Spiced-Apple Tofu and Millet Bake

Jannine Myers

A co-worker asked me recently how I cook with tofu; she had been using it mostly as a stir-fry ingredient but was lost for other ideas on how to use it and how – specifically – to turn it into a palatable dish that the whole family might enjoy. I find tofu to be a very versatile ingredient that can enhance almost any recipe and please even the pickiest of taste buds; the following is my latest tofu creation, and listed further below are links to a couple of other tofu recipes that you might like to try:

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INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup uncooked millet
¾ cup almond milk
¾ cup water
3 or 4 green apples
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp minced ginger
1 packet firm tofu + a little almond milk to blend with (use soft tofu if you prefer a less dry texture)
¼ cup raw honey
1/4 cup raisins
¼ cup chopped brazil nuts
Additional milk (if needed)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a pie dish.

Remove the tofu from package and wrap in paper towels to absorb excess liquid.
Add the millet, almond milk, and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for about 15 minutes.

Skin and dice the apples and add to a small saucepan. Add a little water, as well as the spices and minced ginger. Bring to a boil then turn heat down and simmer covered until all the liquid has absorbed and the apples are soft and mushy.

Melt the honey, and add with the tofu to a blender, then pulse until a smooth texture is achieved (add a little almond milk if necessary). In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked millet, the pulsed tofu, the stewed apples, and the raisins and brazil nuts. Mix until well combined. If the mixture is still quite dry, add a little more milk.
Pour the mixture into greased pie dish and bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

Serve warm with plain yogurt and fresh kiwifruit slices, or your choice of fruit.

[✨ Spiced Apple Tofu Bake ✨ A great breakfast alternative! Millet contains various minerals and is high in Vitamin B, and tofu is too! Not to mention that tofu is a good source of protein]

For a little more tofu inspiration, try these tofu brownies, or these curried tofu strips with creamy coconut yoghurt dip.

Coping Strategies For The Runner Who Can’t Run

Jannine Myers

After moving to New Zealand several weeks ago, I not only fell ill with a bronchial type cough that lasted for weeks, but I also managed to injure myself. Consequently I have done very little running and have had to withdraw from three races I had previously signed up for. As a runner who can’t run, it’s difficult keeping a positive mindset, but the following strategies are helping to keep me motivated in the meantime:

– Acknowledging my disappointment and frustration, and allowing myself to feel those feelings was probably a good first step for me. Once I accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to run for a significant period of time, I was able to make a conscious decision to stop focusing on the negatives and visualize instead on daily and progressive steps towards improved physical and mental health.

Key Tip # 1 – Don’t camp out in the land of misery! Keep marching right on through, knowing that every step forward is a step away from negative thoughts and self-pity.

– One thing that I always find helpful whenever I am struggling with any kind of problem, is spending more time reading, learning, and self-reflecting. I like to wake up early and read and/or listen to motivational articles/books/podcasts, as well as journal and put down on paper what I envision and hope for, and then follow through with positive self-declarations.

Key Tip #2 – Use the time that would otherwise be spent training, doing things that advance your personal growth and character.

– My daily goals had to change! To avoid further discouragement, I had to make a shift in goal expectations. Rather than set myself specific and intense training goals, I set myself smaller and more realistic goals, such as “I’m going to do one thing today to maintain my strength,” or, “I’m going to do 60 minutes of non-impact cross-training today.”

Key Tip # 3 – Modify your goals! Make them manageable (given the circumstances you’re faced with), yet still rewarding enough to invoke enough of a positive stimulus and a satisfying outcome.

– Seek professional help! I’m currently under the care of a physiotherapist who has prescribed a set of recovery exercises for me, and depending on how effective or non-effective they are, we may add some acupuncture into the mix of my treatment. For now, I am abstaining from running, doing other cross-training activities that don’t aggravate my injury, foam-rolling, icing, and attempting to do (at least once a day) the rehab exercises that I’ve been given.

Key Tip # 4 – Don’t try to self-manage your recovery process if it’s obvious that your illness/injury is not improving. Better to seek professional guidance and not run, than listen to your over-eager self who will almost always tell you that it’s okay to keep running.

– Nutrition and diet has always been important to me, but it becomes even more so during times of training, racing, illness, and injury. Just as I would normally pay attention to how I fuel my body during peak training phases, I also pay extra attention to my food choices whenever my body is under other types of physical (or emotional) stress.

