Friday Favorites – June [Crispy Tofu Strips recipe]

Oh, hiii. I’m sneaking this blog post in before we pack up and fly down to San Diego early tomorrow morning.

So, what am I loving this month? One word. Summer!

Read on to hear about some of the very summery things that have been going on over here.


Pool parties 

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Who doesn’t love a good backyard pool party with the fam? During the first weekend of the month we all got together and enjoyed a BBQ and some fun in the pool. Including baby bro’s first little dip in the water.


Barenaked Ladies concert 

Mike and I went to a Barenaked Ladies concert mid month at (I think) the best venue in the Bay Area; the Mountain Winery. Omg this place is pretty!

Better Than Ezra opened for them. I hadn’t heard of them before but their music was catchy and they were funny. Which makes live shows way better.

Barenaked Ladies were also really funny and just generally great to see live. Such a good night in a gorgeous setting! We spilt a bottle of wine and chilled out listening to the music. Talk about a perfect summers night.

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WINE COOLER

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We’ve started to get a few engagement gifts (always fun) and this week we came home to a pretty good one. A wine cooler!! It fits perfectly beside our bar and I can’t wait to have a chilled glass of wine soon. I’m looking at you, Barb!


Crispy Tofu Strips

I don’t think there is a single tofu recipe on veg-vibes. Although I avoid cooking meat at home, tofu isn’t a staple in my kitchen. I guess it’s just never been my jam. And while I doubt tofu will be in the regular rotation, I did like this recipe for baked crispy tofu strips.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package extra firm tofu 
  • 1 cup milk (nut or regular)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs onion salt
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tbs chili powder

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Directions:

  • Wrap tofu in a clean dishtowel and place under cookbooks for about 20 minutes to get most of the water out
  • While your tofu is sitting, mix together breadcrumbs, corn starch, and spices + pour milk into a bowl 
  • After your tofu is dry, cut it into ~1 inch strips
  • Coat strips with milk and then place them into the breadcrumb and spice mixture
  • After coated, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Serve with a veg and dipping sauce 🙂

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Other Friday Faves:
January
February
March
April
May

2017
Friday Favorites #5
Friday Favorites #4
Friday Favorites #3
Friday Favorites #2
Friday Favorites #1

Filoli Gardens [+ iced London fog recipe]

For Mother’s Day this year, I took my mom and grandma to Filoli Gardens. Despite growing up in the Bay Area, I’d never been to Filoli. At $22/person, I thought it was a decent price for an afternoon spent wondering around beautiful flowers and greenery.

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My favorite flower; California poppies!

Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 by the wealthy William Bourn. The name of the estate are the first 2 letters of Bourn’s credo.


FIght for a just cause;
LOve your fellow man;
LIve a good life.


In 1936, Filoli was sold to the Roth family, where they lived until 1975 when Mrs. Roth donated the estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 16 acres of gardens to wonder through; plus the house that both families lived in when they resided in Filoli. You can pay an additional $5 for a garden tour and $5 for a house tour but we decided to go self-guided.

We explored the garden first. There are different sections of the garden and they are all gorgeous. When you first enter, you see a little pond area; which, let’s be real, is impressive enough on it’s own (I would be happy with just that tiny section as my entire garden). Then you wonder through some hedges to the pool.

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The pool was put in by the Roth family after Mr. Roth had a stroke. He would go into the pool for exercise to help with recovery. But it was also a favorite hangout for the family during the summers.

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The Woodland gardens were next. A shady area with twisty curvy trees. The tennis courts were located up some stairs there, where we sat for a bit to enjoy some afternoon desserts.

We strolled through the rose gardens and fruit trees after. How nice must have it been to live on that property? I would love to just stay there for the weekend and enjoy a morning cup of coffee (and an evening glass of wine) walking around the garden.

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After seeing all of the garden, we wondered into the house. When we first entered, there were A TON of people crowding the door but as we weaved through the rooms, the crowd dispersed. I wish I read more of the plaques with information about the house and history but there was so much to see, I didn’t get to everything!

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A fireplace we could have fit inside
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A hidden little bar

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My favorite part of the house was the kitchen! I find most old house tours never show you the kitchen and that’s what I’m always the most interested in.

Filoli had 2 fully stocked kitchens (as you do), plus a pastry room (that is legit the size of my actual one kitchen).

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The pastry room!
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Honey, I’m home! I loved the teal cabinets (and the handsome guy looking out the window;)
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The 2nd kitchen
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But first… coffee

Or tea! As a little added something in this post, I wanted to share an iced London fog recipe I’m obsessed with. My inspo for this came from Pick Up Limes but I made my beverage iced instead. It’s the perfect afternoon pick me up for a spring afternoon (if you’re lucky, you can sip it strolling through a garden).

