Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fusion Baked Tofu and Our First Vegan Meet-Up

Wednesday started out like the rest of the week feeling as though we have been somehow transported to Alaska. Darn it is cold and windy here. What happened to my reasonably tepid “Southern” winters? After the three blizzards last winter and the frigid cold this winter I am ready to move south. When I left the house this morning for the gym I had to walk on the grass to get the paper and it crunched under my feet. Temperatures should not be in the teens here in the December. This is all really wrong on a number of levels.

When we pulled into the gym parking lot this morning there were 6 cars in the parking lot. Something tells me most of those belonged to the people working there. It is so nice to get to the gym early. As usual we had the gym mostly to ourselves except one woman on an exercise bike. My knee is definitely improving but not as quickly as I would like it to. Dan always reminds me that “instant results” don’t happen in the real world. Why not? *stomps foot* LOL

After the gym we came home and had breakfast which was a bowl of oatmeal with frozen mixed berries, cinnamon, powdered ginger, ground flaxseeds and chopped walnuts. Nothing special just one of our standard morning oatmeal variations. As always I added a lot of berries for their antioxidants, and cinnamon and ginger for the same reason. Ground flax and walnuts were added for their omega 3’s and to help us absorb the fat-soluble vitamins. Those of you who have been reading a while have heard that many times before but I wanted to mention it for the new people.

Since I needed to be downtown today for the dentist and Dan didn’t need his car I dropped him off downtown for work in the morning. We live less than 5 miles from the business district and since he has a parking card I could park for the dentist for free this way. Why does it cost so much to park downtown? That is my only complaint about our dentist. But he was very convenient when I worked downtown.

I also had a few other stops on the way home. Nothing exciting just life administration which is what I call any mundane task I have to do but would rather avoid like grocery shopping cleaning, dropping books at the library that sort of thing.

Knowing (or should I say expecting) that I wouldn’t be making dinner tonight I baked a little tofu late morning to have in our lunch tomorrow. Typically dinner leftovers or soup becomes or lunch the following day. Since we had neither in the refrigerator and I don’t know about dinner I needed to make something today for lunch tomorrow. Here is what I did:

Fusion French/Asian Spiced Tofu
Serves 2


14 ounce block of extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
1 teaspoon white miso
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
stevia, to taste (I used two tiny scoops)
approximately 1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the tofu for the liquid and place it on a cutting board lined with a double thickness of paper towel (or use a clean kitchen towel that won’t “shed” any fibers). Gently press the tofu to remove as much water as possible. Slice the tofu in half across the short side. Then cut each of those halves into three slabs making six little tofu rectangles. Place the tofu on a sheet tray lined with silpat, parchment or easy release aluminum foil.

In a small bowl combine the mustard, wet hots, miso, ginger and stevia to taste. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Place 1/6th of the mixture on each piece of tofu and spread it over the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top of the sauce on each piece of tofu. Bake until the tofu is the texture you like. You can serve this hot or cold on a salad.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 202.23
Calories From Fat (52%) - 104.95

Total Fat - 12.83g
Saturated Fat - 1.23g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 216.96mg
Potassium - 297.02mg
Total Carbohydrates - 6.95g
Fiber - 1.42g
Sugar - 1.3g
Protein - 20.64g


As you probably have guessed I think tofu needs quite a bit of help in the flavor department. Bland food and I don’t get along well which is probably why macrobiotics and I didn’t have a long term relationship. Food should have a nice flavor punch in my opinion. This tofu isn’t hot (to me) but I also don’t think it would work well for children or anyone that is spice adverse. However if you like your food with a bit of flavor and heat you may enjoy this. I would serve this hot with roasted veggies and a whole grain. Cold this would be good on a salad or in a sandwich. I have also been known to eat cold baked tofu like a piece of cheese when I was craving protein. Not very lady-like but sometimes you are just hungry and if no one else is there why not. ;-)

After the tofu came out of the oven it was time to make myself a little lunch snack. Knowing that the vegan meet-up is at a local Chinese restaurant I decided to eat light. No doubt in my mind dinner is going to be high in sodium and fat. *ugh*

For lunch I grabbed a few baked falafel from the freezer and reheated them in the oven, since it was still warm from the tofu. I also added some cucumber slices and grape tomatoes. Since I have a Dijon mustard obsession I used that to dip my veggies and falafel into. Dijon mustard is used like ketchup in our house.

