As seen on TV

Happy Halloween!  As I write this post, I’m wrapped in the blissful warmth of a Snuggie.  Yes, “The Blanket That Has Sleeves.”  Why?  Read on, my friends.

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One of the girls in my new ultra-running group had a Halloween party last night.  At first I wasn’t sure if I’d go since I’ve really just met these people, but 24 trail miles and nine beers (not all at once; I’ve been on three runs/drinks with them) have a way of making you feel like you know people.   So Erin and I decided to go, but we found ourselves costume-less only a few hours before the party.

Given that it had to be cheap, quick, and easy, the options were limited, especially with the added constraint that we wanted to make it a joint costume and do something to make use of Erin’s pregnant belly.  (It’s not that big though, so we ended up augmenting it.)

We got the idea to go as Juno and Paulie from the movie Juno, and realized just how perfect it was.  Paulie is a runner; the party was with a bunch of runners and I already had plenty of running clothes.  Juno is pregnant; Erin is pregnant.  And the original theme of the party (before it got relaxed due to popular demand) was “TV and movies.”

Here they are:

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And here we are:

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Not terrible, huh?  At least our dog Sascha seems to like it.  Here’s another shot, this one from the party.

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So what does this all have to do with a Snuggie?  Well, turns out there were prizes for the best costumes, and Erin and I won in the “couples” category.  (It didn’t hurt that there weren’t many joint costumes to compete with.)  And luckily for me, the guy who has secretly coveted the hottest invention to hit TV since the Sham-Wow, our prize was a Snuggie!  Awesomeness.

For obvious reasons to all at the party, there was no group trail run this morning.  Erin and I ran about five miles with the dogs at a trail near our house though, and tomorrow morning I’m going to do 12 miles or so with the ultra group.  I’m thinking by then, everyone but one guy should have recovered from the party.

Alright, off to battle the trick-or-treaters.  Look for a great giveaway on my blog tomorrow or Monday!

28 Comments

 

Stevia

Happy Sweet-Tooth Friday!  It’s Christine here with your healthy dessert recipe of the week.  With all the sugary Halloween candy going around, I thought it would be nice to explore an alternative sweetener like stevia!

Is stevia safe?

After a not-so-great first experience with stevia and pumpkin, I vowed to do some more research on stevia to get it right!  I didn’t just find out about cooking with stevia, I also learned about the crazy controversies surrounding the sweetener.

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Stevia: still scary for the FDA

The sweet leaves of the stevia plant are originally from South America, and have been sweetening Yerba Mate in Paraguay for centuries.  Japan has been using stevia as a sweetener since the 70’s and now it makes up 40% of all sweeteners used.  So how come it’s 2009 and stevia is just showing up at my grocery store?

Stevia had quite the journey coming here: there were a handful of very dated and poorly executed studies on stevia that showed dangerous results, which scared the FDA and fueled sugar lobbyists.  Two of these old studies found stevia to be a contraceptive.  The data methods have been seriously questioned and the results have never been able to be reproduced (ha!) since.  One study from 1985 made it seem that very high doses of stevia were mutagenic in rats.  It has been shown now that the data was handled incorrectly- even water would appear mutagenic — but in 1991 the FDA decided that stevia was an unsafe food additive.

There was a lot of fuss about the FDA’s ruling because it was made on the idea that stevia hadn’t been proven safe.  This contradicts the FDA policy to rule unfavorably only if a food has been proven unsafe.  The ruling also conflicted with trade laws, and in 1995 the decision was reversed and stevia was allowed as a “dietary supplement” but not a “food additive.”

What does this distinction mean?  It says that stevia is safe to include into a food because of its health benefits, but cannot officially be listed as a “sweetener.”  Silly, right?

In 2006 the World Health Organization declared that stevia is safe.  Just last year in 2008 the FDA finally decided that Rebiana, one extracted part of stevia, is generally regarded as safe.  For some reason, they haven’t ok’d the entire leaf yet.  Rebiana is the main ingredient in Truvia, owned by Coca-Cola, and PureVia, owned by Pepsi.  My impression is that when the two big sweetener-guzzling companies got interested in stevia, their influence overpowered the aspartame and sugar lobbyists’ impact on the FDA.

stevia in palm photo 300x200So now that stevia is here, what good is it?  Well for starters, our bodies don’t metabolize the glycosides, so we can enjoy the sweetness calorie-free.  I feel much better about eating a natural no-calorie sweetener than a synthetic one.  Stevia also doesn’t effect glucose levels, which makes it safe for diabetics.   It doesn’t cause cavities in teeth, either.

