Tofu Masala for #SummerofStirFry

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I’m keeping it short and sweet here folks, because today’s recipe doesn’t need a lot of fluffy words to make it sound good.

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This tofu masala is made with crispy baked tofu bites, sautéed vegetables, super spicy sauce and creamy, buttery saffron rice. It can be made in less than 30 minutes flat and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled for leftovers all week long. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say. El and I ate the entire batch (meant for 4) in one evening and I proceeded to make the exact same dish for dinner the next night.

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I mean, look at it, wouldn’t you make it two nights in a row too? It’s total comfort food for the soul, especially when you’ve been as crazy, stressed and insane as I’ve been lately. My absolute favorite part about this spicy Indian dish has to be that it’s made in just one pan. That’s one, one giant wok is all you need to recreate this perfect recipe at home.

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I have to thank Circulon, especially, for including me in their Summer of Stir Fry campaign. I’m all about one pot meals, and it makes it so much easier to create them when you have a fantastic product to start with! Plus, thanks to them I am happy to be giving away 1 Circulon Acclaim 12-inch Covered Wok!!

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Good luck! Now go make some tofu.

Tofu Masala

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Serves about 4.
Prep time: <10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the rice:

  • 1 package saffron rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter

For the stir-fry:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu pressed and cubed
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 large zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 summer squash chopped
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 cup chopped oyster mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 can (21 ounces) diced tomatoes(not drained)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  •  Fresh cilantro for garnish

For the directions on how to make this, be sure to check out Circulon’s website!

To enter to win the Wok, fill out the prompts below!

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Frozen Pineapple, Blueberry & Coconut Gin Coolers

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Looking for a refreshing summer cocktail? Look no further than these frozen pineapple, blueberry & coconut gin coolers! Each drink is filled with fresh fruit flavor and are made with less sugar than normal cocktails!

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It’s just now 9am and I want to take 4 of these cocktails to the face. It’s been THAT kind of day.

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Actually, no, scratch that. It’s been that kind of WEEK. I had an amazing weekend and then, to punish me for having fun, Monday welcomed me with a speeding ticket, an exploding toliet and an unexpected financial strain on my bank account. I thought it was just Monday, but no. Every day this week has been a festival of bad luck, frustrating circumstances and overwhelming stress. So the thought of sipping one of these refreshing frozen pineapple, blueberry & coconut gin coolers, turning off my computer and laying by the pool all day seems almost too good to pass up.

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But no. As a responsible adult, I need to power through these feelings of stress and frustration and tackle my hauntingly long to do list. Which includes making a wedding cake, lavender ice cream and fried chicken today. Which to the average person would seem like a dream. To me, though, it’s terrifying. It’s 6,500,456 degrees outside and we have a very sad and pathetic little air conditioner who sounds like he wants to break every time I turn him on. And given my week of charms already, don’t be surprised if you see a photo of my face melting off on Facebook.

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Luckily I just have a few more days of very heavy workloads and then I’m cooking and stress free for 9 days while I explore the African wonderland of Kenya. Even though it will be extremely hot there, I’ll be sweating while staring at lions and elephants, and to me, that totally beats sweating staring at my computer screen.

Frozen Pineapple, Blueberry & Coconut Gin Coolers

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Yields 2 drinks.
Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 12 teaspoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup (2.4 ounces) Tanqueray gin
  • About 3/4 cup Coconut water
  • 1/2 cup low sugar cranberry juice
  • About 6 – 7 fresh basil leaves
  • Ice

Directions: 

  1. Mix the sugar and water together in a microwavable safe dish. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into a blender. Add the pineapple chunks, blueberries, gin, coconut water, cranberry juice and basil leaves. Add a handful of ice and blend until fully combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into two chilled mason jars. Add some fresh basil to garnish on the drinks and skewer a few blueberries onto a wooden skewer. Serve chilled.

Nutritional information per drink:

Calories: 250
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 42 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Weight Watchers Points: 5

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Crumble

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This gluten free mixed berry crumble is the perfect dessert for any summer party, potluck, picnic or any summer day. You’ll never want another crumble recipe again!

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As many of you know, I’ve recently finished editing an entirely gluten-free cookbook for a project with Adams Media.

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Even though I loved every second of publishing my first cookbook (ON SALE HERE!), it was a lot of work. And I’m still not 100% happy with the final product. So when I was approached to create 60 new recipes for an all gluten-free book, I almost said no. But then I thought about it. My best friend is gluten intolerant, and so many of my family members are struggling with celiac and allergies, and it always breaks my heart that they can’t eat the foods everyone else enjoys at parties and potlucks.

