Sunday, February 10, 2019

Maple-Brown Sugar Glazed Tofu - Vegan, GlutenFree


Maple-Brown Sugar Glazed Tofu is a gift to you if you enjoyed ham as a part of your celebrations back in the day and were feverishly looking for a recipe online that gives you back some of that experience.  You will be missing the salt-piercing tongue paralysis of a cured ham, but you will also be missing the very dangerous cholesterol.  Tofu is the way to go if you want to enjoy a piece of "sham" with your Christmas or Thanksgiving.  And for those of you with religious proscriptions, it's CLEAN-- it's not even meat.  So win-win.

Want to know MORE about the health benefits of Tofu? Watch Dr. Michael Greger's videos HERE.



So here we go with the
INGREDIENTS (3 ADULT SERVINGS)

  • 1# Block of Organic, non-GMO, EXTRA FIRM Tofu (bought mine at Costco)
  • 1/2 C. Pure Maple Syrup OR Blackstrap Molasses (Molasses gives a darker glaze)
  • 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 T. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (May want to use Cayenne or Chipotle Pepper)


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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Press the tofu for 30-60 minutes-- makes a huge difference to the results
  2. Set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius
  3. Cut the tofu with a sharp knife to form 2-3 'steaks' (meaning you cut through the sides of the tofu to create 2-3 same-size rectangles as your original block).  Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on each side of the steaks.
  4. With the same sharp knife, score through one side of each steak in a crisscross pattern.  Be careful not to cut through entirely!
  5. Place tofu on baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone pad (to avoid use of oils)
  6. Bake at 400F/205C degrees for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
  7. While the Tofu is baking, make the glaze, mixing together Syrup OR Molasses, Mustard, Cinnamon, Ginger and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan on the stove.
  8. Whisk the sauce over medium heat until everything comes together, and then turn the heat to LOW.  Keep whisking for another few minutes until the sauce is smooth and thickening a little. 
  9. Remove sauce from the heat (it will thicken as it cools)
  10. Remove the slightly crispy tofu from the oven and turn the temperature down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius.
  11. Brush the sides of the Tofu that have not been scored, first, and then turn and brush the scored (cut) sides, making sure that you are generously brushing the tofu so that lots of the sticky goodness sinks into the crevices.
  12. Return to the oven and bake another 5-10 minutes.  Flip over to the sides that have been scored and makes sure that the cuts have received the syrup and are not sealed up (you can lightly re-cut them if so, and spoon on more glaze)
  13. Remove from the oven and rebrush the tops with glaze.  Serve immediately.
(inspired by recipe at Rabbit and Wolves site)

OTHER DELICIOUS BAKED TOFU RECIPES:

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

5 Vegan Chinese Dishes

These five delicious vegan -- plant-based, no-animal-products-involved, you-make-yourself-- recipes are probably strike a familiar chord for you and quite possibly their non-plant-based form had a place on your "comfort foods" list before you decided to "go vegan".

Remember Dim Sum?  Well, you can get together with your vegan friends and enjoy that joyous experience again!

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) Happiness and Prosperity!

 

1. SEA-VEGGIE ROLLS (or rolled salad)
 Mmmm-- these veggie rolls might not fit into your "Chinese food" box/idea, but it is one wonderful way to capitalize on all the raw greens that could potentially go into the salad course of a vegan Chinese meal, and includes the sea vegetable (nori) that is pretty common in many traditional Chinese and other Asian meals.  Check out the instructions for putting this awesome wrap together at Raw Foods For Truth .  (Go for the recipe, stay to browse all their other salivatory images like this one.)


2. VEGAN WONTON SOUP
Who doesn't love the taste and mouth textures of Wonton Soup?  But are those won ton noodles vegan when they are advertised as "vegetarian"?  Hmm.  How about make everything-- noodles and soup-- from scratch with a simple noodle recipe and a mouth-watering soup?  The soup is impressive, Darling!  Your wontons will be winners!  And all done with such kindness, thanks to the recipe (and images) at Spoons Of Flavor.com

3. SWEET AND SOUR CAULIFLOWER

There are any number of chop-suey-style recipes you can adapt to your vegan feast, but this sweet and sour cauliflower image (and recipe) from Kirbie's Cravings website really caught my eye.

4. VEGAN BATTERED CAULIFLOWER DIPPED IN VEGAN HONEY-SESAME-GARLIC SAUCE

 Happy Chinese New Year, darling!

