TVP Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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What do you when your whole family wants pulled pork sandwiches and you’re vegan? Pull out for textured vegetable protein (TVP) and veganaise! A lovely dinner to welcome the start of summer, which is right around the corner.

This recipe is super easy. Can be pulled together in minutes—way easier than making pulled pork! But it tastes just as good as if it had been cooked hours and hours.

This recipes makes 4 sandwiches.

TVP Pulled Pork Sandwiches
 1 cup Textured Vegetable Protein
 7/8 cup of boiling water
 1 medium onion, dicedIMG_3995
 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 tbs flax oil
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
 2 cups shredded cabbage 
(or a bag of coleslaw vegetables)
 1/2 cup Veganaise
 1 tsp Dijon mustard
 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
 Squeeze of lemon juice
 Salt and pepper, to taste
Additional BBQ, to taste
4 hamburger buns or rolls

In a large bowl, add the TVP and pour the boiling water. Add the 1/4 cup BBQ, flax oil, and liquid amigos. Stir together well.  Set aside for 15 minutes

In another large bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients—except the BBQ and bun— to make the coleslaw. Cover and place in the fridge to chill.

Once the TVP is rehydrated, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and TVP mixture to the skillet. Cook until the onions are translucent and the liquid is mostly gone.

Add additional BBQ to the TVP if you like for more flavor.

Time to assemble! Place a big scoop of the TVP mixture on the bottom bun, top with a big scoop of your chilled coleslaw and top with the rest of the bun.

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Sweet, tangy, and satisfying! No reason you have to feel left out this summer at a BBQ.

Chocolate Mousse Parfait

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Happy (late) Mother’s Day! I hope you all had a day full of love and happiness! And I hope you called your mom!

We are finally all settled in Oregon (for now at least) and I can cook again! So I made my mom a little treat. She didn’t want a big fuss, but I love her so much that she deserves something special. I just made the recipe up. It’s similar to Chocolate Mouse I made before, but with a few more easy layers. It’s simple, no baking required, and full of protein!

 Chocolate Mousse ParfaitIMG_3608

  • 1/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1/3 cup raw walnuts
  • Coconut Oil (as needed)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 block of tofu (I used firm, but silken would be better), drained
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 cup vanilla coconut yogurt

In a food processor, add the pecans and walnuts. Grind into crumbles that pack together. Add coconut oil as needed to get it to come together. Add a pinch of salt and cinnamon for flavor.

Press nut mixture into a pan like a crust. I used a medium Pyrex bowl so you could see the layers.

Rinse out the food processor and add the tofu and banana, blend together well.

To melt the chocolate chips, add them to a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for 45 seconds. Stir and the chips should melt. If not, put it back in for 15 seconds and stir again. Repeat as needed until they are all melted.

Add the melted chocolate to the food processor and blend well.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the nut crust and smooth the top out.

Spread the yogurt over the chocolate mixture evenly.

Lastly, garnish with some nuts, if desired.

Covered and let it set-up in the fridge for at least two hours.

Then scoop out and enjoy!

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It’s nothing fancy, but healthy and tasty. Make one for your momma today!

 

 

 

Chocolate Pie

Last year I did a post in honor of my grandmother’s passing. Sadly, this post is for my grandpa. A few week ago he had a two strokes that he could not recover from and passed on. So needless to say these past few weeks have been very emotional. I am so happy to be bonding with my newborn son, but sad to lose my grandfather.

Like I said with my grandma’s passing, the best way I can honor his memory is to live a long healthy life. And now I need to teach Jack how to live a long life too. I need to teach him about food and cooking so he can have every advantage for his health.

My grandpa loved chocolate pie. The kind you make with Jell-O pudding. When I was little I made him one, but I accidently burnt the milk. It tasted awful, no one else wanted to eat it. However, he happily ate it. Claimed it tasted like coffee. I don’t know if it was his love for chocolate pie or his love for me, but it made me happy to see him eat it. I think that was how I discovered my love for cooking for others.

