Vegan Curry Tofu

I fell in love with Indian food the first time I tried it in high school. I think the first thing I tried was called Chicken Malai, which became my regular order until 11th grade when I became a vegetarian. Then I switched to Paneer Akbari, which is essentially the same thing (both are covered in a tomato curry sauce) but paneer is cubes of house-made cheese to take the place of chicken. This year I finally went vegan so I have been experimenting with vegan options. I have found some great vegan take-out options, but ordering out all the time can get pretty expensive! I wanted to be able to make something similar at home, so I turned to tofu. I know, I know, everyone hates tofu. I have been a vegetarian for 8 years and I am JUST starting to come around to tofu. Trust me, there are good ways to make it, you just have to learn your way around it! Tofu is high in protein, low in fat, and just all around good for you; plus it is super versatile as it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in. This is one of my favorite tofu recipes so far (which is best to start preparing the night before):

Vegan Curry Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package firm tofu
  • 1 Jar curry sauce (see directions)
  • 1t Olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup uncooked brown rice
  • water (per package directions for rice)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas (optional)

1) Drain tofu, place between 2 towels (or paper towels) and press excess fluid out. If you have time allow tofu to rest between towels in the fridge for a few hours to allow water to drain out. If not, just press as much water out as you can.

2) Cube tofu into bite-sized pieces.

curry

3) Pour some of your favorite curry sauce into a container, put the tofu in the container, and top with more sauce. I have used several different kinds of sauce (just check the Indian section of Wegmans). In my cabinet right now is Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry (see above) which is a medium tomato curry sauce; I prefer red curry, but you could use a yellow curry if you prefer. Let the tofu marinate for at least 6-12 hours in the fridge (the longer it marinates the more flavor it will absorb!)

4) When you are ready to eat pull the tofu out of the fridge. Cook rice according to package directions, adding peas to the pan before cooking. I use a rice cooker which makes it super simple; I measure 1 1/3 cup rice and then fill it with water to the 2-servings line, throw in the peas, cover it, and let it cook.

5) Add olive oil to a frying pan or wok. Add the tofu and sauce to the pan. Cook tofu, stirring occasionally, until it is hot in the middle (about 5 minutes).

6) Serve tofu over brown rice.

Vegan chocolate peanut butter protein pancakes

protein pancakeIf you’re following the 21 Day Fix like I am a small pancake counts as a yellow, and if you’re asking me, that’s one awesome way to use a yellow! The recipe I use for vegan pancakes is so easy to customize, and makes delicious fluffy pancakes every time. The only thing I do differently is use cold water for the flax egg and refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes to let it thicken (the recipe calls for boiled water, which I haven’t tried). You can add any kind of fruit you want (I love adding a diced up banana and some cinnamon), chocolate chips, or make them into chocolate peanut butter protein pancakes! To do so you make the recipe as shown, except substitute peanut butter instead of using oil. Then add one scoop of chocolate protein powder (vegan chocolate Shakeology is the healthiest and most delicious kind!) This will make the batter a lot thicker, so slowly stir in cold water until you get back to the right consistency. Spray your griddle or frying pan, add a scoop of batter to the pan, wait for it to start bubbling on top, flip, and cook until golden brown on both sides. You can top your pancakes with fresh fruit (sliced bananas would be delicious with the chocolate and peanut butter), or drizzle on some real maple syrup. I also love Trader Joe’s organic Maple Agave syrup which is half the price of real maple syrup but still all natural and free of that nasty “C” word (corn syrup! Ahh!) Alright, see the link below for the original vegan pancake recipe and try it out for breakfast tomorrow!

