Spicy Pineapple Habanero BBQ Tofu (Vegan!)

Spicy Pineapple Habanero BBQ Tofu (Vegan!)

This recipe is great for summer BBQ’s and potlucks. It’s a slow cook recipe that allows the sugars from the pineapple and BBQ sauce to caramelize the outside of the tofu while the inside stays moist and chewy. It’s also the recipe that convinced my mom that tofu is not a horrible, non-edible, awful thing.

What you will need:
2 lbs. extra firm tofu
1/8- 1/4 c pineapple habanero sauce (add more or less depending on how spicy you want it) this is the sauce I used: http://www.robertrothschild.com/product/product-details.aspx?prodid=561
1 18 oz. bottle of BBQ sauce
1/4 c nutritional yeast (if you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can leave it out)
sriracha to taste
olive oil for pan frying

This recipe is a little time consuming. It will take a at least half an hour to prep and 2 hours to cook.

For this recipe, you will need to freeze and thaw tofu to give it a more “meaty” texture and to help it absorb the flavors of this dish better. Read my post on how to do that here: https://theveggieslaughterhouse.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/how-to-freeze-and-press-tofu-for-its-best-texture-and-flavor-absorption/. Follow the directions on how to prepare the tofu, then pan fry in olive oil. This step is very important because it prevents the tofu from drying out in the oven. Then, mix together the BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, sriracha and pineapple habanero sauce in a bowl and completely coat the tofu in it. Arrange on a non-greased cooking sheet with just enough space between the pieces of tofu so they’re not touching. Cook for two hours at 300 degrees without turning the tofu over. Remove from oven and munch!

How to Freeze and Press Extra Firm Tofu for its Best Texture and Flavor Absorption

How to Freeze and Press Tofu for its Best Texture and Flavor Absorption

Freezing and pressing tofu gives it its best texture and ability to absorb all the flavors of what you cook it with. It will change your view on tofu forever!

What to do:
Take an unopened package of extra firm tofu and freeze for at least 24hrs. Let it thaw by leaving it out or you can speed up the process by putting the unopened package in a bowl of hot (not boiling!) water. Keep changing out the water until package is completely thawed. Open your package of tofu and start squeezing all the excess water out of your block of tofu without crumbling it. Cut into your preferred shape (I love doing tofu triangles!) and you’re ready to pan fry or bake your tofu!

The Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water

image

1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.

2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.

3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.

5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.

6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.

7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.

8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.

9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.

10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster.

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea, Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea,  Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

This salad packs a whole lot of flavor with hummus and balsamic vinegar as the dressing. I used mostly organic, locally grown veggies for this salad for the best flavor (and the least amount of chemical pesticides!)

What you will need:

Tomato
Cucumber
Chick peas (canned is fine)
Goat cheese
Hummus (i used red pepper hummus)
Whole, fresh basil leaves
Mixed baby greens (i went with kale, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach)
Olive oil (optional, but not necessary. the hummus will have a lot of oil in it)

Start by slicing your cucumber and tomato, then layering your plate with baby mixed greens and basil. Add your cucumber, tomato, chick peas and goat cheese. Then add hummus and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you’re done!

This salad is also great with red onion and all sorts of other fresh herbs mixed in. I used what I had on hand today and it turned out great.

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

It’s the end of July and it’s hot out, so what’s better than a tall, refreshing glass of ice water? A tall refreshing glass of INFUSED ice water! Here’s just one simple recipe to get you through those hot, muggy days.

What you’ll need:

Pitcher
1-2 lemons
1/2 of a cucumber
1 celery stalk
a generous handful of dill
a generous handful of mint

Slice the cucumber and lemon and throw into a pitcher with your mint, dill and celery. Fill to the top with water and put it in the fridge to infuse overnight. Drink within two days.

Other great combinations:
Strawberry, lemon and basil
Blackberry, raspberry, lemon and mint
Orange, banana and mint
Strawberry, kiwi, lemon and basil

The possibilities are endless! Use your favorite fruits and herbs and see what kinds of natural vitamin water you can come up with!

Chilled Blueberry, Banana and Mint Soup

Chilled Blueberry, Banana and Mint Soup

Experimenting and having fun with food is what I love to do. I rarely follow a recipe exactly how it’s written and I encourage you to do the same with this recipe!

What you will need:

A food processor
1lb. blueberries
1 large banana (you can always use 2, or 3, or however many you’d like)
1/4 c almond milk (or milk, or soy milk)
1/8 c brown sugar
1/8 c balsamic vinegar or to taste
mint leaves (about 7)
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
cinnamon to taste
salt to taste

Toppings:
chia seeds
goat cheese
mint to garnish

Chop the banana into sections and throw all ingredients into the food processor and blend. Let the soup chill for at least an hour before pouring into bowls, then top with chia seeds, goat cheese and mint leaves and serve! Perfect as an after dinner dessert or a mid-day treat to enjoy with friends.

This recipe can be made vegan by leaving out the goat cheese. Other possible toppings include french vanilla yogurt, granola, or whole blueberries. See what ideas you can come up with!