dairy-free challenge

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

I don’t really cook food of the Asian persuasion very often and I wish I did. It’s so healthy and delicious. The problem I face is that I often don’t know what certain ingredients are, or how to use them. This recipe was relatively simple and had ingredients I was able to buy at my local grocery store. When it came time to make it, I admit I had to google “how to cut bok choy”.

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I still don’t think I did it right, despite watching a video. Oh well, it tasted the same. (I think.)

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Category: beer, Chocolate, Cravings, Dairy-free, Dairy/Gluten-Free Challenge, Dinner, food, Food update, gluten-free, Low Calorie Recipes, recipes, Recommendations, Review, Vegetarian

Servings: 6

From: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/spicy_tofu_hotpot.html

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces firm tofu, preferably water-packed
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce, or to taste
  • 4 cups thinly sliced tender bok choy greens
  • 8 ounces fresh Chinese-style (lo mein) noodles
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Cut the block into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sugar, broth, soy sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add bok choy and tofu, cover and simmer until greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the noodles, pushing them down into the broth.
  4. Cook, covered, until the noodles are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro.
  5. Note: Chile-garlic sauce is a spicy blend of chiles, garlic and other seasonings; it is found in the Asian section of the market.

Nutrition Facts

Spicy Tofu Hotpot

Serves 1.5 cups

Amount Per Serving
Calories 251
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7grams 10.8%
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=36968

Two things I should point out: this was not a soup recipe like I thought it was and it could have been spicier. I also think I bought the wrong tofu. I rarely cook with it and it kind of fell apart instead of cubing when I cut it. Tips? Tricks?

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It’s odd when you have a picture of the final product in your mind and it was completely different. Like I said, I thought it was soup. So when I was adding the noodles at the very end, I panicked. “Oh my god! It’s soaking up all the liquid!” I added some more chicken broth and it soaked that up too. Then I realized, oh maybe it’s NOT soup…I think because I added more liquid it diluted the Sriracha.

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Despite my mistakes in making this recipe, it turned out really well. It was a noodle dish and despite diluting it with chicken broth, it still had some bite to it.

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It was also gluten-free and dairy-free. I would definitely make this recipe again and I’d add a lot more sriracha to it. If you aren’t a fan of tofu, you could easily substitute chicken or shrimp and I think that would be fantastic. The recipe says it makes 6 servings but I got about 7 out of it.

Before we got home from work Tuesday night, Michael and I stopped at New Seasons (kind of like Whole Foods) here in Portland. We picked up some too-expensive GF and DF items.

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We found dairy free chocolate! And it was divine. I got two flavors: dark chocolate with orange and dark chocolate with lemon. Michael and I ate the whole thing for dessert between the two of us. The dark chocolate was rich and the hint of orange went well. It was much more satisfying than those gluten and dairy free cookies I bought earlier this month.

Above you can see we also got a tofu jalapeno spread by Toby’s.  I was reluctant to buy it. It was spendy and I was nervous about committing to it in case it was disgusting. It wasn’t. It was…odd…but not gross. It tasted like a cross between guacamole and egg salad. Odd, right? I had a few bites to sample it. I don’t think I’d buy it again but it will work for this challenge.

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The big win of the night was GLUTEN FREE BEER! Woohoo!!!! I am happy to report that it was REALLY TASTY. Surprise, surprise. I was resigned to giving up beer for the month of February and was okay with it. Michael really wanted to try Omission and I’m glad we did. It was a decent substitution to the rich IPAs I like.

I’m really happy to report that there are lots of decent alternatives if you are gluten-free. It really isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

QUESTION: Do you cook Asian food very often? Any favorite recipes?

Dairy-Free Update #2

Time for the second update. You can catch up here: So it Begins and Dairy-Free Update #1.

How Am I Doing?

I still don’t feel any different. I suppose I feel “healthier” but I don’t see a change in my skin or my runny nose issues. Michael, on the other hand, remarked after only  a few days that going gluten free has made him feel a lot better. He has a narrow esophagus and that causes swelling, snoring, etc. He said it feels like his esophagus isn’t swollen anymore.

