Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary and Dijon and Nut Crusted Tofu

(pictured: Dinner tonight)

Thank all of you so much!

I was so happy to read all your feedback about why you read my blog. That will help me to know what type of things to focus on when I am writing. As you may have guessed I tend to type the thoughts as the dance through my head. Many of them get edited because I assume some of the ideas are not interesting to anyone but me.

I love that we have such a wide cross-section of readers all interested in health. When I started the blog I expected most of my readers would be a similar vintage to myself. I love that many of you are focusing on health at a much younger age. I find that to be so encouraging! Thanks again for your feedback and please feel free to continue to share. I love getting to know you all more.

This morning

I am sure you are not surprised to find out that our morning started as always with me making fresh veggie and fruit juice, Dan’s oatmeal and packing his lunch. This would all be so much easier to do if I were a morning person. It is a bit of a miracle that I can chop the produce for the juice without cutting myself. I really am no good in the morning. It seems to take me 2 hours to be fully wake in the morning. If any of you have a secret for waking up and getting moving first thing in the morning please let me know. I would love to be more functional in the morning.

Once Dan leaves for work I go through my morning ritual of catching up on email, posting and responding to comments and generally waking it. My exercise time varies depending on how long it takes me to wake up in the morning. I prefer to knock out my exercise early but that doesn’t always happen, like today. This is a bit of problem since I don’t like to exercise after I have eaten. Today I opted to have breakfast and exercise later.

Breakfast: Leftover Soup

Breakfast today was a bowl of leftover roasted butternut squash, broccoli and red pepper soup topped with toasted squash seeds. I washed this down with a cold pressed double green tea with ascorbic acid.

Lunch: Leftover Roasted Acorn Squash and Popcorn

Lunch was one of the acorn squash halves that I baked yesterday. I cut it into chunks, added strips from one raw red bell pepper, topped that with the a half serving of the dressing that I also made last night, added some parsley and toasted squash seeds. I liked this just as well as the salad I last night. I wanted to make the salad from last night, but have it just a little different and this worked. I washed this down with another cold pressed double green tea with ascorbic acid.

When I finished with the squash salad I was still hungry. I decided popcorn was in order but I didn’t want much. I popped 1 tablespoon of popcorn in my air popper. As the corn was coming out I sprayed it with a mixture of 1 part liquid aminos and 3 parts water that I put in a small atomizer. Then I added nutrition yeast to the damp popcorn. This was better than the straight liquid aminos, undoubtedly because it was less salty. But I am not completely thrilled with the texture though I did eat all the popcorn, LOL. It isn’t bad just not perfect.

What is wrong with people?

Today in Baltimore we had a little too much excitement. Someone got into Johns Hopkins Hospital with a gun and shot a doctor in the stomach, killed their family member then turned the gun onto themselves. What is wrong with people? Why would you go into an institution dedicated to healing with a gun? Working in healthcare for so long this really unnerved me. I have such a hard time trying to imagine why violence is ever necessary. It is amazing to me that the human race hasn’t annihilated itself already.

Fall is here

This morning we had weather that was nothing short of glorious. We had temperatures in the mid 60’s and little wind. It was perfect weather for getting outside and burning a few calories. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons though we seem to get little of either in this part of the world. I am hoping fall sticks around a little while this year.

Late this afternoon our predicted rain started to fall. It was a gentle sort of the rain the type that will soak into the ground rather than running off. I love the smell of the air while it is raining. If they could bottle that smell I would buy it. We tried the Oreck air cleaners because they were advertised as giving your room the just rained smell. Well, let’s just say they didn’t work out they way I had hoped which was very disappointing.

Afternoon snack: Hummus and Cucumber Dippers

Today I was hungry for a snack probably because of all the news about the shooting. I have always been a stress eater. I realized I could use a little protein so I went with the Spanish flavored hummus I made late last week. I topped that with a few pine nuts because I made it fat free and wanted to be certain to absorb any fat soluble vitamins in my snack. To dip into the hummus I used a cucumber sliced on a diagonal in place of crackers or pita chips. The cucumber provides crunch and makes a nice cracker substitute in my opinion.

