August 30, 2012

Spicy Rubbed Grilled Tofu

Due to the overwhelming amount of produce in our house, we had a feast on Monday night! The Bup grilled tofu, an enormous onion, cherry tomatoes on skewers, & corn on the cob. I think one of the best things about veggies is that they're bulky, so you feel like you're really eating a lot but it's all healthy!

As a protein to pair with the veggies, we had tofu. Our favorite way to eat tofu is to cut it nice & thin, cover it with a rub, & grill it. It's faster by far than waiting for it to marinate, plus the rubs give it a lot of flavor. We often dip the tofu into a bbq sauce, ketchup, or peanut sauce as we eat it.

I've tried using several rubs, some homemade & some not. One of our favorites is the cajun rub that I've used on grilled corn in the past. The version we had on Monday was a Homemade Spicy Cool-Ranch Dorito Rub. It wasn't nearly as flavorful or spicy as the recipe looked like it would be, but it was still good.

I'm including a brief how-to & a recipe for another rub we love. Feel free to use your favorite rub!

Cajun Rubbed Grilled Tofu
Serves 2

1 14 oz. package extra firm tofu, pressed & sliced into 8 thin pieces
              (See here for tips on pressing & slicing.)

Don't Wipe Your Eyes Rub
adapted from here
1/2 c paprika (regular will work, we also like smoked paprika for some extra flavor!)
1/4 c black pepper
1/3 c sugar (we use evaporated cane juice)
3 T sea salt
3 T chili powder
2 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
1 T cayenne pepper

Mix together ingredients for the rub. Spoon enough rub onto each slice to cover both sides, rubbing it in until the slice is coated well. There will be leftover rub, which can be stored in an airtight container for at least a month.

Preheat grill to 500F & coat grill rack with oil to prevent sticking. Lay tofu in a single layer on hot grill and close lid. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, then open lid and flip the tofu. If it sticks, let it cook a few minutes longer before turning. Once flipped, close lid and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from grill and serve hot!

August 29, 2012

A New Step

 I have some super exciting news that I want to share. As of Sept. 10, I'm going to be a student again! I'm taking a 1 year online training program to be a certified health coach. It's with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now, and finally decided it was now or never. I'm excited for everything that I will be learning! It's all online in my own time, except for a few conference calls with other students & my mentor/coach. I'll be learning about various diets & nutritional things, as well as overall healthy living. When I'm done, I'll be able to have my own business. I'm really hoping this is something that I'll be able to shift into as my career.

Just ask my husband - I'm passionate about sharing all the tidbits about health that I read. He's constantly getting called over to listen to something I just read & getting emails with links to interesting articles. I love that this will let me share my interests with others while also helping them become healthier people.

If you have any interest in helping me with the training, let me know. We have practice Health Histories to do, & I'm looking for interested people. It's easy - you fill out a 2 page form & then I review it & we discuss some of your answers. At this time, I can't actually do the health coaching part that follows the history, but I have to get started somehow! Email me if you are interested! (carissaknight at

August 25, 2012

Tasty Tidbits

How was everyone's week? It seemed like a busy week for us, even though in reality we didn't have a lot going on. We were in the usual work/eat/sleep mode. The Bup's schedule changed & so this week just felt strange because our routine was off. Plus we were recooperating from the shower renovation of last weekend! I'm still stepping on random pieces of plaster that appear from thin air. Where are they coming from!?

On Monday night, we watched Breaking Dawn: Part 1. (Yes, we're way behind on our movie watching!) I liked the Twilight books & movies, from a pure entertainment stand point. There were many parts of the movie where we joked about how cheesy it was. I was in shock with how thin they made Bella during her pregnancy! I googled it, though, & Kristen Stewart was not required to loose all that weight. Whew! Thank goodness for CGI.

Here's what we've been eating in the last week:

  • Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes
  • Yogurt with a variation on my Millet & Oat Granola
  • Cereal: Puffed Millet, Puffed rice & Puffed Kamut with vanilla almond milk on it.
  • Zucchini Overnight oats: 1/2 c rolled oats, 1/3 c almond milk, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 c shredded zucchini
  • Angela's Oil-Free Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Muffins - These turned out really well! They were quick & simple to make. I think I should have increased the baking time slightly, to fully cook the zucchini, but they're still yummy! (Note: The recipe says it makes 12, but I ended up with 20 muffins.)
  • Fresh fruit: peaches, canteloupe, banana


  • Grilled provolone cheese sandwiches on whole wheat sourdough bread
  • Guacamole with cherry tomatoes & Trader Joe's sweet potato tortilla chips (the best!)
  • Pesto pasta with zucchini & tomatoes (We loved this. I made it at random, but afterwards I tried writing down all the ingredients so I can re-create it. Hopefully then I'll have a recipe for you!)
  • Make Your Own Salad Bar w/ friends - mixed greens, tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, apple, strawberries, sunflower seeds, avocado, tortilla strips, croutons - and wine, of course!
Thursday: We had Dad was over for dinner since Mom's visiting my aunt.
  • Grilled pizza - like these but with some different toppers (marinara sauce, zucchini, chard, onions, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, & olives)
  • Salad with Brittany's Honey Mustard Dressing (I reduced the olive oil & added more vinegar - we love a good kick to our salads. This was delicious, as it had a nice creamy quality without being heavy.)
  • Rehearsal dinner for my brother-in-law's wedding!