As for baking, stevia is heat stable so it won’t break down like synthetic sweeteners under high heat, and it also can handle being frozen.  Because of this, it doesn’t caramelize so it is unsuitable for, well, making caramel, and also things like meringue where you would need the sugar to brown.  Stevia can’t ferment either- sometimes in bread recipes you’ll see sugar being used to feed the yeast.  With stevia the bread will not rise as much

Stevia as a substitute

When substituting with stevia, it’s important to compensate not just for sweetness but also for bulk.  You only need to use about 1/2 a teaspoon of stevia extract for 1 cup of sugar, so you need to make up for that loss.  But remember that sugar melts in the oven, so for every cup of sugar you take out, you only need 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of filler.  Refer back to my post on healthier baking to find some great replacements; pumpkin, mashed bananas and applesauce all work well.

Stevia extracts aren’t standardized yet, so the strength of different brands will differ.  Start with a very small amount like an 1/8 teaspoon and taste as you go.  Stevia can very quickly have a bitter aftertaste.  Try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup to “warm up” the taste.

Vegan Orange-Currant Brunch Cake

I modified this recipe from one posted on several different stevia websites, including steviashop.com.  It’s a small batch, so you may want to double it for a taller presentation.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp stevia
  • 1 tbs egg replacer
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbs walnut oil
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and stevia, then set aside.  Mix together the egg replacer with 1/4 cup warm water and stir until thick.  Add juice and oil.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.  Fold in zest and currants.  Spread into a greased and floured tubed pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes, turning around halfway through.  A knife should come out clean when it’s finished.  Let cool for 20 minutes before unmolding.

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I was nervous about the simplicity of this recipe, but the results were delicious!  It is not too sweet at all- it reminded me of a good muffin.  The currants add nice bursts of flavor too.  I think the success here relied on using the stevia to play up the sweetness of the orange juice, instead of using the stevia as the main event.

Hope you learned something new about stevia and enjoy this yummy vegan cake!  If you have a good dessert recipe that uses stevia, I’d be pleased as punch if you sent it my way.

Have a sweet and safe Halloween!
xoxo Christine

20 Comments

 

Guest post: Rachel from Shedding It & Getting It

Hey no-meaties, I thought I’d give you a little change of pace today with a mid-week guest post.  Rachel writes the blog Shedding It and Getting It, and she has a fantastic, energetic attitude toward fitness and body image.  She’s training for the Disney Marathon in January, and she just finished her first half.  Here she is to tell you about it.  Enjoy!

shedkitchen2 199x300Hey everyone! I’m Rachel from Shedding It & Getting It. Earlier this week Matt did a guest post for my Meatless Monday feature, and shared his awesome recipe for pasta with butternut squash. Now it’s my turn for my very first guest post! Just call me the Sometimes-Meat Wannabe Athlete.

I say “Wannabe Athlete,” because even after losing 70 pounds and completely changing my outlook on food and exercise, I don’t always feel like a real runner or a real athlete. Right now I’m training for the Disney Marathon (Matt’s 21 first marathon tips post definitely got me excited about it!), but there are days when I couldn’t feel less athletic. One of those days was two weeks ago, when I ran in the Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon.

Things got off to a good enough start. The night before, I went out to dinner with my fellow blogger and buddy Leah, and we had yummy – but still healthy — food before calling it an early night. I stayed at her place, since it was closer to Detroit than my house. They say you shouldn’t do anything different the day of a race, so I brought along my typical breakfast foods (pimped-out oatmeal, coffee) so I’d feel my best.

It was dark and cold when we lined up, but the energy of the crowd was fantastic.

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That energy stayed with me… at first. I was just loving life, enjoying the view, getting excited to run through Canada. And then at the third mile, I was struck with the overwhelming urge to vomit…and it stuck with me for the next ten miles.

I chugged along the half-marathon course, wanting to give up the entire time. I drank water, hoping it would help, but it didn’t. At one point, volunteers handed out M & Ms to runners. It was supposed to be fun, but when I saw that, I felt myself turning green. Not only was I feeling physically ill, I was getting emotional. I had a marathon to keep training for, after all. I looked at all the excited half-marathoners about to be done with this race and their training, and I got so frustrated that I was still so far from my ultimate goal. I did manage to run the whole way – slowly, painfully. When I finally crossed the finish line, everyone was happy and cheerful; I just wanted to crawl into a hole.

I was so upset with myself. How could I let this happen!?

