This week's recipe: Roasted Tofu Sweet Potato Pepper 1-Pan-Meal
2 blocks super firm tofu (drained and cubed, or use Nasoya cubed)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow; diced)
1 large sweet potato (diced, about 4 1/4 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place the tofu in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in one tablespoon of oil, the garlic powder, ground ginger, and one-half teaspoon sea salt. Mix well and set aside.
Place the peppers and sweet potatoes on a pan. Drizzle with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and mix to coat. Pour the tofu in a 9x13-inch glass dish or on a cookie sheet and mix everything well.
Roast for 20 minutes, stir, roast for another 20 minutes, stir, and roast for another 10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
You are what you eat....
We all know this right?
The answer in case you were hesitating is a resounding YES.
If you eat a bag of chips (my personal achilles heel), you will be eating a WHOLE lot of sodium, probably some trans fats and a lot of empty calories. Would you eat this before you knew you had to outrun a pack of wolves later in the day? No. However had you known that such an audacious task was upon you later in that day you'd probably want to power yourself up ahead of time by perhaps eating healthy, right? Well we may not be facing a pack of wolves but we are facing deadlines at work, a never ending stream of social media which keeps us continually "connected", depressing political news, raising families, paying bills etc... all little wonderful forms of... you guessed it, STRESS. So why aren't we fueling our bodies in order to reach maximum success?
You've heard about this trend right? I think of it as how my mom used to eat on her farm in Missouri. She grew up in a big traditional Catholic family with many kids and very little money. Her mother grew most of their food right on the farm, they raised their own chickens, she made the family's cheese and butter. Her meals consisted of food primarily in its original state (i.e. the definition of whole food). But even my mom will tell you that when she left her poor little farm and was introduced to the big world of microwavable popcorn and frozen dinners she had a perception that this "easy" new kind of food was somehow... better! It meant she had money. It meant she didn't have to spend an extra 20 minutes in the kitchen.
Thankfully, we are seeing a resurgence in our culture of the whole foods movement which is fantastic but for many it is not perceived as doable or easy. The demand for "ease"can be seen when we walk through a grocery store and see boxes, bags, jars, microwavable containers... and the list goes on. Our society began packaging food because it was EASY and at one point seen as BETTER, more uptown verses farm town.
Whole Food ARE easy and for sure better!
So I am here as a devil's advocate. I argue that eating a diet consisting of primary whole foods IS easy and this is coming from someone who lives in a fairly remote mountain town with only a 2.5 month growing cycle. I ask you: How easy is it to get your hands on fruits and vegetables that are grown locally? How about organic milk, yogurt, eggs or cheese? What about the accessibility to whole-grains or local meat (can you hunt where you live?)? Can you go into your grocery store or local health food store right now and grab some organic nuts, berries or popcorn? My guess is you can. But do you? Do you instead grab that box of pasta and throw it in some water? Add to it a jar of processed, sugar laden marinara sauce? Do you round off the carbohydrate laden meal with some crusty bread you picked up in the freezer case or maybe the grocery bakery? Okay, I wasn't hungry until I mentioned that crusty bread part.... But seriously, we grab for what is convenient not for what is whole.
How to make the shift
Start with a few recipes switch-outs that you become the master of. Think of the "easy" but processed meals that your family relies on and find healthier whole alternatives. I mean REALLY master them and after you've got them down switch to another and so on and so on. As an example for the recipe above here is an alternative for you. Instead of the pasta, grab a spaghetti squash from your local grocer. While you're there grab a bunch of fresh basil, fresh garlic, an onion and a handful of ripe organic tomatoes. Head back to your kitchen, turn the oven on to 400 degrees. Slice the spaghetti squash long way and take all of the seeds and goo out. Put a little olive oil onto the meat side of your squash and place it upside down on a baking sheet. Bake that sucker until the skin is a little tan or light brown, let it cool on the counter for about 10 minutes. In the meantime on the stove top saute all the veggies in a little more olive oil. Use a fork to "brush" out the strands of spaghetti squash. Add the squash to the veggies mixture and EAT a completely WHOLE FOOD meal!
Go out there and enjoy the newly re-discovered world of whole foods and watch your immune system get stronger, your energy get higher and your waist line get slimmer!
Broccoli Crust Anytime Pizza
SERVES: 3 (2 slices each)
Prep Time: 15 min. Cooking
Time: 37 min. CONTAINER
EQUIVALENTS (per serving):
1½ green 1red 1blue
FOR CRUST: 3 cups raw broccoli florets, Hot water, ½ cup shredded, part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 large eggs, lightly beaten ½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt) 1 clove garlic finely chopped, 1 Tbsp dried Italian Herbs
FOR TOPPING: 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 2 large eggs , ¼ cup shredded, part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, 3 Tbls sliced sun dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup baby spinach and 3 turkey sausages (chopped)
Parchment paper Nonstick coconut cooking spray & Cheesecloth
1. Preheat oven to 400º F. 2. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat with spray. Set aside. FOR CRUST: 1. Place broccoli in food processor (or blender); pulse until the consistency of rice. 2. Bring water to boil in steamer or large saucepan over high heat. Add broccoli in steamer & reduce heat to medium-high; cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer broccoli to cheesecloth to cool. Squeeze dry. 3. To make crust, combine cooled broccoli, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, garlic, and herbs in a medium mixing bowl; mix well. 4. Transfer broccoli mixture to the center of prepared baking sheet. Shape into an approximately 10- to 12-inch pizza crust by pressing down and out with fingertips. 5. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until crust is set and is slightly browned around the edges. FOR TOPPING: 1. Brush crust with oil. Top with spinach, tomatoes, sausage. Lastly careful crack two eggs on the top of the other ingredients, finish it off with remaining cheese. 2. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and eggs are starting to set. Switch to the broiler setting; broil for 2 minutes or until golden brown and eggs are done. 3. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. 4. Cut into six slices.
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Beef Stew with Sweet Potatoes
Container Equivalents 1/2 green 1/2 yellow 1 1/2 red
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb. 10 oz. raw lean beef stew meat
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
2 medium celery stalks chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
8 cups low sodium organic beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground paprika
3 bay leaves (I did not have any so I left them out)
2 medium tomatoes chopped
2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes (I used cubed butternut squash that I found already cut for me at the grocery store)
2 tsp cornstarch
1. Heat oil in large pot (I used a dutch oven) over medium high heat.
2. Add stew meat; cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, or until browned.
3. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
4. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
5. Add 1 cup broth and the wine; cook, stirring constantly, scraping bottom of pan so beef doesn't stick, for 5-8 minutes, or until liquid is reduced in half.
6. Add salt, pepper, paprika, bay leaves and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until liquid has almost completely evaporated, and tomatoes begin to break down.
7. Add remaining 7 cups broth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
8. Add sweet potatoes, cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.
9. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bow; whisk to blend.
10. Add cornstarch mixture to stew; cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, or until stew has thickened slightly.