Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sesame Orangeyaki Stirfry with Tofu

I've obviously been on a total citrus-teriyaki kick these days, trying to achieve a balance of the tastes and textures my fellow veggie and tofu loving mom and I both enjoy. When it's just the two of us for dinner, stir frying is generally the method of the day - we can add as many veggies as we want (without the "any meat?" comments from the peanut gallery) and it's relatively quick to whip up. Since we both really enjoyed the marinade from the Teriyaki Tofu "Jerky" and the sauce from the Saucy Simmered Teriyaki Tofu Bowl, I decided to use those as a base for an "everybody in the pool" saute.

Sesame Orangeyaki Stirfry with TofuThis time, instead of adding water and simmering, I cooked all the veggies, along with two types of tofu, in toasted sesame oil for extra flavour, and opted for fresh ingredients over dehydrated ones both for better texture and the sake of saving me a trip to the store. Being able to make the broccoli, onions, celery and peppers just crisp-tender while the onions and mushrooms cooked a little more, and letting the garlic and ginger bloom without burning really made a difference! Since it didn't cook as long (and I didn't want the sauce to make soup), I thickened the mixture with a little cornstarch when I added it at the end.

Notice that I said I used two types of tofu - the types I'm referring to aren't regarding the firmness of the protein (i.e. silken vs. firm) or the form in which I bought it (dried vs. water packed vs. fried), but the actual beans each block was made from. I've fallen in love with the Korean-style black soybean tofu from VitaSoy I found at the Asian market, and decided it's distinctive nutty flavour would play well with the sweet, salty and bitter notes in the rest of the mixture and heighten the taste of the sesame oil. I knew, though, that Mom would probably go for the "regular" extra firm stuff she was used to more willingly, though, so I compromised with a block of each with excellent results. That said, either one alone is fine - it's all about using what you have after all!

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Gluten Free Fridays 

Sesame Orangeyaki Stirfry with Tofu

Monday, June 29, 2015

Saucy Simmered Teriyaki Tofu Bowl

Remember how I promised that I'd share some of the other things I did with San-J's Orange and Teriyaki cooking sauces? Like 3 weeks ago?? Well, I finally managed to rescue the photos and recipes from hard disk death and have the original dish ready for you - along with a second, similar dinner I made recently (more on that tomorrow!).

Saucy Simmered Teriyaki Tofu Bowl

This first meal (well, meal when you add a side of rice or noodles) came almost straight out of The Dehydrator Bible too, using not only vegetables I dried at home but a new batch of the Teriyaki Tofu "Jerky" I had made specifically for this purpose. Since the author had added fresh orange flavour to the teriyaki sauce in her beef-broccoli dish, I kept with the theme, swapping in my tofu jerky for the beef in the original and adding San-J's Orange Sauce for an extra kick of citrus. It took a while for everything to rehydrate and simmer down, and the sauce was still slightly too runny for my own taste, though Mom liked sopping it up with brown sticky rice. However, the chewiness of the tofu was the opposite for us - I liked it's mouthfeel, and the fact it held the sauce well, while Mom wasn't as much of a fan. Our varied experiences proved to me that the dish is totally subjective, especially depending on what you served it with, and the fact that the flavour was still so good regardless was one of the reasons I made a second, more veggie-packed version recipe.

If you have an hour or so to kill and some Teriyaki jerky on your hands, I definitely suggest simmering up this pot of gluten-free, (almost) vegan yumminess a go. Just make sure to cook up a mess of rice or some other grain, otherwise you have (an admittedly delicious) soup on your hands instead!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Teriyaki Tofu "Jerky"

Tofu gets a fair amount of use in the household these days, given that both my mom and I have decided that the white block of concentrated vegan protein is not the creepy, gelatinous, blah hippie food we originally made it out to be. No, thanks to a decent preparation primer, a few years of trial and error and a healthy dose of adventurous nature, we've discovered a few go-to recipes - both savoury (like Chickpea, Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry - a fave of mom's, the Chinese Style “Bourbon Tofu” that won over the whole family and my staple Tofu-Roni) and sweet (Soy Awesome Cookies, anyone?). While the household is evenly split on the bean curd debate (my sister and stepdad still won't willingly eat it), Mom and I both find it easier to digest, not to mention almost fun to work with given it's uncanny ability to soak up flavours like nobody's business.

