Sesame Ginger and Teriyaki Marinated Baked Tofu

There’s a lot going on in St. Louis right now, as you all know.  As someone who was born and raised in St. Louis, currently lives here, and has a love for the city, it’s really sad to see it getting torn apart.  While I’m not going to write on my views of the actual Ferguson verdict, I will say that I wish people would protest peacefully.  Do we need change?  YES!  It’s absolutely not right or not ok that there’s so much racism still present today, coming from both sides, but the way we need to make the change is NOT via violence and destruction.  Just like so many leaders made significant impacts on our country fifty years ago, they did it peacefully.  There is hope that we can accomplish change in a peaceful manner.  PEACEFUL CHANGE.  That should be the theme of this holiday season.

Just be kind to others.  Be mindful of people with different views.  If you want to see change in the world, BE the change.  Just do it peacefully.  End rant.

Peaceful like this precious sleeping baby.

sleeping baby 7months

See how I changed the subject like that?  Nobody can be angry about a sleeping baby!

Alright now, the real reason for this post today is to link up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday.  So before the big turkey day tomorrow, let’s take a look at some healthy pre-Thanksgiving meals.

Breakfast: Oatmeal Pancake

pancake

Who says pancakes are just for the weekend?  Not me!  It literally takes two seconds to put this healthy, high-protein pancake together before pouring it into the pan.  All I use is 2 eggs, some oatmeal (1/2 cup-ish), frozen blueberries, cinnamon, a dash of baking powder, and [optional] wheat germ and ground flax-seed.  I topped it with fresh homemade blueberry jam.  All you do for that is put frozen blueberries in a bowl, add water, heat in the microwave, stir in chia seeds, and let set.  Top with syrup.  Obviously!  It’s a great combination of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein – perfect for a hearty and nutritious breakfast!

I was sent coupons to try Nasoya’s new marinated baked tofu.  No compensation was provided; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Lunch: High Protein Sesame Ginger Tofu Vegetable Bowl

tofu

In the mix: quinoa, black beans, corn, peas, garlic, onion, diced tomatoes, and Nasoya Sesame Ginger TofuBaked tofu.  Tofu has a lot of protein; in the eight ounce package, there is 32 grams of protein.  Combine that with the quinoa and beans, and this bowl had me full for a decent chunk of time (impressive for this breastfeeding momma!).

I participated in Meatless Monday for the #Elf4Health challenge.  Want to sign up? There’s still time!  Sign up HERE for the second round!  There are great prizes and it’s a fun way to stay motivated to make healthy choices throughout the holidays!  Each day, there is a new “challenge,” and you are paired up with another “elf.” (Or you can do it solo, your choice.)  It lasts for four weeks and the challenges are totally doable… like this Meatless Monday. Oh, and it’s completely FREE to participate!

Dinner: Teriyaki Tofu Salad

tofu salad

In the salad: fresh spinach, Nasoya Teriyaki TofuBaked tofu, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, hemp hearts, and evoo and balsamic (not pictured).  Both flavors of the tofu were very mild which made it easy to add to my dishes.  It’s great to use in a pinch since you don’t have to press or season it; it comes all ready to go.

And that’s all!  I’m off to enjoy my day off work and start cooking a few items to bring to my parents’ feast tomorrow!

Are you a tofu fan?  Would you go with sesame ginger or teriyaki?

Itz WIAW!

In exactly one week from today, I will be on a plane flying to Cancun with Jonny and 15 of my closest family members.  I CAN’T WAIT!  For now though, let’s talk food courtesy of Jenn at Peas and Crayons for this lovely WIAW.

I was just about done with my almond butter, so naturally I had to make oats in a jar.  What is oats in a jar?  Well, you see here… you make your oats, then put them in a jar of almost-used nut butter!  (Shocker, I know!)

Seriously though, itz the best way to use every last morsel of nut butter, and itz even better when you add strawberries to the mix.  So tasty!

