Posts Tagged tofu

Upland Brewing Co.

Friday night my friends and I ate at Upland Brewing Co. and had some fantastic food.

Upland is an award winning microbrewery that has been around since 1998 in Bloomington, Indiana.  You can get their beer in many local stores in Indiana, and their restaurant isn’t half bad, either!  Upland is a good choice for supporting a local brewery that is also focused on energy conservation and community.

I was really excited to get there and see a pretty good variety of vegetarian options.  There was even a salad designated as vegan!  Of course, it’s pretty easy to make a vegan salad, but the fact that it’s pointed out on the menu is pretty cool.Their menu is online, too, which is nice.

One downside is that they don’t take reservations, and you can’t call ahead to put your names on a list.  So we had to wait to get a table, and they are basically always busy.  The good thing?  They told us it would be about a 30 minute wait, but we got in around 10 minutes after that.

I decided to get the Upland Wheat Ale.  I’ve had this beer a couple times before and I enjoy it.  It’s light and summery, has a hint of bitterness, and is served with a slice of orange.  Plus, it’s beautiful.  Unfortunately, I was a little remiss in taking pictures (shock!) and the only picture I have is after I drank almost half of it and squeezed the orange to death.  :/

I chose the Coconut Tofu with Orange-Ginger Vinaigrette for my entree.

Coconut breaded tofu, cherry tomatoes, carrots julienne, sliced cucumbers, mixed field greens. (It doesn’t come with a pickle, but a friend didn’t want hers.  I love my pickles!)

The orange-ginger vinaigrette was awesome.  I want this dressing in a bottle to eat at home!  I was dipping my last bites of tofu into it – odd since I usually don’t like semi-sweet dressings, or ginger.

Along with my Wheat Ale and Coconut Tofu I got a cup of the tomato florentine soup, which was delicious.  I loved the wilted spinach in it, and it had some surprising veggies and a light tomato flavor.

All in all, despite being a little more expensive as restaurants go, I would love to go back again soon.  I loved the food I got, the company I was with, and supporting a local business!

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Maple Sesame Tofu

I decided to make a tofu sandwich.  Sandwiches are basically perfect, in my opinion.  I love a well made sandwich.  My sister watches me make them sometimes and tells me how crazy I am for the time I put into mine.  But a sandwich made with love is a sandwich with taste!  Tofu is totally new to me, so some experimenting is necessary.

Vegan Maple Sesame Tofu Sandwich

To start: buy tofu

I probably would get extra firm next time.

Squeeze all the water out, however you choose to do that.  I used some paper towels and a cutting board.

Gather marinade ingredients together.

I used (all these are kind of rough estimates – use however much you want, basically):
2 T. Maple Syrup
2 T. Agave Nectar
2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
1.5 T. Hot Sesame Oil
Cracked black pepper to taste

Place tofu in a bowl with the marinade.

Let it marinate at least 2 hours in the fridge (I let mine go overnight).

Take tofu out, and place on a lightly oiled skillet.  Let cook until it’s as firm/crispy as you wish.  I liked getting mine a little brown and crackly.

You can do whatever you want with this – it’d probably be good with a vegetable stir fry of some kind.  I went with my original idea, which was reminiscent of my dragon tofu sandwich from Bloomingfoods.

On toasted whole wheat with red onions, spinach, and vegenaise.

This was great!  I’m looking forward to trying more combinations and seeing what I can do with it.

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Memories are made of this, and Vegenaise

Tuesday morning I had a piece of toast with Soy Free Earth Balance and a coffee smoothie.  While I don’t totally avoid soy, I don’t rush to replace everything animal based with it.  All things in moderation.  And I really liked it.  It tastes just about the same as butter, & is easy to spread.  I’ve never liked “fake” butters before, so this is a keeper!

For lunch I had half a dragon tofu sandwich from Bloomingfoods.  I love this sandwich.  I’m planning on trying different tofu sandwiches in the future (see, this is me not avoiding all soy).  I had the other half after I got home from work around 4 pm.

Before I headed home I actually went out to the the east side Bloomingfoods to pick up some Vegenaise, which I’ve been wanting to get.  I love it on the sandwiches I’ve gotten at Bloomingfoods so I thought I’d try it for real.  Tomato + mayonnaise sandwiches have been my late night weakness lately.

