Orange Ginger Tofu Tacos with Dragon Fruit Sweet ‘n’ Sour Salsa

Orange GingerTofu Tacos

I know you what you’re thinking. Tacos? Yes, TACOS. One of my favorite things to make and eat is fusion tacos.

I love to combine flavors that typically aren’t thrown together. It creates an entirely new and flavorful palette.

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This recipe consists of three parts. The order in which you attack them is crucial – as some recipes are required as ingredients for others.

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The most important thing to remember with this project is to make sure everything is diced, cubed, minced, measured, and ready for you to add it to when you need it. It will prevent overcooking, forgetting ingredients, and just flat-out messing up.

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First? The salsa. It’s important to make the salsa first because the flavors of the fresh fruits & vegetables will accentuate each other and mesh well together with the rice vinegar.

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Next? Start the tofu. As it is cooking, you want to start in on the sauce. They should be finished up right around the same time – which is when you will combined them together!

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Last? Fry up some tortillas of choice and make yourself some tacos!

This recipe seems difficult in theory, but it is actually pretty simple! The only potentially tricky part is making the orange ginger sauce for the tofu, but if you follow the directions closely – it will be simple to follow along and you’ll be sure to make it taste great!

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Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Dragon Fruit Sweet & Sour Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pitaya, or dragon fruit, diced into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 bell pepper, cubed
  • 1/4 white onion, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno minced
  • cilantro, chopped (amount depends on your preference – I used about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refridgerate while you are preparing tofu & sauce.

Fried Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 package tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp oil (I used avocado)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over (a little bit above) medium heat.
  2. Add tofu
  3. Stir and flip tofu around every 5 minutes.
  4. Around the 15-20 minute mark, the tofu should be crispy on all sides. remove from heat and set aside if the sauce is not yet finished. If it is, add to the saucepan of sauce.

Orange Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1″ x 1″ cube of ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seed
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup green onion, minced
  • 4-6 flour tortillas (for tacos!)
  • 2 cups chopped bok choy

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger.  Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onion is slightly browned.
  2. Then add, the wet ingredients – soy sauce, orange juice, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar.
  3. Let simmer on low for 5 minutes and stir occasionally.
  4. Add in sesame seeds and 1 tsp salt.
  5. Mix in the cornstarch and stir constantly with a rubber spatula to ensure it does not stick to the saucepan – about 1 minute.
  6. Remove from heat and taste – add more salt and/or sesame seeds for your preference.
  7. Once the sauce is done, mix in fried tofu and serve garnished with sesame seeds & green onions.
  8. Serve on tacos garnished with bok choy, dragon fruit salsa, and some extra sesame seeds if you wish.

I hope you enjoy the new flavors! Let me know what you would add or take away from the recipe if you were to create it!

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Surviving a Snow Day

We’ve been getting a lot of snow days here in Minnesota. It seems like they cancel school (which is where I work) once every other week!

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When snow days happen, it’s not just because it snowed / is snowing- its because the road conditions are either too dangerous in the morning or will be too dangerous in the afternoon for busses and transportation to & from schools.

For me, that can sometimes mean I’m stuck inside the house all day and avoiding getting on the messy roads.

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Have you experienced this before? Days where you just can’t get out – whether its because of bad weather, you’re just not feelin’ it, or you’re unable to?

I’ve brought together my best ideas and things to do on days like this. Accomplishing small & easy goals like these will help you turn your whole day around and make you feel a lot better about taking the day off and being cooped up!

