Monday, December 8, 2008

journeys and adventures!

That is, a journey to my health food store and adventures in new recipes.

On Saturday, after blogging and watching it snow and generally laying about, I made a trek to the Healthy Life Market.  Healthy Life Market is code for overpriced stuff that's good for you.  Seriously, I only go here once every month or so, for two reasons:  it takes 20 minutes to get there and it's fucking expensive.  Sometimes, though, a girl needs to splurge on stuff that she can only find at the health food store.  And don't think those jerks don't know that they have a monopoly on the local healthy person market.  Jeez.  Sorry, but the prices really are ludicrous at this place.  I'm getting all worked up just thinking about it again.  Now it's time for you to tell me that what I got was worth the price and the drive.  No, I'm not going to tell you how much I spent.  Suffice to say that it's probably more than you think it is.
chickn nuggets, tofutti pizza, FYH mozzarella, organic tofu, ezekial bread, EB sticks, and some fake pepperoni

ww pastry flour, beet sugar, ww couscous, nutritional yeast*, green lentils, cumin, chile powder, cayenne

coconut milk, almond butter, d-mannose, wild rice blend, nature burger mix, quinoa pasta

So I guess I had a decent haul.  The nuggets and pizza and part of the pepperoni are already gone (also, the most expensive food things, of does pay for convenience).  This morning I had that sprouted bread as toast with some almond butter.  I've never had either of these before, and must say that they're pretty good.  The bread is very earthy with all the seeds and sprouts in it and the almond butter is...well, it's good, ok, but not nearly worth the price.  Seriously, that tiny jar was $5.  What?  Why?  I mean, I get that almonds are more expensive than peanuts...  but I think...  I might...  like peanut butter better.  I'm sure some of you are gasping in horror right about now, but, eh!  Call me crazy if you must.

I also made good use of the tofu and whole wheat couscous last night.  Ahem.  Look:
you know you're intrigued

That is pesto hummus stuffed tofu.  I got the idea here, but honestly did not even read through the recipe once before making it.  In fact, I saw the title over a week ago and it just popped into my head, and I thought, 'I do not need a recipe for this.  I can make it up as I go.'  And I was right.  I'll post my recipe below.  It may or may not be close to my muse, but clue here.  I suppose I could glance at it before I link it, haha...  But I probably won't.**

Anyway, I used the last of the pesto I had sitting around.  Half of it on the tofu, half of it mixed into my couscous.  I had a couscous overload last night.  It was a bit ridiculous.  You can see this from my picture:
that isn't even half of the couscous i made

Those are turnip greens and sugar snap peas with a nice tahini sauce in the background.  They were good, but I dumbly forgot to wash my greens before steaming them.  There may or may not have been alcohol involved in this silly omission.  The flavor was good though.  That tahini sauce is:  tahini, lemon juice, scallions.  And it was tangy and wonderful.

Here's the recipe for the tofu.  I must warn you, I cut some corners with it, but this dish was really delicious, despite my laziness.

Pesto-Hummus Stuffed Tofu

1 block extra firm tofu (not silken), pressed and cut into 4 large chunks
1/2 cup hummus
2-3 Tbsp basil pesto
a bottle of italian dressing (sigh, yes, i marinated it in italian dressing from a bottle)

Ok, so once you have your four chunks of tofu, slice a slit into one side.  This slit should make a little pocket inside and not go through any of the other sides of the chunk.  I hope that makes sense.  Marinate them in the Italian dressing for about an hour, turning them fairly regularly so that all sides get nice and soaked.  

Preheat your oven to 375F once the hour's up.  Place tofu and marinade in a small glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Then take it out.  Mix up the hummus (mine was already prepared by my local deli) and the pesto (guh, it came from a tube, honestly).  Then spoon it into a plastic bag, cutting off one corner of the bag to form a makeshift piping instrument.  Pipe a generous amount of the hummus mixture into the slits you cut earlier.  Pop the dish back into the oven for another 30 minutes.  

That's it.  It was embarassingly easy.  And it was delicious.  Make sure you use a tofu that you like the flavor of, since the marinade doesn't really penetrate all the way to the middle in that hour.  I'm sure it would be even better with homemade hummus and pesto.  But isn't it nice to know that it was good with storebought stuff as well?  I think so.

