AIP Breakfast Hacks & Recipe Ideas

I’m about 6 months into the Autoimmune Protocol diet now, and feeling so much better. It’s hard to believe just the food could make so much difference.

In the last six months, I’ve learned a lot about how to save time prepping on the paleo diet and specifically for the Autoimmune Protocol and especially in the morning.

A friend of mine started Whole 30 right around the same time I started AIP, and we’ve basically been commiserating through the experiences. She’s tried Low FODMAP, regular Paleo, some things in between, and now is back to Whole 30 after some failures. She asked what I had done to help with prep time.

At first, I was like, nothing. My life is only cooking now.  But then, I realized that I’ve totally gotten into a routine. First, with understanding what I need in the morning and what is easy to make. Second, with having the things I need on hand. Third, my trial and error hacks I’ve stumbled on – either through Instagram and Pinterest ideas or through mistakes that have really turned into happy accidents.

AIP Breakfast Hacks and Easy Easy Recipe Ideas

So – to the breakfasts.

AIP Breakfast Hacks & Recipe Ideas

AIP breakfasts are probably the hardest thing to get used to – but I assume it’s not just AIP. Whole 30, Paleo, or any big diet change that requires a grain-free, veggie-heavy breakfast is a big change from typical American breakfasts. Cereal and milk? Toast and peanut butter? Nope. Life shattered.

And, AIP is EGG FREE and all my reintroductions of eggs have failed so far. So, this has been a challenge. Especially because all your normal egg substitutions for AIP (substitution post coming soon) like gelatin eggs, avocado, banana, and others if you’re not AIP (like chia eggs, tofu, or egg replacer powders) just don’t work for a scramble, omelette or anything. Creativity is key, or maybe just a complete rework of your standard breakfast.

So here’s how to make your breakfasts faster. And, breakfast ideas down below.

  1. Prep, prep, prep.
    The night before. The breakfast before. Freezer. Anything you can do to save yourself time in the future or in a crunch is helpful on AIP, especially for breakfast. Sweet potatoes or yams are part of most of my meals. So, I’m usually peeling and cutting one daily or nearly daily. If I have an extra minute or two, I’ll just grab a bigger cutting board and dice a few of them up and toss them into my glass tupperware-like containers. Into the fridge for the morning.
  2. Microwave.
    For years my husband and I didn’t even have a microwave (our 1st apartment was small so it was an easy way to save space). Ever since going AIP, I’ve used my microwave more than I’d ever thought. Back to the sweet potatoes – take your pre-chopped sweet potatoes and pop them into the microwave for 2-4 minutes. Stirring half way through. They steam and cook through so you don’t have to wait for them to pan-fry 45 minutes every single morning.This works great for other veggies too – like broccoli. Another great addition to your breakfast hash.

    Then, take the mostly cooked sweet potato pieces, pop them into the frying pan and  hash is almost done!

  3. Freeze.
    Yeah, yeah. Typical recommendation for making all your meals then freezing them to cut back on time. But, I’m not a fan of that.I like to only freeze what I have to or freeze stuff before it goes bad. Like, leftover shredded chicken. Excellent for mornings!
  4. Leftovers
    At first, I was like, never ever am I eating leftovers from dinner for breakfast. All these ideas for eating soup or salads in the morning or whatever, not happening. But, I’ve learned that it doesn’t necessarily mean eat your same meal you had for dinner for breakfast. One example – we made sweet potato fries the night before for dinner. Had a bunch leftover, so instead of all that shopping and everything, just popped them into a pan with bacon and a bunch of other veggies. One of the more delicious hashes I’ve had. So, think about ways you can repurpose your leftovers and turn them into something scrumptious for breakfast instead of just eating the same meal over and over again, as my mom likes to say, like a dog. (She’s not a fan of leftovers.)
  5. Eat enough!
    This was the biggest learning curve for my AIP breakfasts. I wasn’t eating enough or the right things to feel full. Now after breakfast, I can go until say 1 or 2 pm before I really get too hungry. You have to have enough veggies, carbs, and fats to stay full. And for me, I really need the protein/iron in the morning so having a vegan breakfast hasn’t worked out for me. I just get tired, grumpy or really hungry. Hangry. Maybe a little of everything. It’s not pretty. So eat up for breakfast! And on to the recipe ideas…

AIP bREAKFAST ideas

Meats:
These are the three major sources I rely on every morning. Pick one from here, and one from the next list. 