After a good shower and some really good pasta, I was able to think straight, and realize that I made a few careless mistakes that added up to huge problems.

First, I went out to dinner the night before the race. This isn’t a huge deal, but I love cooking at home, so I rarely dine out. Even though I got something carby and pretty healthy, I didn’t have as much control over my ingredients as I normally do the night before a long run. The morning of, even though I had brought my typical oatmeal supplies, I put dark chocolate chips in the oats. I do that pretty regularly, but I’ve never done it immediately before a run. I also changed up my coffee a bit. I like my coffee very sweet, so I indulge with a little sugar-free Hazelnut and one packet of Splenda. I forgot to bring that with me, so I used milk, plus agave in place of Splenda. Well, I used too much (agave is even sweeter than sugar)! I remember drinking it and thinking, “Hm, this is really sweet, even for me.” The pure sugar plus the sugar and the fat in the chocolate was too much. Plus, it was 5:00 in the morning! Lack of sleep tends to make me queasy anyway, but have you ever chugged caffeine on an empty stomach because you’re up really early for something? It usually doesn’t leave you feeling great! Honestly, I felt bad as soon as I got in the car, but I ignored it, thinking it was just nerves. But I really wasn’t nervous at all.

Even though I was disappointed I hadn’t achieved a perfect half-marathon and experienced a runner’s high, I started to get over it. Bad runs happen! I had a disastrous time on my first 10-mile run, but I was fine when I did it again a few weeks later. My 11 and 12-mile training runs had been absolutely wonderful. I figured that next week’s 14-mile run would probably be great too. (It was!) I didn’t regret thinking I could do a full marathon. (Cause I can!) We all have bad days and bad runs. Sometimes they happen in the privacy of a nice trail, and other times they happen on the bridge to Canada. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t serious, or that we aren’t going to make it to the ultimate goal.

So if you’re training for a race, or just thinking about running in your first race (by the way, stop thinking and just register already!!), try to remember that no one is perfect, and not all runs are perfect. With a lot of miles under my belt and my toughest month still ahead, I have to remind myself of that more and more. That’s my “getting it.” Don’t try to be perfect all the time! Some runs will not go according to plan! One run is not going to determine how the rest of your training goes physically; so don’t let it throw you off mentally. No matter how slow you are or how much you struggle, you’re a million times better off than the people who are sitting at home, refusing to even lace up their sneakers.

8 Comments

 

A new gig!

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Ok, remember when I was interviewed a few weeks ago?  Well, that interview was part of the column The Extreme Self, which is part of True/Slant, an “original content news network.”  The way it works is True/Slant organizes a group of contributors who write news-opinion pieces for them.  It’s pretty much a decentralized newspaper, without the paper.  It’s not quite blogging; I’m told that writing about what you ate for breakfast doesn’t fly in the T/S world.

Well, guess who the newest contributors for True/Slant are?   Megan from Runner’s Kitchen and I!  They’ve brought us on board to write a joint column called Running Shorts.  (Get it?) It’s going to be our take on all sorts of running and training topics.  Product, article, and book reviews, responses to running news and trends, and whatever else we think of.  Really we aren’t sure what direction it will take us, but it should be interesting.  And it’s a damn good thing I’m starting to really like running!

Check out our first piece, a little Q&A we did for us to get to know each other and readers to get to know us.  And please, leave a comment, “follow” us (it’s not Twitter, I promise), and feel free to give me some feedback and suggestions for what you’d like to see on Running Shorts!

16 Comments

 

First Thoughts on FiveFingers

Vibram FiveFingers Review

vibram fivefingers photo1 300x225I’ve had my Vibram FiveFingers for a few weeks now. A lot of you had asked me to let to you know how I like them, but I really won’t be able to do that until I’ve built up enough mileage in them to go for longer runs.  At this point I’m only wearing my VFF’s for 3.5 miles at a time, once or twice per week, for fear that any more will put me at risk for injury since the smaller muscles in my feet and legs have not had time to develop.  (When I write “VFF,” I can’t not think “BFF.”  What is wrong with me?)