So in honor of my him, I decided to make a healthier vegan version of his favorite dessert.While the pudding mix itself is vegan, it requires milk–and it will not firm up with soymilk. So I had to go a different route. I essentially made my Chocolate Mousse recipe into a pie. Pretty easy, no baking required. And tons of protein and antioxidants.

 Chocolate Pie
1 block silken tofu
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 graham cracker crust (find one without honey)

Drain the tofu, but do not squeeze or blot totally dry.

I used my NutriBullet, but a blender or food processor works. Blend the tofu until smooth.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir well. Repeat at 5 second intervals until it is all melted and smooth.

Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and coconut sugar to the tofu. Blend until all combined.

Pour the tofu mixture into the pie crust and smooth out the top.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to firm up.

My mom bought this stuff called PB2, which if you like peanut butter, tastes great on sprinkled on top. I have to admit, it took me a few days to want to eat the pie because it made me sad to realize my grandpa is really gone. But once I did, it made me smile. He would have loved it—very chocolatey and smooth. Once Jack can have solid food, I will make this for him and tell him all about his great grandparents.

Coconut Noodle Soup

This is one of my simple go-to recipes when I want something easy and satisfying. My mom is coming to to help me before and after the baby comes, and I am so asking her to make me this for me. (and make freezer meals of this too). This soup is a mix between a milder Thai Tom Kha Kai and a simpler Japanese Ramen soup.

This recipe serves 4 entree sized portions.

Coconut  Noodle Soup
4 servings of ramen or soba noodles, cooked according to directions and set aside
Coconut oil
1 tbs minced ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 of a white onion, chopped
1 medium carrot or 8 baby carrots, chopped
1 yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 block of firm tofu, drained and cut into bit-sized cubes
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
The juice of one lime
1-2 tbs soy sauce, depending on taste
1 can (12 oz) coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass
1/4 tbs yellow Thai curry paste
Basil, cilantro, or chili oil for garnish

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add a little bit of the coconut oil.

Add the ginger, garlic, and onions. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add carrots, bell peppers, and tofu. Saute until the carrots are soft.

Add the vegetable broth, lime juice, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.

Reduce to a low simmer. Add the coconut milk, lemon grass stalks and Thai curry paste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and add the cooked noodles.

Serve with a garnish of basil, cilantro, chili oil, or any combination of those. I normally do chili sauce and basil, but this time I left it plain.

As this cool, the noodles will absorb some of the broth and make the dish creamier. If you want it more broth, just add more water of vegetable broth during cooking.

Chipotle Sofritas

Last week Michael and I stopped by the mall after work to browse for some stuff. I suddenly got that horrible pregnancy hunger—the one like “IF I DON’T EAT NOW I WILL TURN INTO GODZILLA AND DESTROY THIS WHOLE BUILDING!!!” So Michael suggested we eat before continued. I saw Chipotle and thought of how those warm burritos saved my life after hours of studying in college. As we entered, I saw the sign for sofritas! I totally forgot they added a vegan protein option to the menu! I thought I died and went to heaven!

The sofritas are braised organic tofu  marinated in a blend of spices and peppers. It’s was very tender and very flavorful. It had a bit of a kick, but was not overly hot. I wouldn’t say it tasted exactly like meat (a meat eater would probably be able to tell the difference), but the texture was pretty close.
While I love Chipotle, they can be very high in calories. Even if you make it all vegan. Let’s compare the burrito I used to order in college:

Do you see that? 1505 calories in a burrito and side of chips & salsa. With no meat or dairy! It’s all the carbs and fat. Proof you can still be vegan and eat unhealthy. Let’s make some reasonable variations, like adding the new sofritas and cutting out the chips & salsa:

