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9.30.2010

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies {Gluten-free}


UPDATE: This picture won in the desserts category in Bob's Red Mill contest.

Wowzers, this week has flown by so quickly! Perhaps it has to do with waking up so early the past 3 days. My gym changed the morning hours from 8am to 6am so that people that have to work can have their workout. Seeing that this was  the first week, I have to say I have been LOVING it! It has somewhat been painful because I have been a bad girl and not been going to bed as early as I should be, but I have STILL been getting up early. Maybe if I had several bed sets around the house then I would be forced to go to bed sooner. I all has to be backwards for me. :) What has been my incentive? I picked up a friend twice this week! She decided to join the gym with me because the time was perfect for her. I am so happy.


Today was my third 6am workout with a weight class that was super wonderful. I can't believe the amount of energy I have and how much more time I have in the mornings to make breakfast and pack lunches for Ryan and me. All good.


This morning I had a GREEN MONSTER smoothie 10 minutes after my workout. I used the last of my spinach and made the following:
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • a pint of golden raspberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • flaxseed oil
  • protein powder
I feel reenergized and ready to take on today. After 2 weeks of a hectic schedule and inconsistent working out, this week has been a dream. Everything is feeling better on me too! Such a plus!


This week I worked on a new recipe / creation that I was very pleased with that made use of some leftover pumpkin puree. Tis the season to use this delicious vegetable and I have to say that I tend to use it in the most popular ways. A NEW way of used pumpkin puree has been in smoothies, which I have not tried yet.


I decided to continue along the lines of chocolate and brownies. Seeing that I had already made a perfect vegan brownie courtesy of Ricki from her dessert cookbook, Sweet Freedom, I decided to createmy own gluten-free vegan brownie. Have I mentioned that gluten-free baking is scary for a newbie? Well, I decided to be brave and try my hands at a seasonal brownie.


I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour instead of using separate gluten-free flours so in a way I stay a bit safe. I sweetened my brownies with maple syrup and dark chocolate and added vegan chocolate chips. The combination was SO GOOD! I feel like these brownies got a lot more moist as each day passed, ironically enough. They were perfect with a cup of almond milk or with coffee.


Even though I plan to tinker with the recipe even more, I thought they were good enough to share. ENjoy!



Double Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

makes 9 brownies50 grams (1.75 ounces) dark chocolate squares
2 Tablespoons Tropical Traditions coconut oil
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons flax seed meal
6 Tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (or regular flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup vegan chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degree and spray a 9x9 dish with coconut spray (or other spray)

Melt down chocolate, peanut butter, coconut oil over a water bath. (Use a glass dish and place over a pot of hot water)


In separate bowl, mix flax seed meal and warm together and whisk until “eggy” consistency.


Add the maple syrup, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract to the flax seed mixture.


In another separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and the cinnamon. Sit mixture into wet ingredients and fold until well mixed.


Add chocolate chips.


Bake for 30 minutes.

9.29.2010

Apple Dumplings with Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream {Gluten-free}

I forgot I was going to announce winners for the Zevia drinks AND the TOFU press. Random.org picked the following people: Congrats!!!

Monet @Anecdotes and Apple Cores won the 6-pack Zevia (please email me your mailing address and phone number)

ChristinaAlmond won the TofuXpress. (please email me your mailing address and phone number)

This past weekend Ryan and I went to the Renaissance Festival for the first time in YEARS! We only went because I had won some tickets so who can't help not going to something for free? Iremember as a child that I did not like it because it was always SO crowded, with people smoking and people strangely dressed. Well nothing has really changed in 20 years. :) It seemed to be more of an excuse to dress up before Halloween came around. Some of the costumes were not even PERIOD costumes. Oh well.


Another thing I also remember is that this festival had great eats. The big turkey legs, fried foods, apple dumplings, and more. When lunch came around this time, it took a while for both of us to make a decision. The festival map indicated that there were vegan options. VEGAN options at the RenFest? Yes, I was very surprised, but not all of it was healthy. They had fried tempura veggies, veggie fried spring rolls and Spicy Vegetables and Rice with Plum Sauce. So does anyone know what I ordered? Yep, I went with the veggies.
It was probably the best deal around the whole fest. It was tasty for sure! We continued walking and enjoying the sites and booths.




