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Back at'em

Whew! Christmas Drive-By 2010 (Columbus to Chicago to Champaign and back in 3 1/2 days) has come to a close, and I start back to work as of this morning. At least I can say that my brief time away was well-spent with family and friends, and decompressing from the stress that was last week. I am feeling energized and ready to take on a crazy, but fulfilling schedule. I have even toyed around with the idea of moving my workouts to the morning as to allow a bit more flexibility in the evening, and to keep up with regular workouts while teaching 2 nights a week…we will see. The added bonus to morning workouts is my hair and its stubborn cow’s lick do appreciate  a morning wash and blow-dry, but that hasn’t motivated my morning sweat sessions as of yet. 😉 Stay tuned.

So after getting nailed by a state trooper going 73 mph in a 55, my trip picked up from there. Santa, family, and friends were all too generous. Guess I’ve been on my best behavior in 2010. I’d say so 🙂

Mr. P and I pulled in the drive-way right around 6:30pm last night. We unloaded and extremely packed car (packed in like sardines, I tell you!) and a very tired Lily Monster. I started on dinner right away — I needed balance, green, and something relatively quick.

I loved the lunch I had at Northstar Cafe with Gina. I’ve been wanting it ever since! It was called the Buddah Bowl and was described like so:

Pan seared organic tofu or chicken, long-grain organic brown rice with peanut sauce and bright veggies.

Yum, right? I went with the tofu and it was fabulous.

However, I am a tofu novice. I know that I love a slightly crunchy tofu with a soft center, and I’ve been told “sauteing” in oil is the best/only way to get that texture. Wrong! Baking worked beautifully in this dish that I re-created at home.

Tofu Buddah Bowl Re-Make inspired by Northstar Cafe and Eats Well with Others (sauce)

1 cup brown rice, dry
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
6 cups broccoli florets
2 cups carrots, peeled, and sliced into thin, 4″ long pieces
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
1″ piece ginger, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp water


Preheat oven to 475° F.

Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to directions.

Meanwhile, cube tofu. Spray a ceramic or glass 9×13 dish with non-stick spray. Arrange tofu in a single layer in the dish. Spray tofu with non-stick spray. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Bake tofu for 30 minutes, stirring and rotating tofu every 10 minutes.

In a food processor, mix together nut butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar, and water. Set aside.

With 5 minutes left to cook on the rice and tofu, steam vegetables in a steamer bag, or place into a large dish and cover. Microwave for 4-4 1/2 minutes or until cooked al dente.

When rice is cooked, stir in half of the nut sauce. Plate rice and top with tofu and veggies. Drizzle with an additional 1-2 tablespoons of nut sauce. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 565 calories; 25 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 642 mg. sodium; 52.5 g. carbohydrate; 10 g. fiber; 16 g. sugar; 24.8 g. protein

Result: This was VERY close to the Northstar Cafe version – delicious! Mr. P really liked it, too. The portion is generous and very high in fiber with a great balance between carbohydrate, protein, and fat. As much as I love baked tofu, this dish would be just as good with shrimp, chicken, pork, or beef…it’s very versatile. You can add more veggies to bulk it up, too! Enjoy!

I am working today and tonight have orientation for new adjunct instructors until nearly my bedtime!! It’s going to be a long one, but the week looks up from here! 😀

Question: What are your NYE plans?

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. The Candid RD
    December 28, 2010 / 7:10 am

    Awesome!! I’m glad you got to re-create a delicious Northstar meal! And I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your holidays. Lots of traveling it sounds like! I’m glad you are both safe and didn’t get caught up in any bad weather.

    NYE plans are still up in the air. We’re doing something with Nick’s crazy friends, but not sure what yet. You and Mark are still invited! Either dinner then coming here, or going to one of Nick’s friend’s bars. Should be…interesting.

  2. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    December 28, 2010 / 7:51 am

    If you can fit in the morning workouts, I highly recommend it… that’s what I’m trying to make a habit out of (when I don’t have to work until 9:00) and I really love how much less “rushed” I feel in the evening…

  3. Sushma Mallya
    December 28, 2010 / 9:50 am

    looks delicious..

