True to Tofu

Toe-what? I thought the first time I heard about tofu. Coming from a meat and potatoes family, my knowledge of vegetables was a side dish for our traditional turkey dinners. When I met my first vegetarian friends this was when I first heard about a tofurkey. Excuse me? Was exactly what I said when one of her other friends were making fun of my friend’s meatless lifestyle choice. I learned it was a meat(less)loaf form made with tofu. Years later I can say I’ve had tofurkey and made correctly it does taste like turkey. Amazing what you can do with food.

Tofu is also known as bean curd,  it is a food cultivated by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Tofu can be soft, firm, or extra firm. Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish. ~ Thank you, Wikipedia.

There is always a package of smoked tofu in our refrigerator. It is one of our favorite proteins we use in many of our plant-based recipes. We currently can’t get enough of this amazing Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

We substitute the soba noodles with Wun-Tun noodles and add grilled smoked tofu for a little extra kick. I make the full recipe and there is always enough for leftovers. I hope you enjoy!

Until Tomorrow, Keep On Typing…

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Swimming up Stream

Growing up in Nova Scotia, you would think I would be a custom to seafood. Ironically, my mother didn’t like fish, so we were limited to the seafood that came across our plates. When I moved out West over twenty years ago I was pleased to be able to buy salmon and cook it for myself. When my mothers ask what I am making for dinner and I share a BBQ Salmon I can see her nose curl up. The funny thing is I do the same thing about eggs. I guess we all have our hang-ups with certain foods.

There are so many varieties of Salmon: Sockeye, Chum, Chinook, Coho, Pink, and my personal favorite, being from the East Coast, the Atlantic Salmon. Now that I live in BC, I am surrounded by over five types of salmon and salmon fishing is a big business on the West Coast. Our dining room in the hotel I work for offers a pink salmon entrée and every time someone orders the dish, a dollar is donated to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. This non-profit foundation is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wild Pacific salmon and their natural habitats in British Columbia and the Yukon.

My husband and I are dedicated to a plant-based menu but we do eat seafood from time to time. Both of us being from the East Coast enjoy Salmon and we have married a vegetarian fried rice dish with baked salmon. We put the salmon in a tin-foil pocket with butter, dill, and lemon. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size)

Thug Kitchen Five-spice Fried Rice:

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into dice-sized cubes
2 tsp grapeseed, sesame or avocado oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha or chili paste
4 cups cooked short grain rice
1 cup bitter greens, chopped ( we use spinach )
1/2 cup sliced green onions (optional)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
  2. Add the sweet potato and two tbsp of water and stir-fry, stirring often, for about 5-8 minutes until the potato is tender and starting to brown.  Add more water if the potato starts to stick.
  3.  Add yellow onion and carrot and continue to stir-fry for another 3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  4.  Add the 5-spice powder and garlic and stir-fry for 1-2 more minutes.  Remove all vegetables from the pan, cover and set aside.
  5.  Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha in a small bowl. (Sometimes we double the amount – it’s really good!)
  6. Heat the remaining oil in the wok over medium heat.
  7.  Add the cooked rice and stir-fry until warm, approximately 5 minutes.
  8.  Add the sauce mix and the vegetables, plus the peas to the rice and mix well.
  9.  Stir-fry for another 1-3 minutes.
  10.  Fold in bitter greens and green onions
  11. Top with baked salmon.

Serve and enjoy!

Until Next Tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

Nuts On The Brain

Did you know that nuts are a great source of healthy fats in any diet? Nuts provide protein and minerals even brain power. Why do you think the walnut looks like a mini brain? The omega-3 in a walnut is great for memory and focus, they also help boost moods and aid to digestion. They also make a great pie crust when mixed with dates and other raw ingredients.

I am allergic to peanuts which are part of the legume family and not part of the tree nut family. You can be allergic to peanuts but not tree nuts and vise versa and/or both. When I developed my peanut allergy I missed the peanut butter cup the most, but now I can make my own with almond butter – yum!

As my husband and I venture into the plant-based meals, we have a variety of cookbooks that have helped us with some great tasting vegan recipes. One recipe book that was given to me before we started our journey of plant-based meals, was Oh She Glows and Angela has made vegan/raw food that much easier to prepare and enjoy. I hope you enjoy these Raw Almost Butter Cups as much as we do!

Until tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

 

 

When You’ve Got Lemons ~ Bake a Pie!

