Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Trumps Monday

Shocked into Tuesday
Well, I figured out how to get myself up in the morning for a workout! Just scare the pants off of yourself. Yep, that'll do it. I tentatively set the alarm for 5:15 am. When I looked at the clock at 2:45, I figured I'd be changing the alarm time in an hour or so. I apparently feel asleep, and fell hard. At some point, Jason must have turned up the volume on the alarm (which is set to the radio), because when it came on it was blaring! I nearly fell out of the bed I was so startled. Needless to say, my heart was racing and I was WIDE awake. Let me just say that this was not my ideal way to wake up!

So, this morning I did Cathe's Kick, Punch, and Crunch kickboxing workout (it also includes an ab-kicking stability ball workout). My legs were super sore and heavy feeling from  yesterday's workout. The kickboxing was good for getting my legs loosened up. I did wear 1 lb. weighted gloves to up the intensity and really felt it in my back and shoulders. It's been a while since I've done this particular workout. It starts of really slow so you get the false sense that you're not working very hard. By the end, I was drenched. It's a fun workout that flies by. My only complaint is that the warm up is a little drawn out so the calorie burn is a little lower. But, it's probably good to start slow with kickboxing!

Don't know if it was being shocked out of bed or what, but Tuesday was definitely a better day than Monday. I think the workout this morning helped get my mood straight from the get go. Hopefully I can stay on the same path tomorrow with a morning workout and happier mood. It'll be hump day after all. Gotta be happy on hump day ;-)

Tofu Anyone?
I was so inspired by my Creamy Lemon Zucchini Pasta the other day, that I decided to use some Japanese eggplant in lieu of linguine for tonight's dish, which I'll call Eggplant Linguine with Pesto Tofu. I'm beginning to like tofu more and more as I learn to cook with it. You'd think I would have figured out cooking with tofu ages ago as I've been vegetarian for over 16 years now. Apparently I'm a slow learner.

Eggplant Linguine with Pesto Tofu
Ingredients:
2 large Japanese eggplant
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste
Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use my homemade sauce)
1 package extra firm tofu*
Vegan Spinach Pesto (see following recipe)
Low-sodium vegetable broth
Vegan or regular parmesan or nutritional yeast flakes (optional for topping)

*Freeze tofu for minimum three days then thaw in refrigerator. This will give the tofu a spongy texture that makes it easy to drain and then better absorb marinades.

Directions:
Gently squeeze tofu, cut into 1/4 inch "steaks," and place between paper towels to absorb any extra moisture. Meanwhile, Thin pesto with vegetable broth to desired consistency. Layer tofu "steaks" and pesto marinade in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place tofu "steaks" on baking sheet (spray with non-stick spray or use a silpat). Bake for approximately 1 hour flipping halfway through.

With a mandolin, cut eggplant into strips, then use a sharp knife and cut down center so they resemble linguine noodles.

In large, non-stick skillet, saute eggplant in small amount of extra-virgin olive oil or white wine with garlic, salt, and pepper until they just begin to soften. Stir in spaghetti sauce and cook until heated through.

To serve, place the eggplant spaghetti mixture on plate or in bowl and top with the Pesto Tofu. 

Vegan Spinach Pesto
Adapted from Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook
Ingredients:
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cups fresh basil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
In food processor, combine all ingredients except oil. Slowly drizzle in oil to desired consistency.

This was really tasty. Of course, I love eggplant and love my homemade sauce so why wouldn't it be good! I will say that the next time I make this, I will likely marinade the tofu in some balsamic vinegar first, then add the pesto, just to get additional flavor soaked in. But this was really tasty.

Speaking of tasty, if you are in the market for trying out something "Gnu" see Tina's giveaway for Gnu Bars (kosher & vegan friendly).