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Tofu Scampi Inspired by Quick-Fix Vegan

When I stumbled upon this recipe in my Quick-Fix Vegan recipe book, I was skeptical. Honestly, I haven’t made much from this cookbook and the few recipes I’ve chosen in the past weren’t that great. However, this recipe surprised me. This is something I will definitely be making again in the future.

Here it is: Tofu ScampiIMG_1219

What you Need:

1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cloves of Garlic

9 Ounces Spinach

1 Teaspoon Dried Basil

Salt and Pepper

3 Tablespoons Cornstarch

1 Pound Tofu

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Directions:

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic, spinach, basil, salt and pepper. Cook and stir together until spinach wilts then remove from skillet and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the tofu and toss to coat.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, add the tofu and cook until golden brown. Add the spinach mixture and the lemon juice. Toss together, remove from heat and serve.

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Organic, Pre-Washed White Quinoa: 4 Pounds, Convenient, Delicious

As a vegan/vegetarian, I love quinoa. I use it in practically every meal I create. Why? Because it is so versatile and good for you. Quinoa has a high level of protein and IMG_1206so much more. And because I use it so much, I buy it in bulk, typically from Sprouts.  However, I’ve recently discovered this package of white quinoa by Soul Organics and I’ll tell you what, this is a pretty great deal.

The Basics:

First off, why even buy quinoa? Isn’t it the same thing as rice? Honestly, I think quinoa is much more flavorful. Plus, it has much more to offer than rice does. Quinoa contains all nine amino acids, meaning that it is a full and complete protein. This also makes quinoa filling, especially since it also contains a high amount of fiber and complex carbs. Compared to eating rice, you are going to stay fuller longer. Not to mention, this quinoa by Soul Organics is non GMO, fair trade, gluten free, kosher, and USDA organic. It really can’t get much better than that for everyone.

The Pros:

With this package of quinoa, you are getting 4 pounds of it! That’s going to last meIMG_1208 forever. I mean, I only need 1/2 cup for one serving and that half cup barely makes a dent out of this huge bag. Plus, you’re getting it pre-washed, which is really convenient. I’m just a lazy person I guess, but I hate having to rinse things before I use it. I just want to dive right in as soon as it reaches my doorstep! I’ve also found that the packaging itself is convenient. The bag is resealable, which means that I don’t have to pour the quinoa into tupperware to ensure that it doesn’t spill everywhere.

The Cons:

Of course, nothing comes without it’s flaws. This pre-packaged quinoa is a bit more expensive per pound compared to what I can get at Sprouts. But, you need to keep in mind that the extra cost is well worth the convenience, in my opinion. By pIMG_1212aying slightly more by purchasing Soul Organics white quinoa, you are getting a resealable package, not a cheap, plastic bag from Sprouts that almost always leads me to spilling some when I pour it into tupperware once I get home. Plus, it comes pre-washed (you can use it right away without having to empty the contents completely from the bag) and you have the convenience of having it delivered right to your door. In my opinion, the slight extra cost is worth it at this point.

Overall, I definitely recommend this product, especially if you are bulk buying fanatic like myself.  buy-button-amazon

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8-Inch Chef Knife: Important Cooking Tool For Anyone Who Cooks

For someone who cooks every day, sometimes twice a day, I need some great cooking knives. I used to cook with really dull knives I bought from Ikea and it was a struggle. It took way too much of my time to try and get all kinds of fruits and vegetables chopped up.

IMG_1129Here I have an 8-inch chef knife by Big Bang Cooking. The knife is $29.95. Now, in the past I would’ve thought this price was ridiculous, but it’s not. A high-quality cooking knife can sometimes cost more than $100, so this is an excellent price for such a high-quality, durable knife. Using this knife makes cooking so much easier, especially when I’m cooking things that require LOTS of fruits and vegetables (remember, I don’t cook with any kind of meat, but I’m sure this knife would be perfect for that too).

If you still aren’t sure about whether or not this is the right chef’s knife for you, I will list some of the pros and cons that can help.

Pros:

One pro is the handle of the knife. It’s comfortable and fits perfectly in my hand, which makes it easy to use. It doesn’t ever slide out of my hand, which is not only convenient but also safe. I can cut things like cantaloupe and other tough to cut things without worrying about any slipping of the knife. The handle is also really sleek in appearance, which makes it look great on display in the knife block sitting on your kitchen counter.

Next to note is that the blade of the knife is so strong that I can cut through any frozen fruits or vegetables. Typically, I will use the knife to cut frozen bananas for smoothies. This is much more difficult to do with a small knife.

Cons:IMG_1127

The only con I’ve found is that, while it’s easy to clean, there are a couple of stains that I just can’t get out. Not a huge issue though and they seem to be coming out.

Overall, with the purchase of this knife, you are going to get the best possible quality for a relatively low cost. Well worth it, in my opinion.

If you are interested  buy-button-amazon

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Digital Kitchen Scale: Do You Need It?

