Better Beef and Broccoli

Hi eaters!
Holy hell, eaters, how is it the last day of June? In all honesty, I don’t know if I’m okay with that.
On the one hand, it means we’re closer to the 4th so I’m closer to being in Virginia Beach with Papa and Co, spending the day sipping on the beach with all their friends and watching Sister and her friends pretend they got stung by jellyfish. (Yeah, I’m calling them out.) But on the other hand, it seems like the taste of bad pineapple tequila shots from New Years’ is still in the back of my throat. Or maybe someone spiked my water.
Either way, tomorrow is July and I have a very “Meal Plan: Produce and Protein” recipe for you.
One might be better than the other. I’ll let you decide.
Vegan “Beef” and Broccoli
Serves 2
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 package tempeh
½ lemon, juiced
~3 T soy sauce/tamari
¼ c Thai green curry simmer sauce (I used TJ’s)
sriracha, to taste
~ 2 c spinach
water (for steaming)
Slice your tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Normally, I’m a tempeh crumbler, but for this recipe you really want hunks. Once your tempeh is hunked, set it to steam.
I set up my rice cooker to steam, because I knew I’d have to steam the broccoli, also. Once the tempeh has steamed for about ten minutes, gently dump the hunks into a wide, shallow bowl and pour on some soy/tamari. I said about 3 T, but really, you want enough to leave a small puddle in the bottom of the bowl. Gently toss the tempeh every 10 minutes or so to ensure even absorption.
After the tempeh has marinated for about half and hour, heat a large pan to medium heat and drizzle it with oil. (This would be the perfect time to start steaming the broccoli.) Then add the tempeh. You’re going to cook this just like tofu, so place it large side down, cook for a few minutes and then flip.
Money, money, money. Money!
Incase you didn’t know, those dark golden bits are where the money’s at. They’re worth the carpal tunnel in your wrist from flipping so many tiny cubes.
Give the second side a couple of minutes to cook before getting saucy.
First, squeeze the lemon half over the pan, making sure not to drop any seeds. Then toss in the steamed broccoli and pour on the simmer sauce and sriracha. Gently toss everything to coat and let the sauce do what it’s supposed to do — simmer — for a few minutes. You’ll want to toss it a bit as it simmers, to make sure everything gets good. Then dish up half the pan atop a big bed of spinach and you’re set!
If I had any lingering Chinese cravings, this would have completely satisfied them.
I promise there is spinach under there.
Thanks to the salty marinade and the drippy sauce, this tastes like it’s chock-full-o-MSG. Except it’s not.
And because of the mix of the well-sauced broccoli and the hearty, tender chunks of tempeh, if you close your eyes you might even believe you’re eating take-out Chinese beef and broccoli. Except you won’t be a sodium-filled balloon an hour later.
And for all of you eaters who stick solely to broccoli crowns this is the perfect time to venture south a little and try some of the stalk.
Chop it small and steam it with the rest of the broccoli, you won’t notice it’s in there.
Except that your insides will thank you for the fiber. Yeah, try getting that kind of bodily reaction from real beef and broccoli.
You’re welcome, eater’s intestines. You’re so very welcome.
Later eaters!

Sensual Beans

Hello eaters!
This week is speeding by and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve got big plans for the weekend so I’m more than ready for it to be Friday.
How about you?
So remember last night when I said I was stuck in Starfucks waiting out the rain? Well I waited and waited and eventually I saw a break in the rain. So I bolted power walked home. Well…less than halfway the sky opened up. So I actually did bolt. With my laptop in my backpack. Across 5 lanes of traffic. It was fun. Except not.
So as you can expect, I was cold and soaking by the time I got home. Luckily, I just happened to have some bean soaked and ready for cooking waiting on the counter.
And cook, I did.

