Pin It Party V7

pin-it-party

It’s that time again! Another Pin It Party is coming at you! Lindsay, over at the Lean Green Bean, I, and a lot of other bloggers will be sharing some of our favorite pinnable posts from the last few months! Make sure to check out Lindsay’s post, where you will also find a list of all the participating bloggers, and start reading (and pinning) away! While you’re at it, why don’t you follow me on Pinterest! Party on!

Train Smarter: 5 Ways to PR Running 3 Days a Week

Race PRHave limited time? Don’t we all? Here are some tips to get that PR running three days a week.

12 Running Myths You May Still Believe

Running MythsDo you still think running is bad for your knees? It’s time to banish this and other running myths.

Vegan “Tuna” Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna 4Have you tried Jackfruit? It is sometimes called the Vegetable Meat, and is a delicious, non-processed, meat alternative. Here is an easy Tuna-less salad to try.

Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Lentil Cakes7These Lentil cakes are delicious and easy to make. And the riata is out of this world!

The Top 5 Marathon Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Marathon MistakesWhether you’re training for your first or your 50th, here are some potential mistakes to avoid in your next marathon.

If you missed the previous Pin It Parties, and want to check out the favorite posts that I shared, here they are:

Pin It Party 1
Pin It Party 2
Pin It Party 3
Pin It Party 4
Pin It Party 5
Pin It Party 6

I hope you found something worth pinning (and reading) today! There is still time to join the party! Here is the link to Lindsay’s original post with directions and the Pin Party graphic. Then you can join the party and share your own link here. Or you can share one of your favorite posts in the comments.

Meatless Monday: The Joy of Tofu

I’m hooking up with Tina and Deborah for this holiday week edition of Meatless Monday!

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The Joy of Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap. From complaints about its taste (or lack thereof) and texture, to the possibility of it being generically modified, to just the fact that it is made from soybeans, many people won’t even give tofu a chance. I hope to clear away some of the misconceptions about the lowly tofu, and maybe encourage you to try it out (I’ll link to a couple of my favorite tofu recipes) on this Meatless Monday.

Joy of Tofu

Yes, it is true that tofu doesn’t have much taste all on its own. That is also what makes it so perfect to use for almost any purpose. Tofu will absorb the flavor of any sauce or seasoning that you choose to use. The key is to drain and press the tofu first to extract as much water as possible, then marinate it in the sauce of your choice. Well-drained tofu will absorb all the moisture and flavors of that sauce.

Preparing Tofu

There are a couple ways to press tofu. The easiest, no-equipment-needed way is to simply drain the tofu, wrap it in a couple paper towels, and press it under a couple plates, books, or whatever you have handy. Pressing for at least a half hour will produce the best results. Another option of a tofu press. You can place your tofu in the press, screw it down, and it will remove even a greater amount of water. It can even be left in the refrigerator overnight for a firmer, meatier texture.

If you like your tofu with a heavier texture (especially for some recipes) try freezing it before cooking. This can be done either after pressing, or in its original packaging. Freezing might alter the color of the tofu, and will make it more absorbent and dense.

Tofu can be marinated in almost any type of sauce, from bottled marinades to your own favorite recipes. Here is a simple marinade that I frequently use when I’m going to make a tofu “steak” to serve with a salad or potato.

Simple Tofu Marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid heat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper to taste
vegetable broth

In an eight ounce measuring cup, combine all the ingredients, adding the broth last and filling up the cup. Pour over the pressed tofu and marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. You can cook them like this, or dredge in flour, bread crumbs or corn meal. Cook over medium heat until browned on each side. Add the remaining marinade and cook until it is hot and slightly thickened.

GMO Concerns

It is true that soy is one of the most genetically modified plants produced. Much of this soy is used in feed for farm animals, and in processed (human) food. Tofu is much less processed and if you check the packaging for the Non-GMO label and purchase organic tofu, you will not have to worry that your tofu has been genetically engineered.

All Nasoya tofu is certified organic and non-GMO project verified. The company sent me some samples of their tofu products to try out. In addition to their regular organic tofu, Nasoya also has TofuPlus, which is fortified with vitamins, and the new TofuBaked, which has already been marinated and baked, so can be used hot or cold, and is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and stir-fry.

tofu-baked-sesame

Health Benefits of Soy

Soy is low in fat, cholesterol free, and has bone-healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Twenty five milligrams of soy protein per day is recognized as beneficial to heart health. The soybean has been described as a Super Food because of its nutrient rich properties, which have been found to be beneficial in fighting many diseases.