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So, after convincing my husband that we’ll definitely be taking that vacation later this year and that I won’t fall into a tunnel of perfectionism and despair with this one, I said yes. And exactly one month later, I had every single recipe turned in (it was a very busy month) and felt more accomplished than I had in a long time. Gluten-free cooking and baking is challenging. Because you’re losing the one property that keeps most of our cakes, breads and pastas binded, you have to play with different chemicals and flours to recreate gluten. Xanthum gum and psyllium husks became my best friend, and soon my cabinet was filled with 12 different kinds of flour, including an all purpose blend that set me back about the cost of a new iMac. (Not really, but almost).

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I learned very quickly that some of the recipes I loved to make on a regular basis (like pizza crust, homemade pasta and soft pretzels), just wouldn’t turn out by simply subbing in gluten-free products. I had to reconstruct these recipes so they would turn out. And let me tell you, I’ve never had more recipe fails in my life than I did doing this book. But instead of getting frustrated by each fail, I felt more inspired. This book was very tough, but I truly feel like I learned so much about gluten-free cooking. I really challenged myself as a cook and the end result was that much more gratifying.

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Choosing which recipes to include was definitely difficult. I wanted to make recipes that my friend and my family would love, as well as recipes picky kids and even vegans would enjoy too. I narrowed down my list and even had to cut recipes I made from it because I didn’t think they quite fit. Funny enough, this gluten free mixed berry crumble was one that got the ax. Not because it’s not incredible (trust me, it is), but simply because I had another fruity summer dessert and wanted to make sure I had plenty of variety.

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But, that’s okay because then I can share it with you guys right now. This crumble is one of my new favorites for summer. The topping is buttery, crispy and crunchy, while the tart mix of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries offers the perfect tart, juicy and sweet contrast. Topped with some vanilla bean ice cream and this is downright criminal.

One bite and you’ll be hooked. I promise you.

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Crumble

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 10.
Prep time: About 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal or coconut flour

For the crumble topping:

  • 3/4 cup high quality gluten-free all purpose flour (I swear by Gluteny)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 stick COLD unsalted butter, cut into slabs
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 jumbo egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon stick

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally grease a casserole dish, pie plate or 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the berries with the sugar and almond meal, lemon zest, lemon juice. Cover with saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In another mixing bowl, whisk the gluten-free mix, almond meal, brown sugar, white sugar and baking powder together until fully combined. Using a pastry knife, cut into the butter slabs into the mix (much like you would with a pie crust) until mixture resembles a coarse sand.
  4. Lightly beat the egg with the vanilla bean and mix into the butter/crumble mixture.
  5. Pour the berries into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Liberally sprinkle the top with the crumble and add the grated cinnamon to the top. Bake for about 42 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 350
Fat: 15 grams
Carbohydrates: 45.3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Squares

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These amazing soft and chew oatmeal raisin squares taste just like your favorite cookie, just in a bigger, chewier square. Oh, and because they have oatmeal, you can totally eat them for breakfast!

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A few days ago, I was having a chat with a new friend. When I was telling her what I did for a living (food & travel writer, recipe developer & occasional home/craft writer) she responded with “Gosh, you sound like the perfect domestic goddess!” I laughed so hard I almost spit my coffee all over my keyboard. Me? A Domestic Goddess? Clearly, she hasn’t seen me coated in flour and powdered sugar, with 45 dishes piled in the sink and an array of plates, fresh herbs, chocolate chips and more all over my dining room table. Clearly she hasn’t seen the dust bunnies (who have recently reproduced and invited their family to live with them) who dwell under my tables and consoles. Or how about that 1 year old pile of mail I still need to toss? Or the piles of clothes in my room?

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After I laughed for about 10 minutes, I started to think a little about domesticity. What actually qualifies someone as domestic? What makes someone a domestic goddess? Sure, I hate dusting, would rather give myself a partial labatomy than do dishes and would rather set myself on fire than put away my laundry, but there are house keeping things that I absolutely love. Like making my bed. This is a new revelation, but now I can’t go downstairs for coffee until our bed is made. I also love doing laundry. I may keep the clean laundry in hampers for weeks, but there’s never more than a few socks in our dirty laundry pile. Oh and vacuuming, don’t even get me started. I LOVE it. And loading the dishwasher is a source of great joy for me (not kidding).

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If you were to visit my house now, you’d see all of this first hand. You’d hear my dishwashing humming along, you’d see my perfectly made bed. You’d probably hear the washing and dryer bumping around as they toss, tumble and dry. You’d also see two large hampers full of clothes, a few pots and pans “soaking” in the sink, a few lonely dust bunnies sunning themselves on the stairs. You’d also probably see lots of dog hair on the couch and piles of (clean) props scattered on my table.

