Ok, I know tofu is something that most people associate with either Asian cultures or tree hugging veg people. I know, I was scared of tofu when I first tried it (something made from bean curd just did not sound appetizing when I was younger.) But after putting on my big girl panties and getting over my fears I discovered a very versatile key component to many veg cuisines. Of course it’s a major source of protein for those of us abstaining from animal products but even if you choose to eat animals, give it a try. Try it several different ways. It might surprise you.
Anyways, a good dinner to make when you come home from a long day is something with tofu. For the most part it cooks pretty quickly and it takes on any flavor that you give it. My personal favorite way is to fry it up because everything tastes better fried. Since I am trying to eat healthy, I went with sautéing it and fortunately, this week, I just happened to have some kale, which is awesome because it is such a powerhouse.
Just real quick here’s the info on kale:
Kale is considered a cancer fighting super food due to its many antioxidants
It is ridiculously high in vitamin K- try like 684% of your daily recommended value
It also contains calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous
It also is high in fiber that can help clean you out (read: make you poo real good)
It can be prepared in numerous delicious ways: sauté, steam, bake, etc. –I’m still trying to find the best way it can be prepared
So bottom line: Eat your fucking kale.
Anyways, I like to make Kale and Tofu Delight from Sarah Kramer’scookbook: La Dolce Vegan. This recipe is super delicious and relatively quick to make. It’s got a little bit of a kick just to make your mouth warm and I like to add a little lemon for a boost of flavor (lemon also helps cut down on the bitterness of the kale.) I toss it with brown rice but I think it could go with any grain your heart desires.
So in my Chow Box last week, I received a beautiful bunch of carrots. Those picturesque kinds with the greens still attached. I had every intention of making something healthy and nutritious with them considering the awesome health benefits you get with these little guys. Let me just break down the nutrition for you real quick:
They come in other colors besides orange. Other varieties include purple, red, white, and yellow.
They are available year around in most areas but they are truly in season during the summer and fall months-carrots harvested during these months are the most flavorful.
You can prepare them many ways- boiling and steaming are the most common. My personal favorites are roasting and baking-(which I will get to in a second)
They contain crazy high amounts of potassium and vitamin A which are essential to many functions in the body.
So bottom line, they are tasty and they are good for you.
Back on point, I had this bunch of carrots that needed to get utilized in some way. The fastest way would have been as a snack with some peanut butter or tossed into a salad. But then I thought that’s way too healthy and not nearly enough of a challenge. So I decided to go an entirely different route and make dessert. Yes, sugary little delights that pretty much negate any health aspect of my beautiful carrots. I choose the recipe Carrot Raisin Spice Chews out of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s and Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I whipped up these little babies sans raisins because raisins just don’t belong in dessert. All in all, not a bad cookie, satisfied my sweet tooth, and totally justifiable as somewhat healthy because I used more carrots than sugar. I do recommend the Lemon Glaze Frosting suggestion at the end of the recipe; it takes a decent cookie and makes it an awesome cookie (of course using the glaze means using more sugar than carrot thus negating any health factor.)
One of the most challenging aspects of being vegan is getting a variety of produce for the best prices. I know I am on a super tight budget so I am always looking for a way to save money. Growing my own veggies is out of the question because my patio gets full sun which is equivalent to taking a walk on liquid hot magma. My little tomato plants are sad and wilty faster than you can blink. So I’ve come to rely on farmer’s markets and local CSAs until I can fulfill my organic farm fantasy.
The Pros of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market:
Produce is local– By shopping locally, you help support the little man and keep money in the community instead of supporting giant corporations with no local connections.
Connecting with your fellow man- You get to meet the people who are growing your food and get a better understanding of the local climate and all the toil that goes into putting food on your table.
It’s cheaper-Not only is the produce more fresh, it also costs a heck of a lot less than going to Whole Foods. Most of the time, the produce will also be organically grown but check with your local market to make sure.
You can also get other neat shit- Not only can you get awesome, fresh produce but you can explore other local businesses and get anything you desire from local baked goods, handmade soaps, and knick knacks.
Need help finding a local Farmer’s Market?
Check out Local Harvest. This is your super awesome tool to find all local farmer’s markets and CSAs.