It's a WRAP!

IMG_4965And by wrap, I mean lettuce wraps, duh. I'm hungry all the time. Like all the time. Every damn thing I eat gives me some level of heart burn and acid reflux, but magically this meal gives me none of the painful affliction. Also, it tastes good as hell!! I'm a huge fan of all things Minimalist Baker and I love all of her spring roll recipes, but on this particular night I was too lazy to deal with rice wrappers. I thought, ya know what, this would taste delish in some yummy butter lettuce. And it was. It was delish. Here's whatcha gotta do to make these tasty suckers. Step one. Preheat oven to 450. Place sliced, pressed tofu on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cook for 25-20 minutes. This is a Minimalist Baker technique and it turns out crispy and perfect. You would swear that it was deep fried.

Step two. Cook up thin rice noodles via package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.

IMG_4964Step three. Thinly slice cucumbers, red peppers, mango, carrots, jalapeño, etc. Slice limes. Add a pile of bean sprouts, for the non-preggos. Coarsely chop peanuts or cashews.

Step four. Pull off lettuce leaves, wash, and dry.

Step five. Make THIS dipping sauce. I make a ton and use a tablespoon or so to toss the crispy tofu in just to coat.

Step six. Assemble and destroy many, many, many lettuce wraps. Mic drop. IMG_4967

Does it even matter???

So I haven't blogged-- hell- I haven't written anything in quite some time. Been busy on a little something called living my damn life… Can I get an amen!? I don't know how mommy bloggers with tiny ones do it. Stay connected to their kids, spouse, friends, work, and find time to care about writing a blog. More power to ya sistas.
After many a long talk with The Captain it's become pretty obvious that my issue isn't really time or content, it's wondering if it really matters… Like who really cares?! I have a small and loyal following so it's not to dog on you, but seriously, does sharing my thoughts on food, fashion, and mommyhood even matter... What I've come up with is... No. In the grand scheme of important world shit, it's tiny. But at the end of the day writing makes me happy. I enjoy it. I don't really get the time I once had to write daily or even 3 times a week! Dude, I now write blog posts in the privacy of my bathroom on my cellphone. Life is just different. And it's good. Heck, it's great.
So this isn't happening in a week or even a month. We bought our first home via FaceTime 2000 miles away. So the next few months are gonna be filled with packing, adventuring, and soaking up all our amazing city has to offer before we hit the road. But I'm excited to get back to posting quick healthy meals for the whole fam, showing you our new home and how decorating can be fun and chic even with a toddler and minimal budget, and oh-so much more.
2016 is gonna be a blast.

Today we eat our feelings…

photo 1Sometimes a girl just needs to eat her feelings. I'm lucky that my beautiful and wonderful and tough as nails friends agree. I've moved a lot since I married The Captain over 7 years ago and San Diego is where I've blossomed. In those years I stumbled a lot, I had a lot of things to figure out once I moved away from my friends and family. Now over the years growing up and finding security in myself and my faith is what really helped me become the Lauren I am today. For the first time in years have true [non-crazy] adult friends. I'm just beyond blessed that I've found people who love and accept me for the right-nutter that I am! Okay, I digress. Back to the food. So my kick ass friends decided we needed to do brunch and they are so awesome they let me make my crazy vegan food and one buddy even made the fluffiest most delicious vegan pancakes ever!! I mean like whoa. photo 5I made The Minimalist Baker's Best Damn Vegan Biscuits and I can assure you that they are insanely delicious and absolutely live up to the name! I finish them off with Fat Free Vegan's killer Mushroom Gravy and it tastes like unicorns and fairy dust. The awesome pancakes from Food.com were so yummy, I was amazed at how fluffy they were!!! Definitely try making these at your next big breakfast! And now my vegan quiche, the love of my life. I keep all the ingredients on hand to make this quiche just in case the craving hits… and yes, it hits often. Like really, really often.

