Tempeh Zucchini Patties

You saw all the food I ate on our honeymoon, right? After a week of enjoying eating out for just about every meal, combined with almost zero exercise, I’m refocusing on balanced eating and routine morning workouts. 
It hasn’t been easy though. My body still wants to sleep in and my stomach still wants to be filled with comfort foods like pancakes, pizza and ice cream a little too often. I’m slowly transitioning back to my normal ways, but embracing more of a carefree attitude. Not carefree as in giving into every temptation and not thinking about what I eat, but more like not obsessing about every calorie. I know what a balanced diet looks like and I really do enjoy centering my meals around veggies, fruits and whole grains. I don’t want or need to count calories (as I have been doing for a long time now) to determine every meal or snack. It’s more of an intuitive eating approach. I’m okay with eating more of the right foods as long as I keep my sweet tooth in check when it comes to desserts. Easier said than done
Anyyyyyway. As delicious as pancakes and pizza and ice cream are, it’s hard to beat a meal that’s delicious and healthy at the same time. Like these Tempeh Zucchini Patties for example 😉 Topped with guacamole, you’ve got yourself one nutritious meal. 

I haven’t cooked with tempeh too much, besides chili and enchiladas, so this was mostly an experiment. I’m thankful for the successful outcome, because my lack of kitchen time recently is causing this blog to suffer. I was just talking to my friend Hannah the other day about our occasional blog guilt when we worry about not posting enough. All it takes is a reminder to myself not to get caught up in the comparison trap and I instantly feel better. There will always be bloggers who post more, but there are certainly bloggers who post less. In the end, I’m blogging because I enjoy it, no matter how much or little I write.

There is enough unintentional comparison in the real world that we don’t need to bring it to the blog world too. Wait…blogging isn’t the real world? Now I’m just being crazy. Too much coffee this morning. Sorry. Am I even making sense anymore? Probably not.  


Tempeh Zucchini Patties

Makes 8 small patties

1-8 ounce package tempeh
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large zucchini, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg

1. Set frying pan on stove-top over medium heat. Add olive oil. When hot, crumble the tempeh into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Pour tempeh into a medium bowl. Add onion, zucchini, and spices. Stir well to combine.
2. In a small bowl, whisk breadcrumbs and egg. Add to tempeh mixture and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide mixture into evenly-sized patties.
3. Reheat the frying pan to medium heat. When hot, add patties and let cook about 3-4 minutes on one side. Flip patties and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Top with fresh guacamole.

Serving suggestions:
-Over a bed of greens like spinach or spring mix.
-On a toasted English muffin


Tempeh and Cheese Enchiladas

Two weekends ago, Greg and I went to New Orleans for our good friends’ wedding. We had an awesome time celebrating – Congrats Lauren and Sam!! Sorry I’m a little late with the shout out 😉
I managed to fit in just about all of the different traditional Creole cuisine like crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, pralines and beignets. Oh yeah, and some king cake!
Last week I felt like I was playing catch-up in all areas of my life, but I feel much better now that I’m back in the swing of things. Eating well, exercising, spending quality time with Greg and Zoey, planning dates with my girlfriends and not to mention feeling a surge of blogging energy! I haven’t been able to keep to a set schedule for more than two consecutive days since before the holidays so I’m looking forward to buckling down because in less than four months I’ll be getting married myself! The craziness is only going to get crazier.
Cheesy enchiladas are not necessarily helping my future wedding bod, but they’re not too harmful either. These make a great “fake-out” indulgent meal without actually indulging. It’s a comfort food you can feel good about and still not feel guilty eating dessert afterwards (as if we ever feel guilty eating dessert around here).
I went through few different stages throughout cooking this meal. I want to make sure you know how I felt so you don’t worry if the same thing happens to you…specifically referring to #2:
1. {The thought enters my mind.} Ohhh. Tempeh enchiladas with sauce and cheese?? That sounds really good. 
2. {I add the enchilada sauce and cheese to the tempeh as it’s cooking and begin to stir.} Uh oh. What am I doing? This does not look appetizing. But I’m so hungry and I just want to eatttt. Please, oh please taste better than you look, Ugly Mush Concoction. 
3. {I poke a fork into the mixture for a tiny taste.} Okay so all might not be lost. I think this actually might turn out pretty well.
4.{The enchiladas are plated, photographed and demolished.} Yup. Uh-huh. That was good. Really good. A vegetarian meal Greg liked too? Success!

