Tasty Scrambled Tofu!


I really don’t have much to say about this dish, except that it’s easy, delicious and pretty straight-forward to make. This is my go-to breakfast to prepare when I’m getting ready to go to work. It takes roughly 10 minutes to prepare and cook. The amount of protein in the tofu also keeps me filled and energized all morning, so that I can conquer each day with gusto!

Oh-there IS one thing that I forgot to add. There’s an ingredient that I like to add to my scrambled breakfast tofu: yellow mustard. Yes. The type that you squeeze on your hot dogs. The mustard gives this a surprising creaminess and umami, and gives it just the perfect little amount of zing to help bring out the flavors of the other spices used.

Ok, let’s get on with the recipe!

Tasty Scrambled Tofu!

Ingredients:
One 8 oz package of firm or extra firm tofu, drained
¾ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garlic Powder
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tbsp yellow mustard
½ cup fresh spinach
¼ cup of water
2 tsp Cooking oil
A pinch of salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. Gently drain out tofu over a sink until most of the liquid has vanished. After draining, crumble the tofu with your hands until you get chunky pieces the size of egg scrambles.

2. Heat a skillet onto medium-high & melt your cooking oil. While skillet is melting, take all your other condiments and water and mix together in a bowl until mixture turns into a golden orange broth.

3. Place tofu chunks into skillet and let them sauté for about 3 minutes, until they begin to lightly brown. After those three minutes, gradually add in the broth and spinach and let the scrambled mixture finish cooking for another 3 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Stir frequently.

4. Turn off, serve on your favorite vessel, and enjoy! 🙂

Makes two servings

Nutritional Information per serving: 

171 calories/ 12.8g protein/ 11.5g fat/ 7.5g carbs/ 1.6g fiber


Tangy Curried ‘Chick-un’ Salad Sandwich


Today is the epitome of a lazy Sunday. I honestly haven’t even felt like cooking. However, I did not feel like eating out, either (I’ve got a wedding to save for and bills to pay!!).

So what did I do? Look through my pantry to see what was readily available, and I found the following items staring at me: My loaf of bread, frozen spinach, and a can of hearts of palm. After trying to figure out how I could mesh these elements together, the A-HA moment hit me:

Folks…I present to you my version of a VERY tasty curried chick-un salad sandwich.

This was my first time making and EATING hearts of palm, and I was NOT disappointed. It has a mellow, yet slightly tangy flavor-which I absolutely love. The texture of the brined hearts of palm is meat-like, so it makes the perfect natural plant-based substitute for any recipe requiring white poultry (or even seafood) meat. The flavor of the plant is light mellow enough that it can really absorb whatever seasonings and spices you’d like. You can even rinse out the brine for a few minutes in cold water, if you want to make the flavor as neutral as possible. One of my favorite things about these hearts? They’re actually quite affordable and pretty easy to locate at most grocery stores.

This is also low in carbs!

Anyways, enough jibber-jabber. Let’s get on with the recipe!
Ingredients:
·         One 14oz can or jar of hearts of palm, drained & rinsed (and coarsely chopped)
·         1 tablespoon of yellow mustard topping
·         ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
·         2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
·         ½ teaspoon of paprika
·         ½ cup of fresh spinach leafs
·         1 tablespoon veganaise
·         1 teaspoon of curry seasoning
·         2 dates (chopped into fine pieces)
·         Vessels for your ‘chick-un’ salad.
Directions:
1. Take a skillet and preheat and add the olive oil to the skillet.

2. Once the skillet is warm enough, add all of the ingredients (except veganaise) together, and sauté on medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes, until the hearts of palm (chick-un) mixture has some golden brown charring.

3. Once the chick-un mixture has finished sautéing, turn off skillet & remove from heat. After cooling off for about 2 minutes, add in the veganaise, and mix well. Serve over your favorite type of bread (or wrap/ or leafy green wrap!) and enjoy!!