Key Tip # 5 – Get interested in nutrition! Seek out information on the web and at the library, or consult a dietitian if necessary; learn what foods will help to speed up your recovery. Since my immediate goal is injury/recovery-related, my kitchen efforts at this time are focused on meals that contain a lot of anti-inflammatory foods such as broccoli, salmon, walnuts, flax and chia seeds, blueberries, and ginger and turmeric. On that note, I’ll leave you with one of my anti-inflammatory (and easily portable) breakfast meals:

Turmeric-Ginger Fruit Blend With Oats 

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Ingredients (Serves 4):

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 small banana

1 small apple

3 dried dates

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 cup oats

Toppings: 

Plain greek yogurt, a couple of pieces of fresh fruit (optional), pumpkin seeds, coconut shreds

 

Directions:

Mix the coconut milk, banana, apple, and spices together in a blender.

In four bowls (or containers with lids), add 1/4 cup dry oats to each. Top with a little water to moisten the oats. Pour the coconut milk mixture in even portions over all four oat bowls. Refrigerate for at least an hour. When you’re ready to eat, top with a dollop of yogurt, some pumpkin seeds and coconut shreds.

Enjoy :)

A Protein Powder Solution For Runners On A Budget

Jannine Myers

A question I am sometimes asked is if I can recommend a reasonably priced protein powder. Protein powders seem to inhabit the kitchens of almost anyone who exercises these days, and I can see why since they take the guess work out of calculating recovery and performance-gain nutrition needs. But they’re really quite expensive, and while I can’t recommend a more affordable product, I can suggest a much cheaper alternative.

Powdered milk is an often over-looked nutritional gem. Although not as rich in protein as actual protein powders, it’s still a very good source, and also a great source of magnesium, calcium, and Vitamins A and D. I always have powdered milk in my pantry – admittedly, because I live in a location where typhoons love to stop by – but I actually do use it when I’m out of protein powder. It’s so versatile that it can be used in baking recipes, in smoothies, in oatmeal, and even in sauces and soups.

To help get you started – should you decide to pick up a bag of dry milk powder the next time you’re at the supermarket – here’s a recipe I created that’s quick and easy, and perfectly nourishing after a run or workout.

Milk Powder Protein Cake-In-A-Cup

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Ingredients
4 tablespoons Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder
1 tablespoon Coconut Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 packet Stevia
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Coconut Milk/Cream
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Frozen Blueberries

Directions

Add all the dry ingredients to a large mug

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In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, coconut milk, and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into the mug and mix well with the dry ingredients.

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Add the blueberries and gently fold into the mixture.

Put the mug in a microwave and cook for about 90 seconds.

Remove the mug from microwave and allow to sit for a couple of minutes to cool slightly.

Enjoy your mug cake; you should have a nice blueberry sauce at the bottom of the cup :)

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 Nutrition Information: 265 Calories, 6g Fat, 12 g Carbohydrates (4g Sugar), 9g Protein, 15% Calcium, 10% Iron, 8% Vitamin A

Spirulina Breakfast Bowl

Jannine Myers

Are you familiar with the health benefits of Spirulina? Spirulina is a natural algae powder that’s impressively rich in protein, antioxidants, B-vitamins, and other nutrients. It’s often recommended to vegetarians because of it’s high protein and natural iron content, and that also makes it a fantastic food source for pregnant women, or for anyone recovering from illness or surgery, and most certainly for female athletes. 

Here’s a super nutritious “Spirulina” breakfast recipe for you to try:

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Ingredients

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 ripe nectarine, pit and skin removed

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Handful almonds

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

1 tsp organic spirulina powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

3 ice cubes (or 1/2 frozen banana if you prefer a slightly sweeter taste)

 

Directions

Throw everything into a blender and pulse to the consistency of a smooth puree. Pour into two serving bowls, add some home-made granola, and top with a little shredded coconut.

[Recipe adapted from PoppiesandPapayas]

Lychee Coconut Muffins

Jannine Myers

Here’s another recipe that came about as a result of wanting to use up lingering ingredients; this time it was a can of lychees that I had intended to use some time ago but never got around to it. The end result was a deliciously moist “lychee-coconut muffin.”

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I decided to go with a combined coconut flavour since I always have coconut on hand and I also had some Chobani Coconut Blended Greek yogurt in the refrigerator. A little organic muesli thrown in the mix gave it a really nice texture and taste. I have to warn you though – these are not a low-calorie/low-fat muffin, but they do taste good and they contain a good amount of protein and calcium (approximately 5g protein and 33mg calcium).