I used almond milk instead of regular milk because I simply prefer it but feel free to sub any milk of your choice. You can also add a few drops of vanilla or a splash of agave syrup. Get crazy!

  • All you need to do is bring a cup of milk to a boil and add your earl gray teabag (I actually ended up adding another teabag since I was making mine iced).

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  • Sprinkle in some cinnamon and stir.

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  • Pour over a tall glass of ice and enjoy!

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Coconut lentil soup

I have a feeling it won’t be cozy soup weather much longer in California. With this in mind, I took full advantage of some canned food I had in my cabinet and made a coconut lentil soup recently while my grandma, mom, and little brother were at my house. I love having family over and cooking for them!

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The lineup

This soup actually turned out better than I thought it would! The coconut milk made it creamy dreamy but, with the added (homemade) veggie broth, it wasn’t too heavy. I ended up using 2 cans of lentils for more volume and less liquid, which worked perfectly.

As always, my inspo for this came from Oh She Glows.

Note: I omitted onions because my grandma’s not a fan. If you’re in the mood, I suggest adding them. Although, since I also used jarred garlic, I have to say it was pretty sweet not having to chop anything for this recipe.

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Still sweater weather here!
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Love those greens

Coconut lentil soup

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 25 – 30 minutes – Servings: 6 – 8 *freezes well*

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  • Add garlic into a pot and heat up for 1 minute (I didn’t put any extra oil in so this step was fast; plus I was using jarred garlic — if you use fresh, wait until the garlic turns translucent in some OO)
  • Add canned tomatoes, lentils, and coconut milk + veg broth
  • Stir in spices
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered
  • Take off heat and add spinach, stirring until wilted
  • Serve and enjoy (this would probably also be delicious over a scoop of brown rice)

 

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My attempt at staging my soup… ha.

Lemon tahini over lentils

What is vegan, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, added sugar free, and wheat free?

A California dinner party.

…get it? because Californias are such hippies?!

Ok, not the best joke but this dinner is. The best.

And yes, it’s vegan; nut, soy, dairy, sugar, and wheat free.

More importantly, it’s delicious.

Also important: it’s easy.

Most importance: Mike loves it. (Which makes me want to make it every week which means he might get tired of it soon…)

I hope you give this dinner a try soon! You won’t regret it. I’ve mentioned it’s delicious and easy but it’s also SUPER FILLING which is a real selling point for me. The lentils keep ya full (13g plant based protein per 1/4 cup ehyoo) but the tahini and lemon dressing make it feel like you’re indulging. Feel free to add any green veggie you have on hand; or serve the lentils and tahini on top of a giant salad for a summer night twist.

Tip: I’ve recently started soaking my lentils before cooking them (to get more protein and other added benefits!) because of this article.

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Soaking lentils

Lemon tahini over lentils

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 25 – 30 minutes – Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup soaked green lentils
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice of 1 small lemon

Directions:

  • Cook lentils in 2 cups of water until soft, about 25 – 30 minutes
  • Strain lentils and put aside
  • Mix in lemon juice with tahini until combined
  • Incorporate with lentils
  • Serve with something green on the side
  • Bon appétit

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I add the lemon and tahini straight to the lentils to be sure they are all coated but alternatively you can drizzle it on top of them once plated

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Moroccan Stew

It’s winter in California which means rain, rain, and more rain. That’s good news for my drought prone home state but I find the winter blues creeping in. This dinner is perfect for warming both your body and soul; great for the nights we’ve been having!

The cumin and paprika in it gives it a nice kick that keeps you cozy. Plus, it’s packed with nutrients and, I don’t know about you, but I always feel better about myself when I’m filled with nourishing food.

This would be a perfect dish to bring to a neighbor or to enjoy with family because it makes a lot. And who doesn’t love a yummy stew (that someone else made!) on a cold night?! Consider making it for someone special in your life. (Bonus points if you pair it with a crusty baguette or a side of pre-cooked rice to really round out the meal for your loved ones.)

Side note, I don’t know how I came up with this name but this is what I called it years ago when I first made this dish and it’s sticking. 😉


Moroccan Stew

Prep time:  10 minutes – Cook time: 35 minutes – Servings: Enough to share 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 32 ounces of vegetable broth
  • 28 ounces of diced tomatoes
  • 1 box of chickpeas (~13oz)
  • 1 bag frozen kale (or spinach)
  • optional: brown rice or bread to serve with

Directions

  • Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent and fragrant
  • Add carrots and potatoes for 4 – 6 minutes
  • Add cumin and paprika
  • Add vegetable broth and bring to boil
  • Reduce heat and add tomatoes, simmer for 20 minutes
  • Add chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add kale during the last 5 minutes so it doesn’t go brown
  • Scope and serve

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Cooking and catching up on Netflix!
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Love Whole Foods BPA free cans (Trader Joe’s get on it!)

