Oven Glazed Tofu

I’ve been making this gooey, yummy baked tofu for well over a decade. It’s nothin’ fancy but makes for an irresistible and sustaining snack, sandwich filling, or sidekick. From my most recent book, The Two-Week Wellness Solution.

Soy Important:
• 1 lb. extra firm (or firm) tofu

• 1 tablespoon oil (sesame, non-virgin olive, coconut, or sunflower)
• 1 teaspoon toasted (dark) sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons each: tamari and cooking sherry or wine (it will cook off)

1. Slice the tofu horizontally into ¼-inch slabs in order to make 8 slices of tofu.

2. Press the tofu by laying it out in a single layer over paper towels. Place more paper towels on top and place a cutting board (or cookie sheet) over the top of it all. Next, place weights on the cutting board. You can use cans of beans, a

gallon of water, a calm child, or a sleeping cat. Allow the tofu to press for as long as possible (up to 2 hours), but preferably at least 10 minutes.

3. Place the marinade ingredients in a large baking dish (such as a lasagna pan) and stir to combine. Place the pressed tofu into the pan in a single layer and coat all sides of the tofu with the marinade. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes (or up to an hour if you aren’t experiencing a tofu-related emergency).

4. Preheat your oven to 400° F. Once the oven is hot, in goes the tofu.

5. Bake the tofu (uncovered) for about 20 minutes. Remove and turn each piece over using a heat proof spatula. Using a spoon (or tofurky baster), pour the extra sauce from the pan over the tofu.

6. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the tofu is gorgeously well-browned and gooey. These should look very well done to ensure the maximum yum factor.

7. These will store, once cooled, in a covered container in the fridge for about five days. I think. I’ve never tested this theory, as they’re just too yummy to have around that long in our house!

Serves 4/GF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

THE Peanut Sauce

For a long time now, I've guarded this recipe like the well kept secret that it is. This recipe has gotten me more business and stalkers that you could imagine. But recently the Durango Herald did an article on one of my cooking classes, which included this recipe from my first book.

So, the silence is over... and it's time to share. Enjoy this insane goodness as a dip for summer rolls, spring rolls, or satay. Or, pour it over salads, stir-fries, or Asian noodle dishes.

The Peanut Sauce

4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup natural peanut butter (smooth)
1-inch segment of ginger, chopped
⅛ cup (2 tablespoons) chopped white or yellow onion
⅓ cup water, preferably filtered
1 cup coconut milk
⅛ cup (2 tablespoons) tamari, shoyu, or soy sauce
¼ cup apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice
½ cup organic sugar or agave nectar
2 tablespoons dark molasses (do not use blackstrap as it is overpowering)
2 tablespoons toasted (dark) sesame oil
1½ teaspoons sea salt (or less if you prefer)
Optional: 1 tablespoon Sri Racha hot sauce

1. In a large blender, place the garlic cloves, peanut butter, ginger, onion, and water. Blend until as smooth as is humanly possible.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients and process very well—until smooth. Place in a glass container with a tight fitting lid. This will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator. If you have will power.

Makes about 3 cups of sauce; 30 minutes or under! GF/Blue (according to the guidelines in my books)

Smoothie Greatness 101: Perfect Frozen Bananas!

For many of you, this may be basic stuff. But I'm always surprised at how many of my fans and readers haven't yet mastered frozen banana perfection. Thus, one of my missions in life.

Why frozen bananas? Well, if done right, they make quick work of a healthy, sustaining smoothie or vegan shake - plus, they eliminate the need for any additional sweeteners. They also lend creaminess and the perfect, thick consistency.

So, without further delay, here's my "recipe" from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth:

Frozen Bananas

This is more of a technique than a recipe, but I’ve heard too many disturbing stories about poor banana freezing methods to leave it out! I like to use very ripe bananas for this purpose. I find that I can always omit added sweeteners from my smoothies and shakes because a really ripe banana lends the perfect amount of sweetness.

Ingredient: bananas (ripe or very ripe)

1. Peel the bananas and discard the peels (not onto the floor).

2. Break into 1 or 2-inch pieces and place in a plastic bag. Leave enough room (don’t overpack the bag) so that the chunks can freeze individually. Seal the bag so that it is airtight.

3. Place in the freezer, laying the bag flat, so that the pieces can spread out and won’t freeze together too much. After they have been frozen for 8-10 hours, they will be ready to use. They will keep for several weeks or longer in the freezer. If, at some point they do freeze together, simply thump the bag on the counter with feigned rage. They will separate out of fear.

Serves: the purpose; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Green (according to the guidelines in
my books

Fresh Greek Delight

This recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth is guaranteed to please!

I first tried this dish in an innovative, family owned Greek restaurant. They, of course, used their own freshly made pita bread as the base. I have recreated this delicious, fresh, and very addictive entrĂ©e using pre-made pita bread (or a tortilla) as it’s much quicker and, thus, perfect for everyday eats!

Fresh Greek Delight

½ cup of your favorite hummus

Flat Bread:
One fresh pita bread round (or one 8-inch sprouted or whole grain flour tortilla)*

Toppings Per Flat Bread Round:
½ cup (lightly packed) baby spinach leaves
⅓ cup chopped tomatoes (roma, cherry, or grape tomatoes work well)
6 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced red onion (several thin rings of onion)
1 tablespoon (packed) fresh basil, sliced into ribbons

Grand Finale: 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place your pita bread (or tortilla) directly on a rack in the oven and allow it to become lightly browned. This should only take about 5-10 minutes.