  • AIP homemade pork patties
    Mix ground pork with salt & pepper (omit pepper for strict AIP), thyme and oregano. Form into little patties and pan fry until golden brown.
    Sometimes, in the morning, I’ll make extra of these and have them for lunch with a side of leftover veggies and/or cauliflower rice. Delicious!
  • Bacon
    It’s really not healthy how much bacon I eat. But, it’s pretty delicious.
  • Leftover pre-cooked meats
    Other lean meats are great for adding to a hash or veggie “eggless scramble” I really like leftover whole chicken for breakfast. Just shred some off the bone and add it to your pan! I am not a big fan of a cooked chicken breast for breakfast. Too much meat, not enough breakfast feel.

Veggies & carbs:

  • Sweet potato hash veggie & carb
    With a sweet potato hash, I like to throw in a little ground pork or fry up bacon in the hash or on the side. As I said above, prep sweet potatoes before. Toss in microwave. Heat through in pan with other veggies and greens. Sometimes a half apple is good to throw into the mix too, with pork especially.
  • “Baked” sweet potato veggie & carb
    Just kidding I’m not going to bake a sweet potato in the morning. Stab with fork, microwave on potato setting. While cooking, fry up veggies to go inside – kale & broccoli. Top with coconut butter. Enough veggie, fat and carbs to keep you going, so meat is kinda optional on this one. It’s a nice AIP vegan breakfast, even though that contradicts what I just said… As an ex vegetarian, sometimes it’s nice to just not have meat first thing in the morning.
    AIP/Vegan easy and quick Breakfast idea for busy mornings
  • Stir fried veggies aka “eggless scramble” veggie
    If I’m not in the mood for sweet potatoes, I’ll go for a veggie scramble without the eggs. Add greens (spinach, kale, cabbage or a mix of something like that), mushrooms, and whatever else you have lying around. I like broccoli, onions, carrots sometimes. Or, leftover veggies from your dinner the night before – pre cooked makes for faster AM cooking! Be sure to pair with a meat and/or a carb with a side of avocado. Delicious.
    "eggless scramble" AIP Breakfast hacks and recipe ideas
  • Coconut banana pancakes – carb
    These are surprisingly delicious! Mash a banana, a few tablespoons of coconut shreds, a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract (vanilla optional, careful to find AIP compliant too if you’re strict AIP). You can add berries to these too, but I haven’t been lately. Pair with veggies and a meat maybe some avocado. You can see mine are more burned than they are in her picture, but I like them crispy rather than mushy.Coconut Banana Pancakes | AIP Breakfast essentials, hacks and recipe ideas for easy mornings
  • Plantain & apple fritters carb
    These are another easy morning pancake or toast-like substitute. If your plantains are ripe enough, you can mash them without a food processor, shred a half an apple into the mix and fry up. While they’re cooking, I package the rest of the apple with my lunch and take it to work for a snack later. Again, pair with meat and veggies/avocado. You can skip the apple and use frozen berries as a sweetener instead, as I did below.
    Plantain-cakes with frozen berries
  • Waffles carb
    There are a lots of recipes for AIP waffles. I was on a mission to find the most waffle-like, and this was the one. They take some time though, so this is where the leftovers come in again. Make extras on the weekend. Freeze and toast when you’re ready! These sweet plantain waffles are a good option if you don’t keep expensive cassava flour on hand. But I haven’t tried freezing them. They’re a bit more flimsy and pancake like. The trick to them is letting them cook much longer than your waffle maker says to cook. Takes a while to crisp up!
    AIP cassava waffles

Hopefully that helps someone!  Find me on Instagram or follow my AIP Breakfast Board on Pinterest for more ideas!

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AIP Paleo Fried Oysters

As I’m learning more and more about the autoimmune protocol, it sounds like you’re supposed to have a good amount of seafood. Something that we’ve been slacking on just because I usually don’t buy seafood. I basically grew up on the coast, and everyone I knew always fished. We never, ever bought seafood because it was always around. So in the store I just feel weird buying it. Plus, the actual good stuff – wild caught – is always so dang expensive!

But, one thing I do buy in stores are oysters in the jar from Costco. They’re great fried, baked, or smoked. This last round of cooking oysters I really struggled to find an AIP-friendly fried oyster recipe.