Curried Black-Eyed Peas
1 sweet onion, chopped
½ lbs black-eyed peas, soaked
2 bay leaves
1 ½ t smoked paprika
1 ½ t cumin
2 cloves (1 t) garlic, minced
1 t tumeric
1 t coriander
~1 T sriracha (this is entirely subjective)
½ c tomato sauce
3-4 c spinach, roughly chopped
Saute the onion in oil over medium heat. You want to almost caramelize the onions, because if there’s one thing that makes a good curry it’s a long-cooked, deep flavor. Once the onions are cooked add the beans, bay leaves, 3 T tomato sauce, and enough water to cover the beans by less than an inch.
Note — Normally you want the liquid to be an inch over the beans, but since there is more than just beans in the pot you have to compensate for that.
Cover the pot, bring the water up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Black-eyed peas only take about 20-30 minutes to cook, which makes me a very happy ‘Baby. Once the beans are tender and there is a little bit of liquid left, add the rest of the tomato sauce and spices. Stir until everything is well incorporated and leave the pot uncovered.
Continue to stir occasionally until the beans are crazy fragrant and most of the water is evaporated. From there, add you spinach.
Stir it in until it’s wilted and you’re done.
Normally I’m not a fan of cooked spinach (I get it from Papa), but when it’s mixed in with these beans it’s both perfectly undetectable and a perfect break in consistency.
But even without the spinach, these beans are amazing.
Tender and spiced and almost sensual.
Well, about as sensual as beans can be.
But really eaters, don’t be afraid to cook your own beans. It’s not rocket science. Soak. Drain. Cover. Cook. Eat. It helps to know the approximate cooking time, but even that’s not necessary.
Really, if I can do it so can you.

And on that note, g’night eaters. 

Dissecting “Diet Busting”

G’evening eaters!
I’m currently holed up at Starfucks waiting for the rain to stop so I can walk home. So instead, I’m here to talk to you. Because I’d choose talking to you over running a mile with my laptop in pouring down rain any day!
Aren’t I romantic?
Yes, I sure think I am.
But since I’m thoroughly unprepared and thus don’t have the pictures off my camera, I’m going to ramble a bit about Claire Robinson.
Not owning a TV means I rarely watch it, which I think is pretty great. Even still, I do enjoy some Food Network. So whenever I use my friends’ washing machine for free, I also watch their TV. 
I’m a pretty great friend, huh?
Anywhoo, one night not too long ago I was watching “5 Ingredient Fix” when Claire was making three “diet busting” recipes — Mudslide Milkshake, Spinach Carbonara, Churros with Chocolate
And every time Claire said “diet busting” I got angry.
Ya see eaters, the phrase “diet busting” is wrong on so many levels. Let’s start with the wording.
It uses the word “diet” to mean a system to lose weight rather than what and how you eat. And it assumes that people are/should be on a diet constantly. And then it says that if you do eat these things than you have “busted,” or broken, ruined, yadda yadda-ed, your diet.
Can you see why I was angry?
And beyond that it categorizes those foods as “bad.” Granted, bacon and milk shakes and the like shouldn’t be consumed daily, but there are a lot of foods that shouldn’t be consumed daily that aren’t bad. Not to beat a dead horse (because that’s gross when you think about it), it really is all about moderation.
Maybe since I spend far more time in this little blogosphere of ours than I do with conventional media I’m out of touch with how people really talk. But after watching Claire go on and on about how sinful these foods were and how she tries to alleviate the guilt she feels free eating them by using spinach fettuccini, I really don’t think my disconnectedness is a bad thing. I think more people should get more disconnected.
Just my two cents. And my third cent is that you’re a champ for reading this far. Really.
G’night eaters. 

Produce and Protein

Hi eaters!
Sorry to leave you hanging for so long. As it turns out, hanging with the groom and his family is a full time job. But it was quite a fun job. (I got the nickname “hiccupping midget” from the groom after the wedding, if that tells you anything.)
Unfortunately, it was also a job that left me living off of guacamole, rice, wine, and trail mix. Hence, yesterday’s shopping trip.
Organic broccoli, lemon, Naysoy xfirm tofu, dried black eyed peas, organic spinach, organic pink lady apples, EF Garden Vegetable marinara sauce, organic Vidalla onions, organic sweet potato, West Soy tempeh, eggs.
I call this shopping trip “Meal Plan: Produce and Protein.” Yup, that’s all the thought that went into this shopping trip. Well that and that I needed dinner. So “Meal Plan: Produce and Protein” went into effect with a little trip to the EF salad bar.
I’m not crazy about their salad bar (too expensive, too few options), but I’m crazy about their buffalo soy nuggets (think waaay better than seitan).
Spinach, zucchini, every color of bell pepper, black beans, hummus, buffalo soynuggets.
This salad was just what the doctor ordered and was enjoyed while watching some “Big Love” from Netflix. Oh how I wish I had HBO growing up.
Anywhoo, I’m off to study or sleep or something of the sort. If you want to see a few pictures from this weekend check out m’Musings

G’night eaters. 