August 23, 2012

August Garden Update

It's that time of year - our counters are covered in baskets of tomatoes. We've been making sauce, soup, & everything else we can with the fresh tomatoes.

The tomato plants are out of control! We had such a good plan & then a few rainy days came alone & they grew like crazy. Sometimes I just have to dive in headfirst between the rows & look around for any red ones to pick.

This is the first year that we've really had success with eggplants. They're growing well & we've already picked 3.

The swiss chard is healthy & thriving, as is the kale. I pureed a bunch of each & froze it in ice cube trays to have for green smoothies in the winter.

This is a mixture of sweet potato vines & a random melon plant.

I didn't plant the random melon plant, but I'm very excited to see what this little guy is!

We have 3 brussels sprout plants. They have tiny brussels on them now. I can't wait to pick them! Also, isn't it amazing how they grow? The little heads form just at the stem/branch connection. So cool!

I planted 5 zucchini & 5 random squash seeds in this area. Two came up. I think both are zucchini, but the way that one is vining out makes me wonder...  I hope one is butternut squash!

The jalapeno pepper plants are doing well. They've slowed down in production, thankfully, because we were overwhelmed. I froze a few baggie-fuls for winter eating & we gave away plenty.

About 2 weeks ago, we harvested our potatoes. It's so fun because with each dig into the ground, you're anxiously awaiting a potato to pop up. The soil here still needs some work, as it has a lot of clay, so the potatoes didn't grow to be very large, but we still got a lot of them!

After we harvested the potatoes, I planted broccoli, beets, turnips, & carrots. They're popping up quickly!

The cucumbers that were on the tee-pees have died off. They weren't getting enough water in July when we had so little rain. The tomatoes are doing well here, though, and there are a few potato plants to harvest later, once things die back.

After the first year, we haven't planted any cherry tomatoes. They come back on their own from the seeds that dropped the year before. I'm learning to control them better, so they aren't so overwhelming! I've also been freezing these to roast for sauces in the winter.

We transplanted strawberries back here & they really took off. The bell pepper plants are growing well, although I've only picked 1 so far.

I love the purple pepers! They're still small, so I'm letting them grow for awhile.

See the baby zucchini? I hope we get tons of them! So far, I've only picked 2. People complain about zucchini, but I could eat it daily!

And finally, our kiwi archway. It's growing like crazy. We thought we might get a few kiwis this year, but it's hard to tell. There are a few baby ones on there that seem to be getting eaten by birds. One bird built its nest in there, so sometimes when we walk by it goes flying out & startles us.

I'm super excited that we're heading into fall. I'm loving the cool mornings & having our A/C off. We roasted a squash over the weekend. I can't wait for all things pumpkin!

What are you most excited about for fall?

August 22, 2012

New Shower Adventures

As I mentioned in my last 2 posts, this past weekend we got a new shower. It was a lot of work (mostly for the Bup) & a lot of mess.

He started tearing out the old shower walls on Friday night. That went a little too smoothly, so of course, when he went to the basement to turn off the water valves & the cold water valve broke off in his hand. Oops...   We headed up to his parents' to borrow their truck & went to Lowe's to pick up the new tub & walls, plus a new valve.

On Saturday morning, my dad came over & they worked on getting out the old cast iron tub. It was a beast! They had to use the car jack to get it up on its side.

When they turned the tub on it's side, we heard a waterfall. All of the water that had been between the bathfitter & the old tub went pouring over the side & down into the basement. There's a drain on the basement floor almost directly below this bathroom, but that didn't help my clean laundry that I had drying on the line. I didn't even think to take it down. Oops.

Once it was up, they used boards to leverage it, & furniture sliders to get it out of the house.

The only time I'll see a tub in my kitchen (I hope!).

I guess having a tub in the yard makes us super cool, right? Mom suggested using it as a flower planter. Hah! We called up a guy in town who came & took it off in his truck. Whew.

Once the tub was out, wall demolition began. The new shower walls had to be mounted to the studs, so all of the plaster had to come out. This went relatively quickly. It was the cleanup from it that took forever!

We filled about a dozen buckets with the plaster chunks, plus most of the shop-van bin.

One of the pieces of plaster fell & hit the plumbing, spraying water everywhere. I heard the Bup shout & went in to see him covered in water! It hit the ceiling & was dripping all over.

All clean!

Trash. Lots & lots of trash.

Here are some of the buckets. Anyone need some plaster chunks?

My father-in-law came over to help put in the new tub. They had to make another run to Lowe's to get more plumbing parts & a shower door. Getting the tub in was a feat in itself. It's slightly deeper than the old tub, so they really had to wedge it in there.

Once the tub was in, another problem came up. Even though he was reading the instructions (!!!) & they said to measure 74" up the wall, the shower walls came up 77", so more plaster had to come down. More plaster demo = more mess.