Of course, I know that frying isn’t the healthiest option, but who cares! I was determined, and I’ve been on a mission using Otto’s Cassava flour ever since I found it in a store up in Portland.

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So, the AIP-friendly fried oyster was born. It’s gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, and whatever else AIP falls into. I feel like the list is never ending!

But, the taste is there.

This is actually the second time I tried to fry oysters in an AIP friendly way. The first time, I used arrowroot starch because that’s all I had. And, let me tell you, even for oysters they were slimey and chewy. Not awful but I’ve learned to put up with a lot on this diet!

These however are not slimey. Just check out this picture. Look at that crust!!

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Golden. Crispy. Perfect. If I do say so myself…

Husband liked them too, and we tried a few different combinations before finally settling on the one below. Really, you could use all Cassava flour, but I like the mix mostly because you still get the golden deliciousness and coconut flour is WAY cheaper.

AIP-Friendly Paleo Fried Oysters

This egg-free, paleo, gluten-free/grain-free, oyster recipe is delicious! And, it’s the only thing I’ve found that replicates actual flour. Got to love Cassava flour as a gluten replacer.

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Recipe serves about 3-4 people. We had plenty of leftovers for lunches – though, they are best the first day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Otto’s Cassava Flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (I used the stuff from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup oil for frying (I used avocado oil)

How-To:

  1. Prepare flour mix: mix all dried ingredients together until combined.
  2. Dredge oysters (should be covered in that lovely oyster slime) into the flour until covered. Should stick to the oysters fairly well. Usually, you would dip in egg before, but I’ve found this works just fine until all oysters have been covered.
  3. Heat oil in skillet on high or medium-high until hot.
  4. Carefully toss in floured oysters. Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side, until well browned but not burned. Watch careful! Gently flip oysters to second side. Second side will take about half the time.
  5. Once fried, let the oysters dry (is that the right word?) on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Serve!

AIP Biscuits & -Gravy-.jpg

AIP Biscuits and “Gravy”

I was mid-way through making a totally different dinner, prepping some biscuits I had wanted to try for the next day’s breakfast. I made a few tweaks based on the ingredients I had on hand with flavoring (in the recipe below) and with the high oil and fat content, so lightened them up a little bit. Last time I made AIP “rolls” or “biscuits” they were way too greasy.

So finally, my biscuits are ready and I could finish with the rest of my dinner. I couldn’t resist waiting until they were cooled (especially since there’s always a risk they’ll go stale or brick hard the next day anyway). And, oh my goodness. They were so tasty and fluffy! I literally couldn’t believe these weren’t filled with gluten and eggs. Seriously.

Just look at them:

AIP Biscuits & Gravy | Paleo, easy to make, and AIP-friendly.

I fed a piece to my test subject/husband. He approved, and I was totally inspired to use them up just in case they hardened the next day and went to waste. They tasted like they were meant to be served with gravy. Seriously. Amazing. I don’t even like biscuits and gravy, and I’m no expert (or snob) on the matter. But, I was determined to make it happen. And sometimes I just like to be a good wife and make tasty, traditional/homestyle things for my husband. Haha.

Ditched the first dinner idea and decided it would be breakfast tomorrow instead. And, I turned to Pinterest again and found a AIP friendly gravy recipe that wasn’t cauliflower or coconut milk based. Found! Grazed and Enthused to the rescue. Instead of coconut milk or cauliflower, this recipe called for white sweet potatoes to make the “gravy.” As any faithful AIP dieter, I have a TON of sweet potatoes in my pantry, and I was sure that these last ones I bought were white sweet potatoes, not orange.

I started peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes and unfortunately they turned out orange, not white. Ugh! I was so bummed. But I was already on dinner two idea, and I couldn’t reasonably turn back now. And, at this point. We’re not eating dairy, gluten or eggs and we’re having biscuits and gravy for dinner. Who really cares if the gravy is orange instead of white!? Onward. And, results were amazing.

AIP Biscuits & "Gravy"

AIP-friendly Biscuits & Gravy
Gluten-free, cauliflower-free, coconut-milk free biscuits & gravy. Suitable for AIP, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, nightshade-free, seed-free diets. And, I’m sure many more diets if there are any others even left!

First, the biscuits!

