Next Challenge: Running a Marathon for Cats!

Wow, this site has been dead lately. Rather than write a long explanation of what I’ve been up to since my last post I’m going to dive right in.

Lately a lot of my energy has been poured into training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which I’ll be running to fund raise for Toronto Cat Rescue. I ran my first marathon in 2012 in San Francisco. I swore I would never do that again. While I enjoy running, I didn’t particularly enjoy marathon training and I thought that I would stick to half marathons for the foreseeable future. But here I am, doing it all over again. At least this time I have the thought of helping Toronto Cat Rescue to push me when I don’t particularly feel like training.


Last marathon I used Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 program. This time around I’m using Novice 2. The two programs are very similar, although Novice 2 has slightly higher mileage and some pace runs. I just finished Week 5 of the 18 week plan and things have been progressing pretty well, although I’m reaching the point in my training where I’m constantly hungry. Note to self: quit filling up on junk and incorporate more whole grains, healthy fats, and quality protein.

marathontrainingupdateOnly 2.5 more months to go – yikes!

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Tofu Cookery: Jewish-Style Cabbage Rolls

Both my husband and I come from Ukrainian-Canadian families. So I’ve had my share of cabbage rolls (holubtsi). However, Ukrainian-Canadian cabbage rolls, at least in our families (I realize each family is going to differ on this), are typically just rice and sauteed onion rolled up in cabbage, baked with Campbell’s tomato soup (very traditional, I’m sure).

I’m certainly not a cabbage roll expert. My understanding is that Polish-style cabbage rolls (globaki) are more likely to have meat in them. There are about a bajillion other versions of cabbage rolls from other countries as well.

Anyhoo, Tofu Cookery has a recipe for Jewish-style cabbage rolls, or holishkes. Wikipedia tells me that these also typically have meat. Can you guess what’s in the Louise Hagler version? That’s right, tofu.

The filling consists of cooked rice, mashed up tofu, onion, and garlic. Alright, I”m on board with that. Where this fell apart for me was the sauce. The sauce is made with water, tomato paste, raisins, and sweetener. I was not a fan. The sweetness was a real turn-off. Give me my tomato soup cabbage rolls any day.

They weren’t perfect, but I was pretty proud of my rolling capabilities. My mother-in-law rolls them absolutely perfect, but she’s probably made thousands upon thousands throughout her life. When we lived closer to her, she would make me a batch of vegan cabbage rolls (basically she just subs out dairy butter for vegan butter to saute the onions, the rest of her recipe is already vegan) and stash them in her freezer. Yum!

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Tofu Cookery: Eggplant Sandwiches

This recipe is quite similar to the eggplant lasagna I posted about earlier. Essentially you bread and bake slices of eggplant, and fill with a tofu ricotta. I added some fresh tomato and basil.


These were pretty tasty, but not very substantial. I think they would be good for a summer meal when you want something light, along with a salad or a cold soup or what-have-you. They were also a bit messy, so I’m not sure I’d serve them at a fancypants occasion.

I’m certainly not carb-phobic, but I love the idea of making sandwiches with tasty vegetables rather than slices of bread. Do you have any favourite veggie stand-ins for bread?

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Tofu Cookery: Oriental Slaw

Continuing on with my month of Tofu CookeryI decided to try out the “Oriental Slaw.” This is a pretty basic slaw…shredded Napa or any green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrot. The dressing I whirred up in my food processor – it as garlic, ginger, cilantro, onion, rice vinegar, sweetener, a bit of oil (I used sesame), and then a tiny bit of tofu. Quite honestly I think the tofu is superfluous and not needed at all.

This was alright. Typically for slaw I make the recipe from Vegan Table which also has tofu, but instead of being hidden in the dressing it is cubed, fried (or baked) and a main ingredient in the slaw.

Tofu Cookery: Chili Con Tofu

I had serious reservations about this chili. Normally, I think a hearty bean chili is where it’s at. But chili with tofu? This was new territory to me. However, in the name of Vegan MoFo, I ventured forth.

This recipe is really simple. Essentially you brown some onion, garlic, and green pepper, along with crumbled tofu that’s been mixed with soy sauce. You then add some tomato sauce, water/veggie broth, chili powder, and pinto beans. That’s it.