Doesn't this delightful image (recipe and image from MARY'S TEST KITCHEN website) take you back to those wonderful meals that were more than the backstory to a great romance or family gathering?  And there are other delicious similar recipes at the same great site.  (Caution: There are many alluring images of Honey Garlic Cauliflower recipes online, but most of them include eggs to bake on the sauce-- no, no, darling!  Give those little chickens a chance and eat plant-strong!)

5. DESSERT: VEGAN 'EGG' TART
Here is a great video tutorial on making the yummy 'egg' tart (without any eggs) from East Meets West 

I agree that the pie shells have a sort of scary complexity for those of us who have NEVER been great pastry chefs.  However, if you watch this a few times you will pick up the tips and with a little confidence and the right instruction, you will be able to make this incredibly flakey VEGAN pastry.  Anyone who loved the traditional egg tarts will be sooooo grateful for this addition to your vegan feast! (YT Etiquette: If you do make the tarts, please be sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to enjoy more of this chef's great instructional videos)


However, I also find that fresh lychee fruit can't be beat for the perfect light dessert after a great vegan Chinese meal. 

 
Image credit: Apartment Therapy
If you have any questions or comments, please post below!  If you try any of these recipes and want to post your pictures, I would be happy to do so on this page... just let me know in the Comments section below!

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) Happiness and Prosperity!


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies- Vegan, Oil-Free

These delicious chocolate chip cookies have chickpeas in them! And walnuts!  They are very tasty and healthy, with good Omega oils and proteins.  The cookies are soft inside and crunchy on the outside! The chocolate chips are, of course, a bonus!

INGREDIENTS & Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F, 180C or gas mark 4).  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Put the following together in a medium mixing bowl and stir until combined:
  • 1 1/4 C. (180 g) pastry flour
  • 1 tsp.     (15 g)  baking powder
  • 1 tsp.     (15 g) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp.  (4 g)  Salt
3. Put the following together into a food processor and blend until smooth:
  • 1 1/2 C. (246 g) cooked chickpeas or 1 can (15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 C.    (120 ml) Nondairy Milk
  • 2 tsp. (30 g)   Vanilla or Almond Extract (I used Almond)
  • 1 C. (225 g) packed Brown Sugar


4. Mix in the wet mixture from the food processor with the dry items in the bowl.  Then mix in:

  • 1 C. Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C. Walnut Pieces
5. Place in 1 1/2 Tablespoon scoops on the sheet and into the oven for 15- 17 minutes.  Do NOT over-bake.  Cool and enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2019

The NEW Canada Food Guide: Cultural Dilemma to Life With Less Meat?

The Canada Food Guide was developed during World War II when there were disruptions to the general lifestyle and economy and it was felt that there needed to be some sort of "rules list" to ensure for a healthy populace.  The Depression that followed World War I with crop failures and stock market plunges and job scarcity no doubt had some input into the formation of the 1942 Food Rules.

If you grew up, like I did, in the Prairies in the 50s and 60s, you might not be unfamiliar with the following sort of plate (meatloaf=protein, potatoes and corn=vegetables-- there was likely a slice or two of bread and butter on a side plate, and maybe some canned peas or such, and likely a dessert that contained the necessary dairy and maybe some raisins to represent fruit.  If you were a kid, a glass of milk was generally served at the same meal if your parents were intent on "building your bones".):
Perhaps you see the same plate on your table today.  I am not criticizing (here).  This was pretty much the dictate of the 1942 Food Rules.  If you ate a "hearty" breakfast at home once a week, it likely looked a little like the following:
And again, maybe this is standard weekly fare for you to this day.  Perhaps you are new to Canada and this represents the wonderful benefits of living in this abundantly food-ed country.  I must admit that this picture does make me salivate even though I have not eaten bacon and eggs for quite a while and probably will not again.  Note the glass of orange juice-- in the old Food Rules, juice was a legit substitute for a piece of fruit.  No more.  Nor is milk considered an appropriate beverage in meeting the new guidelines.  Plain old WATER is the suggested beverage in the latest Health Guide.


                   THE MEAT CULTURE
I will assume you have not been living under a log and know all the arguments for eating animal products-- meat, eggs, poultry, fish, dairy, and other animal excretions.

