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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tofu Magic: How to Make Tasty Tofu

Tofu Magic: How to Make Tasty Tofu

photo credit
Salad with Broiled Tofu from

Knowing how to handle and prepare tofu is still a puzzlement to many people. It doesn’t have to be that way. This blog will show you how easy it is to put together a tasty tofu dish, even if you’ve never made one before. Tofu (plain tofu) is gluten free, has only 70 calories in each 3 oz. serving, and is an excellent source of vegetable protein (6 g). One portion contains 6% RDA of iron and 15 % RDA of calcium. Tofu is naturally cholesterol free and bland tasting. A trick to pack it with flavor is to combine it with lots of herbs, spices, vegetables, and seasonings. Sprinkle on spices like chili powder, oregano, or paprika generously to assure your taste buds sing.  

I offer tofu tips and recipe suggestions, especially for those who want an awesome change-of-pace meal, or are moving toward a more plant-based lifestyle. Read on to discover how economical, fun, and easy it can be to prepare tofu dishes you and your family will enjoy.

Transform Meals with Tofu

Lasagna or Stuffed Shells       
Follow your customary recipe, but instead of using ricotta cheese, use organic silken or organic soft tofu for half or all the ricotta cheese. Top with grated organic soy cheese instead of Parmesan.

Wraps, Soups, Chili       
Add pureed, highly seasoned organic tofu or spicy cubed organic tofu to traditional fare to stretch a recipe and be kind to your pocketbook. Substitute crumpled tofu with added spices and herbs for chopped beef, poultry, or dairy in recipes to reduce cholesterol without losing taste.

Flavorful Sandwiches and Salads
Mix chopped firm organic tofu with Sloppy Joe sauce, BBQ, or Old Bay seasoning. Blend equal amounts of organic tofu with canned tuna or crab meat, boiled eggs (use whites only for lower cholesterol), or combine tofu and paprika mashed garbanzo beans. Then enjoy. When making sandwiches, remember to use whole grain roll or bread.

One of the secrets of improving the texture of water packed tofu and heightening its taste is to remove all excess water. Place a brick of firm or extra firm organic tofu on a plate. Cover tofu with another plate and place a weight such as a large can on top of all. Refrigerate for at least one half hour. When you're ready to begin, pour off liquid and follow your recipe. 

Water-packed organic tofu can be found in the dairy, produce, or Asian food case of your supermarket or health food store. It also is offered for sale in aseptically wrapped packages. This form of tofu doesn't need to be refrigerated before opening, has a long shelf life, and is already drained. Prices for organic tofu list from $1.99-$2.50 lb. Figure a portion at 3-4 oz. of tofu per person. How's that for good value? 

Ta-dah! Now, on to my recipe.

Nancy Andres' Broiled Tofu


1 package firm or extra firm Organic Tofu (approx. 14-16 oz.)
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos (gluten free)
2 teaspoons grated fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

What to Do:

This recipe requires advance prep time, but the actual cooking time is only 6 minutes. Early in the day, set up the tofu to drain as shown here and refrigerate. 
Simple way to drain the water out of a brick of tofu from

After a half hour or when all the water is drained out of the tofu, slice it into ½ in. slices. Place the tofu in a large container (one where you can lay the tofu slices out flat without overlap). In a small mixing bowl, blend all the remaining ingredients together to make a marinade. Use a pastry brush or spoon to coat pieces of tofu with marinade, cover container, and refrigerate for one hour or more. The longer tofu marinates, the tastier it gets.

My method for marinating tofu

When you're ready to broil the sliced tofu, put it in a broiling pan. Use a pastry brush or spoon to coat the surface of the tofu with the extra marinade left in the container. Broil 3 minutes on each side or until the tofu is lightly browned.

Broiled Tofu, Sweet Potato, and Kale from

Serve tofu with brown rice or sweet potato, green veggies, and a tossed 

green salad. Tofu is a complete protein and is gluten free. This recipe 

serves 4-6  hearty eaters, depending on what foods you serve with it.

One fabulous way to use leftover broiled tofu is to place a few strips on 

top of a tossed salad for a quick energy lunch (pictured at the top). Another idea is to put a few slices of tofu on rye bread, add sauerkraut and mustard, and you have a tasty sandwich.  