Our anniversary

This is one of my favorite pictures of my hubby and was taken in one of my favorite cities in the world, Venice. Today is our wedding anniversary and my hubby said happy anniversary first a little after midnight. Dan has been working late again so we won’t officially celebrate our anniversary until this weekend.

I am very lucky to be married to my best friend who just happens to be the most perfect husband in the world for me. I adore you sweetie. Happy Anniversary baby!

Kitchen time

Given our gentle rain I decided it would be fun to spend a little time in the kitchen this afternoon. I also thought a nice anniversary dinner was in order. I decided to veganize a dish that I used to make with chicken. Of course I also altered most of the recipe beyond just swapping the protein. Here is what I made:

Nut topped Tofu with a Sweet and Savory Mustard Glaze
Serves 2


14 ounces organic extra firm tofu cut into six slabs and pressed dry
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
stevia to taste, you want a light sweetness to the mixture (I used one little scoop which equals one serving)
¼ cup walnuts, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon whole wheat bread crumbs
½ tablespoon of nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon dried thyme


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with silpat, parchment or easy release aluminum foil (the silicone coated variety). Place the tofu slabs on the prepared pan.

Whisk together the mustard, vinegar and then add stevia to taste. Spread 1/6 of the mixture onto the top of each tofu slab so that the entire top is coated.

Mix the walnuts, bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and thyme. Place 1/6 of the nut topping on each tofu slab. Bake the tofu until the mixture on top is beginning to brown. Everyone’s oven with vary but this took 45 minutes in my oven set on convection.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 306.47
Calories From Fat (61%) - 186.89

Total Fat - 21.89g
Saturated Fat - 2.03g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 220.58mg
Potassium - 358.65mg
Total Carbohydrates - 8.96g
Fiber - 2.47g
Sugar - 1.56g
Protein - 23.01g


This is not your traditional oriental tofu that most of us consume, it has a French flavor to me. I like the savory, sweet and crunchy thing that the tofu had going on. I decided to make this dish when it occurred to me that what I liked about the original omni dish was the glaze and the crunchy topping not the chicken breast which is bland. Sure enough those same flavors worked well on tofu. The original dish used a lot more bread crumb and butter instead of nutritional yeast. However I think this version works just as well and is certainly a more healthful and humane choice.

One of the great things about this dish is that it will hold for a while in a warming drawer (or a 150 degree oven) if you dinner gets delayed, or you need to make it ahead of time. I know this because I had it ready quite a while before my sweetie got home tonight.  I think the being in a low overn for a while actually helped firm the texture of the tofu and made it more chewy.  You can do the same thing by freezing and thawing your tofu.

To go with this dish I made lightly cooked green beans with raw red onions and diced tomatoes that I dressed with a Dijon and wine vinegar dressing. This dish included: 4 cups green beans, ½ red onion, 6 Roma tomatoes, 1 tablespoon Dijon and ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar. The beauty of this dish is that it is better if you make it ahead of time because that gives the veggies time to absorb the flavor of the dressing. If you want you can add diced cooked red potatoes or wheat berries to this dish.

Watercress may turn off breast cancer

I thought was an interesting abstract that some of you may want to check out. This makes intutitive sense to me since watercress is part of the cruciferous veggie family. While I prefer to focus on a variety of whole foods the cruciferous veggie family is one that I think we should all eat more often. This is actually why I try to eat collards often. Remember that cruciferous veggies are more nutritious raw or very lightly cooked. I try to go with raw when possible to maximize the nutrients you absorb.

Too Fat for 15

This show started with a big question mark for me but it has won me over. The young lady that started over 500 pounds is below 400 and I find myself routing for her more than the others. She is so determined and giving the program her all. I can’t wait to see her reach her goal weight.   What an inspiratioin she is. :-)

Watching these kids fight to get their health back is very uplifting. There are a few kids that don’t seem to get the big picture but the same can be said for adults so we can’t expect young people to be smarter about this problem. If you haven’t seen this show on the Style network you may want to check it out. I love a good underdog story and that is what this has turned into with diet and exercise thrown in.

