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Posts Tagged ‘tofu’

One thing I almost always do on Mondays is to  fix up a big batch of something and portion it out as lunches for the week. I usually make something I like, but that my husband doesn’t enjoy. I don’t get bored easily with leftovers so it works out okay for me to be the only one eating it.

I’ve been craving pad thai lately, but didn’t have all of the ingredients to make any of my go-to recipes for this dish. I decided to create my own which was a little scary. I’m great at following recipes exactly or tweaking an existing recipe, but I don’t just wing it very often. This one actually turned out to be delicious! I like to call it:

What-I-Have-In-My-Fridge Tofu Pad Thai

(makes 5 very generous servings; could make 6-8 smaller servings as desired)

  • 8oz uncooked rice noodles (You could also use thin spagetti or angel hair pasta, preferably whole wheat.)
  • 14oz. extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 2 bunches of broccoli, about 4 cups
  • 1 medium carrot or about 12 baby carrots
  • 4 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce or soy sauce (I used reduced sodium.)
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • pinch sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons jalapeno peppers or green chile peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
  • fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley (whatever you have handy)

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for about 1 hour or according to package directions. Drain well. (If you’re using thin spagetti or angel hair pasta, cook it according to the package directions.)

Press the moisture out of your tofu. Many people do this using paper towels. I prefer microfiber towels. I think they’re more absorbent and less wasteful.

First, lay your tofu on the towel in a single layer.

Top with another towel.

Top the whole thing with something flat and pretty heavy. (That’s a full tea kettle.)

Let stand until you’ve removed as much liquid as possible from the tofu. Then, transfter the tofu to a dish, drizzle with 1 Tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce and let it marinate.

Steam the broccoli and carrots until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. I’m a big fan of the Ziploc steamer bags for making 1-2 portions of steamed veggies, but I like to break out my Calphalon steamer pot for big jobs like this.

While your tofu marinates and your veggies steam, mix up your sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 Tablespoons of your fish sauce or soy sauce, 3 Tablespoons water, 3 Tablespoons lime juice, 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard and the pinch of sugar. (NOTE: I don’t really like my pad thai to be very sweet. If you do, adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste.)

Place a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the peanut oil. Add your tofu and cook until heated through. You’ll want to turn your tofu so it cooks evenly, but be gentle so it doesn’t fall apart. Once it’s done, move it to a bowl, cover to keep warm and set aside.

Heat the other 2 teaspoons in your wok or skillet. Add the garlic and jalapeno or chile peppers. Heat just until they release their flavors, about 30 seconds.

Add in the noodles, then the sauce, then the veggies and tofu.

Cook, stirring to combine all of the layers, until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Gently toss in the bean sprouts.

Remove from heat and serve garnished with torn, fresh herbs.

I packaged up the leftovers, let them cool a little on the counter and then popped them in the fridge.

Cook once. Eat lunch all week. Good deal.

Do you ever cook ahead? What’s your strategy? What are your favorite things to make ahead?

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I got an e-mail yesterday that I have to share. I get so frustrated when I’m trying to tear off a sheet of aluminum foil or plastic wrap because the roll always seems to fall out. Apparently, there’s a really easy fix for this. I was skeptical after reading it because the solution seemed so obvious. I checked as soon as I got home to see if it was true. Sure enough, ….

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Yes. There are “push here” tabs on either end of the boxes. When you press them in, little tabs are inserted into the hollow part of the roll so it can’t escape from the box.

I checked every box I had that contained a roll. My aluminum foil, plastic wrap and and Press ‘n’ Seal boxes also had the tabs. The parchment paper and wax paper boxes did not.

Please tell me I’m not the last one to figure this out. I’m guessing not since my friend past the e-mail along, but it could just be because she knows I’m slow sometimes. lol

On to yesterday’s eats!

I had a disagreeable stomach most of the morning so I pieced on some of my pre-prepped strawberries when I got to work, then stuck with just water and hot Lipton Red Rose tea for the rest of the morning.

Around 10, I had a Babybel Light cheese wheel and some Gliding Calm tofu dipped in yellow mustard.

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That kept me full for quite a while. I was working away when I felt my tummy growl and decided to feed it with some sliced peaches.

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I had to run to the Green Machine at lunch to get “allowance” money for my husband and I. The bank branch closest to my work is conveniently located inside a grocery store so I hit up the salad bar for lunch. My container looked like this:

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The largest compartment was the salad made up of:

  • spinach
  • yellow, red & orange peppers
  • cucumbers
  • diced tomatoes
  • bacon crumbles
  • chopped hard boiled egg
  • black olives
  • mozzarella cheese
  • chickpeas
  • a few jalapeno pepper slices

I really need to start being more strategic when I build my salads for photographic purposes. The healthiest stuff is always on the bottom and it looks like I only have “extras.”

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One small compartment held summer coleslaw. I find this ironic because it’s not summer. From what I could tell, it was cabbage, red onion, diced tomatoes and diced cucumbers in a typical slaw dressing. Pardon the runaway chickpea.

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The other small compartment was broccoli & cheddar pasta salad.

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I ate the whole salad and about two bites each of the pasta salad and coleslaw. They were disgusting! The coleslaw was mostly onion (which I don’t like) and the pasta was still a little crunchy. Not sure what I was thinking when I got those two. I typically don’t even like creamy salads. Oh, well. I’ll know next time.

***Product Review***

I was really thirsty after making my salad and decided to grab something refreshing. I was thinking POM Wonderful because I’m addicted since receiving my samples, but I found something on the shelf below that looked interesting: POM Light Tea Pomegranate and Hibiscus Flower Green Tea.

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It was excellent! I had hibiscus flower tea for the first time when I visited San Francisco in December and have been on the lookout for similar products closer to home. This was the perfect blend of pomegranate and hibiscus flower flavors. It wasn’t overly sweet, but it wasn’t bitter either. I will certainly be buying more of these. It’s a perfect warm-weather beverage. I’m eager to try the other flavors, too.

This is from the back of the bottle:

Paradise found. Flavor breezes through our all-natural Pomegranate Hibiscus Light POM Tea. It’s a lightly floral green tea made from the finest Far East tea leaves. Our tea is gently brewed, and brims with powerful pomegranate antioxidants and the tropical nuances of sweet hibiscus.

There are two 8oz. servings per bottle. The nutrition information per serving is as follows:

Calories: 35
Total Fat: 0g
Sodium: 0g
Total Carb: 16g
Sugars: 8g
Erythritol: 6g
Protein: 0g
Caffeine: less than 2mg

On to dinner! This was a special one. Why? Because I didn’t cook it. My husband planned the menu and volunteered to do the work. I eagerly accepted the offer and sat at the table to chat while he prepared everything. I enjoy cooking and it helps me relax after a day of work. It’s still nice to have that break every now and then.

He pounded out some chicken breasts, dipped them in egg whites, breaded them, cooked them on the grill pan and then tossed them in some homemade buffalo wing sauce. These were served on Arnold’s Whole Wheat Sandwhich Thins with lettuce and light ranch dressing.

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with steamed asparagus on the side, drizzled with EVOO.

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Ta da!

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I cleaned up the kitchen and then we settled in to watch The Big Bang Theory. We both think this is by far the funniest show on TV right now. I was in bed and asleep shortly after it ended.

Eating Bender is giving away not one, but TWO fabulous prizes to celebrate her 1st Blogiversary. Fabulousness!

In honor of National Nutrition Month, the health nut is giving away a reusable “Eat Right” tote from the American Dietetic Association. So cool!

I’m in the market for another BPA-free water bottle.I have one SIGG bottle which I love, but it seems to have disappeared *cough*myhusbandtookittoworknevertobeseenagain*cough*. I’d like it to be at least 32oz, easy to clean and nonbreakable. Anyone have brand suggestions?

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I work in the finance department of a medium-sized city. Income tax season has already begun so everyone pitches in to help with everything that goes along with this time of year. I spent almost the entire day folding letters and stuffing envelopes. Riveting work, lemme tell ya.

Overall today was a pretty good day. For starters, it’s Friday. To make that even better, it’s payday. My checks are direct deposited so the only thing I see is a pay stub. I don’t physically touch my money, but I know it’s there.

Breakfast was probably my favorite oat concoction so far. I stirred in a dollop of peanut butter and then put a plop (a scientific unit of measure) of Amish store blackberry jam right on top. That ended up being stirred in as I went, but the picture looked prettier this way:

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Lunch was something new for me. I love tofu, but I’ve never tried it as a sandwich. Why? I have no idea. It was very tasty and very filling. I put some reheated leftover Gliding Calm tofu, a slice of 2% American cheese and some dijon mustard on 2 slices of low-cal toast. This picture was before I added the 2nd piece of toast:

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One of my coworkers brought in a box of Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice tea to share and, being the tea lover that I am, I was happy to accept. Unfortunately, I think it’s just seasonal. I may have to check my grocery and snag some if it’s still on the shelves because I really liked this one. It was the perfect balance of ginger and spice. One bag made two pretty strong cups.

