Lemon Garlic Tofu/Chicken & Asparagus

Asian inspired food is a happy place in our home. Chicken is an easy go to, but I often get the short end of the chopstick with a plate full of veggies and rice. Not. This. Time. After buying a block of tofu, I knew I had to think of a quick meal that I would like but I could also serve to the meat eating crew. Since I am the MOM, i.e. Queen Bee, here  is my tofu recipe first. Enjoy!

Garlic Lemon Tofu

My little cat pitcher came from a trip to Chinatown in San Francisco. Too cute not to add into a picture. The plate came from the minions. One Christmas, Mr C brought the little ones to a dollar store to let them each pick out a gift for me. I received two different plates and a candle that year. I cherish these plates and smile every time I use them.

Lemon Garlic Tofu & Asparagus

2 T olive oil
1 pkg firm tofu
1/4 c red onion, finely chopped
3 T minced garlic
1 T soy sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 t rice vinegar (or white vinegar, in a pinch)
1/2 t brown sugar
1 T paprika
Dash or two of cayenne pepper
Flax seeds and chopped scallions for garnish

One bunch asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces

3 c cooked brown rice

How To:
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add minced garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Cube the tofu into chucks and add to skillet. Drizzle soy sauce, vinegar and lemon juice over the tofu. Gently stir.

Sprinkle paprika, cayenne and brown sugar over the tofu. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the tofu is cooking, steam the asparagus until tender. Splash a bit of lemon juice on the asparagus and salt, if desired.

Place the cooked brown rice on a serving platter. Top with tofu mixture and add the asparagus.

Toss some flax seeds and scallions over everything. Serve hot.

Protein Option:
Cut up 1-2 pounds of chicken breast into 2″ cubes. In a large bowl, mix soy sauce and vinegar together. Add garlic and chicken. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes (more or less if you have the time, no judging here!). Add some vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the cubed chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side. Add any remaining soy sauce mixture to the pan; cook about 1-1/2 minutes more. Add lemon juice and cayenne and stir for 2 minutes. Toss in the steamed asparagus, giving it a whirl through the sauce. Remove from heat and serve over brown rice. Add flax seeds and chopped scallions for extra crunch!

Empty Plate

 

Livin’ La Vida Local

Once upon a time, there was a girl that worked hard and loved to travel. One day, she met a guy that also worked hard and loved to travel. And so they did. Not necessarily in that order.

The world was as large as their travel budget. And off they went. Alone and together, they saw London and Rome. Prague and Taiwan. She got crazy lost in Paris. He got crazy taxi rides in Moscow. Their whirlwind love affair with adventure happened stateside as well. New York City, Boston, DC. California and Colorado. Hawaii and other sandy beaches far into the ocean.

Love flourished. And as their love – then family – grew, their travel miles shortened. Trips closer to home were the new normal. Maybe it was out of necessity, but home became more and more magical; especially when seeing things thru a child’s eye. After years of travel and living abroad, it was time to enjoy what was around them. And find new adventures in the here and now. Livin La Vida Local, baby!

It is amazing the things that you do find in your own backyard. A few weekends ago, the minions and I decided to bundle up and head out to a Sky Circus on Ice. To be more specific (i.e. honest), I dragged little minion butts off the sofa Sunday morning and, with a reward (i.e. bribe) of McD’s for breakfast, we made it to the resort on the lake with plenty of time to buy a kite, fly it and freeze while waiting for the “official” kite launch. At LEAST thirty minutes late. Which is a really, really long time in 20 degree weather with a VERY strong wind coming off a really, really big frozen lake. But, in the end, it was pretty neat. There were little kites, stunt kites and giant kites in the shape of fish and birds and garden gnomes (didn’t expect that one). This rainbow kite had to have been over thirty feet long!

Giant Kite

Most importantly, it was pretty cool to see the minions’ smiles when their very own kite was sailing high into the grey, winter sky. Or maybe their faces were frozen that way. Couldn’t tell. The snow was covering my eyelashes.

Kite Wonder

I enjoy finding adventures, they are around us the more we look. No passport needed!

 

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Some lovin’ from the oven! This is a great treat for adults and kids alike. I would love to swap out the sugar for a healthier option. If I succeed, I promise to share!

Blueberry Bread

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Ingredients:
1/3 c melted butter
3/4 c sugar
3 T lemon juice
2 eggs
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 c milk
1-2 T grated lemon zest (2 tablespoons makes this very lemony – beware!)
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries

GLAZE (optional – we skip this)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter melted
1 cup confectioners sugar

How To:
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture. Add milk. Mix well. Fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.

Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.

If adding glaze: Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm bread.

Note: If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.

 

It’s Raining Men

Hah. I wish! During the last few days, one (minor) mishap after another has rained down upon me. Messes and mix-ups. Minions that do not want to be creative with their Valentine Day mailboxes (what do they think Pinterest is for!? Come on, people – I have every pom pom, sticker and pipe cleaner you could imagine!). Minions that do not want to write their names on teeny tiny cards (over and over again – can you blame them, really.). The minion that tells me that they need a cookie cake TODAY. Not next week when it’s their Shining Student week. No, that is a different special day. The cookie cake is for the birthday celebration. And also not for tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day party. That requires additonal treats.

And lastly, of COURSE there is the minion that puts off homework and needs help with pages and pages of math – she doesn’t get it and neither do I. And who can do math after 8pm anyway? That’s Wine O’clock in my book. Miller Time. The I-Am-Done-With-Adulting period. Where’s my union for this grievance??

homework

Last night, during Wine O’clock, I thought it would be fun to make air popped popcorn. Since I was jetting between kiddos and their chores/homework/fights/are you wrestling or beating the crap out of your brother because the screams just sound the same time; I failed to notice that somehow the lid on the popper blew off mid-popping. Come into the kitchen to find popcorn all over the counters and floor. Not a big mess, but still a little annoying. When trying to pull out the last stick of butter for the popcorn, ‘someone’ (that would be the only person in our house taller than me and my boys haven’t hit growth spurts yet) decided that one lone egg should balance preciously on top of a few items on the very highest shelf in the refrigerator. Crash. Splat. Ugh. Luckily, Samson The Giant Dog helped clean up that mess. Thank you, Hoover! He’s is great as a vacuum, but his archenemy IS my vacuum. That thing is evil and is going to kill our family. Good thing he is protecting us. Carry on, Samson.

Vacuum

…if it did really rain down men, I would hope that they would come in and help with the vacuuming, the math homework, and maybe carry those Christmas light storage bins up to my attic. It would be much appreciated. I will take care of any spiders or mice and the Pinterest projects.