the title may be a bit drastic but we all felt awful today. Sickness (colds, ear infections and a bout of strep) reins in our house currently. Feels like a never ending circle of feeling under the weather. Besides the throbbing head pain and screaming children today went rather well. Breakfast of oatmeal and frozen fruit was gobbled up by the Two year old. Lunch was picked at and the Pizza dinner was alright.
Pizza without cheese seems to be a tricky thing. To those of us who are accustomed to the cheesy variety the above specimen must look horribly naked. In reality cheese-less pizza can be a very big disappointment if done wrong. Above was tonight's attempt at a "Basic" pizza, something we would eat on a busy night.  It was good but felt lacking. To close to the Thing that SHOULD have cheese, right? I think to look at pizza in a vegan way you need to change your whole mind on what pizza should entail. Next Monday (Monday is designated Pizza Night) I'm thinking about trying something along the lines of a pizza with Italian TYPE toppings but not pizza toppings. Jardiniere or a spicy pickled veg salad as a topping for example. We shall see. I will be pondering the "Basic" pizza topping this week. On to a hopefully better (feeling and tasting) day tomorrow.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In the begining.

Tomorrow starts the adventure through the Vegan world. One I have started before but hopelessly fell off the wagon with my first pregnancy. After a few years and a second pregnancy it’s time to get back on track. This time I have my husband on board for the single reason that he gained 30 pounds of “baby weight” himself.  Back to a more organized and healthy life of meal plans, home cooking, working out and figuring out how to do it with a husband, a two year old and a 9 month old. Let the games begin!