Not Just Tofu

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on December 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I finally have the time that I have been looking for to cook whatever I want and I don’t feel like cooking anything.  I have stocked my fridge with good pantry items, good cheeses and homemade seitan but still no inspiration. I have spent the last few hours visiting blogs and websites hoping to find a recipe that I want to try but still…nothing. 

I have been in school for the last 4 months and couldn’t cook or bake as I wanted. Over the holidays, I spent most of my energy shopping and baking for other people that I don’t feel like I want to today.  What did I bake? I made homemade granola, baked carrot cake muffins, and banana bread.  I would love to say the recipes I used were mine, but they were built off of published recipes.  I even found a new recipe from Bisquick,  crumb cake with a coconut and nut topping.  The irony is that I don’t eat any of it; I mean  I taste as I go but I rarely sit and have a chunk of cake.  I think because I know in the back of my mind that I am allergic to wheat, barley and rye means I have to limit how much flour I intake.  

So will I cook before winter break is over? Yes without a doubt! I still have 2 more weeks on my break to tap into my creativity. Plus,  I cook almost everyday but everyday is not picture or blog worthy.  The real question is will I post a new recipe? I hope so otherwise I am wasting money that I don’t have. I have been pinning pictures on Pinterest which have got me percolating. If you have a recipe you want me to try or want to me to convert into a healthy version, email me at

Thanks guys 


Turkey-Less Roasting

In Cooking Tips, Editorial, Food, Products, Recipe, sides on December 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

It’s almost Christmas which means another celebratory meal is around the corner.  I realize that a lot of 1st time vegetarians will be out there wondering what to cook.  I guess it depends on how good a cook you are.  You can make your own seitan turkey if your really good.  Most purchase a retail version of a turkey roast.  I was in Whole Foods the other day and found that Gardein makes a Turkey Roast.  I like Quorn’s roast for those of you like me who can’t eat soy.  There is of course the mother of the movement – Tofurky.  Before these readily available versions, there was Worthington Dinner Roast which  doesn’t look like a roast but taste good.  In my West Indian Family and community, we are not big turkey eaters but if we do eat turkey it better have good gravy.  I give credit to the beautiful and simple gravy to help turkey and mock turkey taste good.  So I am re-posting the recipe for the “Full Proof Gravy” as a gift from Not Just Tofu to you.


  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of margarine or butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt (Lawry’s preferred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth


  1. Melt margarine or butter in sauce pan
  2. Add celery, garlic and onion to melted butter
  3. Cook till soft
  4. Dust vegetables with flour and cook for 1 minute
  5. Slowly whisk in vegetable broth
  6. Season broth with seasoning salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, onion and garlic powder.
  7. Let simmer until slightly thickened (if too thick, slowly add more broth)

quorn roast tofurky worthington dinner roast

Which Diet Are You On?

In Editorial on December 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Vegetarian                 VeganPaleo       Gluten-Free       Pesceterian       Flexitarian       Raw


Are you confused by these special diets?

I was until I decided to look into them myself.  Some are very new to the public.  Let me see if I can break them down in simple terms.


  • Vegetarian: You don’t eat flesh. No chicken, no steak, no seafood.  Your diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans.  You are allowed to eat dairy including eggs and honey.
  • Vegan: You don’t eat flesh, dairy, eggs and most often omit caffeine. Your diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts. Extreme vegans omit honey because it comes from bees. The goal is to eat the healthiest form of a plant based diet.
  • Paleo: You don’t eat grain, beans or dairy. Your diet consists of meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  You don’t eat potatoes, rice or corn because of their high starch content.  Many of your dry goods are homemade or made from alternative flours that come from nuts and coconut.
  • Gluten-Free: You don’t eat anything containing the gluten protein.  So no wheat, barley or rye or allowed.  Your baked goods are made from grains like spelt, almond flour and garbanzo  flour.  Similar to Paleo but you are allowed to eat plant based starches like beans and potatoes and rice.
  • Pescetarian: You don’t eat chicken, steak, lamb or any other land creatures.  You diet consist of seafood, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and nuts.
  • Flexitarian: You eat everything but the majority of your diet is plant based most of the time.  Your diet also consists but limits dairy.
  • Raw:  Similar to the vegan diet except that it is raw.  All fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains and legumes and nuts are eaten in their natural state, dehydrated, blended or juice as a way of protecting their true nutritional value.

