Pressing Tofu

Hello, my tofu-loving veg-heads!

First off, I bet none of you reading loves tofu as much as my 18 month old daughter. She seriously goes crazy for it!! …right out of the package! …and this is how I used to go crazy for it too, until I started pressing it!

Truth be told, I got my tofu press (pictured above) as a gift an embarrassingly long time ago, and it had been living in my cupboard until recently. I feel silly that a devoted vegan such as myself has just gotten on the Tofu Express, lol! Get it? 😉

So, why should you press tofu? Well, tofu is packed with water, and then it’s packed in water. So much water will naturally dilute any flavor, and this, my friends, guaranteed, is why many people say they “hate” tofu, or that the flavor is bland or boring. When you press the water out, you allow much more room for FLAVOR!! Many tofu recipes you will find instruct you to drain the tofu, cut it into cubes or slices and then cook it, and they are missing the one crucial step of SEASONING it! You don’t find recipes for beef or chicken without some seasoning instructions, so you have to show the same kind of love to tofu!!

You can marinade it the same way you would anything else, with your favorite herbs, spices and liquid seasonings such as tamari, teriyaki, or your fave veggie broth.

You can press your tofu by using a tofu press (like the one you see pictured) or you can use the “book & plate” method. Take a plate and line it with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Place the tofu block on the paper towels and put another layer on top of the tofu. Put another plate or a cutting board on top of the paper towels and then weigh it down with heavy books or anything else heavy that would do. You’d want to press it for at least 30 minutes, if not overnight.

If you do cook with tofu regularly though, it may be worth it to invest in the tofu press. 😉

How many of you already press your tofu? What’s your favorite way to cook it? Share below, if you feel inclined! Definitely share some yummy recipes, if you have them!

Happy pressing!

 

 

 

Tasty Vegan Toddler Breakfast Ideas

Kids can be picky little buggers, can’t they? They may love something one day (or at one meal), and then turn their nose up at the same food the next time it’s on their plate. Thankfully, in the plant based world, there are a whole host of foods you can experiment with, and no animals will need to be harmed in the process!

My 18 month old daughter Alana is a pretty good eater, but I do wish I could get even more veggies into her! She does eat plenty by themselves, but others need to be skillfully hidden in things like smoothies or pasta sauces. 😉

Here are a few breakfast ideas and informal recipes that hopefully you can try with your mini plant eater! The recipes are just recommendations, so feel free to play around with them and make them your own by omitting or adding in ingredients your kiddo likes! Lord knows they’ve all got their minds made up about foods they will touch and foods they won’t! 🙂

  1. Avocado Toast sprinkled with a teensy pinch of sea salt and hemp seeds paired with pinto beans, apple slices and clementines (pictured above, and currently what Alana is really into). I use Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted bread.
  2. Kid-Friendly Green Smoothie:
    • 1/4 cup almond milk
    • 1/4 frozen banana
    • 1/2 tsp. almond or peanut butter
    • 1/4 tsp. ground flaxmeal or chia seeds
    • A few fresh spinach leaves
    • A dash of cinnamon
  3. Chia Seed Porridge:
    • 2 cups almond milk
    • 1/2 cup chia seeds
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 tbsp. coconut nectar or pure maple syrup
    • Blend or whisk all ingredients except the chia. Once blended, add everything to a glass jar along with the chia seeds. Shake well, and place in the fridge for 30 min-overnight. Serve with fresh fruit or shredded coconut!
  4. Waffles (pictured below)-I like Van’s frozen waffles since I don’t own a waffle iron and I always sucked at making my own waffles anyway!! Van’s are great because they are gluten free. I serve it with a little peanut butter, a side of fruit and avocado slices. I serve avos (or “dado”, as Alana calls them) with pretty much every meal since Alana repeatedly asks for them. Would I really deprive an avocado lover their fave food? Of course not! I’m not a momster! 😉
  5. Oatmeal-either rolled or steel cut, you can’t go wrong with oats…well, unless your kids hates them, ha ha! I like making steel cut oats in my rice cooker, since I can set it and walk away:
    • 1 cup steel cut oats
    • 2.5 cups water
    • Pinch of sea salt
    • I use a Zojirushi rice cooker and set it on the “porridge” setting and it takes about 30 minutes. You can also soak your oats overnight, and hit start first thing in the morning. This speeds up the process just a tiny bit, but def, hit start right when you roll out of bed, so by the time you get to the kitchen, your oats are waiting for you.
    • Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter…the topping options are truly endless!
  6. Tofu Scramble–you know your kid is a vegan if she passionately motions that she wants tofu the minute she sees you take it out of the fridge! This would be my daughter!
    • 1/4 block organic, firm tofu, crumbled
    • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. tamari
    • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
    • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
    • Any veggies you want to add: onions, bell peppers, spinach, etc.
    • Heat a small frying pan, and when hot, add your oil. If using onions, add chopped onions and cook down for about 5 minutes until soft.
    • Add any additional veggies.
    • Add in your crumbled tofu.
    • Sprinkle with turmeric, then nutritional yeast. Add the tamari. Scramble.
    • It only takes about 2-3 minutes for the tofu to cook. Serve with any of your kids faves: avocado, tomatoes, beans, salsa!