Next I was off to the dentist for my last appointment to get things back to square one. Strangely even with my dental phobia I was looking forward to going to the dentist. What? Weird right?

The cleaning was uneventful but I have three very old (think 30+ years) amalgam fillings that are starting to show their age. The dentist said they usually have a life of 5 – 10 years so it is about time they come out. Not to mention I would like to have the toxic fillings out of my mouth. I have an appointment to have those replaced. Yay? Have I said recently how much I like to go to the dentist? Good thing everyone is so nice there. I guess they have to be since I can’t be the only one with a dental phobia. ;-)

This is a picture of the Barnes and Noble bookstore downtown in the old power plant. If you are ever get downtown and you love books I think you will enjoy this bookstore.

Next I ran a few errands and then headed to the restaurant to pick Dan up in case he was ready to leave. Dan was having his holiday gathering today at work and guess who cooked? You only need one guess, yes it was Ian and company. Dan didn’t take any pictures of his food so feel free to fuss at him directly.

Dan’s lunch work event ran much longer than I expected so I stopped by Williams Sonoma, and came out empty handed. I was afraid to buy the carbonation device I want for fear that “Santa Dan” had already picked it up for me. It is very unlike me to stop at Williams Sonoma and not buy anything. Luckily for me, unlucky for Dan, the Williams Sonoma is close enough to our house that I can walk there. Now you know why I have so many kitchen gadgets, LOL.

Next we were off to go to “The Vegan Meet-Up”. Things did not start off well with a traffic jam on 695 leading to Pikesville. I thought it was a sign and considering suggesting turning around but I didn’t. When we got there, late due to the traffic jam, most people were seated. We grabbed the only two seats together but that is what we always do. We were closest to a few others that were there for the first time and did quite a bit of chatting. There was on gentleman near us who was in the same general age range as Dan and me and he was an accountant. We seemed to click immediately with him. He is a fan of T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn so you would expect us to get along with hi and we did. ;-)

The group met at Mr. Chan’s in Pikesville on Reisterstown Road. I was surprised by the number of vegan selections. I wasn’t any more than Jesse Wong’s in Hunt Valley but it is also a little closer to us. Parking was a bit dicey though.

Dinner was a bowl of meatless wonton soup with I found to be too salty so I left most of the broth. Sorry I didn’t take any pictures, it wasn’t that sort of crowd. Not to mention I really didn’t want to explain why. ;-)

As usual Dan and I ordered two dishes to split. The first was a spicy tofu with mixed veggies. The second dish was a lightly spicy yuba with snow peas, mushrooms and spinach. Neither of us ate the brown rice that came to the table or the crispy noodles. In the end we didn’t finish our entrees either. It was too much food and it wasn’t as spicy as we like. In fact I would say it was bland. We intentionally ordered one spicy dish and asked that the other be made spicy and neither was actually spicy when they arrived. Next time we know to say extremely spicy if we want spicy. *rolls eyes*

The one gentleman that we felt the most connection to was discussing “ A Taste of Health” cruise. He had attended the prior year and said it was the best vacation he had been on. We asked lots of questions about the speakers and the ship. It was funny that he mentioned this because Dan and I have considered this cruise for the last few years and never did it. It is sounding more appealing now. Have any of you been on this cruise? If so I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

The most surprisingly thing about the meet up was that there is a vegan registered dietitian in the group. He seemed to be taking questions during the evening and of course I didn’t have any at the moment. It is sort of nice to have two vegan RD’s I can talk to about nutrition and health. But I will say I preferring chatting with my buddy Courtney about these things.

Happy Thoughts:

Wednesday was a good day so I have much to be happy about. It is funny how when you look for things to thankful for it is just as easy as complaining. I am convinced being grateful makes life more pleasant. Here are my happy thoughts today:

• We started the morning at the gym together and had a reasonable workout. It is nice to spend an hour in the morning being active with my best friend. I have never been a morning person but going to gym very early has become our new normal.

