1. How To: Sweet and Sour Tofu

    The other night I was craving a sweet and sour dish and searched for the perfect recipe that didn’t involve ridiculous amounts of brown sugar. I pieced this one together and now have a new favorite dinner!

    I realize tofu isn’t for everyone and get that the taste and consistency can be pretty off putting. But, this recipe is a great example of the amazing things you can do with tofu to create great flavor. Another amazing thing about this recipe? Just sub the tofu for chicken if tofu isn’t your thing.

    What You Need:

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    1. 1/4 cup honey
    2. 2 T sunflower seed oil
    3. 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    4. 1/4 cup whole wheat white flour
    5. Sriracha (or as much of your favorite hot sauce as you like)
    6. 1 T grated ginger
    7. 3 cloves grated garlic
    8. 3 scallions
    9. 2 bunches bok choy
    10. Lemon juice
    11. 14 oz package of firm tofu

    What You Do:

    1) Mix together the honey, soy sauce, sriracha, ginger, garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside for later. Add 1-2 T of water.

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    2) Slice the tofu into one inch squares and toss with the quarter cup flour until all tofu pieces are coated.

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    3) Chop the bok choy and scallions, keeping the white and green parts of each separated. Mash the garlic cloves and ginger too.

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    4) Heat the sunflower oil in a large pan, and saute floured tofu pieces until browned. About 3-4 minutes each side.

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    5) Add the white and light green parts of the bok choy and scallions and saute for about 3 minutes. Then, add the leafy green part of the bok choy and saute another minute.

    Add the sauce mixture to the pan. Let the sauce come to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until sauce thickens.

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    6) The sauce should reduce by about half and coat the tofu pieces.

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    7) I served over brown rice and topped the green part of the scallions.

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    Next time I will probably double the recipe so there are more left overs for lunch the next day!

  2. How To: Transforming Vases

    Sometimes I have a habit of rescuing things from being thrown in the trash. Like these vases. My mom was ready to pitch them until I swooped in, seeing great potential, and saved these three. I also conveniently asked my mom to store them for me at her house until I had a plan. She was kind enough to save her trash for me for a year, when I took them home with me a few weekends ago.

    I decided to transform them to a crisp white. This “how to” really isn’t very difficult, which is why I wanted to post this project. Sometimes, it’s amazing what just a little effort and paint can do!

    What You Need:

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    • Spray paint primer
    • Spray paint - I used gloss white
    • Sand paper

    What You Do:

    1) Rough up the surface with sandpaper, this will help in applying the primer, and give it something to stick to.

    When finished sanding, rinse and dry thoroughly. You don’t want any dust remaining on the surface, as it will get stuck under the paint and leave impressions. Wiping down with rubbing alcohol is a great way to clean too.

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    2) In a well ventilate area, spray two coats of primer. After the primer the yellow flowers were still showing a bit. Don’t worry if you still see a shadow of something.

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    3) Once the primer is dry, spray with 2 coats of the paint. Let the first coat dry before applying the second.

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    And, now you have something totally different. Really, this is such an easy and inexpensive project. It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do, and great to remember when you’re on a budget.

    After spending about 40 minutes to achieve such dramatic results, I felt a little silly for leaving these at my mom’s for a few years!

  3. How to Make: Pumpkin Muffins

    l have to thank my mom for this recipe. A few weeks ago she sent us home with homemade pumpkin muffins that we gobbled up. We made it a week without pumpkin muffins in our lives. As of Sunday, 2/25 at 1:30 pm we had 34 mini pumpkin muffins. As of Monday, 2/25 at 9:30 pm we have zero pumpkin muffins. And, Trader Joe’s told me they won’t have pumpkin puree until Thanksgiving. We might have a problem.

    I love this recipe because it’s super simple and can easily be made vegan by using egg substitutes and the right oil. Also, you could probably pour the muffin batter into a load pan to make some delicious pumpkin bread.

    What You Need:

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    • 3 egg whites (or egg substitute), beaten
    • 1/4 cup oil (I used smart balance with omega)
    • 1 cup whole wheat white flour
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 can all natural pumpkin puree
    • 1/2 t baking soda
    • 1/2 t baking powder
    • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

    1) In a small bowl, mix together all dry ingredients (except for walnuts). In a larger bowl, mix together the brown sugar and oil.

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    2) Add the can of pumpkin puree and beaten eggs to the brown sugar mixture. Then, slowly fold in the dry ingredients little by little. You’ll end up with a mixture that looks something like this…

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    3) Spoon the mixture into muffin tins. I went with mini pumpkin muffins because who doesn’t love a mini muffin? Top each with some chopped walnuts, pressing them into the top a little.