I have to that feeding my kid is one of my favorite things about being a mom. It’s one area I don’t stress about. Believe me (and as you probably already know, if you’re a parent), there are plenty of other areas to stress about! Food should be fun, full of love, and experimental at this stage. Some days your kids will gobble everything on their plates, and other days, they won’t touch anything you try. IT’S OKAY. You’re doing great by making healthy options available to them! Keep up the good work, and if you need additional reinforcements, remember to reach out to me for help!

With love and joy in my heart from being of service to you, I wish you delicious mornings to follow!

Yours in health,

Dori (Alana’s mama)

 

Simple & Comforting Brown Rice Porridge

I usually make a big ol’ batch of brown rice weekly. I typically use it for lunches and dinners, but here is a yummy (and super quick) brown rice breakfast recipe that is great for the cooler mornings of fall and winter. It’s got cinnamon, which is naturally warming and spicy, and I also add almond butter to kick up the protein content, but you can use whatever nut butter you choose. Tahini would also be lovely in this recipe! 

Brown Rice Porridge

  • 2 cups pre-cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 Medjool dates, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter (or tahini)
  • Teensy pinch of sea salt

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine almond milk, sweetener, almond butter and dates. Bring to a low boil, and then simmer on low for about 5 minutes to soften the dates.

Add the brown rice, cinnamon and sea salt and cook for about 5 minutes until your rice is soft.

Enjoy immediately.

A little preparation can go a long way! Having pre-cooked brown rice is so helpful; especially if you lead a busy life and/or have kids! Brown rice is so versatile, as you can see!

Need more ideas for tasty and simple recipes and advice on how to incorporate them into your life? Contact me! I always offer a complimentary 30 minute consult where we can chat about your personal health related goals!

 

 

Confessions of an Avid Recipe Follower

So, I have a confession to make: I am not that original when it comes to food.

am, however, a good recipe follower. I think I used to be more creative, before Alana (our 18 month old daughter) came into our world, but now, I need meals to be quick, nutrient dense, and full-proof. Meaning, I don’t have a ton of time to play and tinker around with ingredients. That’s why my mode is typically to take one of my favorite cookbooks, pick out a bunch of recipes at the beginning of the week, shop according to what I’ll need for them, and cook only those. Lately, I’ve been alternating between Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows books (there are two) and Thug Kitchen (also, two books, but I stick with the classic book “Eat Like you Give a F*ck”. It’s hilarious, if you haven’t picked that one up yet, btw…as long as you are okay with all the curse words!

I wanted to post photos of some recipes I’ve made this week since I am taking a break from social media, so I am not posting there. I know this may seem counter-productive, considering I “use it for business”, but I was finding that it was consuming a LOT of my time and energy. It’s not all bad. I LOVE social media, and I do see the good that can come out of it! I just needed to take a little break. Since not checking my phone every 2 minutes, I have found I have had more time for cooking and just enjoying my food, rather than cooking, snapping 57 photos of it, posting it and then taking all that time to include a meaningful caption for it…and let’s not forget all the hashtags! 😉 I’ll get back to it soon, I’m sure, but right now, I am enjoying my little social media “vacation.”