Signing out

That is going to be it for me tonight. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thursday. It is so great that tomorrow is Friday. I look forward to Friday evening every week.


  1. Happy Anniversary!
    Funny, I made green beans and tomatoes tonight too - liquid aminos & chili paste for seasoning

  2. Gordon,

    Thank you so much for the anniversary wishes!

    Your green beans sound really good. Add sriracha to anything and I am a happy camper. ;-) Thanks for sharing.

    have a good evening,

  3. Awww, Happy Anniversary! What a great way to celebrate, I'm so obsessed with mustard lately, it always tastes so sophisticated. And that's a tragedy about Baltimore, especially at a place like Johns Hopkins.

  4. Happy Anniversary!!

    You know I'm going to try that tofu recipe! Nuts? Perfect!

  5. Happy Anniversary!!! Hope you guys have something special planned this weekend. That tofu looks great by the way. Hope you have a great Friday friend.

  6. T,

    Thanks for the anniversary wishes. :-)

    I go on mustard binges, LOL. It is just a versatile ingredient and I agree it adds nice complex flavor to dishes.

    The shooting was so wrong I almost didn't know what to write. I never expected an armed lunatic to show up at any hospital where I worked. *shakes head* Thankfully the wounds the doctor suffered weren't fatal.


  7. JL,

    Thanks for the Happy Anniversary wishes.

    Dan thought the nut topped tofu was a winner. I am always looking for ways to change tofu and this worked. I hope you like it too. :-)


  8. Heather,

    Thanks! We haven't talked about what we might do yet. Sounds like a good topic to bring up over dinner tonight. ;-)

    The nuts worked well on the tofu. I may have to play with this idea again soon.

    hope you have a great Friday too!

  9. Happy Anniversary! Our last anniversary was when I started converting to vegan (we went to a vegan resort over here in California!). And if I wasn't soy-free, that tofu would be looking delish! (tofu has been harder for me to give up than cheese!). Thanks again!

  10. Stephanie,

    Thanks for the anniversary wishes, I really appreciate them.

    I can't imagine giving up tofu that must have been hard. Are you allergic to soy?

    I imagine you have many wonderful veg restaurants to choose from where you are. We aren't so lucky here which is why our chef friend Ian is such a godsend.

    hope you have a great Friday,

  11. Happy happy anniversary!! Love that pic of your husband, too. I can tell that you two are a very sweet couple.

    What a great idea for nut crusted tofu! Another keeper for sure.

  12. Sarah,

    Thanks so much. We are one of those sickening sweet couples that still hold hands after all these years. ;-) I am very lucky to me married to my best friend.

    thanks again and enjoy your upcoming trip,

  13. Happy Anniversary! I loved Venice, too. And that tofu looks amazing. If you used sweetener (say, maple syrup?) instead of stevia, how much would you use?

  14. Susan,

    The original recipe used maple syrup so I am sure it will be fine. ;-) I would add the maple syrup to taste but probably not more than 1/2 tablespoon. But then again we don't like things that are overly sweet now.

    Thanks for the anniversary wishes. We are trying to get back to Venice again soon. I adore that city and can never get enough of it.


  15. Happy Anniversary! I hope you guys have a great weekend of fun planned! I hope to go to Venice some day!
    Your tofu looks and sounds delish. I will have to try that. I have some tofu in the frig just waiting for a recipe. :o)
    That's terrible about the shooting at your hospital. I don't understand people either...there is always something crazy like that going on where I live. It's so sad!
    Hope you guys have a great weekend!

  16. Michelle,

    We are hoping to get back to Italy this winter assuming nothing comes up. I think you will love Venice. I have been a few times and find there is something magical about it. That is where we started our honeymoon. :-)

    We realy enjoyed the tofu. It was very different from most of my tofu recipes but in a good way.

    The shooting at Hopkins made no sense to me. We used to have police guards sometimes protecting victims of gang violence that lived. But there was never any personnel shootings. That was completely unreal. Lots of people are nuts that is for sure.