I’m going to apologize for the next picture.  It could quite possibly be the ugliest picture I have ever put on Itz Linz.  I’m apologizing in advance…

Told ya so!  It looks absolutely nasty, but it didn’t taste that way at all.  I chopped up one zucchini, cut the corn off a cob, sliced a red pepper, pulled apart some deli turkey, added sunflower seeds, and used creamy avocado yogurt dip as the dressing.  I knew it would be thick, so I tried to thin it out a little with apple cider vinegar, but it obviously didn’t work.  Nevertheless, lunch was still tasty despite itz looks!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday this week I’ve been in workshops for school.  Obviously, I packed snacks since I wouldn’t be able to eat as freely as I’ve grown accustomed to this summer.  After lunch, I’d been getting a little sweet tooth, so I found it to be the perfect time to whip out a Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabar.

The Larabar is from last month’s foodie penpal.  Chocolate chip brownie is not my favorite Larabar flavor, but it’s definitely not bad.  (I don’t think any Larabar is bad!)

Dinner was quite a gem last night.  Meg recently posted a recipe for Sesame Crusted Tofu and I just so happen to have a block of tofu and sesame seeds just waiting to be used.  I used only white sesame seeds (no black), and I didn’t toast them, and I pan seared the tofu in sesame oil because I found it in my pantry.  I have no idea where the sesame oil came from, or why I would have bought it, but it seemed appropriate to use when making Sesame Crusted Tofu.

I chopped up a few different varieties of squash and one onion, and seasoned it with a dash of sea salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  I cooked the veggies in an aluminum tray on the grill and they accompanied the tofu quite nicely.  Jonny said the tofu was the best tofu he has ever tasted (and that says a lot coming from that carnivore!).

Are you a tofu eater?  What’s the best tofu you’ve ever eaten or made?  Leave recipes or links in the comment section – I love new ideas! 🙂

~A few days left to enter the giveaway…~

Healthy Choices

Happy Saturday, friends!  I want to chat with you about some healthy choices I made yesterday.  They are small decisions, but they add up to help me live my healthy lifestyle.  It all began with breakfast.  (It always does, doesn’t it?)  The school I work at breakfast is served in the teacher’s lounge every Friday morning.  Each staff member buddies up with a partner and is responsible for hosting one Friday during the school year.  I love this tradition as it promotes a sense of camaraderie while we eat together on the last day of the week.

The typical breakfast includes bagels, donuts, and juice.  However, sometimes people branch out and spice it up a little.  Today, my third grade team hosted a bridal shower for our lovely co-worker, Nichole.  I wanted to do something different for her shower, and I knew we would be having cake in addition to breakfast.  I decided to nix the donuts and make an oatmeal bar instead.   Nichole recently ran (and rocked!) her first half-marathon and has made great strides with healthy choices.  We often talk about fitness and nutrition, so I knew she would appreciate the healthy alternative of an oatmeal bar.

I put 2 cups of steel-cut oats and 10 cups of water in the crockpot the night before.  I had never made steel-cut oats in the crockpot before, so I wasn’t quite sure how big they would expand.  In the morning, I still had room in the crockpot.  I made an additional two cups of old-fashioned oats on the stovetop and combined it in the crockpot.  (We have a huge staff to feed!)  Toppings included shredded coconut, almond slivers, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, and some homemade peanut butter granola.  The bar went over extremely well and the crockpot was empty by the end!

After school, Jonny and I planned on going to watch my nephews in a little Mother’s Day performance that their preschool hosted.  We were both starving, so we decided to eat dinner before.  I needed to throw together a fast and tasty dinner.  I had a block of tofu in my press waiting to be used.  I cut the tofu into pieces and baked them in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes.  Then, I steamed broccoli and topped it with nutritional yeast, and smeared some Artisana coconut butter on top of a sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon.

