Tag Archives: healthy living

Guest Blogger: Veggietorials – Kalbi Style Baked Tofu + Pajeon {Scallion Pancake}

12 Sep

Please welcome back the lovely Pacific Islander Kobi and her blog Veggietorials, which is full of beautiful and tasty recipes. I can’t get over how pretty her pictures are and how perfect the lighting is in her photos. You can see her previous contribution to VBU! here, it was a very pretty Cucumber Wakame salad. Do check out her out on all channels: Veggietorials, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube. Welcome back Cobi!

So this is how my crazy train of thought arrived at this recipe: I read an article about a photographer that was recreating death row prisoners “last meals”.Which then prompted me to think about what I would want as my final meal. And the no-brainer answer is Kalbi. My K-peeps understand that Kalbi (Korean BBQ) is a taste that’s hard to give up. For me, it’s more about the marinade and less about the meat. Heck, everything will taste better after a swim in this marinade. It’s the perfect balance of savory-salty-sweet. I used the Hey Shuga organic cane syrup and really liked the flavor. Sometimes I blend in some grated Korean pear, but a lot of times I don’t have it and the marinade tastes just as amazing without it.

  • Perfect for portobellas before you pan fry or throw them on the grill
  • Use a reduced sodium soy sauce for the Kalbi marinade and try it on seitan
  • Marinate tempeh overnight and pan fry

The baked tofu will have a deep flavor and chewy texture. I like to slice the baked tofu thin for banh mi style sandwiches. For salads and stir fries, I prefer the tofu cubed up. And for a quick dinner, I enjoy a Kalbi tofu “steak” with pajeon, kimchi, rice and a salad.

Pajeon (Scallion Pancake) is a savory side dish that looks fancy shmancy but is quite easy to make. I use scallions, green onions, chives or other seasonal veggies from my garden. Dip pajeon into kochoojang sauce for a little heat and a spicy kick. This Pajeon recipe was adapted from Maangchi, the internet demi god of Korean cooking. I was surprised that her original recipe was actually vegan♡. When I tried it without the Vegg and baking soda, my pancake was a globby mess even though I used a non-stick pan. The results were perfect once I added baking soda and The Vegg – Vegan Egg Yolk gave it the flavor of the pajeon my grandma used to make.

Kalbi Style Vegan Baked Tofu & Pajeon {Scallion Pancake}

by Veggietorials

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: bake fry entree side sandwich snack appetizer dairy free nut-free vegan vegetarian tofu Meatless Monday Korean

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Ingredients (4 servings)

For the Baked Tofu

  • 1 block firm or extra firm organic tofu,pressed
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons organic liquid cane sugar syrup or agave nectar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger,minced
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • optional-half Korean pear, grated. When using the pear, place all marinade ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

For the scallion pancake

  • 15 thin green onions, cut into 5 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 2 tablespoons The Vegg,pre mixed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

For the Tofu

Drain tofu.Remove excess water with a tofu press or wrap the block of tofu between two kitchen towels and place heavy books on top for about 20 minutes. Slice the tofu block in half so that each piece is about 1 inch thick. This process will allow the marinade to be easily absorbed.

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust seasoning and add black pepper to taste. Place the tofu in a rimmed dish and pour the marinade on top. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tofu in the middle of the sheet and bake for one hour total. Flip the tofu over after 30 minutes to cook and brown evenly. Remove from oven and cool slightly before slicing.

For the scallion pancake

Mix together all the pancake ingredients (except the oil and green onions) to create the batter. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over high heat and place half of the scallions in even layer in the pan. Pour just enough batter over the scallions to cover them. Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes, until the edges start to form bubbles. Flip the pancake, reduce heat to medium high and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Repeat to make another pancake. Serve with kochoojang sauce if you like it spicy.

Please watch the video to master the technique.

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Guest Blogger: Barefoot Essence – Change your diet, skip surgey

12 Jul

Our newest contributor is Jacqueline Fisch, the author of Barefoot Essence, who experienced her husband’s health change 180 from being ill and having high blood pressure (after a plant based diet)  to the total  reverse.  Here she is in her own words, “I am deeply passionate about living an unfussy, barefoot kind of life, enjoying healthy food, experiencing a calm mind and being present. My goal is for you to love a simple life through simple food. I want you to thrive on real food, feel the pure joy in living in the moment and experiencing what living a barefoot life can do you for your soul. The best meals are enjoyed in bare feet.” Please visit Barefoot Essence on Facebook, Twitter and her blog; welcome Jacqueline!

Part of my journey into allergen-free cooking was when Jacob was about a year old. He constantly had a stuffy nose and was always breathing through his mouth. I thought a lot of kids were just mouth breathers, so I didn’t think much of it. Then one winter, he had pneumonia twice, and a series of coughs and that would last for a month. His tonsils were constantly red and swollen; I was amazed that he was able to swallow his food. Although, this probably had something to do with the fact that he eats like a 13-year old boy. Jacob’s pediatrician at the time referred him to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist who recommended removing his tonsils and adenoids, and planting tubes in his ears.

He was only two years old! I couldn’t fathom signing him up for an elective surgery. The specialist couldn’t tell me why his tonsils and were enlarged and wasn’t at all interested in investigating why. His hearing was checked to make sure it hadn’t been damaged from sinus drainage. His hearing was fine – I knew he could hear me when I was telling him ‘no’ for the fifteenth time. The ENT said I had two choices, put Jacob through surgery, or take a wait-and-see approach. He said some kids grow out of it and some kids just have enlarged tonsils. I couldn’t accept this explanation.

