Have a great day - eat something healthy.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Celebrate Life - No Chewing Required!

Let's face it - the reward system we’ve grown accustomed to is probably one of the most dangerous land mines we face in our dietary lives. From the time we smeared our first birthday cake across our faces we've been taught to celebrate through eating and drinking.

Special dinners, holiday meals, even funeral buffets find us hunched over our plates, fork or spoon in constant motion, prospecting for that one bite that will bring us a culinary version of comfort or joy. Some of us seek solace or celebration in liquid form, tossing back glass after glass of beer or booze in an effort to rejoice or relax. But in either case the satisfaction is only temporary and we wind up with an overstuffed belly, a pounding head, and an empty soul.

We experience challenges and victories frequently in life, but we don't always have to default to food or drink. The next time life offers us a reason to celebrate - or chill - is the perfect opportunity to rethink our reward systems and redefine our relationships with food and alcohol.

What do you like to do? What gives you joy? What makes you feel safe, secure and well tended to? Whatever the answer, here's your chance to take great care of your body - and feed your soul!

Here are some ideas:

1) Get a mani/pedi - not express; the spa kind that gives you get the full royal treatment
2) Get your hair done - a new cut or color, highlights, straighting, deep conditioning
3) Take a Yoga class - Bikram for sweating out toxins; restorative is almost better than a massage
4) Buy those cute red (or whatever color your covet) shoes you’ve been eyeing
5) Make a date with your vibrator (very healthy!)
6) See a foreign flick
7) Spend an undisturbed hour with a good book
8) Take a walk
9) Get a makeover - bring some new colors into your makeup palette
10) Try a new perfume
11) Take a dance class - tap, salsa, pole; whatever gets your juices flowing
12) Get a wax - brows, upper lip, Brazillian, arms
13) See a concert
14) Get a massage
15) Go to the zoo
16) Tackle a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle - all day
17) Watch an old movie
18) See a psychic
19) Paint a room a new color
20) Get a cushy pair of slippers and wear them all weekend

Monday, January 14, 2013

Messy Life, Clean Diet

Today is the first day of a New Year's cleanse - it's the usual 21-day GAS CAP (gluten, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, animal products) program we've done for the past few years. I hope some of my cleanse buddies are on board; I know some of you are trying different programs. No matter what program anyone is doing, I hope we can use this blog as a place where we can come and share our experiences, thoughts, recipes - whatever. Please jump on and share whatever you're going through - I'd love to hear from you!

Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in life - this week I'm preparing to teach a class in nutrition, I'm facing writing deadlines, and I'm working two part-time retail jobs (yes, I'm finally working at Whole Foods, and at a health club for people over 50 - more about this later).

So, somehow, I'm going to have to find time to shop for and prepare healthy food in the midst of the madness. But I'm welcoming the challenge. Because this is real life, and life is messy. In the past, when all I did was write, I had oodles of time and it was easy to make up soups and entrees and have everything just so. Not this time. I'm doing this on the fly. So here goes - I'm jumping into the deep end with nothing but one pot of soaked beans that needs to hit the stove. After that, we'll just have to see what happens!       

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pistachio (or Pumpkin Seed) Crusted Tofu with Truffle Cream Sauce

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tofu with Truffle Cream Sauce

I just wrote about being blown away by the food at Blossom in Manhattan. And when I find resaturant food that really excites me, nothing makes me happier than duplicating it at home. After savoring the pistachio crusted tofu (the most delicious tofu entree I'd ever eaten) at Blossom, I had to try to make it in my own kitchen. 

I don't really play around with tofu that much - certainly not enough to have any real confidence about how to turn a flavorless block of goo into a sophisticated, praiseworthy entree. And non-dairy cream sauces (the Blossom dish was finished with a savory vegan truffle creme) often seem like thick, chewy, oafish imitations of the "real thing." But a bit of research led me to a few recipes that, with a bit of tweaking, have resulted in an impressive imitation of the Blossom inspiration dish. In fact, I'd be proud to serve this to even the most stubborn of carnivorous foodies. And the great thing is, this flavorful, satisfying dish doesn't take much effort or time - how's that for a bonus?!!!

If you decide to try making this, here are a couple of things to consider:
1.) Be sure to use unsalted pistachios. I looked everywhere but couldn't find any shelled pistachios that weren't salted. So, I bought the shelled unsalted kind and took the shells off myself. Trust me, that eats up some time. On top of that, pistachios are fairly expensive. So, while they have a lovely flavor and texture, a great alternative is unsalted pumpkin seeds. They're mellow, earthy, have a great crunch, come shelled, and cost far less than the pistachios. I think pumpkin seeds are an easy alternative that will save you time and money.

2.) The truffle cream sauce requires 2 hours of soaking time for the cashews and pinenuts, so bear that in mind while you're putting this dish together. Also, the recipe says to add water to get the sauce the the consistency you desire - don't be shy. It takes a while to get this sauce to a nice, creamy consistency.

Alright, now that we've gotten the particulars out of the way, click on these links to get to the recipes for Pistachio (or Pumpkin Seed) Crusted Tofu and Truffle Cream Sauce. I hope you enjoy them as much as Mark and I do! 

Pistachio (or Pumpkin Seed) Crusted Tofu

Hands down, this is the best tofu dish I've ever made! Both Mark and I love the crunchy, chewy texture and the earthy flavors - I'm so delighted I've finally found a world class tofu entree I'd be proud to serve to anyone who sits at my table!

Pistachio (or Pumpkin Seed) Crusted Tofu

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tofu with Truffle Cream Sauce

1 block tofu, extra firm
½ C unsalted pistachios (or unsalted pumpkin seeds)
1/4 C vegan butter, softened
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t mustard seeds*
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t curry powder
1/2 t turmeric

Press the tofu to squeeze out the water. I put it on a cutting board, and place a pan or a big book (wrapped in a kitchen towel) on it to press down.

Once dry, cut the block of tofu lengthwise to make two slices. Then cut each slice diagonally to create 4 triangles, resulting in a total of 8 tofu triangles.

Put the pistachios or pumpkin seeds in the food processor to grind them (a blender or stick blender would do the same). Put them in a bowl. You can substitute other nuts (cashews would be yummy!).

Put the vegan butter in a saucepan and melt on the stove over medium heat. Stir in all spices. Turn off heat.

Use a little of the melted butter or some oil spray to coat the bottom of a baking pan or Pyrex/roasting pan. (A baking sheet would work, too.)

Dip a piece of tofu in the melted butter and spice mixture, flipping it so all sides get covered. Then dip in the bowl of pistachios.

Place in the baking pan. Do this for all tofu pieces. If desired, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper (I don’t think it needs this, but you might). And cover with any leftover ground nuts.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes.

Serve with Truffle Cream Sauce.

*The original recipe calls for ground mustard seed, but through a happy oversight I used whole mustard seeds instead – and I think they add delightful little bursts of flavor and  texture!

Modified from a recipe by Heather on inspiredorganic.com