Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thai Basil Tofu Bowl with Sriracha and Stir-Fry Quinoa


I felt like I was joining a large fan club when I purchased my first bottle of Sriracha for this recipe. It felt good, but I'm not sure why. I had never had Sriracha up until this point (well, once before in hummus), but I'm so, so happy I discovered it. It's delightfully spicy, but not over powering, and relatively affordable! Yeah, I suppose you could use any other type of hot sauce for this recipe, but why?

This was my first go at this, but it turned out yummy, as I hope it does for you!

Baby's first Sriracha

Family photo (aka the ingredients)

Snuggly tofu!


Carrots! Carrots everywhere!

Fun fact! If you hold a match in your mouth while you're cutting onions, you won't cry! A friend taught me this after seeing me border-line sob after cutting a particularly juicy onion, and it works!


Dinner is served!

1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup grated carrots (about two)
1 small onion, minced
½ cup frozen peas
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1½ tbsp Sriracha

Tofu Marinade/Sauce
14 oz firm tofu
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp honey (or agave nectar should be fine, too)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Thai (or regular) basil, plus a little bit extra

Add the quinoa to two cups of water in a sauce pan. Let it boil, then reduce to low heat until all of the water is absorbed-- about 20 minutes. Once all the water is absorbed, turn off the heat.

While quinoa is cooking, cut the tofu into 1/2 inch slices, and then wedge them between two towels and press firmly to remove some excess moisture. I flipped over the towels to a dry side multiple times before I was satisfied. After pressing the tofu, slice it into 1 inch squares. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat (or, if you're fancy, a wok) and add the tofu. Let it brown one side for about five minutes, flip the pieces over with some tongs and let the other side brown for five minutes.  

In between flips you can start making your marinade. Mix together the garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, veggie oyster sauce, Sriracha, honey, and Thai basil in a large bowl. Once all of the tofu is done, mix the pieces in the sauce, and let it marinate in the fridge for about 20 minutes or more. Don't wash the non-stick pan yet-- you'll need it!

This lull should give you time to grate the carrots. God damn, those carrots were a pain, but SO worth it! Once you're done grating and chopping the onions and garlic, add all three to a large hot pan on about medium heat. Cook for about three or five minutes and add the frozen peas and cook until they're warmed, about another five minutes. Then, add the quinoa, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Sriracha. Lower the heat to a medium-low.

After the tofu is done marinating, remove the tofu from the sauce and heat it the little guys in the  non-stick pan for about two minutes on medium-low heat. Add the marinade and let it thicken for about five minutes. Finally, stir in the extra fresh Thai basil.

To prepare the bowls, put the quinoa on the bottom and add the tofu on top. Or just mix it all in together. It's all going the same place anyway. Enjoy!

Bonus Clemens tail!

Recipe credit goes to Domesticate Me

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Goldstream Provincial Park

I've got it bad. Oh man, I've got it bad. Call it the travel bug, wanderlust, that itch, FOMO, whatever, but I need to go somewhere. Maybe it's because I'm unemployed and have nothing else to think about, or maybe it's just that wonderful time of year where all the beauty that I began to take for granted suddenly stuns me again, but I need to get out somewhere. I need the woods, I need to go camping, I need vistas and waterfalls and moss and tall trees and wildlife.

Badlands National Park

I know, I know, I know, I know. I just traveled 3,000 miles on a trip of a lifetime across the United States with the love of my life. I know I saw more amazing things on that trip than I ever have in my whole life. I understand this. But I think that's what started this! Towards the end of the trip, probably about the time that we hit Washington, I remember Jon saying he just wished that we could get there and settle in. A part of me felt that way, too, but an even bigger part of me wished that our road trip was lasting another week. Or three.

Yellowstone National Park

I know, I know, I know. I went to Oregon and California back in March when Jon and I eloped, where we drove along the Pacific Coast highway and saw huge washed up trees along the coast and I saw redwoods for the first time. I also went to Costa Rica in January with a dear friend of mine. There I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, traversed inside a rain forest for the first time, and saw more wildlife than I have ever seen. I even traveled from Boston to Virginia in April, a small trip of its own, to go camping with some of my favorite friends. I am very, very lucky to have traveled this much this year. This has been, by far, the best year of my life. But... I want more!

Olympic National Park

I feel like a spoiled child at the point, but I think knowing that there's all of this undiscovered (to me!) natural beauty around me is giving me this wonderful, horrible, insatiable itch that won't be satisfied until I'm on the road. I've been planning trips to Alaska and Hawai'i, telling myself that "$500 for a flight really isn't that bad" when I don't have any income. Maybe it's because my sister landed in London earlier today, maybe it's because I keep seeing photos of my favorite bloggers traveling, or maybe it's because I'm seeing photos of current and past adventures that my crunchy friends have had.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

I'm sincerely jealous of all those people in my life that are traveling, and I feel like I need to create an adventure. I've never done it alone, but I feel like this is the time and place in my life to do so. I don't know why there's a feeling holding me back, but there is one. I always go adventuring with people that I love, and experiencing those new places with them or having those new experiences brings us closer, and that may be a reason why I love it so much. So until I can build up the guts to do so, I'll just keep sighing at pictures of bygone adventures.

Great Falls National Park

Redwoods National Park

Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Catskills Mountains, New York

Shenandoah National Park

Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

Hickory Run State Park, Pennsylvania

My sister and I were talking a few days ago, and I realized in middle of that conversation that I'm the happiest I can be when I'm in nature. Maybe that's a reason I'm hankering for some travel: knowing that it'll bring my happiness when I'm feeling vaguely depressed and homesick. When I'm out there, all my worries disappear as I indulge in some of my favorite things, and spend time with some of my favorite people.

Delaware Water Gap National Park

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Quintessential Autumn Scarf

Anyone who knows me knows about my small... alright, admittedly large obsession with fall layers, particularly hats and scarves. I've been known to compulsively purchase scarves if they catch my eye, and I once remember an occasion of going into my future supervisor's home to find a scarf she just crocheted and demanded that she sell it to me. When Jon and I moved out here we had to vacuum seal all of my fall/winter accessories, and he asked that I possibly weed out a few. I could only detach myself from two or three from my precious collection, but I fully intend on replacing them while out here. 

I feel like scarves add some polish to an otherwise blah outfit (I like to sometimes pair a funky scarf with a t-shirt and jeans) and oftentimes I love the scarf I chose so much that I don't remove it upon entering the indoors. There's also something comforting and cozy about a soft scarf wrapped up around my shoulders and neck that keeps the fall chill off. Vive la scarf! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Waiting for the sun...

It's been raining for days here in Victoria, and I feel like I haven't seen the sun in days. Sometimes the wind is so bad it shakes the windows, and being on the top floor I can often hear the rain pound on the roof. I spend my Saturday not leaving the apartment once, and watched the rain come in at a 45 degree angle at times from the comfort of my couch. And then I would see friends' posts on Facebook about the beautiful weather they're experiencing on the east coast...

So I thought it would be nice to post some lovely photos of the sun and light play, to remember what it's like.

My own