 

AIP Biscuits & Gravy | Paleo, easy to make, and AIP-friendly.

Biscuit Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (I used a blend of very dry and regular, so amount might vary depending on your coconut flour consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Biscuit How-To:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. I like Amanda’s description of the gelatin, so I’m pulling the whole thing here:  Prepare your gelatin for use. First, you will have to “bloom” it, then you will melt it. Add water to a small pot and sprinkle/rain gelatin on top, about 1/2 Tbsp at a time in a single layer. Do NOT let it clump or pour it all in one place. You want to spread it out evenly. If not, clumps may form that are difficult to dissolve and the texture in the final product will be negatively affected. Be patient with this part! I use a whisk and vigorously stir the gelatin after each 1/2 Tbsp has been added and wetted. Once all gelatin has been wetted, heat over medium low for several minutes until all gelatin has melted and you have a translucent liquid. Stir occasionally with your whisk until dissolved.
  3. After you’ve sorted through the pain of gelatin making, which isn’t so bad once you’ve done it once or twice, add the oils, fats, and vinegar. I did this in the same pot as the gelatin over very low heat.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients well in a separate bowl. Pour in wet ingredients to the mixed dry ingredients.
  5. Divide batter into 9 biscuits on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I’ve learned to always line any AIP baked goods unless you want them to completely fall apart. Which I’m sure you don’t!
  6. Bake until golden brown, somewhere between 30-45 minutes. Watch closely!

Adapted from Savory Breakfast Cookies by Amanda Torres of The Curious Coconut 

Gravy Ingredients

  • 2 small sweet potatoes (white preferred, but if you mess up like me, your gravy will just be orange as pictured)
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup warm broth
  • 1 tablespoon mixed fresh savory herbs  (I used thyme and rosemary)
  • A couple pinches of salt
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch/powder
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat/lard
  • 1/2 pound ground pork

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Gravy How-To:

  1. Peel and dice sweet potatoes in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. Cover and let cook until soft and easy to poke with a fork.

  2. Meanwhile, cook onions in bacon fat until soft and  caramelized  in a saucepan on medium until well browned. If you don’t have reserved bacon fat, or you want bacon in your gravy, you could cook bacon, set aside then cook onions in bacon fat. Once onions are caramelized, add pork until well browned.*

  3. Once cooked, add diced sweet potatoes, herbs, and 1/2 of the warm broth into the blender and puree. Add remaining broth and puree until smooth. Add arrowroot starch to thicken and puree again until everything is smooth.

  4. Add mixture in blender to the pan with your ground pork. Cook and stir on low heat until warmed through.

  5. Top 2-3 biscuits (depending on how hungry you are) with “gravy” and serve immediately.

  6. Refrigerate leftovers (if you have any) in an air-tight container.

*Note: My husband said that onions are not usually in gravy, but I like the flavor and texture. If you don’t want onion chunks, add onion mixture to blender with sweet potatoes then cook pork separately

Adapted from AIP Chicken n’ Gravy by Alaena Haber of Grazed and Enthused 

AIP Biscuits & Gravy | Paleo, easy to make, and AIP-friendly.

AIP Two Months in

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been experimenting with the Autoimmune Protocol diet. At first, I was under the impression that it would be a 30-day stint, an elimination phase and then reintroduce foods to get me back to normal. So, after 30 days, I went to see my doctor and she dismissed that. She said, if I’m feeling better don’t change anything and let’s check in again in 2 months.

TWO MORE MONTHS?! Possibly forever??

That was definitely my initial completely defeated reaction, and I had a hard time breaking it to my husband that it wasn’t as minimal as I had let on. I mean, AIP is a huge change. You cut out everything processed – nothing with added vitamins, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, “chemicals”, stabilizers, or anything else. So everything is from scratch, and with whole foods you’re looking  at no dairy, gluten, grains, nightshades, seeds, legumes, processed sugars, nuts (except coconut). So, it’s a big change.

Food is such an intimate, emotional and obviously important part of life. And, I do food marketing as a job – hubby does tourism, so it’s a really big part of our lives especially.

I’ve always had a funny deal with food – until I was 20, I weekly or daily would have what my mom and I had always called “low blood sugar” attacks. My fatigue would be uncontrollable and my mood would swing to grumpy, sad, and 100% indecisive. Eating something would usually make me functional.