The eating of animal products seems pretty well embedded as one of the bonuses of being a dominant species on this planet.  We have placed ourselves at the "top of the Food Chain" and have piles of rationals and explanations for the eating of other species and the drinking of their milks.

I am pretty sure that there are large components of every language and ethnic group on the planet with a vociferous plan for maintaining their dominant, traditional, social and cultural ties to eating meat.

On the other hand, there is also a growing groundswell of agreement that factory farming, factory fishing, ocean pollution, massive cuts of rain forests for ranching, climate change, and a prodigious ongoing appetite for animal foods is destroying not only the other species on Earth, but are is doing us any health or social benefits, either, but is ,indeed, also contributing to individual and collective human poor health and vitality.  Some of the world's longest-living people eat no or little meat or animal products.  (See the The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest)

What about the Hunter-Gatherer argument, that global indigenous peoples have lived by hunting animals and gathering wild herbs and fruits, and that this lifestyle has afforded both healthfulness and natural balance?  Apart from the vegan argument for the same respect for not eating all/any sentient beings (living creatures who experience sensation and emotion), there is a bit of a skew in seeing that there are in fact enough wild "food" animals for all the people of the world to hunt and eat without the further depleting of entire species, as already happens with the more global open season on sea animals, for example.  Where is the balance?  Read about this indigenous scholar's decision to go vegan and the cultural factors that figured into her choice.

So, yes, meat-eating is heavily upheld by many as a positive, traditional, and therefore culturally inviolate way of life.  On the other hand, like the indigenous scholar above, many peoples with a strong culture and tradition around eating animal products have 'come out' and are embracing a plant-strong lifestyle.  I think the Canadian Food Guide 2019 carries a proactive vision that will be echoed and enlarged by more and more Canadians and global citizens as the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and diet are recognized.  I commit to providing delicious, healthy recipes here that reflect the intent of the Food Guide.  If you are interested in following me on Facebook, I post recipes there about three times a week at Organic Granny Veggie Recipes group.  I like to include a lot of recipes that are similar to the 'meaty' comfort recipes people miss or look for when they transition into a plant strong diet.  I also like to include a Monday Mock Meat recipe, a Tuesday Tofu recipe, and a Wednesday Wellness recipe, all plant-strong, and mostly low fat and often gluten-free.  JOIN US!

Learn How To Set Up A Vegan Diet For Weight Loss, Building Muscle, Healthy Eating, Meal Planning & Vegan Bodybuilding

          THE VEGGIE COUNTER-CULTURE
Vegans are a counter-culture in Canada, and likely in most world ethnic cultures today.  As a long-time Adventist Christian, I have had the opportunity to mix with vegetarians and vegans on a regular weekly basis over the past 25 years, and since my husband was an Adventist prior to that, we have been vegetarian-flexitarian-vegan for probably about 45 years.  By flexitarian I mean to say that we have gone back to meat-eating at various times in our past, but have resolutely returned to a plant-strong diet, and now I believe that we are fixed there because we definitely enjoy vegan food and find the concept of killing and eating animals to be very troubling in a country that is rife with other forms of protein (the main reason that meat-eaters have claimed that they eat meat is because of the protein factor, in my experience).  BUT-- I am still regularly directly and subtly challenged by non-vegans about the inadequacy of my diet and other things, such as how "politically-correct" veganism is, and how they can never see themselves giving up meat for various reasons.  The 2019 Food Guide might appear to be a Vegan cultural switchover to meat-eaters, but so far, the counter-culture is still Vegan.

If you are curious about how/why some meat eaters made the transition, here are some "testimonies" on video by some of prominent vegan physicians, and some recipe books by members of  various ethnic/national/religious groups who recognize the delights of a vegan diet (or, at least, of a vegan recipe that is patterned on their traditional food treats).  Enjoy!

  Dr. Michael Greger talks about his daily public service (videos and blogs at NutritionFacts.org) dedicated to his Grandmother who inspired him to become vegan and a lifestyle physician.  
Dr. Cauldwell Esselstyn, Jr. talks about his work with patients with breast cancer and how he became tired of 'losing' patients regardless of what 'medical interventions' were introduced... the reason he is so passionate about medicine today is because of the science-based evidence that food (plant-strong) can reverse disease.
From a Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) conference:What Dr. Neal Barnard and other vegan doctors eat during the day!

ETHNIC/INTERNATIONAL VEGAN RECIPE BOOKS

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