• My appointment at the dentist was reasonably painless. I am not looking forward to the process of getting rid of three old fillings. But it will be nice to have them out of my mouth given the toxicity. Once those three are gone I only have one left.

• The vegan meet-up exceeded my expectations. It was nice to have a vegan RD there and to meet someone that I can see us being friends without outside the group. Being a “recovering accountant” which is how I like to describe myself I felt an immediate connection to the accountant in the group who is close to our age. It was also nice that the group was much older than I expected them to be. In fact I am going to say the three 20 something’s at the end of the table had to wonder what was going on. LOL

Signing out:

Thursday has a lot going on for me again. Am I the only one that forgot how hectic December is with the holidays? It seems like my schedule is twice as busy as normal.

We are expecting snow in the area today so I need to run and get things taken care of before that happens. If there is one place you don’t want to be in Baltimore when it snows it is behind the wheel of a car. People in Maryland seem to panic when it snows. I like to stay as far away from that as possible. Talk to you all again tomorrow.


  1. I hear you on patience. I also expect immediate results thank you kindly ;-) I have been on 2 cruises and really enjoyed them. However, there can be a lot of line-waiting. That part sucks. I'm glad you went for the vegan meet up. Around here that'd mean a) finding a vegan (or vegetarian at the very least and b) pretty much having it at someone's house.

  2. Heather,

    Somehow I am not surprised that we share the desire for instant results, LOL.

    You have been on the health cruises twice? I have so many questions about the value of the conference sessions and whether they go on even when the ship was at port. Also would love to hear your thoughts on the gym facilities.

    The vegan meet up was much better than I expected. Bummer that there are no vegans or vegetarians there. I would ask around at the gym or your local health food store. Our Whole Foods has cooking classes and you could try going to a veg one to meet people. There might be a few vegetarians you haven't stumbled across. *fingers crossed*

    talk to you again soon,

  3. Ah, so awesome that the meetup went so well (even though the food was nothing to rave about). I was nervous for you, because that sort of thing would make me really nervous! If I was brave enough to do it I think I would really enjoy meeting other vegans - I don't have any vegan friends! You will have to suggest that Ian cook for the next meetup! ;)

  4. Sarah,

    LOL, I was nervous for us too. ;-) It was much better than I expected. I can admit when I am wrong. I don't have any vegan friends either so that part was great. Dan and I went into it thinking that the worst that could happen is that we didn't like it and then we wouldn't go back. I am glad I broke out of my comfort zone.

    Ian would kill me if I suggested that. He is very much a perfectionist and vegan food is far outside his comfort zone. I am trying to coax him to the other side slowly. But I will say I think I am making headway. LOL

    It is so cold here, windy and just started snowing. I feel like I am in Chicago with you. I hope you are staying warm.


  5. Sorry if you've answered this before, but which Tofu do you use? I've gotten concerned about GMO soybeans, and was wondering if you knew which tofu products are made with non-GMO soybeans?

  6. Losing Weight,

    I have been concerned about GMO soybeans for some time too. As long as the tofu is organic by definition is is non-GMO. I buy either the Whole Food's, Wegman's or Nayosa organic brands. It is much harder to avoid GMO soy protein isolates which are in many foods include commerical bread but also veggie burgers, veggie faux meat and even granola bars. That is one of the main reasons I make our food from scratch.

    If that didn't help please let me know and I will write a more detailed post about it.


  7. This cold is too much for me too! I can't remember a December this cold in the Mid-South in ages...and it's not even officially winter yet. ugh. The tofu sounds fab! I don't mind plain, bland tofu, but I also love it heavily flavored. :-)

  8. Bianca,

    Thanks for letting me know it isn't just me. I was wondering if my recent cold intolerance was a sign of old age, LOL.

    I had the tofu on a salad today for lunch and it was wonderful.

    stay warm,

  9. Every year, when I spot ads for the Taste of Health cruises, I think, "One day, when I have that much money to spare, I'd like to do that." That day won't be coming for awhile, though.