Finally, enough was enough, and I saw some nutritionists and doctors in college. They didn’t help all that much. My tests for diabetes all came back within normal ranges, but just barely within normal ranges. A campus nutritionist said that if I ate a hardboiled egg everyday all my problems would be solved. So, I dismissed that right away and gave up.

Then, I had this internship with a food nonprofit based on developing local, organic, real-food economies and I was introduced to a whole new world. Around the same time, I watched Food Inc. And, I gave up meat and slowly began giving up processed, non-organic foods. And, voila! My mood swinging, low blood sugar problems improved immensely and basically disappeared, especially at the frequency I was having them. I really was impressed with the healing power of food and thought everyone should get on board with this new view.

Two and a half years later, I was out of college, and still feeling like there were some problems going on – food related or not. My pain levels were growing, my fatigue was high, and my stomach was always gurgly.

Tests again proved I was just “normal” and maybe it was me having a iron deficiency problem, likely due to my lack of meat. Otherwise, their recommendation was to get into therapy (because it’s all in your head). My then boyfriend, now husband, was happy about eating bacon again, and we went on our way.

After we got married, we moved back “home” to Eugene. For my back, knee, shoulder, ok – maybe just whole body – pain, I went to see a new chiropractor. And, after a few more referrals I learned that Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) was most definitely what was causing all this pain and fatigue, along with all sorts of other things. And, that it was likely another coexisting condition, like dysautonomia or POTS, that was causing my food problems.

That was kind of a devastating blow, to learn that food changes were just helping me because I was basically sick, not necessarily because this is the way the world should work – eating organically and unprocessed. This is something I go back and forth on – are we sick because of the food? I’m not. I have a genetic issue that causes me to react this way. Or, do some people survive just as well as they would on non-organic, highly processed foods? It’s not something I think I’ll really ever know or completely comprehend. And, it makes my job as a food marketer a whole lot more complicated, ethically and passion-wise.

But either way, this diet has been crazy helpful. My dizziness is much more under control. My constant brain fog is minimal now. My energy levels are way up, and my bad pain days aren’t so bad. Really, even my periods and cramps are so much better (perhaps an overshare but I’m here to be real with you). I’m not going home sick or in pain from work, and I can function so much better when I am at work.

As an ex-vegetarian, I’m having a hard time relying on so much meat in my diet. Plus, I know it’s not good for the planet – eating meat like this. But I’m trying to step out of the guilt and over thinking and learning more about why it’s helping and what all I’ll keep permanent.

I’ve found that the online community is so entirely helpful with recipes, ideas, and tips. I know a few others who are experimenting with new diets to help chronic conditions, and that’s been a nice support network as well.

All in all, I think food is healing, but everyone has to find what works for them. And, absolutely I will try new diets and other methods of healing first before diving into pills and other medical treatments. I think the two worlds of “natural healing” and western medicine should work together, not in isolation. If you’re in it for a pill to fix life, you’ll never find a solution. I feel like I’m on a good path towards managing my condition with this now. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. And, I hope this blog can be a place of resource and community for others.

So, long post out of the way. Here we go! I really hope I can stick with all this.

Ultimate Holiday Green Beans

Last Christmas, I was stuck for what to make as an easy side dish. My co-worker told me about these easy, amazing green beans, and I was all about an easy to make, easy to please side dish. I’ve made them for any gathering I’m supposed to go to, birthdays, potlucks, holidays. Literally everything.

Let me tell you, these are the easiest side dish and everyone will love them. EVERYONE. Constantly asked for the recipe, so I wanted to share.

best green beans you'll ever have

ULTIMATE green beans

holiday green beans

easy, (mostly) one-pan green beans

Recipe:

  • 2-3 cups green beans, about 16 ounces or 2-3 cups
  • 5-6 strips bacon (regular, not peppered)
  • a few pinches of brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 cup sliced or slivered almonds

How-To:

  1. Wash green beans, remove stems and cut into about 1-inch pieces. Par boil green beans.
  2. While water is boiling or green beans are boiling, cook bacon. Sprinkle brown sugar on bacon once in pan, and cook until just ready. Remove bacon and cut into small pieces, but keep bacon fat.
  3. Place green beans and almonds into bacon pan. Coat with bacon fat and return cut bacon into pan. Combine until warmed and coated. Serve immediately

Time: 10-20 minutes

Serves: 6-8 if you’re real hungry for beans

Butternut Squash Pasta

I’ve been absolutely terrible at posting lately. I’ve been so crafty, but I haven’t been posting to this at all. It’s terrible! I’ll try to catch up soon, but here’s a quick and delicious winter recipe for now.