In spite of fears that soy isn’t safe for women concerned about breast cancer, study after study has indicated that soy most likely reduces the risk. As for men, soy is recognized as a prostate-friendly food.

Other health benefits of soy, as well as references to the studies mentioned above, can be found here and here.

Tofu Recipes

I love cooking with tofu. It is inexpensive, healthy, and if you cook it correctly, it tastes delicious. Over the years I have created many tofu recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Quiche4

Quiche Who needs eggs? I just made this the other night, substituting mushrooms for the vegan bacon. Delicious!
Pot Pie To me, pot pie is the ultimate comfort food.
Tofu Scramble I can eat a tofu scramble for breakfast, lunch, and or dinner.
Tofu Burrito I have many burrito recipes (they are one of my favorite food groups dishes), and this is one of the best.
Vegan Bruschetta Caprese I’ve also made this like a simple caprese salad, substituting the slices of tofu for the buffalo mozzarella.
Triple Protein Packed Salad I make a lot of salads, especially in the summer. Big Salads.
Easy Tofu Bake When you just don’t know what to make for dinner.
Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Like the example with my marinade recipe, this is an easy way to eat tofu on its own.
Vegan Buffalo “Wings” The playoffs are coming! I love “football food” as much as the next girl.
(Tofu) Steak and Potatoes The title of the post is “Sometimes a girl just needs a (tofu) steak and potatoes.”
Pumpkin Pie. Your guests (or you) won’t know it’s vegan!

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Well, there were even more than I expected! That should keep you busy for a while! Not on my recipe list, but soft or silken tofu is a perfect addition for smoothies, makes great, creamy sauces, and can be used as a thickener for many dessert recipes.

Do you cook with tofu? Why or why not? Do you have a favorite recipe?

I have five coupons for a free package of Nasoya TofuBaked to give away! If you’d like one, just tell me in the comments and I’ll pick randomly on December 29.

Vegan Recipe: Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Every now and then I like to get fancy. With my cooking that is. Usually I’m a pretty basic cook. I love to make burritos, curry, big salads, etc. They are simple, tasty, quick to make, and usually pretty healthy.

Actually, I think of myself as a lucky cook. I have a “talent” for throwing things together and having them turn out pretty darn delicious. Just as some people can follow a recipe, take a cooking class, really work at a creating a dish, yet it still doesn’t work, I can “make it work.” And really, it’s just luck.

Lentil Cakes6

Anyway, I usually do stick with the basics.  This dish, Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita, is me finding my fancy side. Based on a recipe I was given by a local restauranteur, I “made it vegan” by switching out the dairy products and eggs for a plant based version.

Lentil Cakes9

Guess what? It tastes just as good!

Today I am joining up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! Click the photo below and check out all the other recipes from others joining the linkup party!

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Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Lentil Cakes7

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Recipe: Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup mixed dried lentils (such as red, black, and mung )
  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper-chopped
  • 2 cups chopped arugula
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • For Raita:
  • 2 cups soy or other non-dairy Yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped peeled seeded cucumber (I love the Persian cucumbers that do not need to be peeled and seeded)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon raw agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Instructions
  1. Rinse lentils and rice, cover with water and soak for 3-6 hours.
  2. Drain and transfer to food processor. Add ginger, garlic and serrano. Process until a grainy paste is formed-add a few tablespoons of water if needed. Add arugula, peas, cilantro, onion, salt and pepper -pulse several times until well combined.
  3. Heat a few Tablespoons coconut oil in a skillet and add ¼ cupfuls of batter fry until golden, flattening and flipping as needed. Add more oil, if needed between batches. Serve w/ Raita
  4. For the Raita:
  5. In a medium bowl mix yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, mint, lemon and agave-
  6. Heat coconut oil in small skillet on medium heat-when hot add mustard seeds, once they start to pop, add cumin seeds stirring just about 10 seconds, add garlic stirring for a few more seconds, quickly add to the yogurt mix. Stir to combine-Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lentil Cakes8Now for a little training recap

Training has gone much better this week as I build my base for the SLO Marathon. I ran 18 miles total, which is an increase of about five miles over last week, so that’s good. As I’ve mentioned, I want to use December to increase my mileage to 25-35 miles per week and get my long run up to 10 miles. I plan to start my training plan for the marathon on January 1 (or second, depending on my new year’s eve). Here’s the recap:

Monday: Running, 5 miles. Yoga: 60 minute class (at work. Hurray for gym perks!).
Tuesday: Rest, though I did play around with the TRX and functional trainer for about a half hour.
Wednesday: Four mile tempo run. One mile warm up, 4-half mile intervals at LT pace with a 1/4 mile recovery. First of any kind of speed work in months, so it was hard but I felt good afterward.
Thursday: Thirty minutes Pilates workout.
Friday: Thirty minute Circuit Training Class. This was at work, basically because I have to sub in a couple weeks and I wanted to get an idea of what level, etc. My knee was really hurting for some reason, so my workout was kind of limited, but enough to make me sore the next day.
Saturday: Six mile run, followed by a 90 minute Vinyasa class (with April so it kicked my butt).
Sunday: This is doggy run day, so a total of three miles with the dogs. Easy Breezy.