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: In the United States, almost all tofu that is not marked non-GMO or organic is genetically modified. Genetically Modified seeds have their genes manipulated, changed, and put into other species that normally they would not grow in. Incredible results have been produced. Some include mutations, diseases, abnormalities and trigger other diseases that otherwise may have remained dormant. Little testing has been done on the health effects of humans ingesting and using genetically modified products. Tests that have been done on animals that naturally refuse to eat Genetically Modified feed, but are being force-fed the Genetically Modified feed, develop lesions, abnormalities, disease…and some have died.
Following is information from Green America about soy products. I have obtained permission to quote them.

"Soy Has Been Genetically Modified since 1996

How widespread: 94 percent of the US soybean crop was genetically modified in 2011, according to the USDA.

What to watch for: Soybeans show up in many traditional (i.e. not organic) soy products, such as tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, miso, and tempeh, as well as any product containing the emulsifier lecithin (often derived from soybean oil), such as ice cream and candy.Green America Website

Here's a special offer, just for blog readers. If you'd like to receive a delicious recipe for tofu scramble, send an email to Please write "Tofu Scramble" in the subject line of your email. Supply your name and email in the body of the email, and I'll take it from there.
Tofu Scramble from

Do you already make tofu part of your eating plan? If you have a favorite recipe or tofu tips, won't you share it with my readers and me? Click on the envelope below this post or send comments and questions to If you're a tofu newbie and want to learn more, please let me know. If you show an interest, I'll schedule another blog that includes a yummy recipe for a super-easy tofu dessert.
Spreading the word about this post on social media is greatly appreciated!

The quotation for today follows: "We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are." Adelle Davis

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Value Your Work, Value Yourself

Value Your Work, Value Yourself

The past three days leading up to Labor Day has been an opportunity for me to reflect about the importance of “work” in my life and how purposeful activity has bettered me. Perhaps you know that in addition to my being a Wellness Blogger, I am a Health & Lifestyle Writer, Author of Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss, and Independent Publisher at Align Publishing LLC.

Many years of toil, persistence, and patience with myself and my learning curve has taught me much. I have a strong work ethic and do my utmost to create interesting content that features ideas and tips to enhance the quality of your life. I’m enthusiastic about the topics I choose to share with you. The writing process makes me happy, and today I savor my process as much as I do the bounty of my efforts.

I’m grateful I continue to feel excited about learning new things. My next project is to increase my technological ability in order to expand my audience and touch more people with my words. My goal is to be of service to others and stimulate thinking about health issues, wellness topics, food and recipe information, travel gems, book recommendations, writing tips, environmental issues, and relationship and self-care skills.

On this Labor Day, I pause to honor all workers who live in our great nation. I encourage you to do your best every day, whether you are an entrepreneur or work for someone else. Be conscientious and go that extra mile whenever you can. Take my word for it. It's worth it. You're sure to gain proficiency, have more self-confidence, feel gratification for the effort you put in, and even may be noticed and promoted. 

If you don't feel good about your current occupation, or feel under-appreciated or under-paid, recognize it as a sign that your self-esteem is lagging, you need to speak up for yourself, and/or it’s time to move on. Before you take this step, it’s best to have another job lined up. If you want to shift gears, and need additional schooling to prepare, have the courage to go for it. 

Another good way to investigate a new career is to speak with those who already do this job.  Why not volunteer in a field that you are considering and see whether it is a good match for you? At the very least, you'll find out what skills are required in that position, meet contacts, and learn what leadership qualities make people in this role stand out in a competitive market.

Be daring! Let your unique talents and gifts shine. Cultivate them on your career path and your spirit will dance. Everyone has something that is special about themselves. I believe our life purpose is to discover what that means for us. 

On Labor Day I especially want to salute all those who are raising or have raised children. Your job is extremely valuable and challenging , and many of you also maintain your household, serve in the military, and/or are our bus drivers, police, waiters, teachers, technicians, shop owners, and the countless others who are part of the work force. Whatever your job may be, do it well! Kids learn from our guidance and the example we set.

What do you value about your work? What challenges and growth has occurred as a result? What self-care techniques help you function well on the job and in your down time? Please comment below. Then share the love on social media. I'd love for you to become a Google+ follower. That way you'll get an update automatically (about twice a month), when I post. 

The quotation for today follows:

"No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." -- Martin Luther King Jr

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

4 Powerful Reasons Journal Writing Is Good for the Soul

         4 Powerful Reasons Journal Writing is Good for the Soul 

I’ve used journal writing for self-care for more than fifty years. During each stage of life, journal writing has helped me identify and accept troubling emotions and thoughts and gradually convert them into positive ones. I found that by spilling my anger, hurt, sadness, worry, amazement, shock, grief, or confusion out on to the page, my attachment or tendency to “rethink” a particular issue lessened and I felt relieved.