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Thyme roasted carrot hummus

Like many of my recipes, my inspo for this came from Oh She Glows. That, and a pesky bag of Trader Joe’s roasted carrots I’ve been trying to get rid of…

In the new year, when I was doing a big TJ’s haul, I came across a bag of multicolored roasted carrots in the freezer aisle. FUN, I thought, picking up a bag and putting it in my cart. Apparently I was the only one who thought cooked carrots were fun delicious…

A week or two passed and I still had that bag of roasted carrots in my freezer when I found out my grandparents would be coming down to visit. One of my favorite things to do is cook for my family and friends so I knew I wanted to make them dinner the night they arrived. I had a plan to make chicken in our sous vide, garlic cheesy bread, peas, and those roasted carrots!

…Until my grandma told me my grandpa doesn’t like cooked carrots (what!?). I nixed the carrots and told Mike. That’s when he told me he actually doesn’t like cooked carrots either (double what!?).

Fast forward to a girl’s night at my next door neighbors’ house last week. We were doing wine and heavy apps. I brought cheese, salami, hummus, snap peas, spanakopita, and, as a last minute edition, I cooked up those roasted carrots. Badda bing, I was going to use them after all!

Or so I thought… Everything was a hit, except for the carrots.

Full of apps wine, and laughs, I walked home with my glass container still full of roasted carrots. Damn. I really hate wasting food so I plopped them in my refrigerator hoping I would get around to eating them (the whole bag, by myself) before they turned…

AND THEN I stumbled upon the genius idea to make hummus with them. Yes! Let’s go.

The great thing about this recipe is the carrots basically double your hummus volume. Plus, if you cheat and buy pre-roasted carrots like I did, it’s super simple. Also a win, Mike is going to eat those roasted carrots and have no idea 😉 mwahahaha

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Thyme roasted carrot hummus

Prep time:  10 minutes – Cook time: 5 minutes – Servings: A LOT 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of roasted carrots* (if you can’t find the pre-roasted, I would follow the Oh She Glows recipe on how to roast them yourself)
  • 1 can or box (no BPA!) of chickpeas
  • Chickpea water, reserved
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Garlic clove and salt to taste
  • Cumin to taste (optional)

*note: the carrots I bought were roasted in thyme but I think you can change the herb here to whatever you have on hand

Directions: 

  • Add everything but the carrots to a blender and blend until smooth
  • Slowly add carrots and blend until smooth
  • Pour out and serve with veggies and crackers

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Look at all of that HUMMUS!

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Vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce

YOU GUYS. This recipe is a winner. With one of my closet friends as my inspo (read about her wedding we just went to here), I whipped up this vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce to serve over spaghetti squash tonight and it’s so creamy, you wouldn’t even know there isn’t cheese in it.

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I’ll admit, there’s a bit of prep work (more than I usually do on a Monday) with roasting the bell peppers. And I made my own cashew milk, which obviously added time. You can prep the cashew milk the night before to save a few minutes but I do highly recommend making your own nut milk for this one; since it’s a savory dish.

I know you can buy unsweetened nut milk but it just always has a hint of sweet in my opinion. Besides, if you can avoid added ingredients, why not? Making your own nut milk is actually super simple. The only pitfall is it doesn’t keep for too long (no preservatives!) but I’ll give you the exact amounts I used for this recipe below.

That means, this post is actually two recipes in one! Your lucky day, friends.

As mentioned, I put this sauce over spaghetti squash (that I did prep the day before) but you can dip bread and veggies in it or use it as a sub for a more creamy pizza sauce.


Vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce

Prep time:  45 minutes – Cook time: 5 minutes – Servings: 2 – 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 – 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 – 2 Tbs of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cashew milk*
  • 2 Tbs of nutritional yeast
  • A few dashes of red chili flakes (optional)
  • Basil for garnish

Directions:

  • Roast bell peppers in a 450 degree toaster oven for 30 minutes or until skin is charred
  • Tent bell peppers in tin foil to steam for 10 minutes and then remove skin and seeds
  • Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil
  • Add peppers, sautéd shallots and garlic, cashew milk, nutritional yeast, and red chili flakes to blender and blend until smooth
  • Garnish and serve 🙂

 

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Roast
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Peel
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Blend
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Pour

*For the cashew milk:

  • Simply soak 1/2 cup unsalted cashews in water for ~8 hours (I soaked mine while I was at work today)
  • Drain cashews and add to blender with 1/2 cup of water
  • Blend and strain in a nut milk bag

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