During the holidays, we don’t focus on what we are eating but as soon as January 1st comes we make great strides to start the year off on a healthy note.  For most of America, diet is one of their resolutions and they look to one of these diets to be their blueprint.  I want those of you reading and thinking about it to remember that these are not just not diets but lifestyles.  Choosing to eat this way will affect your family and your social life.  You may have to create 2 different dinners because your kids are not into a soy burgers and lentils.  Don’t be discouraged.  If you are going to change the way you eat remember these 3 steps:

1. Ease into it – any change made abruptly usually won’t last. Try it 1 day a week, then 2 then 3 before you know it all 7 days will be easy.

2. Stick to familiar flavors – if you like spicy food, don’t try a bland bowl of beans.  If you don’t make it seem that you are missing the things you like than you won’t mind eating it.

3. Have go-to foods – a lot of the time these diets need to be planned ahead.  There are certain frozen foods that can be a go to or certain restaurants that are special diet friendly.  Do the research; it will help you to fight the hunger pains.

I face these challenges too as I am trying to become a healthier eater.  I hope this helps you as you try to balance your diet with your life.



Easy Vegetarian Empanadas

In Appetizers, Editorial, Englewood, Local Eats, meat substitutes, Recipe, Restaurant Experience on December 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm
Vegetarian Empanadas

Vegetarian Empanadas

I fell in love with Spanish food about 10 years ago.  Before then, my passion was Mexican food ranging from  simple tacos to enchiladas.  Some would say it was Tex-Mex but no it was really Mexican to the point I would hunt out authentic Mexican restaurants. Then one day, while walking down Palisade Avenue, I glimpsed into Fonda de Paisa , a Columbian restaurant.  Curious I went in and ordered their $6.00 special which was a meat, rice, beans or soup and salad with friend plantain   I was shocked that they were offering real knife and fork  food for less than a burger combo meal at the local fast food restaurants down the street.  Finally I had discovered a better alternative than eating fast food for lunch.  As I was checking out, I saw the empanadas and bought one for only$1.  For those of you who don’t know what an empanada is, they are a small turnovers that can be filled with beef, chicken or cheese  and usually deep fried.  In Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and places like Costa Rica and Panama they are call pastelillos often made with ground beef and raisins.  Being the person that I am, I decided to imitate a healthier version for vegetarians.  The following recipe is what I came up.


  • 1 Package of thawed  pre-made empanada skins (Goya)
  • 2 cups or re-hydrated TVP or frozen soy crumbles
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of  defrosted sofrito
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of Adobo (1/2 teaspoon if using frozen soy crumbles)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil for sauting
  • canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • Spanish green olives, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of water

*Empanda Skins are the turnover dough already colored and cut into circles and sold in packages of 10 by companies like Goya.

*Sofrito is a blend of cilantro, onion and garlic with spices that can be bought frozen in the Spanish section of your freezer department.

Preparing the Filling

  1. Warm saute oil in a medium frying pan
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and saute for 2 minutes
  3. Mix in TVP or soy crumbles and heat thoroughly
  4. Season with taco seasoning and adobo, mix well
  5. Make a well in the filling mixture and spoon in sofrito and tomato paste
  6. Mix all ingredients together well in the pan, add 1/2 cup of water ( if it look dry, add another 1/2 cup)
  7. Stir in chopped olives and cover over medium-low heat for 10 minute
  8. Remove filling to cool for 15 minutes before filling the pastry

Preparing the Empanada

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Take one empanada skin and fill 1 tablespoon of filling on one side of the circle
  4. Fold over the other half
  5. Crimp with fork
  6. Brush lightly with milk (soy milk for vegans)
  7. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until brown

Visit La Fonda de Paisa

95 West Palisade Avenue

Englewood, NJ 07631


taken by Louis M. on

taken by Louis M. on

Red Velvet Cupcakes

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Didn’t know I could bake, but so glad that I am trying. Not allowed to eat but so many sweets on a auto-immune diet so we shared with the class.

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