Sesame Soba Noodles

Since first making this dish, it has become J’s most requested meal. With minimal ingredients and prep-work, the entire dish can easily be whipped up in 30 minutes or less.

4.11.14Supper

Simple, Satisfying Sesame Noodles

  • 8-ounces buckwheat soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I usually use olive oil because it’s what we regularly have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Vegetables of choice (cauliflower, broccoli, sugar snap peas, julienned peppers)
  • If desired, add a favorite protein (baked tofu, chicken breast, etc.)

Toast sesame seeds in an ungreased pan until slightly browned and fragrant. Toss frequently to avoid burning. (And definitely don’t leave the room…trust me.)

Prepare sauce by mixing soy sauce, vinegar, oil and pepper flakes.

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Soba noodles are traditionally eaten cold, but J and I prefer them warm. If necessary, run a pot of boiling water over noodles to re-heat.

Meanwhile, prep veggies. I like to stir-fry or roast the vegetables with a little sea salt, black pepper and sriracha for extra heat.

Combine noodles, veggies, sauce and sesame seeds. Serve and slurp!

Recipe adapted from Elise’s Sesame Noodles.

What DO vegans eat? (or are they an evolved mix of grass-munching mouse-people?)

Spelt flour, a high-fiber, low GI carbohydrate; Ground flax replaces egg and unsweetened applesauce acts as a fat substitute; Immunity-boosting coconut

Upon telling someone you’re vegan…

“What do you mean you don’t eat meat?”

“Do you eat eggs?”

“No cheese, either?”

“Well, what the hell do you eat?!”

These questions are generally accompanied by a grimace, giving the impression that many people assume not eating meat or dairy means munching on nothing but lettuce leaves and wheatgrass. (For the record, I’ve never had wheatgrass and don’t plan to.) In answer to the myriad of questions regarding what vegans eat (because yes we eat and yes, vegan food can be delicious) I’m offering a glimpse at what goes on my plate on a “normal” day.

Breakfast: Mini pancake stack (made with spelt flour) with toasted coconut

Spelt flour, a high-fiber, low GI carbohydrate; Ground flax replaces egg and unsweetened applesauce acts as a fat substitute; Immunity-boosting coconut

Spelt flour, a high-fiber, low GI carbohydrate; Ground flax replaces egg and unsweetened applesauce acts as a fat substitute; Immunity-boosting coconut

Lunch: Homemade veggie burger (made with cannellini beans and brown rice), avocado, broccoli & sugar snap peas tossed with nutritional yeast

4.11.14Lunch

Cannellini beans are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals; Fiber and selenium in brown rice pack a double punch for colon health; Broccoli & sugar snap peas for vitamins like C & K; Nutritional yeast offers B-complex vitamins (I use one fortified with B-12 as well) and is a complete protein; Avocado, a source of over 25 essential nutrients

Afternoon Snack: Carrots and Hummus

4.11.14Snack

Hummus, containing chickpeas, tahini and olive oil, provides fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, zinc and magnesium; Carrots contain beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes.

Dinner: Sesame noodles with baked tofu and cauliflower

4.12.14Lunch

Buckwheat soba noodles for healthy whole grains; Tofu for low-calorie protein; Heart-healthy olive oil; Vitamin C packed cauliflower; Sesame seeds with cholesterol-lowering lignans

Evening Snack: Oatmeal with blueberries, flax seed, sunflower seed butter and a splash of almond milk. 

4.11.14Snack2

I almost always have oatmeal before bed. I find it keeps me sated through the night. Fiber-packed, cholesterol-lowing oatmeal; Blueberries, a rich source of multiple antioxidants; Flax seeds for vegetarian omega 3 fatty acids (ALA); Sunflower seed butter, a source of life-sustaining vitamins and minerals like selenium, magnesium, copper and vitamin e.

Mr. Fledermaus and A Vegan French Toast Recipe

As I sit here typing this, I’m listening to the scritch-scratch squeaking of a bat presumably trapped inside the wall. Hermes has been on guard for the past hour or so. I feel sorry for the little bugger, but should he happen to escape and fly victoriously into the middle of the house, I will undoubtedly scream like a sugar-dosed nine-year-old girl at a sleepover.

"I know you're in there..."

“I know you’re in there…”

Anyway…

I was craving something a little different the other morning and decided to give vegan French toast a shot. I’d never tried to replicate this comfort food favorite and was a little concerned the lack of egg would result in a mushy finished product. But, nope! The bread toasted nicely while maintaining smooth, soft insides. (That sounds weird, but you know what I mean…)

Non-Vegan Boyfriend Test Results: (after finishing his two slices in, oh, about three minutes) “It was good! I’d happily eat this every time you make it.”

frenchtoast2

Healthy Vegan French Toast

  • 2 slices sprouted grain bread
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon quinoa flour (though any flour would probably work just fine)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground flax
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 stevia packets (or sweetener of choice or omit if desired)
  • Pinch salt
  • Toppings of choice (nutbutter, fruit, powdered sugar, maple syrup…all of the above?)