Top 20 Activities for a Snow Day

  1. paint something
    • Create something amazing – even if you don’t know what you’re doing and you have no end product in sight, it will still be fun and you can learn fro the experience. You could also draw & color if you don’t have the best supplies.
  2. organize your kitchen items
    • Go through your dishes, cooking ware, and/or cabinets
  3. venture out for a walk
    • Put on your most practical outfit and head out for a walk – around the block is great & down the street is better!
  4. make yourself some hot tea & cozy up with an old book
    • Or read a new one if you’ve got it at home. You can also look online for free eBooks too!
  5. raid your pantry
    • Dig through your food supply and find something you forgot about. Try to create a recipe with it using only what you already have at home!
    • You can search online for ideas, too (for example, I googled “cream of mushroom and sweet potatoes” – and found a great soup recipe)
  6. look for items to sell / donate
    • Box it up, bag it up, load it in the car for the next time you get out.Post pictures of items that you can sell online (Facebook groups, resale apps, etc).
  7. do some yoga & stretching
    • Freestyle on your own or follow a guided routine on Youtube – like this one.
  8. bullet journal / write something
    • Look online for bullet journal ideas & for creative writing prompts.
  9. play a game or do a puzzle
    • dust off your old games & puzzles and give them another shot
  10. declutter your phone & computer
    • clear history
    • get rid of apps & programs you rarely use
    • re organize your desktop & home screen
    • physically clean your devices – they are disgusting!
    • empty the trash on your computer
    • back up photos from your phone
    • delete old files on your computer
  11. give pinterest another shot
    • It’s still going strong, guys! People are still super active and posting lots of useful information and cool lookin’ content!
  12. rearrange your living room
    • You’ll surprise yourself with your design skills and you’ll be left feeling refreshing and accomplished!
  13. clean up your social media
    • Weed out the baddies on social media and unfollow accounts that you don’t recognize, make you feel bad, don’t interest you anymore
    • Bonus: find accounts that make you happy and inspire you to be a better version of yourself
  14. take a long relaxing bath and unplug for 30 minutes
  15. watch those documentaries you’ve had on your list
    • my current reccomendations?
      • A Tiny House Documentary
      • Planet Earth II
      • Jim and Andy
      • Minimalism
      • What the Health
  16. download a language learning app
    • Brush up on the language you learned a bit of in high school
    • Duolingo is my favorite app!
  17. take a nap
    • When was the last time you were granted this wonderful opportunity? TAKE IT
  18. find a blog you love
    • I wasn’t too familiar with the blogging world before I started my own. As it turns out, there are millions of blogs out there and there are hundreds that are most likely appealing to you!
    • Message me or comment what you’re into for some references to some amazing blogs!
  19. window shop on rental apps, realty websites, and airbnb
    • I’ve been doing this forever and I use the apps to compile lists – just in case I ever go or move to these places!
    • They also give me inspiration for my home in the far future!
    • If you do end up booking a place with airbnb, you can use my code!
  20. make a calendar, plan, and grocery list for eating for the week
    • If you feel like you aren’t able to make one for yourself, you can download mine for free here!

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Black Bean Chili + Tempeh Sandwich

 

Looking for the perfect lunch? It’s waiting for you here. Try my go-to black bean chili with a delightful hummus & tempeh sandwich!

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Black Bean Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced (only add if you want lots of heat)
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced (I use frozen from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup corn (I use frozen)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp each
    • cumin
    • paprika
    • oregano
    • chili powder
  • 1 lemon / lime juiced
  • cilantro to serve

optional: add other veggies that you like – carrot, potato, celery, & broccoli all go great with it!

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and stir & then add jalapeño.
  2. Once onions are soft and a little browned, add bell pepper, corn, diced tomatoes, all seasonings, quinoa, and broth – bring to a boil.
  3. Let simmer on medium low for 5 minutes.
  4. Add black beans and let cook for 8-10 more minutes, or until quinoa is fluffy with a little crunch.
  5. Mix in citrus juice & serve with cilantro,

Tempeh Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • 4″ x 2″ piece of tempeh – sliced in half so it is thin (like sandwich meat)
  • 1/2 tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 onion, julienned
  • 5-10 spinach leaves, whole
  • hot sauce

optional: add your favorite sandwich toppings, like pickles, lettuce, olives, banana peppers, vegan mayo substitute, etc.

Directions:

  1. Spread hummus on both pieces of bread.
  2. Layer tempeh with other ingredients and drizzle with hot sauce.
  3. Optional: grill it in a pan w/ some oil or vegan butter!

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10 Tips for Starting Fresh & Decluttering

0CCE6210-F856-460F-9296-CC4FBB147C2FDo you have a lot of stuff in your home that’s weighing your mood down? Is it preventing your home from its full potential? Do you find it hard to relax when you’re home?

Are you thinking about getting rid of everything and starting over somewhere new?

You’ve come to the right place! Here are 10 tips for decluttering your space.

You can use these tips for something as simple as...

simply decluttering your permanent space in which you currently dwell.

Or for something more extreme, like...

getting rid of practically everything you own and never turning back.

That being said, let me tell you a little about myself – the extreme method!

At the end of April, my husband and I will be moving out of our 2 bedroom duplex and far far away from Minnesota.

Let me be a little more clear… we are getting rid of all of our stuff and we’re going to drive our car across the country and pursue the life of a traveling surgical tech (similar to that of a traveling nurse… and I’m comin’ too). We’ll be living in various furnished places – months at a time – and then moving onto the next!

You can read more about our move here & here.

Whether you’ve chosen to stick with your current home, or to jump into something new, we’ve compiled this list of dos & don’ts that will help you declutter and rid yourself of the messy sticky stuff surrounding your presence at home.