Makes two hearty servings

Nutritional information per serving (without bread):
140g calories/ 7.6g protein/6.3g fat/18g carbs/ 7.6g fiber


Moroccan-Inspired Chili

 

 
The weather has been pretty cold for Florida’s standards. Because of that, I have been craving a nice & herty bowl of Chili to enjoy. Looking around my kithen and pantry, I found that I had enough ingredients and spices to give my chili a beautiful Moroccan flare! The marriage between the spices & the chickpeas intermingling with everything else creates a spicy and heavenly dance in the mouth.
 
The best way to describe Moroccan spices & flavors are that they have a diverse combination of sweet, spicy, earthy, & floral. Cinnamon is a common ingredient, but don’t let that scare you from adding it into your savory dishes! You will see how the combination of flavors and ingredients melts beautifully together.
 
This was also a surprisingly easy dish to prepare, and can actually be cooked in low in a crock pot ahead of time!
 
Ingredients:
 
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 small or medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 cup of diced broccoli (optional)
1 16 oz can of chickpeas, with liquid
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 package of  portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tbsp cooking oil & 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
 
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Once oven is preheated, massage sweet potato cubes with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and then place on a singular layer in a baking sheet. Bake these in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until are lightly golden brown on the edges. Set aside.
 
2. While the sweet potato is baking, heat up a skillet on medium high and add the two tbsp. cooking oil. Once its hot enough, add the portabella mushroom pieces, bell peppers and onions, and let them cook for about 15 minutes, or until the onion turns translucent, and the mushrooms begin to have a light golden brown. Cook the portabella mixture covered for the first 4 minutes, then remove over to finish cooking.  
 
3. Add the portabella/onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients (except sweet potatoes) into a large pot, and mix everything until well combined. Cover and let this mixture simmer on medium for at least 25 minutes, until the veggies are tender, and the chili looks thickened.
4. Serve with the roasted sweet potatoes, and enjoy!!
 
Note: As previously mentioned, for fuller chili flavor, you can throw everything together (including sweet potatoes), and cook on low in a crock pot for about 3-4 hours. Either method you use is fine!
 
Servings: 4
 
Nutritional information per serving:
 
284g calories/ 14g protein/4g fat/53g carbs/ 13g fiber / 9 WW smart points (green plan)


Moroccan-Inspired Spice Blend


I love Moroccan cuisine. The flavors are really like none I’ve had elsewhere. The rich and nutty combination of cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and other spices will make you question why people ever settle to just add salt into their dishes. If you have never had Moroccan Cuisine, then I urge you to  explore some recipes!
I will be posting a recipe for my Moroccan-Inspired Chili dish, soon.

This Moroccan Spice blend is known as Ras El-Hanout. Mine DOES deviate from the traditional recipe blend, because I add garlic and did not have any cloves at-hand (Please don’t kill me, fellow Moroccan friends!!).

Ingredients:
1/2 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Cumin
¼ tsp Ground Cayenne red pepper powder
1 tsp Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Black Pepper
Directions:
1. Blend all ingredients until well-combined. Store in an air-tight container in a dry area. Add spice mix to your dishes, and enjoy! 


Homemade Super Creamy + Dreamy Coconut Milk!


So, in a continual effort to consume less processed goods (while saving my precious pennies), I decided to make my own #coconutmilk. And WAS it EASY and CHEAP to do!
The ratio for SUPER creamy coconut milk is 1:2. For every 1 cup of shredded coconuts you use, you will need two cups of filtered water.

The coconut milk turned out RICH, CREAMY & DELICIOUS! One of the best parts was that this contained NO extra preservatives or added ingredients. All the micro-nutrients that the coconut already contained are in the milk! 

If you are about reducing food waste, take the leftover coconut meal and let it roast in the oven until
toasted, and reuse for a baked dish! I’ll be making a granola with the meal, and will eventually post that recipe

Let’s jump into the recipe, shall we?
—-

Ingredients:

·         2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
·         4 cups of hot filtered water (not boiling)
·         1 teaspoon of maple syrup for a hint of sweetness (optional!)