http://www.foodfanatic.com/2013/09/vegan-pancakes-healthy-and-fluffy-too/

From Divorce to Dating

The hardest part about getting divorced isn’t missing the person you were married to. You may be happy to finally be away from the person with whom you weren’t compatible and out of a toxic relationship. You may be happy to have a second chance at finding the right person for you. What you miss is the guarantees, the small comfort of knowing what comes next and who will be there. The little things like knowing on Sunday you will wake up, get dressed, pick up some doughnuts, and watch HGTV for 4 hours like you do every Sunday, or knowing that every single night when you get home from work there will be dinner ready and someone to share it with. You never have to worry about going to bed alone or needing to find the perfect body pillow because you have someone there with you 7 nights a week, who counts on you hitting the pillows at the same time they do. Many people believe that dating is better than marriage because it’s still fresh and exciting, but it’s also scary and uncertain. Marriage means someone has committed to spending 7 nights a week with you for the rest of your life, and to share the boring nights on the couch with cookies and sitcoms. Married couples should try to keep the spark and excitement alive. You should keep dating the person you love for the rest of your life and constantly remind them how much you care. Whether you have been together for a month or a decade the little surprises like flowers, chocolate, dinners, and phone calls should remain an essential part of your routine. However, you should never take for granted the little moments that seem boring, because it’s the boring stuff you miss the most in the end.đź’ś

Living For Tomorrow

Alright, so I admit I am one of those crazy people who starts celebrating christmas WAY too early. This year I started listening to Christmas music in June, but that’s besides the point. Today I was listening to Christmas music (yeah yeah it’s only July), and as usual it put me in the most optimistic and positive mood. It got me thinking, so many people these days forget why life is worth living. There are so many teenagers and even adults out there that take their lives because they think things will never get better. So here is my assignment for everyone (don’t worry, it’s a fun one!): Make a list of things you are looking forward to, whether it be something later today or something 10 years from now. This simple task will make you excited for tomorrow, excited for the future, excited for life!

Here is my list of things I can’t wait for:

-To go to my husband’s family’s cottage next week for a week of camping. This time we are bringing my family which should make it extra fun!

-Fall. We’re almost to August and I cannot wait to break out my sweaters and scarves and head to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Also, every year in the Fall we go to Becker Farms in WNY to pick apples, and I think my almost 2 year old daughter will really enjoy it this year.

-Christmas, this year and every year!

-To meet the newest addition to my family in January.

-To start nursing clinicals (hopefully) next Fall.

-To bring my kids to Disney (probably not for another 6 or 7 years, but I am still excited for it!)

-To learn French (probably not for another 10+ years, but I have always wanted to become fluent in the language so it will happen eventually!)

After thinking of all I have to look forward to I can look at life a little differently. Though things may not always be perfect and times might get tough here and there, I know that there is a lot to live for. I have way too much to do to give up now! I hope each and every one of you can find a few things to look forward to as well!

Find Yourself (Again)

Sometimes life can be so hectic that we forget who we are. We’re so busy in our lives working, caring for our families, going to school, taking care of a home, and trying to make relationships work, we don’t have time to sit down and do the things we enjoy. Before I got married and started a family I loved to spend my Sunday mornings sitting in Starbucks with a New York Times, a scone, and a latte. Obviously once you start a family those little pleasures disappear. Not to say that there aren’t new joys to fill your day, because there are, but it’s just not realistic to think that you can quietly relax in a chair at Starbucks when you have a toddler running around screaming. And honestly, at the end of the day, I usually don’t even have the energy to read or think, even on a “day off.”

I was just going through my Facebook intending to clean it up and edit my favorite music, interests, etc. since I haven’t done so in, oh, 2-3 years. But instead of finding things I wanted to change, I found that I still have all of the same interests that I had 3 years ago. I still like the same music, I still love yoga, meditation, baking, and football, and I still like the same books and newspapers. However, I can’t remember the last time I meditated or sat down to read a newspaper; who has time for that? That’s when I realized I had lost myself in my busy life. I think it is so important to take time for yourself once in a while to regain yourself; I read that all the time in parenting magazines. It is essential to a healthy relationship to do things you enjoy and stay connected with the people in your life outside of your family so that you can appreciate what you have while still being happy. Unfortunately I can’t say that I have done a great job maintaining a healthy relationship, and perhaps it’s partly because we both forgot who we are, and we both prevent each other from being ourselves. That spells disaster in any language.

