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Block Party, Tofu, And It’s Finally Autumn

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It has been a crazy few weeks, the last week especially. Saturday the 24th our block association (I happen to be President)  had our annual block party and the planning and preparation was non stop,  I was so nervous, hoping and praying that it did not rain. The last block party was cancelled because of heavy rain and one thing for certain is that you cannot control Mother Nature.  I watched the weather report every day and was so pleased that the weather was beautiful, we started out with some rain in the morning but it cleared to a bright, sunny slightly cool day. Everything went well, a few technical issues but our neighbors all banded together and the problem was solved. The block party is carefully orchestrated and members of our block all work together as a team. I started in June by filling out all the paperwork for a city permit which includes closing our street to cars, getting a sound permit from the police, getting insurance for the day among other things we have to do to prepare. We always have a blow up bouncy castle for the children to play in, this year we were so lucky that the local police precinct brought their rock climbing wall, the police supervise the children and make sure they are safe. We hired a DJ so there was great music and we collaborated with the local elementary school which is on the block and they provided a rock band comprised of students who attend after school programs at the Brooklyn Music School, they were amazing. When they played Nirvana’s great song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” the crowd went wild. All in all a great day for our neighborhood, we grilled burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and fish, there were assorted beverages and we had a bake sale.

rock climbing wall

rock climbing wall- not our block but thats what the wall looked like

It is starting to feel like Fall, up until a few days before the party it was almost 90 degree’s, humid and pretty miserable. All of a sudden, there is a slight chill in the air and the telltale signs of Fall are slowely becoming apparent. Today walking to the store I noticed they were setting out beautiful  Mums, I love the colors and when displayed with pumpkins it makes such a beautiful Fall decoration, some local shops have painted fall scenes on their windows, our neighborhood seems to come alive at this time of year. The days are shorter and I am so happy to not be using my air conditioner which has run non stop the entire summer, it was so unbearably hot. I am looking forward to Halloween, a favorite holiday of mine, there is nothing about this time of year that I don’t like.

I’ve barely had time to cook or post on the blog, and have been absent on all social media as well. I continue with the change in my eating, avoiding sugar, grains, flour etc… but have not cut dairy or fats and I’ve lost weight. This is going to be a life style change for me, it’s not a diet, of course there will be times when I indulge but I plan on staying on this course for the long run. For the block party I had a bake sale and made cookies and cupcakes, I gave some to neighbors and the police and sold the rest. I love making cupcakes and made vanilla and chocolate using my favorite chocolate cake recipe from Hershey’s Cocoa can and my Tender Yellow Cake recipe for the vanilla cupcakes. The frosting is a simple vanilla buttercream using butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla and cream.

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My meals are small and consist of mostly vegetables and protein. I recently made a quick and easy stir fry using tofu shirataki, noodles made from tofu and Japanese yam, they are wonderful and so easy to prepare. I used what I had on hand, kale, red bell pepper, zucchini, egg and garnished with peanuts. This is not really a recipe you can use whatever you have on hand.

Tofu Noodle Stir Fry

Made 2 servings

red bell pepper sliced into strips

zucchini chopped or cut into strips

kale, leaves only, no stems chopped

2 scallions, white and light green parts chopped

1 tbs minced ginger

1 clove garlic chopped

soy sauce

toasted sesame oil

neutral vegetable oil to cook the vegetables

tofu shirataki noodles

1 egg beaten and cooked into a thin omelette, cut into strips

chopped roasted peanuts for garnish

First pour the noodles (they are fresh and are packaged in liquid) into a strainer and rinse well several times. Set aside to drain.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet and add the ginger, scallion and garlic, cook until it’s fragrant and soft. Add the vegetables and cook until the vegetables are cooked through. Cook the egg either in the microwave or skillet and cut into strips. Add the tofu noodles to the vegetables and stir to combine, add soy sauce and a few splashes of sesame seed oil to taste. Stir in the egg and serve with some chopped peanuts.

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Tofu is a great source of protein and I think of it like white walls, a blank pallet waiting to be transformed and enhanced. I bought a package of firm tofu the other day and made a marinade using white miso, soy sauce, mirin, honey, ponzu, rice wine vinegar, ginger and garlic chili sauce. I patted the tofu with a paper towel to remove excess liquid, cut into bite size pieces and added to the marinade and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I oven roasted at 425 degrees after drizzling with some sesame oil.  The tofu absorbed the flavor of the marinade and became crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and was delicous with some broccolini steamed first then finished in the oven drizzled with the marinade from the tofu and some sesame oil.

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41 Comments Post a comment
  1. Looks like you had a wonderful day at the Block Party-Fun! xo

    September 28, 2016
  2. Maria DeBrango Stickel #

    Maddie said she had a great time at the Block Party. She just loves the girls and really enjoys time with them She said they were very sweet asking about how she is and saying they were worried about her. Not many kids their age would have that empathy. Shows great upbringing!!! We get to see Maddie in Dallas this Sunday for a couple of hours. That girl is always on the go.
    Take care and love to all – including Percy!
    Maria

    September 28, 2016
    • Thanks Maria, it was a fun day and so happy to see Maddie, love her!!!

      September 29, 2016
  3. Oh my Suzanne, you really have been busy. I love your tofu dishes. I will try your marinate the next time I get tofu.
    After a foggy and cool summer we are having temperatures in the high nineties. A huge fire (over 2000 acers) is burning in our dry hills, I can see it from my window.