  4. Food-Fitness-FreshAir
    December 28, 2010 / 9:58 am

    This sounds delicious! Baked tofu is the best. I really love working out in the morning and the way it sets my day off…But it definitely takes some motivation! I usually only get myself up one or two mornings a week before class and work.

  5. Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
    December 28, 2010 / 10:46 am

    It’s been too long since i’ve had tofu! Looks delicious and refreshing! I love peanut sauce. If I see it at any restaurant I always order it.

    Hope your busy schedule isn’t too much stress on you. I love morning workouts- they totally give me loads more energy throughout the day.

  6. Trish
    December 28, 2010 / 10:50 am

    It’ll be the first NYE that my boyfriend and I have actually spent together, in the same state so we’re excited about that! It’s a tradition in his family to put together a puzzle on NYE, and since he can’t be with them this year we’re going to continue the tradition on with us. We’ll see how it goes once I’ve had a few adult beverages though!

  7. Andrea@WellnessNotes
    December 28, 2010 / 11:29 am

    You’ll figure out a schedule that will work for you and your busy schedule! Just keep trying new things… My workouts and overall schedule looks totally different than it did a year ago, and it works much better…

    The meal sounds great! Glad you were able to recreate a meal you enjoyed so much.

    No NYE plans here. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be asleep by midnight… ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    December 28, 2010 / 12:18 pm

    That looks great. It’s like a stir-fry without the sautee part. For NYE, my parents are down from MA and we’ll probably do dinner and a movie. I despise going to bars for New Year’s so it’s a quiet night in for me.

  9. Hezzi-D
    December 28, 2010 / 12:52 pm

    YUM! We love tofu and I’m always looking for new ways to make it. This looks delicious!

  10. renee@mykitchenadventures
    December 28, 2010 / 1:36 pm

    ya know, I have never much cooked with tofu. I think its about time I start. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. melindard
    December 28, 2010 / 2:04 pm

    I love your recreated dish. It looks great. That sucks you got pulled over. I hope it wasn’t a huge ticket. Have a nice time at orientation. I know you will love teaching. It is so much fun. I remember my first day of class on term and the class before was running late and so we were all outside. I overheard one kid say to another, I bet our professor will keep us late too on the first day. It’s gonna suck. And I was like, No, I don’t think so. And the kids were like, no I am sure we will be stuck here all afternoon. I was like, Um, no, I don’t think so…and they were like Huh? so I spilled the beans and said, I know because I am your professor, so let’s go inside, get things started and maybe get out a few minutes early. Haha, since I look really young they were shocked that I was not a student. It was really funny.

  12. Mari
    December 28, 2010 / 3:22 pm

    Thank you for the Tofu recipe!!!!!!! I heart Tofu so much and I am always looking for new ways to make it.

  13. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    December 28, 2010 / 5:39 pm

    This dish looks great! I have been making more dishes with tofu lately. It is so easy and inexpensive. Thanks for sharing. Glad you had a nice holiday, Nicole!

  14. Kasey
    December 28, 2010 / 6:24 pm

    Looks delicious! I also was craving something green after our Christmas festivities and made a huge salad with some of the leftover turkey.

    We have tickets with another couple to a fancy NYE bash on the river with views of fireworks! I’m excited ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. fittoindulge
    December 28, 2010 / 8:41 pm

    I also wish I could get motivated to workout in the morning. The evenings go by too fast when you have to swing by the gym.

  16. Christina
    December 28, 2010 / 10:24 pm

    Glad you had a good christmas! I might be going to NYC for new years eve but plans aren’t definite yet.

  17. thebalancebroad
    December 28, 2010 / 11:00 pm

    I haven’t had tofu in so, so long. I went through a phase where I was eating it ALL the time, then all those articles came out about soy and I got paranoid. ๐Ÿ™ I do love it, though, so I’m gonna pick some up this week!

    For NYE my friends and I planned to go to Louisville, but I’m fighting a nasty sinus infection, so….I might be Ryan Seacrest’s date for the night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. sarahsscrumptioussamplings
    December 29, 2010 / 10:42 pm

    Buddha Bowl sounds soooo serene ๐Ÿ™‚ I might try to recreate this using TJ peanut flour and water. And I have some tofu in the fridge that I got onsale at Whole Foods to use!

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I’m glad that you enjoyed the giftcard and coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

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