Many moons ago I worked at a vegan cafe in college named Squeakers. Veganism and vegetarianism was a "big thing" back in the early 2000's in Northwest Ohio. As a college student at Bowling Green State University, this is where a passion for cooking further ignited. I loved that job, and still to this day was one of my favorites. I guess deep down at heart I am not a desk-job type of person. Cooking is a form of creation and to me, it is therapeutic in nature.
One simple and easy recipe we served was a spicy tofu peanut wrap. It is one of the easiest recipes to make and is a quick meal to put together for work lunches. Back then we used San J International Thai Peanut Sauce, since that was the only thing we had on stock at the small cafe and health food store.
Today, you can use other brands though I do suggest San J, and the best part is that the sauce is Gluten Free. For this round, I used Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette Dressing.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Wraps are simple, easy and easily digestible in the summer months. The cooling raw vegetables make this a perfect picnic or on-the-go lunch. Enjoy!
Spicy Tofu Peanut Wrap
1 14 oz. block extra firm tofu, drained and press
1 bottle of Peanut Sauce
1 package of wraps
optional: avocado, sprouts etc.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While heating, remove the tofu from its package and wrap in 2-3 paper towels. Press the tofu by placing in a dish with a heavy bowl on top. Press for at least 15 minutes (or hours if possible).
Cut the tofu block in half and then cut slices as seen in the image above. Smother the tofu in peanut sauce in a bowl and then pour evenly onto a baking sheet. Use about half of the bottle of peanut sauce for baking. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the tofu, and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the tofu cool. You can eat the wraps with the tofu cold or hot. Place lettuce, tomato, carrots and other toppings into a wrap. Place 3-4 sliced pieces of tofu on top and add a small amount of peanuts in the wrap. Drizzle additional peanut sauce on top and enjoy!
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A bit late in posting, but better late then never. Although I consider quiche warm and hearty and perfect for the winter months, spring is foraging season for mushrooms in Washington State, so if you're picking mushrooms and need a new recipe to try, here is an earthly, dairy-free quiche for you and your family.
Mushrooms are quit interesting and fascinating. Some are poisonous and some are known to have power to save the planet.
Save the planet?
Yes, you read that right. Washington native, Paul Stamets studies mushrooms and believes the mycelium, the root structure, has immense power to change human health and the planet's well-being. I dont know enough about the topic, but i find it fascinating that nature has provided us an organism that can boost immunity to clean up oil spills.
The earth is a natural self-healing organism. The earth organically recycles and grows and produces everything we need in order to survive. It is up to our human consciousness and intellect to understand how to use (or know the power of) the grown organisms. If mushrooms can save the planet, just think of how amazing this earth can become.
Vegan Mushroom Fennel + Leek Quiche
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Pan: 9-inch round pie pan
Makes: 8 slices
1 premade vegan pie crust (or your favorite homemade recipe)
1 block of extra firm tofu (14 oz.), pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 heaping cup, leeks, chopped
1 cup fennel, chopped (white bulb part of mushroom)
2 cup criminology mushrooms, sliced
1.5 tbsp parsley, chopped
toppings - parsley, fennel leaves + mushrooms
quiche base ingredients
2 tbsp + 1 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp non dairy milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove for the tofu mixture
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric
pinch of pepper
Begin pressing the tofu. Wrap the tofu in 3 paper towels or with a kitchen towel. Set it on a plate and then set a bowl or heavy object on top to press out the water.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and mold the pie pan with the crust.
In a pan, cook the vegetables in olive oil until edible or when mushrooms shrink. Add the parsley during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside when done.
Once the tofu is pressed, puree the tofu and the remaining ingredients noted in the third batch of ingredients. Once pureed, mix the blended tofu and the vegetables together.
Pour into the pie crust and bake for 30-35 minutes. The quiche will solidify once cooled. Enjoy warm!
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America is nutritionally confused. And for good reason. Marketing and false promises are the forefront of every nutritional belief.
Every system, diet or program "guarantees" results if you follow their every step. So many people try with good intentions, but sadly fail. Does this mean they have a lack of willpower? Does this mean they're stupid? Or that they're a total failure?