  1. Don’t Let Yourself get Overwhelmed
    I say this to myself everyday. You cannot get stressed. It ONLY makes things worse. Imagine: a chicken with its head chopped off running around a pile of clothes – that’s you as a stressed person with all of your crap in your house.

    • The absolute best way to sort this chaos within your head is to make a calendar. DO IT.
    • Use a gigantic poster board, fill out a planner, use a regular plain old 8.5 x 11 printer paper. No matter the medium, it will help you organize your goals and figure out how you will do everything.
    • Tip: Have your household brainstorm & compile ideas for things you can get done slowly over time. Or just do it on your own! Pick dates for goals. Throw the to-do ideas on the calendar and cross ’em off when completed!

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  1. Keep More Money
    Save as much money as possible. Make as much money as possible. Pay off your debts. Get a second job. Become a ride share driver. Lower your cost of living. Buy cheaper groceries (dry goods, cheaper grocery store, & bulk sections).

    • Todd & I made goals awhile back that we’d pay off our credit card, medical bills, and blah blah blah boring adult stuff like that before we move.
      Our thoughts are, “A fresh financial start will feel so good without all the money woes.”

 

  1. Get Rid of Things You Don’t Need
    Yeah OBVI! That’s what this post is about.
    So, you gotta scentsy warmer? some crusty scuba gear you never use? broken laundry baskets that have stabbed you x too many times? a handful of spoons that are a little scraped up on the sides and it makes eating cereal relatively miserable? books you will never re-read? a sad dead plant? a bowed out mirror that makes you look like tweedle dum? $3 Mossimo shirt you got because it was $3 and it somehow got shorter and wider? an IKEA LACK table that you have literally never cared about? GET IT OUT ALL OF YOUR LIFE.

    • Better yet, ask yourself “is this a practical item that i need long term? does it have extremely sentimental value? is it irreplaceable?” was the answer no? you know what to do.
    • Keep the letters, pictures and the art people made you. Stuff like that IS irreplaceable!! Todd & I have a little box full of sentimental stuff and I don’t think I could ever get rid of it. Emphasis on little box.

 

  1. Pay Attention to what You Use
    Throughout your daily life, ask yourself: “Is this something I know will be handy and I will want to use a lot?”
    Make a list as you go of these things you know you’ll really want to keep.

    • As I was getting dressed, I thought, “this flannel is a comfortable layer and it goes great with almost everything I own – I think I’ll keep this”, or, “this pullover is very warm and I can see myself having it long-term and getting good use out of it.”
    • I used my food processor – “this is replaceable and I don’t need it in the immediate future – I plan on getting rid of it.”

 

  1. Make a Budget
    Sounds boring, but it’s actually secretly fun and it makes things seem ALOT more approachable and goal oriented – just like making that calendar. Make an ongoing budget / list of items you know you will most likely need to buy.

    • For us, we will be camping between our living destinations. So we will need to scout out some essentials (i.e. sleeping bag, organizing tubs for the car, dry goods, emergency kits, etc.)
    • For you, this could mean getting good quality furniture that can help you organize things you do want to keep.

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  1. Sell Sell Sell
    Use local Facebook groups (safer and more personal than craigslist), OfferUp, and even eBay if you’re willing to put in extra effort for shipping.

    • For example, today I posted 12 items in a Facebook group and made around $150. It is way easier than you think!
    • It brings in extra money and it feels so empowering to get rid of it AND have some extra cash in your pocket. Record and note how much money you’re pulling in from all this – you’ll be surprised.

 

  1. Donate
    Donate what you can’t sell. There are plenty of drop off locations + centers that would love to be graced by your beloved belongings!

 

  1. Start with Small Goals
    You’ll feel accomplished when you reach smaller goals.
    You’ll also be motivated to accomplish more!

    • Ex: On 12/4/2018, I will get rid of 5 clothing items.
    • Ex: On 12/6/2018, I will take pictures and post my old bike on Offer Up.

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  1. Don’t Procrastinate
    Waiting until the last minute = putting yourself in a bad position on purpose. Why would you do that to yourself?!

    • You get to decide how smoothly this transition will go! So make it harmonious!

 

  1. Trust the Process
    It will all work out and it will feel so invigorating to have a fresh clean slate.

    • Have cold feet? Sometimes I feel nervous about our move. In the end, I have to trust that everything that happens to me is the best thing that can happen to me!

