Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A dear friend of mine introduced me to Brian Andreas, artist & storyteller. I subscribe to Mr. Andreas' "Story of the Day" and, as usual, today's made me smile.


This is a bag filled with dreams & recipes for soup & he's deciding right now which he's really hungry for.

-Brian Andreas

I had my own non-soup-filled decisions to make (remember, soup was yesterday). What to make for dinner? Today is The Dad's birthday. The big 4 0 !!! Wow. So it had to be something great and I really didn't want anyone whining about dinner. Hmmm. This is kinda how it played out in my noggin.

"Italian Rice and Beans from 'Vegan Yum Yum' by Lauren Ulm? Kids will probably turn up their noses." Flipping through the pages. . .  "Corn Fritters from the same book? Ugh. What to make with it?"

Picking up Old Faithful (Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook). . "Kale & White Bean Soup? DUH, Mama! Soup was yesterday and much too good for children. Veggie Calzones sound good! Eh, not fancy enough for 40." Still flippin' through UEC (Ultimate Everyday Cookbook). . . "Butternut Squash Ravioli? Naw, I really don't wanna roll out any dough today (or any day for that matter.). Ooooh! Wait! Eggless Brown Fried Rive with Garlic Infusion! Bingo!"

"I remember seeing the perfect pairing in Vegan Yum Yum!" Picking it back up. "Yes! Broccoli Almond Sweet-and-Sour Tofu! Kids love sweet and sour, we'll give it a whirl!!!

As expected, I made some subs. First lets talk about the rice. I only had one tub of extra firm tofu in the fridge, so I omitted it from the rice. I subbed carrots and asparagus for the snow peas, and I just used a splash of tamari as I didn't have Teriyaki. 

As for the Sweet & Sour Tofu, I didn't use almonds as I didn't have any raw and thought roasted would be nasty in there. I also subbed apple cider vinegar for the rice I was supposed to use. No molasses in the house and I kinda really thought Agave nectar would suffice. Giggle. It wasn't bad. The consistency was perfect, it was just a little more sour than sweet. I also pressed the tofu for most of the day as I wanted a really solid tofu since I haven't gotten the knack of home cooked tofu. I was totally and completely 100% thrilled with the tofu. Amazing. 

Both dishes were delicious. I was very happy. The kids did not enjoy the sauce, as I expected, so I didn't give them much. Which meant it was rather bland for them. Kids 3 & 4 ate everything. Kid 3 wasn't too sold on the rice but ate it anyway. Kids 1 & 2. Sigh. Kids 1 & 2 did not enjoy the meal at all. Both ate tons of broccoli and some rice. Kid 2 was in a funk all afternoon, so I was fully aware that plate would be left full. Ahhh sweet 10 year old stubbornness (didn't even sing happy birthday. Party pooper). Kid 2 gets that from Mama. *gasp* I did not just say that! 

No thumb picture this evening, but I'll tell you how everyone WANTED to vote. Mama & The Dad, two thumbs up LOL. Kids 1 & 2 thumbs down. Kids 3 & 4 halfsies. Good news? Kid 3 wanted seconds on the tofu!!

Not very flavorful on it's own, but dipped in Ener-G and then cornstarch and fried (I used grapeseed oil), the tofu was reminiscent of fried dough. I think I'll make it that way for other recipes in the future. The texture was delightful. 

Dessert? Heck yeah there is dessert on The Dad's birthday! His favorite cake is pineapple upside down cake and I've made it for him for the past 3 years or so. The challenge? Veganise this baby.

I used this recipe, but I baked it in my Dutch oven as I did last year. Using the Dutch oven makes it sooo easy to get out as I line it with tinfoil, just add about 15 minutes to the cooking time. I used pineapple rings as opposed to the chunks and melted about 2tbs Earth Balance in the bottom before adding the fruit and batter. It had tons of flavor!!! Very very good, it was just really dense. Not sure how to alleviate that issue. Is that where the white vinegar in some vegan baked goods come into play? Gonna have to look that up. 

I'm already thinking about dinner tomorrow night. :D Don't forget to eat your veggies. 

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