Directions:

1. Add shredded coconut, water, and maple syrup in to a blender, and blend on high speed for a good 3 minutes.

2. Pour the milk blend into a pitcher with a cheesecloth (or super fine cloth) to filter out the gritty coconut meal. That took about 40 minutes to sieve (that’s a great time to do other things, like workout, clean, study, twerk, etc). You can also just continue to ring out the cloth if you’re impatient.

3. Once you see that most of the pulp is filtered, squeeze the excess liquid into the pitcher (It’s a great exercise!)

4. Let this chill in the fridge, or serve immediately (with a couple ice cubes, to enjoy it chilled).

Happy coconut-ing! 


Note: You will MOST likely encounter the chilled coconut milk separating the fat from the rest of the liquid (the fat will float on top once it get chilled). Do NOT freak out!! You can skim off the fat and use that as coconut oil and cook with it! J

Servings: 1 quart of creamy + dreamy coconut milk- yields 8 servings (4 ounces per serving)

Nutritional information per serving:

73g calories/ .67g protein/6.7g fat/3.6g carbs/ 1.8g fiber


Sassy + Simple Tofu Stir Fry


Sometimes less is more, and this definitely translates to food. I work a day job, and after a very long day at work, all I wanted to do was dig into a bowl full of stir-fried veggies. Nothing more.

This recipe is incredibly simple, yet delicious.
I posted the veggies that I used, but you can really use whatever veggies you’d like!

You’ll also notice that I used cauliflower rice for this recipe. I eat carbs, but sometimes prefer to lower my carb intake. But you can definitely use regular rice, if you’d like.

Let’s jump ahead to the recipe, shall we?
Sassy + Simple Tofu Stir Fry

Ingredients:
·         1.5 cups fresh green beans
·         1 cup coarsely-chopped fresh broccoli
·         1 large red bell pepper
·         8 ounces of portabella mushrooms
·         8 oz package of extra-firm tofu, drained
·         1 small onion (optional)
·         2 tbsp Sesame seeds (optional)
·         2 tbsp. cooking oil (grapeseed, coconut or avocado)

For the Marinade:
·         2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
·         2 tsp raw honey ( or brown sugar/maple syrup to make vegan)  
·         1 tsp chopped fresh ginger 2 cloves fresh garlic
·         1-2 tbsp chili paste

1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
2. Slice the tofu so that they can be about 1”-2” in size, and then place them in the marinade. For optimal flavor, let them marinade for no less than an hour (best to prep this ahead of time to allow the tofu to marinade overnight)
3. In a large skillet or wok, heat up to medium-high and allow the oil to melt. Then place the tofu and marinade to sauté for about 7 minutes, or until the tofu begins to lightly caramelize. Set about 4 tablespoons of marinade aside.
4. Add the veggies to the marinated tofu mixture, and cover on medium-high for about 5-6 minutes or until veggies begin to steam into a vibrant green. Remove cover, add in the rest of the marinade mixture, and quickly Sautee for about 3 minutes or until the marinade thickens slightly.
5. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of stir-fry, and serve with your favorite rice & enjoy! J

4 Servings

Nutritional information per serving (of stir-fry):
233g calories/ 9.5g protein/12g fat/14g carbs/ 4g fiber
Have you made this? Did you alter this recipe in any way? Comment below! 



Creamy + Tangy Cashew Ricotta Cheese



Since adopting a plant-based diet, I made the personal decision to eliminate dairy products. I’ve never been a fan of milk*, but cheese has been my life’s fuel.

However, as I have been trying to reverse my pre-diabetes, I knew that cutting dairy was one step I had to take to become a healthier human being. I also became detested by the horrorsof the Dairy Industry. With all that being said, I acknowledged that eliminating animal-based cheeses was something that I personally had to do.

But to be honest, as I have transitioned towards eating in a predominatly plant-based manner, I have not really been satisfied with any of the store-brought vegan cheese alternatives-most of them either taste like cardboard, are super processed, or are just too expansive. Hence, I became increasingly frustrated.