Truth be told this chili didn’t look so great. The white hunks of tofu were really unappetizing to me. But taste it I did and I was actually quite pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t half bad at all. This isn’t something I’d make again, I much prefer more ‘traditional’ non-tofu chili, but I’m glad I tried it.

What do you normally put in your chili? Usually I stick with kidney and pinto beans, but sometimes I add chickpeas.

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Tofu Cookery: Eggplant Lasagna

I’ve always been a sucker for a delicious lasagna. Lasagnas can be quite heavy dishes though, with all of the noodles and what-not. Tofu Cookery does have a recipe for a traditional lasagna, but also includes one with breaded and oven-baked eggplant as the stand-ins for the noodles.

I had tried a similar dish years ago, but that one just used sliced, raw eggplant. The Tofu Cookery recipe includes the extra step of lightly breading the tofu and then baking it in the oven. This made all the difference in the world – the breaded eggplant was delicious!  The eggplant is layered with a pretty typical tofu ricotta as well as marinara sauce. I had some beautiful, local tomatoes from the farmers market and so I sliced those up and put some on the top of the lasagna, along with extra breadcrumbs.

This was delicious! Definitely something I’d make again. Like most lasagnas, the leftovers were even better and made for some scrumptious lunches.


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Tofu Cookery: Tofu Burgers

I rarely make burgers at home. I have tried dozens of recipes but I still have not found one with a texture I like. They are always mushy or crumbly or some combination of the two. Given that I’m cooking out of Tofu Cookery this MoFo, I thought I would give the tofu burgers a try.

The recipe is fairly similar to the tofu spaghetti balls. Tofu, wheat germ (I used bread crumbs as I can’t find wheat germ here), a tiny bit of flour, and some herbs and spices. As you might expect, they were quite tasty (as were the spaghetti balls), but didn’t hold together very well.  Perhaps a bit of flax or some vital wheat gluten in lieu of the flour would have been the way to go.

Oh well. I had my burger on some whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato and it was still delicious, even if it was crumbly.

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Tofu Cookery: Tamale Pie




Like most folks, I typically make tamale pie with beans. Much like her version of enchiladas, Louise Hagler isn’t satisfied unless there is tofu in there. A lot of tofu.

This recipe was like most any other tamale pie…with the exception that you use torn up pieces of extra-firm tofu rather than beans. The insides looked kind of nasty, but it tasted pretty yummy.


I don’t think I’d go out of my way to make this again, but that’s just because I’m lukewarm on tamale pie to begin with. It’s something I generally make when my fridge and pantry are bare, and all I have around is beans, tomatoes, and cornmeal, or when I’m looking for something that’s both A.) filling, B.) fairly healthy, and C.) cheap.


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Tofu Cookery: Greek Salad

There are a LOT of tofu feta recipes out there on the interwebz. Sticking with my Tofu Cookery theme for MoFo, I decided to give Louise Hagler’s a try and whip up some Greek salad. It’s pretty standard…the tofu is marinated in a mixture of olive oil, different herbs, red wine vinegar, etc. I let my tofu marinate for a few days in order to get maximum flavour.

The result was so-so. It was certainly okay and very edible, but to be perfectly honest there are better tofu feta recipes out there. This one just tasted like marinated tofu. I’ve been meaning to try this one from Melomeals, I’m just lazy and haven’t bought agar powder yet.

What’s your favourite tofu feta recipe?

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Tofu Cookery: Tofu Enchiladas



No doubt about it: I’m an enchilada fan. The first vegan enchilada recipe I made was this one from VegWeb. Typically I make my enchilada filling with beans. Beans are delicious, cheap, and healthy. But of course that’s not how things work in Tofu Cookery, those enchiladas need tofu (incidentally, this recipe is also the one that is featured on the cover of the book).

The filling isn’t just crumbled tofu
though. First you coat some tofu in a mixture that includes soy sauce and peanut butter, then the tofu is baked. The baked tofu is what you use for your enchilada filling. I wouldn’t have thought to use peanut butter myself, but it’s actually pretty delicious. You can taste a faint hint of peanut butter once the enchiladas are baked.

I usually make a nutritional yeast cheese sauce for my enchiladas, but this time I thought I would stick with the original recipe and forego it. I’m glad I did, the ‘cheese sauce’ would have drowned out the subtle flavour of the seasoned tofu. I just topped my enchiladas with some black olives and avocado and all was well with the world.

Do you like enchiladas? What are your favourite enchilada fillings?


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