We were surprised we did not hear MORE music around because I remember the Texas RenFest had a lot more music. The instrumentalists told us that there wasmore music here than there would be in the Colorado fest which virtually does not have any music. Well, these tend to be more commercial events than anything. They sell so many things and hardly anything is free. What was the best way to use our money? How about some treats?  Ryan was ready for something sweet so he headed to the line that he had been eyeing for a while. Yep. Apple dumplings with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.


I knew for sure that was not vegan so I watched him enjoy it while I waited to get home to make my own. How is that for inspiration? Well, I waited a day before I could brainstorm the perfect recipe.


Apple Dumplings


makes 2 big dumplings


Pastry
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 Tablespoons agave or coconut crystals
1 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 Tablespoons Spectrum vegetable shortening (or coconut oil)
3 to 4 Tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Milk or other dairy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix all the ingredients together except for the last 2. Using a pastry cutter, mix the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand.


Add the coconut milk and mix the dough with hands until well mixed. Split the dough in half and take each half and flatten until 1/2 inch thick. If dough is too sticky, use a bit of the brown rice flour to keep dough together. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.



Filling
1 apple, peeled and sliced thinly
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoon Coconut or agave nectar

1/2 Tablespoon Earth Balance (optional)

cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup Purely Decadent Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream
Coconut or agave nectar for drizzle


Slice the apples and divide in half between each flattened dough. Place apples in the center. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon over the apples and drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of nectar.

To make dumpling, bring dough around the apples carefully, since the dough is different. bring together until it forms a ball or large dumpling.


Dollop with 1/4 Tablespoon of Earth Balance if desired and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve with 1/2 cup Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream and drizzle with the Coconut Nectar.

My childhood memory and recreation was DELCIOUS! It truly is fun when something unhealthy can be recreated to something healthier. Ryan loved it and gave it a thumbs up!

This was submitted to this Challenge that Ricki and Kim are hosting. Check it out. Tomorrow is the last day to enter!

9.28.2010

Italian-Tofu Steak Sandwiches w/ Red Pepper Mayo and Pumpkin Gazpacho

Greetings all! I am finally back in my kitchen and have started to cook in a frenzy. I have been missing creating dishes, but I have been creating something else meanwhile, like music! I had to make some sacrifices this weekend but it was VERY much worth it.


I took advantage of creating 2 recipes tonight that feature a company that will be part of the Foodbuzz Festival in November in San Francisco. When I saw the coverage last year, I really set my mind to be part of it this year. Foodbuzz has given Featured Publishers an opportunity to create dishes with Nature's Pride breads. They will be choosing six new Bread Ambassadors to have the opportunity to showcase unique recipes using Nature’s Pride breads at the Foodbuzz Taste Pavilion. As a thank you for their participation, Nature’s Pride will cover their accommodation and airfare costs! Folks, it is expensive to get to California, but I am really determined to go and am even nervous as I type this post. :)


Monday is a great day to make good meals, because there is more time and more opportunity to create, at least this is the way it works for me. Autumn welcomed this morning at 6am with chilly weather so I decided to make an Autumn-inspired soup as a starter. I have not had the opportunity to make my own pumpkin, but I was able to snag a can or organic pumpkin so that I could make this dish.


In the summer I made a Spanish Gazpacho so I decided to work off my original recipe and create one for the this great fall weather. Even though I used a Vitamix to make this quick and delicious soup, it can be warmed up quickly on the stove, for those who like warm soups. Vitamix has the option of letting the mixture blend as long as you want to for the blade to create some natural warmth. Either way, I had mine at room temperature and it was super creamy.




I carefully used my bread slices appropriately like using the sad bread butts that everyone usually ignores.


I pulsed these 2 slices in the food processor and toasted them in the oven.


I quickly washed all my vegetables and added them to my high-powered blender and processed until completely smooth and creamy. I definitely could not wait to have this soup. But was is a soup with a nice hot sandwich?? Nothing! Well, not entirely but it would be a little naked, ya know.


I whipped out my lovely tofu press and pressed a block of tofu. I was in the mood for something with meaty consistency. DANGER VEGETARIANS and MEAT-EATERS! This sandwich is OUT of this world! I have prepared this sandwich 3 times and my non-vegan husband loves it and even said that it was my best creation yet. Thanks babe!


After pressing the tofu:


I sliced in half and then slice it in thirds width-wise. I marinated it with olive oil, Italian spices, salt and white pepper.


