Good Digestion Wait on Appetite

This is NOT a food blog, and I am NOT a good cook.  However, I’ve been wanting to write down a few of my easy kitchen discoveries for a while, and I just saw this video about acidity/alkalinity that gave me the impetus to actually do it.

The video, in case you’re interested:

I like it ’cause it actually explains WHY, from a biological perspective, it’s useful to eat more foods that are alkaline.  I’d been hearing about all this “inflammation” and “toxicity” from foods, but I never heard a sound, physiological argument for it ’til now.  “Because acidic foods deplete important minerals!”  That’s the short version, and, contrary to what my 80-mile-long posts might lead you to believe, I can appreciate a short version.

There’s a cool chart, too, which gives you a sort of at-a-glance of the foods that are more alkaline:  https://wellnessworks.bloomfire.com/posts/2196-the-food-target/public

So, a few simple recipes I eat regularly.  I might be the only one who likes them.  Whatever; I do what I want.

Sesame Kale & Tofu

I think I adapted this from somewhere… maybe The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet, which I love.  It’s so easy and delicious that the only problem I have is that once I eat it, I want it for every meal for about a week.  Because brevity is my nemesis, it looks like far more steps than there really are, but that’s what you get for coming to me for recipes!  Which you didn’t.  Anyschway…

Wha’d’ya put in it?

  • 1 bunch green or black kale (~150g, after it’s stripped)
  • 1 block of tofu (I love Nasoya Organic Cubed Super Firm Tofu)
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) oil (a garlic stir-fry oil works well, but I often just use vegetable oil — extra-virgin olive oil doesn’t perform all that well at high temperatures, but I’ve used it before anyway)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (maybe — last night I doubled this on accident, and the dish was way too salty, but I think it can handle 1 tbls)
  • 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce (or 2, if you aren’t using the soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or 2, if you aren’t using honey)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup, or brown sugar, or molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I use raw unhulled ones and sometimes toast them myself… or not)

How d’ya do it?

