Asian Style Garlic Tofu with Rice (Vegetarian)

NEMs!
Here is a tasty TOFU dish that’s quick and easy to make & is great for those who are vegetarians! You’ll need to prep steps 1-5 to let the tofu marinate for about 20-30 minutes.   🙂
 
INGREDIENTS

  • (1) lb. of extra firm Tofu
  • Rice of your choice (1) cup or more depending on the # of eaters
    • You can sub Quinoa
  • 4-5 Green Onions
  • (2) Tbsp. Sesame Oil (or Olive Oil)
  • (1/4) cup Hoisin sauce
  • (2) Tbsp. Soy sauce
  • (2-3) cloves of minced garlic (You can also just buy the minced garlic in a jar)

 
COOKING DIRECTIONS
1.  In a bowl, add the 3 ingredients for the sauce. Stir to combine
file_000     file_001
2.  Press the tofu between towels to remove excess moisture.
3.  Cut into about 1 inch cubes.  Now, if your “helper” (in my case, my boyfriend Andrew , who is also a #noexcuseDAD of THREE TEENAGERS 🙂 ) wants to help you line up the tofu cubes…. just let him.  LOL!!!
andrew-lining-up     tofu-no-sauce
4.  Add to the sauce and gently toss until thoroughly coated.
tofu-with-sauce
5.  Cover and place in fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
6.  Cook rice or Quinoa according to directions
7.  Slice green onions.
8.  In a skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.
9.  Add the marinated tofu and spread out in a single layer.
file_002
10.  Cook without stirring for 5 minutes or until browned on one side.
11.  Flip them, and cook for another few minutes.
12.  Add the green onions for the last minute or two of cooking.  You can add more Hoisin if your tofu looks too dry.  (I didn’t have to add any when making this dish.)
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13.  Serve over a hot bed of rice (or quinoa), add a few sprinkles of sesame seeds!
final-2
ENJOY!
If you like this recipe or have a recipe that you’d like to share & be featured on the NEM website, leave a comment below OR email me at:  Meeshie@noexcusemom.com.
meeshie-logo-w-maddox-updated
 
(Recipe Credit:  http://www.thegardengrazer.com)
 

Make Your Own Protein/Energy Bars!