No. Absolutely not. America is "food confused" because of so many systems out there. Unlike other parts of the world, where ancient cultures are still connected to the land, or consume specific foods during harvest season, most Americans have lost touch to the basics of agriculture and simple eating.
So what is the missing ingredient in the world of nutrition?
It is our spirit, which is missing.
America has lost touch with it's body and it's bodily awareness through the last few decades. Although it's making a comeback, the combination of desk jobs, technological devices, and artificial foods have "blocked" Americans not only from their spirit, but also from the connection and energy of the land.
Nutrition from a logical lens nourishes, or fuels, us, but more from a weight loss/gain perspective. It's the energy balance equation. If you eat more than you expend you gain weight. If you eat less than you expend you lose weight. Although this philosophy contains truth, there is a missing link.
A calorie is a unit of energy. And what you consume energetically matters not only nutritionally, but emotionally, psychologically and mentally. We've lost touch in fueling the spirit, where today we use food for superficial reasons. This in itself is spiritual and understand the spiritual context of food created by God.
Viewing nutrition through a spiritual lens ignites a fresh perspective, seeing food through a new light.
God's wisdom is profound. Depending on whether you believe in creation or evolution, we can all agree that food from nature provides the necessary nutrients that the human body needs for optimal function.
I believe some issues related to obesity is due to a lack of one's connection to spirit. Most people on this planet crave "something more." This "something more" is our soul, or our higher self talking to us.
Food is medicine and heals us internally as well as promotes exterior beauty.
Our physical body is the vessel that our soul uses to connect to the Divine. When clean, healthy and whole, our bodies continue to "bring in" more of the light. This light inspires us to further nourish our heart and soul.
Many ancient traditions considered the body sacred, believed that taking care of the body ensure's one health and longevity. in simple terms, the body is a temple. Interior beauty is just as important as exterior beauty. You can read more at my other blog link, Why You Should Treat Your Body as a Temple.
Not only is nutrition important, but ancient cultures also believed in the art and well-being of movement, holistic medicine, relaxation techniques and adequate sleep. These traditions viewed the body not as God, but as a vehicle to God.
So what makes these ancient cultures different than today? These cultures had a spiritual foundation.
Without a spiritual foundation, nutritional knowledge can only go so far.
No matter how strict one's diet is with adequate vitamins, minerals and vegetables, one is still susceptible to health issues. This doesn't mean that one should not attempt towards better health, but without stable emotions and a mindset and a connection to God, nutrition can only be taken so far.
In today's world, we have a surface level understanding of nutrition thanks to marketing and quick-fix gimmicks.
Children are natural intuitive eaters, but adults once we enter the "real world" we experience eating a myriad of complex eating issues. Some eat their emotions due to stress, loneliness or depression. Some don't eat because of body image issues. We adopt beliefs around the "right and wrong" foods.
We need a mix of nutritional and spiritual enlightenment.
We are more than just a body, but a vehicle containing a spiritual source. Please read the upcoming blog post that discusses questions one should ask regarding their spiritual foundation and nutritional knowledge.
Some say life is a series of random and chaotic events. Others say life is pre-determined by God. Whatever you believe, the cycle of life and nature never changes. But sadly, it has changed. The climate is as confused as people are in this country on how to eat.
The beauty of spring is here. A time of rebirth and the season of precious petals falling to the earth and petite birds chirping with the morning sun. The key is that warmth drives this season. The temperatures rise and people begin to sow seeds into the earth.
As life gains more energy at this time of year, it is important to continue on the path of consuming natural foods. Like a bird searching for seeds and berries, this "bird food," granola bar is one of the healthiest snacks you can eat.
Most mainstream granola bars on the market contain a variety of either sweeteners, artificial ingredients or preservatives.
These chewy (not crispy) granola bars are naturally sweetened from the banana and the maple syrup. There is gunk or junk, only hearty, healthy and wholesome goodness. Enjoy!
"God gives every bird its food, but He does not
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com