Peanut tofu with homemade low-carb rice … yep, it’s true ~ Chubby Vegan Mom

OK, so I kind of got a little tricky on this recipe.

You can google low-carb rice and noodles all day until the cows come home, but you’re going to see a lot of conflicting results. There are people who claim this magical pasta brand makes products with easily-digested carbs, others say it’s a complete joke.

Regardless, the search for true «low-carb» grains remains ongoing.

 But this homemade low-carb rice can definitely find a special place in your heart.

The best part? It’s one ingredient and you can find it in your produce department.

Say WHAT?

You might remember I doted about the magical qualities of cauliflower to shape shift into basically anything, and friends, it really does the trick when it comes to replacing rice.

Making cauliflower «rice» is really easy, really delicious and still really filling. I was totally skeptical in the beginning, how on Earth could CAULIFLOWER ever replace my precious rice? But it did. It has. And it’s going to keep on doing it.

Because I try really hard not to just eat a bunch of rice by itself all the time, I decided to pair this with some extra firm tofu we had sitting in our fridge, a stalk of broccoli and some peanut butter. Woo, we get wild in the Chubby Vegan house!

Peanut tofu with homemade rice
(Serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower
1 stalk of broccoli
1 package of extra firm tofu

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 TBS vinegar
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS sesame oil

To make the cauliflower rice:
Cut your head of cauliflower into small chunks (florets). Place in a large, microwave-safe bowl and heat for six minutes. Take it out and place in a food processor and pulse into small, rice-sized pieces. Set aside.

Take the tofu out of the package and squeeze out the excess moisture. (I use paper towels or kitchen towels). Cut into small pieces (a little bigger than bite sized). Set aside.

Take your head of broccoli and cut into small florets. Set aside.

In a large skillet or saute pan, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and peanut butter. Once it’s simmering, stir in brown sugar. Add tofu and broccoli. Cook on low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Place cauliflower rice on a plate (add a splash of hot sauce if you’re feeling wild) and then top with peanut broccoli tofu.

It sounds crazy, but I’m telling you, this is our go-to «rice» for stir fry and everything else these days.

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Om Nom Nom … the best cookies you’ll ever nom nom on

It’s no secret that I’m a self-diagnosed sweets addict. When it comes to sugary deliciousness, I’m ALL over that. So when I got an email from a wonderfully pleasant person with Om Nom Nom cookies asking if I’d be interested in reviewing some of their baked goods, I squealed with delight (and then I replied calmly to the email and said ‘yes, please’).

I was lucky enough to receive a Mix-and-Match sampler pack, which contained six different cookies: orange-zested chocolate chip, chocolate chip, red velvet, spicy mexican snickerdoodle, cranberry walnut oatmeal and ultimate peanut butter. This sampler pack retails at $12 and let me tell you, these cookies were worth every penny of that and MORE.

For starters, each cookie had a different texture, which can be hard to come by in store-bought vegan cookies. The chocolate chips were both softer like you’d want them to be, the red velvet made me feel like I was taking a bite of red velvet cake, meanwhile the snickerdoodle was a little chewy (in the oh-so-perfect cookie way), just like a snickerdoodle should be.

And let me tell you (girl scout’s honor here), I liked every.single.one of these cookies, something which is very hard to come by for me. I’m not normally a fan of cookies with funny nuts and fruits in them, but even the cranberry walnut oatmeal won me over. And I couldn’t keep my daughter’s hands off of these cookies, she wanted to open each one and try them all RIGHT away. Of course I obliged, because who am I to let a good cookie (or six) sit?

Each of these cookies were amazing, but every member of the Chubby Vegan Household had their favorite, and here’s why.

My favorite was the orange-zested chocolate chip. Why? Because it was like a grown-up version of your go-to cookie from childhood. It had the right amount of orange zest so it wasn’t overwhelming, but left a little surprise after you took a bite. After letting the other family members sample small pieces of this, I decided to reserve the majority of this cookie for ME.

Chubby Vegan Dad’s favorite cookie was (surprise, surprise) the cranberry walnut oatmeal. He adores anything with fruit and nuts in it because it reminds him of these delicious little fruitcake loaves his sister used to make for him (one’s that I’ve tried on many occasion to mimic, unsuccessfully). It was a little bit soft, had an awesome texture because of the oatmeal and just a hint of sweetness that reminded you it was a cookie.

