Cooking for One

19 Feb

When I’m online, I spend a lot of time cruising food blogs looking for vegetarian recipes. I need ideas; new ways to cook tofu, tempeh and veggies. Easy recipes that I can throw together after a long day at work. The thing is, I don’t always feel like cooking, and the only person who suffers if I choose not to cook is me. Cooking for one sucks!

It’s much easier to order take-out (chinese or mexican) or drive thru (meatless burger and fries); expensive and not real healthy alternatives. So, I’ve been trying to cook more.

I have a confession, I really don’t love tofu or tempeh, or any of the fake meat products. Over the years I’ve learned a few different ways to cook tofu so that it’s palatable, and both of the versions involve frying. When you dip tofu into  batter, or cover it in panko crumbs before frying…yummo. I’m still learning how to cook with tempeh, and I’ve found a few promising tempeh recipes that I’ll be trying soon.

Fake bacon can’t compare to the real thing in all it’s greasy, smokey glory…but I’ve chosen my choice, and I haven’t strayed since. So, occasionally I’ll buy facon, but like I said…I don’t love it.

Tonight I had a japanese eggplant and some tofu in my fridge and found a recipe online that sounded good, so I actually cooked. I had been looking for a recipe similar to Panda Express’ Spicy Eggplant and Tofu.

My version of Braised Eggplant & Tofu  (Original recipe from Fat Free Vegan)

  • 1/2 lb tofu, extra firm (cut in 1″ cubes)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (cut in 1/2″ pieces)
  • 2 small Chinese eggplants (cut into 1″ cubes)
  • 3/4 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili sauce

Eggplant ingredientsMarinate the tofu in the soy sauce and sesame oil for about 15 minutes, remove to paper towel. Heat half of the canola oil in frying pan or wok; cook until browned, remove to paper towel-lined plate.

Tofu

Heat remaining oil in same pan on low, add garlic and ginger, cook slow for about 5 minutes, increase to medium heat, add red bell pepper and eggplant, cook stirring, for 5 minutes.

eggplant

Add remaining ingredients (besides tofu) and cover, cook for about 5 minutes. Remove lid, add tofu, stir and continue simmering for about 10 minutes until eggplant is soft and sauce begins to thicken.

Eggplant and tofuServe over rice.

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Egg Recall: One more reason to go Vegan

22 Aug

We, as consumers, should be able to shop for food at our local supermarkets secure in the knowledge that what we are purchasing, what the store is selling, is safe. As a Vegetarian that still consumes eggs and dairy, I’m aware that there are still health issues to worry about not only with animal products, but even vegetables. With this latest outbreak of Salmonella poisoning, and recent E coli outbreaks, it makes shopping a scary thing for anyone who  worries about food-borne illness.

The main reason I cut meat out of my diet was because of health. I had thought of vegetarianism in the past, usually equating it with people who quit eating food with faces; because of cruelty towards animals. I’m not saying that I have never cared about cruelty towards animals; I would never wear fur, it’s just that the catalyst in my case was my health. When there are recalls of food that I normally buy, I stop buying the product for awhile. When spinach was recalled, I stopped eating fresh spinach for the longest time.

“Hens in intensive agriculture are forced to live in miserable, frustrated existence crammed into tiny battery cages, where they are unable to walk or spread their wings,”. “They live covered in feces, often forced to share cages with the bodies of deceased neighbors. These unnatural conditions produce sick birds, which increases the likelihood of infected eggs.”

I’m contemplating omitting eggs now. I’ll just need to figure out what to have for breakfast besides a quick easy standby, a donut and coffee. It’s vegetarian, but definately not healthy.

Eating healthy on a tight budget

21 Aug

I would love to be able to shop at the local health food co-op on a regular basis. However, since the prices are a little high, I’m only able to shop there for specialty items, and only once in awhile. It’s the best place to purchase vegetarian-friendly foods such as tempeh; they have a large variety to choose from. Instead I find myself shopping at the supermarket with a limited amount to spend and sticking to salads, yogurt, pasta and vegetables. I add a lot of cheese and eggs for protein. I try to only purchase organic “free range” eggs; however according to a recent PETA article I read, those labels might not mean what they say. Again, another thing which I should purchase at the co-op or the Farmer’s Market…if I could afford to. It’s is a sad fact of life that if someone wants to eat truly healthier foods, it’s going to cost more than say, the few bucks McDonalds charges for a disgusting “burger”. I’m getting on a rant and could go on and on about GMO foods, antibiotics in foods, pesticides, hormones, inhumane treatment of animals for food; practices such as feeding chicken feces, feathers, and the blood and parts of other animals to cows. Maybe I should just become a Vegan.

A Healthier Lifestyle

8 Aug

I stopped eating red meat about 9 years ago because I was addicted to fast food; sometimes eating at Burger King twice a day. Having a croissant sandwich for breakfast, a whopper for lunch and then eating pizza my fiance brought home was sometimes a normal day. No wonder I was feeling sick all of the time. My absolution began after reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

I stopped eating hamburgers right away. Instead, I thought the safer, more healthy option was chicken. So, I didn’t go cold turkey…it was slow going. I rationalized that fried chicken sandwiches and french fries were the healthier choice. My addiction to fast food was and is a hard fu&!ing habit to kick.

Bacon…oh sweet bacon, was nearly impossible to give up. I told myself “it’s not red meat…really”. Bacon tastes goood. However, my hunger for knowledge about the food we eat, was stronger than my love for bacon.

Hello world!

17 Mar

I guess I can’t really call myself a virgin…I’ve been a vegetarian for about 7 years now.  I’m still learning the right way to eat. I know I should eat healthier, instead I opt for the easy, quick items which I know aren’t good for me. They don’t have meat in them, but that doesn’t make them healthy. I don’t eat the burgers that the fast food places serve, however I still manage to go through a drive-thru every few days. Jack in the Box serves a great breakfast sandwich on a croissant; omit the meat and yummmm. I don’t even want to know how many fat grams or calories are in that little number.

My grown, carnivorous daughter lives at home and when we’re out shopping always seems to get a hankering for Mickey D’s. They are not so veggie friendly, so mostly I get fries and soda; now there’s a healthy lunch. Sometimes I’m good and I get a salad, but those days are few.

I’m still learning. When I cook, I’m cooking mainly for myself because my daughter hates a lot of what I eat. She won’t try tofu or tempeh, hates zucchini and eggplant. I use those items a lot. She’s 28, so I figure if she wants to eat meat, she can cook it herself.

Like I said, I’m still learning; how to cook healthy vegetarian meals for one, as well as some things that even a picky carnivore may enjoy.