Protein bars used to be more aimed for hikers who are on the go for long periods of time, or extreme athletes on the go. Now they are becoming more mainstream and used as snacks, and that’s okay, it’s just important to choose the right ones, and use them in the right way depending on your goals.
The protein and fibre in these bars, can help keep you full and satisfied if you need something quick to tie you over until your next meal. You can eat them on the go to help prevent you from getting too hangry…we all know how we can make bad decisions when we’re hangry. These types of bars are also going to manage your blood sugars and energy levels much better than a sugary chocolate bar alone, where you get a spike and energy, and then a crash, whereas the protein and fibre in the energy bars will help delay digestion and help manage blood sugar and energy levels).
If you’re choosing a store bought protein bar it should ideally be: high in protein (10g or more), high in fibre (3g or more), low in calories (150-250 cals, depending on your goals and if you’re male or female), low in saturated fat (1.5g or less), low in sugar (around 10g or less), and low in total net carb (ideally 15-30g, again depending on your goals and if you’re male or female). If you get more vitamins and minerals in there such as calcium or iron, then that’s even more nutritional bang for your buck! You also want to consider your ingredients list for things like where your protein is coming from and the types of ingredients in the bar.
Now for the recipes! The best thing? None of them have to be baked, and all can be kept in the freezer!
Chocolate Espresso Protein Balls
IMG_8632
Ingredients:
‌• 1 cup oats (gluten free, if needed)
‌• 2 Tbsp Chocolate Vega One Nutritional Shake
‌• ¼ cup chocolate chips
‌• 10 chopped dark chocolate covered espresso beans, OR, two tsp espresso coffee powder
‌• ½ cup almond butter
‌• ½ cup flaxseed meal
‌• 1 Tbsp chia seeds
‌• ⅓ cup maple syrup
‌• 1 tsp vanilla extract
‌• 1 pinch of salt
Directions:
Mix all ingredients together (By hand or stand mixer) in a bowl and then refrigerate for 20-45 minutes to set (optional).
Remove and make into balls, with a small scooper or your hands.
Note: You can also roll these into toasted coconut flakes or raw cacao powder, and you can also press these into a pan, chill, and then cut into bars.
Place in an airtight container to refrigerate. Will last 5-7 days but most likely they will be long gone before that!
Recipe courtesy of: Vega
Lemon Coconut Energy Balls
IMG_9327
Ingredients:
‌• 8 pitted Medjool dates
‌• ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
‌• Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
‌• ½ tsp vanilla extract
‌• ½ cup coconut flour
‌• 1 serving Vanilla Vega Protein & Greens, OR, Vanilla Vega One Nutritional Shake
‌• Pinch of salt
‌• 1-2 Tbsp almond milk, if needed
‌• Unsweetened shredded coconut (I used toasted coconut), for rolling
Directions:
Place dates, applesauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large food processor. Process until dates look nearly pureed and mixture is very-well combined.
Add coconut flour, protein powder, and salt. Process until mixture forms a smooth ball of “dough.” (If mixture looks too dry, add almond milk.)
Roll into 12 balls (or more).
Place about ½ cup coconut in a small bowl and roll balls in coconut, if desired. I rolled the balls in almond milk first to make coconut stick better. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, or freezer. You can also press these into a pan, chill, and then cut into bars.
Recipe Courtesy of: Vega
Raw Hemp Chia Seed Bars
IMG_9075
Ingredients:
‌• 3 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free, if needed)
• 1/2 cup Hemp Hearts
• 1/2 cup chia seeds
• 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
• 3/4 cups almonds (ground in tiny pieces), or almond meal
• 1/2 cup agave syrup, honey, or maple syrup
• 1/2 cup applesauce
• 3/4 cups almond or peanut butter
• 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted/liquid)
• 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together (oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax seed meal, ground almonds or almond meal).
In a medium sized bowl, mix all wet ingredients together (honey or other liquid sweetener, applesauce, almond butter, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract).
Take the wet ingredient mixture and combine in the large bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until well combined, using your hands if needed.
Put the mixture in an 8 x 8 glass baking dish and press the mixture firmly. Put in the refrigerator or freezer to chill or until the mixture is firm.bCut into even size bars or smaller sized squares.
Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve because they will get soft if left out at room temperature.
IMG_1575
Recipe courtesy of: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
Enjoy!
felicia2
Felicia Newell is our Official NEM Nutritionist and has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition, as well as a Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition. She is also a Registered Dietitian (candidate). For the past several years, Felicia has worked at a university research centre with a focus on food security, food access, and policies relating to food; she has taught university level nutrition courses; and she is currently working at a large chain grocery store helping her community make healthier choices. One of Felicia’s passions is helping others fight through the confusing misinformation that is out there in the ever-changing and growing world of food and nutrition. Another one of her passions lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.
Read more about her story here, and on her Facebook page, or follow her on Instagram: @felicianewellnutrition. Click here for more NEM experts.

Make Your Own Smoothies!

Let me first tell you…you may or may not know this…but you do not need smoothies, shakes, protein drinks, meal replacement smoothies – whatever you want to call them – to lose weight, or gain muscle, etc. Okay…now that’s out of the way…but let me explain why.
All of the nutrients (and more) found in smoothies, can be also included in regular snacks and meals. In other words, a smoothie is no better than a bowl of Greek yogurt, berries, and mixed nuts and seeds; or a piece of baked chicken, ½ cup of quinoa, and half plate of veggies, etc., etc. However, smoothies are a great way to get in nutrients if you are busy, on the go, and need something quick and convenient, or if you simply enjoy having one!
What I do recommend as a healthy diet for the general population, and one that supports weight loss, is one that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains or other complex carbohydrates, dairy products or dairy alternatives, seafood, lean proteins, legumes and nuts while reducing red and processed meat, refined grains, and sugary foods and beverages. While also – and these are just some examples – moving more, reducing the amount of calories you eat/eating at a caloric deficit (for weight loss; which means you figure out your Total Daily Energy Requirement (TDEE) – from a professional, or a reputable online site – and eat about 5-600 less than that per day), gaining help and support from a professional if necessary (or even a supportive friend or group), getting adequate sleep, trying to manage stress, working on becoming more organized, and reducing the negativity in your life (weight loss has a psychological component as well, and when we feel better in other aspects of life, we can be more successful in reaching our goals).
Another thing I want you to know, is that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on shakes per month if you would like to use smoothies/protein shakes. They can be made with as many or little ingredients as you have access to, and still pack an extreme nutrient punch and keep you full until your next meal.
Here is a list of smoothie ingredients to chose from. All you need is at least one from each category (ideally), and you will have a great smoothie!
 