I am grateful for how many wonderful ways this little yellow citrus fruit has so many benefits. I start every morning with a cup of hot water and lemon as I write my morning pages. The hot water and lemon help with many different ailments:

  1. Aids to digestion
  2. Flushes out toxins
  3. Boots immune system
  4. Clears skin
  5. Hydrates Your Lymph System
  6. And so many more benefits!

Though the lemon is great for our health there is one other great use of a lemon. Making pies! I would have to say that lemon pie is my top three favorite pies (Blueberry and strawberry/rhubarb right up there as well).

My mother would make lemon pie and I just wanted the lemon filling and pie crust. I would take the meringue off (beaten eggs on top, no thank-you!) I am sure this pie recipe was a staple in most households in North American: Shirriff’s Lemon Pie, the blue box with the slice of lemon on front. I have a box of it in my cupboard now just in case we need to contribute to a potluck. If you haven’t had this pie before, I highly recommend you treat yourself. Enjoy!

What is your favorite lemon recipe? How do you use lemons during your day-to-day routines?

Until tomorrow, Keep on Typing…

A Recipe to Share – Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles

I love to write and I love to cook. My social media pages tend to be filled with either writing quotes or pictures of what we are cooking. I thought I would share a few of our favourite recipes (Caution: plant-based recipes because veggies are good for you).

We recently made our first recipe from the Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better, alkaline recipe book by Julie Cove. Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Sweet Chili sauce.

The Noodles:

• 1 large spaghetti squash
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I used light tasting olive oil)
• ¼ cup sliced yellow onion (I used a sweet onion)
• 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh lemongrass (we used lemon zest because I forgot to but the lemongrass)
• 1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
• 1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger
• ½ cup julienned scrubbed carrot
• ½ cup julienned, scrubbed daikon radish
• ½ cup julienned red bell pepper (we used about a cup because we love red peppers.
• ½ cup julienned, scrubbed zucchini
• 1 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos (I used soy sauce = 2 tbsp to the 1 tbsp)
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 5 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
• 3 Tbsp. sliced fresh mint (we didn’t use this, my partner is not a fan of mind, fair enough)
• 3 Tbsp. of sliced basil
• 3 Tbsp. of finely chopped green onions (didn’t use, we don’t care for green onions, purely a taste thing for us)
• Juice from ½ lime
• Hemp heart for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (I used our glass Pyrex dish, no parchment needed)


• Halve the squash lengthwise and place it, cut side down, on the baking sheet, (Do not add water or the squash will be too soft.) Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until fork-tender and the “spaghetti” strings pull freely from the skin. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
• Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in the carrot, daikon, bell pepper and zucchini for 1 -2 minutes. Season with Bragg (soy sauce) and salt. Remove from the heat, then add the cilantro, mint, basil, green onion, and lime juice and toss well to combine.
• Using a fork, loosen the strands of spaghetti squash from the skin by dragging it lengthwise with the stands. Divide the squash among 6 plates into nice heaps. Discard the skins. Pike the Thai-spiced veggie noodles over the squash and serve with sweet chili sauce on the side. Garnish with hemp hearts.

Sweet Chili Sauce: (It does take time to make I recommend getting a glass of wine)

• ¾ cup filtered alkaline water (we have a Brita, I took that as okay to use)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 4 drops of stevia (Sorry can’t do Stevia – we used white sugar about a teaspoon for 2 to 4 drops)
• 1 Tbsp. tapioca starch (flour if you don’t have any)
• 1 tsp coconut oil (we used light tasting olive oil)
• ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
• 2 garlic cloves finely minced
• ½ cup finely minced red bell pepper
• ½ Thai bird’s-eye chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (couldn’t find this, but you can use cayenne pepper, about ½ tsp)
• 2 tsp maple syrup (optional) or more stevia – you better believe we used maple syrup

In a glass measuring cup. Whisk together the water, lemon juice, stevia, and tapioca starch until well combined. Set aside. (I used a mason jar and shook it together, great arm work out!)

• Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in garlic, bell pepper, and chilli pepper and sauté for 1 more minute. Whisk the tapioca mixture again and pour it into the pan. Cook, stirring to combine, for 3 – 5 minutes, until the mixture turns from cloudy to clear. Add the salt and maple syrup (if using). Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and pour into a sauceboat. (The sauce will set up as it chills. To thin it, whisk in a drizzle of warm water.)

Enjoy! Please let me know how you made out – did you substitute anything, add something? Please share.