Moral of the story? Don’t let the looks of the tempeh mixture deceive you. I’m warning you it’s not the prettiest thing, but once it’s wrapped inside the tortillas you won’t even remember how weird it once looked. All you’ll be thinking is how good it tastes on your tongue. 

If I haven’t scared you off by this point, here’s the recipe!
Tempeh and Cheese Enchiladas 

Makes 4 medium enchiladas 
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1-8ounce package tempeh, crumbled (easiest way to do this is in a food processor)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup canned enchilada sauce, divided
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese, divided
4 tortillas (I used whole wheat) 
1/3 of a whole green bell pepper, sliced
1/3 of a whole yellow onion, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a square cooking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. Place olive oil in a large skillet on the stove top and turn to medium heat. Once hot, add crumbled tempeh and cook through while stirring constantly, about 5-7 minutes. Tempeh will become golden brown. Add chili powder, cayenne pepper, pepper, and garlic salt to the pan and stir. Add about 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce and about 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir well to evenly distribute all ingredients.
3. Lay out the tortillas in the baking pan. Use a spoon or spatula to place a quarter of the tempeh mixture into each tortilla and roll tightly. Top each with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Then top with peppers and onions.
4. Bake 12-15 minutes or until cheese is sizzling and tortillas are golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit about 5-10 minutes to cool before serving.

Weekend Eats 12-17-12

We are so close to Christmas/vacation time that this particular Monday morning doesn’t feel too bad at all! All weekend I found myself saying things like, “This is the last Friday night we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Saturday we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Sunday….” 

Okay, you get it. 
I’m excited. Can you blame me? I know you are too, right?! 
I kicked off the weekend by cooking a pot of my Tempeh and Bean Chili, with a few modifications. I subbed black beans for the red kidney beans, skipped the garlic, and used a can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers rather than using tomato sauce. 
 I love this stuff. It’s so filling and full of nutrients, not to mention just plain delicious. Win win win!
On Saturday, Greg and I spend most of the late morning and afternoon running errands. It wasn’t too long before we were ready to refuel and grabbed lunch from Chick Fil A. 
I got the Southwest Chargrilled Salad with Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing…surprise, surprise. 
Saturday night was spent at my company holiday party at an art museum downtown. We had a great time. I sipped on wine while eating a mini roll with turkey and cranberry sauce and a pork slider on a delicious little biscuit. There was also a do-it-yourself mashed potato bar. Think: Menchie’s (or any other self-serve frozen yogurt place), but for mashed potatoes. Toppings included gravy, shredded cheese, chives, sour cream, sauteed mushrooms, etc. So fun! 
I spent Sunday creating a few different holiday treats. I’ll be sharing those in more detail later this week, but here’s a preview…
Finally, Greg made venison patties for dinner with meat one of his clients gave him (just like last year). 
I feel so adventurous when I eat venison. Kind of like a cave woman too. Regardless, it’s pretty good. And even though I had already eaten more meat over the weekend than I normally like to, Greg made a point that it’s lean and just about as organic as you can get. 
Okay, fine. 😉
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Tempeh and Bean Chili

Sometimes I really can’t understand how I ever lived all year round in Ohio. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on my hometown. I was born and raised in Columbus and it always will be home. I love it for that reason alone, and love going back to visit. But man, it gets coldddddd.

When temperatures drop below 65 degrees here in Charleston, I am freezing. Not even kidding. Like, fuzzy socks and sweatshirt on (hood UP), freezing. I look forward to this time of year for countless reasons (pumpkin-flavored everything, sweaters, boots, football, cool morning runs, etc…), but it takes some time to adjust.

A hot bowl of chili does wonders for this sort of thing. After discovering tempeh as a great meat alternative, I was excited to experiment on my own. Combined with not much else besides beans and vegetables, this makes for a meal you can feel good about on the inside and out. That’s a good thing too, because I’ll be eating a lot of this until springtime rolls around. 

Tempeh and Bean Chili

Makes about 6 servings
8 ounces tempeh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans
1 cup water
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, crumble tempeh into the pan. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add onion and pepper to the pan. Cook until vegetables become tender, about 5 more minutes.
3. Pour tomato sauce, entire can of beans (liquid included), water, and seasonings into the pan. Bring to a sizzle, stirring occasionally, and cook about 5-8 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.