One thing I DID notice was that my taste buds have changed.  Not really eating candy/chocolate/sugar for about two weeks, when I do have any candy it tastes weird. I had a few pieces of sour gummy bears at work (no dairy or gluten in them) they tasted nasty. It was like eating chemicals. My tongue felt weird and not because it was supposed to be sour candy, but it felt tingly like a chemical reactions–if that makes any sense.

Challenges

I did have one sort of “cheat” meal. I didn’t plan on having ANY cheat meals or cheat days in February but I already had plans with my friend Erika to go out to dinner at an Italian restaurant. I tried my best to find something on the menu that wasn’t pasta in a cream sauce but it was hard! I *think* I was successful. I asked the waitress if they had anything that was gluten and dairy free. She surprised me by saying that yes, they did. They had gluten free pasta and the marinara sauce was the only non-dairy sauce they had. At least it was something.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/LisaEirene/status/298963302757851138″]

I ordered the gluten-free penne with marinara. Originally I wanted meatballs but she said they were made with parmesan, so they substituted sausage. I also got a salad and they left off the cheese. The waitress said the walnuts were cooked in butter, so she substituted toasted hazelnuts instead. I was really appreciative that she had other options available for me. I’m slightly skeptical that the penne was actually gluten-free because it tasted just like normal pasta. BUT I’m hoping…

Foods of the Week

The second week is when I craved desserts. It wasn’t a physical craving but more of a mental one. I wanted a treat! Instead of having a piece of chocolate with lunch every day, I tried raisins. It helped quite a bit but didn’t completely cure the cravings.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/LisaEirene/status/297454835622608896″]

Our house was also free of any kind of dessert and that kind of frustrated me. I want something sweet! I made Jello once, which helped. I also had some peanut butter and honey on gluten-free crackers which was a nice treat but still, I needed more.

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I will admit, I was struggling with the no chocolate thing. I went to the grocery store ($50 in food) and concluded that you have to be rich to be on any kind of dairy or gluten diet. That stuff is so freaking expensive it’s ridiculous. I did splurge and buy one high priced item — gluten and dairy free chocolate chip cookies. I was desperate.

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The cookies were decent but not the greatest. It was a good substitution but didn’t come close to a homemade chocolate chip cookie and didn’t give me that satisfied feeling after I ate it.

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I also got a box of apple cinnamon chex cereal. It definitely works in a pinch for a sweet tooth! I opened the box and ate handfuls, unfortunately, because it was like crack. Oh so good.

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One dinner that I really liked wasn’t all that out of the norm for us. Michael sauteed some shrimp in coconut oil (the first time we’ve used that) and sprinkled cayenne pepper on the shrimp. My mouth was burning, but in a good way. I also had some black rice and a spinach salad. I loved all the flavors and the simpleness of the dinner. It took less than 60 minutes to do everything and most of that time was letting the rice cook.

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I like shrimp because a serving size is 100 calories (around 9 or 10 shrimp) and it’s a healthy protein that’s easy and fast to cook. It’s really an ideal meal for a busy work night. The entire dinner was less than 500 calories total and I didn’t feel hungry afterward. 

Thoughts/Observations

One night I had a dream that I was at a restaurant eating freshly baked bread that was oozing with butter. It was fluffy and thick with a crust to die for and the butter was drenching my hands. Talk about a food p0rn dream! Then the next night I had another–this time it was a Middle Eastern restaurant and I was eating lots of bready things.

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Gluten is sneaky. It’s in things you’d never think it would be in. Same with dairy. But if you look hard enough, you can find some tasty treats. Like this one I had for lunch one day:

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I think it’s important to change your thinking to what you CAN eat, not what you’re being denied. If I focused entirely on everything I can eat, it will make me crazy and I’ll fail!

QUESTION: Do you focus on what you CAN eat while losing weight, or focus on what you CAN’T eat?