I have to confess I am a book junkie, I love the smell and feel of books. I have books in bed underneath the second pillow, I have them in the bathroom and in my car. I love to read recipes, yoga books and books on spirituality. This year I cut way back on my book buying in an effort to save money and be kinder to the environment, but I still have hundreds of books.
I am moving in a few months and have begun the arduous task of packing. While sorting though some books I came across a cook book called the Vegan Bible, which I bought on sale at Chapters ( I love love buying books on sale), a few years ago and never used. I began flipping through the book and found some of the amazing recipes in the book, decided to pick some to try.
Yesterday I made spicy sesame noodles, I used gluten-free noodles and I also made a tex-mex black bean and corn stew. Today I am making tofu with yellow curry which uses coconut milk to make it creamy. The Vegan Bible is packed full of really simple recipes, with uncomplicated ingredients and easy peasy instructions. It also has a ton of information on the Vegan diet, if you are new to eating plant-based I highly recommend this book.
I love easy to prepare foods, with not too many ingredients, recipes that are straight forward keeps life simple. Going into the kitchen and being able to prepare fast meals from scratch makes eating healthy a no brainer. I would much rather eat great food that I prepared in my own kitchen then too eat overpriced take out foods that are full of chemicals, salt and fat.
As I write this blog I have brown rice steaming and tofu in yellow curry sauce cooking on my stove top. Along with the tex-mex casserole I made yesterday these will provide me with some great fast meals for the next couple of days. I may also freeze half of what I made.
Some of the ways I stay organized is by cooking a few things at once, since I am in the kitchen anyways, why not use my time wisely and cook a few dishes. In my fridge right now are the tex-mex casserole and the left over noodle dish. Soon I will add the yellow curry and the brown rice. Another way I make life simple is to sometimes use frozen veggies, while they are not as great as fresh, they are fast and cut down on waste. Since I am generally cooking for one, frozen veggies allow me to pull out only what I need with no waste. Our local Fresco (which is a discount grocery store) carries a line of frozen organic veggies. I use the frozen peppers, onions, corn and broccoli.
Last night I was listening to a couple of people talk about how bland tofu is. I had to laugh because of course tofu is bland, but so is meat, until you season or marinade it or add it to a soup. Tofu from the block is cold, uncooked and bland, but it’s not meant to be eaten that way. Tofu can be amazing and very versatile; it soaks up the flavour of whatever you put it into. It’s like a blank canvas that you create great tasting meals from. It’s cheap, almost odorless, low-calorie and is packed with protein.
I am not a big tofu eater by any means I may only eat it once a month, but I enjoy it in a great Thai dish or simply marinated and baked.
When I ate meat I would never eat it blandly from the package, I would season it with spices, or marinade it or add it to spaghetti sauce. Meat took on the flavours of the seasoning and tasted better when cooked properly. Tofu is the same, don’t give up on it without trying some great Thai red curry with tofu.
Tex-Mex Black Bean and Corn Stew
1 Tablespoon oil ( I used a chili flavoured olive oil)
1 Small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Can fire roasted tomatoes ( I used diced tomatoes with a couple of drops of liquid smoke)
3/4 cup salsa
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or green onions.
1. Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook and stir 1 minute.
2. Stir in tomatoes, salsa, zucchini, beans and corn; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with cilantro , if desired.
Makes 4 servings, serve over brown rice, if desired.
Spicy Sesame Noodles
6 ounces uncooked soba noodles (or any pasta you prefer)
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup minced red pepper
4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce (I used gluten-free Tamari sauce)
1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Do not overcook. Rinse noodles thoroughly under cold running water; drain, place noodles in large bowl; toss with oil.
- Cook sesame seeds in small skillet over medium heat about 3 minutes or until seeds begin to pop and turn golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet.
- Whisk broth and peanut better in medium bowl until blended. (Mixture may look curdled. ) Stir in green onions, bell pepper, soy sauce, jalapeno, garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Pour mixture over noodles; toss to coat. Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Sprinkle with tasted sesame seeds before serving.
I hope you enjoy these great recipes, eating well is the fuel for all my other activities which include running, yoga and training. The better the food the better the output. That said, I am off to run for 2 to 3 hours by the lake today.
Have an amazing day, eat well, move and remember that you are part of a greater plan. Be grateful and live in the day, in the end today is all we have, actually this moment is all we have so be in it.