Friday, March 23, 2012

Tofu, Yummy Tofu!

Yes I know. Tofu... The mention of the word probably brought a chill to some spines and possibly a gag reflex to those who think tofu is simply gross or weird. Well I must tell you it's not. Tofu is really good and good for you. If you don't like tofu it may be because you had it prepared poorly. I will admit if done wrong it could turn out spongy, bland or maybe even slimy. *Shudders* For now turn your thoughts away from what you think you know about tofu and make this recipe.

My friend Jessica asked what everyone was having for dinner on Facebook and I shared that I would be having leftover manicotti made with tofu. She eats a lot of very healthy and yummy sounding foods so I wasn't surprised when she asked for the recipe. I love this recipe. My mom made it when I was growing up and now that I cook for my family I love to make it. Joe even eats it and has said that if he didn't know it was tofu he wouldn't have guessed it. Give it a try! Seriously it's good and good for you so don't judge, just eat.

Cannelloni
From the cookbook Tofu Goes West 

Tofu

Cook and drain
8 MANICOTTI SHELLS
*I made a whole box of manicotti shells which is 14 total. With this recipe I can usually fill all but maybe one of the shells.

Mix well in a large bowl
*I actually put everything in a gallon sized zip lock bag and mix it up so I can then easily fill the manicotti shells by snipping the corner of the bag and piping the filling into each shell.
1 LB. TOFU, MASHED WELL WITH A FORK
1 EGG, LIGHTLY BEATEN
1 1/2 TSP. PARSLEY
1/2 TSP. NUTMEG
1/2 TSP. BASIL
1/2 TSP. SALT
1/4 TSP. PEPPER
1/4 CUP GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE
1 CUP GRATED CHEDDAR CHEESE

Fill the manicotti shells with the tofu mixture.
Lay the manicotti down the center of an oiled 9"x13" baking dish.
*I just spray the pan with Pam or put down some sauce before laying down the filled shells.

Cover with
1 CAN (15 OZ.) ITALIAN-STYLE TOMATO SAUCE (MIXED WITH ANY REMAINING STUFFING).
*I usually use a jar of pasta sauce because I am all about quick and easy and I don't ever have any remaining stuffing. You could definitely use homemade sauce or follow the recipe as is.

Sprinkle with
GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Serves 4.
*Obviously if you make it like I do with a whole box of manicotti it will serve more than 4. I sometimes sprinkle with whatever leftover cheddar I have on top too.
That's it! It's super easy and quick to put together. While the shells are cooking you can get everything else assembled and the oven preheated. If you find yourself without an egg (as I did yesterday when I made this) I have just added a couple spoonfuls of pasta sauce in with the mixture and it holds together well enough to stuff the shells. Oh and I use the firm tofu for this recipe. Do NOT go with a soft or silken tofu or I would think your filling would end up as mush and that would once again fuel the fear of tofu.

If you make this recipe please come back and comment and let me know what you think. If you're still a little hesitant to try this I suggest buying (or making) a pasta sauce that has meat in it. Mix some of the sauce in with the filling instead of the egg and top the filled shells with the meat sauce and you seriously won't know it's tofu. You might think it was some kind of ricotta type filling instead and with some meat in the sauce it may alleviate any fears you have about tofu. Once you've made it once you can definitely add your own spin by changing up the spices, cheese or sauce depending on your personal taste. I love it and I hope you will too.

Enjoy!

Motherhood

My friend Christina Ambubuyog is awesome. I met her when I was working at the Blind Center when she came in to volunteer. She was a shining light from day one and even taught a yoga class for the members of the Blind Center. They loved it and it was such a great service that she would take on modifying a yoga class for the blind and visually impaired. Good stuff!

Since then we have stayed in contact meeting for lunch or saying "hi" on Facebook. (Check out Christina's Facebook page to get connected.) She is a life coach and through her learning journey I have helped her by participating in some coaching sessions. Then as her business grew I actually signed up and participated in her actual coaching program. It was wonderful and I still refer back to many of the great things I learned. You must check out her fabulous website to see what she's all about. She can work with clients anywhere as long as you have access to a phone and email. If you have ever thought about working with a life coach she is wonderful and definitely worth looking into.

Another awesome feature she has is her Ask Christina opportunity where you can send her your questions and if she selects it she will answer it on a video that is shared on her site. I sent in a question about my new role as a mother and her answer was just what I needed to hear. If you're a first time mom you should definitely check it out! I can't possibly be the only person who has had issues adjusting to a new role through this major life transition. At least I hope I'm not the only one... HA HA HA!



If you're a "been there done that" momma and have any advice about how you handled going from "all about you" to "all about baby" please feel free to share here or on Christina's page for the video. I would love to hear how you get things done for yourself and honor your passions and joy while still being a great momma. (I do like the ideas she share in her video and will be working to incorporate them in my life.)