On to the plumbing work.

I helped lift in the back shower wall, & then he got the other walls in. There were some issues with making everything level, but with a few shims it worked out. We had another short delay when he turned on the water & nothing happened, but he fixed that quickly.

Here's where we are now. The plaster above the walls still needs to be finished & the framing isn't complete, but we can take showers! He almost had the door installed, except it was too tall for the shower walls. When he cut the sides to fit, he realized that the glass doors wouldn't fit then. So...we're at a stand still until the new sides come in.

I love the new shower. The shower head is higher than the old one, so it's more like being under a waterfall. The rest of the project will be more spread out. This was a lot for one weekend! 

August 21, 2012

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We had a crazy long/busy weekend! I'll have some pictures & stories of our shower renovation up soon. My original plan was to have grilled pizza on Saturday night, but when we realized how long it was going to take to finish the shower, we decided not to take the time.

Sunday night came along, and we still needed every minute we could get, so I changed plans & made these stuffed peppers. They were very easy - only about 30 minutes hands-on time. The curry flavors went very well with the quinoa & pepper, & even provided a subtle heat to the dish. These peppers are packed with healthy protein (from the quinoa) & veggies, not to mention all of the flavor!

You can see that they look a little charred. I like my peppers a little crispy, & the pieces of swiss chard that were on top turned black. If you would prefer yours to be slightly less done, just bake for less time. The filling is pre-cooked, so as long as they are heated through, the baking time is adjustable. Just note that the less time you bake them for, the less cooked the pepper will be.

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4-6

1 c quinoa
1 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c water
4-6 bell peppers, depending on their size
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes (or about 1 1/2 cup), chopped (or a 14 oz. can of diced)
1/3 c peanut sauce
1 T red curry paste
3 T nutritional yeast
3 T curry powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c swiss chard, chopped (or substitute spinach)

In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, almond milk, &water. Bring to a boil, then cover & simmer for 15 minutes.

Core peppers by cutting a wide circle around the stem. Pull out all seeds, leaving hollow peppers. Cut the stem out of the lids & chop the remaining pieces. Spray a 9"x9" pan with cooking spray & place hollowed peppers in it, upright. Preheat oven to 350.

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet (I used a cast-iron pan) over medium heat. Add onions & pepper pieces. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic & cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, peanut sauce, red curry paste, nutritional yeast & spices. Stir to combine, then add cooked quinoa. Once mixture is heated through, removed from heat & stir in swiss chard.

Spoon mixture into hollowed peppers, dividing evenly.* Bake for 40-45 minutes.

*I started out with 4 peppers & when I started adding the filling, I realized I had enough for a 5th. If your peppers are smaller, you may have enough to fill 6.

August 18, 2012

Tasty Tidbits & a New Shower

This week flew by! It seemed like we had something happening every evening. Even on Tuesday, the only evening we were plan-free, I had laundry & cleaning to catch up on from the weekend! I loved seeing Alex again. We walked, shopped, ate, cooked, canned tomato sauce, took crazy pictures, biked 21 miles, & laughed a lot.

We have a super exciting project lined up for the weekend: replacing the shower in the bathroom! When we moved into our house, there was a bathfitter in there. The ceiling was so low that we kept bumping into it, so the Bup & his brother removed it. There was a pretty archway underneath it, so we were really happy to have opened up the space. He sealed the top & caulked it, so it still looked pretty much finished. Since then, we had "new shower" at the bottom of our list of projects, knowing it would need to be replaced, but we didn't think it was urgent. In the last month or so, we've noticed it deteriorating - mold was growing around the tub/wall connection & as much as we cleaned it, we couldn't keep it under control. Then last weekend, we started hearing/feeling a big squish of water underneath the tub liner everytime we stepped into the shower. Not good. So now we're forced to replace it sooner than we thought. I hope it goes well & there's no long-lasting damage! I'll keep you posted.

Here's what we've been eating in the last week:





  • Zucchini & onions sauteed with spinach ravioli - This is so simple & one of our quick go-to meals during zucchini season. I'll share a recipe for it soon!
  • Valentina's Summer Corn Chowder  - We really liked this summery & fresh soup. We were worried about having soup with all this heat, but it was great!
    • I made a few adjustments to the recipe:
      • more onions
      • no poblano peppers - we didn't have these, so I used a can of diced green chiles
      • added about 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika & 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
      • did not use the basil, tomato & avocado garnishes
  • Joy's Whole Wheat Flatbreads - This is a keeper recipe. The dough came together quickly & rose in an hour. I divided it in 4 & cooked them on my cast iron skillet. It did cause some smoking (and the smoke detector went off!) but that was only because it took me 2 flatbreads to get the heat level right. The flatbreads were perfect for with the soup. I can imagine them making delicious pizza crusts, too.
  • Dinner at Mom & Pops' house. Mom made sauce with all of her tomatoes from the garden & we had it with rigatoni. On the side, we had a zucchini & mushroom salad.
  • Vegan Tomato Soup
  • If you were wondering what we decided on last week, we ended up having sauteed zucchini & onions with black beans to go with the broiled new potatoes.

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