Just buy cutting out the chips& salsa, you save 590 calories alone. The carbs drop from 215 to 147, and the total fat from 60 to 43. Getting better, but let’s look at what I ordered last week:
A total of 660 calories, way more reasonable. I switched to tacos instead, which saves about 50 calories from the tortilla. I also cut out the rice. Yes, you can get brown rice for added nutrition, but that is still a lot of carbs for one meal, so skip it. I also cut out the guacamole. It is a healthy fat, but it’s high in calories and still is a fat. I add it as treat every one and awhile, but not every time. I also always pick black beans over pinto beans because they have less sodium and more fiber. But load it up with all the salsas you want! They are lower in calories and you get more veggies in for the day.
If you are really cutting calories try this:
A salad with sofritas, only 440 calories. More nutrition from the added lettuce. The black beans still provide some carbs to make it a balanced meal. No dressing (215 calories), but all the salsas will provide enough liquid/flavor to take it’s place at a less than half the calories.
I really suggest trying the sofritas next time, they are really delicious. Just make wise decisions on what you add to your meal. Even healthy and organic food in the wrong amounts can become unhealthy. And if you are pregnant like me, make sure you get enough protein (likes sofritas) with every meal to keep you full so you don’t end up wanting calorie-packed extras like chips. No one want to be losing a ton of baby weight because you didn’t balance meals properly.
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I couldn’t get a good shot of just the sofritas without
it falling apart, but it pretty much looks like tofu pieces.
By the way, all the images I used are screen captures from Chipotle’s Nutrition Calculator on its website. I really suggest checking to see if you favorite chain restaurants have this feature before you go. You can see what vegan options they have or how you can make things vegans. You can also figure out how to get what you really want, without going overboard.

Creamy Spinach Dip

Michael and I got were invited to a co-worker’s house to watch the NFL playoff games last Sunday. Michael asked me to make something to bring along. I knew they would BBQ tons of meat, so I decided to make a vegan dish that I wanted to eat. I suddenly thought of creamy, gooey spinach dip with big pieces of sourdough.

This recipe is similar to traditional creamy dip recipes, just no dairy cheese and all the extra protein of tofu. It is a bit sweeter, so you can add more garlic if you want it more savory. I liked it though, went nicely with the sourness of the sourdough.

This recipe will serve 8-10 people easily.

Spinach Dip
1 block of silken tofu, drained
Small amount of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a medium white onion, minced
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 flour
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp garlic powder (more if desired)
6 cups baby spinach, wash and dried well
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the Oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a small baking pan (I used a disposable one) with cooking spray.

Put your drained tofu into a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside for now.

In a medium pot over medium heat, belt a tiny bit of butter. Saute the minced garlic and onion until golden. Set aside.

In the same pot, add the 1/4 cup butter and the flour. Mix together well and cook the paste for just a minute.

Whisk in the soy milk and smooth out any lumps.

Add the processed tofu and mix together well.

Add the garlic and onions back in. Add the garlic powder too.

Slowly mix in the spinach a handful at a time. Let it wilt down a bit before you add more.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dip into the baking pan.

Cover the top with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncover for 20 minutes, until the top is bubbly and very lightly golden.

I served this with sourdough bread pieces but any bread, chips or cracker would be great too. Even some carrots and celery would be lovely.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it before everyone dived in, people wanted to try it right away. And I was starving and no one can blame a pregnant mama for wanting to eat!

Thanksgiving 2013: Thanksgiving Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones. We had a wonderful time in Tracy, thank you so much Lori and James for having us!

