Well hello there!
How’s your week going? Before I get into today’s post, you may have noticed some funky things happening with the alignment of ads here on the blog. Don’t worry – I know! I’m working on it and hope it’ll be resolved soon. Until then, let’s just ignore them and talk about delicious foodie things, shall we? Let’s start with….
1. Recipe of the Week. Although I’m not very good at making baked goods and therefore don’t do it very often, I’ve read about how some baking experts find kneading dough very therapeutic. There are a number of things I find therapeutic as well, and they’re probably not the ones that first spring to mind.
For example, if I’m stressed out, going for a long run calms my mind down. I’m not sure how – it’s like the stress somehow oozes out of my pores and I finish feeling relaxed yet re-energized at the same time. Although not quite as exhilarating, writing blog posts, wandering the aisles of Whole Foods, reading magazines, and cooking also seem to have a therapeutic effect on me. Oh, and this…
Granola making. Something I only really started getting into over the past year (thanks for the inspiration, blog world!) but nevertheless an activity I LOVE doing on the weekends.
According to Urban Dictionary, the term granola girl refers to:
A modern hippy woman minus the heroin and STDs. Socially aware and active with a penchant for hemp and sodium-free soap. May eat tofu for breakfast and sweeten food with agave syrup. Is determined to save the world. Enjoys hiking, canoeing and other outdoors-y things. They often can be seen drinking out of a Camelbak, wearing tie-dye, and eating trail mix.
While I haven’t a clue whether or not my soap contains sodium, and while I prefer tempeh over tofu, stevia over agave, and Lululemon over tie-dye, I do own a Camelbak and enjoy hemp seeds. Since granola is essentially just baked trail mix, I suppose I fit the bill there too. And while it probably won’t save the world, my most recent granola concoction will save you from starvation because it’s just so freaking good.
This particular batch is Cherry Vanilla Chai Granola. It’s gluten free and the base is a mixture of oats and quinoa, which you don’t even have to boil ahead of time. (We like easy, right?)
While this tastes amazing doused in almond milk, lately I’ve been enjoying a couple of spoonfuls right out of the jar immediately after my morning workouts. Just a few bites is enough to tide me over until my real breakfast, which takes place after I shower, get dressed, and get ready for work. But really, it could be justified as a good snack any time of day.
2. Noble Bean tempeh with sea vegetables. I’m a big tempeh fan, and a big fan of seaweed too. So, it should come as no surprise that when I found this Noble Bean tempeh with sea veggies in the freezer section at Whole Foods a couple of weekends ago, it went into my shopping basket in a matter of seconds. What was I going to make with it? I’d figure out later.
After a quick Googling, I learned that Noble Bean is a Canadian company (woot woot!) that was originally founded by a couple called Susan and Allan Brown. They passed it on to two new owners from Nova Scotia who have been running Aux Vivres, the first vegan restaurant in Montreal, for the past 15 years. (This was actually on my list of restaurants to go to when I visited Montreal last May, but sadly we never made it. Next time!)
In my mind, tempeh is far superior to tofu texture-wise. It’s nice and firm, whereas tofu (as I’m sure many of you would agree) is more jiggly and doesn’t taste like a whole lot without extra ingredients to help build flavour. Tempeh is a complete protein source (as in, it’s got all the essential amino acids your body can’t make), it’s high in B vitamins, fiber, and calcium, and has plenty of happy-gut bacteria thanks to the fermentation process that it undergoes. Noble Bean tempeh is produced in Montreal, it’s organic, and from what their website told me, delicious too. It was time to see for myself.
Before describing the trial, it should be mentioned that I think I like tempeh more than the average person. My usual brand (which is locally made in Kitchener) is Henry’s – their soy kasha flavour is my favourite, and I’ll eat it straight up, sliced off the block with nothing else. So naturally, that’s how I first tasted Noble Bean tempeh. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed. It was much softer than Henry’s, and the taste of the sea vegetables was quite prominent. But rather than giving up right there, I had a plan.
I chopped some tempeh slices into small pieces and stir fried them with a peanut ginger sauce (recipe to come next week) until the sauce was absorbed and the tempeh was warm. Then I filled a few rice wraps with a mix of the tempeh, shaved carrot, red peppers, avocado, cucumbers, and lime juice.
Now this my friends, was MUCH better!
In fact, after finishing up these rolls, I promptly went back to the kitchen and popped my remaining Noble Bean tempeh into a ziploc bag with more sauce and set it in the fridge to marinate. I’ve got grand plans for a tempeh stir fry tonight, and the thought of it is already making me hungry.
So, while I wouldn’t recommend eating this tempeh (or at least this flavour) straight up, it’s really good when marinated and warmed up a bit. The sea veggies paired well with the peanut ginger sauce I made, and I’m sure the same would be true for another Asian-inspired flavours.
So tell me…
- Do you like tempeh? What brands do you normally buy?
- What activities do you find most relaxing/therapeutic? Any strange ones? (Please tell me I’m not the only person that loves grocery shopping!)