Dog run

The plan for this coming week is to increase the mileage for each workout.  Just a little bit, and to increase the challenge of my Wednesday tempo run. Again, just a little bit.  Also to practice yoga at least three times. To do that, I’ll get to the studio once or twice, plus I’m going to try out Yoga30., and the new online classes offered by April and Yoga Central (see below for details).

Things to remember:

SLO Marathon 1024x379 Starting with a Bang...

Join me (and Alan!) in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

Yoga Central Starting with a Bang...

My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

Do you celebrate Meatless Mondays? Do you have a favorite vegan or vegetarian dish that you serve your family? What’s on your training schedule?

Herbed Risi Salad with Tarragon Dressing. Vegan Mofo Day 16

Mofo Graphic_squareI’m popping in quickly to share this amazing recipe. It’s a take off on a favorite (and long gone) restaurant dish. Way back when, I used to have it with chicken, but even then (this was over 10 years ago), the restaurant offered a vegan version with seitan. I finally tried it one time and I was hooked. Even though I was not yet a vegetarian, the seitan version was my favorite.

The restaurant eventually closed, and I made several attempts to create my own version. The key was the tarragon dressing and I finally found just the right combination.

Herbed Risi Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing

Risi Salad

5.0 from 1 reviews
Herbed Risi Salad with Tarragon Dressing. Vegan Mofo Day 16
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package Seitan (or one cup if you make your own), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs Lime juice
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 large Tomato, chopped salad-style
  • ¾ cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup Green Onions
  • ½ cup Corn
  • ¼ cup chopped Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Creamy Tarragon Dressing
  • Tarragon Dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Tarragon leaves
  • ¼ cup Parsley
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbs Vegenaise
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until creamy
Instructions
  1. Combine Seitan, lime juice, and pepper and set aside while you chop vegetables.
  2. Preheat a non-stick pan. Add Seitan mixture and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the seitan begins to brown slightly. Set aside to cool off.
  3. If the rice is hot, allow it to cool off for a few minutes. Combine the rice, Seitan, and vegetables. Add the Tarragon Dressing slowly until the rice is lightly coated. You may not need all the dressing. Toss carefully. The salad can be eaten either warm or cold. Makes enough for two meal-sized servings.

Tarragon Dressing

Risi Salad 2Do you try to recreate favorite dishes from restaurants?

Vegan Mofo Day 11: Southwest Chicken Bowl

Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you may already know that the last few days have been a little out of the norm. I’ll tell the full tale tomorrow, but in a few words we had the worst rainstorm that I can remember here in the desert on Monday. Lots of flash floods, road closures, and some water damage and subsequent clean up at my home.

We’re okay, and to my knowledge no one was seriously injured, but Alan and I have been pretty busy cleaning up and drying out the last couple days. Today I finally have some time to present the recipe I promised earlier in the week.

I love bowls. Throw some rice or other grain, beans or other protein, some veggies, and just the right sauce or dressing together and you’ve got heaven in a bowl.  Some of my previous bowl recipes include Gyro Spiced Seitan and Quinoa, Quinoa, Black Bean and Kale, and coming up next week, I have a Seitan and Rice Bowl with veggies and a creamy tarragon sauce.

This Southwest Chicken Bowl may be the best of the best though. Alan and I both agreed it was a keeper. Not only is it loaded with crisp veggies, I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken cooked with a spicy sauce, quinoa, and a creamy avocado dressing to top it all off.

Southwest Chicken Bowl with Beyond Meat, Quinoa and Spicy Avocado Dressing

Southwest Bowl

5.0 from 1 reviews
Southwest Chicken Bowl with Beyond Meat, Quinoa, and Spicy Avocado Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ package Beyond Meat vegan chicken or 4 ounces vegan chicken of your choice
  • ½ cup prepared salsa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup prepared quinoa
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup orange or yellow pepper
  • 1 handful mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup corn
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup prepared salsa
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the oil over medium heat. Add the Beyond Meat and cook until lightly browned (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add the salsa and ½ cup water to the pan and reduce head to low.
  4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the water is reduced and the sauce is thick.
  5. In each bowl, spoon about ½ cup of the cooked quinoa.
  6. Add one thin layer of the mixed greens.
  7. Spoon the room temperature beans over the greens.
  8. Add the corn, tomato, onion, peppers, salsa, and cilantro.
  9. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add on top.
  10. Toss with the Avocado dressing.
  11. Avocado Dressing: Combine the avocado, lime juice, oil, and seasoning in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Slowly add water, a little at a time, until the dressing is creamy, but pourable.