We dipped the baked tofu in a hot and spicy barbecue sauce.  Jonny commented on how full he was after dinner.  See, boys?  You can fill up on tofu!  🙂  After dinner, we went to see my nephews and there were some snacks served at the end.  We did indulge in some snacks even though we had already eaten dinner.  Making healthy choices means listening to our bodies and not depriving them.  Did we fix an entire second plate of dinner and stuff our faces with cookies?  No.  Moderation.

Jonny and I had initially planned on getting some fro-yo after the show, but since we had snacked, we decided against it.  Plus, I had something waiting in the freezer that I could turn into a dessert.  When I made the granola for the shower, I made sure to make enough to keep some at home.  Then, Lindsay posted a super easy recipe involving only three ingredients all of which I had on hand: Chobani plain greek yogurt, granola, and chocolate.

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Yogurt Bites

The sprinkles were my own touch.  🙂  Also, I added one drop of NuNaturals vanilla extract to the original recipe.  They turned out awesome and Jonny, once again, was impressed.  I can’t wait to make these for more people because they’ll surely be a crowd pleaser.

So those were some of my healthy choices I made yesterday.  Healthy eating doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be boring.  Finding that balance and finding what works for you is key.  Now I’m off to my first ever Ruckus Run with my sister.  Assuming we make it through in one piece, there will be an update on the race tomorrow.

What healthy choices have you made today?

Tofu Surprise

Tofu. Mmmmmm!  Some of you may be grimacing right now upon just hearing the word.  My husband, Jonny, is one of them.  He is not and has not ever been a tofu fan.  However… if he eats something and doesn’t know it’s tofu and likes it… then, that’s a different story!

Case in point #1:  I found Mama Pea’s Slow Cooker BBQ Tofu recipe and decided to give it a whirl!  I added pineapple, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers – all of which Jonny thoroughly enjoys.  I threw it in the crockpot in the morning and by evening, we had a hot and steamin’ dinner prepared!  I spooned out hearty portions and served my husband, telling him it was a new “chicken” dish I had been wanting to try.  “Mmmm, this is good!” he exclaimed.  Sold!  Or so I thought, until he said, “The consistency of this chicken is different.”  My heart started beating.  “Oh that?”  I replied, thinking fast, “It’s because I cooked it in the crockpot.  The crockpot made the chicken like that!”  Thump, thump, thump.  “Oh ok,” Jonny said in between bites.  Whew!  He bought it! 

I love you, Husband, but sometimes you are so gullible!  (Like the time I told him Zoey was part cat which explained some of her peculiar habits… to which he believed and passed this information onto his dad! Woops!)  Anyway, at the end of our dinner, we both had full bellies.  I was so proud of my accomplishment of tricking Jonny into eating (and liking!) tofu.  I was SO satisfied that I felt like he had to know the truth.  Maybe it would make him be more accepting of tofu in the future?  No dice.  “I knew that wasn’t chicken!”  “Yeah, but you liked it,” I countered.  “It was alright.”  Right.  It was sooooo goooooood until he found out it was tofu!

My mom bought me this reusable shopping bag after hearing some of my cooking tales from Jonny.

Case in point #2:  I stumbled upon another recipe that sounded tasty – Crispy Parmesan Tofu!  (I can’t remember/find where I got this recipe from. #prebloggingfail)  I tossed the tofu in panko crumbs, parmesan, and some seasoning, stuck it in the oven and crossed my fingers this would be Jonny-approved.  “What is that?”  he asked as I took it out of the oven.  “It’s chicken,” I said.  It worked (somewhat) the first time, maybe it would work again? 