I also truly wanted to confess that I am an avid recipe follower, contrary to what some of you may believe regarding my talents in the kitchen. I do love going rogue and getting creative, but that hasn’t been my speed recently, since I like the idea of streamlining the areas of my life that I actually can control. You give up a lot of control once you have a child, but meal planning should be something that just happens without stress. Having good recipes and planning ahead make this all possible.

I still purchase and love recipe books! I never tire of them, and I love the idea of making something I can be confident will turn out the way it should so I can get back to being with my daughter and husband. Since Alana is eating with us full time now, and she’s also vegan, I love knowing I can make tasty, plant based foods that she can enjoy, too. Not that everything is a guarantee she’ll eat, but we at least try!

Now, obviously, these photos aren’t all I’ve cooked this week, as there are only 3 photos (and two are dessert-type foods, ha ha!), but I haven’t been obsessed with taking food photos since I’m not immediately posting them to social media.

The photos I’ve included in this post are all from Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Every Day book and the recipes are:

  • 6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup with Easiest Garlic Croutons (pictured above) pg. 143
  • The Ultimate Flourless Brownie pg. 199
  • Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars pg. 45

Not pictured, I’ve also made:

  • Green-Orange Creamsicle Smoothie pg. 13
  • Curried Chickpea Salad pg. 113
  • Golden French Lentil Stew pg. 145 (Alana LOVES this!!)
  • Shepherd’s Pie pg. 167 (my husband LOVES this!)
  • Soba Noodle Salad pg. 183 (I didn’t exactly follow her recipe, since I didn’t plan on this one, but had *most* things on hand–I mostly just used the dressing recipe and made the rest of the recipe up)

I hope that some of these recipes inspire you to cook–whether or not you like to follow recipes, or just need inspiration for new personal creations. There is nothing wrong with following recipes and using the same ones you like over and over again! I encourage my clients to purchase some of the books I love and use them along side my personal recipes I share with them. It’s great to build up your arsenal of healthy recipes! You can never have too many, and the more you play around with other people’s, the more comfortable you get creating your own!

Need more help or inspiration going plant based, or just getting more healthy in general? Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute Skype or FaceTime appointment! I can not only help you with recipes, but create an entire personalized plan for you that will help you achieve long-lasting and sustainable results and health!

Happy cooking!

Copycat Ella’s Nibbly Fingers (vegan and gluten free)

After a long while of not buying anything for my kid that comes in a package, I succumbed to a few pouches (Trader’s has the best deal IMO and they are organic!), and a few cracker-type products. …and Ella’s. Oh, damn, they are so good (well, at least I believe this is what Alana thinks about them anyway), and although they aren’t too pricey, they seemed pretty darn easy to replicate. So, I finally went for it! …and they are probably a fraction of the cost of the real thing!

I looked around for some recipe inspo, and didn’t find much, so I truly just took the portions recommended for the flour (I used gluten free oat flour, since I try not to give Alana too many foods that contain gluten), and fruit portions, but then totally went rogue! Here’s what I came up with, and by the look on my daughter’s face (and the fact that she had one in each hand at one point) tells me they were a success! 🙂

Copycat Ella’s (Blueberry Banana Raisin)

  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 handful fresh organic blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 teensy pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp flax meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, puree the oil, raisins, blueberries, and banana. Add sea salt (if using) and flax meal.

Move contents to a medium sized mixing bowl and fold in oat flour.

Shape about a tablespoon of your mixture into a “bar” shape (I used a little water on my hands because the mixture is a bit sticky) and line them up on your baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 min. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

I gotta say, I enjoyed the taste of them too (since I had to try them for myself). I love the feeling of making healthy foods for my daughter to enjoy. I know exactly what goes into them and I can be confident she’s eating clean and vegan!

What are some of your favorite plant based DIY kid’s snacks to make for your littles?

