Warm Wheatberry Bowl

Yesterday after a long day of procrastinating and blog-planning at work (oh man is it stressful doing two weeks’ worth of posts in three days!), I stopped at my house, threw tons of clothes in a duffel, packed food into a backpack, and headed to my parents’ house. I have been saying that I would pack for London for the past week, but it hasn’t happened, so I went home to my parents because I knew that I would be yelled at if I didn’t pack.

Packing is slowly coming along, but I think I figured out why I haven’t been packing; I’ve been cooking.

My usual night-off-from-the-blog dinners usually consist of a bunch of ingredients thrown in a frying pan and tossed into a bowl with some sauce on top. They’re always delicious, but nothing spectacular. Last night, however, was an exception. This bowl was so good that I just had to share it with you.

Warm Wheatberry Bowl

makes four servings

1 C Wheatberries

1 Can Kidney Beans

1/2 Package of Extra Firm Tofu

1/4 C Unsweeted, Unflavored Soymilk

2 tsp Dried Rosemary

1 tsp Dried Thyme

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Dash of Paprika

1 Yellow Squash, sliced and quartered

8 White Mushrooms, sliced

In a medium saucepan, add a quart of water to a cup of wheatberries. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 1 hour. While wheatberries are cooking, combine herbs, spices, tofu, and soymilk in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Refridgerate. Once wheatberries are done, drain them and set aside. In a frying pan, toss squash and mushrooms in olive oil and saute. Add kidney beans, and once squash and mushrooms are almost cooked, add wheatberries. Pour prepared sauce over top and mix together.

Let heat on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until all ingredients are heated through.

Pour into bowls and enjoy! This sauce is delicious and pretty foolproof– you can add whatever herbs and spices your heart desires.

I had never had wheatberries before– usually I prefer rice, quinoa, or barley. But I think wheatberries will be joining the lineup– they’re delicious! They add texture to this dish and go really well with the sauce.

In other news… I’m leaving for London TONIGHT. It’s unreal. I can’t believe it. But next time you hear from me, I will be in Londontown, surrounded by pubs, royalty, fish n chips, and most importantly, Mark!!!

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!

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 😉 )

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 🙂