Quintessentially ‘Baby

Hello eaters!
Sorry I skipped out on you last night. I’m at the beach with the manly friend and his family for his brother’s wedding. Yeah, a wedding is the perfect time to meet the whole family, right?
But really, I’m having a blast. Manly friend’s family is pretty much exactly like his parents, so I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. And I’ll try to snap some pictures along the way so my flakiness isn’t completely for naught.
Well, this trip is definitely not completely for naught because I learned a very important lesson — don’t eat noodles while driving.
I grabbed some leftovers to eat on the ride down (because that’s what I always do) without thinking about the car-friendliness of my meal. Yeah, I definitely almost choked quite a few times. But that didn’t make my noodles any less delicious. So here we go, eaters…
Peanut Noodles and Stuff
¼ c peanut flour
3 T rice vinegar
1 ½ t sriracha (this is pretty mild, so feel free to amp it up)
2 T tamari
1 T water
Dump and whisk.
Noodles and Stuff
1 block extra firm tofu
1 bell pepper
3 servings noodles (I used gf black bean noodles) and water
3 T tamari
cilantro and sesame seeds, for garnish
Press your tofu, if need be. I used Twin Oaks tofu (which I am madly in love with now!) and it didn’t even really need pressing, so I think I pressed mine for about 15 minutes. Cut the block into bite-sized pieces and marinate in tamari.
Cut the pepper into bite-sized pieces and sauté in an oiled pan over medium-high heat. Once the pepper begins to soften add in the tofu.
Meanwhile, boil your pasta water and drop in the noodles.
Sauté the tofu and peppers until the tofu begins to brown, at which point the noodles should be done cooking. Drain them and add them and the sauce to the tofu and peppers. Mix and toss and whatnot until everything is coated in delicious saucy peanut goodness.
Top with cilantro, and dig in.
Not only did this completely satisfy my long lingering craving for saucy Asian noodles, but it is a perfectly, quintessentially ‘Baby kind of recipe —
New products (Twin Oaks), old favorites (peanut flour), appropriate to just about every diet (vegan, gf, high protein), with plenty of options for personalization.
Oh yeah, and it’s delicious.
My stomach, wallet, and ‘Baby self were very satisfied after this meal. Even if I did almost drive off the road while trying to construct the perfect bite the other day.
And now, eaters, I’m off to hang out with the manly friend’s family some more, lay at the beach, and set up lawn games for the wedding. Oh yes, eaters, there will be lawn games at the wedding. Now do you see why I like manly friend’s family?

Later eaters!

Birthday Beast

Oh eaters!
It was my birthday yesterday. And if there’s ever a day to be in “Beast Mode” it’s today. And you can bet your bottom dollar every damn dollar you have, that I beasted it to the fullest…starting on Friday night.

Cause I’m in Beast mode, beast mode
Give me those beats I eat those
All day I don’t sleep no
I don’t even know what I got sheets for
Them pillow cases and bed frames oh nah take that, don’t need those
So high I don’t get high, don’t even know what I got weed for
manly friend.
People I’m in beast mode, what’d you think I got these teeth for
Why do I rep that east side and why do they all call me B.O
But see I knew this before
Anybody fed my ego
“almost birthday suit” dress.
Back in the hood in east shores
where we take hood wherever we go
And please know, I am as loyal as loyalty is when it’s gave
Dedicated, determined, dependable
Yes I committed myself to the game
Don’t be letting them tell you them lies
We make the industry real when it’s fake
So stay meditating so your head is facing into the direction you aim bitch!

That’s my theme song and I love it. And I’m beyond excited to beast it up this next year. I’ve got big ‘Baby plans and I hope you’ll stick around to enjoy them with me. And now, off to a wedding!

Later eaters!

Throw Back

Sup eaters?