I have a lot to be thankful for this year:
  • I am thankful to have married the man of dreams two months ago. Thank you for taking care of me this past few months, I know I have not been the easiest pregnant lady.
  • I am so thankful for my unborn son (I keep forgetting to make a gender reveal post….). This pregnancy has not been very fun so far, but I know he will be worth it. I can’t wait kiss his sweet little face in April.
  • I am thankful for my amazing parents. Thank you for always supporting me and loving me. We all might be crazy, but at least we can be crazy together!
  • I am thankful for all my amazing in-laws.  Thank you to my wonderful parents-in-law for being so kind and supportive through these crazy few months. And thank you to my wonderful sisters-in-laws for being so open and accepting from moment Michael brought me home.
  • I am thankful for my cats. Penny makes me smile everyday with her antics (Did you know a cat can be condescending?). And, I am grateful for Zoey’s snuggles. I am so happy my kama’aina kitties came to California.
So, as I said in my menu post, I made a layered casserole thing. I wanted baked tofu, stuffing, and mashed potatoes—but I did not want to bring 3 separate dishes. So I just combined them into one. It’s not that complicated to make, but a little time consuming.
Thanksgiving Casserole

Tofu Turkey Layer:
28 oz (2 blocks) of firm tofu, frozen then thawed
7 oz (1/2 block) silken tofu
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs herb de Provence
1/2 tps pepper
Stuffing Layer:
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tbs celery leaf
1 tbs herb de Provence
1 tbs sugar
4 cups vegan stuffing mix (just check the label, it’s not that hard to find)
1 medium carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup onion, chopped finely
Mashed Potato Layer:
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbs vegan butter
2 tbs vegan cream cheese
1 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a dutch oven pot or a deep casserole pan lightly with olive oil.
Tofu Turkey Layer:
In a colander, drain the firm tofu very well. I mean get it as dry as you possibly can. Squeeze it out with your hands. Don’t worry about crumbling it.
Drain off the liquid the packaging liquid from the silken tofu, but leave this tofu still moist.
In a food processor, all the tofu, soy sauce, garlic, herb de Provence, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Pour into the dutch oven and smooth so the top is even. It will only cover an inch or so on the bottom.
Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
In the mean time…
Stuffing layer:
In a small sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth, cranberries, celery leaves, herb de Provence, and sugar to a boil over.
Reduce to a simmer. Cook until the cranberries burst open and soften.
Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add the chopped stuffing mix, carrots, celery, and onion. Pour the broth/cranberry liquid in slowly, stirring gently.
Once the tofu has cooked for an hour, remove from the oven and spread the stuffing over top (without burning yourself on the hot pan).
Cover with the foil again and bake for 45 minutes.
And while that cooks….
 
Mashed Potato Layer:
Once your potatoes are peeled and quartered, add them to a large pot of cold water.
Cover and bring to boil.
Remove the lid and let them boil until tender (when a fork can be easily inserted).
Drain and return back to the pot.
Add the butter and cream cheese. Mash very well.
Slowly add a little bit of vegetable broth at a time until the potatoes come to a creamy but firm consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the stuffing layer has cooked for 45 minutes, remove the oven and spread the mashed potatoes on evenly (again, be careful).
Turn up the heat to 425 degrees.
Cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
I served this with some simple gravy. I also had some cranberry sauce and corn. It was so delicious, all the flavors of Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Everyone else tried it too and said it was good! I would totally make this again next year.

Green Chili Stew

I fell asleep on the couch last week (one of the joys of being pregnant) while watching Food Network. As I started to wake up, I heard something about roasting hatch chilies for green chili strew. By the time I actually woke up, the show was over so I have no idea what it was or who was making. It still sounded good so I decided to make it for dinner.

This stew came out FANTASTIC. When Michael walked in the door he said it smelled like his grandma was cooking (he is half Hispanic, his grandparents were of Spanish decent born in New Mexico).  He is not a big soup or stew fan, but he asked for a second bowl!

Sadly, I don’t have hatch chilies right now. And, I did not feel like going to the store to by anaheims or some other chili. So I just used the jalapenos already in my fridge. It still came out AMAZING, but would be even better with hatches if you can get them.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Green Chili Stew
6 jalapenos
3 tbs olive oil
1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 large carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs flour
4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
1 large tomato, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, for garnish

Roast the whole jalapenos. I did this over my gas stove burner. You can also do it in the broiler or over a grill. You want a nice black char on the skins.

