Archive for January 2014

Spicy PB & Jelly Tofu Sandwich

Lately I've been reading several books and articles about the notion of simplicity. How so often we think of living "simple" in terms of having a lack of material possessions. While this is a great aspect of living this way, I am finding that this isn't the hardest part of maintaining that lifestyle... it's the complicated aspects of our social life, career, and endless responsibilities we put on ourselves that prevent most of us from that simple existence. With all the amazing technology at our reach to help us to become more efficient in our daily routine, you'd think we'd live a simpler life. Far from it. It seems like with this technology more distractions persist and the need to do more, because we can, is always chipping away at us. In an effort to become less stressed, better focused, and more efficient with my time I've started to pay attention to aspects of my day where I truly can simplify. For me that means not using social media as much, paring down my goal lists, stop multi-tasking, not attending every event I'm invited too, and cooking less fancy meals.

I once thought that a great cook (and wife) would never make the same meals over and over. That in order to become better at cooking I had to experiment all the time with different foods. As fun as that is, it's time consuming. When you don't know a recipe by heart, you can't just whip up dinner. So I'm stripping it all away. Going back to the basics. Because at the end of the day, we just want food in our bellies. No frills, just food. 

In my mind, sandwiches are the easiest thing in the whole to make; anyone can do it! You really can't go wrong with peanut butter and jelly, but for those days when you just want something more - spicy pb & jelly tofu sure doesn't disappoint. I know, it sounds bizarre, but if you love combining sweet, spicy, and savory flavors, you'll dig this guy. Not to mention, it makes a killer breakfast sandwich, so don't forget the coffee!!!

Spicy PB & Jelly Tofu Sandwich

2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 TB Tamari or Soy Sauce
3 TB Rice Vinegar
1/2 TB Agave
5 TB hot sauce
1 pkg Firm Tofu
Peanut Butter
Crusty Bread 

Press tofu for at least 15 minutes to drain water out of it. 
Combine garlic cloves, tamari, rice vinegar, agave, hot sauce, and mix well. 
Cut tofu into desired pieces. Arrange tofu in a baking dish and cover with marinade. 
Marinate for 15-30 minutes. Lightly oil a skillet and pan fry the tofu until the outside is well browned. Toast your bread then spread peanut butter on one or both bread pieces. Add lettuce and tofu, covering the tofu with lots of jelly. If you added more hot sauce, the jelly helps tame the spice! 

What's your go to sandwich?

Posted in , , | 3 Comments

Messy Vegan Chocolate Praline Cake

I've shared countless times how my mother has & always will be a source of inspiration for me... Well this lady is another year older and I wanted to celebrate her birthday with our family's favorite Chocolate Praline Cake. My mother is always up to something, so when we discussed a baking contest she was thinking about entering, I immediately thought of this cake. So the challenge is on! Mom, a vegan chocolate praline is sure to win; you just have to make sure it is prettier than mine! 

 Sometimes messes are for the best, because this cake beats out the non-vegan version that I grew up on. Chocolate, caramel, and coconut whipped cream - yeah that's basically heaven. Also, this cake taste even better the second day, especially if you make a messy version and let the coconut cream harden in the fridge. 

Messy Vegan Chocolate Praline Cake
adapted from Post Punk Kitchen & Pillsbury

1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

4 TB vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans + extra for top

Whipped Cream
1 can coconut cream/milk (refrigerated overnight)
2 TB powdered sugar (optional) 
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix together almond milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes. Add oil, sugar, and extracts. Mix well. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add wet ingredients and mix until no large clumps are left. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Cook on low until the sugar is dissolved. Throw in the pecans and mix. 

Grease a cake pan (I used two souffle dishes, but you can easily use a 8in springform pan) and pour praline mixture in and then batter. If you forget to do this (like I did!) you can easily pour the praline mixture on top of the cake once it's baked for 5-10 minutes so it doesn't fall through the cake. Bake for 25-30 minutes (longer if you are using springform or until the center is baked.) 

While cake is baking, beat the coconut cream in a mixer. Slowly add in the extract and powdered sugar. Whip until fluffy. Unfortunately for me, my coconut cream didn't whip up as nicely as it has in the past... hence the messy version! 

Let cakes cool before removing them from the pan and adding whipped cream to first layer and then second. Add pecans to the top & enjoy! 

Note: if you are using a springform pan and are making two cakes to layer, you will need to double the praline recipe for both pans. 

Posted in , , , | Leave a comment

2014 // Let's Discover

One of the biggest reasons I love taking a vacation during the holidays is because it is ALWAYS needed during this season. We all are guilty of it, running ourselves ragged in preparation for the end of the year, so when my parents suggested we take a week off after Christmas to head somewhere warm, Zach and I were all in. We decided that for this trip we weren't going to pack it full, like all of our other vacations, but spend it solely relaxing on the beach, reading, eating and spending time with our family. And that is exactly what we did. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but it seriously took me a couple days to unwind and not feel anxious. Relaxing is really hard for me, but I knew I needed this more than ever. When the cares melted away, I felt like I could just let my mind wander, to think more deeply about my goals, priorities, and where I wanted 2014 to go. This past year has been pretty challenging for Zach and I, but it has set us up for a new year, a year to discover.

So let's discover ourselves more. Discover what we really want from this crazy life; where our priorities truly lay. Let's discover our strengths, our weaknesses, and push ourselves beyond those. Let's discover new realms, new people, and new cultures. Discover unseen talents and buried hobbies. To just discover more. 

Continuing with the same theme from 2013, my goal of traveling at least once a month is one of my top priorities. Right up there are: training for my second 50 miler, learning another language, refining key cooking skills, journaling more, less time on social media, minimizing the material objects in my life, and continue practicing eating plant based foods. 

I'm fired up about 2014!  I'm slowly figuring out how to live a balanced life while still exploring those endless pursuits, and it damn it feels good. I've always considered myself extremely organized, but I'm not always the best of planners. So I'm testing out the app Lift to help remind me each day about my goals. I'm also pretty obsessed with using the Duolingo app as one of the ways to new a learn language. Journaling has also helped me keep track of my thoughts and focus on the direction I want my life to go. What have you found are the best tools to help you reach a goal?  

Cheers to 2014! Let's go discover! 

Posted in , | 1 Comment

Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by