Orange Ginger Tofu

So you may have noticed a few changes around here… I thought it was time to up my image 😉

I skipped the gym today, and while it makes me disappointed in myself, I really needed the break. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that it’s not even nine pm yet. Foregoing the gym meant one very important thing– I had tons of time to cook!

My hypochondriac grandmother has a saying for when you don’t feel well but can’t quite put your finger on what’s ailing you: an undercurrent.

Though when this word is normally used, it’s coming from a place of craziness, today it is the only way to describe how I’m feeling. My throat doesn’t hurt, my nose isn’t running, I just feel like I’m coming down with something. Cue the citrus fruits! What better way to incorporate that all-important OJ into my dinner than a marinade?

Orange Ginger Tofu with Orzo, Spinach, Brussels Sprouts, Squash, and  Onion

makes two servings

Ingredients:

1/2 a Block of Extra Firm Tofu

1/4 C Orange Juice

1 tsp Ground Ginger

1/8 tsp Garlic Powder

1/8 tsp Onion Powder

4 Brussels Sprouts

3/4 C Orzo

1 C Raw Spinach

1/4 of an Onion

1/2 a Yellow Squash

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Slice Tofu into four 1/4 inch slices and press for 20 minutes.

While the tofu is pressing, make your marinade. Combine orange juice, ginger, garlic powder, and onion powder, and mix well with a fork until murky and no clumps remain.

Marinate tofu for half an hour. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a baking sheet. Cook orzo according to package instructions. In a frying pan, heat olive oil. Cut brussels sprouts in half, chopping off the ends.

Cook on low heat, covered, watching carefully for 8 minutes, until browned on flat side. Add chopped onion and squash, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add spinach, cover, and turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Bake tofu for 25 minutes at 375, then flip, pour extra marinade on, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more. Tofu should be lightly browned and slightly crispy.

Once done, pile a plate with orzo, vegetables, and tofu, and drizzle with any leftover marinade.

This is a really light meal, perfect for when your appetite is curbed by an “undercurrent” (or just one too many mango smoothies 😉 )

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Vegan Mac and Cheese 101

Happy Valentine’s Day! Even if you are alone today, make the most of it. Do something kind for yourself! Make time for you! Paint your toenails, take a nap, or make some vegan mac and cheese 😉

Vegan Mac and Cheese with Squash and Spinach

makes two servings

Ingredients:

2 servings of your pasta of choice

1/4 C Earth Balance

1/4 C Unsweetened Plain Soymilk

1 C Vegetable Broth

2Tbsp + 1 Tsp Flour

3/4 C Nutritional Yeast

1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

1/4 Tsp Onion Powder

1/2 of a Yellow Squash, cut into cubes

1 C of Raw Spinach

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Boil water for your pasta, and cook according to package instructions. The choice of pasta shape is crucial here! You want to buy a shape that holds onto sauce really well. I usually use elbows, fusilli, or gobletti. While your water is boiling and your pasta is cooking, melt the Earth Balance in a sauce pan. In a small bowl, mix together flour and soymilk until all clumps are gone. Add to melted Earth Balance. Add the vegetable broth and stir well. Mix in nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder. Continue to stir occasionally as the sauce thickens. In a frying pan, saute cubed squash in olive oil until just cooked (the white middle will become translucent). Add spinach and continue to saute until spinach is lightly cooked. Once your sauce has reached desired thickness, pour in drained, cooked pasta and cooked veggies. Combine everything and enjoy!

[NOTE: If you have a lot of time or have anything against garlic powder or onion powder, put 2 cloves of garlic and a chopped half of an onion into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add this before you add the flour soymilk mixture and saute on low heat for a few minutes. However, you will get better texture with the powder that the whole vegetables. ]

I am obsessed with this meal. I make it at least once a week, normally. I would advise not eating this if you have a date coming up, as it does have a lot of garlic and onion. However, sometimes you just have to make sacrifices 😉 This cheese sauce is creamy, gooey, and absolutely delicious over pasta and vegetables. It’s really good poured over broccoli, and makes a great addition to a creamy potato-based soup. I usually add in a little cayenne and salt and pepper to give this sauce some more pizzazz.

Memorize this recipe and use it often. And treat yourself to some as-good-as-the-real-thing vegan mac and cheese this V-day 🙂

Sweet Potato Curry Bean Burgers

I had an extremely up-and-down three day weekend! I got to Skype with Mark a few times, and hearing his voice is the best feeling ever! I also got to open my fifth present (I get a present every Monday that Mark left for me before he left… I am so lucky) and it was a ton of vegan candy bars and chocolates… I think he’s trying to get me fat! I also got to spend a lot of time with my family this weekend. My extended family on my mom’s side came to my parents house for the night on Saturday and it involved lots of wine and dancing to motown… a successful night! On top of that, though, I’ve still been struggling a lot with my anxiety and am having a lot of roommate troubles. I live with three other girls and two of them are wonderful, but the other has no respect for the rest of us. It’s starting to become a real issue (aka world war III is currently going on in our house) and I’m trying to stay out of it because I feel like the added stress would not be good for me.

I’m apologizing in advance for this week’s posts: I did not organize myself before going grocery shopping this weekend so anything that get’s posted on here will have been thought up on a whim (except for carrot cake… coming soon!) I did, however, find something spectacular at the store.

Saying, “goodbye” to nutella was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do 😉

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is a lot less sugary than traditional Nutella, but I actually prefer this stuff! It has a nutty flavour with a hint of cocoa, and has a much less “frosting”-like texture. However, this stuff has quite the price tag on it and I’ve made vegan nutella from scratch before (recipe forthcoming!) that tastes about the same.

But I do have an amazing recipe for you now! Mark had emailed me a recipe that he’s been cooking a lot that I’m sure will make it up here at some point, but my roomie and I decided to modify it and came up with…

Sweet Potato Curry Bean Burgers

Ingredients:

1 Sweet Potato, peeled and shredded

1 can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can Lentils, drained and rinsed

1 Cup Baby Spinach

Curry, to taste

Olive Oil

Flour

In a large bowl, roughly mash lentils and chick peas. It’s fine to leave some whole beans in here– it shouldn’t been a completely smooth paste.

Combine mashed beans, spinach, and shredded sweet potato. Mix in your curry (our’s consisted of curry powder, garlic powder, ginger, and dill) and combine until everything is well coated.

Coat your hands with flour and form the mixture into burger patties. We got about five patties out of this batch. Preheat a frying pan with a light layer of olive oil, and once hot, place a few burgers at a time into the pan on low heat.

Cook for 5 minutes on each side, covering with a lid once you carefully flip the burger for the first time. This ensures that the sweet potato will cook through and that the center of the burger will cook as well. These tend to fall apart slightly, so just reshape once you flip them.

Serve however you desire! I put mine on half a burger bun with a little tahini and garlic chili sauce, but these are delicious served on top of basmati rice.

If you only need a few burgers, make however many you need and store the rest of the mixture in the fridge to prep for leftovers- these keep really easily and you just have to cook for a little longer since the ingredients aren’t at room temperature.

Hope you had a great weekend! Happy Monday!