That combined frustration has driven me to begin the gradual process of making my own cheeses from scratch! Not only does that result in cutting out the processed junk, but is cheaper too! Creating homemade cheeses also gives me a greater appreciation and connection to the foods I’m consuming.

Let’s jump into the recipe!
Creamy + Tangy Cashew Ricotta Cheese

       Ingredients
·         1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
·         2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
·         1/8 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
·         2 cups raw cashews, soaked
·         1/3 cup reserved water from soaked cashews
·         3 tablespoons of lemon juice
·         2 garlic cloves, or ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder (depending on how garlicky you like your ricotta)
·         Dash of salt and black pepper
Directions:
1. Soaking the cashews: You can either let the cashews soak in cold water ahead of time, for at least an hour, by doing it overnight. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT, you can always soak the cashews for about 15 minutes in boiling water. If this is the step you decide on, make sure to immediately drain the cashews (and reserve ½ cup of the water).

2. In a food processor, combine all of the listed ingredients, and let it pulse, blend for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture has the thick consistency and texture of ricotta cheese. You will want to check on the mixture periodically and scrape the sides of the processor a few times.

3. Serve and enjoy! Feel free to add this to whatever savory dish you like!

4. WARNING: This recipe is SO delicious, that you MIGHT just wind up eating this straight from the processor. You have been told.

Note: If you’d rather have a more neutral-flavored ricotta, feel free to do away with the garlic and onion, and black pepper. This way, you can add it to your favorite sweet dishes. You can also sub the olive oil for either a lighter oil, like light olive, grape seed, or avocado oil.

* When I mention milk in this post, I am referring to Dairy animal-based milk from cows, sheep, or goats.

10 servings

Nutritional information per serving:
201g calories/ 7g protein/15g fat/11.5g carbs/ 1.4g fiber
Have you made this? Did you alter this recipe in any way? Comment below! 

Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Lasagna

Unlike your traditional lasagna, this deliciously cheesy vegan zucchini lasagna is different because it is plant-based, and is lower-in carbs (if you’re counting!)

Pictured is a slice of the cheesy vegan zucchini lasagna, topped with fresh basil leaves, served on a medium-sized plate.

THIS. LASAGNA. TOOK. ME. PLACES.

Simply put: I have been craving lasagna for a while, so I was really looking forward to making this. However, unlike your traditional lasagna, this is different because it is vegan, and replaces zucchini for lasagna noodles, which makes this lower-in carbs (if you’re counting!).

This seriously turned out to be one of the most delicious lasagnas that I have ever tasted, and I’m not just saying that because I made it! It’s creamy, delicious, nutty, and extremely filling. Unlike most zucchini lasagnas I’ve had in the past, this one wasn’t soupy, nor did any excess liquid from the zucchini make the dish too wet. The consistency was just right-almost as if I were eating the traditional Italian Dish. The homemade cashew ricotta cheese was not only extremely delicious, but was very helpful in absorbing the excess moisture from the veggies.

Patience is a Virtue

Before I jump into the recipe, I will say that this cheesy vegan zucchini lasagna is going to take some time for you to prepare. Dedicate at least two hours for the preparation of this meal (which will include the ingredient prep and baking time). This dish was made almost completely from scratch, which means that I had to make almost every component with my own blood, sweat, and tears (you get it-I hope!). If you’re into prepping ingredients ahead of time, then you’ll be ahead of the game!

My advice: Patience is a virtue. Trust me. You’ll be licking your plate clean.