There are many kitchen gadgets that are available for you to purchase. Some are useful, some are just not. In my kitchen, I have this digital kitchen scale. Now you may be thinking, “why do you need that?” In all honesty, I probably don’t really need it, but it actually does come in handy, especially for my husband who is a type 1 diabetic. IMG_1114With this kitchen scale, my husband is able to take accurate measurements of pasta and other high carb foods to determine how much he can eat without it spiking up his blood sugar too high.

For me, the scale also comes in handy for a number of reasons I will list below and it probably will for you too, especially if you cook often. Here are just some of the reasons you may consider it for yourself:

The Basics:

This digital kitchen scale can weigh up to 12 pounds. You can convert measurements, as well with the oversized unit button located on the left of the scale. Simply hit this unit button and you can convert ounces to grams and pounds to kilograms. The measurement will display on the large LCD screen in the front center.

The scale is made of black glass and the scale overall is extremely lightweight. You also only need two AAA batteries.

The Pros:

Before I brought this scale into my kitchen, I had no way of weighing ingredients. This meant if I was reading off a recipe that had a number of ingredients listed in pounds or ounces, I would have to look up a converter online that would tell me approximately how many cups or teaspoons to use and this would take forever! With this scale, I found it to be extremely easy to now use recipes that have ingredients listed in pounds or ounces. This makes my cooking time so much shorter now that I don’t have to look up how to convert an ingredient from pounds to cups or ounces to teaspoons. A few other pros that I’ve found include the lightness of the scale. I can easily move it around the kitchen and the fact that it only needs two AAA batteries contributes even more so to the scale being so lightweight. It IMG_1123was also shipped to me with the batteries already included, which was nice. I was able to use it right away instead of having to go out to the store to buy AAA batteries. I also love the sleek design, which fits in right with my kitchen and my own personal taste and style. And one last pro would be the large size LCD screen and the large power and unit buttons. Although I don’t have problems with my eyesight, just not having to bend down to look at the screen or find the buttons makes it that much more convenient to use.

The Cons:

When I first used the scale, I had a difficult time using the buttons. It took me a few times to change the unit on the scale because the button just wasn’t cooperating. However, once my husband used it, he was able to change the unit right away with no problems and since then I haven’t had any problems with it either. It could’ve just been that it was brand new and was just starting to wake up for the first time! The other thing was that I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. If you press the power button, it won’t shut off and I didn’t realize that if I just left it alone, it would shut off on its own. So just keep that in mind and don’t get frustrated like I did that it won’t turn off!

Overall, I think the scale is worth it, especially if you are like me and enjoy trying new recipes all the time. You never know when you are going to run into that one recipe that requires you to weigh certain food items. Besides, the scale is only $27.95 right now on Amazon, which to me is an excellent price for what you’re getting.

If you are interested.. buy-button-amazon

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Being Green Smoothie: A Blend of Spinach, Orange, Banana, Mango & Cucumber

Perfectly yummy tasting green smoothies are hard to come by (in my opinion, at least), but I’ve found the perfect one. This smoothie recipe was inspired by Plant-Powered Families once again. Here’s my version:

Blend together…

3 Cups of Spinach

1 Orange

1 Cup Frozen Banana

1/2 Cup Sliced Cucumber

1 Mango

1 Cup Water
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It made the perfect amount for me. My daughter didn’t like it, but she did at least try it. I’m hoping she’ll give it another try next time!

Side note: I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I use the Black & Decker Personal Blender for my smoothie making. I highly recommend this blender, especially if you only make smoothies for yourself. It’s the perfect single serve size and, despite its small size, it is really powerful and only takes a minute to blend even the chunkiest of fruits and vegetables.

If you need a high-speed, powerful blender.. buy-button-amazon

 

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Peach & Banana Popsicles

It’s been so hot here lately, that I went out, bought a popsicle tray, and decided to whip up so healthy, refreshing, and yummy popsicles. This recipe was, of course, inspired by Plant-Powered Families.IMG_1059 Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 Cups Cubed Peaches

1 Cup Sliced Banana

1/3 Cup Apple Juice

2 Tablespoons Mable Syrup

 

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Simply Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy like this little girl is! :p

Side Note: If you don’t have a popsicle tray, I highly recommend getting one. A popsicle tray makes the perfect molds and is overall much simply to use since it holds the stick perfectly in the middle and once the liquid is frozen, it’s easier to get out rather than if you put them in ice cube trays.

buy-button-amazon

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Bean Chili and Tacos for Leftovers!

So, once again I took a recipe from Plant-Powered Families to make as my own. I was skeptical of this one because I am not a huge fan of beans. They don’t ever taste that great to me, but I was willing to try it out. After all, beans are a really great source of protein, especially as a vegan/vegetarian. So here it is: Bean Chili.