There had to be a reason why he was constantly stuffed up without being sick. I consulted a naturopath who suggested that a food allergy could be causing his enlarged tonsils so she recommended food allergy testing. She explained the tricky part about identifying food sensitivities is that they don’t have an immediate reaction. I thought, no way he has any food allergies, he’s never had a strange reaction to any foods, and I thought he was pretty regular – 5 times a day regular.

The allergy test the naturopath recommended is called an IgG test. I had no idea this was. When I thought about allergy testing, I thought about the scratch tests where they scratch you with potential allergens and look for a visible reaction.

I learned that food allergies are a reaction to food proteins and are categorized in mainly two ways; as an immunoglobulin E (IgE)–mediated (immediate) reaction or a non–IgE-mediated (delayed) reaction. I associated food allergies with IgE reactions, which would immediately result in itchy skin, trouble breathing, vomiting, throat swelling, or anaphylaxis. With an IgG reaction, the reaction may take several hours to several days to present itself. Some common IgG reactions are (but not limited to) headaches, hypertension, asthma, recurrent respiratory infections, joint pain, sinus infections or weird skin rashes. Both Ryan and Talia experienced skin rashes in response to trigger foods which I’ll discuss in a later post.

Since IgG allergic reactions take hours or days after ingestion to appear this makes it very difficult to pinpoint the culprit foods.

An IgG allergy test is done by taking a blood spot from a finger prick (Jacob barely flinched). The sample was sent to a lab where it was testing against 96 of the most common eaten foods and we received the results about three weeks later. The test cost about $230, and thankfully was covered by my insurance. Even if I had to pay out of pocket though, I wholeheartedly believe it would have been a valuable investment in his health. When healthy foods aren’t healthy for you, you need to know.

I received the results in a well-organized report, which detailed what foods caused an immune reaction and how severe that reaction was. Based on this report, the naturopath recommended removing any trigger foods for a minimum of three months, then reintroduce foods one at a time, a new one every week and watch for any of the reactions mentioned earlier within seven days. With Jacob, his reactions were typically a stuffy nose or increased bowel movements.

Upon review of the report with our naturopath, Jacob tested to be highly sensitive to cow’s milk, cheese and eggs, and somewhat sensitive to soy, asparagus, oranges and cod. I immediately cut these foods out of his diet as best I could. I noticed a change in just a few weeks – he could breathe through his nose and went from five bowel movements a day to two or three. He has also avoided antibiotics for over two years. After several months with these foods off of his plate, his tonsils were visibly smaller. He never went back to the ENT. He still has selective hearing, but I’m pretty sure that all kids do.

I never reintroduced dairy to Jacob’s diet. Whenever he inadvertently eats dairy, he complains of a stomach ache within a few hours and spends a good portion of his day on the toilet. There are also many, many other reasons why we don’t eat dairy, which I will explain in another post.

I am so fortunate to have found a knowledgeable naturopath that helped Jacob reach his optimum health. It frightens me to think of how many parents have, and will put their kids at risk for a surgery that can easily be avoided by changing what’s on our forks.

I am not a medical professional, and this story only depicts my personal experience. Please see a medical professional – in my opinion, preferably a naturopath to help you find your way to living your best life.

Our family’s naturopath is Dr. Michelle Peris, ND – love, love, love her! Read about her and what she has to say about being a health savvy mom herehttp://drmomnd.wordpress.com/

Guest Blogger: Vegan Weight Watchers

11 Jun

As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that”, in my opinion, there’s always a blog for whatever your interests are. Emilee, editor of Vegan Weight Watchers proves just that. You can be vegan and be mindful of your weight while on the program. Here she is in her own words, “Editor of the Vegan Weight Watchers blog! I add multiple posts each week specifically written for people using the Weight Watchers program to lose or maintain weight while following a vegan lifestyle. Posts include PointsPlus friendly vegan recipes, product and restaurant reviews, as well as interesting vegan tidbits from around the world and across the web.” Please follow Vegan Weight Watchers on Twitter; please welcome Emilee!

My story:
My journey with Weight Watchers started in June 2009. I lost 25 lbs and became a lifetime member that October. I have since been able to maintain my weight loss while sticking to the Weight Watchers program.

My husband has struggled with gastrointestinal discomfort since we met in 2003. Following an endoscopy, no diagnosis was reached for my husband, and I was shocked when his doctor said he would be on medication indefinitely. After watching several documentaries and doing research online, I proposed trying out a vegan lifestyle (which almost instantly cured his lifelong stomach issues). Due to my experience with the Weight Watchers program, I knew I would have to be careful to stick to my daily PointsPlus values – it is a popular misconception that vegans only eat lettuce and are rail thin. However, I was disappointed about the lack of resources online for fellow Vegan Weight Watchers.

With this blog, I hope to help keep others’ weight loss journeys interesting while sticking to a plant-based vegan lifestyle.

In our family, and amongst our circle of friends, my husband and I are the only people who practice a vegan lifestyle. The question “Where do get your protein from?” comes up on a regular basis so I wanted to share a few low Weight Watchers PointsPlus sources of protein that we incorporate into our diet. Please keep in mind this is a SHORT list of the protein content of select vegan foods — and yes protein does come from sources other than meat and dairy!

To put some context around the numbers below, the average female should be getting between 37-50 grams of protein each day. The average for a male is just a bit higher from between 48-63 grams per day. You can find more information on this here.
As you can see, by eating a variety of vegetables, beans, legumes, grains and nuts it is very easy to meet the daily protein requirement.

vegan weight watchers protein sources

For a more extensive list of plant-based foods that provide protein visit: Protein in the Vegan Diet
Be kind, feel good.
Em