(I keep my sprouted grain bread in the freezer, so before mixing up the batter I nuked a couple slices for about 30 seconds to thaw.)

In a shallow dish mix together, applesauce, almond milk, flour, flax, cinnamon, sweetener and salt. Dip bread slices in the batter to coat. I would avoid allowing the bread to soak in the batter as you would with traditional French toast. Fry in nonstick skillet lightly sprayed with cooking spray until golden brown on each side. Garnish, top, smother in deliciousness and enjoy!

Serves 1. Calories (without toppings) 224 Fat 3.1g Carbohydrates 40.2g Fiber 8g Protein 9.5g

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to attempt a shower and hope Mr. Fledermaus doesn’t accost me in my helpless state. (And yes, I know bats aren’t actually rodents and that they aren’t prone to attack. My imagination, on the other hand, isn’t so sure.)

 

Spicy Baked Tofu

Common adjectives associated with tofu: Boring. Bland. Meh.

Too bad, because tofu is only as “meh” as the method used to cook it. Think of tofu as a blank slate. Alone, it has very little flavor, but add spices, herbs or sauce and you have a delicious, high-protein addition to any meal.

Look at the crispy edges on those puppies!

Look at the crispy edges on those puppies!

Spicy Baked Tofu

  • 1 (1-inch) slab firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha

Press tofu between pieces of paper towel to remove excess liquid, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha; add tofu and swirl to coat. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. 

Preheat oven to 375. Place marinated tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Serve over rice, pasta, stir-fried veggies, salad greens…or whatever floats your boat.

This recipe serves 1 but could easily be doubled, tripled, etc.

I enjoyed my tofu over stir-fried cauliflower, sugar snap peas and diced avocado.

I enjoyed my tofu over stir-fried cauliflower, sugar snap peas and diced avocado.

Cauliflower Taco “Rice”

I adore carbohydrates. Rice, pasta, bread, you name it, I probably like it. And as a vegan, I get a lot of my daily protein from whole-grains. However, when you don’t feel like all the calories from carbs or perhaps are short on your veggie intake, I recommend making cauliflower “rice.” This dish is incredibly simple and can be seasoned to fit with a variety of courses.

This site has a great tutorial for different methods of cooking the cauliflower. The basic idea is to add pieces of cauliflower to a food processor and process until the consistency of rice then cook until softened. I wanted to make a taco-flavored rice, so while the cauli was pan-frying, I sprinkled it with chili-garlic powder, dry taco seasoning and sea salt and added a little red onion to the mix. Once cooked, I topped my rice with vegetarian refried beans and salsa.

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My cauliflower is a little larger than it ideally should be, as (alas!) my food processor died while blending frozen bananas. The result was still delicious and definitely nutrient-packed.

Apple Crisp Pancakes!

In case you couldn’t already tell, I really like pancakes. And if I may toot my own proverbial horn, this morning’s flapjacks were the bomb.

Cue Apple Crisp Pancakes. Ta-da!

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These babies were apple-y sweet with just a hint of crisp streusel topping in each bite. Mmm…

Apple Crisp Pancakes

  • 1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 stevia packet
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 flax egg (1/2 T ground flax and 1-1/2 T water)
  • 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin
  • ~1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 small apple, diced small

For the Streusel Topping

  • 1 tablespoon quick oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon Earth Balance spread
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

In a small bowl, prepare streusel topping by mixing oats, Earth Balance and brown sugar. I like to use my hands to combine well. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together flour, stevia, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add in pumpkin, flax “egg” and enough almond milk to bring to desired consistency, about 1/4 cup. Fold in apples. Pour pancakes onto a lightly-greased skillet or griddle and sprinkle streusel over top. Tap lightly to ensure the topping stays on the pancakes and doesn’t come flying off when you flip them. 🙂 Cook until golden brown on both sides.

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Serves 1. Calories: 202 Fat: 4.7g Carbohydrates: 33.7g Fiber 6.3g Protein 6g

Mmm…

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Lazy Girl Four-Can Chili

Bring some warmth to this chilly February day with a zero-effort chili that’s low on calories but packed with protein and fiber. Then sneak back under some blankets, ’cause damn it is cooold!

Chili

Lazy Girl Four-Can Chili

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can light red kidney beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • Chili seasoning (Lawry’s Chili & Garlic is amaze-balls), garlic powder, crushed black pepper

In a large saucepan, saute onion until slightly browned. Add black beans, kidney beans, drained corn, tomatoes and seasonings. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. To increase heat, try sauteing a bit of diced jalapeno with the onion.

Serves 4  Serving size: 1 cup (8-ounces) Calories: 294 Fat 1.5g Carbohydrates: 62.8g Fiber: 14g Protein: 15.7g

Chilileftovers

The next day, I cooked some seasoned brown rice and topped it with leftover chili for a fantastic lunch.