Are you a plant based mama, or want to be? Want to transition your family to become plant eaters? Are you pregnant and want to confidently grow your baby on a purely vegan based diet? Need guidance? Contact me! Alana is living proof that kids THRIVE on plants! Just look at those rolls! 😉

 

 

 

Living in a Multivore Household (including a kick-ass vegan enchilada recipe)

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Photographed by Rebecca Coursey



Hi-my name is Dori, and I live in a multivore household. What’s that, you ask? Well, that just means that I’m a vegan (herbivore), and my husband, Joey is well, not a vegan (he’s an omnivore…well, more of a carnivore actually, lol). Little baby Alana is vegan as of right now because she doesn’t have a choice, but when she can make her own decisions about what to eat, I will do my best to educate her on what being an omnivore means and let her choose for herself.

I admit, living with a meat-eater has its challenges. First off, ethically, it took me a while to accept and to accept him as he made his choice to start including animals again (see, my husband was vegan when I met him, albeit, for a really short amount of time–maybe so I would go out with him, ha ha ha–kidding!). In his defense, he *is* from Texas, ha ha, the land of BBQ. I love him dearly and cannot and would not expect him to succumb to my way of eating. That’s not what marriage is; it’s about acceptance and compromise. It’s not about you conforming or making your spouse conform to your belief system, as much as you may want them to.

So, what do you do when you have a baby together and you want to feed this kid? Well…you talk about things openly, for starters. My husband has always respected the fact that I wanted to have a vegan pregnancy and raise a vegan child. See this awesome interview I just did about my vegan pregnancy here. 

Right now, as our daughter consumes nothing but mama’s milk, we have no issues, and when we introduce food in 3 months, the foods that are recommended to start with are naturally vegan anyway (avocado, banana, sweet potato, peas, etc.–yay!). I have a few friends who live in multivore households, and they somehow make it work. I intend to as well. I look to my vegan community for support and answers to questions on what they would do or how they would handle certain situations.

So, how do we get by?

“Veganizing” recipes is one way we get through our day-to-day. I make many foods and just prepare vegan versions of them (subbing things like meat/poultry, eggs, milk and cheese with vegan counterparts such as almond milk, Beyond Meat, or Daiya cheese).

Also, my husband eats what he wants, and I eat what I want. During the day, when he goes to work, I have no idea what he consumes, but my guess is, it ain’t all salads and meat substitutes. I stopped asking what he had for lunch because I usually don’t want to know, ha ha!

We try to respect each other’s choices. I used to have a rule about “no meat in the house”, and I still do not prefer storing animal products (although, we do have eggs, cheese and sometimes fish in our home), but he may bring in something very rarely that he enjoys. 99% of the time, he eats vegan while at home. He would never expect me to cook animal flesh for him. If he’d like animal products, he’s responsible for purchasing and preparing them, for the most part.

We always cook vegan when having company over for dinner. This has never been an issue. In  fact, Joey has never once asked me to cook animals for guests. We love hosting, and I love cooking, and Joey is sweet and eats whatever I make on these (now, rare) occasions.

Another way we get along is going to restaurants that have foods for us both. Living in LA, there are a multitude of delicious plant-based restaurants, and I have pretty much tried them all. At one point, that’s all we did was go to strictly vegan restaurants, which I know bothered my husband. There is only so much kale a man can take, ya know? Thankfully, LA also provides plenty of “regular” restaurants with vegan options–more and more each day! So, going out has gotten a lot more interesting and fun for us both.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to veganize most recipes, and so I wanted to include one of my husband’s favorite meals here: enchiladas! I think my vegan version is beyond just acceptable as an alternative, but also pretty darn good, and I’m hoping one day in the not too distant future, my daughter will enjoy them too.

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VEGAN BLACK BEAN & CHEESE ENCHILADAS (inspired by Oh She Glows)

For Filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 15-oz can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8-12 corn tortillas (how ever many fit in your casserole dish)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use a cast iron skillet to make my enchiladas, but you can use a regular 8×12 baking dish, as well.

2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the black beans. Raise the heat to medium high and cook for a few minutes.

5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (see recipe below).

6. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Scoop filling into each tortilla.  Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish. Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas. If you have leftover filling, scoop it on top of the enchiladas.

