Saturday, July 26, 2008

Still here...

I'm still here, even though I have sorely neglected to blog recently. The truth is, my life over the past couple of months has been a series of ups and downs--and the overall effect has been to wear me out. It's funny how you can be on cruise control for a while, day in and day out, and then one day you your life just sideswipes you at 100 miles per hour. Has this ever happened to you? I'm sure it has... It happens to all of us once in a while, right?

I've done very little experimental cooking recently. I've been sticking to the basics, for the most part--easy, tried and true recipes that satisfy and require little effort. I got burned out for a while. But now I'm starting to miss cooking the way I used to...

I made this stir-fry weeks and weeks ago, but it was so good that it still deserves a spot on this blog. I made it for a good friend of mine who was willing to try tofu for the first time. In hopes to not turn him off by the texture of the tofu, I diced it extra small and used the twice-cooked method: Stir-fry it once in a little bit of very hot oil, add some tamari, remove the tofu from the pan and place on paper towels, clean the pan, add more oil and heat again until very hot, and then stir-fry the cooled tofu again. It creates a crispy outer coating that I have found even tofu-averse people can appreciate. The rest of the veggies we cooked in a teriyaki sauce that Melody created for her fabulous teriyaki tempeh recipe that I tested for her way, way back in the day. And we served it over udon noodles. We enjoyed this meal immensely, and I was quite pleased to have been able to offer my friend a pleasing first experience with tofu.

Talk about an easy meal... This is a Southwest-style Sunshine Burger topped with a slice of pepperjack flavor Rice Vegan cheese and avocado slices on half a whole wheat bun. Whereas I'm not normally a big fan of frozen veggie burgers, these are actually quite good. They have a kick to them.

It's never the wrong time of year for gingerbread... so that's how I justified making these Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting from VCTOTW. I took them to work where they were well received, as always. Personally, I thought they were fabulous with chunks of crystallized ginger hidden like little gems inside the cake.

But... these are my last cupcakes for a while. I remember a time when I was a health foodie, and I loved being that way. Once you slip out of that habit it can be difficult to get back into it, but I'm making an effort. Especially with a mini busy season coming up at work, I want to be in the routine of doing what is best for myself and feeling great and energetic.

In other news, I got a bike, and I am playing in a softball league, and I have been running again, and I have been going to Jazzercise classes... so I'm staying pretty active. And next weekend I'm going backpacking with one of my good friends--which is super exciting.

I hope you all have been enjoying your summer. As for me, I'm ready for fall again--but I'm making the most of this awful heat. I'll be around again soon. :) Take care.


VeggieGirl said...

Laura!! So nice to hear from you. I'm glad to see that you've been cooking and baking such delicious meals (as always); and hey, I LOVE Sunshine burgers!! They're great to have on-hand :0)

That's fabulous that you're staying active - it'll help with stress, for sure!!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I do hope to see you posting again soon!! :0)

Anonymous said...

What a great variety of pics. I especially love the first one (stir-fry). Keep em coming!

CeciLiA said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your life has been a bit wacky lately ... hope that it gets better soon *fingers crossed* Don't worry, you are certainly not alone ... I have my fair share of 'down' days recently as well!

Oh wow, your teriyaki stir fry looks DELICIOUS!! MMMmm ... I love teriyaki so much ... btw, did you use agave as the sweetener or do you use sugar?!

Oh my, your burger looks scrumptious ... the cheese somehow reminds me of the plastic kraft cheese ... weird!! :0) I wish I can get my hands on those DELICIOUS looking sunshine burgers here in Australia!!

I'm bookmarking that gingerbread cupcake recipe now! They sound so good!!

Good luck with getting back to your active self, I believe you can do it!!!! Oh OH!! You backpacking?!! To where?! Can't wait to hear about it when you get back!!

Jes said...

Glad to have you back! :) The stir-fry looks delish!

aTxVegn said...

It's good to hear from you, Laura. I do lots of stirfrys and your looks really nice. I love Southwest Burgers and haven't had one in so long - yum!

Sounds like you're keeping busy and active. I'm so lazy in this heat!

Anonymous said...

It's good to see a post from you, Laura. I definitely know what you mean about life having a way of surprising you. I think these life challenges make us stronger, though.

The food looks great...especially the cupcakes :) Have fun on your backpacking trip!

Take care!

Paulina said...

Glad to have you back :)

Darius T. Williams said...

You know what? I made these lemon creme cupcakes w/a lemon cream cheese frosting last week and I forgot to get a picture. I topped mine w/a lemon jelly belly - and that frosting was to DIE FOR! I added heavy cream and whipped it w/the cream cheese and the zest and juice and drop of vanilla...OMG - it was awesome.

Yours looks good too. And that stir-fry - um, can I have some?


Carrie™ said...

I'm glad to see a new post from you. I've always enjoyed your blog. I totally know what you're talking about when it comes to falling off the wagon, so to speak, with regards to healthy eating. I've been very guilty myself lately. I should take a cue from you and seriously get my act together. Those cupcakes look awfully good though......

Animal-Friendly said...

I'm sorry to hear that life has been throwing you for a loop lately, but things always even out eventually.

I'm in a bit of a cooking rut myself and I'm trying to get back to cooking how often/healthfully I used to, so I completely understand what you mean!

I saw Sunshine burgers at the store the other day and wasn't so sure if I wanted to buy them, so I didn't. However, I've been hearing so much about the recently that I'm definitely going to have to try them!

Urban Vegan said...

I've missed you Laura--and your cooking.

I have to remember to add an avocado to my veggie burgers next time.

tofufreak said...

glad to hear from you! your stir fry looks quite delicious! i agree with you on your gigerbread rule. definitely. yum!

bazu said...

Hi Laura,

I've missed you! I'm sorry your life has been having ups and downs, but it's apparent that you are taking things in stride and being very healthy and good to yourself. Your food looks great!
I'm always here if you want to chat via email or FB.

Lori- the Pleasantly Plump Vegan said...

hope things get much better for you.

that veggie burger looks pretty darn amazing

i am so ready for this ATL summer and its heat to go away!

Teal Marie Chimblo said...

Can you come to my house and cook??? Pleeeease! Yum!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura
You haven't posted for such a long time I was wondering how you are doing and how your life is working out now. Hope everything is okay - do let us all know how you are and hope that 2009 is a good year for you.
Take care.

prashant said...

What a great variety of pics

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