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What I Ate Wednesday #5

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I haven’t done a WIAW in awhile; please comment or send me a message if you like these food posts so I can keep bringing them to you! This is all vegetarian:

WIAW Honolulu cereal

I LOVE this breakfast I came up with: Annie’s chocolate cereal, with almond milk, topped with cacao nibs and a sliced banana. It’s basically [healthy-ish] dessert for breakfast; you’re welcome.

WIAW Honolulu la tour cafe

In between work and errands, I picked up lunch from La Tour Cafe in Aina Haina: avocado toast! It came with a side salad and a very tasty, creamy dressing.

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I stopped home in the afternoon before my evening job and had some coffee and half of a Bouchon Bakery cookie (made by me, from a box mix). It’s kind of like a homemade oreo. I have to say, I wasn’t really a fan (but I still ate the second half later, after dinner, because in any battle against sugar, I am the loser).

WIAW Honolulu healthy bowl dinner

My homemade dinner was healthy and delectable: quinoa mixed with red onion, kale, parmesan cheese and capers, topped with roasted acorn squash and a soft-boiled egg. So good!

What did you eat today?


Autumn Baked Tofu Bowl {Recipe with Ips Chips}

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

Recently, and totally randomly, I came up with a winning vegetarian dinner recipe, which I’m not so concisely calling: Autumn Baked Tofu Bowl.

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It’s rice, topped with baked (faux-fried) tofu, roasted squash, and homemade vegetarian gravy. Imagine Shake n Bake, but way better. This is like the adult, atumn version. If you know me, you know that precision and attention to detail are NOT in my repertoire, especially when it comes to cooking. So here’s the recipe, but be ready to adjust and substitute according to taste. Think of this as your starting point, and then get creative.

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • About an hour of time
  • An oven
  • A baking sheet
  • A cutting board & knife
  • 3 shallow bowls (plus 2-4 individual serving dishes or bowls)
  • coconut oil and/or olive oil
  • 1 squash of choice (I used acorn)
  • 2 small bags chips of choice (I liked using Ips because 1 bag has 6 grams of protein & only 4 grams of fat!)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 cup rice (and whatever you want to cook it in)
  • water
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 small shallots
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • Wine jelly (or, just use a dash of wine. But I highly recommend using the jelly)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

STEP 1: PREP

  1. Slice your squash, douse it in coconut oil, salt & pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Check regularly, and flip them over once before they’re done (they’re done when they’re soft and you’d want to eat them at that consistency)
  2. Chop up celery (including leaves) and shallots
  3. Crush up 2 small bags of Salt & Pepper chips by Ips Snacks, which are gluten free and non-GMO (they also have a delicious White Cheddar flavor, if you prefer) and dump the crushed chips into a shallow bowl
  4. Place a cup of flour in a shallow bowl
  5. Whisk one egg into a shallow bowl
  6. Press a block of firm tofu, and slice into medium-sized strips (about 12)

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

STEP 2: COOK

  1. Remove the squash from the oven, and turn it down to 325 degrees
  2. Coat each slice of tofu in the flour, then egg wash, then Ips chips
  3. Place these slices one at a time onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. Bake in the oven until they begin to crisp up/brown just slightly (I believe it took about 20 minutes)
  5. Cook the rice (this is best done in a rice cooker, which you can then ignore, or on the stove, in which case, remember to pay attention to it)

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

STEP 3: FINISH

  1. Sautee the shallots and celery in olive oil over medium heat. After they brown, add a dash of water.
  2. Add a heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard and another of Wine Jelly. Season with salt & pepper (take a taste… add or omit anything you want. I recommend nutritional yeast if it needs an extra punch)
  3. Make a rue by moving everything in the pan to one side, and adding more water. Place 1 tbsp of cornstarch into the water and stir it quickly, keeping it all close together. Once it thickens, mix the entire pan together again. Adjust with more or less water and wine jelly, as needed (it should look like gravy)

cooking with ips chips crispy baked tofu

STEP 4: ENJOY!

  1. Serve the rice in bowls
  2. Top with gravy
  3. Add a few slices of squash (before the tofu, so the gravy doesn’t ruin the crunchy of the tofu)
  4. Top with 2-4 slices of baked tofu

What’s your favorite autumn dinner to make?