In the past, writing in a journal has enabled me to look at the stories I tell myself to determine if I’m interpreting things realistically or letting my emotions take off on a roller coaster ride. As I hold pen in hand and scribble away, I feel the synergy of mind, soul/spirit, and body and this grounds me in the moment. 

In situations that involve other people, my journal acts like an intermediary, a designated place to take a “time out” to vent anger, hurt feelings, and fear. This step allows me to cool down hot emotions. If I later think it's necessary to communicate to others about my feelings, I'm able to do it in a kind, direct, and authentic way. I’ve come to believe soul’s plan is to help me encounter and love myself wholeheartedly. My soul writing helps me grow-up my attitudes and behaviors in relationships with myself, my family, friends, work relationships, and even with people I casually relate to from time to time.

Quiet time spent like this has helped me connect with higher purpose, my soul’s purpose. Soul guides me back to my core, a place of gentle trust and love. 

See a definition of soul here from

Soul is a noun \ˈsōl\

1: the spiritual part of a person that is believed to give life to the body and in many religions is believed to live forever

2: a person's deeply felt moral and emotional nature

3: the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc.

My belief about soul has evolved over the years, yet one constant is that journal writing has been a direct pathway between my mind, body, and spirit. I don't always know what will be revealed through writing, yet this reflective time taps into the “self-empowerment potential” and blessings of the soul's expression.

One of my life goals is to become the “best me” that I can be. If that is like anything you care about, read on. Here are 4 reasons soul journaling can help you.

1. Our soul wants the very best for us and others. It awakens our senses and helps us find ways to be more compassionate, empathetic, and generous.  Soul work through journal writing can improve our relationships with friends, family, and ourselves. It can also help us leave or detach from relationships that are unhealthy for us.

2. Soul writing allows us to take a break from the hectic pace of keeping up with modern technology and the material world. Even if you have to get up a few minutes earlier than everyone else in your home, you deserve to reserve space where there is no noise pollution or distractions. If you're anything like I am, it's important to remember not to listen to thoughts that tell you "you should do something else" or "be somewhere else." Take time to nurture yourself in this way. Journaling allows us to check in with ourselves. Often, it helps us shift gears enough that we can find peace and serenity in the process. Then, we can face the world refreshed and renewed.

3. Whenever we're in-touch with negative thoughts, judgments, shame, and even resentments that we harbor about ourselves and others, a journal is a good place to leave them. When I look at what I’m writing, I can catch those times when I’m blaming others for something I need to accept responsibility for. When I fess up and laugh at what I’m doing, my soul unburdens me of guilt, self-judgment, and I readily accept responsibility for myself. I’ve also learned that just because I feel momentary panic about an event in the future or fear confronting another person, I don’t have to act or change the situation immediately. My soul journal is there to help me see the light.

4. Journaling for the soul can unblock stale energy. It allows us to be a witness to things we're stewing over, but can’t control. Whenever I feel I'm not right with myself, journal writing can be used as a form of meditation. Awareness is often all that I need to let go of obsession about other people, places, and things. Observing my mind like this, helps me remember to mind my own business and leave the rest. What about you? Have you tried journal writing as a self-help tool?

Here’s what great writers, thinkers, philosophers and wise sages say about the Soul. It's from Oprah on Super Soul Sunday.

A definition of Soul that resonates most with me is Marianne Williamson’s belief about the soul. “The soul is the truth of who we are: the light, the love, the truth of us.”

Journal writing can help you too. It’s a way to check in with your feelings, thoughts, and perceptions. It’s a safe place to vent your anger, sadness, joy, secret longings, as well as record successes and triumphs.

Journal writing has helped me access the innate power I have inside myself to heal emotional suffering. I’ve found that writing about my unresolved hurts, fear, and pain experienced in my mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional body, I'm able to process the stress factor in them. This relaxes me and usually lessens physical symptoms like headache, backache, stomach ache and tension.

When I lack faith, feel overwhelmed, or realize I'm bent out of shape, journal writing often calms me down. Those are the times I address my journal entry to my higher power. Being this specific is just what I need to get closer to my soul and let the rest go.

My journal doesn’t try to fix me, change me, or otherwise force me to snap out of whatever I’m feeling, as some people try to do. My journal loves me unconditionally. It's a best friend who listens, honors, and comforts me by letting me express my innermost despair to my greatest joy uninterrupted. 