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I wonder, if you saw that, would you classify me as a domestic person? Or just a regular girl with things she loves and hates to do? It’s such a strange word and a strange way to classify someone, don’t you think? And I still beg the question, what actually makes you domestic or not? So friends, please leave your comments below on what you think. I’m channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw today!

Oh and if you say “omg those squares look heavenly!” that’s okay too. That’s probably how I’d answer anyway :)

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Squares

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 14. Inspired by Martha Stewart.
Prep time: >10 minutes
Cook time: 26 – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, applesauce and sugars together until creamy. Mix in the egg and beat until combined.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the flours, cinnamon and oats together. Add the flour/oat mixture to the butter/applesauce mixture and mix to combine. Carefully fold in the raisins and pecans.
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for about 26 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown (and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean).
  5. Let cool slightly and then cut into squares.

Nutritional information per square:

Calories: 255
Fat: 8 grams
Carbohydrates: 41 grams
Fiber: 2.2 grams
Protein: 5.6 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 7

One Pot Clambake

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This easy one pot clambake is the perfect dinner to whip up and enjoy this summer. No trips to the cape required! 

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It’s officially summer guys. I mean, the calendar might not say so, but the 95 degree heat and sticky humidity sure does. I love summer, but I don’t necessarily love it HERE. You see, where I live was built over swampland, so the summers tend to get a wee bit humid. And by wee bit, I mean I walk outside, my hair triples in size (but not the size you want), my face starts to sweat and I melt into a puddle of despair.

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You see, my body wasn’t meant for humidity. Which is funny being I spent 3 summers in southeast Georgia and have lived in the DC area for almost 4 years now. You’d think I’d get used to 80%+ humidity. But no. Every summer it’s the same. I walk outside, sweat my face off, retreat into the air conditioning and threaten to shave my head. Every single year. It’s actually a surprise I still have hair on my head, folks.

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The best part about this summer, though, is the pool. There’s a pool 4 minutes from our little condo and I’m already daydreaming of spending my afternoons there working on my suntan. We haven’t had access to a pool in 2 years and I’ve completely forgotten how amazing it is to have one. I’ve told E about 15,000 times, when we buy a house (here or in SC), we’re going to have a pool. I don’t care if I have to spend hours cleaning it myself. I don’t care if I’m the only person using it. I’ll use it in the middle of winter. I just need one.

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The humidity and heat aside, I’m actually looking forward to this summer. We’re finally buying an outdoor grill, we have a beautiful patio and my husband just found out he’s no longer allergic to seafood. That means this incredibly delicious one pot clambakes in our favorite Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart stock pot will be happening on a weekly basis. There’s really nothing like eating fresh seafood from a pot overlooking some trees, drinking a cold beer. Am I right or am I right?

One Pot Clambake

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 3 – 4. Inspired by Martha Stewart.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (I used a dry Pinot Gris)
  • 1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 4 small mini ears of corn (I used the steamfresh microwavable bags)
  • 2 1/2 dozen fresh littleneck clams
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 pound shrimp, peeled and cooked (about 12 – 14 small pieces, 6 – 8 large)
  • 1/3 pound fresh lobster claw meat
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 -2  tablespoons crushed red pepper*

*Optional for a little heat.

Directions: 

  1. In a large Le Creuset Dutch oven (Mine was 5 1/2 quart), heat the 1 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to high and add in wine and water. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and add in the potatoes. Sprinkle in the salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Cover and let boil for about 5 minutes, or until potatoes start to soften. Add in the clams and lemon juice. Cover and cook another 10 minutes, or until the clams open. Discard any unopened clams.
  2. Meanwhile microwave your corn until done.
  3. Add in the shrimp, lobster meat, parsley, corn and dill to the clam pot and reduce heat to medium low. *** Cook another 5 – 6 minutes, or until the shrimp and lobster meat turns opaque. Remove from heat.
  4. Now, there’s two ways to eat this. You can either eat the fish, corn and potatoes directly from the broth (which is what we did) or you can remove the fish, potatoes, corn and onion from the bowl and set on a large serving platter. If you do this, pour the broth into a large bowl and whisk in remaining butter, salt, pepper, more crushed red pepper, parsley and additional dill. Dip the fish into the broth and eat!

***If you pan on eating directly from the dutch oven, melt the two remaining tablespoons of butter and add to the broth when you add in the shrimp.

Nutritional information per serving (at least one ear of corn, a few shrimp, 1/2 pound clams, less than 1/4 pound potatoes, a spoonful of lobster meat and about 1/4 cup broth)

Calories: 379.25
Fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrates: 31.25 grams
Fiber: 5.3 grams
Protein: 20.25 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 6

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