Ingredients

1/4 cup Bobs Redmill GF 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1 3/4 cups Bobs Redmill GF All Purpose Baking Flour

3/4 cup organic muesli

1/4 cup unsweetened finely-shredded coconut

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1/8 cup agave syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 8-10oz. can lychees, drained and chopped into small pieces

handful of chopped walnuts

1 tbsp mixed sugar and shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the lychees and gently blend in, but don’t over-mix. Pour batter evenly into the 12-lined muffin cases, and top with a few walnuts and a light sprinkling of sugar and shredded coconut.

Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and enjoy with your favourite tea.

Honey Bran Rock Cakes

Jannine Myers

This week’s recipe came about out of necessity – well, sort of. I had a few bags of various types of flour in my pantry, and all almost empty. Rather than dispose of them, I decided to combine them all and bake something that I thought I might like; the end result was what I have decided to call my “honey bran rock cakes.”

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Have you ever had savoury rock cakes by the way? With cheese and onion soup mix? They’re delicious! But these honey bran rock cakes are not bad either, and if you’re into healthy then these are definitely the better choice. Made with a good-tasting honey (I used Heavenly Organics Himalayan Raw Acacia Honey), and Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran, these semi-sweet rock cakes are great for those of you looking for a healthy snack with a little extra fiber.

Ingredients

1/4 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup gluten free all-purpose flour

1/2 cup gluten free whole wheat flour

[Note: this recipe is not intended to be gluten free – I just used gluten free flours because that’s what I had left in my pantry; the wheat bran obviously contains gluten]

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill wheat bran (or any other brand)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup honey (your choice)

1/4 cup coconut oil (I actually used a little less than a 1/4 cup)

1 egg

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Mix milk and bran and let sit for at least 5 mins.

Combine coconut oil and honey, and melt in microwave.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, and baking soda.

Combine flour mixture with bran mixture, honey mixture, and beaten egg.

Place by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet.

Sprinkle with shredded coconut and sugar.

Bake approximately 10 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving.

A Is For Autumn And Apples

Jannine Myers

It’s Autumn now and along with the obvious seasonal changes such as temperature and length of days, we’re also seeing new fruits and vegetables at the local farmers’ markets and grocery stores. Last week I picked up a bag of fresh green apples, and I couldn’t resist using them to make a spiced apple loaf with chunks of raw ginger.

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When I was growing up, I always remember seeing health charts at school and at the doctor’s clinic with a picture of an apple, followed by the caption “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” If only staying healthy were that simple, but actually, apples do contain many nutrients that make them worth eating on a regular basis.

Here are just a few reasons why apples are good for you:

  • Apples are a low-calorie, high-fiber food; in other words, you can eat apples for a guilt-free sweet snack, and their fiber content will leave you feeling full for much longer.
  • One apple counts for about 1 cup of fruit; the recommended daily fruit intake is around 2 cups for adults on a 2000-calorie diet, so an apple a day meets half the daily fruit requirement.
  • Apples are a great source of immune-boosting Vitamin C.
  • Apples contain quercetin, and interestingly, research suggests that quercetin may help to improve endurance and lead to other fitness gains. The jury is still out but so far the data revealed looks promising. [Read this article for more information]

So even if you don’t feel like chopping up apples for baking purposes, enjoy eating them as they are!

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour, plus 1 tsp
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash ground cloves and ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup apple juice, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 chunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped (about 1 tsp)
  • 2 cups apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a loaf pan with a little butter.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices to a large bowl and mix to combine.
  3. In another large bowl, add the oil and sugar. Using a mixer, mix on medium speed until well combined. Add the egg, agave syrup, apple juice and vanilla, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss together the chopped ginger, diced apples, chopped nuts and 1 tsp flour until combined. Fold fruit and nut mixture into the batter.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Place pan on baking sheet, and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 60-65 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before removing it from pan and letting it cool completely on a wire rack (although, it tastes best when it’s still warm from the oven).

Try Eating Purple Foods For A Greater Antioxidant Effect

Jannine Myers

Purple fruits and vegetables are known for their high antioxidant content, and the reason we should all want to eat foods with lots of antioxidants is because they help to combat the aging process and keep us looking younger and healthier!

Additionally, the purple pigment in foods such as eggplant, purple cabbages, blackberries, and blueberries, all contain certain flavanoids that offer protection from certain diseases, including some cancers. With so many different kinds of purple fruits and vegetables to choose from, there’s no reason why you can’t get more of them into your daily diet.

