Monday, June 30, 2014

Food Post - Ramen Noodles with Tofu and Spicy Peanut Sauce



I seem to have been cooking more and more Asian-style meals.   I make a lot of salads during the week, along with more plain meat and veggie dishes, but to mix things up a bit I'll start searching for interesting meals such as this one.  Gregg is always happy when I tell him what I have found as he loves anything like this.  You can look at the original recipe at "She Knows", in the recipe section here.  



This recipe calls for those packets of Ramen Noodle Soup but you throw the little packet away, so you'll be getting rid of all that sodium plus that's so bad for you. 


Ramen Noodles with Tofu and Spicy Peanut Sauce 
Serves 4

2 (3 ounce) packets of Ramen Noodles (any kind will work - you will be discarding the flavor packet)
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons garlic-chili paste
3 to 4 dashes hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces firm tofu, sliced thin (the original recipe called for tempeh, but I couldn't find it at our local supermarket)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, sliced into thin pieces
1/4 cup chopped peanuts for garnish
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced for garnish

For the sauce, combine the water and peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  whisk together to combine.

Reduce the heat to low and add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, garlic-chili paste and hot sauce.  Whisk until all the ingredients blend together into a smooth sauce.  Keep the pan on the lowest setting to keep warm.

Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the tempeh and cook for a few minutes, turning over with a spatula so that each side will brown nicely.  

Boil water in a saucepan and begin to cook the ramen noodles according to the package directions (this usually takes 3 minutes).

Add the garlic and red sweet bell pepper to the tofu and cook, stirring, just until the ramen noodles have finished cooking.

Drain the noodles and add them to a large bowl, along with the tofu, red pepper and garlic.  

Pour some of the sauce over the tofu/noodle mixture, and toss to combine.  Add more sauce as needed.

