Good morning beauties! How was your weekend?! I had a pretty fun 4th of July up at the lake house. My brother had a bunch of his friends up for his graduation party so we had a full house. When we have visitors, my plant-based lifestyle is brought up more often than normal, especially during meal times. While I do have this vegan blog, I usually don’t like to have all attention on me in social settings. I don’t shout from the rooftops that I am vegan, is what I am saying. I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or offend them by saying “You shouldn’t be eating that burger!” That is just not right, in my opinion. Unless people ask, I won’t put the vegan label out there. Probably because this was a very personal decision and although I do want to promote this lifestyle, there is a certain way to approach the subject, so that you don’t scare people off. If they ask what I do, then surely it has to be brought up. Spreading awareness is important and encouraged, for sure. I love to promote this wonderful lifestyle! It has changed my life! But I want to promote it in the best way possible, hopefully so others can become more curious and develop an interest in learning more. Then maybe we can welcome a new vegan into our little corner.
You will hear all the usual sayings: “I could never do that! I love cheese too much! All my favorite foods have cheese in them!” is the most common. Or “I could never give up eggs” along with “What do you eat? Where do you get your protein?” and “Do you get all the vitamins you need?”
It’s important to be prepared to answer all of the common questions or else you will look silly. People will make jokes and jabs, alllll the time! And I will probably hear them for the rest of my life, but it comes with the lifestyle, because it’s new and unfamiliar. Many do not know how to approach it, so they take the comedic route. I do not get offended anymore, I realize its only unfamiliar to them, just like anything else. You have to be strong, hold your head up and remember being vegan is for you, and you only! By no means am I saying, oh poor me, people laugh when they hear I am vegan. Boo hoo. I know this inevitably comes with the lifestyle. So be open to all of the comments, negative or positive, and approach them with confidence. If anyone sees an ounce of doubt on your face, they may think it’s a joke and you are vegan for attention or something crazy like that. Don’t feel the need to attack people if they hurt your feelings! You are better than that! If the conversation becomes too uncomfortable or heated, then change the subject, drop it. Walk away, it is not worth your time or energy. There are haters for every type of lifestyle out there. Surround yourself with positive people! I recommend keeping the conversation positive and light. If they ask questions, give them your honest answers. Don’t be the party pooper 😉 Haha. Be the person who is glowing, full of life, energy and happiness. Be someone they admire. Okay, had to get that off my chest.
Now we can talk about this delish Sesame Veggie Stir Fry. I added tofu this time! This is my first recipe on the blog with tofu 🙂 My best friend Jenessa is vegan and she inspired me to try tofu again because it’s her favorite. I have tried it a few times before and the reason I didn’t LOVE it was because I wasn’t preparing it how you are supposed to. Silly me. Finally I figured out you have to dry out the tofu before cooking it. Man that made the world of a difference. Tofu is like a sponge, you need to wring out the water first. Not like you would wring out a towel though, obvi. It’s also a blank slate so you can marinate it to become any flavor you want. Don’t be afraid of tofu! Also, make sure to buy organic, we don’t want to be eating any GMO tofu.
How to Prepare Tofu:
1) The process takes 30 minutes. First, drain out the water from the container.
2) Put 2 paper towels or a regular small towel on a plate. Cut the tofu into your desired size pieces for your recipe. Small cubes in this case. Spread them out on the towel.
3) Place 2 more paper towels or a regular towel over the tofu. Get a heavy book and set on top of the towel. Let the towels soak up the excess water from tofu for about 30 minutes. Then your tofu is ready to be marinated or cooked as is.
I love stir fry recipes because you can use any veggies you have in your fridge at the moment. I would have loved to add shelled edamame, mushrooms and snow peas. You can even add pineapple and peanuts or cashews if that’s your thing. Anything goes here. Throw in some kale while you’re at it! Make it to your liking, you don’t need all the veggies I have in this recipe, although they did taste amazing together. And I used brown rice for this stir fry because that is what I had. Black sesame seeds add a nice touch too. You can use soba noodles or any other noodle, even quinoa would be perfect. I doubled the amount of veggies in this recipe so we have lots of leftovers for the week.
- 1 container organic extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
- 1 cup broccoli, florets
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (powdered fine too)
- Couple dashes black pepper
- dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I used black)
- Preparing the tofu takes 30 minutes.
- First, drain out the water from the container.
- Put 2 paper towels or a regular small towel on a plate. Cut the tofu into your desired sized pieces for your recipe. Small cubes in this case. Spread them out on the towel.
- Place 2 more paper towels or a regular towel over the tofu. Get a heavy book and set on top of the towel. Let the towels soak up the excess water from tofu for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook rice according to directions. Once cooked, keep pot covered and set aside.
- Start to chop all vegetables while tofu is drying out and rice is cooking.
- After all veggies are chopped, prepare sauce.
- In a small bowl, whisk together tamari sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.
- When tofu is ready, transfer from plate to a medium-sized bowl. Pour sauce/marinade over tofu and mix around. Let sit for about 5 minutes or longer if you want.
- Pour 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a wok (or any large pan) and turn on heat to medium-high. When wok is hot, remove tofu from bowl (save sauce/marinade for later) and brown tofu on all sides until golden. This takes about 5 minutes. If it's not browning, turn up heat. Once tofu is golden brown, remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
- Pour in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in the same wok. When hot, add in all vegetables and the leftover sauce. Mix well. This process is quick! We don't want to overcook the veggies until they are mushy. We want them to still have color and a little crunch. Takes a minute or two only. Add tofu back in with the veggies to warm it up and then turn off heat. Add in sesame seeds and mix.
- Serve veggies and tofu over brown rice.
- Some stir fry recipes call for sugar, I did not add it to this recipe because I thought it was unnecessary but you are welcome to if you want to cut out the acidity. I would add 2 teaspoons of coconut sugar or any sugar of your choice.
- Store any leftovers in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
I will leave you with some pictures from my last couple weekends of fun!