I had plans to make a shrimp orzo tonight, but when I was reading the recipe it said it would take at least and hour and a half. No thank you! I was starving, and the butternut squash on the counter was on its last leg.  So, I searched my mother’s Market Vegetarian recipe book for some kind of butternut squash recipe. It’s an amazing book, by the way. I can’t wait to try more recipes!

Anyway, the recipe is a spin on butternut squash ravioli, except better. It’s easy, fast and delicious. Since I’m a pescetarian(and I already had the shrimp for the time-consuming orzo), I added some shrimp to the original recipe. It’s definitely not necessary though, so I’ll maintain this is a vegetarian dish. I think it took about 20 minutes from ingredients to deliciousness.

The final product

Servings:

I’d recommend doubling it if you’re feeding more than two!

Ingredients:

Pasta (I used a dried vegetable pasta, but anything would be great, and the amount depends on how much you want!)
1 half butternut squash
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of parsley, chopped
8-10 sage leaves
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (or something like it)
(I added about two handfuls of shrimp)

Steps:

Boil the water for the pasta. Halve the butternut squash, seed and peel. Cut the squash into thin slices. They should all be about the same thickness so they cook evenly. Heat olive oil on high or medium high. Once you start cooking the pasta, add the squash to the heated pan. The squash cook for about six minutes by themselves. Turn the squash frequently and carefully because it’s on high heat, and they will burn if left too long! Chop the garlic and parsley while the squash is going. After about six or seven minutes, add the garlic, parsley and sage. Continue cooking the squash and spices for three to four minutes, then turn the pan to low or no heat. This should be about when the pasta is done. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the warm squash pan. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese. Stir and let the flavors mingle for a few minutes. As recommended, I let the flavors develop while I cooked the shrimp (about five minutes). Then, I dished it up and topped with the rest of the cheese.

It was sooo good! I'll definitely be doing this again for a quick weeknight meal.

Tofu Tacos

My roommate and I have developed a little tradition we like to call “Tofu Thursdays.” I guess it’s similar to the idea of “Meatless Mondays,” or since this blog is called College Craft, “Thirsty Thursdays.”

Anyway, my roommate said she wanted tacos. I’ve never made or heard of tofu tacos, but I figured I could give it a try. Tofu Taco Thursday begins…

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil
  • Tofu
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • olives
  • garbanzo beans
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • lettuce
  • green onions

For you meat eaters, treat the tofu as you would treat sliced chicken!

Cut tofu up into little bite size pieces. Sprinkle taco seasoning. Heat in oiled pan over medium low heat.

I made sure these tofu bits were extra well done.

You want to make sure that the tofu bits are well done because you don’t want any tofu mush in your taco! It takes probably about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on your stove top, to cook the tofu to this stage. As long as they are firm and not mushy, they’re done!

My tortilla brand of choice is La Tortilla Factory

This step is optional, but I like to heat my tortillas up in a little but of oil! It doesn’t take long, just pour a little bit of oil in the medium-low pan, heat the tortillas, and warm for about 1 or 2 minutes on each side. You don’t want to burn them or even crisp them too much!

Just like normal tacos! Yummm!

While all this is cooking, you should be chopping, grating, and arranging your taco toppings. Lettuce, green onions, cheese, olives, guacamole, and salsa are some of my favorites. My roommate really likes garbanzo beans on her tacos, and surprisingly they were pretty delicious!

Make sure to make lots because you'll be wanting more!

Soooo yummy!

Kombucha Results

A few days ago, I bottled my kombucha. I used two glass brewing containers. One was an iced tea jar with a spout. The spout worked great for bottling because all I had to do was flip the lever and pour into my mason jars. My second brewing container I actually liked better. It was an old wine jug I stole from a friend (She drank the wine; I took the container). Obviously, it was easy to pour into the mason jars too, but I really liked the way my kombucha turned out in this one. It fermented much quicker than I expected, and the mushroom/SCOBY was huge. The kombucha was even carbonated when I was pouring it into the mason jar!  The taste was a bit strong, especially if you’re not used to drinking kombucha.  I bought some lemon echinacea juice to mix it with because I’ve been wanting to test some different flavors out. Any kombucha experts out there have some suggestions??