2. Remove the flat bread from the oven and place it on your plate. Spread the ½ cup of hummus evenly over the top of it. Next, evenly distribute the spinach, tomatoes, olives, onion, and basil on top of the hummus. Drizzle with the additional olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves 1; 30 minutes or under! GF (with substitution)/SF/Blue (according to the guidelines in my books)

*If you are gluten intolerant, you may try a 100% sprouted grain tortilla or use a gluten-free tortilla.

Cookbook Winner Announced!

As most of you probably know, I'm doing a giveaway - my ENTIRE cookbook collection must go! With all the recipe testing and writing I do, I just don't have time to read other cookbooks, unfortunately. And so they really deserve a new home. Of course, I also threw in signed copies of both of my books. I can't seem to do a giveaway sans those. So, who won this awe-inspiring contest??

I'm happy to say that when I drew the winner's name out of a basket this morning, I smiled! I smiled because it's someone who is one of my recipe testers as well as one of my most supportive, loyal, and kind fans. And it's...

*Drumroll, pleeeez*

...Leslieconn!! Leslie, you won! So, please give me your mailing address and I will ship you your prize, sweetie!

Hmmm....now what should I give away? Ideas for the next contest, anyone??

Easy Vegan Pad Thai

Easy Vegan Pad Thai

Easy, oh-so-delicious, and quick—plus, no trips to the specialty store for hard to find ingredients. WIN!

13.2 oz. rice noodles (medium width)

¼ cup each: tamari, fresh lime juice, and non-virgin olive oil
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar
3 tablespoons ketchup (yeah, you heard me right)
2 tablespoons each: maple syrup and basic hot sauce (cayenne or tabasco)
4 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 ¼ teaspoon sea salt

¾ cup sliced scallions (about 8 scallions, trimmed)
½ - ¾ cup chopped cilantro

½ cup crushed peanuts
1-2 cups bean sprouts

6 lime wedges

1. Prepare the noodles. Which usually entails the following: Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the rice noodles. Stir and cover. Set aside for about 15 minutes, or until al dente.

2. In a large bowl, place all of the sauce ingredients. Stir well. Add the stir-ins. Stir them too. Say “stir” a lot.

3. Drain the noodles and add to the big bowl. Stir gently until well combined. Place in bowls and serve topped with the bean sprouts and peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges to achieve the maximum legal level of awesome. 

Serves 6/GF/Purple (according to the guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!

I Was On Death Row!

Yeah, you heard me. I really was on death row this week.

In my dream last night, that is. And yes, I woke up a bit confused - why on earth would I, a mellow and peace-lovin' vegan, be dreaming about getting the electric chair? Well, a peek into a friend's dream interpretation book was quite enlightening. Here's the deal:

According to Jung, dreaming of your own death symbolizes embracing the new and leaving behind the old. Letting go of unhealthy aspects of your former being and reinventing yourself. He considers these dreams to actually be quite positive, as it's a sign of renewal and rebirth.

Cool, yes? I liked it for sure. And just in time for spring! This upcoming season (yeah, I'm a little early) is all about rebirth, renewal, and transformation. So, with that said, I'd like to ask YOU a question . . . What would you like to let go of this spring? What aspects of your being no longer serve you? Who do you REALLY want to be? Sky's the limit.

And yes, spring is also a time for asparagus! So, here's one of my favorite recipes from  Radiant Health, Inner Wealth (which, by the way, is probably what I'd want for my last meal on death row)

Lemon Asparagus Linguine

I once served this to a friend who said he hated asparagus. I’m not sure why he tried this dish, but he couldn’t stop saying: “This is so good! I can’t believe this is asparagus!” over and over. I still laugh, remembering the astounded look on his face. Needless to say, this dish has it all. It’s delectable, nutritious, quick, and impressive! If that’s the kind of situation you like to get yourself into.

1 lb. linguine*
2 slices bread (I use Ezekiel 4:9 bread)*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon dried onion granules
3 cups chopped asparagus (trimmed and chopped into 1½-inch pieces)
¼ cup “Vegetarian ‘Chicken’ Broth” (page 194) or other liquid vegan broth
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup each: extra-virgin olive oil, non-virgin olive oil, and additional vegan broth
8 medium-large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons sea salt (or less if you prefer)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (packed) finely chopped fresh curly parsley
Zest of 2 organic lemons, chopped (about 1 tablespoon of chopped zest)

1. Begin cooking the linguine according to the instructions on the package.

2. While the noodles cook, you can get the rest of the dish ready. Start by crumbling the bread into a medium skillet. Rub your hands together (with the bread in between them) to create coarse crumbs. Add the 1 tablespoon of oil and onion granules to the pan and stir well to combine. Cook the seasoned crumbs for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until they are golden browned. Remove from heat immediately and set aside in a small bowl.

3. Place the asparagus and the ¼ cup of broth in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the asparagus is bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Place the asparagus in the biggest bowl you can muster up. Add the lemon juice, oils, the other ¼ cup of broth, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and zest to the big bowl. Stir well to combine with the asparagus.

5. When noodles are al dente, drain them well in a colander or strainer. Add them to the big bowl and combine them well with the asparagus mixture.

6. Just before serving, add the breadcrumbs to the bowl. Stir well and serve immediately. If this is simply too delicious to deal with, you have my permission to pack it in some dry ice and send it my way.

Serves 6-8; 30 minutes or under! GF (with substitutions)/SF/Purple (according to the guidelines in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth)

*If you are gluten intolerant, you may substitute gluten-free noodles and a gluten-free bread.