I need to make it my goal to find balance in my life, and if you feel like you are losing yourself too, then maybe you should give it a try too. If anyone finds any way that works I’d love to hear it!

Do As the French Do

I just read an article about the differences between French children and American children, and I am very intrigued. As a mother I am constantly looking for ways to improve my parenting abilities and help my daughter grow up to be the best woman she can be. As soon as her first birthday rolled around my baby immediately transformed into a toddler. Every day she learns to do something new, and usually something that she should not be doing. First it was learning where the cat food was and how fun it is to eat it, and then it was ripping the magazines to pieces and climbing into the bath tub with all of her clothes on. Every time I pick up the pile of scattered coasters I turn around to find a pile of DVDs all over the livingroom covered in coffee. As a working mother, student, and wife there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, and as my toddler becomes more mobile there seems to be more to do. So how is it that French parents get their toddlers to be patient, polite, and independent? Pamela Druckerman seems to know the answer to that question. Though American parents say “no”, we apparently aren’t say it correctly.

“I pointed out that I’d been scolding Leo for the last 20 minutes. FrĂ©dĂ©rique smiled. She said that I needed to make my “no” stronger and to really believe in it. The next time Leo tried to run outside the gate, I said “no” more sharply than usual. He left anyway. I followed and dragged him back. “You see?” I said. “It’s not possible.” FrĂ©dĂ©rique smiled again and told me not to shout but rather to speak with more conviction. I was scared that I would terrify him. “Don’t worry,” Frederique said, urging me on. Leo didn’t listen the next time either. But I gradually felt my “nos” coming from a more convincing place. They weren’t louder, but they were more self-assured. By the fourth try, when I was finally brimming with conviction, Leo approached the gate but—miraculously—didn’t open it. He looked back and eyed me warily. I widened my eyes and tried to look disapproving. After about 10 minutes, Leo stopped trying to leave altogether. He seemed to forget about the gate and just played in the sandbox with the other kids. Soon FrĂ©dĂ©rique and I were chatting, with our legs stretched out in front of us. I was shocked that Leo suddenly viewed me as an authority figure.”

While I work on my “nos” I intend to buy Druckerman’s book, “Bringing Up Bebe” so I can pick up a few more pointers. Hopefully by the time Lily Noelle is two she will be acting a little more French (after all, my maiden name is Salgot).

Reference

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577196931457473816.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLETopMiniLeadStory

INTERVENTION: Addicted to Cyberspace

I must prelude this post with a little background. I am currently taking online classes through Bryant & Stratton College, and every week we have to participate in a ‘discussion’. This week’s discussion in Philosophy250 is IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder).

I must admit when I first read the topic I was convinced this was a real disorder. I know from personal experience what it is like to suffer from withdrawal symptoms from technology. In my first semester of college I was having so much trouble concentrating on my assignments because I could not focus my attention on my work for more than a few minutes without checking my Facebook. I tried but failed many times to limit my internet usage to certain hours per day and not going on Facebook in the middle of writing a paper. I even deactivated my account multiple times, yet I always ended up going back because I realized it was my primary method of contact with the outside world (which is a whole different problem in and of itself). However, after doing some research, I must side with John M. Grohol Psy.D. We are approaching the problem the wrong way. Internet addiction is not a disorder by itself, but a symptom of other problems. I went on Facebook compulsively because I wanted to avoid doing work, and because I have other social problems that cause me to feel secluded, and Facebook “fixed” both of those problems for me. Dr. Grohol likens the escapism to going out with friends to avoid being at home when you are unhappy in your marriage. He also likens the addiction to watching too much tv or reading too many books. He calls this “Compulsive over-use.” (John M. Grohol, 2012)

If we put every little symptom into it’s own category of disease then it is going to take us a long time to fill out medical history forms, because we are all very ill.

References

John M. Grohol, P. (2012, January 5). Internet Addiction Guide. Retrieved from PsychCentral: http://psychcentral.com/netaddiction/