Dry-Fried Tofu

As promised, this little project goes with the Vegetable Pad Thai with Dry-Fried Tofu recipe.

With thanks to the guys at Thug Kitchen

Enough for 2 to 4 people or to add to one entrée recipe

1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed for at least 30 minutes**
pinch of salt
  1. Cut the tofu into planks about 1/4 inch thick and then cut those planks in half width-wise. You should end up with around 20 squarish pieces.
  2. Preheat a large wok or cast-iron skillet* over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the tofu in a single layer. You might have to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan. You’ll want the tofu to sizzle once it hits the pan so if that *&$% is quiet, turn up the heat a little.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the tofu and start gently pressing down on the tofu with your spatula. You’ll hear the steam escape from under the tofu as you do this. It sounds like screams, but keep the *&$% on. Don’t try and flip it yest; you got to let that *&$% get toasted. After 3 to 4 minutes, the bottom sides should look golden brown. Flip them over and repeat. When the tofu is cooked all over, you can cut it into strips, triangles, or smaller squares, whateverthe*&$% you like in your food. It’s just easier to keep that shit bigger for flipping purposes.

Thug Kitchen Tips

*You want a really well-seasoned pan here so that the tofu doesn’t stick. If all else fails, grab a non-stick pan.

Kathryn’s Tips

**Tofu comes in a liquid. You will need to prep it before you cook it. Seems weird, but it works.

  1. Wrap the tofu in some paper towels or a clean dish cloth.
  2. Put it between two plates and put some weight on it like a can of beans or some heavy books. This presses all the water that is packed inside it out. This will take 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Vegetable Pad Thai with Dry-Fried Tofu

This is so good. I’m not kidding you. It’s really, really good. My family devoured it, even the tofu (which really just adds some texture and the much debated protein). Don’t want tofu? Add shrimp instead, if you are so inclined. The whole process took me about an hour but you could make it easier on yourself by taking a few short cuts (I’ve included suggestions in the ingredients). The big thing is getting those noodles soaking so they are ready to go when it’s time to add them to the pan. Want it a little spicy? Each person can add some Sriracha to the final product on their own plate. We had this with a side spring roll but I’m not kidding you, this is super filling. A side may not be necessary for anything more than additional flavour and texture. Your call. One of the really nice features of this meal is that the vegetables are nice and crispy and still have lots of flavour. Tasty, saucy, crunchy, flavourful… do you need any more to convince you to try this recipe?

With thanks to the guys (and their motivational language) at Thug Kitchen

Makes enough for 4*

1/4 cup lime juice (save time, use real lime juice from the squeeze bottle)
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
3 Tbsp water
3Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
14 oz package of rice noodles (about 1 package of 450g/1lb)
1 medium crown of broccoli (save time, buy this pre-chopped)
1/3 cup sliced shallots (or you can use a yellow onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced (save time, use the pre-minced out of a jar)
1 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2 tsp neutral tasting oil (like grapeseed or safflower)
Dry-Fried Tofu (see recipe in Other Yummy Stuff)
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage (red or green, but red adds nice colour. Save time, try the bagged coleslaw mix to save time)
1 carrot, thinly sliced into matchsticks (save time, buy them pre-cut or use the bagged coleslaw mix mentioned above)
1 cup bean sprouts
chopped peanuts (I used cashews)
Lime wedges
  1. Mix together all the stuff for the sauce in a medium glass (or a small bowl).
  2. Cook your noodles according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water. Chop up the broccoli into pieces no bigger than a quarter and get all the rest of your veggies and herbs on lock. Get ready to stir-fry.
  3. Now that you’ve got everything lined up, heat the oil over medium heat in a big skillet or wok. When the pan is hot, add the shallots and stir-fry those *&$%ers until they start to char around the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and keep that $%it up for another 2 minutes until the broccoli is kinda charred but isn’t limp as *&$%. Now add the garlic and fry it up for another 30 seconds. Gently add the noodles and 1/3 cup of the sauce and toss that *&$% all around to make sure the sauce is nice and absorbed. Keep adding more tablespoons of sauce until it is exactly how you like it. (I used all of the sauce and probably could have added more). Turn off the heat and fold in the green onions and cilantro.
  4. Serve this mound of deliciousness right away piled high on a plate next to (or covered with) the cabbages, carrots, bean sprouts, and topped with the peanuts. Have some lime wedges shoved in there and squeeze that *&$% over it before you dig in.

Kathryn’s tips

*To say this serves four is about right at our house with three grown men eating dinner. You may have some leftovers or wish you had made more depending on how your family eats.




Pillowy Pumpkin Snacking Cookies

These cookies were so easy to make. Honestly, I had some leftover pumpkin purée in the fridge and didn’t know what to do with it. I came across this recipe in Oh She Glows Everyday and thought, why not give these a try? I am so glad that I did. They really are pillowy and spicy and hard to not devour in one sitting. The original recipe calls for some Coconut Whipped Cream (also from Oh She Glows Everyday) to be spread on top or you could try Angela’s Magic No-Cook Caramel Sauce. I didn’t get that far. They went too fast!


