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My first blog! The inspiration behind, apple talk, and an applelicious tofu entree

Posted Feb 27 2010 12:00am

Hello blog world!

I am excited to finally take a dive into the fast-growing, ever-so-popular blog scene. But I am even more thrilled to share delicious (mostly healthy, I mean we all need to indulge a little bit now and then) recipes and my food-for-thoughts. Basically I want to educate you about foods which are nutritious AND delicious. Foods that you can feel good about putting in your body.

So let me just get right into it and tell you a little story about my recent food rut. Once upon a time, I found myself grocery shopping at only one store, Trader Joe’s. Why not?!  I could find healthy food, organic food, sometime local food, easy to prepare food, but most importantly, cheap food!  Even though I still love Trader Joe’s (don’t get me wrong!), I found myself eating the same things over and over, and yes over again. And believe me, after a year of eating the same types of frozen fish, packaged raviolis, and tofu stir-frys, you start to get a wee-bit bored.

Since I LOVE food so much, I started to get a little bummed out when my dinners weren’t exciting to me anymore and I really wasn’t looking forward to the meal as much. SOOOO what did I do?! I busted out those recipes, that’s what! I now have two cookbooks to work from, plus I can always find some great recipe ideas online! I also started a new love affair with Whole Foods. Even though my grocery bills have definitely spiked, it is worth it to me to have more options, especially local food options! So I made a goal for myself one day, I was going to make four new recipes in one week. That’s right, I was feeling ambitious and highly motivated. I was going to make some real meals! This goal to try new dishes and improve upon my (somewhat lacking) culinary skills helped inspire my blog as well! Look what a positive impact cooking can have!

So now that you have a little background info on my inspirations, let me tell you about my first recipe! My first recipe was my favorite out of the three entree recipes I tried (I also made a dessert…more to come on that in a later blog). It is a perfect cold-weather recipe to enjoy while the leaves are falling or while snow is covering the ground. The sauteed apples are a perfect pairing with the marinated tofu and root veggies.

Roasted Tofu with Sauteed Apples (Whole Foods.com)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 large clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and ground pepper
16 ounces extra firm tofu
1 medium yellow onion, halved and cut into thick slices
2 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated vegan margarine or expeller pressed canola oil
3 organic Fuji apples, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave nectar, garlic, oregano, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

Drain the tofu and gently press to remove as much liquid as possible. Cut tofu into 8 equal slices. Pierce the tofu in several places with a fork to allow the flavor of the marinade to penetrate. Pour balsamic mixture over tofu and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer tofu to a shallow 9×13-inch baking pan. Add onion, mushrooms and carrots. Pour balsamic marinade over tofu and vegetables, brushing to coat everything. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the tofu and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare apples. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the margarine or canola oil. Add the apple slices and sauté until tender and lightly browned but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes.

When cooked, garnish tofu and vegetables with parsley and serve alongside sautéed apples.

Nutrition
Per serving (11 oz/314g-wt.): 280 calories (130 from fat), 15g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 14g protein, 28g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 19g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium

Serve this over brown rice and/or with a side salad. And voila! You have a nutritious and delicious meal! My side salad of choice pictured to the right includes Boston local greens, gorgonzola cheese, crushed walnuts, and balsamic vinagarette dressing.

Now that you have the recipe, let’s talk apples, since apples are a wonderful contribution to this dish!  We’ve all heard the saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away‘, well there just may be a little truth to that. My friend, the apple, is low in calories, fat-free, and sodium-free!  A perfect snack, the apple is also high in fiber and contains about 4 grams per serving. Don’t peel that skin off though, otherwise you won’t be feeling full after because you’ll be missing out on that fiber! That’s right, fiber slows down digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer, so you won’t feel tempted to keep on munchin’.

So how should you get in those apples?

  • Eat it as is as a great grab-n-go snack
  • Slab some peanut butter or almond butter on that baby (my favorite way to eat an apple)
  • Pair with your favorite cheese
  • Bake with cinnamon and raisins
  • Dip it in caramel for a treat! (everything in moderation is my motto)

Best enjoyed in the fall when apples are in season, we can still find apples year round. Gala (my personal fav), fugi, macintosh, cortland, green, you name it! Tons of options out there! Try them all and pick your own favorite!

Peace, love, and food,

Kara

What’s your favorite kind of apple? What’s your favorite way to eat an apple?

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