Here’s a recipe to get you started; it’s a baked purple sweet potato and blueberry mash:

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Ingredients

  • 2 purple sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil, 1/8 cup organic unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter, unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup walnuts and some shredded coconut for garnish
  • Plain organic yogurt

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Boil sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a blender or food processor, pulse all the ingredients, including the cooked sweet potatoes (but excluding the blueberries). When the mixture is well combined, add the frozen blueberries and stir.
  3. Divide between 5 ramekins. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and walnuts. Bake for about 10 to 15 mins.
  4. Serve with yogurt and a dash of cinnamon.

 

This Week’s Farmers Market Buys – Part Two

Jannine Myers

Another purchase I made at the farmers market last weekend is a bag of yomogi leaves.

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I first learned about the yomogi plant (known in other countries as mugwort) a few years ago, when I asked one of my Japanese friends why yomogi mochi, or kusamochiseemed to be so popular. Apparently, the yomogi plant grows everywhere in Japan, and because it’s so abundantly available, it’s commonly used to make mochi.

While yomogi leaves are great for making delicious rice cakes, they can also be utilized in many other ways and they are actually believed to contain significant anti-inflammatory effects. One way I use yomogi leaves is by adding them to my smoothies; the leaves do have quite a distinctive taste but I don’t find it unpleasant at all.

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Ingredients

Yomogi leaves – a decent handful

Fresh ginger – cut a generous piece

Grated carrots – 1/4 cup

Frozen (small, or half) banana

Frozen strawberries – 1/4 cup

Camu camu powder – 1 tsp

Chocolate protein powder (I use Vega Protein Smoothie Choc-A-Lot) – 1 scoop

Almond milk -1/4 cup

Water – 1/2 cup

Throw everything in a blender and process till smooth and creamy.

If a “yomogi smoothie” doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then you can always try some kusamochi; I bought this one with the sweet azuki beans inside and coated with kinako powder – yum!

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This Week’s Farmers Market Buys – Part One

Jannine Myers

I am loving the Japanese orange-flesh sweet potatoes right now! If you like sweet potatoes as much as I do, check out these recipes:

The first is a recipe that reminds me of winter-time meals back home. You’ve probably all tasted or heard of Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie, but if you haven’t it’s a popular dish in New Zealand (though traditionally from northern England), that’s made with ground beef and topped with mashed potato. The recipe I used is one that replaces the potato with sweet potato, and it’s really good! I actually made these for my 11-year old because she’s kind of a picky eater, but my older daughter and I love them too.

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Ingredients

  • Sweet potato – 2 large, sliced
  • Almond milk 3–4 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cheese (e.g. colby, edam, cheddar) 1 cup grated
Pie filling
  • Olive oil 1 tablespoon
  • Onion 1, finely diced
  • Garlic 1 clove, minced
  • Carrot 1, peeled and grated
  • Zucchini 1, grated
  • Ground beef (organic, if possible) 500g
  • Tomato paste 2 tablespoons
  • Tamari soy sauce 1 tablespoon
  • Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon
  • mustard (e.g. Dijon or wholegrain) 1 tablespoon
  • Flour 1 tablespoon
  • Beef broth ½ cup

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil.

  1. Cook sweet potato in pot of boiling water for 12–15 minutes, until very soft. Drain and mash with butter and milk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large fry-pan on medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini for about 3–4 minutes. Add beef and cook for a further 3–4 minutes until brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon (drain fat before continuing with remaining ingredients). Add tomato paste, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce and mustard, stir until combined. Sprinkle over flour, stir to combine and cook for 1–2 minutes then add beef broth, stir and simmer for 5–7 minutes until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Fill four individual ramekins (to 2/3 full) with pie filling. Top with sweet potato mash and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, then let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a side of fresh greens.

[Recipe from Nadia Lim]

The second recipe is one that is currently my favourite post-run breakfast meal! Seriously, if you have not tried eating sweet potatoes this way, you must:

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Just three ingredients are needed for this awesome recipe:

  1. Sweet potatoes (orange-flesh) – 2 or 3 medium/large
  2. Almond butter – 1 tbsp per half sweet potato
  3. Cinnamon – a generous dash

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F. Gently scrub and clean the sweet potatoes, then pierce the tops of them with a fork before laying them on a foil-lined baking tray. Bake for at least 45 minutes.

[Tip: I bake the sweet potatoes the night before]

In the morning, when you’re ready to eat, take half of one of the sweet potatoes (keep the rest stored in an air-tight container in the fridge), and warm it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Spread about a tbsp of almond butter over the warm sweet potato, and sprinkle with cinnamon. So delicious!!! {And don’t take the skin off, it’s packed with nutrients!)

I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts why sweet potatoes are a great food for runners, but here’s a good visual reminder:

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 Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!