  1. If you are an idiot and you bought tofu that isn’t pre-cut into incredibly convenient, elegantly uniform chunks, despite my generous suggestion, then cut your tofu into 1 cm cubes… or larger, whatever you feel like; you’re the one who’s eating it, not I.
  2. If you’re toasting the sesame seeds (which I find delicious but often don’t have the energy to do), put them, DRY, into a DRY tiny frying pan and turn the heat on … um… lowish, I think.  You’ll wanna stir them pretty regularly, preferably with a wooden spoon, and you’ll know they’re getting done when they start leaping up out of the pan.  They’ll turn a lovely chestnut color, too.  If they turn black, you’ve probably gone too far.  TURN BACK!
  3. Heat a wok or one of those really deep, bowl-like frying pan things over a burner set to… let’s say medium-high.  My stove calls it “7”.  I don’t EXACTLY stir-fry this dish, which would require higher heat and shorter times… but stir-frying is a closer match than, say, steaming.
  4. Add ONE (not both) tablespoon of oil and heat it until the oil runs around the pan like it’s the consistency of water, like… 15 seconds or something.  (You CAN mix the oil, sauces, and sweet stuff together in a little bowl and put them all in at once.  I prefer to do it my way for two reasons:  1. I don’t dirty a bowl.  2. My way prevents the soy and teriyaki from immediately evaporating into thin air and the honey from crusting to the bottom of the pan.  The only reason I would premix them would be if I were using brown sugar instead of liquidy sweeteners, in which case I’d nuke the whole shebang for a few seconds.)
  5. Toss in the tofu.
  6. Immediately add 1/2 the agave, honey, teriyaki, and soy.  Here’s a super-hint I picked up:  Use the same tablespoon measure for everything you put in this recipe.  Oil first, then fill halfway with honey and the rest with agave, then fill halfway with soy and the rest with teriyaki.  Here’s what’s brilliant about this:  the oil makes it so the honey doesn’t stick badly and all stay in the spoon, and then the sauces sorta “deglaze” any remaining sweet stuff from the spoon.  I’m a genius.
  7. So, once all your saucy stuff is on the tofu, give it a few good, vigorous tosses to coat the tofu.  Now you can turn your back on it for a few minutes.  If you haven’t handled kale much, you may wanna prep it before you put the tofu in so that you don’t have to worry about getting it done by the time the tofu’s ready.
  8. Either wash the kale before you tear it, or plan to rinse it off in your salad spinner.  (I just acquired one of these miraculous creations, and I am SOLD.)  Many stir-fry recipes suggest that all the stuff needs to be in similarly-sized pieces; screw them.  I rip my kale into whatever pieces it wants to be in, ’cause it’s nearly impossible to get the pieces to be uniform.  I could describe how to prep the kale (I needed to look it up myself, ’cause hell, I don’t know what you can eat and what you can’t; what am I, Survivorman?!), but instead, you should watch this here YouTube video from about 0:38-0:49.  So, take out the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized chunks.  If the gods are with you, you have a salad spinner and can put it in that, rinse it off, and spin it dry.  If not… I’m so sorry.
  9. Toss your tofu (does that sound gross?) a few times while you’re prepping kale.  The idea is to get most of the pieces browned on several sides.  I’m just obsessive enough that it’s hard for me to not have ALL pieces uniformly browned on ALL sides, but I’ve had to get over that.
  10. Once the tofu looks done (WARNING:  I prefer mine quite done and occasionally blackened and crusty, so take that into account with your timing.), check the oil situation.  Mine often winds up a little overly-oily, so you may not need any more oil, or you may just need a teaspoon.  If you do need more, add it now, and then toss your rinsed kale bits in the pan.
  11. Before you worry about stirring or anything, repeat the sweetner/sauce additions, adding the honey/agave and soy/teriyaki half-spoonfuls over the kale.
  12. Toss everything together to get the kale well coated.  (I have, in the past, sorta marinated the kale and tofu in the glaze-y stuff before stir-frying it, but it turns out that’s unnecessary and, again, makes for extraneous dirty dishes.  Boo.)
  13. Keep an eye on it from now on.  Depending on the heat, it only takes 2-4 minutes to finish from this point.  The kale will cook WAY down and will turn a gorgeous emerald green, and much of its water will evaporate.  Once it’s mostly wilty, but not slovenly and squishy (which I test by eating a piece), cut off the heat, remove the pan, and move everything into a serving bowl or into a couple of personal bowls.  (I do this with a slotted spatula, leaving behind any extra juice, but if you like wet food, you could just kinda pour it.)
  14. Pour some sesame seeds all over it and stir them in.  If you’re eating it yourself, you can just eat straight out of the serving bowl — it’s okay; I said you can — and you’ll wanna eat the whole thing tonight, even if you can’t do it in one sitting.  If you’re serving to others, you could sprinkle the sesame seeds on each individual bowl and leave them un-integrated (or, untigrated).  In any case, I find that, with sesame seeds, it’s better not to try to transfer the dish many times, ’cause you lose a lot of seeds every time, so I’d recommend adding them to the bowl from which you’re eating.
  15. Um… eat it.  ‘S good.

Baked Kale Chips (WITHOUT OIL!!! OMGROXXORZ!!?!!)

This is not a well-oiled (pun!) time-honored recipe.  I’ve made it ONCE, last night.  It was… okay.  But I see potential for it.  Here’s my suggestion:  It actually IS important here for the kale to be torn into uniformly-sized pieces, so here’s what I did.  I made this recipe and the above recipe at the same time with two bunches of kale!  I used all the little titchy pieces from both bunches in the stir fry and borrowed some of the larger leaves from the stir fry’s bunch of kale for this recipe.

Wha’d’ya put in it?

  • 1 bunch green or black kale (~150g, after it’s stripped)
  • seasonings, to taste  (I hate it when recipes say “to taste” like I KNOW how it’ll taste before I’ve eaten it, you bastards.  But, I WAY overdid it on the salt yesterday, so I don’t feel competent to give a measure.  The recipe I saw said to add salt “liberally”, but either my tastebuds or my definition of “liberally” disagree with the person who posted the recipe, ’cause it was a little much.)

The seasonings I used were:  salt/pepper/garlic powder and sea salt/ginger.  They were okay.  Other suggestions:  teriyaki (dunno how you do this without making them too wet), Old Bay Seasoning, balsamic vinegar (again, the problem with moisture?), nutritional yeast (really want to try this), drizzle of honey or agave.  I bet they’d be good with salt and honey.

How d’ya do it?