Protein:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Plain, chocolate or vanilla unsweetened milk (cows, goats, almond, soy, cashew, or rice, depending on preference)
  • Plain kefir (high in probiotics)
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Tofu
  • Protein powder (whether you go for the most nutritious out there, or a more cost effective one – do what works for you and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it!)
  • Almonds, or any other type of nuts (small amount)

Fruits: (can be fresh or frozen, if fresh it is best to use some ice)

  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Peach
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Melon
  • Cherries
  • Apricot
  • Pomegranate seeds

Vegetables: (I find these are the best to use)

  • Carrot
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber

Flavour and Added Nutrition:

  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seed
  • Hemp hearts
  • Old-fashioned oats (will add complex carbs and fibre to keep you full longer)
  • Spices (e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Coconut water
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Mint leaves
  • If you must have added sweetness, use a small amount (1 tsp or less) of your choice of sweetener or sugar (however, the fruit, vanilla beverages and extract, and cinnamon will usually add enough): stevia, Splenda, sugar, cane sugar honey, pure maple syrup
  • Completely optional and not necessary if you’re adding your own nutrients, but some other options for added flavor and nutrients are:

Note: blend ingredients in a blender or magic bullet (easiest for cleanup).
 
Tips on Purchasing Smoothie Ingredients:
Any time you make healthy swaps in your pantry, it doesn’t have to happen overnight. You may not be used to buying all of these ingredients, and you may not the means or access to get everything right away. Here are some general tips for stocking up the pantry in general, and for smoothies:

  • Purchase 1-2 new ingredients at a time.
  • Check local flyers for sales. More and more grocery stores are having sales on healthier items such as chia, flax and hemp seeds. There are also apps such as ‘Flipp’ that check local flyers for you when you search for a specific ingredient.
  • The larger you can buy of the item the better (if possible), it will last you longer and give you more time to add other staples to the pantry. However, certain items will also have sample sizes you can buy or find (e.g., Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts small package for $2.99, and Vega One Single Protein Packages for $3.99),
  • Frozen is better for smoothies than fresh in my opinion, as they keep for a long time in your freezer, and won’t go bad in your fridge within the week.
  • Even a smoothie with 5-6 ingredients from the list above (1-2 from each category), will be delicious and nutritious.

For more tips on eating healthy on a budget, see my previous post.
 
Protein Powder Examples:
Vega One (My personal favourite, as it is high in fibre, protein, and many other nutrients; made from all natural, nutritious foods; vegan; gluten-free; 6 servings of greens; also includes probiotics and digestive enzymes)
Kaizen Naturals
Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal
LeanFit Complete Green or Whey Isolate Protein (available in some grocery stores or at Costco)
 
Tips When Choosing a Cost-Effective Protein Powder: 
Look for:

  • Low sugar (ideally 3g or less; make sure it is not top 3 in the ingredient list)
  • Low saturated fat (ideally 1.5g or less)
  • High protein (ideally 15-30g, depending on goals)
  • High fibre (ideally 3-5g)
  • Nutrients such as vitamins and minerals (calcium, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, etc., are an added bonus).
  • Whey Protein Isolate is better than ‘Whey’ only
  • For Vegans: hemp and soy protein powders are great because they contain complete proteins, however, other options such as brown rice protein and pea protein are still great, as long as you are getting other protein sources throughout the day.

 
Smoothie Recipes:
Kale and Berry Power Smoothie
IMG_8067

  • 1/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of spinach or kale leaves (remove the hard parts of the kale stalks)
  • 1/3 of a cup of unsweetened vanilla milk of choice, or water (kefir for greatest nutrition and digestive benefits)
  • 1/3 cup yogurt of choice (Greek for highest protein)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp powder or seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

 
Chocolate Banana Smoothie
IMG_8072

  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened vanilla milk of choice, or water (kefir for greatest nutrition benefits)
  • 1/3 cup yogurt of choice (Greek for highest protein)
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/2 to 1 scoop protein, or 1-2 tbsp hemp, chia, or flax seeds, or 1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 I hope this helps some of you with making your own smoothies, and not feeling like you have to buy expensive smoothies or products to work towards a healthier lifestyle! 
 
felicia2
Felicia Newell is our Official NEM Nutritionist and has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition, as well as a Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition. For the past several years, Felicia has worked at a university research centre with a focus on food security, food access, and policies relating to food; she has taught university level nutrition courses; and she is currently working at a large chain grocery store helping her community make healthier choices. One of Felicia’s passions is helping others fight through the confusing misinformation that is out there in the ever-changing and growing world of food and nutrition. Another one of her passions lies in working toward a future where everyone has access to enough affordable, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food, that is produced, processed and distributed in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. Felicia has published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health titled, ‘Is the Minimum Enough: Affordability of a Nutritious Diet for Minimum Wage Earners in Nova Scotia’.
Read more about her story here, and on her Facebook page, or follow her on Instagram: @felicianewellnutrition. Click here for more NEM experts.
 

Egg Cupcakes! (OK OK OK, they are Muffins)

No Excuse Moms!

First, let me start by wishing you ALL a HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR in 2016!   There are going to be a lot of new updates and changes this year for NEM and I’m so excited!  

It’s been a while since I’ve put up a recipe – but that’s all going to change with 2016!  🙂

I would like to introduce to you one of the most awesome Moms that I’ve “virtually” met through NEM.  She is so positive and my inspiration….please meet JESS DOVA,  NEM REGION VIII Leader,  NEM Pueblo, CO Leader & NEM Pueblo West Leader!   She is also the mother of 3 kiddies!  As you can see…she’s one busy mama and that’s why NEM loves her!

jess in nem jacket

Before I share her Quick & Easy Egg Muffins recipe, let’s get to know Jess just a little better…

 

Meeshie:  ​How many kids do you have?

JESS:  I have three amazing kiddos!  A girl 9, boy 5, boy 2.

jess and family

Meeshie:  How did you get involved in NEM?

​JESS:  Over a year ago I was looking for an outlet for my beautiful daughter and I. She was going through a difficult time, and struggled with self confidence stemming from being bullied. I wanted to shower her a strong leader, and continue to be a role model and empower her throughout the process.  I sent in my application in hopes that she ​​would feed off of the positive energy of other likeminded women and children! Today she loves attending the meetups and playing/working out with her new friends. She rocks the NEM hat and proudly calls herself our local NEM assistant manager.

 

Meeshie:  What are your fave foods to indulge in???

JESS:  I’m a lover of all things peanut butter!

Meeshie:  What is your favorite workout?

JESS:  All things glutes! I try to incorporate them into every workout! Make sure to hit weighted lunges, squats, step ups, hip thrusters and kickbacks. Go Heavy!

jess yoga

Meeshie:  How do you find time for the gym?

JESS:  Workouts can take place anywhere! I workout in my garage, at a local high school bleachers, at my NEM group or various outdoor activities that my little ones can attend as well. We make everything a game to keep them interested whether its a race, soccer or even who can squat jump the highest. We also love our yoga right before bedtime!

Meeshie:  What is your go to meal for the kids?

JESS:  If it’s not my famous cottage cheese eggs in the mornings, it’s anything and everything spaghetti squash. My kids actually beg for the leftovers in their lunchbox! I just throw mine in the crockpot! You can use it in and dish to replace pasta, which means unlimited options, even for picky eaters!

 
 

Meeshie:  Anything else you would like to share with our NEMs?

JESS:  No matter where your fitness journey starts, you can be your child’s first role model. Show them drive, determination and clean eating – they are always watching. Keep going mommas!

 
 
 

 Now let’s get to that recipe! 🙂

JESS:  Such a great and versatile recipe! Make it your own and keep them in the refrigerator for a ready to go breakfast for the whole family! Next time I may even bake them in liners for my school aged children for mornings! 😉

 What You’ll Need

  • About 12 eggs (choose your egg white to whole egg ratio. I use 2 egg whites to 1 whole egg ?

  • can garbanzo beans

  • 1 cup chopped spinach

  • 1 med red bell pepper

  • Mrs Dash to taste, any flavor!

tomatoes

How to Cook It

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • Combine and scramble ingredients in bowl then use a ladle to proportion in pan

eggs scrambled

  • Make sure pan is generously sprayed beforehand

eggs in pan

  • Bake for 20 minutes!

  • Simple and delicious! Next time you can add cottage cheese, which is what JESS love about this, pick and choose your favorite breakfast go-to’s! Enjoy!

eggs kinda cooked

FOLLOW JESS on IG @coloradofitmom

Well NEMs, hoped you enjoyed getting to know one of our NEM Leaders and the first recipe blog of 2016!  Be ready for more to come!!!