  10. dolmadez,

    We do the same thing each year when we see ads for the Taste of Health cruise. At some point we just need to do it. The gentleman we met last night raved about this particular cruise. He said it was the best vacation he had been on and he is going again this year.


  11. Dan, why didnt you take pictures? *shakes finger*

    lol the three 20 somethings were looking a litle lost? i bet. it sounds neat that there were people there that were vey interested in health. dont forget how much of an impact you made on them, it is probably extremely refreshing to talk to somebody that knows the subject in and out like you.
    you might have made their night...note how im not commenting on the accounting thing??im that 20 something....:)LOL!

  12. Michelle,

    That was my reaction to Dan too. LOL

    I imagined the meet up was going to be mostly 20 somethings and I bet they did do. I am not sure how they felt about having dinner with a bunch of old farts. A number of the attendees were older than me. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  13. You can't ever take this site down. Seriously. Never, ever, ever. My health has been dodgy and I've been considering going vegan (with a nutritarian emphasis) and this site has made the transition absolutely delightful. It took a bit of effort to secure the staple ingredients, but now that I have most of it together I can make virtually anything you put up. I love the variety, and flavor is the pinnacle of import to me as well so this is a good fit for me.

    I'm new to the site so I'm not sure if you have discussed this before, but I'm curious as to how this change in diet has made you feel. At the end of the day I think it will be that shift from feeling terrible to feeling, well, better, that will make this change stick. How long did it take before you felt the benefits? What were they for you? Any pleasant surprises.

    Thank you for the time and effort you put forth to do this. I am grateful for you.

  14. Good Morning S Nice to meet you! :-)

    Sorry to hear you are having health troubles but it sounds like it is a good time for a change and you have the motivation. Congratulations on taking your health back into your own hands and not relying on pill and potions from the doctors. I used to be a hospital controller so I understand the allure of giving control of your health to the medical establishment. ;-)

    Regarding the change to how I feel that is a difficult question to answer. I didn’t know I felt bad until I felt better if that makes any sense. I can tell you that Dan’s cholesterol went from 280 to 160 in three weeks. Both of us now have low blood pressure approximately 108/72. In fact we now have blood pressure battles when we go to the doctor to see whose is better, LOL. My seasonal allergies literally disappeared. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but it was for me. I took Sudafed every day for over 10 years. Being sinus medication free now is huge for me. Now when I eat I don’t feel sluggish or tired. Food energizes me rather than brings me down. My skin has improved, fine lines have disappeared and my complexion is much more even. My nails are ridiculously strong and they were always thin and split in the past. In terms of how long did all this take, I felt or saw most changes in a month.

    Thank you for your kind comment this morning. When I read things like this it makes the time I put in worth every second. I started the blog to help others who were struggling with a vegan diet like we did in the beginning. I won’t lie it was tough at first because we both loved good food. But now it is just our new normal. It will happen to you too I think. It took us 6 months before it was automatic.

    thanks again,
    Ali (short for Alicia)

  15. Ali, I am THRILLED that you had enjoyed the meetup! (Too bad about the food, though.) LOL at you not wanting to explain why you were taking pictures of your never know, there might have been other food bloggers there too, also being shy about busting out the camera! ;)


  16. Sounds like a great event! I am really looking forward to my first vegan meetup here in Toronto in the new year. And the tofu looks great, too. :)

  17. LJ,

    I thought of you when we were at the meet-up. I knew you would love the results, LOL.

    I didn't want to explain the blog on the first night though I am not sure where the sudden shyness came from. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  18. Ricki,

    I hope your first vegan meet up goes as well as ours. I was a bit worried about how it would go but clearly I was concerned for nothing.

    The tofu worked out really well. I loved it on salad. A definitely winner.

    enjoy your weekend,

  19. That tofu looks intense! So covered in stuff it took me a while to realize what the photo was until I read your explanation. I usually eat my tofu pretty plain but that's more of a lazy thing than a taste preference. I definitely hear you on the mustard!


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