Thursday, August 6, 2020

Tofu Caprese Salad


Tofu Caprese Salad
This post is in partnership with House Foods.

Over the past few months, we (like a lot of you, I'm guessing) have been been spending more time than ever together as a family making snacks and meals. As a long time vegetarian, I'm always trying to incorporate as many plant-based ingredients as possible. And thankfully, I'm easily able to do this by including tofu.

One of my kids' favorite children's books, The Tales of Tofu (which you can download for free right here!), includes several super delicious, simple recipes that can be made with tofu. They love the story, which features a superfood named Tofu who learns about how he can be anything he wants to be - just like tofu itself, which combines so well with so many other foods and flavors. We have made and are fans of all the recipes in the book. Tofu Chocolate Pudding (which I've shared here before) is my daughter's favorite, and my son is obsessed with the Broccoli Mac and "Cheese." I'm partial to the Strawberry Papaya Tofu Smoothie.

Tofu Caprese Salad
Tofu Caprese Salad
Tofu Caprese Salad

The other day, we thought it would be fun to come up with our own recipe using House Foods Tofu. We've been growing tomatoes and basil in our patio garden this summer, and Caprese salad is one of our favorite summer dishes. So we decided to try a tofu Caprese salad that uses House Foods Medium Firm Tofu, and you guys, it is so delicious. Today, I'm sharing this recipe with you!

Tofu Caprese Salad
Tofu Caprese Salad


TOFU CAPRESE SALAD
SERVES:4 | PREP TIME: 10 min | COOK TIME: 0 min

INGREDIENTS
1 pkg. House Foods Tofu Medium Firm
3 large tomatoes
12-16 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Balsamic dressing (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice tofu into equal sized pieces, about 1/3-1/2 inch thick.  Slice tomatoes into 1/3 inch rounds. Alternate tomato and tofu slices on a serving plate or individual plates. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top of tomato and tofu slices. Top with basil leaves. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. You can also add a few drops of balsamic dressing to the plate or top of salad. (I love it, but the kids prefer without.) Enjoy!

Tofu Caprese Salad
Tofu Caprese Salad
Tofu Caprese Salad

This tofu Caprese salad is refreshing, satisfying, and full of flavor. The tofu provides plant-based protein, iron and calcium. It's also low calorie and cholesterol-free. So it's basically the most extra Caprese salad ever. House Foods Medium Firm tofu is good for more than just Caprese salads too. We love it in breakfast scrambles and tofu mac and "cheese." We use House Foods Firm tofu to replace meat (it's so good marinated) several times a week. And House Foods Soft tofu is perfect for smoothies, sauces, and pies.

Tofu Caprese Salad
Tofu Caprese Salad

We hope you love this tasty plant-based salad as much as we do! And be sure to visit House Foods for tips and recipes ideas, and to download your own copy of The Tales of Tofu.



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Monday, August 3, 2020

Some Thoughts On Back to School



I could honestly write a novel - one that would ultimately confuse you because I'm so back and forth - with my thoughts on returning to school this fall.

At the time of writing this post, my daughter is set to start first grade next week. A couple of weeks ago, I watched a 3.5 hour school board meeting on Zoom where plans were announced for schools in our district.  For elementary school, the choices were either in-person for shortened days, or e-learning by a district teacher who would teach students from different schools in the district all at once. If one were to choose in-person, they could change to e-learning at any time. If they chose e-learning, they had to commit for the entire first semester. We were initially given 6 days to make a decision, but then given a 5 day extension.

I still waited until the last minute to submit our choice, and did so with monumental anxiety. Neither choice sounded appealing in any way. I called every friend I have, sent texts, created polls on my Instagram and on my personal Facebook page. Most people felt as conflicted as I did. Some knew exactly what they wanted to do and were kind and assuring. Others were judgmental and rude. In the end, all I could think was, "what a mess."

My heart hurts for teachers. It hurts for parents and for the kids. Things didn't have to be this way. 

I don't write a lot of posts like this anymore where I just share my personal feelings. But as we prepare to start this strange, somewhat terrifying new school year, I ask my readers to please take this virus seriously. Please wear masks. Please social distance. If we can each do our part to get this under control, maybe our kids will get their lives back. Maybe people like my husband who are out of work because their industries have been put on hold indefinitely can get their jobs back. Maybe schools can go back to being nurturing places for our kids to learn. 

We plan to do everything we can to make this year a positive experience for our kids, but like everyone, we long for things to feel less, well, scary. Whatever your plans for school, I am sending you strength, love, and compassion. We're all doing our best, and I hope we can support one another through this.