~ Meeshie 😉 ,  NEM Leader San Diego County & NEM Blogger

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Chicken Stuffed Manicotti

Hi NEMs! 
Are you ready for another great recipe?  Well here it is!  CHICKEN STUFFED MANICOTTI!
One of our San Diego No Excuse Moms Calista Mejia who I met earlier this year is sharing this yummy recipe with us.  🙂
Calista
But first, let’s get to know our fellow NEM Calista and her adorable family…
calista family

  • How many children do you have and their ages?  
    • One little love-bug, she is 5 ½ …though she practically BEGS for a little sister!
  • How did you get involved with NEM?  
    • I first heard about Maria back when her strong, yet controversial “What’s your excuse” image was posted online back in 2013…I was immediately inspired, as that’s about the same time I began my fitness journey. I requested to become a member of the NEM Facebook page shortly thereafter and loved seeing these extraordinary mothers, balancing their health & wellness along with all of their family & other responsibilities in life. I became more engaged with NEM just this year, when Maria posted about her upcoming book & the 12-week challenge in mid-January. I was also fortunate enough to assist & meet other NEMs at Maria’s booth at the LA Fit Expo in February as well.
  • When do you find time to workout?
    • I don’t “find” time…I make it. Plain and simple. Just like, I don’t “find” time to eat breakfast, lunch & dinner each day…I make the time because it’s at the top of my priority list.
  • What is your favorite workout?
    • I honestly don’t know how I can pick just one favorite. I consider myself a ‘fitness enthusiast’ – so to me, the more variety, the better. I feel like there is always more to learn, to try, to experience… and I don’t want to ever get bored or burnt out with exercise. I love weight training, yoga, hiking, running (especially along the beach here in sunny San Diego!), pilates, & outdoor bootcamps.
  • How do you stay motivated?
    • Motivation, that’s a tough one for many of us. Even for those who have implemented fitness into their routine & live a healthy lifestyle. There are good/easier days than others…but mainly my motivation comes from inside (intrinsically), as it should…whereas some have ‘extrinsic’ motivation (doing it for someone else, or just to look good in an outfit…outside reasons). I truly enjoy exercise.

…and now for Calista’s awesome recipe!
final pic
Ingredients:

  • 14 pieces manicotti pasta tubes
  • Tomato sauce of your choice (I used Delallo Roasted Garlic)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 12.5 oz can of premium white chicken in water – drained (I use Trader Joes)
  • ½ cup “riced” cauliflower
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach – chopped
  • ½ cup artichoke hearts – chopped
  • 6 oz container of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt (I use the Fage brand)
  • ½ cup, ricotta cheese – low fat
  • 4 oz lite shredded mozzarella cheese (I use Trader Joes, pre-shredded)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375.
  • Boil manicotti tubes for 5-6 min, do not overcook or they could break! Once done, set aside to cool.

NOTES:

  • You could definitely use cooked chicken then chop it up…I just try to save some time and it’s quick and easy to use the canned sometimes.
  • To ‘rice’ cauliflower, I cut off a few florets from the head and put into a mini food processor. Pulse a few times to get a ‘rice-like’ consistency and then measure out ½ cup.
  • Frozen spinach would work for this as well…just thaw & drain out moisture first…measure out to your liking – maybe about a cup.

In a 9×13 baking dish, pour in your tomato sauce – just enough to cover the bottom.
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the filling. Once combined, scoop the mixture into a large plastic zip lock bag, squeeze out all the air & zip shut. Snip off the end about an inch or so from a bottom corner of the bag.
Hold a manicotti tube securely in hand to prevent it from breaking, then slowly begin to pipe the filling inside – it’s best to fill from both ends to make sure each tube gets filled all the way without air pockets. Don’t overfill, to ensure you have enough for all 14 tubes. If you have extra filling afterwards, go back & add a small amount to each. Place all into baking dish. If you choose, you can pour some additional tomato sauce on the tubes – I chose not to so I could measure out my own amount of sauce afterwards.
Cover lightly with foil & bake in oven for 15 minutes.
Plate & spoon tomato sauce on each one, then garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (optional) and a pinch of julienned basil (optional).
Serves 3 (4 tubes each) or 4 (3 tubes each, with 2 leftover).
calista card pic
Enjoy!
Calista Mejia
@FitCaliMamma
fitcalimamma@yahoo.com
**Nutritional Info per Manicotti Tube (based on the products used):

  • 125 calories
  • 2g fat
  • 231mg sodium
  • 15g carbs
  • 11g protien

****************************************************************************************************************
Well NEMs, I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Don’t forget that if you have a recipe you’d like to share on our website, please email me at:  Meeshie@NoExcuseMom.com 😉
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