Mahina & Suns {Honolulu}

mahina & sons waikiki restaurant review

Mahina & Suns is a trendy new restaurant in Waikiki, aptly located within the equally trendy and new boutique hotel Surfjack (“Hotel & Swimclub”). The restaurant is by local celebrity chef Ed Kenney, who is renowned for focusing on local, organic ingredients, and reinventing classic dishes of Hawaii (many of which tend to be cultural mashups).

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My boyfriend Kiyo and I took my mom to this restaurant per her request, for her birthday. She enjoyed a gin cocktail with her birthday card.

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I can’t remember what else was in my drink, besides cucumber, but it was light and refreshing, and I liked it a lot.

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Instead of bread (an uncommon free starter snack in Hawaii) we were served salted boiled peanuts. This is a classic Hawaii snack, and a very delicious and addictive rendition. We ate all of these, and I even ate the pickled jalapeño.

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We started by sharing “The Naked Cow,” thin crust pizza with Naked Cow Dairy fromage blanc, uncured bacon, and Maui onion (you can add more toppings; we chose green olives, parmesan and arugula. Take note because this is a stellar combination).

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We all really enjoyed the pizza. There aren’t many good pizza options in Hawaii, as I’ve mentioned on the blog before.

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Kiyo ordered chicken; an usual choice for him. He enjoyed the pan-roasted half-bird, served with hapa rice (white and brown mashup), pickled mushrooms and green coriander chutney.

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My mom ordered the avocado tacos, made with shishito, pickled red onion, and smoked yogurt. I felt that it should have said on the menu that the avocados come fried (I’m guessing my mom wouldn’t have ordered them if she’d known, but she didn’t complain).

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I ordered a starter for my main dish: the butter lettuce salad. It didn’t look like much, but it tasted more complete and interesting than it looked. radish, asparagus, sunflower seed, cured egg yolk, topped with avocado dressing.

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After dinner, we walked around the hotel. It’s very cute! I felt like I was in California, at a Hawaii-themed hotel, rather than actually in Hawaii. There aren’t many trendy places here that actually hit their mark.

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I went back recently for lunch, and very much enjoyed the Wild Salad (although it was just slightly overdressed) topped with garlicky tomato toast, and a fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

mahina & suns salad

Mahina & Suns

412 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815

(808) 924-5810

What I Ate Wednesday #4

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First WIAW in a long time!

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Breakfast: yummy Kashi cereal with extra cinnamon on top. I eat my cereal and drink my coffee with almond milk. To me, cereal is kind of a treat for breakfast.

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Snack: fresh passion fruit, yum! I love that this fruit is both tangy and sweet.

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Lunch: so, disclosure: this day was awhile ago. To be honest, I can’t remember what this was. It looks like a salad with cheese, peas, avocado… salami? I’m not sure, but it looks yummy!

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Snack: chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, since, as you know by now, I need chocolate almost every day.

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Dinner: For some reason, I ate a snack for dinner this night. Does anyone else enjoy apples with cheddar cheese?

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Dessert: white wine + dark chocolate M&Ms = instant dessert perfection.

I’ve definitely noticed a pattern in my diet: too much sugar (don’t forget, fruit is sugar too). Luckily, I’m currently reading a book called “The Juice Lady’s Sugar Knockout” (review to come) so hopefully I can kick the habit, or at least reduce it, soon.

What did you eat today?


What I Ate Wednesday #3

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This is a really old WIAW, from the fall, when I was still working in Kailua. I began this day with two Wasa Crackers. For some reason, I actually like them, even though they are completely tasteless. I put peanut butter on them, and had coffee on the side. I drink coffee pretty much every day.

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I took my lunch break at work, next door at Whole Foods. I always just grab a little bit of everything there. I find that it’s generally hit or miss.

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Unfortunately, I seem to think that both lunch and dinner are followed by dessert. I had a chocolate peanut butter cup.

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It was a long work day, so I also had another coffee (my phone was partially broken at this time, which is why all these pictures are blurry).

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At home later than evening, I had a homemade dinner of pasta (yes, even that was homemade previously, I took it out of the freezer) with olive oil, broccoli, peas, sun-dried tomato and artichoke. Yum!

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Second dessert of the day was a triple chocolate brownie and a small cup of almond milk. Does anyone else have a chocolate problem? Seriously, I think I’m addicted!