I grilled them and then sauteed the onions and peppers.




I then sliced the tofu in strips and added it to the veggie mixture.




 I then prepared my special Red Pepper Mayo and added some to 2 slices of toasted Multi-grain Bread and added the Tofu Steaks mixture to one slice.






I then added some cheese for my hubby and some vegan cheese on mine and placed in the oven to broil until melted.
How about a little bit more? I then topped it off with Pepperocini Peppers and sealed the deal folks.


This was my favorite part of the meal as it was for Ryan. It was so flavorful and it definitely satisfied my protein factor. Meat-eaters, Vegetarians, and Vegans! This dish is for you!


Vote for me so I can get to go this this fantastic festival. Make the sandwich too while you are at it!

I also added this to the Kitchen Bootcamp series for this month which focuses on sandwiches.



Italian-Tofu Steak Sandwiches w/ Red Pepper Mayo

makes 4 sandwiches

Tofu Steaks

1 - 14 ounce extra-firm tofu, water-packed
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoon  Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Red Pepper Mayo
3 strips Mezzetta Roasted Bell Peppers (3/4 cup)
1/3 cup Veganaise (or regular mayonnaise)
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pepper and Onion Fry
2 onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt

8 slices of Nature's Pride Healthy Multi-Grain bread
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (or Daiya vegan mozzarella)


1 cup deli-sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini


Use a tofu press to press tofu for 45 minutes. If a tofu press is not available, wrap extra-firm tofu in papertowel and place on a plate. Place another plate on top and wiegh down with several heavy cookbooks. This will release the excess liquids.


Meanwhile, mix the olive oil, seasonings and salt in a bowl and set aside.


Using a food processor, blender or immersion blender, place the red peppers, mayonnaise, garlic cloves, and salt in a bowl and blend well until completely smooth. Place in the fridge for chilling.


Slice the onions and red peppers thinly and set aside.


As soon as the tofu has finished pressing, remove from press or from paper, and pat dry with a dry piece of paper towel. Heat a griddle on the stove on medium heat.


Turn the oven on broil and place the rack on the next to top level.


On a cutting board, slice the tofu width wise. Take each half and slice in 3 slices each for a total of 6 slices. Using a kitchen brush, brush the olive oil and seasonings mixture to each side of the tofu steaks. Lay each steak on the griddle and cook for 20 minutes(10 minutes on each side) until slightly browned. Remove steaks from the griddle and add the red pepper and onion mixture and fry for 10 minutes until the veggies are slightly caramelized.


Slice each tofu steak in slices and place on the griddle along with the grilled veggies and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slightly toast the 8 slices of bread in a toaster. Place those slices on the baking sheet. Add 2-3 teaspoons of the Red Pepper Mayo on each slice. Divide the Tofu Steak Mixture on only 4 slices of bread.


Sprinkle 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella on each slice and place the baking sheet on the rack. Broil until cheese is completely melted.


Remove the sandwiches from the oven. Add 1/4 cup of sliced peperoncini on top of each sandwich and cover with the other of the bread. Slice in half and enjoy.

Pumpkin Gazpacho

serves 2

2 1/2 cups tomatoes (2 large tomatoes)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 garlic cloves
1 carrot, peeled
2 slices Nature's Pride Healthy Multi-Grain Bread, pulsed and toasted
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon agave nectar or honey
2 teaspoons dulse flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pulse 2 slices of bread in a food processor until all crumbled. Place bread crumbs on cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a high-powered blender, add all the above ingredients, including the bread crumbs, and blend until smooth and creamy. Allow the blender to blend for a 1-2 minutes on high so that the soup will be warmed, if not eat as is. Enjoy!

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for any free product in Nature’s Pride line of buns and bread. For the purposes of this contest I selected Nature’s Pride Honey Wheat Bread to make my recipe

9.26.2010

Vocal Competition Success + a Recording


HI folks! This has been an eventful weekend and I can't help but feel like my head is in the clouds. I mentioned Friday that I was preparing for a vocal competition in Holland, MI among 24 singers on Saturday afternoon. Saturday started like all others. I decided to go to zumba class at 9:30am after drinking a green smoothie.
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1 apple
  • 1 1/2 cups packed spinach
  • protein powder
  • flaxseed oil
  • distilled water
I had an amazing hour workout with the BEST zumba teacher and then continued on with my normal morning chores. I cleaned the kitchen, folded laundry and just made sure the house was in order. Does a singer do this before competing??? I have to tell you that this is the VERY 1st time that I have felt complete peace and free of nerves before performing. I guess it is because I was on a high with my endorphins. I had my second smoothie instead of eating lunch because I usually do not eat before singing EVEN if it is 4 hours beforehand. 2nd smoothie:
  • 2 cups watermelon
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • 1/4 cup distilled water
Sounds interesting right? It was delicious and it gave me energy and kept me phlegm-free and dry-free, which is always a vocalist's nightmare.