“Go ahead, taste it.  Tell me what kind of sauce you want with it,” I encouraged.  He popped one in his mouth.  “Did you say this was chicken or fish?”  “Ummm…. fish!  Yeah, it’s tilapia!”  (Hey, if he thinks it’s fish… I’m going with it!)  Jonny could actually see the white part under the breading, so I figured tilapia (a white fish) would be a more reasonable response than chicken.  We proceeded to eat the tofu and again, Jonny LOVED it!  This time, I couldn’t even help myself because he had raved about it so much.  “It was actually Tofulapia!”  I blurted out.  All of a sudden, Jonny was “still hungry” because it didn’t fill him up.  Two seconds before, he was stuffed.  Funny how that works out.

Note: Tofu is NOT completely tasteless!  (I just thought this cartoon was really funny.)  The beauty of tofu is that it takes on whatever flavor you cook it with.  I can’t wait to trick the husband make many more delicious tofu meals!  In fact, he is becoming fond tolerable of tofu now that it’s making an appearance more often thanks to my tofu press and my random tofu recipes.  Hmm, I wonder what I should cook for dinner tonight…

Are you a tofu fan?

Itz WIAW + A Giveaway!

Just a few days before St. Patties day and WIAW is totally in style with “WIAW Goes Green!”  Is that appropriate or what?

This WIAW is probably my best one yet.  Let’s be real: all of my WIAW posts totally rock (one of you confessed to pulling up my blog each time you go to the grocery store! hehe), but today’s post is epic.  Epic in the sense that I am hosting my very first giveaway!  Get excited!  But first, I present to you some green eats.  Breakfast:

Smoothie.  You know I love my smoothies!  And they’re even better when made with Chobani’s blueberry greek yogurt, vanilla protein powder, frozen blueberries, vanilla almond milk, ice, chia seeds, spinach, and unsweetened coconut.  I think the shredded coconut is the magical ingredient in smoothies.  I love the texture it brings.  Lunch:

Sandwich with cucumber slices and some of Chelsey’s creamy italian hummus.  My hummus turned out a bit chunky compared to Chelsey’s smooth version, but it was still delicious!  Dinner was a large plate with greens and a new recipe!

Massive amounts of kale, yellow nuggets, and spicy sauce.  I bought whole kale this time instead of the chopped up version which made it considerably more difficult to eat, but it was equally tasty.  The spicy sauce was a mixture of ketchup, sriracha, tabasco, and worcestershire.  The yellow nugget recipe:

Yellow Nuggets

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup each of nutritional yeast, wheat germ, and ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon each of basil and red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of oregano, parsley, and garlic powder
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • 1.  Drain and press tofu.  Cut into smaller pieces.
  • 2.  Whisk the egg in one bowl.
  • 3.  Combine all other [dry] ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • 4.  Dip tofu pieces into egg then coat with dry ingredient mixture.
  • 5.  Lay tofu on a sprayed cookie sheet.
  • 6.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

The yellow nuggets were made way easier by my good ole’ tofu press!  Remember that tofu press that Jonny bought me for Valentine’s Day?  I’ve had a chance to use it (many times!) and fell in love.  Manually pressing tofu is a big pain, plus it’s a waste of paper towels.  Using the press is easy because you literally drain the tofu from the package, stick it in the press, put it in the fridge, and forget about it!  Then, whenever you’re ready you take it out and it’s ready to go.  The press consists of two parts that are easy to use, wash, and store.

Convenience in the kitchen to aid in the making of healthy food?  What more can you ask for?  Oh I know… how about a free press?  Because I love you (and the press) oh so much, I contacted the kind souls at TofuXpress about posting a review and hosting a giveaway, and they agreed to send me another press just for YOU!  One lucky winner will win their own TofuXpress!

Here’s how to enter the TofuXpress giveaway:

Mandatory: Become a fan of Itz Linz on Facebook and leave a comment down below where it says “Leave Some Love” telling me you did so.  Want to earn extra entries?

  1. Follow Itz Linz on Twitter and tweet the following, “I want to win an awesome @tofuxpress thanks to @ItzLinz.  Enter here: http://wp.me/p264zq-gS :)”
  2. Subscribe to Itz Linz by clicking on “Follow Itz Linz” in the upper right section of the screen and entering your e-mail address.
  3. Share this giveaway on Facebook or your own blog.