How was your weekend? Oh so wonderful, I hope! Because mine was. Oh boy oh berto, it was! I’ll muse (almost) all about today or tomorrow. More likely tomorrow, because…
I’m crazy busy right now. How crazy busy, you ask?
I have a botany exam tomorrow (on my birthday!). I have to do laundry and buy a new book, because sometime early Wednesday the manly friend and I are leaving for his brother’s wedding in Hilton Head (which means I also have to pack). Oh the joys of dating the best man!
Five days with his parents (whom I love), his extended family (whom I’m so freaking nervous to meet), and his brother’s fiancé’s pre-wedding meltdown. Though I’ll be at the beach and my cup will never be empty, so I certainly can’t complain.
And I’m hoping that you won’t complain about me getting a little old school here tonight with my daily eats. Because sometimes, you don’t cook or go grocery shopping a little throw back is a good thing, right?
So I started the day off like I start most days:
One or two eggs, a little past over easy, over toast and salsa. 
Ever since I re-introduced eggs I’ve been madly in love with them. After I eat my eggy breakfast I have this very specific, very wonderfully satiated feeling in my stomach. 
And I’ve learned that if I put the egg and salsa on the toast everything soaks together in the most special way.
Just love.
After breakfast I picked up an iced coffee to make a protein drink (with 1 scoop of Lifetime Chocolate plant protein) so I could pump iron. Have I mentioned that starting my week off with a good, sweaty, grunt-filled weight session is my new favorite thing?
Yeah, you should try it sometime.
For lunch I actually did whip something up.
Stuff covered in peanut sauce.
I’ve been craving some kind of saucy Asian noodle-thing for weeks now. Normally, I’m much better at satisfying my cravings quickly, but this itch just never got scratched…until today. And the recipe will be coming soon, promise.
Dinner came after a lot of studying and two hours of drawing twigs. Needless to say, it wasn’t gourmet.
Leftover veggie delight from Subway.
Yes, eaters, if you ever needed proof that bloggers don’t always eat beautiful food, here it is. And I went ahead and provided further proof that not all bloggers drink craft beer with funny names or fancy labels.
You are so welcome.
This is actually a remarkably typical Monday of eating for me.  A little bit of quick cooking, a fancier lunch, and leftovers for dinner. Hell, this is how I eat just about everyday. And frankly, I more than kind of love it.
And I more than kind of like you for reading this far. You deserve a cookie. And while you’re getting one, can you get me one, too?
Ha! I didn’t think so.

G’night eaters.

Hotter Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Hi eaters!
Sorry I disappeared last night. It was just the kind of night that called for girl talk and beer. You understand, right?
And now I’m running around like crazy again, trying to get everything together. Because in… oh 2 or 3 minutes I’m being whisked away to the beach for the weekend. A friend of mine has a house down there so we’re cramming more people than is legal into three cars and more people than is comfortable into a four bedroom house and living it up this weekend. I’ll be back Monday with lots a new Musing, for sure.
But in the meantime, do you like dip?
I love dip. I love dippable things. I just love the whole idea…EXCEPT for the massive calorie bomb that most dips are. I’m all for indulging, but honestly, is it possible to show restraint around dip?
I think not.
So head over to Trading Up Downtown to see my guest post featuring my recipe for…
Hotter Spinach and Artichoke dip.
Really, it’s so worth it.
Have fun this weekend, eaters, because I know I will.
Later, eaters!