Pop the roasted peppers into a zip lock bag and let them cool. The steam will loosen the skins. Once cooled, remove the charred skins and the stems.

Chop the jalapenos.

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil.

Lightly brown the tofu.

Add the chopped onions and carrots, saute until they start to soften.

Add the garlic and cook saute for a minute.

Add the flour and coat the veggies well.

Add the water and mix together well. Break up all the flour clumps.

Stir in the chopped jalapenos.

Turn the heat down the low and let the broth thicken slightly, about 10-15 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Removed from the heat and add the diced tomatoes.

Garnish with a little cilantro and serve.

A warm tortilla on the side and you have a very tasty dinner!

Tofu and Broccoli

I need to say a giant apology for not posting for over a month. I promise I have very good excuse. At the beginning of August I found out I am pregnant! And then a few days later Michael proposed! And we are getting married next weekend in Las Vegas! Told you I had a good excuse.

I am so happy and excited to marry the man I love and start a family with him. But this past month has not been easy. I lost my job, which is probably for the best. It was not a good fit for me and I am not sure how much longer I could have worked due to horrible morning sickness. And do you know how much fun planning a wedding is when you are beyond exhausted all the time? Not at all.  I am so grateful for all love and support from my family and friends. Especially my mom, I could not do this all without you!

I will talk more wedding and baby stuff in later posts…

So, remember that morning sickness I mentioned? Yeah, that phrase is a total misnomer. I have felt nauseous all day and night. Not fun.  Even when I am hungry, my stomach magically cannot hold much food at once. And foods I once loved, I cannot even stand the thought of now. So, as you can imagine I have not done too much cooking lately. However, yesterday I was actually hungry for lunch. So I made up this tasty dish.

I used broccolini, but feel free to us broccoli if you cannot find it. Broccolini is hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, giving it longer stalks and slightly sweeter flavor. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, folate and iron. I love broccolini because the stalks get tender and have an almost asparagus-like flavor.

This recipe makes two servings.

Tofu and Broccoli 
1 block of extra firm tofu, frozen and drained, then cubed
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tps red pepper flakes
1 tps grated ginger
Olive oil
1/2 small white onion, cut into thin strips
1 clove of garlic
1 small head of broccolini (broccoli is fine too), cut into bit-sized pieces
Teriyaki sauce

Check out my previous post about how to freeze and drain tofu.

Cube the tofu and add to small bowl.

Add the soy sauce, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and ginger. Toss together to coat the tofu and let it marinade for at least one hour.

Once the tofu is ready,  heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the chopped onions and cook until soften.

Add the garlic, broccolini pieces, and the tofu with the marinade. Cook until the broccolini is softened and the tofu is slightly golden.

Top with some teriyaki sauce before serving.

I had this over brown rice, but noodles would be delicious too. Simple and high in vitamin C, folate, and iron—all the things a growing baby (and mommy) need.

Southwest Quiche

I have done a quiche recipe before but I wanted to try a different recipe. This is a Southwest inspired quiche, mainly because I work at a Southwest cafe and thought that sounded good. This can be a lovely brunch or can be paired with a fresh salad for dinner.

Southwest Quiche
1 vegan pie crust (I used frozen)
1 block of firm tofu
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup soy milk (add more if not blending well)
2 tps turmeric
1 tps cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup salsa of your choice ( I used the black bean and corn salsa from my work)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray.

Shape the pie crust into pie pan, set aside.

In a food processor or a blender, add the tofu block and soy milk, blend until smooth. Add the turmeric, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend until combined.

Pour the tofu mixture into a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients Mix well.

Pour the tofu/veggie mixture into pie crust.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the filling is firm.

 Topped with tomatillo salsa and paired with a cabbage salad.

Top your Southwest treat with some salsa and enjoy!