That’s a total of four possible entries per person.  Be sure to leave a comment for each additional entry.  The giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 20th at 9:00 pm CST.  I will randomly select a winner Wednesday, March 21st in my next WIAW post.  The winner will have 24 hours to contact me or another winner will be selected.

Leave some love below to enter this awesome giveaway!  Thanks, TofuXpress!

Edit to add: This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all who entered and stay tuned for more fun in the near future! 🙂

Pseudo Tofu Recipe

Today is Thursday and I am SOOOOO HAPPY!  Do you know why?  Because directly from school, I am heading to the airport with Jonny to visit this little booger:

Ok, ok that is when he was like four years old, but how cute is he?  Now he is 24 (soon to be 25 on February 5th!) and lives in San Diego, California.  I am sad he lives so far away, but it does make for a fabulous destination to visit!  Actually, for Jonny and my one year wedding anniversary, I booked us a trip to sunny San Diego during the dead of winter in St. Louis.  We are really looking forward to this trip!  I miss my baby bro and the warm sunshine will feel nice.  Plus, I’ve never been to California!  Lots of firsts here!

LiveFit Update:

I love working out my legs because they are a strong part of my body.  I grew up playing soccer, and my legs are here to prove it!  My legs can endure a lot more than my upper body can.  Have you seen my 100’s workout?

Day 3: Legs & Calves

  • Leg Press: 3 sets of 15 reps (90 pounds)
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps (45 pounds)
  • Sumo Barbell Squats: 3 sets of 20 reps (30 pounds)
  • Kneeling Leg Curls (alternating legs): 3 sets of 12 reps (15 pounds/leg)
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps (40 pounds)
  • Seated Calf Raises: 3 sets of 20 reps (75 pounds)
  • Walking Alternate Lunges: 3 sets of 20 reps (10 pound dumbbells)

The original LiveFit workout can be found here, as well as a demonstration of any and all of the exercises listed above.  For the standing calf raises, I put a 40 pound barbell on my back and raised up to my tippy toes instead of using the machines.  And for the seated calf raises, I sat on the leg press and pushed out and then put just my toes on the machine and flexed for each rep.  (My old trainer taught me that.)  The lunges at the end were my own touch. 🙂

In the food world, I needed to use up some food in the house since we are leaving town for a few days.  I will share my cooking with you, but you’ll have to understand that I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “recipe” as I threw stuff in here and there and don’t have exact measurements.  Truth be told, I wasn’t quite sure how this would turn out, but I was actually quite impressed!

Pseudo Tofu Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • olive oil
  • broccoli
  • corn
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • garlic
  • pineapple chunks or slices in 100% pineapple juice
  • soy sauce
  • sweet chili sauce
  • curry powder
  • chili flakes and powder

Directions:

  • 1.  Drain and press tofu using Mama Pea’s technique.
  • 2.  Cut tofu into small bite-size pieces, spray with olive oil, and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 35 minutes.
  • 3.  Steam broccoli and corn and drain.
  • 4.  Cook couscous using 1/2 cup pineapple juice and 1/2 cup of water.
  • 5.  Add garlic, dash of olive oil, curry powder, chili flakes and powder, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce to vegetables.
  • 6.  Give it a mish and a mash.
  • 7.  Add baked tofu.
  • 8.  Add couscous at the end.
  • 9.  Mish.  Mash.  Serve.  Eat.

Even Jonny said it was good!  I would have preferred to use brown rice or quinoa, but couscous was all we had in the pantry.  I also would have added more vegetables, but we didn’t have many of those either.  And this dish covered pretty much every food group no matter how you look at it: protein, carb, healthy fat, veggies, fruit.  Need I say more?

What’s the best recipe that you have thrown together?