It took us 1.5 hours to get to Holland which meant that my voice would be at rest. Well, I warmed up my voice in the car while Ryan drove since I had plenty of time to review words and notes. I arrived to the hall with 45 minutes to continue warming up and mentally preparing.


Ryan brought a recording device so that I could listen to my performance. I sang for these judges last year but had only reached the semi-finals. This year I also reached the semi-finals with 11 out of 24 singers. I was asked to sing the Verdi aria again, called O Patria Mia as my repeat performance. Guess what? I was the last singer to perform out of the 11. The judges assured us that the order did not mean anything at all.


After 45 minutes of deliberation the judges reached a conclusion and named 2 honorable mentions and 2 finalists. We had been told that 2 singers would be chosen as finalists so my friend Jeff and I split the cash prize. When I heard my name I could not believe it! Such an amazing feeling especially when I have been working a whole year with my new voice teacher. He has been a blessing and a God-send. I can't understand why I did not have this teaching before but God knows why at this time in my life he has chosen for me to learn what I have very much longed for.


Did I mention I was only running on 2 smoothies and water? He he he, well someone was starving after this competition was over. Even though it was 9:30pm before we got home, I made garlicky hummus with a side of red peppers and MAry's crackers with a big green salad. So delicious and worth the wait!


Enjoy the performance! I thank my wonderful and loving husband for putting this video and recording together.

9.24.2010

Buckwheat and Oats Waffles with Apples, Figs, and Maple Syrup

Today is such a windy day, so windy that our power went off for 20 minutes and could possibly  go out again. These 40 mile an hour winds can be scary but at least it is sunny and cool. Hopefully the day will be much better tomorrow! Tomorrow I compete with 24 singers in the Nicholas Loren Vocal Competition.

I am very excited to perform becasue I will be singing a brand new aria that is nearly 5 minutes long. I have prepared and memorized and have learned SO MUCH from my new voice teacher than I have ever in the past 10 years. Ryan will be recording it so I look forward posting it here soon. Pray for me! It is hard for me not to mentally get nervous but I am also somewhat confident in my new techinque. I pray that God gives me the strength to sing my BEST!
I wanted to leave you with a quick recipe for this weekend. I tried a gluten-free and vegan recipe yesterday that I loved! It is very fast and easy and requires a high-powered blender. I have LOVED my Vitamix, because it is in these type of recipes that I want to be ready to make something delicious.


I ran across Lexie's Kitchen through The Spunky Coconut's website and saw a great recipe for gluten-free waffles. I immediately jumped at it since I had all the ingredients at hand. I started heating my waffle maker and I started mixing my waffle ingredients. Here is the recipe, ready to be made wither for dinner tonight or breakfast anytime this weekend! Cheers!



Buckwheat and Oats Waffles

makes 6 waffles and 1 1/2 cups fruit


slightly adapted from Lexie's Kitchen


Add to high-powered blender in this order and blend on medium for 30 seconds or until smooth:


1-1/4 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Add and blend 10 seconds. Then the fun part—watch it grow and expand:


1 tablespoon BAKING POWDER


Pour batter into heated waffle iron lightly coated with oil. Cook 5 minutes or to desired crispness.


Apples, Figs and Maple Syrup

1/4 cup maple syrup
1-2 apples, diced and cored
4 figs, diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts

Mix all together and place on top of hot waffles and eat!

9.23.2010

Apple Cobbler Parfaits + Giveaway #2


Good morning! I see that people have enjoyed signing up for the GREAT giveaway I posted yesterday. Do not feel intimidated. You can leave ONE comment and still have a chance to win. Check out yesterday's giveaway HERE.

This past weekend I bought lots of apples to serve as a snack to the college students before performing in Ryan's recital. I bought Gala apples at a GREAT price but I also ended up taking 2 bags home with me too. No problems. It just meant I was going to be making several apple recipes in the next few days.

