I have had a lot of people ask me, “Why, why no meat?” To be honest I have nothing against eating meat. I love meat! I eat animal products (including but not limited to cheese) on a daily basis, and I love it. But, I have come to a point where I think things are so routine in some of the things Mr. G and I eat. I especially know that our vegetable realm has barely ever been explored, so I am taking the opportunity to explore it. I am going to take the month to avoid all that is normal about my diet and shoot for a new normal. I am going to force myself to eat outside of the box. I am going to eat things I would normally turn away from and things that I would have not even known existed. I am going to use the basis of my “experiment” as the Thug Kitchen cookbook. My thought is that I can use this as a “ground rules” for my no meat month and build on that. I am sure I can find some other recipes out there that will work for us, but for now, since I have the cookbook already, I will just use that.
My experiment has taken off and been very successful so far. I have only had 2 full days and 6 meatless meals (4 recipes, we have been enjoying leftovers) so far, but each meal has been a hit and I am really excited to see where it goes. The part that I was a bit apprehensive about was the tofu. I have never really eaten it as a main item in a meal before, but you will read about that here in a minute.
But, let me get back to my most recent meals. I made these bad ass pancakes, recipe from my Thug Kitchen cookbook of course, and I even had left overs for breakfast this morning. The recipe is super easy too. I did have to make some substitutions because I didn’t have the exact items the recipe calls for, but it still turned out amazing. This is how I made my pancake masterpiece!
What was the most amazing was that this recipe was Toddler approved. He chowed down on a pancake and a half. It was pretty awesome to see that he was enjoying the food with me. We did a smoothie for lunch and that was super filling just by itself.
I realized that I would be trying to make a meal out of the smoothie, but I didn’t realize that I would be satisfied with the smoothie as my meal. It was super filling and I love that! I had spinach in it and mango, a bunch of berries (blueberry, raspberry, and blackberries), some orange juice and almond milk. After I finished the smoothie I filled the smoothie shaker with water and drank all the “left overs” that got stuck to the sides of the container. That made me even fuller of course. But, I don’t think you can go wrong with water. I am trying to figure out what other veggies I can sneak in there so I can have a little more of a power punch of veggies. I just don’t know if I need to cook said veggies before adding to the smoothie or if I should add it some other way. I dunno… if you have suggestions, please send them my way. I am looking for insight.
Then dinner was awesome too! Now, I know that some breads my have animal products in them and my bread may be one of them. I am declining to change my bread choice for the month simply because I don’t eat that many sandwiches. I don’t eat toast (and I don’t have a toaster). I don’t eat it as a side to meals. So… I just don’t use it all that much, but the Toddler does. He can go through a grilled cheese sandwich like it’s nothing. He will eat bread just by itself sometimes. I am just not going to make that change. But, anyways me and this sandwich had a mini love affair for dinner last night. I will gladly admit I ate two sandwiches and I was full, but it was so good I couldn’t help myself.
I realize that you all are probably like, “Great… you gave us all these yummy pictures on food you ate and where to find them, but you don’t give us the recipe.” And as much as I would love to just start handing out recipes for these masterpieces, they do not belong to me and I need to research how to properly reference these since they do not exist on their blog. But, I will check into it and update you. But, I do have a recipe that I will give you that is half Thug Kitchen cookbook genius and half lil’ ol’ me. I would like to call it Ginger Spice Fluff & Stuff (so I am not good with the names, but I will work on it).
Ginger Spice Fluff & Stuff – Marinated Tofu and Quinoa
(the Ginger-Sesame Marinade from Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: eat like you give a f*ck, pg.77, with minor alterations)
1 Tofu Brick (I got the extra firm)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp olive oil (I used the light flavor, just preference though)
2 tsp Sriracha or similar hot sauce (I used Tapatio Sauce and it worked just fine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
Remaining tofu marinade
12oz bag of frozen peas & carrots, cooked and drained
salt to taste
mung bean sprouts (optional)
1. Drain tofu then wrap in paper towels and place between two plates Then put a can of beans or something with a little weight on the plate-press to try and press out more of the water. Leave in press for 30 minutes to an hour. (Again, I have to credit the Thug Kitchen cookbook for this nifty technique. I dreaded the idea of mushy tofu.)
2. Mix the rest of the tofu marinade (soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, olive oil, hot sauce and garlic) and place in pie pan/dish.
3. Once tofu is done in our plate-press, cut 1/4 inch slices. Each tofu brick should make about 12-13 pieces. Place flat in marinade (make sure each piece has been covered by marinade). Let marinade for 2-8 hours, and stirring or flipping pieces at least once part way through.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and grease a rimmed baking sheet.
5. Place the marinated tofu pieces on the prepped baking sheet (save the marinade) and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, turn over tofu pieces and spoon more marinade on each slice. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven again, turn over tofu pieces and spoon more marinade on each slice. Place back in the oven for a final 5 minutes. By the time your done cooking the tofu edges will look like they are burnt. (I even thought I might have over cooked my tofu all together, but I promise everything with be alright.)
6. While the tofu is baking, rinse quinoa. In a medium sauce pan bring water to boil on medium high heat.
7. When the water begins to boil put in rinsed quinoa and (hopefully by this time you will be done with the marinade for the tofu) remaining tofu marinade. Boil covered for 15 minutes or until all liquid is gone.
8. Mix steamed peas and carrots with quinoa. Add salt to taste.
9. Place about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup quinoa veggie mixture in a bowl, top with mung bean sprouts and 3 slices of tofu and enjoy.
(Makes 4 servings)
This was a hit, mostly to the amazing flavor for the marinade and the tofu. Swear that the tofu could have passed for meat. Mr. G kept repeating how good it was and how amazing everything tasted. Even Toddler wanted the tofu! He probably could have eaten his very own bowl of it all (although it did have a little kick to it). But, it was a complete dinner success.
I love this recipe because the tofu wasn’t anything like I had expected it to be. I liked the quinoa mixture because it was similar to a “fried rice”. I liked the mung bean sprouts because it offered a break from the “spice” and mellowed the dish a little (the yummy crunch wasn’t too bad either). But, all in all… Yum! We have leftovers for Mr. G for work or maybe a random lunch for me. The other thing I really liked about it was that it made me full and I didn’t feel like over stuffed or bursting at the seams. I also didn’t feel like I had to eat a lot to get there either. It was just the perfect dinner to finish out day two of our experiment.
We are definitely up to our eyeballs in veggies and loving every bit of it. Tomorrow will be a day out, which means I have to make good choices there too. I just have to come to the conclusion that I have to find an alternative to frozen yogurt. Hubby and I were talking about having some tomorrow and I don’t know of any NON-DAIRY frozen yogurt places. Normally we go to Menchies, but that may be a dream squashed. Do I give in to fro-yo or do I continue on my quest for a month of no (or extremely limited) animal products? HELP!