Yields 8 Pieces [basically it feeds 2 hungry people or 4-6 normal people]

1 vegan pie crust, I love the Wholly Wholesome brand

1 box of silken tofu

1/4 of refrigerated firm tofu [basically like an inch or so]

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 tablespoon of arrowroot [you can substitute corn starch]

1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

photo 2

For this particular filling I used:

1 onion, sliced very thin

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup of kale, chopped

I like to caramelize my onions with water. Crazy thought I know, but seriously. I put the onions in a hot pan with 1/4 cup of water. Cook on high heat until  water evaporates, then continue the process until the onions are browned and yummy. It usually takes about 10 minutes. Then I pop in the red pepper and kale until heated through. Mix with tofu mixture and place in pie crust and bake for 45 minutes. Take out and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Now there are a tons of options here, like seriously, whatever your heart desires. Here are a few of my favorite combos.

[sautéed onions and mushrooms] [red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives] [chopped spinach and vegan cheese, like Daiya]

Enjoy!!!!

I ain't got time for that sh-- stir fry.

photo 1I love stir fries. I had them all the time when I was a kid and I totes see why!! They are packed with veggies and take 5 minutes to make. I have very little patience to cook these days, but am conveniently hungry all the time, so these are the perfect quick meals. I still opt for very quick cooking veggies that taste delish crunchy. Other quick options are thinly sliced red onions, thin asparagus stems, shredded kale, mushrooms, etc. You get it. I serve mine with jasmine rice because for some reason pregnancy has made my desire to eat brown rice non-existent. For the perfect rice, I always go just a little shy of the package ingredients. I loathe mushy rice. Like ugh, that's just day ruining. photo 2Feeds 2 decently hungry folks 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable stock to cook veggies

Big ole handful of snow peas, trimmed

1-2 handfuls of mini bell peppers equivalent of say 1 small bell pepper, sliced

1 can of baby corn, eat approximately 3 handfuls while prepping food

Sauce

1/4 cup Tamari

1/2 cup veggie stock

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

Optional

Sambel Oelek or Garlic Chili Sauce [I like to add mine as I go]

1-2 tablespoons of crushed cashews

So add a tablespoon of veggie stock to a pan and add snow peas. Cook until bright green and still crunchy, a few minutes. Add another tablespoon of stock and add the peppers, cook for just a minute or two. Then throw in the baby corn. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and pour into the hot pan. Cook on medium high until the sauce is thick and delish. You can then top with cashews or some spicy sambel oelek. If you want to have fun with the sauce you can add a touch of honey for a little sweetness or mix in a tablespoon of smooth almond butter for a delish nutty flavor. Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

photo 3

Recreating Perfection

photo 1 photo 2Last year I attended a friends wedding in Maryland and whilst in the DC area we were able to hang with some of our east coast peeps. One morning we ate at Busboys and Poets and my life forever changed. I had the most unbelievable and delish tofu wrap. It was seriously one of the best things I've ever eaten. I dream about it. I actually think about planning trips to DC just so that I can go and eat this thing again! Suuuurisly, it's totes that good. So after 8 months of craving, I had to try and recreate the tofu-y, faken' bacon-y, cheeze-y deliciousness. Note: this took a hot minute to prepare, so give yourself an hour if you want to enjoy this awesomeness. My wrap didn't turn out exactly like my dreams, but it was pretty tasty! The "bacon" was so super sweet and maple-y and the potatoes were a brilliant side. Feeds 4

Breakfast Potatoes

5 medium/small red potatoes, chopped small so they cook faster and crisp up easy

3 tablespoons of olive oil**

1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

a few pinches of salt

pinch of cayenne [optional]

Place potatoes evenly on a baking sheet, mix well with oil and spices. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, then bump the oven up to 450 and cook for 10 more minutes to crisp those suckers up!

