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Archive for August 2nd, 2010

I just finished up a great dinner. The other day at the store, I picked up some extra firm tofu. I looked around for a recipe for it and found one for BBQ tofu. It looked pretty good so I made it. I can’t wait to make it again! I’ve had a lot of different tofu dishes before but this one is by far the best I’ve ever had. Even if you don’t like tofu, I would recommend this recipe as it is so good. I made brown rice to go with the tofu and this was great on top of that.

Crispy Barbecued Tofu Slices

Be careful when broiling the tofu as it could burn if left unattended.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package extra firm tofu
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

Directions

  1. Drain tofu and wrap it in paper towels. Place it on a plate, put another plate on top of it and then  put two soup cans or other heavy can on the top plate. Let sit for 30+ minutes to drain.
  2. While the tofu is being pressed, heat oven to 375 degrees
  3. Cut the tofu in half, lengthwise and then cut into strips or cubes of desired size.
  4. Spray a sheet pan lightly with cooking spray and bake the tofu for 15 minutes (longer if you want an even firmer texture).
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce. Combine flour and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip the tofu into the egg mixture, then into the flour mixture, shaking off excess flour.
  6. After the tofu is covered, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  7. Fry the tofu in the oil for about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Just fry enough at one time so they are not crowded. Remove from the oil to paper towels to drain and cool.
  8. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Brush the tofu with additional BBQ sauce and allow to marinate while the broiler heats up. Arrange the tofu on a broiler pan or wire rack set over a cookie sheet for best results.
  9. Position the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Broil for 5 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp, watching closely so as not to burn them. Serve warm with the remaining BBQ sauce for dipping.

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Today I had a great salad for lunch with a fresh plum for dessert. I made it a point to try to eat as mindfully as possible. This meant taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, putting my fork down between bites and trying to savor each bite as I took it. After I had been eating for a while, a group of other people sat down at the table across from me. Each of them had ordered the same thing: a meatball sub covered in marinara sauce and melted cheese. Since I’ve been trying to think closely about the foods that I put into my body I couldn’t help but analyze the contents of their choice: processed meats, salty marinara, salty and fatty cheese and empty carbs in the refined white flour bread. In all, little to no nutritious value at all. Each of these people had gotten some sort of calorie rich beverage to go with their sandwich. As I sat there, every single person at the table across from me finished their sandwich and drink before I had completed eating my salad. I’m sure that if you were to compare my one pound plate of lettuces, onions, carrots, kidney beans and .5 oz cheese to their sandwiches, they had much more food by weight than me. The big difference between our approaches was that I was eating slowly and mindfully while they were talking, texting and watching the TV in the corner. They mindlessly consumed their food and after they were done most of them went back to get dessert. Every single person at the other table was thinner than me so I’m not feeling in any way superior to these people. I’m more interested in the effects of mindful vs. mindless eating and the impact that it has upon our perceived levels of hunger. Perhaps these people spend time working out or they have a high metabolic rate that allows them to consume more calories than I was ever able to consume without gaining weight. Perhaps it was because they were all younger: kids, teens and twenty-something adults and they have not yet begun to face the consequences of their eating choices. Regardless of the reasons, they were able to eat significantly more food than I was in much less time. I realize that in the not too distant past, that would have been me. I would have had the sub, a bag of chips, a soda and been the first in line for dessert. I would have finished my meal in 10-15 minutes and been right back into my high stress work environment with no time to decompress or allow myself to calm down. Now, I eat a salad and a plum and it takes me 30 minutes to complete it. I spend my time slowly savoring the textures of the vegetables and fruit and I focus on each bite while at the same time maintaining long, healthy mindful breaths. When I am done, I am full and satisfied and have a greater amount of calm and peace than when I went in. Eating mindfully has transformed eating into a practice that restores my body, my mind and my spirit. Eating mindfully also allowed me to feel compassion for those around me and made me aware of the suffering that others may be going through as they mindlessly rush through their day and consume food rapidly and unwisely. I am trying to find new ways that I can help to put an end to the suffering that I see around me and I am feeling more of a drive to live with compassion towards all people and creatures of the earth. That’s one reason I am keeping this blog: I want to tell my story so that others may see it and have hope for their own transformation. Mindfulness has opened up a new side of myself that I didn’t know was there. Like the Buddha, I find that I am waking up, be it ever so slightly and small. Through mindfulness, compassion love and peace grow and mature. Through mindfulness, I will help to make the world a better place for us all.

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This was a dharma talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on August 1st. I didn’t get to watch it live as it was on at 2:30 A.M. in the Eastern Time Zone here in the U.S. It is wonderful to watch. Enjoy.

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I noticed today how loose my belt has become when I put it on in the morning. I was already using the tightest setting for the belt but now when I put it on, I can fit my entire fist between the belt and my pants. I’m going to have to go out and get a new belt soon so that it helps keep my ever-loosening pants from falling down. This is a great problem to have. It’s just one more sign that I’m moving in the right direction and that I’m continuing to make progress toward getting to a healthy weight.

Yesterday, I found a new type of food that I can enjoy: tabouli. I’d never had tabouli before yesterday, but I had the opportunity to try it and I do not regret it at all. I had tabouli with oranges and sunflower seeds. It was served over fresh greens and was really delicious. Tabouli is made from finely ground bulger wheat so it’s not something that I will eat a lot of but it is better than white rice or refined white bread flour. It’s nice to see that I’m continuing to find new ways to eat healthier and enjoy my meals at the same time. After splurging on Saturday, I made it a point to eat mindfully yesterday and to go out and exercise. This had its desired effect since when I stepped on the scale today, I was back to 310 instead of the 312 I had hit on Sunday morning. It’s great to know that I’m able to allow myself to be sidetracked for a day and to then not feel defeated or hopeless after the fact.

Yesterday morning when I got up I made it a point to sit for as long as I could (read: until my kids came in to see why we weren’t out of bed yet) and was able to really enjoy the time that I spent in mindful breathing and meditation. It started my day with peace and I was able to keep that peace with me throughout the day. Today wasn’t nearly as nice. We were woken up by the sound of jack hammers tearing up the street outside our home at 6:15 AM. I’m trying not to carry the frustration around with me today and instead allow myself to feel tired without animosity toward those people doing their job. However, it’s not easy to do each time I yawn and remember being woken up early. For nor now, I’m just concentrating on my breathing.

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