Ghetto Goulash

Hello eaters!
My mind is mush from writing who knows how many thousands of words today. I really shouldn’t have procrastinated so much. And the worst thing is, I’m NEVER a procrastinator. I’m the kid who has never taken a “study aid” or pulled an all-nighter. Ever! So why I chose now to procrastinate my ass off is beyond me.
And why I chose to cook a warm, hearty meal in the middle of summer is beyond me, as well. Maybe because after weeks of mid 90s weather, this week high 70s mornings and mid 80s afternoons feels almost chilly. So I took advantage of the slight break in heat to make something warm and comforting, which for some reason I want to call…
Ghetto Goulash.
Is that even politically correct? Probably not. And this is probably not even close enough to goulash to even call it that. But for some reason, that’s the only name I could think about the entire time I was cooking. So I’m just going to run with it and hope I don’t offend anyone.
Anywhoo, this recipe was inspired by something my friend Maddie’s mom made one night during our Big Apple-venture last fall. It was a deliciously warm bowl of smoky, saucy mushrooms and garlicy polenta. I’ve been thinking about this dinner since I ate it, and luckily Maddie’s mom was nice enough to send along the recipe.
But despite having the recipe in my hands, I didn’t really make it. It called for four different kinds of (expensive) mushrooms and I’m a little lazy. Hence the name…
Ghetto Goulash over Baked Socca
1 qt baby bella mushrooms, slices
1 c vegetable broth
1 pint grape/plum tomatoes
1 T brown mustard
1 t smoked paprika
½ t cumin
1 package tempeh
2 cloves (1 t) minced garlic
salt, to taste
Heat a dry pot to medium-high heat and toss in the tomatoes whole.
Whole grape/plum tomatoes are one of my favorite things to cook because I love watching them cook down from firm plump little orbs to squishy little blobs swimming in their own delicious juices.
Make sure you cover the pot. Once the tomatoes are at this point crumble in your tempeh and pour in the vegetable broth.  (At this point go ahead and get started on the Baked Socca recipe below.) Allow things to cook for about 5 minutes and then add your spices (except garlic). Stir and cover again.
Once the tempeh has taken on a reddish color, add in the mushrooms and stir until everything is coated in the sauce. Cover the pot again and try not to worry that it looks like there isn’t nearly enough sauce. When you uncover the pot again in another 5 or so minutes the mushrooms will be beautifully tender and have soaked up all the flavors of the sauce. Stir a few more times and you’re done.
Baked Socca
1 ½ c chickpea flour
1 ½ c water
1 T olive oil
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425. Mix all the ingredients together.
And if you’re strange like me and for some reason always end up using a mixing bowl that’s almost far too small, place the bowl in your baking dish while mixing. It works every time.
Pour the batter into a square non-stick pan (8”x8” or 9”x9”) and bake until the top begins to crackle. I think this was about 10-15 minutes.
Cut the pan into slices and top a thick slab with some Ghetto Goulash.
The only reason I call this goulash is because it’s got tomato and smoked paprika, which are two of the starring ingredients in traditional goulash.
I’ve never even tried real goulash, but if this is magically somehow close I’ll love it. Because I love this.
And this may look like this is a measly portion, but between the hearty slab of socca, the hefty serving of protein from both the socca and the tempeh, and the warm deeply flavored sauce, this is both a “stick to your ribs” kind of meal and an example of how sometimes the best things do come in small packages bites.
Even with the summer heat trying to beat down my door, this dish is almost everything that I love:
And steam.
Sauce, smoked paprika, and melt in your mouth mushrooms.
And for that, I’ll turn up the AC just a little.

G’night eaters. 

Welcome Home

G’evening eaters!
Thank-you thank-you thank-you for being so supportive of my break (up) with Bikram. I hope more than anything that I can return soon, but considering that my knees are still hurting from yesterday’s class it might be a while. And I hope that I in no way turned anyone off from trying Bikram, because it is amazing. If I did make you even think about shying away from it, allow me to rectify that by telling you that yesterday my instructor told me he had similar knee pain, took some time off, and when he came back things were better than even so he immediately signed up to become a certified teacher. So, eaters, don’t let my not good knees ruin Bikram for both of us. Bite the bullet and do the damn thing (if you haven’t already).
Anywhoo, I did more than think and sleep this weekend. I also went grocery shopping.
I call this “I suck at stacking things.”
Organic baby bella mushrooms, organic pears, Maranatha chunky PB, plum tomatoes, organic baby carrots, West Soy tempeh, organic vegetable broth, eggs, EF volcanic salsa, Twin Oaks tofu, mashed potatoes, organic green bell peppers, EF Savory Soy burger.
Notice anything strange?
I got mashed potatoes. And baby carrots and burger patties. Those aren’t normally things I buy, because why waste money on deli food and little carrots when regular ones are some much cheaper, right? Well, nothing is cheaper than free and that’s how much these three things cost.
Yup, Earth Fare rocks. If you have one in your area, pleasepleaseplease go to their website and sign up for the Welcome Home program. As soon as you sign up you get a coupon for these three things (or a whole chicken instead of burgers), and then I think you get a new coupon for something else free every week. And all you have to do is type in your name and email address. Like I said — I love Earth Fare.
Another strange thing is my tofu.
Ever heard of Twin Oaks tofu before? If you read Kath like I do, you know all about them. If not, Twin Oaks is a small co-op community if Virginia and this tofu is one of the ways they support themselves. I hear their tofu (especially the ones that are herded) is amazing, so I was happy to find that it was only a few cents more expensive than my normal brand. I’m using it for a recipe later this week, so I’ll let you know how I like it.
Yes, ma’am!
But until then (or tomorrow) I’m off. I was really looking forward to participating in the FitBlog chat tonight, but then my friend called suggesting wine and conversation. And after spending all day writing (I have to write 30 more pages by Thursday for my creative writing class), I could use some face-to-face time with humans.

G’night eaters.