Thursday, May 31, 2012

Clean-out-your-fridge fried rice

It's the end of my work week and it's been a week since our last grocery trip. This means that I'm tired and there's not a lot of food in the house. So, when looking through the cabinets this morning I decided to make some fried rice and clean out some of the older veggies and things from our fridge and freezer. I made the rice this morning (it's best if it's cold when you add it to the stir fry- this little gem of cooking knowledge is thanks to my friend Emily) and then popped it in the fridge for the day. All I had to do when I got home was press and fry the tofu and cut the veggies for the stir fry. So easy. Feel free to play around with the ingredients, especially the sauces. I used leftover homemade sweet and sour sauce from some skewers we did on the grill this weekend. I bet a simple soy sauce would be great too. I'll just put down the ingredients for what we had but again, feel free to play around with the recipe.

Ingredients: (4 servings)

cold brown rice (from 1 cup dry)
1 onion, cut in moon shapes
a few cloves of garlic, minced
a few handfuls of kale, chopped
part of a bag of frozen mixed veggies (carrots, peas and corn)
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into desired pieces
sesame oil
soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds

1. Make your rice ahead of time and stick it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.

2. When ready to make the fried rice, drain then press the tofu for about 10 minutes. Cut into desired shapes and fry in a bit of sesame oil until browned. Set aside.

3. Chop up the other veggies and heat up a splash of sesame oil in a wok (or a big pan, but really, a wok is fantastic).

3. When the oil is heated, sauté the onions until translucent or even starting to brown. Add the kale and garlic and heat until the kale is wilty. Add the frozen mixed veggies and a splash of soy sauce and sauté mixture until it's heated through and starting to cook. The kale should be all wilted by now.

4. Add the rice and fry for a few minutes, stirring and flipping it over as it cooks. Now add the sauce and stir until it's mixed in- add the tofu last and gently stir and cook for about another minute so it can absorb some sauce.

5. Serve with some toasted sesame seeds or soy sauce if desired.

This rice would also be great with some pineapple and cashews, maybe some beans instead of tofu, or with different spices and even non-asian influenced sauces. Go nuts!

Here's what Estes was doing while I was cooking:

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peanut butter and banana toast

This is a super easy and very filling breakfast (or lunch or snack). My cousin made something similar to it last year when we were all in Florida and it inspired me to make this version. I was prepping for a big jog (woo! I'm running again!) and wanted a good breakfast in me.


2 pieces toast (I used Ezekial brand)
1 banana
1-2 Tbs peanut butter

Make your toast. Spread peanut butter evenly over each slice. Then, thinly slice the banana on top of the peanut butter. Drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

So easy. I have a few other posts up my sleeves but have been having trouble getting them up because of our lovely little puppy and her crazy schedule. Right now she's sleeping on the stairs so I thought I'd get a quick post in. More to come!

On a running note- for you locals, there's a 5K at Grimm Brothers Brewery in Loveland on July 4th. Free pint after the race! Michael and I are running in it! This will be my first race post knee injury so I'm excited and glad that so far the running has been going well. If this goes well we'll see about the 10K I have on my wish list for the end of July...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Creamy pasta

Today was a long day and it's been a long week. I got home from work today and the only thing I wanted was to have take-out or a big gooey cheesy pizza or box mac n cheese. On days like today I try to take a step back and think about how I'll feel after I eat any of these things. I'm not saying I never have that food but when I'm already stressed the last thing I want to do is stress about how I feel after I eat. So instead of the tofu scramble we planned on having I decided to whip up a creamy pasta dish. Comforting, creamy, easy, and I already had all the ingredients on hand. I can't take any credit for the recipe- it comes from Oh She Glows. Angela served hers with some sautéed greens and I served ours with sautéed garlic, onions, red pepper and spinach. Basically we used up the veggies left in our fridge. Don't expect alfredo sauce but it really is a nice, creamy sauce. I think I'll play around with the non-dairy milk and try something other than almond next time. Sometimes the almond taste comes through too much for me, even though we use just plain, unsweetened.


16 oz or less of pasta
1/3 heaping cup raw cashews
3 garlic cloves
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs almond milk (as needed to make it as thin or thick as you'd like)
1 Tbs lemon juie
2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp miso paste (optional)
1 Tbs tahini
pinch of nutmeg
salt, to taste (about 1/4-1/2 tsp?)
1/2 tsp paprika, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
veggies or herbs of your choke to add into the mix

1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Cook veggies.

2. Add all ingredients except for pasta and veggies to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. When pasta is done, drain it and pour in the sauce and veggies and cook on medium heat until heated through.

4. Serve with a nice glass of red wine, especially if you've had a long week!

With just a little teeny bit of work you can skip the processed crap and still have an easy and comforting dinner after a long week. This dish took all of 15-20 minutes. You could even skip the fresh sautéed veggies and add some frozen spinach or broccoli and garlic powder into the mix. Even easier!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My first tofu scramble

I've been wanting to make a tofu scramble for a long time and tonight was finally my night! It came up on our menu because we're going to Moab with some friends soon and are planning on making tofu scrambles for breakfast and I wanted to do some test runs before bringing the recipe there. This one is definitely a keeper. I've been to some breakfast places and ordered tofu scrambles before and all they do is crumble tofu (unseasoned) into a scramble of veggies. Not too exciting. I like this recipe because it has a lot of spices for flavor and nutritional yeast to give it a more eggy/cheesy texture and taste. For those of you who love scrambled eggs and are leery about tofu- still give this a try but it might not do it for you, unless you're trying to cut out eggs from your diet. If you're like me and never loved scrambled eggs but liked them then you might love this recipe. OK so anyways, this comes from the Post Punk Kitchen blog site. It's a great base for whatever add-ins you'd like to use. I added onions, red pepper, spinach and some fake bacon bits.