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Funnily enough, I ran into one of my best friend’s mom at downtown Bloomingfoods, and then again at the east side one (she manages them – another reason I love B-foods, brand loyalty!), with her son and his girlfriend!  Then another of my best friends walked in!  It was pretty priceless having everyone just meet up like that.

Bloomingfoods is stocking lots more Raw foods than I can believe!  Too bad I can’t afford $12 granola and $9 energy bars.  That’s okay, I can make all that at home.  🙂

Then I was planning on going out to a show at The Bishop to see a band I haven’t watched since high school!  They were good, and it was fun.  I had to fuel up before I went out.

Quinoa with Soy Free Earth Balance and black pepper.  I really liked this, and I love that quinoa is a complete protein.  It’s so good, and easier to make than rice.

Then half a piece of toast with almond butter and blackberry jam.

After the show I went to The Vid with Maggie.  A couple other best friends stopped by for a drink and a game of pool.  Maggie and I must have played 3 or 4 games of pool.  It was so much fun!!  Memories for a lifetime, that’s what I’m making right now and loving it.

I always have a craving for pizza when we go out drinking.  Probably because Greek’s and Rockit’s are just down the street.  Mmm…  Good thing I thought ahead and brought a Prana Bar – Mango Maca.  This was very good, if a bit too sweet, and saved me from buying pizza.  I ate totally vegan the past two days!

Afterward I walked home with Maggie and we hung out and chatted for hours. Such a good time – life with my friends right now is making me so happy.  They are such blessings in my life.  ❤

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Wednesday I got up and had a slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter and blackberry jam, and 1/2 cup of orange juice.  Notice a theme here?  😉

Dinner was a mixed bowl a la Angela.  She makes bowls like this a lot, and as someone who loves mixing textures and flavors, it’s right up my alley.

Quinoa with some hummus, salsa, garlic pasta sauce, some green chili paste (made by one of my dad’s coworkers who’s Indian – I don’t know everything in it) and 1/2 an avocado.  YUM.

For dessert I wanted ice cream.  My bananas weren’t quite frozen, but I had some banana soft serve anyway.

It had:
1 semi-frozen banana
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1 T. peanut butter
A little less than 1 T. almond butter

I put a little blackberry jam in the bowl, and the last bit of my chocolate coconut snowballs.

I’m a happy girl.  🙂

Stay tuned for some experimenting with tofu and a surprise breakfast treat! I’m super excited to see how they’ll turn out!

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Experimenting in the Kitchen

I’ve been enjoying trying out lots of different smoothie recipes lately.  My latest creation is a homemade mocha!

Mocha Smoothie
1 frozen banana
~1 c. almond milk
1 T. cocoa powder
1 packet
Starbucks Via instant coffee (I’ve been looking for a way to add a coffee flavor to my chocolate smoothies – this is it!)
2-3 ice cubes
Optional: sweetener
(I use ~1 T. agave nectar)

Sidenote: I am not a heavy coffee drinker.  I don’t brew it in the mornings regularly, but I enjoy an occasional cup – and I love mochas.  I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks for many reasons, but this instant coffee is awesome.  Instant flavor, easy to add, and extremely portable.

Loving it!  I’m sure there will be pictures posted in the future.  The reason I don’t have one for today is because I didn’t make this smoothie this morning.

No frozen bananas this morning.  😥  So….I looked around to see what I could find.  Remember when I raved about opening my young Thai coconuts?  Well, I saved the coconut meat in the freezer.  And I thought I’d try a coconut mocha smoothie.  What could go wrong, right?

Into the blender went the frozen coconut, almond milk, cocoa powder, coffee mix, and agave.

Out of the blender came an oddly textured, coffee flavored, slightly gelatinous coconut tapioca pudding.  Yuck.  I got about half of it down (cause I was hungry!  I’m a breakfast girl) and threw the rest out.  Lesson learned.  I won’t be trying this again.  Maybe if I had a Vita-Mix it would have gone better…. *sigh*  A girl can dream.

But you never know unless you try.

At work I got a 3 cheese sandwich and cranberry kombucha from Bloomingfoods to wash the taste out of my mouth and memory.  Sadly, there were no dragon tofu sandwiches like the one I had the other day.

I went with a friend to 10th Street Market to pick up some zaatar.  Unfortunately they were out so I’ll have to go back another time.  I did pick up some pita, nori sushi sheets and a bamboo sushi mat for cheapo, though!  I’m excited to try making some vegetarian sushi for lunches.  I love sushi, but it can be so expensive.