If you're looking for a guided journal, please check out Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. It features 12 weeks' worth of self-development activities and color-coded exercises in an interactive journal format. 

Find it on My Website
Find it @ Amazon Books

Do you journal? Has it helped you sort things out? Do you feel a soul connection when you journal? How does that make you feel? Please let me know. I appreciate your input. Have a great day!

The quotation for today is: 

“Writing is the act of discovery.” 

― Natalie GoldbergWriting Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stop H.R. 1599 Today: Food Safety and Your Right to Know What's In Your Food

Here's an issue I am passionate about, one I hope my Google + circles, social media friends, and fellow bloggers will help support.
The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to pass H.R. 1599, a deceitful, anti-consumer, anti-Democracy bill, on Thursday, July 23.

If passed, H.R. 1599 (The Dark Act) will not only preempt all state (including Vermont’s) GMO labeling laws, but it will also wipe out county bans on GMO crops—a direct attack not only on Democracy, but on organic and non-GMO growers who increasingly face the risk of contamination. 

But that’s not all. H.R. 1599 is written to make it impossible for food manufacturers to voluntarily tell consumers their products are GMO-free, using reliable, independent labels and standards. And it would guarantee no pre-market safety testing of GMO foods—ever.

It's not to late to stop this bill. Flood Congress with phone calls today and tonight. We need the phones ringing off the hook in the offices of every single member of the House. The recent March 2015 Declaration of the World Health Organization to stop manufacture and use of glyphosate (an ingredient in Roundup), a carcinogenic herbicide used on nearly 90 percent of GMO crops, is supporting evidence for the case to say no to the Dark Act. You have the right to know whether this carcinogenic substance is either in or out of food sold in our US markets. Monsanto can not sell Roundup in Europe, where it has been pulled from shelves. Did Monsanto buy off politicians here by lying about genetically modified seeds and report erroneously that nothing proves Roundup is toxic? 

It makes it all the more critical that consumers be able to avoid foods containing GMO's if they so choose—and that politicians are informed that we don't support the Dark Act.

Please dial 1-202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your U.S. Representative TODAY. If the line is busy you can look up your US Congressperson's phone number on the internet or in a phone book. Once you’re connected, ask your Representative to vote NO on H.R. 1599. There is email contact available too. U.S. House of Representatives

WE do have the power to make good things happen. Use you right to free speech and speak out today!

The quotation for today is: Genetically modified (GM) foods may look and feel the same as conventional foods, but they are drastically (and possibly harmfully) different. These types of foods have been altered by taking the genetic material (DNA) from one species and transferring it into another in order to obtain a desired trait. The FDA does not require any safety testing or any labeling of GM foods, and introducing new genes into a fruit or vegetable may very well be creating unknown results such as new toxins, new bacteria, new allergens, and new diseases."

- M.D. David Brownstein, The Guide to Healthy Eating
#nongmo #foodsafety

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Surprising Features and Recipes for Organic Red Lentils

Surprising Features and Recipes for Organic Red Lentils

Organic Red Lentils (ORL) are orange, not red.

This is a photo of dried organic red lentils (ORL) in a strainer, ready to be picked over and rinsed. This is an important step in making any kind of lentil recipe.

ORL are a bit sweeter and nuttier than other lentils.

ORL readily absorb a variety of flavors from other foods and seasonings. Adding veggies, spices, and herbs make lentils abound with flavor.

ORL are a good source of gluten free plant-based fiber.

ORL are naturally fat and cholesterol free

ORL are a good source of protein and fit in with a vegetarian, vegan, and conventional eating plans

ORL can be sprouted easily and added to salads.  The link below is for sprouting green lentils, but the method can be used with whole red lentils as well. With red lentils, rinse at least twice a day. Red lentils take only a day or 2 to sprout (depending on how fresh they are). Here's Cassie to show you how. How to Sprout Lentils/.

When cooked in a recipe, ORL are ready to eat in about 20-30 minutes. The cooking time varies, depending on whether you use whole or spit ones. Cooking times are influenced by the cooking method (boiled, baked, slow cooker, or pressure cooker), amount being prepared, and kinds of ingredients in the dish you are preparing (ex. tomatoes and tomato sauce increases the amount of time needed to thoroughly cook lentils). When you want a shortcut, use canned lentils, but remember this type of lentil is fully cooked.

ORL are relatively inexpensive (prices usually range from $2.99-3.99 per pound). Cooking (boiling) lentils expands their volume. Lentils supply many important nutrients and using them in recipes is a frugal way to eat smart.