And... If you're a new momma still struggling in your journey know you're not alone. Don't get me wrong I love my son and I love being his mom but there are days when it's hard. Really hard. For 30 years it was all about me and that was all I had to worry about and now I have a tiny person who needs me to meet his most basic needs and that is a huge responsibility and shift in life. It's not all unicorns and glitter but I do know that nothing in the world is better than my sweet little man when he snuggles in my arms and falls asleep with his little hand over my heart. Ah the good times.

So check out the video and share what you think. While you're at it visit her website and sign up for her free E-book: 11 Secrets to Ignite Your Intuition and Fire Up Abundance in Your Life and Business which also signs you up for her fabulous e-zine. It's one of the few newsletters that I read whenever I get it because she is such a ray of sunshine in this world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Late Night Hooking

No I haven't fallen into any unsavory business here in the city of sin... Don't worry! The late night hooking I'm messing with involves a ball of yarn and a crochet hook. WA HA HA!

KamiKay's present all wrapped up and ready to go!

Ever since I started crocheting again I must say I'm HOOKED. I love it! It's fun to try new projects and learn new stitches to see what I can make. I stumbled upon Ravelry which has been quite enabling to my newest addiction. I can browse through tons of patterns and save what I may want to attempt. It's awesome. If you knit or crochet you should check it out. It's free to join! If you sign up you can find me and add me as a friend.

The finished Crochet Bow Headband.
One of the latest projects I attempted was for Joe's niece KamiKay for her birthday. I thought the Crochet Bow Headband was so cute and it seemed easy enough so I gave it a shot. It was rather hard to get started but luckily I browsed through the comments and found additional directions that helped me get going. In the end I liked how it turned out and it looks SO cute on KamiKay. WIN!

The bow from the Bow Headband Tutorial.
 When I made the headband I wasn't sure how well it would fit or if KamiKay would even like it so I decided to quickly make another headband so she'd have another option and hopefully would like one of the two. I found this great Bow Headband Tutorial on Ravelry and thought it would be quick and easy. It was totally cake and since it has buttons it's adjustable which I figured would be good since I have no idea how big KamiKay's head is. I did make it shorter and not as wide as the pattern because I figured it would work better in a smaller size since KamiKay is only 6. Joe's mom sent me this picture of her wearing it at her birthday party and I love how it looks on her! So cute!!! I want to make more because they are so fun so I need to find more small children to craft for. HA HA HA!

Uncle Joe and KamiKay enjoy the birthday fun!

Finally my adventures in crocheting have also led me to some cute flowers. I think I saw these cute crochet flowers on Pinterest and I wanted to try them. In order not to get totally overwhelmed I decided to actually attempt a smaller flower that was in the pattern shared in the comments section. The pattern for the Small Rosette was simple and turned out great. I can definitely see using the flower on one of those headbands instead of the bow. I am excited to make more flowers in different sizes and see what uses I can find for them.

The flower ready to be put together.
Ta-da! We have a flower!

Ok that's my latest adventure in crafty world. I must say, only because I think of these things, please don't think I'm some sort of super mom. I know for me I sometimes see what other moms are doing and think WOW how in the world do they get these things done with kids. Really I'm just now getting to the point where I can get these kind of things done. I work on them after Russell goes to bed because he sleeps really early. He goes to bed between 5-6 most days which leaves me with a couple hours that I can craft before I go to bed at night. He still gets up at night 1-2 times at night so my sleep is kind of in short spaces and some days I am really tired but it is so important to me to have time to be creative and enjoy some of the things I love doing so I make time for it. Really I don't think I could have done this stuff even just a couple months ago. I was just too tired and still adjusting to being a new mom. My days are definitely busy, I get things done as much as possible during the day time so I can craft at night and my husband is SUPER supportive of me having time to craft and enjoy my hobbies. He lets me plan craft days with my friends and makes sure I get time to work on my projects when I need a break. Anyway, if you're a mom reading my blog and think OMG how does she do it just know I'm not super mom. You're getting the highlights from my life and often I am posting well after I have cooked/crafted whatever I'm sharing. I am just taking things day by day and making time when I can. If you are a mom with any tips or tricks to getting time for yourself I'd love to hear them. :) I hope you enjoy my adventures.

My little adventurer. Taking self portraits while hanging out in our PJ's.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

What's your passion?



I was visiting my darling friend Kim's blog (yep the best friend of mine that I made the cute crocheted pieces for) and finally checked out the video she shared in her Post Birthday Post. I swear that girl always has just the thing I need when I don't even know what I was looking for. You MUST take a couple of minutes and watch this video!



Tell me! Tell me what is your passion? If you have to think about it, if you don't have an immediate answer and if that answer doesn't immediately make you feel happy you need to take the time to figure it out. Your passion should be what drives you. What makes you feel whole and complete as a person. The thing you love to do and would do for the rest of your life no matter what because it makes you happy.

Delightful breakfast cups I made. I love delicious food!

For me my passions revolve around being creative. I love being able to create something out of nothing. To be able to take pieces of something and put it together into something that brings joy into the world. I love to cook and craft. I always have and always will. I have been enjoying both for as long as I can remember and I have realized that my fondest memories often revolve around when I was creating something. For me there is nothing better than sharing food with others especially when they find it so delicious that it makes them happy too. I also love crafting because it allows me to create beautiful things I can share with others or keep for myself. To me when I can create something as a gift for someone else it is filled with love. I have to take the time to think about that person, what they would like and how they would use whatever I have created. I think about them as I am creating and hope they will enjoy the gift as much as I enjoyed creating it. Plus I know for me when a gift is truly thoughtful I think of the person every time I use the item and that is lovely.

A great friend is one of the most beautiful gifts.

I have been on a long journey of self discovery and this all makes me realize that I do have the answers within me. I know what I love and now I just need to go out and do it and like the video says do it often. Life is too short and it's too easy to take the people who mean the most to us for granted. We always figure they will be there tomorrow, that we'll see them again and that there is always that next time to say what we want to say. I was reminded of this today when a friend posted on her Facebook page that one year ago she had a two minute conversation with her dad and that was the last conversation she had with her dad. I don't want to share the details but he did fall ill and pass away. That just makes me think if my last conversation I had with any given person were our last would I be happy? Would that person know what they have meant to me in my life? I realized the answer was likely no. It's too easy to assume there will always be a next time. Another phone call, another text, another day to visit or another time.

I realized I don't have enough pictures of me with my family.

Please don't wait. Find your passion and share it with the world. Tell the people you love how much you love them often. If someone has made a difference in your life tell them and tell them why. Let them know why they are special and what you love about them. It's these things that will likely make someone's life. We're all constantly bombarded by messages that we're not good enough (too fat, not smart enough, not rich enough, not fashionable enough, etc...) so what would it mean to hear something positive about how amazing you are just the way you are.

I love my little family. We are awesome!

Share with me what your passion is! What do you want to do for the rest of your life because it makes you happy? Has someone ever done something or said something to you that made your life that you'll never forget? Share all the joyful goodness! I hope each and every person who stumbles upon this and reads it will find their passion and share it with the world.

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

~ Howard Thurman

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Birthday Inspiration

I wanted to share the inspiration I found for my gift I sent to my BFF Kim for her birthday. I decided to DIY part of her gift because it sounded like fun and would be something totally one of a kind. While on Pinterest I found THIS cute amigurumi panda ornament that led me to the amazing blog All About Ami. Her amigurumi was simply adorable but not something I could whip up since I am just relearning to crochet. I got lucky though because she had some CUTE patterns on her site that seemed like something I could tackle with my limited knowledge. Thank you internet and YouTube! HA HA HA.


The first thing I attempted was this super cute Cup Cozy. I know Kim loves to enjoy a nice cup of tea and I thought this would just be something fun to enjoy with her little cup of zen. I want to make one for myself now because it's just so cute and would be perfect so I don't burn my hands on my cup.


Now I didn't want to just send a cup of tea so I also attempted this new tutorial Stephanie put together for a Knotted Headband. I thought it was simply wonderful and would be perfect in the chilly Utah weather. Wear it with your hair up or down or even pull it over your ears to keep you nice and snug. I will definitely be making me one of these as soon as I can decide on what color I want. HE HE HE.


My gift this year was pretty simple and low key. I of course threw in a cute mini set of Mary Kay lip gloss for her to play with and a box of my new favorite tea. I love the clean flavor and the subtle sweetness it has. I have been drinking more tea instead of coffee in the mornings for it's health benefits and because I drink my tea as is and I typically doctor my coffee with creamer and I'm trying to cut calories here and there without giving up everything I enjoy. I still have a cup or two of coffee each week but I have reserved that for my weekends with Joe.


Anyway, I am loving the inspiration I'm finding on Pinterest. I still have some posts to share about some yummy nom's I have made that I found on Pinterest. Ah if only I didn't need to sleep. HA HA HA! I am going to keep working on learning to crochet. I am going to work on getting all the supplies I need to make THIS lovely toy for Russell. I'm sure it will take a while to figure it out but I am really enjoying crocheting. I got lucky too and found this site called Ravelry which is a knit and crochet community. You can connect with others who share similar interests, groups in your area and find patterns of a ton of different projects. If you knit or crochet get your free account and friend me.

So another happy birthday to my fabulous friend Kim. Hopefully you'll be enjoying the fun gifts I made. It was great fun to make them. :)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Happy Birthday Kim!

I wanted to wish my best friend Kim a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!

Me at Kim's Wedding

Celebrate! I am wishing you all the happiness and joy in the world. I hope all your birthday wishes come true. Cheers to another year of being fabulous!

Kim at my wedding

Thanks for being my friend no matter how near or far we are. You're the bestest! Love you girl!

HUGS
Heather

P.S. Kim whenever you get my gift in the mail I'll post my inspiration for a couple of your gift items. :)