I decided to try my hand at creating a brand new raw recipe using only natural ingredients. It took only 10-15 minutes to put these desserts together. Ryan had asked for coffee so that he could stay up a little longer, but what he did not know is that I was making dessert too. He was on the phone so he was quite distracted, so wehn he got off the phone and saw this dessert, his eyes got big.

What could it be? I could tell that from his eyes. :)  As he sat down to talk to me about his phone conversation he started eating his parfait. How long did it take him to eat it? Well how about 5 minutes? He also ate the rest of my parfait too! Ha ha ha. I am happy that my husband liked it because no matter how many times he tries raw desserts, there is not quite enough sweetness factor to it. I think he is getting used to it.

Even though this dessert requires a high-powered blender and a food processor, you might be able to make both steps by food processor. This dessert would also be perfect for breakfast since it had apple pectin and is perfect for the digestion. No problems going to the bathroom, that is for sure! Okay, maybe too much infomation but it is all about the FIBER folks. Make sure you get your daily dose and this is one way, for sure!

I created this post for the SOS Kitchen Challenge being held by Ricki from Diet, Desserts, and Dogs and Kim from Affairs of Living.


Apple Cobbler Parfaits

makes 2

Apple mix
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cubes (1/4 inch)
1/2 cup dried and sweetened cranberries

Cut the apples in cubes and mix in the cranberries. Set aside.

Apple puree
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut in 4
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons almond milk
3 Tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or food processor and blend until smooth.

Almond crumble
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dried and unsweetened cranberries
3 dates, pitted

Place all ingredients in the food processor and process until mixture resembles wet sand.


Assembly
Mix Apple mix into the Apple puree to make the apple cobbler mix.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons of Apple Cobbler to a parfait glass. Top with 2 Tablespoons of the almond crumble. Alternate until you end with 1 Tablespoon of the apple cobbler. Enjoy!

You think I forgot my second giveaway?? HEck no! The people at Zevia sent me a variety pack to sample. It is a natural soda sweetened with stevia and erythritol. It is very bubbly and it is not ladened with all the high fructose syrups but is a good substitute. I am not a huge soda pop kind of gal but this pop is a great substitute for those who can't get away from soda.


One lucky reader will be able to receive a 6-pack variety of Zevia to enjoy. Even though there are 7 flavors shown above, you will only receive a 6-pack of the following flavors:
  1. Ginger Root Beer
  2. Dr. Zevia (tastes like Dr. Pepper)
  3. Cola
  4. Ginger Ale
  5. Black Cherry
  6. Lemon Lime Twist
  7. Orange
I personally enjoy the Black Cherry and the Cola the best. They have a great flavor and go with any meal.

Leave me a comment telling me which flavor you would like to taste. Last day to enter will be tomorrow, September 24, 2010.

I will announce the winner on Monday, Spetember 27th in the morning.  Thanks!

9.22.2010

TofuXpress GIVEAWAY!

After yesterday's post I figured it was time to let you all know that this month is my blogiversary! I cannot believe I have been blogging for a year now! It has been very rewarding and very exciting, especially when one starts building a community.


The next 3 days are going to be featuring 3 different giveaways to celebrate my new year of blogging. Today, the folks at TofuXpress have decided to give away one of their tofu presses to one my readers! How exciting! This gadget is the best for pressing foods other than JUST tofu, but is perfect for pressing salads, spinach, or anything that may create excess liquids.


From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
It comes in 4 parts. It has the base, where the food item is placed, the press plus the handle and then it comes with a cover if you happen to want to marinate the tofu. It is very durable and is easy to wash.


If you want one of these babies, please do the following:

1. Tell me how you would use the press! (Leave a comment)

2. Sign up on Google Reader or Subscribe to Opera Singer in the Kitchen. (Leave a comment)

3. "Like" Opera Singer in the Kitchen on Facebook (Leave a comment)

4. Tweet this message: Check out the @tofuxpress giveaway @singerinkitchen #win http://bit.ly/aEkr8U

5.. Follow OSK on Twitter @singerinkitchen (Leave a comment)


6. Follow @tofuxpress on Twitter (Leave a comment)

7. "Like" TofuXpress on Facebook or subscribe to their newsletter at www.TofuXpress.com.

Deadline to sign up will be Monday, September 27th. Winner will be announced next Webnesday, September 29th. Good luck!