While I've cooked and baked tofu a variety of ways over the years, I'd never thought to turn it into a "jerky" - dehydrating it into an even more concentrated mass of protein than it already was. That said, when I got a copy of The Dehydrator Bible I immediately spotted the directions for marinating and drying tofu and had to give it a go. Out of all the flavour possibilities the book provided, teriyaki seemed the most logical for this originally Asian foodstuff and I went to town! The recipe first drains, presses and infuses the sliced soy curd with a sweet, savoury and slightly spicy marinade, then dehydrates it, making chewy, easy to store strips. Unlike "regular" jerky which can be stored at room temperature, the book suggests tofu jerky be stored in the fridge or freezer for the longest shelf life. The reasoning is that since tofu contains fat it can still go rancid, even when dried, but I would figure beef or any other meat would have the same problem! Either way, this stuff is so addictive that storage really isn't an issue - and not only is it a great on-the-go snack but it made it's way into a recipe too! That recipe will be coming soon - I really promise this time!*

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Gluten Free Fridays 

Teriyaki Tofu Jerky

*I've been totally AWOL from the blog for a while thanks to end of the year report cards and my hard drive crashing sucking up all my time. Things are *fingers crossed* getting back to normal now!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Triple Berry Pie Pockets (#RecipeRedux)

Pie seems to be one of the quintessential Summer desserts. It's odd, really, since there is usually a fair bit of indoor prep work, oven time and occasionally stovetop use involved - not to mention the fact that for almost all pastry recipes the ingredients need to stay cold! Then there's the whole irony that we're serving up (admittedly divine) fat- and sugar-laden pastry in the height of swimsuit season... but who am I to mess with tradition, especially when it comes to finding one more way of enjoying the all-too-short fruit season?

The #RecipeRedux team agrees, and this month we're celebrating all things pie, with a healthier twist! My contribution is a variation on both pie and pop tart - individual pocket-pies made with an oil-based, half-spelt pastry dough and packed with a combination of blueberries, goji berries and No-Cook Berry Chia Jam. To keep the filling from running out after that first bite, I used a touch of graham cracker crumbs which not only thickened the mixture but added great texture and flavour too.   

Triple Berry Pie Pockets

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Purely Peach Jam (Toast Topper #61)

Arguably one of the best (and here, at least, the most anticipated) aspects of Summer life is the abundance of prime, fresh produce - especially fruit. Things like peaches just don't taste right any other time than mid-July through August, when they're plump, soft and simply dripping with sweet nectar. Sadly, that prime peach season is still out of reach for us, at least fresh-wise, and I want that fresh, sweet flavour every day!

Luckily, peach jam is equally delicious as long as it's made with prime fruit (just like any preserve), and thankfully I have an ace in my back pocket - IQF peaches from a local orchard. Picked at their peak, skinned, sliced and flash frozen, they make perfect additions to oatmeal, pies, cakes, muffins, yogurt... and of course jam!

Purely Peach Jam

I didn't want to waste that precious peach flavour and natural sweetness though, so I opted to make this Toast Topper with minimal extras. I even made the whole batch sugar free (I used Truvia and no-sugar pectin) and added some delicious unsweetened peach nectar I found on sale. A pinch of ginger and a shot of pure vanilla extract later and I had my perfect peach jam - thick, chunky and all about the fruit. My mom loved it too, but wondered how to enhance the naturally awesome flavour... leading to me slipping in a shot of Amaretto (one of her favourite liqueurs) for a hint of "peach melba" flavour without the raspberries that featured in my past melba-esque preserve. Both ways are divine, both ways more than worthy of your favourite crusty bread or dolloping into the middle of muffin batter before baking!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nibbed Caramel Blondies #CreativeCookieExchange

Some days you really need an indulgent-tasting, sweet treat. If you have kids finishing school in the next week or two, you know what I mean - everyone is in the "Summer" mentality already, which means that by the time you get the family home, fed, homeworked, bathed and bedded it is beyond necessary for a little "me" time.

Of course, the end of the school year also means that it's... dun dun dunnnnn... swimsuit season too. And if you're planning on donning one of those ensembles, you're probably thinking that those sweet treats you're craving are off limits. Well, I concocted a pan of goodness that's not only indulgent, but vegan, lower sugar and made with whole spelt flour!

Nibbed Caramel Blondies

The theme this month is Chips, Chunks or Bits! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Please be patient though, as this month Laura is off to Italy and will not be checking email quite as often!You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Well, I've finally joined the recipe indexing world by signing up with Yummly. Yummly is the foodie equivalent of Pinterest, indexing all the info about a recipe for you to find it later. You can search recipes by ingredient, diet, allergy, nutrition, price, cuisine, time, taste, course and source. Tell Yummly your tastes and they find delicious recipes for you. For instance, you can search through all the recipes by me on my publisher page (and bloggers - Yummly automatically creates a page for you once someone Yums your recipe), click a tag to see those types of goodies, even see the nutritional info for a recipe before seeing the whole website it's featured on! If you're one of the jet-set foodies always off on a new adventure, just grab one of their Mobile Apps and recipe browse on the go! The apps also let you turn the handy recipe box feature into "smart" shopping lists organized by the sections of the grocery store.