 I should mention, the spicy mexican snickerdoodle was a very close second for both Chubby Vegan Dad and I, because it had the perfect hint of «spice» to change the pace of the cookie up a bit, but the awesome flavor of snickerdoodle you’ve come to know and love.

Pearyn’s favorite was the peanut butter cookie. She’s kind of an addict when it comes to anything with peanut butter in it, so the fact that this was put into cookie form with MORE sugar basically made it a ringer if you asked her.

And Braeburn didn’t miss out on any of this cookie fun, either. His favorite was anything we fed him, as he willingly ate every single bite of every single cookie.

If you’re looking to change up your cookie eating habits a bit and are tired of the same ole contenders, I really recommend you check out this awesome little company. Their cookies are all vegan, all the time, and they offer a gluten-free option for the chocolate chip cookie. I really can’t rave about them enough!

If ya couldn’t tell!

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Vegan ‘cheesy’ cauliflower bread sticks

Somewhere over the rainbow I found a recipe on Pinterest for cheesy cauliflower bread sticks. And over the last few months I’ve made this recipe, wishing, hoping and praying for it to turn out.

Don’t get me wrong. Regardless of how it’s «come out» each time, it’s been delicious. It’s just, it’s never been quite bread stick blogworthy quality. 

Until now.

You see, the non-veganized version of this recipe is really simple. It’s basically cauliflower, eggs, cheese, spices. Kaboom! But because egg, in conjunction with the cheese, works as the primary bonder in this recipe, it makes it a little trickier than your run-of-the-mill «replace the egg» veganization. (I’m just making up words ALL over the place). 

So I’ve tried a lot of different methods. I’ve used the «vegg» egg replacer (if you haven’t gotten on this bandwagon yet, you should, order it from whatever store has it and enjoy an almost-too-realistic egg experience). Unfortunately, the Vegg is more yolky than egg whitey, so it didn’t really suffice in these bread sticks. 

Next up I threw together my go-to replacer, some flaxseed and water. Yeah, that basically made this taste all flaxseedy and stuff. So that was a no go. 

Then there was that time I tried to use some silken tofu, blended up super well in my food processor. That was really, really close visually, but when you went to cut it it was more crumbly than stick-like. So back to the drawing board we went. 

Finally I scoured the internet, trying to figure out what people use in doughy recipes if they don’t have egg. The main suggestion I found? Garbanzo bean flour. I’m basically convinced it doesn’t exist. I mean, I know it does because I’ve heard my friends talk about it, but I’m pretty sure there’s a law against selling and buying it in Ohio. I went to SEVEN (count them), SEVEN stores looking for this mystical flour and I had absolutely no luck. So I hop on my trusty cellular device and ask it, «OK Googies (I have a Google Nexus phone and I like to confuse it by calling it Googies when I want to search something. I think it can tell I’m a smart ass), what can I use instead of garbanzo bean flour?» And wouldn’t you know it, trusty Googies has an answer for me. Can’t find garbanzo bean flour, Amanda? Maybe you should try:

FAVA BEAN FLOUR. 

CHICKPEA FLOUR.

BEAN FLOUR.

Hey thanks, thanks a lot for that. We don’t have garbanzo bean flour, but chickpea flour, didn’t think about that! Silly me! (Please note the sarcasm). 

So after going to seven stores and being betrayed by my sweet, sweet Googies, I decided to say eff it and buy some random ass kind of flour. I started reading the different kinds and looked at what «recipes» were included on the packaging. I settled for Bob’s Red Mill, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour. It was gluten free and it didn’t cost an entire year’s tuition at Harvard (I’m looking at you quinoa flour and xanthan gum), so basically a win-win in my book.

And well folks, that book was finally right. So after this incredibly long-winded story, I present to you the vegan version of that pin you’ve probably drooled over 1,000 times already.

 

Vegan ‘cheesy’ cauliflower bread sticks

(Makes a quarter baking sheet of goodness, so like four servings)

Ingredients:

One large head of cauliflower

8 oz shredded vegan cheese (I opted for Daiya’s mozzarella)
1/4 cup whole grain brown rice flour
2/3 cup water

2 TBS Italian seasoning blend (I’m lazy, I work 40 hours a week and have two kids. I don’t have time to have all those separate spices!)