Please sign up for my upcoming Newsletter where you can get Free chapters of my upcoming Memoir; Behind the Kitchen Doors – A Hotel Memoir Series, plus fun recipes like this!

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing. . . .

 

Recipes for writing ~ another type of writing prompt

cookbook

It’s fun and exciting finding random topics to write about these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be back with my adventures of diving in deeper into creativity. These days I’m witnessing how much time I’m spending away from the page and thinking about how I can get back to this place as fast as I can. Sitting down and putting my fingers on the keyborad is the first step. Then I keep on tapping words onto the page, something is bound to happen.

prompt

 

For now I’m drawn to this writing prompt page, there is a reason, it’s only a matter of writing to find out. As I scrolled through the list of writing prompts, I stumbled across another passion of mine. Cooking.

Recipe: Write about a favorite recipe, or create a poem that is a recipe for something abstract, such as a feeling.

Are you ready? Do you want to set the timer? Maybe a sprint writing session is in order to get the creative juices flowing. I’m feeling a bit edgy and need to let go. Why I chose this writing prompt? I love to cook, I love to prepare food for people, I put my love into the food, I am just being right there in the moment. Cooking is another form of creativity and much like writing, once I pick up the knife to smash garlic before I mince it, I am an artists to reckon with.

plant

Lately, my partner and I have been eating planet based meals, mostly for dinners and I usually make a planet based meal for the one night of the week I work a later shift at the hotel. Doing research on vegan/vegetarian meals is pretty easy these days. I found a great website that started us off on the right path, along with Oh She Glow’s cook book I was given three years ago at a secret Santa gift exchange at work. Everything happens for a reason.

chop

We are really enjoying the Farro Salad from Planet Based Cooking.com  I have not cooked with Farro before so I stick with the instructions of two cups of water to one cup of Farro, but I did need to add a little more water to help give the Farro a less al-dante texture.

pot

As the Farro is cooking, I chop the red peppers (I also use yellow pepper for flavour and color). I rinse off the kidney beans and let them stand while I prepare the other veggies we like to use. The recipe calls for Swiss Char, sometimes we use spinach, whatever is in season and available. We like to use avocado instead of yellow or green beans, and adding saute mushrooms is always fun. Instead of raw red onion I sprinkle onion powder on the mushrooms as they cook, I also like to use turmeric for a little extra flavour.

The dressing is also pretty simple:

  • 3 Tbl red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Once everything is in the bowl, pour the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve. Much like writing there is a process of events to get to the end result. There is something about taking the time to put your loving energy into something that will nourish your body, mind and spirit.

mind

How did your favourite recipe exercise turn out? What is your favourite recipe lately, is there something that triggers your memory or a new story? Cooking brings people together, they talk about food much like they talk about a book, movie or TV series. Creativity is amazing in all forms and mediums.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you thinkwritten for these great writing prompts!

Post Thanksgiving

thanks1

Happy post-thanksgiving my Canadian friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Did you have turkey or ham or both? Did you cook or did you go to a pot luck and someone else made the turkey? Did you have to work and celebrated Thanksgiving dinner on another day? We all have different lives and have to balance our lives to ensure we take time and enjoy the holiday.

The one question that is asked during Thanksgiving is what are you thankful for? The main characters that make the top of the list:

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

 

All these are true for me, I am especially grateful this year because I was fortunate to flying back to Nova Scotia to spend the Thanksgiving weekend and week with my family. There is nothing like coming home during the holidays, there is a real sense of comfort and joy. I am very grateful to have this amazing opportunity to be able to be right here and now.

journal1

I would also like to add, I am grateful for creativity. I am grateful for having this wonderful relationship with my imagination and creativity. There are times where I might wander, but never that far, and when I do take a step away, I know that I can return in a blink of an eye. Grateful.

heart

Optimism is critical to our spiritual health. Is our creative glass half full or half empty? If we are to ‘take heart’ and go on with our work, then we must take our heart seriously. We must listen to its pains and we must bring to it its joys. A heart does not need to be told ‘oh toughen up.’ It needs you  to plan a tiny cheering ceremony and execute it. That done, you will find ‘the heart’ – the courage – to work again and well. ~ Julia Cameron

megaphone

My cheerleader is taking her vitamins and ready to keep on cheering my heart, my passion and creativity knows this. Creativity is right next to my cheerleader chanting, ‘keep writing, you can do it!’ with much intention. For that I am thankful.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

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