    Thanks for the anniversary well wishes,

  17. Alicia! Why didn't you say anything about your anniversary?! Happy Anniversary to you and Dan! How many years have you been married? What do the two of you have planned for this weekend to celebrate? You can e-mail me if you don't want to post it all here, lol :-)

    I guess I didn't comment on why I read your blog yesterday...I originally started reading it for the recipes. But I love hearing about whatever you want to post ;-)

    I hope you are having a good Friday!

  18. happy anniversary you two!

    thats so sad about the incident at the hospital, something similar just happenend here, a guy shot and killed four people than took his kids and brought them to ca, then shot himself. this was a week and a half ago, the whole town was upset. these people are not thinking and are not sane.there was no rational behind why that guy shot a doctor.

    the green beans look good, i think ill try to make some today if i get to the grocery store. ttysoon

  19. Courtney,

    I wasn't certain I was going to share the anniversary. But then I came to my senses and realized that was ridiculous with all the TMI that I share, LOL. It just felt a little like attention seeking behavior to me. I know, I know, I am a weird girl. ;-) Sorry I didn't tell you earlier. Mea culpa.

    Dan and I haven't talked about what we are going to do this weekend. That will be a topic of discussion tonight. I will let you know what we decide.

    You are very sweet, thank you for being so kind and indulging my rambling. LOL

    I am having a great Friday, and my knees are much happier with me today. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  20. Michelle,

    Thank you for the well wishes. :-)

    I heard about what happened near you. You emailed or blogged right after I heard or you would have heard from me making sure you were okay. ;-) I am a worrier.

    I have no idea what goes through the minds of people that do things like that. Since I have always been someone that took a stick and flipped worms on the sidewalk back into the grass after the rain (so they didn't get stepped on) I can't imagine harming another human being. It boggles my mind.

    I had the leftover green beans from last night today as part of my lunch. They were better today after they absorbed more of the flavor of the dressing.

    talk to you later,

  21. Yum! I have a similar recipe for Dijon Pecan Seitan in my cookbook! Love the idea of adding Bragg's to popcorn. I always use non-stick spray, salt, nooch, and dill. But I'm going to sub out Bragg's for the salt next time. :-)

  22. Bianca,

    My original omni recipe used pecans as well. I changed it to walnuts for the omega 3 fatty acids.

    I still need to work on the popcorn issue. I am not completely happy with it yet, but I am getting closer. I like dill, paprika and nooch on my popcorn most of the time. Something tells me I may end up spraying olive oil on the popped corn as much as I am trying to avoid doing that. A little Braggs works well though. I hope you like it too.


  23. Happy anniversary! I'm glad to hear you like Venice. I've never been to Italy but I am going in December and it was a toss-up between Florence (my pick) and Venice, but Venice won.

    Your tofu recipe looks awesome. I always freeze my tofu, but on short notice I think a bit of time in the oven would be a good alternative. Your green beans look awesome too - I love green beans and red onions. I actually have some roasting right now. I like my red onions raw sometimes but they are rough on the breath. Not great for an anniversary!

  24. Jessica,

    Thanks for the anniversary wishes. :-)

    Either Venice or Florence would have been wonderful I love them both. But Venice is magically like a fairy tale. We hope to be going back for Christmas. That is the plan now anyway. I have been to Venice multiple times. If you have any questions send me an email I am happy to share what I know. Congratulations on your trip.

    Sometimes I soak the sliced raw onion in ice water with vinegar to reduce the flavor a bit. You should try that.

    I also like to freeze my tofu but like you I don't always have any on hand then I just bake it a little longer and that seems to work too. ;-)

    hope you have a great weekend,

  25. Hi Ali,

    The nut topped tofu looks great and I'll certainly try it - it might even be a suitably festive dish, maybe with some cranberry sauce. gosh, I feel hungry now!!

    Strangely enough I roasted some butternut squash seeds for the first time this weekend, as I roasted the vegetables, and they were deliciously nutty.

    hope your anniversary went well x

  26. Happy Anniversary, Ali! Ahhh...Venice:)


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