Monthly Archives

February 2012

recipes, salad

Creamy Asian-Style Sauce

We’re finished!

On Friday, my band finished recording all the tracks for our album, so now we get to sit back and listen to the magic the engineer and producers come up with.  Fittingly, I saved the last song on the CD to record last, which was fun because I got to do some experimenting, like screaming.  Heh heh!  But it is a rock album, and it’s kind of a dark one so it seemed fitting.  You won’t get to hear anything for a long while, but I’m way too excited to keep this all to myself.

And just in time for our completion of recording, we’re playing at O’hanlons next Friday, which will be tons of fun since that place gets packed.  I can hardly wait.

Through all of this hustle and bustle, Logan cooked for us more than he normally does (which, to be honest, is pretty much never).  He told me he uses my blog to find recipes, which I thought was super cute, but the other day he was complaining to me that I don’t have any sauce recipes for things like stir fries and rice bowls.  Which is strange because we eat stuff like that all the time.

So today I feel compelled to share an Asian-style sauce recipe that was delicious and creamy and went perfectly with noodles and veggies.  Let me say that I love peanut and tahini sauces, and it’s awesome to use nut/seed butters to make a luscious, creamy sauce that tastes great and is made from whole foods.  But sometimes you want the creaminess without the distinctive flavor.  In this case, I had some leftover silken tofu in my fridge, which was perfection blended up with some simple things like soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of silken tofu for two huge servings, so if you have some tofu left over, you can blend it into smoothies (yum!), turn it into a chocolate mousse (super yum!) or blend it up and stir it into creamy soups to add a little thickness and richness.  It’s a really versatile ingredient and virtually tasteless, so why not?

Creamy Asian-Style Sauce
Enough for topping 2 huge bowls of noodles and veggies


Ingredients:

1/2 cup silken tofu
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and minced ginger

Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients into a small blender and blend.  Uh, that’s it.

Pour this sauce over a big bowl of noodles and veggies, or even brown rice.  Since it’s a creamy sauce, it would stand up well to a thicker noodle like udon, but I think pretty much any would work here, except maybe a really thin and delicate noodle.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to enjoy the long weekend with lots of piano playing, jamming and some Sim City.  Hope your weekend delivers noodles oodles of awesomeness!

books and reviews

Healthy at 100 by John Robbins: Book Review

Let me preface this review by saying that I’m a big fan of John Robbins.  I’ve previously written about another one of his books, The Food Revolution, and will one day share my thoughts on an early work of his, Diet for a New America, since it’s the book that really sealed the vegan deal for me.  Aside from providing well-researched, comprehensive information in his books, his voice is also one of compassion, like you’re reading the words of a close friend.  Having already been acquainted with his writing style by reading the aforementioned books by John, I had high expectations for Healthy at 100, and happily, I wasn’t disappointed.

Check out my first pair of vegan runners, scored in Portland!

I first picked up this book for my day-long travels from California to my home in Saskatchewan.  Leaving at 7am and not scheduled to get home until 10pm (with only a one hour time change!), I needed a good book to read, lest I become super bored and antsy.  Along with some coconut water I found at the airport and my last piece of raw biscotti from school, I was good to go (I also ate hordes of fairly decent airport food in addition to energy bars).  

So, the book.  The coolest thing about Healthy at 100 is that it goes beyond diet and exercise, the obvious factors in living a long and healthy life, and discusses how having a loving network of friends and family, a good relationship with your spouse, a positive outlook on life and a sense of purpose are found to be of equal significance for longevity.  All of these factors have been researched and documented by science, with the real goldmine of information coming from studies on the longest-living cultures in the world: the Okinawans, Abkhasians, Vilcabambans and the Hunzans.

Each one of these fascinating cultures gets a full chapter in this book, detailing everything from their diet, activity levels, attitudes toward aging and elders, and the way they live.  Parallels are drawn between these groups of people that are thought to contribute to their longevity, including:

  • The elders eat a plant-based diet with few animal products, and no processed or packaged foods.  They seldom consume things like sugar, getting their sweet fix from fresh and dried fruit.  The produce they eat is fresh, usually picked right before eating, and is locally grown.
  • Elders have ridiculously awesome fitness levels, even in their 90s and 100s.  Their daily lives includes plenty of walking, running and manual labor.
  • Old folks are revered and honored.  It’s considered a blessing to house an elder, and people tend to inflate their age, claiming they’re 130 or 150 since it brings them greater status.  Being old = being awesome.
  • Elders continue to be useful members of society well into old age – there’s no concept of retirement.  
  • A happiness and love of life can be found in these groups of people – they sing, celebrate, and appreciate each day.  When tragedy occurs, people band together and support each other.  There’s a strong sense of community.
  • Violence and crime is extremely rare.
  • Women are treated as equals.
  • An emphasis is placed on sharing and giving.  Accumulating and hoarding wealth is thought to be in bad taste and is looked down upon – if you have extra wealth, it’s to be shared with others who are less fortunate.  It’s an attitude of “everyone wins”, instead of “every man for himself”.
All of these factors are explored and elaborated upon in the book, drawing fascinating (and sad) comparisons between these long-living people and our own Western society, with our vast amounts of depression, stress, and our utter lack of respect for aging.  Here, aging is seen as something to fight at all costs, and youth is revered.  Old people are often discarded from their families like trash and left on the streets or lonely in nursing homes, a concept that the long-living cultures can hardly grasp.  We suffer from degenerative diseases and have become so accustomed to them as to think that they’re normal.  We celebrate those who are rich and famous, and look down on the poor.  We lock our doors.

This book doesn’t claim that if you follow all of the steps contained within, you’re guaranteed to become a centenarian.  John is very careful to point out that there’s no benefit in glamorizing a group of people or trying to be just like them.  However, by learning from the example of other long-lived cultures, we have a good shot at aging with dignity, health and sharp minds no matter how old we live to be.

My long journey home was highly enjoyable since I had this book to keep me company.  Aside from being a thoroughly engaging read, it also reminded me to stop and appreciate the little things, and treasure all of the love I have in my life.  This book doesn’t shy away from sad facts and harsh realities, but the overall message is one of hope and optimism, and just made me feel good to read.  So thank you, John, for offering the world another great book to help us become happier and healthier people.