  1. Preheat the oven to 225.  Apparently, this works best in a toaster oven, but it seemed to me I’d have to do about 40 batches in something that small, so I just used the oven.
  2. Prep the kale as above, but make sure the leaves are in uniform pieces.
  3. Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and spread the kale in one layer over it.  (I had to use two cookie sheets, so I did two different recipes.)
  4. Add seasoning, sprinkling it over the kale.  You’ll likely be tossing the kale around a fair amount while it cooks, so there really isn’t much need to be diligent about coating it; I just sprinkled it on top.
  5. Put in the oven.  I checked on and tossed mine around every 5 minutes or so.  The recipe said it’ll take 7-10 minutes, and maybe that’s more likely in a toaster oven, but mine took closer to 30 minutes… and it could’ve used more.  A FEW of the leaves were so crispy they shattered in the mouth, which is what I wanted, but many of them were still wilty and chewy and VERY kale-flavored, which is not ideal.  The recipe also cautions not to burn them, though, so what’s a gal to do?
  6. Remove them and eat them.  They’re quite good hot, but I imagine if they’re cooked properly, they would store okay and still be crispy.  I don’t know, ’cause mine weren’t cooked properly, and I ate them ALL last night.

Yes, I ate two whole bunches of kale yesterday.  I should, like, win a health food award or something.

Kinda Low-Cal, Definitely Delicious Salad

Salad recipes seem kinda stupid to me, but I’m proud of the (incredibly simple, but way too delicious) dressing.

Wha’d’ya put in it?

Whatever you want; it’s a damn salad.  But here’s what I do:

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon agave nectar

Salad:

  • 2-3 cups romaine or mixed greens
  • 7-8 baby carrots, chopped into discs
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 100g (~1/3 pkg.) of that amazing tofu I listed up there (Nasoya Organic Cubed Super Firm Tofu)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese (optional, like everything else — I use Fiesta Blend when I use cheese, ’cause it’s what I have on hand, but it’d be better with blue cheese or feta or something, probably)
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds, hulled (pepitas, I think they’re called?)

How d’ya do it?

I’m not gonna tell you how to make a salad.  You put the stuff together.  Done.

For the dressing, I usually mix it together in a separate bowl, but the last time I made it, I just drizzled both ingredients over the salad and tossed it really well, and that seemed fine.  I imagine it’d be good to dissolve the nutritional yeast in the vinegar and then stir in the agave, but I’ve never done that.

IdealShape Hot Cocoa

This probably isn’t useful to anyone, but if any of my readers use the IdealShape meal replacement shakes (I do, ’cause they were very highly reviewed and are, in fact, delicious), you may find this useful.

Wha’d’ya put in it?

  • 3/4 scoop Milk Chocolate IdealShape Meal Replacement Shake powder
  • 1/4 scoop Vanilla IdealShape Meal Replacement Shake powder
  • 8 ounces milk (I use 2%)
  • 2-3 ounces water, cold

Need anything fancy?

Well, no, but the things I use that make this worth doing, in my mind, are:

  • IdealShape shaker bottle (with the little whisk thingie)
  • a milk frother (I’m pretty sure the one I have is this one, and it is the Love of My Life)
  • a microwave

How d’ya do it?

This seems silly; why would I need a whole process for making hot cocoa?  Here’s why:  that shake stuff EXPANDS when heated.  Like crazy.  And it doesn’t stir into the liquid and become beautiful and silky… it sits on top like obstinate chunks of jerkiness.  So after a couple of microwave disasters, I developed a system.

  1. Measure milk into shaker bottle and pour into 12-ounce, heat-safe mug.  If you don’t have a 12-ounce mug, you CAN do this with 4 ounces of milk, but it turns out tepid instead of deliciously warm.
  2. Microwave milk for around 2 minutes.  I’ve never found the perfect time, but you may wanna watch it to be sure it doesn’t overflow the cup, at least until you figure out the timing.
  3. Measure water into shaker bottle.  The idea is to have JUST enough cold water to dissolve the shake powder, ’cause it doesn’t seem to work as well in hot liquid.
  4. Eyeball 3/4 of a scoop of chocolate shake powder, then hold it over the vanilla container and dump a scoopful of vanilla onto it.  Shake until level, leaving you with the proper ratio of chocolate to vanilla.  Dump this into the shaker bottle over the water.
  5. Drop whisk ball into shaker bottle, put on lid, and shake, SHAKE, SHAKE!  When you’re done, the result should be a smooth, syrupy chocolate liquid without chunks of powder in it.
  6. Remove milk from microwave.  Remove lid and whisk ball from shaker bottle.  Pour chocolate mixture into milk.
  7. Put the frother into the mug so it’s almost touching the bottom.  Turn on.  The swirl should create a little cone in the center; bring the frother up until it’s barely under the surface of the milk, so that you get a nice little foam of bubbles.
  8. Done.  Enjoy!  I sure do.

