“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Good morning friends! I wanted to start out the day with a great quote from the man we are celebrating today with, Martin Luther King, Jr. Along with many of his other moving words and speeches, this quote is pretty powerful.
It reminds me that even if you can’t see what the future holds or how things will pan out, keep faith in what you really want in life and it will come to you. That will help me through numerous things in my life right now and keeps me focused on the positive things life brings me.
This weekend was pretty low key (big surprise) especially since we got an unexpected foot of snow. Remember those Spring fever temps I was talking about earlier?
Yeah..along with my hopes and dreams of an early Spring they got buried by a foot of snow. A light dusting turned into a blizzard in no time and luckily I got my grocery shopping done early enough in the day before it got too bad out. What would have I done alone in the house all day with nothing to eat but a can of cranberry sauce and silken tofu?! Priorities people. Learn them.
I put together a vegetable soup which was originally going to be a kale and chickpea stew, until I realized I bought frozen collard greens instead. Sure I could have just improvised but then my foodie brain got turning and just went to town with the veggies. Sweet potato, zucchini, onion, collards, chickpeas, and this little fella.
A chayote squash. Anyone heard of them? Neither had I, but thanks to my local discounted veggie rack I gave them a whirl. It was kinda like a cross between a cucumber and a zucchini in my opinion. Not too much flavor, but the crunch of a cucumber. And now another food to cross off the “tried it” list. Which reminds me of a fruit I had never heard of in my life until one of my dear friends enlightened me to it. A Buddha hand.
More like octopus hand if you ask me. And for ten bucks I better have Buddha’s wisdom and enlightenment with every bite of that fruit. I guess I’ll have to wait until it hits the discount rack. Then it will be a bargain at 7 dollars.
And if you’re behind in the food celebration world, yesterday was National Popcorn Day! If you know me well enough you should know that just about every night is National Popcorn Night for me.
Stovetop popcorn is my jam for an evening snack that pairs quite nicely with my carrot and pb addiction. I celebrated by topping my bowl with dried sage and parm cheese. Although I somehow feel like it should have had sprinkles and a candle and sang Happy Birthday or something along those lines.
I had mentioned last week about the lasagna I made which got rave reviews from the skeptics. Once you throw the word vegan in front of something people just lose their cool. Like anything vegan is automatically made with wheatgrass, sticks, and granola.
NEWS FLASH: Oreos are vegan. Tell me when you find sticks as an ingredient in those triple stuffed sandwiches of nutrition.
So while I’m not technically ‘vegan’..which just goes back to my rant about food labeling, I am trying to eat more plant based and well just experimenting with different ingredients. Since a package of tofu is 99 cents at my grocery store it’s a pretty easy win to try new things with.
I had been craving a lasagna since it is a pretty comforting food for the chilly weather, and thought Bingo! Why not replace the ricotta with tofu?!
And this sweet brainchild o’ mine was born. I was pretty skeptical about MJ digging the tofu, but I was happily surprised when she said it was one of the best lasagnas ever. EVAH. Who knew vegan could taste so good?
Maybe vegans, but just taking a shot in the dark there. You honestly could even taste the difference because all the flavors just mended together so well. This vegan vegetable lasagna won’t have you missing the meat or dairy once you taste how addictively delicious it is.
I put (vegan) in parentheses because technically this isn’t totally vegan. I did put real Parmesan cheese on the top but that could easily be replaced with a vegan cheese or even left out all together. Saying it’s almost vegan makes people a little more comfortable. Like maybe it’s only made with tree bark instead of sticks.
- 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 jar prepared tomato sauce
- 1 pkg firm tofu, drained
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup vegan or traditional Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, set aside in a small bowl of cool water to keep from sticking.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and spray a 11 x 6 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
- Add oil and chopped vegetables and cook 5-7 minutes, or until tender.
- Add garlic, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
- In a bowl of a food processor, add tofu, vinegar, and salt. Pulse 4-5 times or until mixture is soft and crumbly, or resembles ricotta cheese.
- Pour ¼ of the tomato sauce in prepared casserole dish. Lay 3 of the noodles on top, and add ⅓ of the tofu and ⅓ of the vegetable mixture spreading evenly.
- Repeat the process 2 more times. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and optional Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Carnivorize: Use regular ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
And at under 300 calories and 12 grams of protein per serving, it can be a great dinner idea for anyone. And no I did not try it with peanut butter. Shame on me.
Make it a great day!
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Anyone else have the day off?