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS olive oil

Vegan pizza sauce for dipping (we used about one cup of it for the whole pan of bread sticks)

Optional — vegan Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (we use the Go Veggie Vegan variety)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

Take 1/4 a cup whole grain brown rice flour and mix it with 2/3 cup water. Let it sit (it gives it a chance to thicken some). 

Cut your head of cauliflower into small chunks (florets). Place in a large, microwave-safe bowl, splash a tiny bit of water on it and heat for six minutes. Take it out and place in a food processor and pulse into small, rice-sized pieces. Mix in your vegan cheese, spice blend, minced garlic, olive oil and whole grain rice flour/water «egg» mixture. Stir until well-blended. 

I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper because I felt lazy and didn’t want to scrub the pan later. I recommend doing this too, but if you really like cleaning make sure to grease that cookie sheet up! Spoon your mixture on and spread it out. Mixture should be much thinner than a dough, but thick enough to «sit» and spread on a pan. Top with some vegan parmesan cheese and then bake for 25-30 minutes (or until edges brown and you can’t leave it in any longer because you’re going to scarf it all down). 

Let it sit and cool for five minutes and then cut into strips. Dip into vegan pizza sauce for some extra pizzazz.

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In 2014, I resolve to be more thankful

Sometimes my bark is worse than my bite.

Actually, most of the time, I just bark a lot. Don’t get me wrong. I bite too, especially if the occasion calls for it, but ultimately, I’m the kind of person that likes to raise a fuss.

I can’t help it really, I’m just super-duper opinionated and I was raised by an incredibly strong woman. Those two items translate to a blogger and wannabe feminist that can type really, really fast.

Generally after getting a good rantfest off my plate, I like to prove to all my fans and followers that I’m not a complete lunatic all the time. So while I let strangers’ comments on my septum piercing get my panties in a twist yesterday, today I’m going to talk about the #100happydays project I’m currently participating in and why the hell I’m doing it.

In case you haven’t already jumped on the happy bandwagon, let me give you the quick rundown on happy days. It’s a super easy project that asks you to take one photo a day of something that makes you happy. It can be something as simple as your morning coffee (which judging by three of my photos makes me REALLY happy) or something more touching like your babies being adorable. Regardless of what it is, you just snap a quick pic of it and then post it on some social media channel with the hashtag #100happydays. It may sound way too simple to you, but in this ridiculously busy world we live in, sometimes you don’t feel like you have the time to stop and «think» about being happy.

I’m the kind of person who has a tendency to look at the glass half empty; particularly if said glass has say green tea in it (blech) as opposed to a delicious iced coffee. So the happy days project appeals to me because it’s NICE to be reminded each day of the small beauties and victories in our lives.

We can get so focused on the «big» picture that we forget about all the tiny shots that make it up. So far I’m 18 days deep and I’ve been happy for things like: my kiddos loving on each other, Braeburn crawling into a cabinet, my new DSLR camera I bought that I’d been DROOLING over and almond milk gelato (something ELSE I was drooling over).

Still curious what this Chubby Vegan Mom is happy about every day? Come follow me on Instagram, my social media network of choice when contributing to the project. You’ll notice my user name is Amanda Onomatopoeia, which is basically my street name, don’t be alarmed.

STILL need a reason to participate yourself?

Because it’s fun. It’s easy and it’s super encouraging. When I’m starting to get down on myself because of a mistake at work (believe it or not I’m NOT perfect, gasp!), for losing my temper with the kids or maybe I’m just not focusing on all the things going RIGHT in my life, I like to peruse my instagram posts and look at all the different things that I’ve been blessed with in the last three weeks.

Is it corny? Maybe.

But has it made me more grateful? Certainly.

In addition to the happy days project, we’ve also started doing a family «jar.» When something special happens (big or little) to our family that makes us happy, we write down what it is, date it and throw it in a jar. At the end of the year we plan on rehashing some of the awesome things we’ve been through with our friends and family. I want our kids to grow up knowing the small things really do count. I want them to know that in a world of depression, anxiety, boogeymans, monsters and bad guys, that these tiny, everyday, glimmering moments happen so frequently and ARE enough to get us by. There is enough good in the world if we keep looking for it. Hopefully this jar will serve as that reminder.

Are you taking part in the happiness project or do you have a way you stop and give thanks every day? Let us know and maybe we’ll join in the fun too!