ORL can be a comfort food. It is for me. Their slightly sweet taste and ability to fill you up, without fat, is certainly a healthy way to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.

ORL are versatile. You can cook them, as part of a pilaf using fragrant Basmati rice or enjoy lentils as a flavorful pureed side dish called Dahl, as they do in India. Lentils have an earthy flavor that enhances soups, stews, chili dishes, and lentil loaf or patties.

ORL can be an important part of meal planning throughout the year.

One portion of ORL (1 cup of cooked lentils) contains 90% of the Daily Value (DV) for folate, a natural food source of this B vitamin that helps cell growth and metabolism. Red lentils also contain 63% of the DV for fiber, and 36% of DV for protein. To understand Percent Daily Value see this. Info from Mayo Clinic about Percent Daily Value

Now to the delicious part of this blog post...

I couldn't find a Red Lentil Soup recipe that worked for me online, so here’s my original recipe that I adore. I make it at least once a month for my family and friends. I freeze any leftover soup in individual containers and heat and serve, when I'm rushed for time or don't have the ingredients on hand to start from scratch.

Nancy A's Hearty Red Lentil Soup Recipe


1 pound whole organic red lentils(clean them well)
6 cups fresh water or half organic low sodium vegetable broth and half water
1 large yellow organic onion chopped fine
4 organic carrots chopped
4 stalks organic celery chopped (use the leaves too)
1 organic turnip chopped
1/2 cup cooked organic rolled oats (or cooked brown rice, if you need to eat gluten free)
1 lg. bay leaf
1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 cloves organic garlic
1 pinch of non-salt seasoning and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a sprig of fresh parsley, a spring of fresh basil 

Optional Ingredients: any cooked vegetables or cooked beans you enjoy. For instance, you can add zucchini, spinach, kale, butternut squash, string beans, pinto beans, or parsnip. When I made this recipe the last time, I included the contents of a can of organic pumpkin. Then, I needed to add an extra cup of water, because the pumpkin made the soup too thick to stir. When adding extra veggies, remember to add extra spices and a little water. Dried herbs go into the pot right away. Fresh herbs go in at the end of the cooking process.

What to do:

1. Pick over and rinse dried lentils. Pour water and/or water and broth into a dutch oven or other large pot that has a cover. Add lentils into the pot and place on the stove. Set control to boiling temp. 
2. While contents heats, clean and chop all veggies, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs. If you have a food processor, chop all veggies well. If you don't have a processor, do the chopping by hand.
3. Add onion, carrots, celery, turnip, bay leaf, Bragg Liquid Aminos, chopped garlic, and a pinch of salt-free seasoning blend to pot. Let ingredients come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. This kind of soup has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot so take care (Notice: I used no oil). Cook until lentils and veggies are tender, and begin to get mushy. 
4. Add chopped parsley, basil, and any cooked veggies you have decided to add. Also add the oats or rice, and heat thoroughly for approximately 10 minutes. Ta Dah! You're good to go. Season with more salt-free seasoning and pepper at the table. Soup stores well, in the fridge (for about 4 days) or freezer (for a few months). It's an easy, delicious, and nutritious way to eat more veggies and legumes. Make it often and enjoy!

While you're at it, check out additional recipes below that feature red lentils. They sound fabulous to me. During the next few months, I'm going to try each and every one.

Here's a flavorful recipe from Susan Voisin Berbere Spiced Red-Lentil Hummus

Want to make a Fat Free Vegan Curry? Recipe is from Veronica Grace Red Lentil Tarka Dal Curry/

Chef AJ from the Forks Over Knives Website shares Red Lentil Chili Recipe

How simple and flavorful can lentil dishes be? Let me know which red lentil recipes appeal to you. Would you like to share one of your favorite red lentil recipes with us here? I sure would like to learn new ideas from you.

Thanks for visiting today. If you can, post a link to this blog on social media and like and pin it. Why not become a follower? If you do, you'll be notified the moment I post again. I'd love to get your feedback. Send comments and questions to me by clicking on the white envelope. My email is Let's get social.

I'm a Health and Lifestyle Writer, Author, and Tucson Wellness Blogger. For a peek at the 12 week interactive self-care journal program, Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery Balance and Bliss check Colors of Joy on Amazon Books.  Colors of Joy provides unique activities that help women get in touch with their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations and experience more joy in daily living. See
Colors of Joy Now

I found the quote for today at

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~Laiko Bahrs

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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan