Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vegetarian recipe WIN-WIN!

After 2 nights of not a lot of sleep, I decided that today had to be a good workout day.  While I like getting all of this cleaning done upstairs, it is not conducive to calorie burns or even relaxing.  Too much going on in the mind, dust that infested every nook and cranny of my body, and tired but not apparently tired enough.

Beans and kale with the peanut sauced tofu
Today, I went back to the cabin with the MA and I merrily built a fire in the fireplace.  Once you are forced to have to start those things to keep your house warm (which I did for many years) you become an expert.  I am SO GLAD I don't have to do that any more. Once I began my full time job, it was necessary for us to ditch that damn wood stove and put in a gas furnce.  Lp or whatever it is.  Lol. But that is neither here nor there!  It was fun to play around with the fire and it brought me back to the Boundary Waters and making a 1 match campfire.  Ah the good memories....

So after lunch, I went to the gym and kicked my own tail feathers doing a fabulous chest workout.  I am refocusing on my weightlifting - not that I haven't been doing it, but I lost some of my drive.  No wonder I have to rest my arms every so often here.  Then, because I do want to be exhausted tonight, I went for a snowshoe when I got back from the gym.... that ought to do it!

After all that, I decided to do a little cooking.  I had scoped out a few recipes and bought a couple ingredients.  I really didn't know if this actually "goes" together, and it certainly didn't photograph pretty.  But the flavors are divine.

Alright, the 2 things I made were Smoky Maple Black Beans and Kale  and Spicy Vegan Peanut Butter Tofu with Sriracha 

They are both somewhat spicy, but completely adjustable as far as the heat factor.  The flavors are wonderful, especially if you like the combo of spicy/savory/sweet.  What is not to like, right?

The pix I have are not terrific, they are just taken with my phone, as I decided during the making of this that it might be enjoyable to blog about it if I like the way it tasted.  Well let me tell you, totally glad I at least took a pic with the phone.  This is not beautiful stuff, folks, but who cares when it's in your mouth?? 

In my usual way, I substituted like a fiend in these recipes.  I have no problem messing around with the ingredients if the integrity of the taste is intact.  One thing called for agave and I subbed in honey.... you get the idea.  I didn't even realize that this was vegan until I was putting it on Instagram and decided I could use that hashtag!

Smoky Maple Black Beans and Kale
Calorie count is approximately 200 for 1/2 - 2/3 cup of awesomeness
adapted from a recipe by This Dish is Vegetarian

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups coarsely chopped kale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons tamari (which is a low salt soy sauce)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 chipotle chile in adobo (optional), minced (I used smoked jalapeno chili powder)

1. Heat the oil or water in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook on low until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and heat until you can smell it, about 30 sec. Add the kale and season to taste with salt and pepper, add a bit of water if necessary. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the beans, then add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes longer to blend the flavors.

The maple, though there is only 2 Tablespoons of it is really forefront in this dish.  Divine!!  If I make this again, I will add additional veggies, maybe carrots and celery with the onion and garlic. 

Not the prettiest of pictures, but definitely tasty

Spicy Peanut Butter Tofu with Sriracha sauce
I am guessing the calories is about 175 for 3 pieces.  And a BUNCH of protein!!
adapted from a recipe by Kalyn's Kitchen 

14-16 oz. firm or extra firm tofu
1 T olive oil

2 cloves peeled and lightly crushed garlic

Sauce Ingredients:
3 T soy sauce (reduced sodium is fine) I used Bragg's Aminos
3 T rice vinegar (I used seasoned rice vinegar)
2 T smooth natural peanut butter
1 T honey
2 T vegetable stock or water
1/2 T Sriracha Rooster Sauce (more or less to taste)


Drain the tofu well in a colander placed in the sink.  Then put tofu pieces between a double layer of paper towels and press down with your hand so the liquid in the tofu is absorbed by the towel. (I use a cotton flour sack clean dishtowel, so I don't waste all that paper towel.)  Cut tofu into lengthwise strips about 1 inch wide.  

Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, honey, stock or water, and then add the Sriracha Sauce.  (I would start with a smaller amount of Sriracha, taste, and decide when it is hot enough.)  Cut the pieces of garlic.

Heat a heavy pan (I used a cast iron frying pan) over high heat for one minute.  Then add the olive oil and heat about 30 seconds more.  Add the sliced pieces of garlic and cook just until they are fragrant (about 30 seconds); then remove and discard.  Add tofu pieces, lower heat to medium high and cook, turning often, until the tofu is nicely browned on all sides, about 7-8 minutes. The website where I got this has a nice picture tutorial if you need that.

When all the tofu pieces are browned, add the sauce, turn heat to low, and cook just until the sauce thickens slightly and coats the tofu.  Remove from heat and eat!

So the cool thing is that BOTH of these were made in under 30 minutes and I managed to multitask them finished in about 45.  That is a definite YAY- plus left overs and I will freeze some of the beans in containers for school.  

This was a great way to end the day!  And definitely gave me some joy.  


  1. TOFU is the best! This looks fab, if you like Tofu then check out some of my veggie christmas ideas, just as tasty!

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