Maple Bacon Seitan

2 seitan slices [if you can only find chunks than, of course, use those]

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of liquid smoke

1/4 teaspoon salt

Let the seitan soak up the maple goodness while you are working on your potatoes! Then sauté in a hot pan until cooked through. 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Be sure not to overcook or you will end up with rubber faken-bacon, I know something about this. It does NOT taste good. Chop into bite sized pieces for the wrap!

Tofu Scramble

1/2 block of tofu, pressed and then smushed with a fork

3 tablespoons red bell peppers, diced

3 tablespoons red onion, diced

handful of spinach, cut into strips

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup of diaya cheddar shreds

quarter of a lemon

cooked setian bacon

flour tortillas

I cook this up just like my tofu scramble. I used a touch of oil to start the onions because I was desperately trying to recreate the meal. Once they are soft add red peppers and spinach. Once spinach is wilted add smushed tofu and all spices. Finish off by adding the chopped pieces of seitan and the cheese mixing until melted. Place into tortillas, and fold in the sides and roll up into a yummy burrito!!

**Yes, I used oil!!! I don't cook with much oil in my house. I find it pretty unnecessary in daily life, it's basically fat and calories that you don't need in your life. I know plenty of people have plenty of opinions on healthy fat, blah blah. As an informed human, I find that it should be treated, like a cupcake, as an indulgence. Here is a list of research that is truly eye opening!**

It IS All Good

It's All Good Cookbook ReviewNowadays we want to know every aspect of celeb's lives until they tell us and then we call them snobs... or at least that's what seemed to happened with Gwyneth Paltrow. I have no idea why people give her such a hard time. Sure, she suggests clothes that cost more than 2 months rent in her "Get" posts and yes, her beloved manuka honey costs like 40 dollars a jar, but at the heart of her brand is finding balance within your own life. My takeaway has always been creating a distinct and wearable style for yourself, eating real food that's healthy AND delicious, finding local and interesting businesses to support, and to just enjoy the good things in life. At least that's my opinion. And hell, if I made millions of dollars I'd be buying Helmut Lang and Stella McCartney everything then I'd smother it in gluten free flour and expensive-ass honey! Perhaps that's untrue... Alas, I love GP and think that her GOOP brand is a super cool site for the hip chick who loves quality and values information. GOOP is where I found out about Dr. Junger, developer of the Clean diet, a detox cleanse of which I'm a big fan! Her newest cookbook It's All Good is a collection of diary, gluten, sugar free recipes that she uses while on the detox. This diet is supposed to make me look and feel good... Challenge accepted! So I decided to eat from her book for 2 whole weeks to see if she could make good on these claims. It's All Good Cookbook ReviewIt's All Good Cookbook ReviewIt's All Good Cookbook ReviewIt's All Good Cookbook ReviewIt's All Good Cookbook ReviewIt's All Good Cookbook ReviewIt's All Good Cookbook ReviewDuring the 2 weeks I was cooking a lot, but I will say that the majority of the recipes were fairly quick and easy to make. Her salads were to die for! Seriously some of the best I've ever made at home. The Mexican chopped salad was so flavorful and satisfying. It's one of my lunch staples now! The white bean and swiss chard soup is now a regular on my weekly menu, I've made it 4 times in the last month! I'm also a huge fan of her French style white beans which I paired with her mushroom and asparagus sauté. HOLY bananas!! Yum. Yum. Yum. Other dishes like the pureed white beans, while really tasty, definitely reminded me of baby food... super yummy baby food. The quinoa was delish albeit very simple, but I suppose that is the whole idea. There are meat dishes in the book which for obvious reasons I didn't try, but they all seemed clean and delish. I don't know about how I looked, but I felt great! As it turns out without gluten I immediately felt lighter, which sucks because my Lord, do I love gluten. I didn't see a huge difference in my weight or skin, but I definitely felt slim and amazingly I was never hungry. I highly recommed this book to anyone looking to clean up their diet and try some fun new recipes, it would also make a great companion to the clean diet detox! In summary: Gwynie is the bomb, buy the book!!