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Walnut & Oat Pancakes

I love the weekend. I pretend that I don’t have a day job. I feel like have all the time in the world to do what I love – nothing – I mean, cooking. I actually love creating new recipes – especially spectacular ones that can be made when you have a little extra time (like during the weekend)!

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With the help of a friend, I created these terrific pancakes on this glorious Saturday morning.

They are packed with amazing ingredients and they are gluten free, vegan, and sugar free – what a deal!

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These pancakes are nutty, filling, chocolatey, bursting with flavor.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 – 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 – 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

You will need a food processor or blender.

Directions:

  1. Prepare flax egg in a big bowl.
  2. In a food processor – pulse oats with almond meal. It should be relatively fine, with a little coarseness.
  3. In the bowl, mash in 2 bananas & the baking powder.
  4. Add salt, oil, peanut butter, vanilla, and almond milk – stir.
  5. Stir in almond & oat mixture. Mix until consistency is drippy, but full and smooth.
  6. Set aside 1 cup of the batter and mix in cacao and a splash of almond milk.
  7. Chop up walnuts & cut up banana in discs, halved.
  8. Set a griddle to medium-low and heat up a dash of oil.
  9. Using a ladle or large spoon, drop about 1/2 cup’s worth of batter on the heated griddle.
  10. Use the cacao batter and drip chocolate spots on your pancake – swirl around if you want, too!
  11. Add 5 slices of banana and sprinkle a small handful of walnuts to the pancake.
  12. Let cook for 5 minutes & flip.
  13. Let the other side cook for 5 minutes, too.
  14. My mixture makes about 8 small cakes – however, the quantity can vary based on pancake size.
  15. Stack up a few (or all of ’em), top it off with some hemp hearts, chia, blueberries, syrup of choice, and enjoy!

You probably noticed in the picture that I also feature a berry-saucey-lookin’ thing. I created that in a little pot on medium-low heat. It was 1 tsp of coconut oil & abut 2 cups of blueberries. I let this slow cook while frying up the pancakes – relatively 30 minutes.

I adapted and modified a tried-and-true GF pancake recipe from Minimalist Baker to fit my taste and it is amazing!

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Baked Sweet Potatoes

I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. I get the giant ones regularly and bake them whole, cube them up & sauté, and make lots of baked fries.

Nothing beats a classically baked sweet potato, though. I’ve figure out a quick way to cut the cook time in half – all while introducing crispy and caramelized textures on the edges. I love pairing my sweet potato with savory & spicy foods – like cayenne, salsa, beans, and veggies.

You can also take this baking method and use it for sweet, sweet potatoes! Add brown sugar, coconut whipped cream, cinnamon, bananas and blueberries would be so delicious with the crispy and creamy potato.

I have included recipes for both the sweet potato & tex-mex toppings. Enjoy!

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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 35 min

Ingredients

  • 2 large (very large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp oil (coconut or olive)
  • parchment paper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Cut potatoes in half lengthwise
  • drizzle oil onto one of the potato halves and rub together with other potatoes – ensuring they all have an even, smooth coating
  • Place face down on parchment-lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 30 mins (may be more / less depending on your potato size)
    • I’d say check at 20 minutes for small potatoes
    • use a fork to check – potato should seem soft and deflated under it’s skin
  • to serve, fork through potato to fluff and garnish with toppings!

Tex Mex Baked Sweet Potato Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tomato, diced and/or sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayo substitute
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup fresh spinach chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked beans
  • salt / pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrot shreds

 

Directions:

  1. While sweet potato is baking – prepare rice / beans if necessary. I recommend mixing them together and adding little lemon juice or salt to bring out flavor.
  2. Mash avocado and mix in diced tomato & ground pepper.
  3. In a small bowl or cup, mix together mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice, paprika, hot sauce, 1-2 teaspoons of water. This is a crema and it should be runny.
  4. Use avocado, rice/beans, crema, cilantro, and other toppings to garnish and dress up your sweet potato half.

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Easy Refried Black Beans

Black beans are one of our favorite foods. We always have a huge bowl of them ready in the fridge whenever we need it.

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We usually cook up a big batch of them – see how here – and we use it up throughout the course of a week.

Lately, Todd’s been using them up to make refried beans – and his recipe is SO good! He made them up this morning for us and we took some pictures along the way.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pan over medium-low.
  2. Add the beans and add the almond milk.
  3. Continuously, mix & mash the beans with a fork until you get a creamy consistency. This should take about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in salt & garlic powder.
  5. Serve w/ something yummy!

We ate our refried beans with scrambled tofu with turmeric, salsa, crispy tortillas, and avocado. It made a great breakfast tostada that was wholesome, nutritious, and filling.

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