Where is time going? I keep meaning to blog, and then another week passes. I blinked and April had arrived. On the “coming soon” pregnancy front everything is going great. I am rounding out week 23 and have my 24 week appointment on Wednesday. Most days I feel a ton of movement and we are to the point that others can feel (and see) sprout move too. Sprout especially likes to put on a show mid-day when I am trying to concentrate at work, and at night when I am finally ready for bed. But I don’t mind. I still get giddy with every kick and nudge.
Since I am still feeling so good I have thankfully been able to maintain a normal fitness routine, taking spin, yoga sculpt, kettle bells and barre four to five days a week–modifying certain moves as needed. I of course know to be careful and listen to my body, but my mindset would be so different if I was forced to give up my classes. Those classes are my escape. My stress relief and a time to treat myself, and sprout, right.
On the eating and cravings front my weight gain has been steady. Mike has even stopped pestering me about weekly weigh-in’s to check my status. Hooray! My sweet tooth is the craving I give in to the most, so for our main meals I’ve been trying really hard to eat as clean and healthfully as possible. Hence the recipe below from the cookbook Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Kris Carr is the inspiring author.
I received this cookbook for Christmas and soon read the entire opening, which provides pages and pages of education about a plant-empowered diet/lifestyle. But all of the recipes seemed a little daunting so I put it away while we were in Breckenridge most weekends. This weekend I finally found myself with – gasp – no plans other than a deep clean of the house. So I chose two recipes to try and shopped on Saturday instead of Sunday.
DISCLAIMER: This recipe is not for the post-work cook. The steps themselves are simple but everything takes a LONG time, so I suggest giving this a try over the weekend for dinner or in our case, lunches to start the week out right.
Teriyaki Tofu with Vegetables and Soba Noodles – Ingredients
- 5 tablespoons tamari
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 5 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
- 5 gloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger (I used the pre-minced in a jar to save some time)
- 14 oz package of extra-firm tofu, pressed and sliced into 6 slabs
- 1 pkg soba noodles
Sesame Sake Reduction
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup sake or cheap cooking wine (I ended up using Sherry)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot (I substituted cornstarch) made into a slurry by mixing with 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 cups mushrooms (The recipe called for chanterelle or other wild mushrooms but I just got a carton of the basic ones at the store)
- 1/2 cup canned sliced water chestnuts
- 1 cup julienned snow peas
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil
- One julienned red pepper (My addition, not in the recipe)
Step 1: Prepare the teriyaki marinade by combining tamari, sesame oil, pineapple juice, rice vinegar, agave and ginger in a bowl and whisk everything well. Set aside 2/3 cup for the Sesame Sake reduction.
Step 2: Place the tofu slices in a shallow pan and cover in the remaining marinade. I let them marinade for two hours in the fridge, flipping once.
Step 3: Since the meal was being prepped for the next day I cooked the soba noodles during this “down time” according to the package directions and put them in the fridge once drained.
Step 4: Heat the oven to 325° once the tofu is almost done marinading. Place the tofu on a rimmed baking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray) and pour the marinade leftovers onto the tofu. Bake for an hour, flipping about halfway. Remove from the oven.
Step 5: When the tofu has about 20 minutes left, in a small saucepan whisk the reserved Teriyaki Marinade, orange juice and sake (or sake substitute) together on medium-high heat. It should start to reduce. I let it cook about for 20 minutes. Then remove it from the heat and whisk in the arrowroot (or cornstarch) slurry. The mixture should thicken up slightly.
Step 6: In a large wok heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil then add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, snow peas and any other veggies you prepped (in our case, a red bell pepper). Stir continuously for a few minutes then add the soba noodles and ladle in a few spoonfuls of the sake reduction. Add the chopped basil and use tongs to toss everything well. Remove from heat.
Step 7: In another small saute pan on medium heat place the tofu slices at the bottom and ladle in a few spoonfuls of the sake reduction until it thickens. Keep adding a few more spoonfuls as everything is absorbed/thickens. I still had a little of the sake reduction left over so I poured the rest over the noodles in the wok.
Take a HUGE swig of wine (or sadly in my case, water) and leap for joy. You made it. Either plate in bowls or separate into Tupperware for yummy, healthy lunches. The cookbook recipe calls for garnishes of green onions, more chopped basil and sliced red chile…but I had nothing left to give in the kitchen by this point (I prepped this while cleaning our house. Perhaps that was a bit aggressive).
From-scratch vegetarian cooking can be simple, or it can be really time consuming. That’s because in many cases there are a lot of steps to making the protein replacement (e.g., tofu or tempeh) take on notable flavor. While I have the time (i.e., no newborn to feed every 2 hours) it’s worth the extra effort to go the extra mile for our meals. Well, some days it is. Did I mention how exhausted I am from this “relaxing” Sunday with no plans?