With thanks to Angela Liddon from her cookbook Oh She Glows Everyday

vegan, nut-free, soy-free, kid-friendly, freezer-friendly

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes     Bake Time: 12 to 14 minutes

Makes 11 cookies (I squeezed out 12)

3 Tbsp (45 ml) virgin coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup (125 ml) lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (75 ml) unsweetened pumpkin purée
1/2 tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 tsp (10 ml) ground cinnamon
2 tsp (10 ml) ground flax
3/4 tsp (4 ml) ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
 1/2 tsp (2 ml) freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) ground cloves
Dash of cardamom
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1 cup (250 ml) whole-grain or white/light spelt flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees Celsius). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a  large bowl using electric beaters, beat together the coconut oil, sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the cinnamon, ground flax, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Beat until combined. Add the flour and beat again until combined. The dough should be moist and easy to roll into balls.
  4. Shape the dough into large balls, about 2 packed tablespoons (30 ml) each. Place the balls 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheet. Do not flatten the balls, or the cookies will not be as fluffy.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes (I opted for 12 and they turned out great), until the cookies have puffed up. Some might be lightly cracked on the surface.
  6. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Pipe Coconut Whipped Cream onto the cookies, if desired (make sure they are completely cool or the cream will melt). Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days or freeze them for up to 2 weeks.  Angela likes to wrap her cookies individually in foil and then pace them in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or airtight container.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Nothing smells better in a house than filled with the scent of fresh baking. Even better pumpkin spice! In about 40 minutes you too can have fresh baked pumpkin muffins sitting on your table ready for your family to devour. I enjoyed mine with some almond butter spread on top to give this treat a little pop of protein.

With thanks to Leanne Campbell and the China Study Cookbook

Prep time: 10 minutes     Baking time: 25-30 minutes

Makes 1 dozen muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sucanet*
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz (1 cup) solid-pack pure pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cups (or use a non-stick pan)
  3. Mix together the flour, Sucanet (or sugar of choice), baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl. Add pumpkin, water, applesauce, and pecans and stir until just mixed.
  4. Fill the prepared muffin cups to the top and bake 25-30 minutes, until the tops bounce back when lightly pressed. Remove from the oven and let stand 1-2 minutes; then remove the muffins from the pan. Cool for 30 minutes before eating and then store in an airtight container.

Leeanne Campbell’s Tips

Store cooled muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For long-term storage, keep them in the freezer.

Kathryn’s Notes

*I used coconut palm sugar and it worked out just fine

Leek and Potato Soup

Smooth and creamy, a little sweet and full of flavour, this soup is a bowl full of goodness. I love how easy this was to make and how far it went. I chose to purée my soup but it could easily be served as whole vegetables in a broth. Either way, paired with a green salad and a hunk of hearty bread this soup makes a great dinner or lunch.

With thanks to Jamie Oliver from his cookbook Jamie’s Food Revolution

Serves 6-8

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
1 pound leeks (about 3 large)
2 cloves of garlic
1 3/4 quarts (7 cups) chicken or vegetable broth, preferably organic*
1 pound potatoes (about 4)
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Peel and roughly chop the carrots
  2. Slice the celery
  3. Peel and roughly chop the onions
  4. Cut the ends off the leeks, quarter them length wise, wash them under running water, and cut them into 1/4 inch slices
  5. Peel and slice the garlic
  6. Put the broth in a sauce pan and heat until boiling
  7. Place a large saucepan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  8. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon
  9. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened, but are still holding their shape, and the onion and leeks are lightly golden
  10. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/4 inch cubes
  11. Add the boiling broth to the vegetables
  12. Add your potatoes
  13. Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil
  14. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on

To serve

Remove the pan from the heat, season with salt and pepper. Serve like this or pulse until smooth using an immersion blender or liquidizer. Divide between your serving bowls.

Kathryn’s notes

*to keep this vegan and plant-based use vegetable broth

Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheeze

This one is a big bowl of comfort food. Picture this: Friday night, nobody really feels like a big fussy meal, and everyone is getting hungry. Poor planning? Indeed. A little bit of forethought would have helped. Solution? This quick and easy recipe by Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows. A quick trip to the grocery store for a can of pumpkin purée, 15 minutes in the kitchen and voila! butternut squash mac n’ cheeze (except I used pumpkin). Another yummy meal and another meal that makes the family happy.

With thanks to Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows

vegan with gluten-free and nut-free options

serves 4

1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped) OR 1 cup canned butternut squash OR canned pumpkin
Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
1 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacer)
3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavoured almond milk (revised from 1 cup)
1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
6 tbsp nutritional yeast, or more to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4-3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2-1 tsp kosher salt (to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
4 servings brown rice macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup cooked
Mix-ins of choice (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, pumpkin seeds, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped squash with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth balance over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch or flour) until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, lemon, S & P) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so).

3. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to cover 4 servings of pasta.

4. In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash (or if using canned, simply stir 1 cup into the pot).

5. Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce & mix-ins. Heat and serve.

Angela’s Notes:

1) My 3.5 pound squash made 5 cups cooked squash, so I had about 4 cups leftover.

2) The sauce does not cut in half well (the blender has a hard time blending it up)

3) I tried this recipe with canned pumpkin and it was awesome!

Kathryn’s Notes:

I also tried the pumpkin version. It was really good.