 

Southwest Bowl 3

One serving of this Southwest Chicken Bowl has about 35 grams of protein. The beans, quinoa, and vegan chicken are all great sources of protein, and combined offer all essential amino acids needed for a healthy diet. For more information about getting enough protein on a vegan diet, see my post, Where DO You Get Your Protein?

Southwest Bowl 2Do you like bowls? What’s your favorite type? Mexican? Middle Eastern? Southwestern? Other?

It’s Vegan Mofo! Kicking Off: the Best Vegan Burrito Recipe

Mofo GraphicI am really excited to be participating in Vegan Mojo again this year after three years’ absence. What is Vegan Mofo? It simply means the Vegan Month of Food, and the goal is that for the month of September participating bloggers will write about vegan food and/or lifestyle most days (the goal is 20 days).

This was kind of a last minute decision, since I didn’t realize that Vegan Mofo would be held in September this year until I happened to stumble on a post about it a few days ago. That means I don’t have a plan or a theme, but will instead do my best to find something vegan to write about for the next month.

Today, since the first of September falls on a Monday, I am also linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! Every Monday participating bloggers will share their creative meatless recipes. Want to join? Here’s more info.

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I decided to kick off Vegan Mofo and Meatless Monday with my Best Vegan Burrito recipe. I love Mexican food! It is so adaptable to a plant based preparation. Whether it is a plate of rice and beans (with fresh salsa of course), tempeh tacos, or burritos with a multitude of filling choices, you can make delicious and healthy vegan food that is sure to please everyone in the family.

The Best Vegan Burrito Recipe

Best Vegan Burrito_2

So, why is this the best vegan burrito recipe? For a few reasons. First, it tastes delicious. spicy and substantial (a word the thesaurus suggests instead of “meaty”), and flavorful. It is also fast and easy to make because I used pre-made seitan and salsa (though feel free to make your own). Finally, it’s a healthy combination of the seitan and pinto beans, which provide lean protein, tomato-based salsas, and avocado, which is probably my favorite healthy fat food of all time.

Best Vegan Burrito

Best Vegan Burritos
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • One 8 oz package of seitan (I love Sweet Earth), or one cup homemade, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 lime
  • ½ cup medium size white mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ onion chopped and divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 1 cup pre-made hot salsa (use milder if you prefer)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Refried beans (see below) or use one can of vegetarian refried beans)
  • Spicy tomato and cilantro salsa (see below)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the seitan, mushrooms, onion, lime juice, salt, and garlic powder. Set aside while you make the tomato and cilantro salsa.
  2. Preheat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the seitan mixture and potatoes. Cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the pre-made salsa and the water. Increase the temperature to medium high and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes).
  6. Heat tortillas. Layer a large spoon of beans, seitan mixture, tomato and cilantro salsa, and slices of avocado. Roll into a burrito. Enjoy!
  7. Other filling options include rice, vegan cheese, hot sauce.

Refried Beans

One can reduced sodium pinto or black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon serrano chili, minced
1 tablespoon onion, minced

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to spoon the beans into the pan. Add a little of the bean liquid, just enough to lightly cover the beans. Add the onion and chilis. As the beans heat, stir the mixture and use the spoon to mash the beans. Continue to stir and mash, until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the beans have a fairly smooth texture.

Spicy Tomato and Cilantro Salsa

2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 or 2 serrano chilis, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, lightly chopped

Combine all the ingredients.

Best Vegan Burrito_3

Even though I don’t have a theme, I’m framing a little plan for the upcoming month of vegan food. In addition to a few recipes, I will also write about eating vegan on the road, some of my favorite vegan convenience foods, and some resources for readers who are interested in learning more about following a plant based diet. Don’t worry, regular readers, I’ll still post plenty of my normal stuff: workouts, training programs, family updates, and, of course, dog pictures. In fact, here’s one from my Sunday morning run!

August 31I took all three little dogs for a short run, but Lily loves it so much that I took her back out for another mile! I’m not sure what she loved most, the run, being with me, or just not having Olivia and Coco biting at her butt for the whole time.

Okay, pretend you’re a vegetarian (or if you already are..hurray!). What would you stuff into a tortilla to make your best vegan burrito?