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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Toasted Chickpea and Avocado Pitas


Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how many times a week I eat these toasted chickpea and avocado pitas, but once you try them, I think you'll understand. I initially shared a similar version of this recipe a few years ago, but it's been updated so I had to share the new and improved version with you.  They're so simple to make, they're absolutely delicious, and they're good for you too. Triple win.

Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Toasted Chickpea and Avocado Pitas
Serves 2 as meal, 4 as a snack 

INGREDIENTS 
2 medium to large ripe avocados 
1 can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) 
2 multigrain pitas 
Small handful baby spinach or other greens 
Plain Greek Yogurt for topping 
Chili powder 
Cumin 
Salt 

Heat a small amount of coconut oil or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the chickpeas, then pour into the pan. Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, and salt to taste, then stir well. Cook until chickpeas are slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. While chickpeas are toasting, mash avocado in a bowl to desired consistency, adding salt to taste. Remove chickpeas from pan and allow to cool slightly. While chickpeas are cooling, place pitas in warm pan to soften, about one minute on each side. On each pita, spread an even amount of mashed avocado. Top with a few baby spinach leaves, followed by chickpeas. Top each pita with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle with chili powder.
 
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas
Avocado and Pan Toasted Chickpea Pitas

These make the perfect lunch or hearty snack. Enjoy!



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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Normalizing Period Talk (+ An Incredible Deal on Tampax + Always!)


This post is in partnership with Always and Tampax. Now through July 25th, save $4.00 on 2 Tampax products or 2 Always products at Meijer! (Please note that Always Infinity packaging has been updated and is different than above image.)


You guys hear me talk a lot about ending unnecessary stigmas and normalizing topics that, well, should be normalized. For example, I frequently discuss mental health, my own challenges with anxiety disorder, and why talking about these things is important. One topic I haven't yet covered though that I decided I really should discuss here is menstruation. You know, our periods. Many of us with vaginas (let's all say the word together: vaginas) get them, but our society has made them a taboo topic to discuss.



Honestly, it's no surprise that people feel uncomfortable or unknowledgeable talking about periods - we're simply not educated about them. According to the Guttmacher Institute, only 30 states and DC even teach sex ed here in the U.S. I know I was never taught about how to use tampons in school, and if not for being able to ask my mom questions about my period, would have felt completely unprepared. Many girls (and even grown women) feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their periods because they were never given the knowledge to feel confident in discussing them. And that's just not right.

I have made a promise to myself to teach both my daughter and my son about periods. (They already have a basic idea of what they are, and know that mommy gets them.) And in the same way that my husband and I teach them proper terminology for body parts, we will use proper words for menstruation: period, vagina, tampon, pad, etc. We won't use code words. Periods are a natural body process, and no one should grow up feeling shame about them. As adults, we should do the same as we'll be doing for our kids: talk about periods, use proper terminology, and share our stories without feeling embarrassed. I also feel that we should do our part in supporting organizations and brands who are publicly taking action in making sure we end the stigma of discussing periods. (I am in freaking love with Tampax's partnership with Amy Schumer, for example. Google it. It is everything.)


I could go on and on about my periods, what I did when I got my first one at age 14, how wacky they are now in my 40s, or times when I didn't realize they were coming and they, well, did (like at a business lunch with a large group in San Francisco when one of the brand's employees pointed out the large stain on the back of my dress). Or I could talk about the first time I used a Tampax (foot on the toilet method, anyone?), or an Always pad (thanks for the lesson, mom!). I likely will devote future content to discussing these things, because that's the point - periods are normal, and there is absolutely no reason they shouldn't be casually and regularly discussed. But today, I just wanted to touch on the subject and open up the dialogue (feel free to comment or email me to discuss more!), and to share an amazing deal on Tampax and Always products going on at Meijer right now.


And finally, here is the deal I promised! (And yes, I am extremely excited about this. If you guessed that I immediately got in my car and headed directly to Meijer upon learning about it, you are correct.) Right now (July 20-25) at your local Meijer store, save $4.00 on two packs of Tampax Tampons or $4.00 on two packs of Always Pads. (This awesome promotion can be found in the BrandSaver weekly paper, which is available in store at Meijer.) I choose Tampax for several reasons, but mostly because it is the #1 US Gynecologist recommended tampon brand (based on 2020 survey). And I've been using Always Infinity FlexFoam Pads since they first became available, because they legitimately feel like I'm not wearing a pad. Their motto: 'Zero Feel, Zero Leak Protection is Possible' is 100% truth, my friends. So head over to Meijer immediately and take advantage of this goodness while you still can (ends July 25th!).


Who else agrees that we need to be normalizing period talk, like yesterday? Tell me all your stories!


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