Nasoya TofuBaked Tofu Review and Giveaway

Being the good southerner I am (and being of a certain age), my first experience with tofu didn’t come until I was in college back in the early 90s.  An enlightened friend introduced me to a small natural foods market in Memphis called Squash Blossom (it was later bought by Wild Oats) where, along with groceries, they sold prepared foods. They served a tofu salad there that was just like mustard-based potato salad but with firm tofu instead of potatoes. It was delicious! I quickly bought a block for myself to make the salad at home, but things didn’t go so well. I didn’t realize you had to press out the water and then freeze it to get a good texture, so I did not try tofu again for another ten years.

I still don’t love working with tofu at home. But when I discovered baked tofu, everything changed. They have plain baked tofu at the Japanese market nearby and a favorite Thai restaurant (Smiling Elephant) uses it in their tofu dishes. The texture and taste are so much more palatable. Trader Joe’s also sells marinated baked tofu that’s pretty darn good, too. But, it’s not always convenient (or even accessible to some).

TofuBaked-Sesame-3So I was really excited when I discovered that Nasoya now offers a line of marinated baked tofu, TofuBaked that’s readily available at the grocery (each Publix I visited in Nashville carried it). Actually, their line of organic and non-GMO tofu also now includes another new product, TofuPlus, which is fortified with other ingredients to address specific dietary needs or tastes. They’re really doing a lot to make tofu more accessible, palatable, and enjoyable for the masses.

TofuBaked comes in two flavors: sesame ginger and teriyaki. Nasoya sent me some coupons so that I could try both and I have to say they are delicious. I sliced the teriyaki flavor and put it on a sandwich with some massaged kale and smoked salt (mostly for the benefit of the kale; the tofu tasted great on its own). The sesame ginger was cubed and heated and added to some sesame noodles (which I served with roasted bok choy) for dinner. Though I admit to eating more than just a few of the cubes before they made it to the dinner table. They’re just so good!

TofuBaked-Teriyaki-3Of course, I shared this information with some friends recently who were less than convinced. But I tell ya, both flavors are great.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Enter here to win a giveaway of a free salad kit direct from Nasoya with coupons to try the tofu for free! The folks at Nasoya said their research indicated that a lot of folks like to eat the baked tofu in salads, so they have this lovely bamboo bowl and spoons to give people a little incentive. Once things settle down in my dream kitchen, I’ll probably try the sesame ginger flavor in a cold seaweed salad. Nasoya has a ton of great baked tofu recipes on their site that I’d also like to try out.

To enter the giveaway for a salad kit with coupons for free Nasoya products, just leave a comment about what you’d like to prepare with your Nasoya baked tofu. A salad? Sandwich? Soup? Stir-fry? Curry? It’s so versatile!

For a bonus entry, tweet the following: “Enter to win a salad kit and tofu #giveaway from @Nasoya and @lesleyeats http://ow.ly/Ezw50”

Leave a separate comment for each entry for a maximum of two to increase your chances of winning! Limit 2 entries/comments per person. The contest will be open from now until Wednesday, December 3 at 1pm CST and is only open to residents of the United States. The winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email that afternoon and will have until Monday, December 8 at 1pm CDT to respond with a valid mailing (street) address. If there’s no response by that time, I will choose another winner. Good luck!

Posted in Giveaway, Product Reviews | 6 Comments

Dream Kitchen (part three): The Layout

It’s been a long time since I updated about the kitchen. Right now, we’re in the middle of renovating the home, pretty much top to bottom and side to side. There’s not a single space in the house that doesn’t need something. But it’s moving along; it has to since we have to move in soon.

Since last time, I spent all afternoon in my local Ferguson showroom deciding on appliances as well as lighting for the entire house. The appliances were the easy part; after surveying a lot of friends, I decided to go with all Bosch appliances. They had the French door refrigerator without a dispenser on the front, the slide-in range (that’s full depth, so I didn’t have to run the countertop behind it), the over-the-range “microhood” microwave, as well as the dishwasher, which is what folks really rave about. The lighting took much longer (so many choices!) and is primarily Kichler in brushed nickel (to go with the stainless appliances and Delta Allora pull-down faucet, which I currently have and like so much I wanted it in my new house), including this badass fan (that I need because my microhood doesn’t vent to the outside):

The Kichler Starkk fan

The Kichler Starkk fan

But now to the other really important part: the cabinets. I chose to use IKEA cabinets because of their high customer satisfaction rating. I have two friends with IKEA kitchens and they’re both very happy. A local company, ModerNash operates as an importer of IKEA goods to Nashville (because we don’t have our own) as well as a kitchen design and installation store. So, because they are experts on all the nuances of IKEA kitchens, I had them measure and design the space to my specifications. Namely, moving the appliances to where they made sense and making the space more functional. In the process, I lost a double oven (I didn’t like losing the space on a 30″ cooktop for the controls), but I think this will work just fine. Besides, I have a great Breville toaster oven!

Here’s the mock-up of the kitchen layout:

kitchenrendering

It’s changed some since this rendering; there was a miscommunication on the size of the slide-in range as well as the microwave, so now it’s back at 30″ wide for both (no filler panels) and a 15″ tall cabinet over the microwave. Note that now the range is a shorter distance from the sink (for pot filling and draining) and that the refrigerator has been moved out of the primary workspace (and the sink is also accessible without having to pass by the range). It’s a full-on functional work triangle! I take items from the fridge and either place them on the cabinet by the range or on the island (which will be removable). Also, not shown here is that the peninsula cabinets are all drawers. For all my many food storage containers (both plastic and glass).