What I Ate Wednesday #2

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I ate way too much fruit on this day last week, which is weird for me, because I’m not a huge fruit enthusiast. Here’s the reason that ended up happening, though: I had a yoga photo shoot with Lily Lotus on Saturday (eep!) so last week, I tried to eat cleaner, so I would look my best over the weekend. My main goal was to cut out added sugar, but I think that I ended up eating more sugar overall, with all the fruit. It’s making me a little nauseated just thinking about all the fruit… read on, and let me know what you think of this odd day of eats.

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Breakfast was a homemade acai bowl made with coconut water and wheatgrass powder, topped with homemade cherry-walnut-coconut-quinoa granola. Iced coffee with almond milk. After this I took my friend’s yoga class, a led half-primary (Ashtanga).

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I came home, showered, and headed out to teach my first yoga class of the day. On my way I ate a delicious starfruit from my dad’s colleague’s yard (#HawaiiPerks).

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After that class, I snacked on two cute clementines.

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Then I got to work, and for lunch I had a Fage Greek Yogurt…

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And a small pack of Maui Onion macadamia nuts.

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I don’t know what compelled me to have a sweet tooth, but I had a nibble of this stevia Gingerbread chocolate, leftover from the holidays. Yuck. I only had a little, since it wasn’t that appealing. 

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After teaching another yoga class, and staying to take a restorative/yin class afterwards, I got home and made my weird dinner plate: Babybel Lite Cheese, hummus, local cucumber. This was actually really delicious (and savory! at last).

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Apparently tons of fruit and the earlier chocolate weren’t enough to satisfy my incessant sweet tooth, which I should really just go ahead and rename my Chocolate Tooth. So, I had a couple chocolate chips to end the evening.

What did you eat today? Do you ever try to eat clean but end up eating really weirdly all day?


What I Ate Wednesday #1

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Since we’re sort of starting over on ValerieBrett.com after eyechow, I decided to start numbering my WIAW posts, rather than labeling where I was that day (let’s be honest: I’m probably at home in Honolulu).

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A couple weeks ago now, in January, I tried out this CocoMama quinoa cereal that was one of my Christmas stocking stuffers!

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It didn’t look pretty since I ate it straight from the pan, but it was quick and easy to make. I mixed in Sun Potion’s Prash (a mixture of ghee, honey and healing herbs) and local bee pollen. I probably wouldn’t have chosen the fruity flavor for myself, but it wasn’t bad. WIAWMy first snack was an apple banana with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter (omg!) – a combination I highly recommend. 
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I found a huge, glass cup with a lid for $6 at Williams Sonoma recently and I love filling it with coffee or chai and almond milk, on the go. This is what my car looks like most days as I run between jobs and teaching yoga: books everywhere, big coffee, cute lunchbox.

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I’m a big snacker. My next one was this adorable little local tangerine. Yum!

FullSizeRender_4I ate a small lunch at work: local cherry tomatoes, pretzel sticks and peanut butter.

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As a midday pick-me-up, I had a Peppermint Bark tea, leftover from a box my friend sent me over the holidays 🙂 FullSizeRender_2

It didn’t quite satisfy the sugar chocolate craving I had, though, so I had to have some dark chocolate. FullSizeRender_3

Next I worked my second job, then headed to teach my late Wednesday yoga class. On the way, I snacked on an apple sauce and Maui onion macadamia nuts.
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I taught my power yoga class, and we had live music! If that’s something you’re interested in, follow me on Instagram, which is where I announce my special events. 

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After class, my boyfriend made a simple sauce for butternut squash ravioli: olive oil, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.

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For dessert, I dug into another one of my Christmas gifts: organic candy drops.FullSizeRender_2

These are perfect because they come in awesome tropical flavors, and are really small and sweet, meaning you can satisfy your sweet tooth with just one.

 

What did you eat today?

Zimmern’s Belgian Beef Stew [Recipe]

If you’re still not sure what to cook for Christmas or Christmas Eve dinner, look no further. My boyfriend Kiyo and I save recipes torn from magazines etc., and this recipe is from that collection. We ate the hearty Belgian beef stew with freekeh, which I highly recommend. Even though we live in Hawaii, where 70 degree nights are considered cold by locals (myself included), we craved something hearty and wintery to eat this time of year. This simple but classic recipe was just perfect.