Let’s jump to the Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Lasagna recipe, shall we:

Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:

For the noodles:

  • 2 medium whole zucchinis or one extra-large zucchini

For the sauce:

  • Two 8 ounce packages of portabella mushrooms
  • 5-6 large plum tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers (or 4 medium bell peppers)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  • ½ large onion, or 1 small onion
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano seasoning
  • 1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo), divided into two teaspoons
  • Dash of salt & black pepper

For the cashew ricotta cheese:

  • 1 tsp evoo
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked
  • ½ cup reserved water from soaked cashews
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, or ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder (depending on how garlicky you like your ricotta)

For the topping:

  • Miyokos brand of Mozzarella cheese (optional, since this is my favorite store-bought vegan cheese)

Directions for the noodles:

  1. Slice the lengthwise with a mandolin. I highly recommend using a mandolin, for consistent slices. However, if you choose to slice these by hand, be sure to slice them no more than about 1/8” in thickness.
  2. These next two steps are optional, but HIGHLY recommended. To help get rid of the excess moisture from the zucchinis, place a large baking sheet with a layer of napkins, and salt the napkins. Then, lay each zucchini noodle slice over the salt, and try to avoid overlapping the slices. Liberally salt over the zucchinis, and let these ‘sweat’ for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, gently run your fingers through each slice over a sink or colander to get rid of the excess moisture and gently place the zucchini back into the pan, and once again avoid overlapping each slice.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the baking sheet(s) with the slices in the oven for ten minutes, to finish drying them off. The zucchini will now be ‘dry’ enough to use for the lasagna without making the dish too wet. Set aside.

For the meat sauce

  1. This step is best to do ahead of time-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the tomatoes in half, remove the bell pepper caps (with seeds), ad place these, along with the garlic cloves in a baking tray. Drizzle 2 tsp of the evoo over the produce and massage oil throughout. Bake these for about 25-30 minutes until the produce becomes wilted and has beautiful golden brown spots. Then place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until a sauce-consistency forms (I personally like my sauce on the chunkier side)
  2. While the zucchini is ‘sweating’, begin preparing the ‘meat’: coarsely dice the onion (to no more than ½” cubes), dice the garlic cloves into fine pieces, and crumble the portabella mushrooms until they are about ¼” sized pieces. You can either pulse these a couple times in a food processor or crumble them by hand. Up to you.
  3. Drizzle two tsp evoo on a skillet, preheated to medium high. Immediately place mushroom and onion mix into the skillet. Add the salt, black pepper, spinach, red pepper, and crushed oregano seasoning to mixture. Cover for the first 3 minutes to allow everything to wilt, then remove cover and stir mixture frequently for about 7 minutes, until the onions turn translucent, and the portabella begins to lightly brown.
  4. Add roasted tomato sauce mixture to the portabella ‘meat’ and let is simmer on low for about 10 minutes, or until more of the juices from the tomato mixture reduces.

For cashew ricotta:

1. Place all specified ingredients into (cleaned) food processor and let it blend for about 3-5 minutes, or until it has that thick, ricotta mixture. Be sure to check and stir periodically. That easy.

Directions for the Lasagna assembling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take an 8” casserole dish, and take about 2-3 tablespoons of meat sauce to spoon at bottom. This will help the lasagna become easy to scoop out (trust me!)
  3. Like any traditional lasagna recipe, gently layer the zucchini noodles, as the second layer. Then add about half or the ricotta mixture and gently spread. Then layer about a third of the meat sauce mixture. Afterwards, layer about 1/3 of the Miyokos mozzarella cheese. Then repeat this step, until you have about 2-3 layers of lasagna. Top with the rest of the sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese. Over with a sheet of aluminum foil
  4. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Afterwards, remove aluminum foil cover and allow to bake for 15 additional minutes.
  5. The hardest step (but a VERY important one!!). Let the lasagna rest for about 10-15 minutes-OR-until you feel like it is cool enough for you to eat.
  6. Quarter this lasagna with a spatula (or knife) and with your spatula, gently take each piece out, and plate.
  7. Devour this dish and enjoy!!!

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 hearty slice)

Nutritional information for the Cheesy Vegan Zucchini Lasagna:

502g calories/ 29g protein/51g fat/58g carbs/ 8.5g fiber

Have you made this? Did you alter this recipe in any way? Comment below!

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