Sounds great, right? And did I mention - it's FREE? Why not pop on to the site and see just how easy it is to get started on yummly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Spelt "Biskers" #BreadBakers

There's no real preamble for these beauties - they aren't biscuits, they're not crackers... they're a totally unique hybrid that fits neatly anywhere you need a little nibble. Long story short, I had a KAF recipe for yeasted crackers, which looked fabulous and flaky but in practice turned out more like flattened, holey biscuits. I was going to bin them and start with a different recipe to fit this month's #BreadBakers theme of Yeasted Flatbreads, until I bit into one. Bready and wholesome, they have a hint of flake in the crumb and enough of both crispiness and chewiness to work with almost any dip or Toast Topper, and you can bet we enjoyed them all!

Spelt "Biskers"

Check out the other yummy yeasted flatbreads below!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com

Monday, June 8, 2015

Simple Fresh Pasta with Quick Spaghetti Sauce

Mondays always seem to be far more hectic than they should be - after all, it's just another workday. However, Murphy's law always seems to dictate that if things that mess with routine are going to happen, you bet Mondays at about 4:55PM is when you're going to discover them!

Tonight, for example, was the night of my class' music and movement presentation - a fun opportunity for the little ones to showcase their talents for sure! While I certainly knew about it ahead of time, it still means not getting home until 8PM at the earliest without dinner... but thanks to a little advance planning this weekend a big ol' pot of healthy, hearty noodles and sauce is minutes away.

I was actually inspired to re-create tonight's dinner after making pasta and spaghetti sauce with my Home Economics classes. With such few ingredients and a great opportunity to make a mess, fresh pasta is a perfect opportunity to get kids into the kitchen, not to mention give them an appreciation for the work it takes to make their favourite food! All of the kids I worked with (grades 1-3) loved the whole process of both dough and sauce making, especially when they got to "play" with the pasta machine!

Fresh Pasta with Quick Tomato Sauce

When it came to whipping up the sauce, I took a hint from a few celebrity chefs (i.e. Michael Smith and Rachael Ray) and added a few "secret", flavour-packed ingredients that made the 5 minute sauce taste like it simmered all day! The first trick was a combination of plain tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes - when mixed, they made a perfect base that was not too sweet, spicy or acidic. Then I added rich vegetable stock for a long-simmered taste and tamari for a burst of umami flavour. Finally, a piquant zip from a dash of red wine vinegar woke up the dried spices and really lightened the overall mouthfeel, making it perfect for cloaking hand-cranked pasta. Serving it to mixed (and young) company, I opted to keep things smooth and meat-free originally, but when I make it myself I throw in most of the garden too!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mix & Match @SanJTamari Sauces for an Asian Twist This Grilling Season

Recipes are all courtesy of San J. For more information on San-J products and to find great gluten-free recipe ideas, please visit their website or Facebook page!

The bright sunny days and ever-warmer evenings mean one thing: grilling season has arrived! San-J is inviting everyone to fire up their gas, charcoal or even electric grills and get ready to create endlessly innovative recipes with their whole line of premium, gluten-free Asian cooking sauces. Dishes will get an instant kick of flavour from the sweet, tangy and slightly spicy Asian BBQ, Mongolian and Orange cooking sauces, livening up your family barbecues or dinners-for-two on the patio in a wink.

Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa

San-J definitely has your summer recipe needs covered too - with brand new ideas for main meals and side dishes created by Chef Carol Kicinski. Try the fresh and fruity Orange Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salsa (hint: this also works with tofu!), an Asian Pasta Salad with sweet Mongolian Sauce and a burst of Sriracha heat or a Fire Roasted Grilled Vegetable Salad packed with the best of Summer's produce and tossed with a lemon and Asian BBQ Sauce dressing.

Don't feel like grilling (or the sky rained on your parade?) stay tuned this week for a vegetarian, gluten free recipe of mine using San-J's Orange and Teriyaki cooking sauces!

Friday, June 5, 2015

No-Cook Berry Chia Jam (Toast Topper #60)

It's no secret that I adore making jam for my family. There's something special about the taste of a spread made yourself from the best produce you have available that blows away anything in a jar, and thanks to all the low- or no-sugar needed pectins out there the days of making "candy in a jar" are over. I usually make small batches of preserves, which allows me to constantly switch up the flavours on our plate, but I almost always rely on pectin for thickening because I don't add a ton of sugar.

When it came time to teaching my Home Economics gang about thickeners and making jam, though, I wanted to show them that you don't always have to heat something to make the thickener activate! I took inspiration from Eating Bird Food and brought in the humble, yet mighty chia seed, which not only thickened the works quickly but entertained the kids for an hour as they recited the Chia Pet commercial slogan. Of course, as they dug in (spreading it on homemade biscuits) they were also getting a good dose of vitamins, minerals and fibre, with much less sugar than run of the mill stuff! That said, since I was making this with grade 1-3 children, I had to add some sugar, but I opted for the lower-glycemic coconut sugar which also added a lovely exotic note. Personally, though, I love the taste of peak season berries, so if I have them on hand I'm leaving the sweetener out or adding a bare touch of honey or agave.

Delish raspberry chia jam! @ugogurl #vegan #teaching #MLCP #homeeconomics #sweet #fruit #healthyfood #healthychoices

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Gluten Free Fridays