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What You Need:

2 Tablespoons Water

3/4 Cups Diced Red Bell Pepper

1/2 Cup Diced Carrots

1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Teaspoon Paprika

1 Pinch of Cinnamon

Pepper to Taste

1 Cup Diced Tomato

1 Can Chickpeas

1 Can Pinto Beans

1 Cup Water

3/4 Cup Red Lentils

1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

Instructions:

In a pot over medium heat, add water, red bell pepper, carrot, and salt. Stir and cover for a few minutes.

Add garlic, paprika, cinnamon, and pepper. Stir and cover for a couple minutes.

 Add tomato, chickpeas, pinto beans, 1 cup water, red lentils, and stir. Heat to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 25 minutes.

Stir in lime juice before serving.

This chili was the best tasting chili I’ve ever had. And cooking it was so easy! I just simply served them with some crackers and had PLENTY of leftovers. I used those leftovers to make tacos the next day. I just added some cheese and sour cream, which, of course, you can choose to use vegan cheese and sour cream instead.

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The only thing I would do differently next time is not add tomatoes at all. I don’t really like the taste of tomatoes anyway and they did not taste good when heated up the next night.

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Apple Pie Smoothie

Smoothies are something that I love to make for breakfast because they are full of delicious goodness but don’t look too overwhelming for me to enjoy. After all, if I had everything that is compiled into one smoothie sitting in its true form on my plate, I probably would barely touch it!

Today I made an Apple Pie Smoothie, which was inspired by Plant-Powered Families (one of my ultimate favorite cookbooks). Of course, I omitted a few things and created my own little version of it. Here’s what’s in it:IMG_1046

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Apple

1 Cup Frozen Banana

1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Simply blend all ingredients together and enjoy! I’ll do a review soon on my blender, which you should definitely consider purchasing. It’s the Black & Decker Personal Blender, which is the best blender I’ve ever used to make my own single-serve smoothies.

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Large Bamboo Cutting Board by Premium Bamboo: The Perfect Addition to Your Kitchen



As you might already be able to tell, I love to cook with fruits and veggies. Of course, you cannot easily cook with fruits and veggies if you don’t have the proper tools to chop them up the way you need them! This is one of the reasons why a sturdy, thick cutting board is a MUST.

So anyway, here’s my cutting board by Premium Bamboo.

IMG_1038The Pros:

First of all, I’ve used this cutting board quite a few times since I’ve received it. What I noticed was that it hasn’t begun to lose its finish. There are no cut marks from my knives and there are no stains. My old cutting board has plenty of these things and I didn’t even have it very long before I realized I had to replace it. The other thing that I love about this cutting board is that it’s extremely lightweight. For a small girl like me that makes it easy to move around when I need to and easy to bring down from the shelf. Plus, it’s so pretty! This definitely isn’t just your plain, average cutting board. The wood has texture, but the surface is still smooth. It’s just simply pleasing to the eye. So the next time you have company over and they need to use a cutting board, you pull this baby out and everyone is impressed!

The Cons:

Honestly, I don’t have too many bad things to say about this cutting board that should make IMG_1042you begin to question whether or not this is the right one for you. If you cook often, then you need this since it will last you a long time even with excessive use. The only bad thing, for me at least, is that this cutting board is a bit too large for me. It makes cleaning it in my small sink a bit difficult, but the difficulty of cleaning it is still worth it. If the board wasn’t as large then I wouldn’t be able to cut as many fruits and vegetables on it all at once, after all.

Overall, this is a purchase you should consider. The board will last a long time, you can cut multiple things on it at once, which can make cooking move a bit faster for you, and you can also be happy that it is made from recyclable bamboo, making it an eco-friendly option and just even more perfect! Definitely a five-star purchase in my opinion.

To get the best deal on this, be sure to  buy-button-amazon

 

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Vegan Pumpkin Soup

For a while the weather was so hot. I was wearing tank tops and shorts, which is totally not my style, but I couldn’t stand the heat any longer! And then it was just cold, cloudy, and windy all of a sudden and it made me immediately crave some warm soup. In fact, for lunch earlier I had tomato basil soup from Veggie Grill and then came home to make this delicious pumpkin soup inspired by Plant Powered Families. I definitely recommend this cookbook, especially if you have kids because the recipes are so simple! You may even want to check it out if you are new to vegan cooking and aren’t quite ready to experiment with new foods you may not be used to.

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Anyway, this is the Pumpkin Lentil Soup. I cut the ingredients in half from the instructions in the cookbook and I also omitted a few ingredients. Here’s what you need for my version:

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup red lentils

1 clove minced garlic

2 cups water

Black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat 1 tablespoon water in large pot over medium heat. Add ground cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. Stir, then add pumpkin, lentils, garlic, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil.

Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 24 minutes.

Once soup is done cooking, let cool for at least 5 minutes and put in blender to puree until smooth.

So there you go. Pumpkin soup, which is perfect for cold, chilly days. Dakota didn’t like it too much, but I thought it was delicious!