After I got home I was so exhausted for some reason.  I took a short nap, and woke up hungry.

1 piece of pita (they’re large but thin with pockets) cut in half.  Half I spread with garlic/roasted red pepper hummus and sliced cherry tomatoes.  The other half I spread with almond butter and blackberry jam (yum!) and 1/2 a sliced banana.  Extra hummus on the side.

Almond butter + blackberry jam is great!  I can’t wait to have this again.

I’ve been a little bored today.  I should probably get up and do laundry and clean, but hmmm.  No motivation.  Not a drop.  We’ll see what I can manage to get done before I have to go to bed.  Work will come early tomorrow.

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On a Date….with Mom

Yesterday I had the day off (unusual, I work on Sundays) so my mom and I went on a DATE.  😀

We ran errands, returned my brother’s tux from prom – he looked great!  Our plan was to find something for me to wear under my cap and gown for graduation.  But first, we had to get something to eat.

I’ve talked about Bloomingfoods before and how much I love it.  Well, we stopped at the east side today and decided to eat from the hot bar there.

I had steamed veggies, brown rice, and salad with peas, garbanzo beans, carrots, red onions, a hard boiled egg, and tau dressing.

What a great salad.  Gah, it was delicious.  I’m actually not hungry right now but I would love to go back and eat that again.  Which, speaking of….

We got some red curry tofu as well.  It could have a little bit more “curry” kick, but it was goooood.

With some of these…

I’ve seen these around the blog world, but this is my first time trying them.  We got the black pepper flavor.  They were very good, very filling, and a lot lighter and crispier than I expected.  I love the simple ingredients, as well.  I’ll definitely be buying again.

The other day I bought some whole wheat pita bread from Bloomingfoods that I really like.  And the nutritional profile is excellent!  190 calories, just a couple grams of fat, with almost no sugar and 8 grams of protein.  Yes, please.  I had some for lunch at work a few days ago with hummus, a carrot, and an avocado.

I tell you what, this really filled me up.  I only had one of the carrots, and I ate the kiwi later as a snack on my break outside.

Beautiful, no?

*Sidenote: As a former nailbiter, I have to point out how fantastic my nail looks in this picture.  I have struggled with this habit for over a decade and I kicked it!!!  Just proof that if you really want to change something about yourself, you can do it.  You just have to really want it, work at it, and find ways to encourage your own success.  Whatever works!

Well, that concludes my update for today.  I’m trying to stay up on my blog, but this is finals week, my room is a mess, I have so much to do that I feel like I’m going crazy.  But it will soon be over, and I will say that I am enjoying about 85% of my day, every day.  Well, maybe 87%.  And that’s a good thing!  🙂

Til (hopefully) tomorrow….  I’ll leave with this quote that I love, courtesy of possibly my favorite blogger, Angela of Oh She Glows:

“It isn’t necessary to know exactly how your ideal life will look; you only have to know what feels better and what feels worse…Begin making choices based on what makes you feel freer and happier, rather than on how you think an ideal life should look. It’s the process of feeling our way toward happiness, not the realization of the Platonic ideal, that creates our best lives.” ~Martha Beck

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Roots, Part Deux

So Thursday afternoon my mom and I went to Roots for lunch.  I am graduating from college in (gasp!) 2 weeks, and we went shopping for my graduation presents!

I love having “dates” with my mom.  Seriously, my mom is awesome.  I’m sure many people think that about their own moms, but I always like to say it.

We shared all our food – it was a “trying something new” day!  Mom got the sampler platter.  Which was good, although everything on it was basically fried.  Not ideal, but it was fun to try.

Sweet  potato fries, seitan nuggets, curry puffs, falafel, fried tofu, spring rolls. Three dipping sauces, including plum sauce.

To make up for it I got the garden wraps with plum sauce which were so refreshing and light – we both loved them.  I’m planning on replicating this at home.

I also got a cup of sweet potato curry soup.  All I can say is – wow.  I am so trying this at home.  I rarely have the courage to try new soups in restaurants (I almost got the tomato instead) but I’m so glad I didn’t.  This soup was light while still filling, tasted fantastic, and had a bit of a spicy kick that was wonderful.

The bread was pretty fantastic, too.

All in all, a great lunch.  And as for my graduation presents – I’ll detail those in another post.  Suffice it to say – I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THEM!  😀

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