Serve in individual bowls and garnish with the chopped peanuts and green onion.

~~~~~

What did we think of this dish?  Well for a start Gregg loved it.  He is great at trying different things but when I tell him I am going to cook a meatless dish, let alone serve him tofu, he is a little skeptical.  What made this dish was the sauce and if you are one of those people who isn't too fond of tofu, try this dish and see what you think.  

I couldn't get any tempeh in my local grocery store (I read later it is available in health food stores in the refrigerator section), so I made do with firm tofu.  Tempeh is also made with soy beans but apparently it is a lot healthier than tofu, containing more protein and fiber.  It also adds a chewier consistency and like tofu, you can use it in other recipes by crumbling it up and adding it to soups, casseroles or pasta sauce I've also seen recipes where it is mixed in with smoothies, though I haven't tried that yet.

It wasn't too hot or spicy which is fine with me.  I still felt a little heat at the back of the throat and on the tongue.  Gregg was surprised I had added any hot sauce at all.  I'm just super sensitive to that stuff, and I figured if he wants to add extra then the bottle is on the table.  However, he was enjoying it so much he didn't bother.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

TODAY'S FLOWERS #303


 On our walk at Limberlost Trail a while ago, there were Bluets everywhere and they were a beautiful sight.  Another name for this pretty little flower is Quaker Ladies.  They are about half an inch across and very small compared to some that I saw that day, but they were one of my favorites.  Bluets were blooming all along the trail, and by the end of our walk I had fallen in love with this tiny wildflower.





 Pink Columbine, sometimes called Granny's Nightcap or Pink Lanterns.  It attracts butterflies, bumblebees and hummingbirds and blooms for an extended time beginning in early spring.  It thrives in sun or shade and will self seed.  Buntings and finches apparently love the seed.  





I have Gregg to thank for this one.  It is a Pink Trillium and was not immediately visible but Gregg is a great spotter and picked it out almost immediately.  It was the only one we found that day.  Trillium are members of the lily family.  Another name for Trillium is Stinking Benjamin!  As you might guess by the name they apparently don't smell very nice.  No I didn't bend down to take a whiff, frankly I would never have been able to get up again without great difficulty.  Apparently insects love that stinky smell.
 


This is a White Baneberry, also known as Doll's Eye.  It is a highly toxic plant which is its only defense.  It deters both humans and most animals but there are some who are tolerant to the toxins.  What animals those are I'm not sure.



This yellow flower is called Golden Ragwort.  Its nectar and pollen attract small bees and flies.  We saw a lot of Carpenter bees flying around, and another flying insect that you can just make out in the photo. 





Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.




You can find beautiful flowers from around the world if you click here.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on our home page, details can be found at the top of Today's Flowers web site, which you will find here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

CAMERA CRITTERS, SATURDAYS CRITTERS AND BIRD D'POT

Out for a drive in the countryside we came across several geese and ducks.  Firstly, the ever present Canada Goose.


 The next were a pair of Muscovy Ducks.  I took several photos because I can't remember the last time I saw any.  One was sitting on a fence at a farm.....





 and its mate was swimming in a nearby stream.








 It eventually got tired of me.  Even though I wasn't that close and behind a fence, it flew away to join its mate.


 In the distance there was also a White Goose and another duck I couldn't see very clearly.  I had to crop the photo to get a better luck.




I am joining Misty's Camera Critters,  Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  and Anni's Bird D'PotThank you for hosting ladies, I am always happy to join in these great meme's.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY AND GOOD FENCES

As this week has been a particularly busy one for my family and me, I am using one photo for two memes.  Found on a Sunday drive in the countryside.



 My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.

Please click here to visit other sky watchers.




Thank you Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for continuing another great meme.  Click on the blog link to see other participants, and the button below to find out more information.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Random Photo - Seashell


See shell, sea shell,
Sing a song for me.
Sing about the ocean,
Tell me about the sea.

Author: Unknown


NATURE NOTES and a WARNING, if you don't like SNAKES this is not for you.


 Back in the beginning of April Gregg and I went to Huntley Meadows.  It is a place we have been to often over the years and I have shared about it before.  If you would like to see those other visits, you can click on the Huntley Meadows label below this post.


 Whenever we saw a group of people staring into the undergrowth we would join them to see what they were staring at.  Today was the day for snakes.  In fact, there have been many visits where we would see none but on this particular day we saw many. 


We were told by someone that these are Ribbon Snakes.


 An eastern ribbon snake, or common ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) is a subspecies of ribbon snake found in the northeastern United States.  It averages 16-35 inches (41-89 cm) in length.





I think the snake below may be a garter snake, only because on this page here it shows you the difference.  On the eye of the ribbon snake there is a small white marking in front of the eye, whereas a garter snake does not.   I am by no means an expert but it's fun trying to learn these things after seeing so many of them, and I enjoyed reading the information at that link.



 I have absolutely no clue what this one is.  Can anyone ID it for me?   


 And no, I wasn't that close when taking any of these photos.






As you can see, the park was very busy the day we went.  It is unusual for us to go on a Saturday and there were a lot of parents with children interested in those snakes.  It is how we spotted them in the first place.  I think this area is a marvelous place for introducing young ones to nature. 



I am linking with Michelle's Nature Notes Thanks for hosting such a fun meme Michelle, and an educational one also as it makes me look further than the end of my nose!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Random Photo and a Quote


"People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within."

~Elisabeth Kϋbler-Ross~

Saturday, June 21, 2014

TODAY'S FLOWER # 302

The link to Today's Flowers on our home page opens at 12.15 a.m. every Saturday, Eastern Time (US).  The old link will close the previous Thursday at 11.30 P.M.

To see beautiful blooms from around the world you can click here.  My grateful thanks to last week's participants.


 All these photos were taken in the countryside.  The gateposts above had planters full of pretty flowers.  The rest were found in the hedgerows.






Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.

Our home page can be found here.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on the TF site, details can be found  here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

CAMERA CRITTERS AND SATURDAY'S CRITTERS

Have cat with travel!



I see a little dog here also, in front of the young man on the left.  I would have loved to catch up with them and ask them their story.


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.....Dream......Discover."

~Mark Twain, American Writer and Humorist~
(1835-1910)


~~~~~~~


I am joining Misty's Camera Critters 





Thursday, June 19, 2014

SKYWATCH FRIDAY

A pretty sky and equally pretty farm found on a ride in the country in Northern Virginia.


My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.


Please click here to visit other sky watchers.


Happy SkyWatch Friday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GOOD FENCES

This is not a broken fence, it is part of the design at one found at Norfolk Botanical Garden.





Thank you Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for continuing another great meme.  Click on the blog link to see other participants, and the button below to find out more information.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

NATURE NOTES

Found in the Everglades National Park in January.


Viceroy



Orange Julia



Zebra (The Florida State Butterfly)


I am linking with Michelle's Nature Notes Thanks for hosting such a fun meme Michelle, and an educational one also as it makes me look further than the end of my nose!