Oh, I was going to do a review of those holiday soy drinks.  Well...  How about, instead:

This stuff:
Tastes infinitely better than this stuff:

I didn't take those photos.  Silk doesn't even have a picture of that pumpkin spice crud on their website.  Even they know it's not good.  As for the Vitasoy?  I can't wait to get back to the store to stock up.  Anything chocolate and mint is basically a no-brainer for me.  It all stems back to the days when my dad would surprise me with a treat of peppermint patties on the occasion that he might pick me up from school.  Oh, how I rued the day that I found out they weren't vegan.  Sad.

*Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, yes I know I just asked you for nutritional yeast from Elkins when you go and then went and bought my own the next day.  Please, still get me some if you go.  I only got that bag because I'm addicted to the stuff and it's only a pound and it costs 9 fricking dollars a pound here, which makes me insane.  I'm sure I'll need/want more by the time I see you in a couple weeks.  (a big huge bag, please!)

**I did look at that recipe and mine is so much easier.  Granted, they made a sauce to put the tofu in, but they didn't think of the idea of making a piping thingamabob instead of somehow trying to put it in with...a knife?  huh?


Tara said...

That tofu looks great! I prefer almond butter to peanut butter only because pb hurts my tummy, but I'm constantly bummed out because of the price. Why is it so expensive? Sometimes the Costco here will have 26 oz jars for only $9 and I try to make it last for months!
I picked up some of the silk pumpkin stuff and while it was ok it was definitely not worth the price.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! It sounds amazing.

I hate my little health food store too. It's not far but it is wayy overpriced!!!

I actually liked the Pumpkin Spice soymilk but then again, I've never tried the other stuff. I think it's too sugary as well and not very nutritious!

Chessa said...

That tofu looks amazing!! And I thought it would be a lot more complicated than that, very impressive.

That sucks that the HFS is so expensive! I like PB better than Almond, too, but I get almond every once in a while to shake things up.

Ooooh, I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that one! I seriously look chocolate and peppermint. Must get to Trader Joes for Candy Cand Jo-Jos! I actually like the Pumpkin Nog - I use it as creamer in my coffee. It's a weird combo, but I'm kind of a weird hot beverage person. But I bet the chocolate peppermint would be WAY better!

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Mmmm... tofu and pesto-hummus. That sounds awesome!

And that was quite a haul from the HFS!!! It irritates me that good stuff is so very expensive. Grrrr...

Jes said...

Only $5 for the jar of almond butter? You cleaned up. It can be upwards of $15 at my local co-op (in a major city). Your haul looks delish though!

And that stuffed tofu looks amazing. I love anything with pesto!

Gina said...

I may be slandered also, but I don't really like almond butter ::runs and hides:: I've thought about trying a different brand, but a normal sized jar costs around $11 here, and its just not worth it to me when I LOOOOOOVE peanut butter.

Your stuffed tofu looks fantastic! Yummy stuff!!

gail said...

I couldn't agree more with your holiday soy beverage review - I spend the whole year looking forward to the chocolate peppermint goodness. Two weeks ago I went looking for it and found the Silk pumpkin drink instead. I brought it home and ended up watching my dollars go down the drain (literally).

I also must admit to being intrigued with the price tag of your health food store haul. I am in disbelief that somebody else could claim the title of most ridiculously overpriced health food store from the one in my neck of the woods ...

annette said...

Okay, I really have to get that peppermint drink. I keep hearing about it.

It's never fun spending too much money on foodstuffs. I am lucky to have a couple of options near my house, but the range is all over the place - one store will have cheap blah blah and another five miles away has cheap so and so - it all ends up with me moving all around for my goodies. You have my sympathies.

Anonymous said...

That stuffed tofu looks so good! And you American kids keep showing off that peppermint chocolate goodness! No fair!
I hear you on the high prices - my husband is so freaked out by "healthfood store prices" that I have to make a freaking legal case for us to buy anything there!

Anonymous said...

Oh how I long for decent vegan chickn nuggets! You got a great haul from the health food shop, I'm impressed!
We don't have seasonal flavoured soya milk here, only chocolate~ but I do have some flavoured syrups~ so I am tempted to swede me some peppermint chocolate soya milk ('cos you guys just won't stop showing it to me!!)
Your food looks awesome as always.