The tricky part of the kitchen is the cabinets themselves. I’d pretty much decided on the Adel, but when I saw it in person, I saw that it was white laminate. It looked pretty cheap to me. No offense to Adel owners, but that’s just not what I wanted. So I opted for the Orsa birch, which will be painted white. This is a huge PitA, but I’ll have real wood cabinets, which is important to me (even though they’ll be painted white). Sixty-eight pieces of cabinetry (including the laundry room) that need to be primed (twice) and painted is a lot of painting (and a lot of time, particularly when waiting on them to cure between coats). Aside from the painting, the other tricky part is having the cabinets look right with the soffits, which are uneven. But I’ve been assured that “it will look great.”

Here are some pictures of the demolition, which we did ourselves (with some help from PopPop Eats):

You know how they always attack cabinets with sledgehammers? Now I know why: stripped screws and 4x4 tile. Sledgehammers are the only way.

You know how they always attack cabinets with sledgehammers? Now I know why: stripped screws and 4×4 tile. Sledgehammers are the only way.

 

Over the course of a couple of days, we got all the cabinets and tile out and all the flooring out, too. Not bad!

Over the course of a couple of days, we got all the cabinets and tile out and all the flooring out, too. Not bad!

But there was still more to rip out. All the drywall had to be replaced; some due to tears from the tile removal, some due to rot and water damage.

But there was still more to rip out. All the drywall had to be replaced; some due to tears from the tile removal, some due to rot and water damage.

 

Finally starting to look like it's ready for cabinets. Note that the floors are finally clean. Two days of sanding with a diamond head floor sander (messy and loud) finally got rid of 40 years of mastic and vinyl glue. Ready to be stained!

Finally starting to look like it’s ready for cabinets. Note that the floors are finally clean. Two days of sanding with a diamond head floor sander (messy and loud) finally got rid of 40 years of mastic and vinyl glue. Ready to be stained!

Posted in Fun | Tagged | 4 Comments

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding in the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker

There’s not a lot of really creative cooking going on in my kitchen right now. I’m packing up infrequently-used gadgets and gear and trying to creatively use only what’s in my pantry and freezer so that I won’t have to move it. When cleaning out, I realized I had a ridiculous amount of rice. White rice, brown rice, white basmati rice, brown basmati rice, Forbidden rice, short grain rice (for sushi or paella), and jasmine rice. And, of course, a “wild rice blend.” My rice habit is worse than my pasta habit!

So now you know why rice is the center of this recipe, one I adapted to use with my new slow cooker from Hamilton Beach, the Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker.
slowcookerricepudding (Small)First, let me tell you about this slow cooker. It is awesome. Right out of the box, I knew I liked it when I saw clamps that keep the lid on for transport. I’ve owned three different slow cookers and none have had this feature! I’m glad someone finally thought of it. Also, even though there are several settings (not just one knob for “off – low – high”), it was very intuitive and easy to use. I got everything going for my recipe without even opening the user guide. I also love the removable crock for washing. Best of all is the programmable timer. It’s a nice feature to be able to determine the time for your slow cooker to turn off if you’re going to be away from the house for a while and you don’t want your food to be overcooked.

Next, the recipe. Slow cooker rice pudding. I’ve never made rice pudding before, but I’ve enjoyed it when other people have made it. I’ve also been looking for “treats” for the rest of the Eats family that are a bit healthier than cakes and cookies. So this worked out perfectly. I used this recipe as my guide and realized that I could make it even easier by using So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Nog instead. There’s also a pumpkin spice version and a chocolate mint version and any of the three would work just as well (note, though: these are limited edition flavors only available in the fall and holiday season; other times of the year, you’ll need to follow the original recipe or just put some So Delicious in the freezer for emergencies!). The finished product wasn’t quite sweet enough for a treat, but that was quickly remedied with a drizzle of maple syrup. I added some toasted slivered almonds for a little crunch, too. But I bet pistachios would be even better. This was a great treat for the members of my family that always like a little sweet after dinner. It’s satisfying without being junk food!

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding
serves 4
adapted from With Style and Grace

½ cup basmati rice
1 can light or regular coconut milk
¾ cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Nog
1 cup water
Maple syrup or agave nectar
Optional: toasted slivered almonds, walnuts or pecans or ground pistachios

Pour all ingredients in the slow cooker, stir and cook on high for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Serve warm and drizzle with maple syrup or agave nectar and top with toasted nuts or ground pistachios if you like a little crunch or texture for your pudding.

For more recipes, check out the hashtag #slowcookermeals on Twitter. There are also lots of chances to win your own Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker!

And be sure to check out all the great new products from So Delicious. The frozen treats (holiday editions available exclusively at Whole Foods), whipped topping, yogurt, creamers, and milks are all fantastic. I have loved everything I’ve tried. Sign up to get coupons so you can try them for yourself!

hamiltonbeach

Disclosure: Hamilton Beach provided the slow cooker free of charge. So Delicious also provided free samples in advance of market availability of their holiday line of products. Opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and were not influenced by either organization. I only advocate for brands and products I truly like.

Posted in Desserts, Recipes | Leave a comment