Friday, June 4, 2010

Helen's Kitchen, Tofurky and Quinoa Salad

Hey I just found out I was the lucky winner of the cookbook giveaway of Viva Vegan at Chow Vegan! I can't wait to start cooking recipes from it because I'm reading awesome reviews on it. 
As you can see I'm still here, my mind just hasn't been into blogging for the past week for some reason.  School has been out for almost a week now for Keaton and we are on summer mode.  Yesterday we did a nice family bike ride yesterday, 22 miles or so.  It felt great!   I feel pretty lucky to be able to bike ride in such pretty scenery, although the hills are turning brown, the trees and vineyards are all green.  We get to see cows, horses and other animals all along the way.  One thing I wish for is to be able to save all of those cute cows!  Maybe one day!

I was recently contacted by a company, Helen's Kitchen, a family owned brand, to try some of their products.  I had never heard of them before so I was delighted!  The products are all GMO, MSG free.  They are  frozen and offer vegetarian and vegan items which are all very clearly labeled on the packaging.  The items they offer are tofu steaks, veggie ground, burrito's and frozen entees.They are also lower in sodium than most frozen foods. Our local healthfood store only had 2 vegan options to try so I tried the vegetarian steaks, which are sliced tofu steaks infused with herbs and the Indian Curry entree, which I still have yet to try. The tofu steaks are very flavorful and you just throw them on the skillet to reheat. I actually used these tofu steaks to make a recipe that I used to make for Dave before I was vegan.  Since this tofu is firm and already flavored it was a good choice to use.  The recipe is below and the leftovers I used to make a sandwich the next day which tasted excellent! 
 Yummy sandwich!  The tofu steaks alone would be great by themselves on a sandwich, wrap or salad.
The products work well together with Turtle Island Foods or better known to many as Tofurky.  I'm really excited to tell you that Tofurky now makes 3 different  pizza's using  Daiya non-dairy cheese!  You can now purchase a cheese pizza, sausage/veggie, pepperoni/cheese or heck try all three why not!  Unfortunately, my local health food store doesn't carry this pizza yet so I'll have to wait until they do or make a trip to another store.  When I do try I will be sure to post and if you all happen to get your hands on this new product let me know how you like it.  

Cornflake Crusted Tofu Steaks
serves 4

2 C. organic cornflakes, crushed
1/4 C. Veganaise or other non dairy mayo.
1 Package of Helen's Kitchen Tofu Steaks (or other extra-firm tofu)
3T. whole grain mustard or dijon
1 garlic clove
herbs of your choice are optional as well as salt.
3Tbsp. Melted Earth Balance or(olive oil or spray oil)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a plastic bag crush cornflakes then poor in a bowl.  In a smaller bowl stir together the veganaise, mustard and garlic. 
Grab a tofu steak and coat with the mayo mixture then coat with the cornflakes and put on to a baking pan.
Once all of the tofu steaks are on the baking pan, drizzle on the Earth Balance.
Cook for about 30-35 minutes until brown and crunchy on both sides.

Okay, this is my new favorite salad.  I use quinoa for alot of things but cold quinoa salad is my favorite!  This one above is a yellow quinoa using this recipe here from HLife.  I took this to a track meet at Keaton's school for my lunch, so I added some garbanzo beans to be more filling.  It definitely did the trick and was so refreshing!

Here are some interesting facts about  Quinoa to those who may not be to familiar with it.
1.  It is actually not a grain but a seed from a leafy green related to a spinach or swiss chard. 
2.  It was called "the gold of the Incas".  They found it helped out with the Stamina of the Inca Warriors.
3.  It contains all nine of the essentail amino acids.
4.   It is a great for those who suffer from migraines, diabetes and atherosclerosis, cardiovascular health, menopausal women and many other health issues.  It contains a huge amount of maganese, magnesium, b2 and other minerals.  Magnesium helps to relax the blood vessels which is a wonder for migraine headaches.
5.  It's very easy and quick to make.

This salad I used black quinoa and I have the recipe down below.  I made this for dinner the other night and in my bowl, not pictured here, I added some chopped avocado and served along with a vegetable.  The next day for lunch Keaton and I had some with chopped avocado as well and diced, sauteed tofu strips.  Yum!  It's just so versatile.


1 C. dried quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 C. water
1 red bell pepper, diced 
1 yellow bell pepper,diced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large cucmber, peeled and diced
1 very small red onion, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped  
1 1/2 C. spinach, chopped
1/4-1/3 C. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 C. pine nuts, lightly toasted

1 Lg. Meyer Lemon or( regular lemon), juice of
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp. Raw Agave
1 Garlic clove, minced
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan add the rinsed quinoa to 1 1/2 C. water.  Bring to a boil and cover.  Continue to cook for about 20min until water is evaported.  Take off stove and let cool to room temp.

While quinoa is cooking, chop all of the veggies and put in large bowl. 
Next, make dressing by adding  all of the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined, set aside.
To toast pine nuts.  Heat a skillet to medium and toast pinenuts just until they start to turn color.  This only takes about 3-4min.

When quinoa is cooled add to the veggies and pour over dressing.  Stir until combined.  Eat room temp or refrigerated. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 
More reviews in the future.


  1. Interesting recipies have got me all fired up again about quinoa which I love the taste of thanks!

  2. Congrats on the wins! :) Thanks for the review too! I've seen Helen's at Whole Fods!

    Yummy looking nutritious meals you got here! Mmm! Loving that quinoa salad!! Have a great weekend!

  3. That cornflake crust looks really good... I didn't know all that about quinoa- more reasons to love it! I have migraines, so yay!

  4. Drooling over the quinoa salads. That sandwich looks really yummy too!

  5. I love quinoa so much! And it is so fantastic in salads.

  6. congrats on winning Viva Vegan, JoLynn! that rocks so hard, and i can't wait to see what you cook first. oooh, yay!

    a 22 mile ride is so awesome, and i'm really liking your cornflake crusted tofu. the sammie looks excellent and deeeelicious and i'm all about your cold quinoa salad, too. such a perfect dish for summer. mmmmmmm!

  7. 22 miles?!?! Damn! :) I wish companies would contact me to try yummy food!

  8. that black quinoa salad looks awesome. i have some red quinoa that would be perfect for this recipe. thanks!

  9. I've been thinking about making some sort of chilled quinoa salad lately, too! This one looks like a tempting option indeed... Although, I would probably use walnuts or almonds instead of the pinenuts. ;)