So even though I can’t give a full, fair review yet, I can tell you how it’s going so far.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Running is much more fun when you can feel the texture of the surface you’re running on, the way you’re meant to.  It’s just one more sensation to connect you with the earth and your surroundings.
  • Running is much less fun when you step on an isolated rock about the size of a marble without much cushioning.  It hurts.
  • The fear of stepping on something causes you to run more cautiously, with smaller, lighter steps.  And that might be the point.
  • My calves and shins were extremely sore after my first three-mile run in the VFF’s.  The same way they are if I start lifting weights after a long layoff.
  • There is a protruding seam on the instep of VFF KSO’s (the model I have) that caused painful, tiny blisters on both feet the first few times I wore them.  Justin from Birthday Shoes told me that this is common and gave me some suggestions.  You can buy socks with five toes, but I’m hoping to avoid that.  I’ve started to develop callouses there and didn’t have a problem last run.
  • The soles have a lot of traction on wet surfaces.  I’d love to wear them on a real trail run, especially since there are no socks to get soaked when I have to run through streams.  But because of the aforementioned pain from stepping on rocks, this is probably a long way off.
  • People look at you funny when you wear VFF’s to the grocery store.

VFF’s, by the way, owe a lot of their recent popularity to the book Born to Run.  If you read it, you might also be interested in my attempts to make pinole and chia fresca, to get me some of that Tarahumara superhuman endurance!

Channeling my inner Doc Brown

My running life has been unrecognizable since I qualified for Boston over three weeks ago.  It’s as if my obsessive focus on that goal prevented me from trying new things, which is sensible.  When you want something badly, you work hard at it, at the expense of other things.  But now that it’s done, it’s like there’s this alternate running universe of things far more interesting than regular road running, like trail running and the almost-barefoot running.  I can’t remember a time when I’ve been so excited about running as I am now.

doc brown full 1 300x295In what can only be described as excessive zeal after my very first trail run, I signed up for a 50K (31 mile) trail race near where I live, in March.  It’s put on by some of the guys in the group I’ve been running with, and when they told me that spots were filling up, I decided to just do it.  Sure I could wait, build up mileage on trails and make sure this is for me — but as Doc Brown so famously says in Back to the Future, “I figured, what the hell?”

Doc Brown’s “what the hell” saved his life.  Mine will not do that.  But if there’s a running analog to wearing a bulletproof vest to save you from Libyans shooting you because they’re pissed that you stole their plutonium, then I fully expect it to happen.

Indeed, what the hell.

22 Comments

 

From Indoorsman to Trail Runner

It’s official — I’m hooked on trail running.

And I can’t say I saw this one coming.  I’ve long considered myself an indoorsman; even as a kid I preferred to stay home and read a book than go out on a hike.  To this day, hiking sounds miserable to me.  When I’m camping and everyone decides to go for a hike, I’m the guy who stays back to “hold down the fort,” indoorsman code for “get disgustingly drunk and throw things in the fire.”

But this week I went on two trail runs with a group of ultra-runners, and I already can’t wait to do it again.  And considering I just got back a few hours ago from the most recent one, an 11-miler, this is saying something.

Never before in my life have I ever looked forward to running, except maybe on race days.  Running, to me, has always been about the getting the big goal and little else.  Marathon training has been many wonderful things for me, but one thing it has never been is fun.

But trail running is different.  It’s a completely distinct sport from road running, more different than I had imagined.  I started to suspect this when I got an email from the group reminding me “bring your headlamp” to the first run.  So I got myself one of those; sexy huh?

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My suspicion was confirmed when, ten minutes into said run, I loyally followed the eight runners in front of me directly through a stream, plunging both feet directly into the water.  Funny, I thought, lesser things than a soaked foot used to be reason enough for me to immediately abort a long run and go home.

When I used to talk about the possibility of one day doing a 50-miler, it was always “Yeah, but they’re on trails, so you have to pick up your feet to step over roots and stuff.”  I’m almost embarrassed at how naive that was.  Every step is on some sort of rock, hill, side slope, mud, root, water, wet leaves, etc.  Or at the very least, it’s carefully aimed to avoid one of these things.  And when it’s completely dark and you’re running in a bouncing ten-foot orb of light from your headlamp, it’s even harder to see it all coming.

And somehow, trail running has me in a place I haven’t been in a long time.  That place where you can only think about one thing, and counting the hours until you get a chance to do it again.

It doesn’t hurt that the people I’ve met are awesome.  They’ve almost all run ultras before, and they’ve been extremely helpful and welcoming to this trail virgin.  (For the first time, I’m even a little ashamed of the “26.2” sticker on my car.)  The “drinking group with a running problem” joke is hackneyed by now, but based on what I’ve seen so far, my guess is that ultra runners were the inspiration for it.  Which is just fine by me, because after one of these runs, nothing sounds better than a couple cold ones.

