Monthly Archives: December 2014

Tofu That Looks and Tastes Like Chicken

I’ve never been a big fan of meat.  The taste and texture always grossed me out. I have no qualms about my non-carnivore ways, as I’m pretty much in love with all other foods and I’m not down with factory farms. So, naturally, I found this recipe awesome, but the kicker is, my meat-eating roommate/bestie LOVES it. So, regardless of your affinity for plant-based foods, this recipe kicks ass. Did I mention it’s pretty healthy too?

Ingredients:

  • Extra Firm Tofu
  • Marinade of Choice

The Steps:

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Step #1) If you have a tofu press, then awesome, use that. If not, wrap your little tofu babies up in paper towels. Wrap the whole thing. I usually wrap it like 2-3 towels thick. Then, wrap again in a kitchen towel/cloth. I’m preparing two blocks in the picture.

IMG_4595Step #2) Once they’re all cozy, put some things on top of your tofu. Heavy things. I used my kettlebell and a tea kettle filled with water. The point here is to get all the water out of your tofu. Let sit for like 1/2 hour – 40 minutes. If your super OCD, like myself, change the paper towels for dry ones in-between to intensify the water getting-rid-of effects.

IMG_4596Step #3) Remove your tofu from heavy things and slice into strips. I like to slice them about a half inch thick because they get crispier in the oven that way, but I’ve seen this recipe used before with much larger sections, so up to you. Once they’re all cut, place them in your marinade. I used a teriyaki marinade mixed with some sriracha. Make sure they’re all covered. Apply lid and shake if you have to.

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Step #4) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Once the oven is heated, lay tofu on greased pan and cook for ~13 minutes on each side or to desired crispiness.

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Step 5) Admire your tofu. I like it just when it’s all crisp all around the edges.

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Step 6) Enjoy your delicious tofu, ideally in a less creepy-looking way then I am.

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The Perfect Strawberry Banana Smoothie

IMG_2575-660Smoothies are like the easiest things in the world for people who are trying to eat healthy. In grad school I would always have a smoothie for breakfast after a night of partying, inevitably waking up everyone in the house, but ailing my hangover like no other. I kind of consider myself an expert on the subject, so I’ll share some things I’ve learned.

Always stock your fridge with frozen fruit and apple juice. One of those fruits should probably be a banana, as bananas are really good for getting the right kind of smoothie consistency/flavor. Even if you don’t make smoothies that often, having these items on hand is pretty easy, because they take forever to go bad.

Essential Ingredients:

  • One whole frozen banana – frozen gives better consistency
  • Handful of frozen or refrigerated strawberries
  • 1 cup Apple Juice – mix with water to reduce sugar intake, if needed

Add-Ons:

  • Protein Powder – good for when your working out consistently and not getting a lot protein – I use Trader Joe’s brand
  • A spoonful of Peanut Butter
  • A handful of spinach – you will NOT taste it and you’ll get a bunch of vitamins all up in your system
  • Granola
  • Yogurt
  • Honey

The blender in my apartment is a beast and will usually work with just 1 cup of liquid, especially since I add the liquid first. If, for whatever reason, your blender isn’t working, mix everything around and add a splash of water.

Smoothies can be a great way to stay trim and meet your nutritional needs, but they’re also filled with calories. So, be mindful of that and understand it’s really a meal that your having, not a drink to have on top of something else.

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An ode to Yoga

My first yoga class ever was with my best friend and I when we were about fourteen. Our moms had enrolled us and we both didn’t really understand it at all. We went once a week for a couple months and only once did I ever really relax in Shavasana. Eventually, we stopped doing it as my interest towards anything that even resembled exercise was pretty low.

Some time later, at sixteen, I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). At that poIMG_0957int, I had been  hospitalized more times then I care to remember, lost my vision and my ability to walk and was on all kinds of medications with even worse side effects. All of which sounds pretty bad, but I was still a teenager and, like all teenagers, believed I was invincible. It’s actually kind of scary, thinking back, how not scared of my having multiple sclerosis I was. My mother was a nervous wreck, but I was like “No, it’s cool. I’ll walk again” and for whatever reason, be it medical science or a teenager’s stubbornness, I regained all my mobility and vision within a couple months. After that, I developed an interest in exercise as a means to always remind my body “Look, I’m using you. I care about you. Don’t try that M.S stuff again”. There’s an actual science behind exercise’s benefits for M.S, but at the core of it, staying active has been my way of expressing gratitude for another day with no symptoms.

Besides helping me cope with having M.S, Yoga really started to deeply impact my life about three years ago when I first started going consistently. I was just out of college and was experiencing a ton of anxiety. I also had a ton of time on my hands, with no job or prospects in sight. So, I started going to yoga as much as I could. Not only did it ease my fears of what’s next, but it gave me a familiar place to go to. At the time, I had started to move around a lot, making everything foreign to me. With every place I moved, I always found a home in yoga.

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My experience with yoga has been life altering. The scenery has changed constantly, from Ithaca, to Chicago, to NYC and even San Francisco when I went there on a trip, but the practice has always provided me with a familiar place to grow, meet new people and reflect. It allows me to grow stronger while also providing me with a place to relax, something I desperately need as a 20 something who has no idea what their doing with their life. I’ll probably move again after spending another year in NYC, but where ever I go after this, I’ll find a place to rest my mat and share the practice.

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