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    4) Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes and finished!

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    It’s really that simple! Now, I’m going to have to find the Trader Joe’s all natural pumpkin puree black market.

  4. How to Make: Fabric Plastic Bag Holder

    You know too much time has gone by between posts when you log into Tumblr and everything looks different! Really, I won’t even mention the date of my last post.


    Over Christmas vacation (that’s right, these pics have been sitting in my camera since December) I went on a major organizing spree. After pulling everything out of one of our closets, I decided I needed a better solution for storing plastic bags. So, in the midst of of an organization tornado,  I pulled out my sewing machine to make a fabric plastic bag holder. That’s right, I needed a fabric plastic holder right then, not later (like when the mess I made was put away).

    What You Need:

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    • 3- 20 x 8 1/4 pieces of fabric (or 1 20 x 24.75” piece)
    • 2 pieces of elastic, one measuring 11” and one 6.5”
    • Thread

    What You Do:

    1) Pin together the 3 pieces of fabric length wise. My strips are actually all the same fabric, I just flipped one side so it shows the non-polka dot side.

    Here, we’re looking at the “wrong” side pinned. When finished, the top and bottom will be polka dot and the middle solid.

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    2) Sew the strips together with a quarter inch seam. Here’s a view of the “wrong” side again.

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    And the right side.

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    3) Cut the elastic into a 6.5” and 11” piece.

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    4) Iron a hem at the top and bottom, making sure both are a little wider than the elastic.

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    5) Sew the top and bottom hems down.

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    6) The elastic needs to be “fed” through the top and bottom hems. For anyone that’s attempted something like this, you know that feeding a 6.5” and 11” elastic through 20” of fabric can be pretty frustrating.

    I had the genius idea to tape one end of the elastic to a chop stick, and then scrunched my way to the other end. Be sure to end up with pieces of elastic at each end!

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    7) Sew over each elastic end at the top and bottom to secure the elastic and fabric.

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    8) From the “wrong” side sew, sew a quarter inch seam lengthwise so you have an elastic opening at the top and bottom. The wide opening is the top.

    At this point I realized I forgot a handle, so I just stitched some wide ribbon at the top. Next time, I’d probably put the handle in when sewing the top seam.

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    And, look at how organized our plastic bags are now! I hadn’t pulled out my sewing machine for a while and this was actually a great project for getting back into sewing mode. Nothing complicated or intimidating.

    I’m also happy to report that I managed to get the contents of our closet back in place on the same day too. I avoided the disaster of not feeling like putting it all back!

  5. How to Make: Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf

    After feasting (ok, gourging) on holiday treats for the past few weeks, a healthy meal was a must. Something without eggnog, chocolate, butter, cookies, cheese, cream, pie, gravy, or cupcakes. My excessive holiday eating (yes, I’ll have a third glass of eggnog) left me too lazy to walk to the grocery store, so I set out to whip up a meal with ingredients in the apartment….ground turkey and quinoa.

    After some googling, ground turkey and quinoa meatloaf kept popping up. Interesting, because meatloaf is typically the opposite of healthy! Oh, meatloaf reminds me of the movie “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss”. Anyone seen this? Often times, people have no idea what I’m talking about with this one. I think it’s the “Christmas Story" family years later.

    Here’s what I cobbled together…

    What You Need:

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    • 1 package lean ground turkey
    • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
    • 1 T tomato paste
    • 3 T worcestershire sauce
    • 1 t olive oil
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1 t pepper
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 (or 1/2) T chili or hot sauce
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1 T brown sugar
    • 1 T water

    What You Do:

    1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Bring the 1/4 cup of quinoa to a boil in 1/2 cup water. Once boiling, lower heat to medium, cover pot and let sit about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

    While the quinoa is cooking, chop the onion and garlic.

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    2) Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is just translucent.

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    3) Once the quinoa and onion/garlic are ready, combine all ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT for 1 T of the worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and 1 T of water.

    Mix together well.

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    4) In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 T of worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and water. Set aside.

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    5) Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Brush the sauce over the top.

    Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until cooked through.

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    And, 50 minutes later you have a tasty loaf of (healthy) meat packed with protein.

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    We ate it with broccoli and a spinach, tomato and feta salad.

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    How was it? Amazing! I was a little skeptical of this as is just seemed like a big mess when I was preparing everything, but the result is really flavorful and a great winter meal. I guess this is fancy meatloaf?

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A collection of healthy (and delicious) recipes, DIY and projects.

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