Berries-and-Cream Oatmeal

WARNING:  There may be something in this recipe that may horrify you.  You ought to skip the parts labeled “SQUICK ALERT” if you’re super-squeamish about old/expired food.

Wha’d’ya put in it?

  • 100g (like… 3/4 cup?) strawberries, frozen (obviously, they don’t have to be frozen, but this is what I had)
  • 70g (like 1/2 cup) red raspberries, frozen (ditto)
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (I was gonna do agave, but I liked the idea of the caramelly flavor of sugar)
  • a whisper of vanilla extract
  • two pinches of salt (I used Kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup 100% whole grain old-fashioned oats (WARNING:  I like my oatmeal chewy — a little al dente, if you will.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 10g (maybe… a tablespoon?) of almonds, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (this is the horror part)

How d’ya do it?

  1. Put the berries in a bowl.  I used a little bowl, which overflowed big-time and made a microwave mess, so I might recommend a big bowl.  Or you could do this part on the stove, if you’re, like, The Queen of Free Time and Energy.  I am not that monarch.
  2. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the berries, and microwave them for… well, I did 5 minutes, checking on them and stirring/smashing twice.  Mine, though, as you may remember, overflowed.  The goal here is to get rid of some of the water and make a sort of syrupy compote.
  3. While they’re microwaving, heat the water to a boil.  I did this in a hotpot (see my aforementioned non-royal status).  Pour boiling water over oats in a bowl.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, stir, and cover with something; I used a plate.
  4. While that’s steeping, chop almonds, if you have to do that yourself.  By which I mean:  you didn’t buy chopped almonds, not that you have a servant boy or something.  (I buy whole almonds, so I did have to chop them, but I have a nifty little nut chopper that is the senile great-grandfather of the Slap Chop.)
  5. Once the berries are done heating, pour all the overflow liquid from your microwave turntable back into the bowl so as not to waste it.  Luckily, you make microwave messes so regularly that your microwave turntable is quite clean; aren’t you clever!  Add a tiny touch of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to the berries, stir well, smash any berries that have the gall to still be intact, and set aside, uncovered, to allow the water to keep evaporating.
  6. Uncover the oatmeal and stir.  I also drained off all the water at this point, in preparation for liquidy cream.
  7. [SQUICK ALERT]  Retrieve cream from fridge.  Discover that you bought it 4 months ago.  Open it anyway.  Sniff it, and discover that it smells totally fine.  Put your lips to the carton and attempt to pour a tiny drop onto your tongue to verify.  Grow increasingly curious about why you can’t pour it into your mouth, despite its verticality.  Look at it closely.  Discover that it has become a solid.  Get kinda grossed out by this development and resolve to throw it away.  Become even more curious and change your mind about discarding it.  Touch it with your finger, which will come away with a little white foam on it.  Decide to throw it away.  Change your mind again and taste the substance on your finger, which just tastes like delicious cream.  Dip your finger further into it and taste again:  discover that it’s totally fine.  Decide that maybe it never went bad but that maybe you shook it too hard at one point and it just turned into whipped cream instead of to-be-whipped cream.  Determine that it is TOTALLY going in your oatmeal.  Get out your tablespoon measure and stick it in the carton.  Discover that there is liquid below the solid cream.  Become a little concerned again.  Taste the cream again.  Wonder if this is just a matter of “the cream rising to the top”.  Wonder if this is anything like Devonshire cream.  Wonder if this is anything like clotted cream.  Wonder if your husband will find your lifeless body later today after your guts form a revolt.  Wonder if modern American society’s phobia of germs will be the downfall of us all.  Put a tablespoon of the thickest part of the cream into your oatmeal, defiantly congratulating yourself for using your evolutionarily-developed talent for tasting whether or not food is good.  [END SQUICK ALERT.]
  8. If you skipped the above, put a tablespoon of unexpired cream into your oatmeal.
  9. Pour the berry compote over the oatmeal, and stir everything together.  Admire the beauty of the colors as the deep magenta berries swirl around the shockingly white cream.  Microwave for a minute.
  10. Sprinkle almonds over the top.
  11. Eat and discover it is tart, creamy, and unendingly delicious.

That’s enough for now.  I also have a ROCKIN’ cookie recipe finally, but I don’t have the energy to put it up here at the moment.

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One thought on “Good Digestion Wait on Appetite

  1. Pingback: Quinoa? I ha’dly know’a! | Tiger's Tale

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