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All About Tofu!!!

Happy Tuesday everybody! I hope you guys as always had a great weekend. Today is Halloween!!!!! And since a lot of my recipes have had tofu in them the last few times. I figured what better topic to discuss!! So, the post for this week will be all about tofu. I know tofu isn't everyone's favorite food item, but I wanted to give a little backstory on it, and what it can be used for.  

Tofu is a bean curd that is made by coagulating soy milk (I know, sounds kind of gross, but it is interesting making tofu from scratch). It is said to have originated about 2,000 years ago in China, a huge component in East Asian cuisine, and is popular in vegetarian meals.  There are three different "kinds" of tofu. You have soft (silken), firm, and then extra firm.  

Soft Tofu has a high amount of water texture, and has more of a custard-like texture. As you guys know from my last few recipes, silken tofu is popular in baking. The reason behind that is because it is creamier than the other kinds, therefore, it is easier to break down, or puree. In the baking world, tofu is used as an egg substitute, thus making it a good binder for dishes (I.e.: Pies, quiches, etc.). Now, it won't fluff up like it would with eggs, but it does give the product an "eggy" texture. It can also be used for smoothies, puddings, dressing, and dips.  

Firm Tofu will NOT break down in the way soft tofu will. It would be too chunky if you even attempted to blend or puree it. However, it does absorb flavor very well. This type of tofu can be good for stir fry. I like to let the tofu sit in teriyaki or soy sauce for about an hour or so to really make it flavorful. It can crumble pretty well so some like to use it as a substitute for ricotta cheese. 

Extra Firm Tofu is exactly as it sounds. It is really firm, so it will not blend, and it will not crumble well. Extra Firm Tofu will hold its shape beautifully. It can be sliced, and cubed well. This can be used in all kinds of frying (Pan, stir, and deep), can be grilled and baked as well. I use this when I do my "Not chicken stir fry", or tofu kebabs, which is just grilled tofu on skewers, and then a peanut sauce to pair it with. Now, with that being said, just because it can hold its shape better does not mean that it will take well to absorbing flavor. Ergo, why I would pair a sauce to go with it instead of marinating it.

The nutritional highlights of tofu is that it is believed to help lower cholesterol, it is a GREAT source of protein, it does contain all of the essential amino acids, great source of calcium and iron, which is great for someone who is anemic like myself. Tofu is also an excellent source of most micro-nutrients. 1 1 cup of FIRM tofu has a little over 50% of calcium, 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and less than 5 grams of fat. 

I love to cook and bake with tofu, but everyone does have a different opinion on the topic. Let us discuss!! Talk about your experiences with tofu, and what you think of it. I would love to hear what you guys have to say. Thanks again for reading, and I hope everybody has a Happy Halloween!!!! 

Pumpkin Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

The best cookies to make this season to impress your non–vegan friends!

            As the fall breeze continues to roll in, I have the irrepressible urge to bake all the vegan goodies and fill the house with warm cookie smells. Is it just me? Today I am sharing with you my new favorite fall cookie recipe. This recipe has pumpkin, because what is a fall dessert without pumpkin? It also has ginger, for that seasonal spice. The main attraction, in my opinion, is some ooey-gooey chocolate chips because no dessert of mine is complete without chocolate. However, you can leave the chocolate chips out if you are not a chocolate fan (aka you are crazy).
          This recipe is also PERFECT if you are going to a holiday party or having friends over and you want to impress them with a delicious vegan dessert. Honestly, you do not even have to tell anyone they are vegan because no one would ever guess! I highly suggest you pour yourself a glass of almond milk (or other non-dairy milk) and dip these babies into it. It changed my life! Let me know in the comments below if you try out this recipe and tell me what you (and your friends!) think of it.

You will need:
v 3/4 cup of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
v 1 cup of sugar (+more for rolling)
v 2 cups of vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
v 1/4 cup of Pumpkin
v 1/4 cup of molasses
v 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
v 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
v 1 teaspoon of baking soda
v 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
v 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
v 1/4 teaspoon of salt 
1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.     In a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix together the butter (softened) and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
3.     Mix in the pumpkin and molasses to the bowl until well combined.
4.     In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and spices. Then, add them into the mixture until everything is well combined.
5.     Fold in the chocolate chips.
6.     Using a spoon or 1-1/2" cookie scoop, roll the dough into balls and coat well with additional sugar.
7.     Place the balls onto a cookie sheet (I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper) about 2" apart.
8.     Bake the cookies for approximately 10-13 minutes. Watch them well.
9.     Let them cool on the cookie sheet until they firm up a bit, then you can move them to a cooling rack.
10.   Eat and enjoy! <3