Spice blend:
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs water

2 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 5)
1 lb extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
fresh black pepper to taste
(+any other add-ons)

1. Stir the spice blend together in a small cup. Add water and mix then set aside.

2. Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Sauté the garlic (and onion if using) in olive oil for about 4 minutes. Here is when I sautéed the chopped red pepper, followed by the spinach.

Here's what little Estes was doing while I was cooking:)
3. Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and sauté for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom and don't let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is. The tofu should get browned on at least one side, but you don't need to be too precise about it. The water should cook out of it and not collect too much at the bottom of the ban. If that is happening, turn the heat up and let the water evaporate.

Before spice blend.
After spice blend.
4. Add the spice blend and mix to incorporate. Add the nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm.

We ate this for dinner but it would make an excellent breakfast choice too, of course!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mom's tomato sauce

I made this sauce on Sunday afternoon and for one of the first times our new house smelled like a home! I mean, it was probably a mix of the freshly cut grass from Saturday, the rain that was coming down and this sauce, but still! The sauce smells wonderful. But really, anything with sautéed onions and garlic smells amazing. It brings me back to my childhood when my mom often had a pot of this simmering on the stove.

A key to this recipe is the quality of canned tomatoes you get. I like Muir Glen because they are organic, good quality and the cans are now BPA free! My mom likes Red Pack. The point is- don't get the cheap store brand stuff. This recipe makes a lot of sauce but the good news is you can freeze it in small containers and pull it out as needed (which is what we did!). Feel free to play around with the herbs and spices in the recipe or to substitute fresh ones. I just pruned our basil plants and used them. I also added a splash more wine:)

Without further ado...

Mom's Tomato Sauce Recipe

2 cans (29 oz) Tomato Puree
1 can (29 oz) Whole Tomatoes (you chop or cut up)
 ½ cup dry red wine (or as much as you like)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 sm onion chopped well
4 garlic cloves minced or chopped and crushed
¼ cup green pepper chopped fine (you may omit this if you want)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar (or agave nectar)
ground pepper (to taste)
2 tsp dried Basil
2 tsp dried Oregano
(I added some rosemary)

1. Cook onions and garlic in oil just until tender (don’t brown).

2. Add tomato puree, tomatoes and wine.  Bring to just boil and reduce to simmer.

3. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for about 1 ½ hrs (stirring occasionally).

4. Taste to adjust spices (may need more).

See! It's really easy. Plan ahead and freeze a bunch of containers of it and then you'll have sauce on hand for whenever you want it!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Banana walnut waffles

If you couldn't already tell from my last two posts, we've had a surplus of over-ripe bananas in our house. Michael and I both really love banana nut muffins and so I was browsing through some breakfasty recipes  in my cookbooks and found this one for banana nut waffles. Perfect, because we still have a bunch of bananas to use up soon. There are two left- maybe I'll throw together some banana bread to stick in the freezer. Anyways, the recipe comes from Veganomicon and I just changed a few parts of it to suit my tastes.


2 c almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 average-sized bananas
3 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c all-purpose unbleached white flour
3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped finely

1. Preheat your waffle iron. Pour the milk and vinegar into a measuring cup and set aside to curdle.

2. Mash the bananas very well in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture, oil, syrup and vanilla and stir.

3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Use a fork to combine. Do not overmix, just mix until there are minimal lumps left. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

4. Spray the cooking surfaces of your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray and cook the waffles according to manufacturer's directions.

Keep waffles warm in the oven!
Serve these with strawberries or other fresh fruit and lots of maple syrup. This is a perfect weekend breakfast dish that can carry over through the week- waffles freeze really well! Just pop them in the toaster and voilà, fresh waffles during the week.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Banana cupcakes with lemon icing

I've been busy! Busy with other stuff, not with updating my blog. But here is a recipe for a delicious dessert that can hold its own during any season. The banana cupcakes are fall-ish but with the lemon frosting they instantly become summery. They're easy to make and the recipe comes from Chloe's Kitchen. You can make the cupcakes ahead of time and pop them in the fridge or freezer- just thaw before frosting and frost them just before eating. I think these cupcakes would also make a lovely cake with lemon glaze. Maybe I'll do that next time. The recipe says it makes 18 cupcakes but I just made 12 and then a mini cake which I snacked on while I was cooking other things. I also filled the cupcake liners more than normal so they were fuller cupcakes. Feel free to make 18 though.

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup mashed bananas, from approximately 2 very ripe bananas mashed on a plate using the back of a fork.
1 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract

Icing Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs water
1/4-1 tsp lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. In a separate bowl, whisk together banana, coconut milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla.

3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.

4. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted int he center of a cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

To make the icing:
Whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice, water and zest in a small bowl until smooth.

To assemble the cupcakes:
Spread a thin layer of the lemon icing over each cupcake.