Vega Sport Giveaway Winner

Ok, it’s time to pick a winner for the tub of Vega Sport!  By the way, I drank it before and during my trail run this morning with great results.  I only wish they had given me more to sample, because when this tub is gone I have a feeling I’m going to be forking over some dinero to buy more.

Ok, so here we go.  I’m using the “true random number” generator at <

 

Vegan Flatbread

christine eating flatbread photo 300x200Hi everybody, it’s Christine here with a special edition of Sweet-Tooth Friday.  Today we’re going to look at the flipside of the baking world and make our own bread.

Don’t  panic though — in this foolproof recipe there’s no yeast, no kneading, and no lengthy rising times.  And I promise, this flatbread recipe will bring just as many cheers to the table as any dessert!

Even though Sweet-Tooth Friday is supposed to be, well, sweet, this week I wanted to instead share a staple recipe in my repertoire, something I bake probably twice a month at home.  When I was making a batch of flatbread this week to go with some homemade hummus, I realized that if I found this recipe to be so useful, maybe you guys would appreciate it too.  Then I couldn’t believe I kept it to myself for so long!

It all started with the quest to make authentic naan at home.  Over the past two years I have tried recipes with yeast, both quick rises and overnight.  I tried recipes made with yogurt, made with eggs, and made with ghee.  I tried recipes cooked on a stovetop skillet, I played with focaccia recipes, and I even tried passing plain pizza dough off as the Indian classic.

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All of these were pretty time-consuming and deep down I wanted something weeknight-whip-up-able.  I might have been willing to compromise if any of the tastes had been a real homerun, but I was starting to think I needed to build a clay tandoor oven to actually get it right.

On top of all this, I was searching for a recipe without animal products.  The prices of pita and naan at the grocery store are appalling — I knew it would be possible to bake these at home for just pennies as long as there were no eggs and dairy.

I finally found the simplicity I was looking for without sacrificing a light texture and a nice chew.  I’ve been using this formula for awhile and can’t remember where I stumbled on the original.  However it’s been through several rounds of my tweeks by now so probably isn’t too recognizable anymore.

Even though it’s not exactly authentic naan, I use some whole wheat flour to let myself be more comfortable eating the bread on a regular basis.  I also use canola oil as a healthy alternative to shortening or ghee.  I bake mine in a cast-iron skillet in the oven.  If you don’t have cast iron I would suggest a baking stone first, and finally a cookie sheet.

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Vegan Flatbread Recipe

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 3 tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Extra flour for dusting
  • Optional: chopped fresh cilantro, 1 clove chopped garlic

Preheat the oven with pan inside to 400 degrees.
Put ice in the water to really get it cold while you prepare the ingredients.
Mix together the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Stir in the canola oil until uniformly distributed.  If you want, stir in garlic or handful of chopped cilantro to taste, but it is just fine served plain.
Measure one cup of water (don’t use the ice) and stir into mixture until the dough becomes one ball.

On a clean countertop or smooth cutting board, spread out a nice handful of flour.  Coat your hands with the flour and place the dough on floured surface.  Fold it in half just a few times so it is easy to work with and not sticky.  Divide the dough into 8 roughly equal balls.  (Divide the dough in half, then each half in half, then each of those halves in half.)  Add some more flour to the surface if you need to, then take one ball and smoosh it with your palm.  Rub some flour on your rolling pin, then roll the dough until it is about a 6 to 8 inch circle.  Usually half way during rolling, I pick the circle up and flip it over to make sure it isn’t sticking.  If the dough is snapping right back, just put the circle to the side and start with a new ball.

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When all the balls are rolled into flat discs, redust your surface with flour and further roll out the ones that were not cooperating.  They should behave after their time-out.  I like to roll them all a second time to get them pretty thin, to almost 9-10 inches in diameter.

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Carefully place a disk of dough into the pan in the oven.  I didn’t have to grease my cast-iron pan because it is seasoned.  Bake for 3 minutes, then remove with tongs.  It should have several blistery bubbles.  If you are using a ridged pan, the ridges should be indented and the rest of the dough slightly puffy.  If you want a very flat bread like the triangles pictured, flip the disk over using tongs after a minute and a half of baking.

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Repeat with the remaining disks.

So that’s it!  Easy-peezy, cheap, and quick!  Once you get the hang of it, it only takes about 10-15 minutes to mix the dough and roll out the circles.  The total baking time for all 8 pieces is 24 minutes (unless you have two pans going), so I try to plan and use that time for chopping veggies or cleaning up the dishes.