Check out that SCOBY!

I left the kombucha to ferment for about three weeks, and that was probably the reason it tastes so strong. I started two more batches after I bottled these, and I will test them after a week or two instead of three or four weeks. The new batches are also a test of new teas! Both gallons this last time were black tea, but this time I’m trying out white and green tea! Fingers crossed it works out! I have no idea if there are differences between brewing green, black and white tea. Again, any kombucha experts out there have any advice??

Two gallons of tea yielded one bakers dozen of kombucha!. Yum!

Tofu Quinoa Bowl

A few weeks ago, a coworker brought in with a cous cous salmon bowl for lunch. It looked amazing! I was so inspired that I made something similar last week.  I made this for my roommate and another friend who had never had an organic meal or tofu and they loved it! So, this is an easy and delicious way to cook tofu for tofu newbies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth (for cooking quinoa)
  • Olive oil (for cooking)
  • Teriyaki Sauce (about 1/2 cup or more)
  • 1 package of extra firm tofu chopped into bite-size pieces (see tofu photo below)
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • About 1 cup mushrooms (chopped)
  • Spinach (probably about 10-20 leaves, but you make that call!)
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • Handful dried cranberries
  • 2 oz. Crumbled Feta Cheese (approximately)

Quinoa is usually cooked similarly to rice. Follow the directions on the package your quinoa came in, but I usually always cook quinoa on the stovetop, not in a rice cooker. Cooking quinoa with vegetable broth is another option, but water works too.

The finished quinoa should look something like this.

The only way I can seem to cook tofu well is slowly. I’ve read that quickly searing the sides on high heat is a great way to cook tofu, but it always seems to stick to the pan or turned out burned and not delicious.

So, heat a pan on medium-low and drizzle olive oil in the pan. Add chopped tofu. After a few minutes and one turn of the tofu, pour teriyaki sauce over the top. Continue to turn the tofu every few minutes to get an even heat on all the sides, but avoid turning the tofu too often to prevent breaking the pieces up too much. I’d say between 10 and 15 minutes is about right.

The beginning of the tofu.

Heat another pan at medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Throw in the shallots and garlic and brown slightly. Add mushrooms.

Check your tofu and quinoa!

Stir mushrooms and add spinach and black beans. Cook until spinach is wilted and beans are warm. Check quinoa and remove from heat if the water/broth is evaporated. Check your tofu again!

Everything should be done about the same time, so get your bowls ready! Add quinoa, vegetables, dried cranberries, feta cheese and tofu. Serve.

Not a great photo, but this was the final product.

This should serve 2-4 people, depending on how hungry you are. Between three young ladies, we had leftovers, but if it was me and my boyfriend it probably would have been just right. He eats a lot.

Vegetarian Lasagna

I had the biggest craving to make a lasagna for months. Last week I finally found the time and ingredients to go through with it! I looked over a few recipes, but in the end didn’t follow one.

Prep Time: 20 minutes max. Cook time: 45 minutes- 1 hour.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of firm tofu (mine were 12.3 oz.)
  • 1 small container of ricotta cheese (about 15 oz.)
  • 4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (divided into 3 and 1 cup measurements)
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • A few drops of cooking oil (avocado, olive, vegetable… whatever you like!)
  • No cook lasagna noodles (8 oz.)
  • Pasta sauce (I used a 25.5 oz. jar but ran out of sauce and had to go buy more)

This is what I did:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice zucchini and heat in a pan with cooking oil until soft.
    Finished zucchini.
  • Crumble firm tofu into a large bowl. Combine ricotta and 3 cups of mozzarella.

    Lasagna filling should look like this

  • In a glass pan (I used two round dishes, but any pan or dish will work) layer sauce, noodles, zucchini and filling into the pan. Continue until you run out of ingredients.

    Layer One. Sauce, noodles and vegetables. Add filling and repeat.

  • Add remaining cup of mozzarella on top of lasagna. I added some parmesan cheese too, but that’s optional. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    The pre-cooked meal should look like this.

  • When it’s done the cheese should be bubbly, melty and delicious looking. Enjoy!

    Eat!