Zimmern's Beef Stew Recipe

Belgian Beef Stew by Andrew Zimmern (from Food & Wine Magazine Nov. 2014)

Active: 45 min Total: 2 hr. 45 min

Serves: 6

  • 3 lbs. trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
  • Salt & white pepper
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • One 12-oz. bottle Duvel or other Belgian golden ale
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 3 thyme sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs & 1 bay leaf, tied in cheesecloth
  • 10 new potatoes, halved
  • 2 large carrots, cut into .5-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Parsley for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the beef and flour and shake well; remove from the bag, shaking off excess flour. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add one-third of the beef and cook over moderate heat until browned all over, 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.
  2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and browned, 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the beer and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Return the meat to the casserole and add the stock and herb bundle. Bring to a boil, then cover and braise in the oven for 1.5 hours, until the meat is very tender.
  3. Add the potatoes and carrots, cover and braise for 25 minutes longer, until tender. Discard the herb bundle. Stir in the mustard and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Wine recommendation: Dark-fruited Italian red: 2010 Di Majo Norante Ramitello


What I Ate Wednesday, Honolulu

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Wow, I ate a lot on Monday!

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I woke up feeling sick (running nose & sore throat), so I drank a few drops of essential oils (I will write about this cold-fighting combo later this week). I headed out to a super-early C2 yoga class at Core Power Yoga.

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I was STARVING when I got back! I made 3 eggs, scrambled, for breakfast, with ketchup and mayo, a small piece of toast and iced coffee with chocolate soy milk. Yum!

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Then I got ready for work, and somehow, I was still hungry, so I had part of an almond bar someone brought us from Trader Joe’s. These are really good, I like them as an alternative to individually-packaged bars. It has the texture of a soft cookie, but is slightly less sweet.

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Then I went to work and by the way: we are having an anniversary party this weekend! If you’re in Honolulu please stop by 🙂

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There was leftover Halloween candy at work, so I had to have a mini-pack of M&M’s.

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I got out at about 2:30 and ate a hurried lunch in the car on my way to my other job: vegan enchiladas that Kiyo made, with a side of guacamole I bought from the burrito place nearby. Kiyo made the enchiladas with black beans and squash, from a recipe in the awesome Thug Kitchen Cookbook, which I am working on the review for! He did add cheese, making it not-vegan.

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After job #2, I ate a starfruit on the way to teach yoga.

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Sunset yoga was gorgeous; even though the class was really small that day it was still lovely. 

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Finally, I got home around 7:30. Luckily, Kiyo heated up leftovers from Sunday night dinner and had them ready: roasted grape tomatoes (I made these with just olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper & spices) and pumpkin mac & cheese!!!

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We almost never have dairy milk in the house, but we did from the mac & cheese, so I had a small glass of milk for dessert with Trader Joe’s pumpkin Oreo’s that my friend Jenna sent us (there’s no Trader Joe’s in Hawaii, unfortunately). These are SO GOOD! And only 150 calories for 2, which is great.

What did you eat today?

Homemade Dinner, Oslo

homemade dinner in Oslo

There is a good reason that I haven’t finished writing about my trip to Norway and Sweden with Zan (which was already a good two years ago).

I usually leave out details of the story surrounding a meal or dish, not because they aren’t interesting, but because they’re frankly too long and difficult to recount. But there was something magical about my arrival in Oslo, Norway, from New York City two years ago, that I feel I need to somehow convey when I show you the first meal I had there.

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This is an exact line from my journal from that day, August 30, 2013: “Fell asleep on the train from the airport but made it to Wenche’s!” Wenche is a family friend of Zan’s; she’s our mothers’ age and has a daughter our age. I’d never met them, never even been in contact with them, and Zan had sent me her address with directions. I must have been in a post-plane stupor if I fell asleep on the train, and I honestly have no idea how I made it all the way to Wenche’s house on my own from the airport. Zan wasn’t scheduled to arrive for a few more hours, so I knocked on the door that I assumed was the right one from the given directions, hoping the strangers that opened the door were the right ones. Luckily, they were.

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They were welcoming and their house was lovely, perched high on a hill, warm and welcoming on a chilly, wet afternoon.

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Wenche’s daughter, Marlena, kindly offered to show me around the property. It was surreal, being alone in a new place with strangers who were as kind as old friends, and a fluffy, friendly creature named Luna.

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