This recipe is super versatile.  I’ve served it as naan to go with Matt’s sweet-potato and chickpea curry, as the pita-like dipping vehicle for black bean hummus, and even as a Taco Bell “Gordita” style tortilla with bean tacos.  It’s also an excellent addition to “peasant” themed meals.

I hope you find this recipe as useful as I do!  There is nothing like being able to bring freshly baked bread to the dinner table.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I promise next week I’ll put the SWEET back in Sweet-Tooth Friday!

xoxo, Christine

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33 Comments

 

Spitting Out Tofu

Ladies and gentleman, it’s a sad day in NMA world.

Last night, for the first time ever, my wife spit out the food I made for her.  I don’t remember her exact words, but it was something to the extent of “If I swallow that, I’ll puke.”

The food in question was a piece of lightly-seared tofu, coated in a delicate peanut butter coconut curry sauce, served with snow peas over soba noodles.  And she frickin’ spit it out.

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[Chewed up tofu in napkin photo removed by censors.]

It’s not as bad as it sounds.  Erin is 14 weeks pregnant and this is her first instance of being otherwise-inexplicably grossed out by a random food.  At least, that’s her excuse.  She says the texture of the tofu, combined with the pastiness of the sauce (didn’t seem pasty to me), is what made it impossible to get down.  Funny, I used to be the one who couldn’t stand the texture of tofu.

But by all means, don’t let the vision of chewed-up, peanut-buttery tofu in a dirty, crumbled napkin prevent you from trying this one tonight. icon smile  I actually really enjoyed mine.

I found the recipe in my recent go-to cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian.  Time and time again, I’m finding this book to be an ass-saver when Erin is going to be home in 45 minutes and I haven’t even thought about dinner.  Not that there’d be trouble if she came home and I hadn’t cooked, but it doesn’t hurt to keep the wheels of marriage greased, you know?

Anyway, I usually change the recipes a little based on what I have in the kitchen. (This also allows me to post them without getting threatening phone calls from guys in suits.)  This time, among other things, that meant curry paste instead of chili paste and using different noodles.

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And, most notably, substituting for coconut milk.

Ok, I have a coconut milk question.  Usually when I open a can of coconut milk, it smells nice.  Like coconuts.  But this can and two of the past three cans I have opened, from different brands, have smelled like feet.  Nasty, sweaty, feet.  Rotting feet, perhaps.

I’ve chosen to throw them out and then swear I’m going to write a stongly-worded letter to the grocery store. (I won’t.)  But is this common?  It never seems to happen with other canned goods.  Anyone else have this experience?  Should I just put the rotten feet coconut milk in my food and hope you can’t taste it?  I mean, if Erin’s going to spit it out anyway…

So here’s the recipe I’ve used, just in case you still have some semblance of an appetite.  I really liked the peanut butter sauce; substituting almond milk and coconut oil seemed to work just fine in it.  And the peanut butter (which I hardly ever eat anymore) reminded me of my college days, when I was hell-bent on gaining weight and muscle and used to set my alarm for 2 a.m. every night so I could get up and eat a peanut butter sandwich for extra calories.

I do weird things.

Peanut Butter Tofu with Snow Peas

Ingredients (for four servings):

  • One carton extra-firm tofu (14 ounces)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or other cooking oil
  • 1/2 lb Asian noodles, like soba
  • 1 cup snow peas or snap peas, trimmed
  • 2 tsp curry paste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or sub other milk and coconut oil)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Cut the tofu block into two slabs, then cover on all sides with lots of paper towels and set some plates or a skillet on top to weigh it down and remove water.  Let sit for 15-20 minutes, then cube the tofu.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Lightly salt and add snow peas for 30 seconds; remove and set aside.  Cook the noodles according to the package directions; when they’re done, drain and rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking and set them aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Add the tofu cubes, turning after about two minutes and repeating until each side is lightly browned. Lightly sprinkle with salt and remove from heat, but you’ll be adding the sauce to the pan with the tofu.

While you’re searing the tofu, whisk together the peanut butter and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the curry paste (you may want more or less, to taste), soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar and whisk to combine.

Dump the sauce into the tofu pan and add the noodles and snap peas.  Let the flavors combine over medium heat for a minute or two before serving.

  • If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter the Vega Sport giveway.  Today is the last day to enter!  I’ll announce the winner this weekend.
  • I’m going for my first trail run tonight with some peeps from the running group I belong to.  It’s at night, so I need to buy a headlamp or flashlight.  Hope I don’t get lost!
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