7. Sprinkle your Daiya chedder lovingly over the top of enchiladas.

8. Bake the enchiladas uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is a deep red color, cheese is melted, and the enchiladas are heated through.

For Enchilada Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use coconut flour)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 scant cup (8 ounces) tomato paste (or you can use an 8 oz can of plain tomato sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt or other fine sea salt
  1. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat or add the oil and increase heat to medium.
  2. Stir in the flour until a paste forms (depending on your type of flour, it may be thicker or thinner).
  3. Stir in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, and cayenne pepper until combined. Cook for a couple minutes over medium heat until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste (or sauce) followed by the broth. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Stir in salt to taste and continue simmering until thickened for about 5 minutes, or longer if desired.

Are you living in a multivore household? What are some of your tips and tricks to keep the peace? Also, if you’re vegan, would you consider dating or marrying someone who was not vegan and why? Chime in!

For personalized nutrition or food coaching, contact me! I’ll give you a complimentary 30 minute phone consultation so we can chat about your goals and come up with your plan!!! Can’t wait to hear from you!

Plant-Based Protein Sources

eatmoreplants

The majority of people I come across and work with do not always understand where they can find alternative sources of complete plant protein and some will argue that a plant-based diet is lacking and one cannot survive without eating animal flesh. Hogwash!

Also, in my humble opinion, I think we are truly a bit “protein obsessed” in this country! On average, we only need about 20-30% of our calories to come from protein and our bodies can really only absorb about 20 grams of protein per sitting, so consuming globs of whey powders of pounds or grilled chicken breasts won’t do us any good since the body does not maintain a store of excess amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Once your daily protein needs are met, your body has two options for dealing with any excess protein. Option 1: If your calorie intake is low that day, your cells may convert it into fuel. Option 2: If you’ve had plenty to eat that day (i.e. met your caloric intake), your body will convert the extra protein to fatty acids (a.k.a. FAT).

Many argue that plants are not a source of “complete” protein. The term “complete protein” refers the building blocks of protein: amino acids.  There are 20 different amino acids that form a protein molecule, and there are nine that the body cannot make on its own. These nine are called essential amino acids and since the body does not produce them, we need to get them from food sources. In order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in mostly equal parts.

So, animals products such as meat and eggs are naturally complete proteins, and plant sources such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are not. But I’ve got news for you; we don’t need every single essential amino acid in every bite of food in every meal we eat; we only need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day. So, if you are consuming a diet rich in nutrient dense plant-based foods, and grazing all day, your body in its infinite wisdom, is smart enough to do its own combining and you’ll get what you need! So don’t worry too much about that and get your butt to the farmer’s market!

As you browse the list to follow, you can see there are plenty of healthy, nutrient dense, plant-based protein choices listed (that are not just soy-based—with the exception of organic tempeh, which I like on occasion!). A lot of these things can be thrown into smoothies, which I believe is the tastiest way to consume things like blue-green algae, for instance.

Most supplements can be found at your favorite health food store, or online.

POWER PACKING VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES

  • Green-leafy veggies (spinach, kale, bok choy, collards, green cabbage, arugula)
  • Good quality plant-based protein powder (my fave is Sun Warrior)
  • Goji berries
  • Mulberries
  • E3 Live (amazing blue-green algae product-this can be extremely powerful for mental clarity!!)
  • Blue-green algae such as chlorella and spirulina
  • Hemp (raw hemp seeds and hemp protein)
  • Pea protein
  • Rice protein
  • Fresh olives
  • Grass powders (wheatgrass, barley grass, etc. I like Amazing Grass’s products)
  • Maca powder
  • Brewer’s yeast (not recommended for people with candida)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Raw almonds
  • Sprouted grains
  • Sprouted wild rice
  • Sprouts of all types
  • Nut butters
  • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, black, adzuki, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Organic, non-GMO tempeh

As you can see, there are plenty of foods to choose from! If you need more specific help incorporating them into your diet, contact me! I can help you come up with some very tasty ways to start consuming more plant-based protein, and I promise, you won’t even miss that burger!