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Snack was very refreshing. I had slices of green and yellow peppers dipped in a cup of Chi Chi’s medium salsa. I love these individual serving packs. So convenient for transporting to work.

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Shortly after I left for work I got some news that made my day even better. I won Kelly’s giveaway over at Every Gym’s Nightmare for the book The World is Fat by Barry Popkin. I’ve heard great things about this book from several sources so I’m really excited to read it. Thanks Kelly!

No dinner picture tonight. My super sweet husband made spaghetti tonight. I started to take a picture, but my camera battery was out of juice. We were both really hungry so I didn’t want to wait for it to charge. Basically what you’re missing is a pile of whole wheat spaghetti noodles with sausage sauce and a some baby carrots with Annie’s Goddess dressing for dipping. Mmmmmm. I’ve been spoiled lately. I’ll be a bit out of sorts when he goes back to working 5 (or more) days a week. This is the off season for his company so they’re working four 10-hour days and getting Friday off. That will end as soon as the warmer weather kicks in. By summer, he’ll be working 80-90 hour weeks including LOTS of Saturdays. For now, I’ll just enjoy having him around more.

After dinner we digested and then hit the gym. I had a pretty good session of walking on the treadmill, upper body & lower body. I did all my strength training in front of the mirror today. I don’t do this every time I lift weights, but I do like to do it every once in a while as a way to check my form.

No big Friday night plans for our household. My husband is watching his favorite show, Friday Night Lights, and I’m catching up on blog reading. I hope you’re all having a fabulous Friday night!

What’s your busiest time of year? Why?

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I’ve seen the Gliding Calm tofu earn rave reviews on so many blogs lately and today was the perfect day for me to finally give it a try. Three words: Oh. My. Gosh. So good! I had some as an early afternoon snack with dijon mustard on the side for dipping.

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Like Kath, I enjoy preparing and eating lunch at home. I typically eat at my desk during the work week so cooking is something I really look forward to when I have a day off. Today I tried something new. The original recipe is from the February 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine. I prepared it mostly as instructed and thought it was a little bland so I added my own flair. I made enough modifications that I’m sure it’s safe to post my version here. I apologize for some of the vague measurements.

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Lemony Shrimp with White Beans

(makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon(?) Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon(?) cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.

2. Add the shrimp and cook until they are pink.

3. Stir in the beans, parsley, lemon juice, chicken broth, and all seasonings. Cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

The original recipe said to serve over couscous, but I was in the mood for pasta so I plated mine over some whole wheat penne. Baby carrots standing in some Annie’s Goddess Dressing made a perfect side. Can you tell I’m a bit addicted to this dressing right now?

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After lunch I did a little laundry and put away some clean clothes. It is unbelievable how much dirty laundry two people can create. It’s a neverending battle. Laundry is probably my favorite chore so I don’t mind too much. The pup and I went back outside and played for a bit. The freezing rain started and it hurt when it hit my face so we didn’t stay out for too long. I went back inside, got comfy on the couch with a warm blanket and read for a while. Incredibly relaxing and highly enjoyable. The pup was pooped and just slept on her bed.

My husband, sister-in-law and I headed to the gym this evening for my 2nd workout of the day. We did the Plyometrics workout from the P90X DVD set that my sister-in-law borrowed from one of her coworkers. Holy smokes! It was pretty intense and I could certainly feel my muscles working. Workouts like that are awesome in my opinion. The final count was 520 calories in 58 minutes.

A shower was the first thing on my agenda when I got home. I wasn’t hungry for dinner so I just had some Kashi TLC crackers, a wedge of Laughing Cow Light swiss cheese and lots and lots of water to rehydrate.

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RIght now I’m chillin’ in my comfy fleece pajamas and watching The Biggest Loser with my husband. I don’t watch much TV, but this is one show I try not to miss.

The freezing rain is still coming down and we can hear it against the windows. It’s supposed to continue through the night and then turn back to snow early in the morning. Work tomorrow doesn’t seem too likely, but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. Have a great night!

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