9.21.2010

Pad Thai with Tofu {Revisited} + Tofu Xpress Review


Hi all! I am back from the deep recesses of recital madness! Ryan's DMA Recital was a huge success and a load off both our shoulders, even though it is probably more a load off Ryan's than mine. We had at least 50 people attend the recital plus all the singers and instrumentalists. It turned out to be around 80 people in the church! This is definitely more than I expected for sure.

It is a blessing that everything came together SO quickly especially since Ryan had only 2 weeks (12 hours) of rehearsal time to teach us 12 pieces.  Intense work folks. Like I said before, I was a sight-singing fiend! I do not know if I mentioned it, but Ryan assigned me two solos. One came from an amazing Rossini piece called I Gondolieri which was more of a quartet alternating with solo sections.

The other piece was an Argentinian piece by Albert Favero that was arranged by Liliana Cangiano called Te Quiero. I had not perfomed in Spanish in a long time so I was thrilled to since a solo for this love song.


Even though I was relieved that Ryan's recital is over, I will miss making music like that. I am also thankful that I will no longer have to split my time between being a performer and being a caterer. I was WIPED this weekend. If it had not been for the ladies and friends at church helping me out with baked goods and a cake, then I would not be writing tonight. I feel so blessed to be able to ask friends for help because I totally would not have been able to do it myself. I do not have pictures of the event but there was more than enough baked goods and sheet cake for 80 people, thank GOD! What I did not have enough  of was the punch part, but we made do. It was such a great success. I can tell you that I feel more confident being able to make larger meals for large groups of people, but hopefully being paid for it! He he he. My time means something ya know? :)


Tonight I had a chance to get back to my cooking again. Even though I did not work out, I knew that Ryan and I needed to get the house back in order. How can a small duplex get so messy SO fast? Ok, don't answer that. :)


I worked with the TofuXpress but even more so I could take pictures that I had lost last week. This press is the best thing I have used in a long time when it comes to gadgets. I love my press!! What I did find out about this press is that it presses certain types of tofu but not all successfully.


The press does not work for MORI-NU tofu or any that come in aseptic containers. These are better for smoothies, soups, quick tofu scrambles and such but not for pressing. I have tried several times and it has FAILED.


What DOES work is the tofu that comes in water like the Nasoya brands and brands like this:

I opened the container and drained the water and then placed the tofu in the press.

The water naturally separates to the top after I place the press above the tofu. If I am using the tofu for dinner, I usually start pressing the tofu in the morning, but otherwise it only needs 30 minutes to and an hour to press. I then check on the water and empty the container every 15 minutes.

I then remove the tofu from the press and pat it dry. I then use it however I want whether it is to make tofu steaks or tofu cubes for a stirfry. Tonight I decided to make a pad thai with the tofu. I marinated the tofu cubes in sesame oil and tamari and then fried them in a non-stick skillet.

 Perfection folks! They pan-fried so lovely and were a great addition to the pad thai. Who needs chicken, when you got delicious tofu? Stay tuned for an upcoming giveaway of one of these great gadgets!


Pad Thai with Tofu {Revisited}

serves 4


14 ounces extra firm organic tofu in water
3 cups flat rice noodles (1/2 inch thick)
4 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup mirin
3 Tablespoons ketchup (or tamarind concentrate)
1/8 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1-1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai chili sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 Tablespoon dulse flakes (adds fishy flavor)
3 cups broccoli florets
2 carrots. julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
4 Tablespoons crushed peanuts
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts


Soak noodles in warm water for 20-30 minutes and press tofu at the same time. Cube pressed tofu in 1 inch pieces.


Heat a non-stick pan with 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil on medium heat. Add tofu and fry for 20 minutes. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of Tamari for flavor.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

In a medium wok, add remaining sesame oil. Saute' carrots, peppers, and broccoli for 5-7 minutes. Drain noodles and add to the wok. Continue cooking for 5 minutes.


In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients: agave nectar, mirin, ketchup, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, Thai chili sauce, and dulse flakes. Add the sauce to the noodles and veggies. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes on medium heat, until the noodles and sauce start to to absorb.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Add tofu to noodles and 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts to mixture. Serve immediately and add peanuts on top.

Don't forget to vote for me to be the next Food Blog Star! Visit my post and vote by clicking on the heart. Thanks!
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