Sal said...

I hate when they drive the prices up just cuz they can. My local health food store is ridiculously priced! Winds me up!

I do love seeing all your swag though - I like seeing all the different brands / packaging that you have over there.

Pesto hummus stuffed tofu sounds amazing.

miss v said...

i like the recipe. i love pesto and hummus... why not! sounds good. :)

also, have you tried the silk egg nog? i'm not really an egg nog fan, but it's actually kind of tasty. especially with a little shot of bourbon. :)

Virginia said...

i actually just bought the silk pumpkin spice and i really liked it! to me it tastes very similar to the silk nog, just only slightly different. you have to drink it REALLY cold. i dunno, different strokes for different folks.

i try to stay away from convenience foods at the HFS because they are SO expensive...i only buy the basics unless there is something I HAVE to is good to splurge sometimes, got a lot of stuff!

and that tofu...looks...interesting? when i first saw it i was like "what the fetch?"

jessy said...

i didn't care for that pumpkin spice crap either - bleck! but i'm gonna keep and eye out for the vitasoy junk. mmmmmm - pepperminty! yay! have you tried the silk eggnog?! it's stellar if you add in some extra cinnamon (and a little rum)!

pesto hummus stuffed tofu sounds like the most gloriously tasty idea! why don't i think of these things! i totally need to try your recipe - and i think i might try and add in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and maybe some sauteed mushrooms. mmmmmmmmm! stuffed tofu makes me happyfaced! i totally want to try it! wahooooooooo!

hooray for your health food store splurge. those chick'n nuggies - the best! we go through an entire box when we buy them as a treat every once in a while. damn, those things are good - especially drowned in ketchup. sprouted bread is pretty darn good, but i get sadfaced that the slices seem so small. makes me feel a little cheated or something, i dunno. i'm with you on the almond butter - it's good, but not worth the price. i can refill my pb jar with organic bulk pb for about $3.00 - why spend $5 on almond butter - and if i want organic almond butter it's like $9.00. hell naw! i want to try quinoa pasta now. mmmmmmmm!

your post is making me huuuuuuungry, Jessica! :)

Alice (in Veganland) said...

You did buy some great stuff! health stores can be pretty expensive though, I know that myself...

Katy said...

I am SO with you on the peanut butter/almond butter thing! I tried almond butter for the first time a few months ago, and was shocked that I didn't love it!

Hannah said...

Win for Vitasoy! I haven't yet had the peppermint chocolate, but I adore their nog... I'm definitely buying a dozen or more cartons to stock up before the season ends!

HayMarket8 said...

That tofu and whole wheat couscous looks really good! How big are those chunks?

Joanna said...

holy shit, girl!! you really did go all out at that health foods store. that pizza looks awesome and so does the cheese.

i go nuts when i get the chance to venture out to whole foods. it's about an hour away so i go every 2 or 3 months. i shop like it's my first time there though haha

Anonymous said...

dubbya te eff!? they have monster-sized bags of nutritional yeast at Healthy Life Market?

we had to go to Trader Joe's for ours.


Crystal said...

Chocolate peppermint soymilk- ah so delicious.. I put it in my coffee and it was so yummy! As far as the small health food stores- I love going to the one around here- it's about 45 mins away, and it's TINY.. but I can't bring myself to buy a whole lot there because I know I can get it somewhere else cheaper- but then I want to support the little guy.. ugh it's a struggle.
Almond butter could never take the place of peanut butter for me.. I eat way too much of the stuff and almost positive that I could live on that alone!
And as always the food looks awesome! :-)

aTxVegn said...

Cool stuff from the market! I've never bought or tasted any soynog. I sure hear raves about this peppermint one though.

vegan addict said...

Despite the expense of your grocery haul, it still looks incredibly awesome (as it should)! Isn't it too bad how all the good stuff disappears first? That happens to me too. Sigh...

K.E.N. said...

(can you tell i am catching up on your blog? somehow time slipped away from me, i can't believe i haven't checked it in this long...)
anyways, you mentioned chocolate and mint and i just wanted to make sure you knew about the new Junior Mints candy, Peppermint Crunch( you know how the regular ones have gelatin in them? well, the single large sorta-bell-shaped ones are vegan and this new breed are both without the gelatin. and they're dang good!