    September 28, 2016
    • Thanks Gerlinde. I do love tofu and am especially smitten with the noodles. They are so good. Thanks so much, I hope it cools down for you. It is finally feeling like Autumn here in NYC.

      September 29, 2016
  4. petra08 #

    We have a constant discussion in our household about tofu. I love it but M is not as keen at all. When I eat it, it does make me feel better (and slimmer) and it takes on whatever other flavours you are cooking beautifully, like here in your stir fry!
    It sounds like a great street party! Wow! That sounds like a great street to live on! Have a lovely week 🙂

    September 28, 2016
  5. Looks like such a fun day! You are losing weight the right way, and I am glad you are going to treat yourself sometimes. Continued success on your journey Suzanne! And the stir fry looks delicious!

    September 28, 2016
    • Thanks Antonia, slowely but surely I am sticking with the changes and it’s really not hard to live with.

      September 29, 2016
  6. I love to hear about the creative ways that you are eating healthy Suzanne! I have tried the tofu shirataki noodles before and actually enjoyed them. They look delicious in your stir fry. And I like your words about this being a lifestyle change! So often diets are fleeting and then we simply go back to our old habits.

    September 28, 2016
    • Thanks Heather, I have made the decision to change but not completely deprive and I like it and feel likes it’s something I can stick with.

      September 28, 2016
  7. I’m sure the block party was a great success, thanks due to all of your hard work. It looks like a blast. And, your food-Oh, my! Delicious as always, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing.

    September 28, 2016
    • It was a tremendous amount of work thankfully I had a great group of dedicated block members to help. We had a great time!!thank you so much!!

      September 28, 2016
      • It looks like a great time was had by all! 😊

        September 28, 2016
      • Yes it was wonderful thank you so much😀

        September 28, 2016
  8. Good (almost) Afternoon

    Now I must admit I just can’t seem to like tofu

    Not sure why perhaps the consistency or I haven’t had it prepared in a delicious way

    But I shall try it once again…

    Party looked like a smashing good time

    Happy🍁 Wednesday to you and Percy 💋 give him a big kiss from me

    September 28, 2016
    • Tofu never appealed to me either but when prepared with strong flavors it absorbs and then becomes very tasty. The texture, it sort of reminds me of paneer a bit and the tofu I marinated had a nice silky middle and crisp outside. It was good, I don’t eat it daily but it’s a good protein and highly recommend the tofu noodles they were really good. The party was so much fun for all. All in all a great day. These are magical times🌑🍁🍂🎃

      September 28, 2016
  9. Your stir fry looks delicious. I know you love this time of year, so glad Mother Nature was accommodating for your block party.

    September 28, 2016
    • Thank you so much Dyanna, yes Mother Nature smiled at us on Saturday and I thank her for that🙏😘

      September 28, 2016
  10. Smells Like Teen Spirit! I grew up with that and a whole lot of head banging happpening. LOL. These days, those music are apparently known as “oldies” :/ Sounds like you had a fun (but busy) organising stuff!

    There’s something about tofu – either you love it or hate it. I’m in the love it camp. It’s so versatile! I’ll pass on smelly tofu,though. 🙂

    September 28, 2016
    • Me too, that sing takes me back and in time, always loved it!!!thanks Ann😀

      September 28, 2016
  11. You have really been busy Suzanne, I hope that you find time for relaxing too 🙂

    September 28, 2016
    • Thanks Irene. So busy and glad that things will settle down now.

      September 28, 2016
  12. Wow, I’m tired just listening to everything that you’ve accomplished! I’ve never eaten tofu, and know John wouldn’t be excited about trying it, but I’ve heard that it takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Your dish looks delicious to me.

    September 28, 2016
    • Thank you Julie. Yes tofu is like a chameleon it is almost flavorless and absorbs other flavors like a sponge.

      September 28, 2016
  13. Awesome Suzanne! Looks like the block Party was a big success! (after all your work to get it going!). Did you climb that rock wall??? Looks terrifying! And love the stir fry recipe– Never used kale in stir fry but it’s sturdy –would be a prefect green to use. And peanuts! love them on top. So good to hear your still on your good eating plan– that’s terrific. You’re so busy -take care friend. hugs!

    September 28, 2016
    • It was a success we all worked as a team and it turned out great. Mother Nature gave us a perfect day. Nooooo no rock wall for me. I am terrified of heights and that wall is very high. Like my feet firmly planted on the ground😀thank you so much Rhonda.

      September 28, 2016
      • Looked like tons of fun– thanks for letting us have a peek. xo

        September 29, 2016
  14. The block party looks like a huge success – all your effort has been worth it! I’ve never seen tofu noodles before, wish I can give it a try, I love tofu!

    September 29, 2016
    • Hi Jasline, thank you the block party was terrific. Had a great time and planning it was part of the fun albeit a lot of work.

      September 29, 2016
  15. Wow – you have been a busy bee! The block party sounds like it was a lot of fun – Léo would have loved that climbing wall and put it to full use. I’m really loving the sound of your way of eating – I would imagine you feel good about it – it’s certainly sounds healthy and and delicious too. How on earth can you make those gorgeous cupcakes though and not be tempted? I’d have snarfed the lot… 🙂 Lots of love to Percy from Hugo and Java.

    September 29, 2016
    • I made cupcakes and cookies ate one cookie and that’s it. Believe me I wanted a cupcake they are my favorite and I had to hold myself back. The kids loved the rock climbing wall next year we get it all day this year we had limited time because of the police schedule. It was a great day!! Thanks so much😀

      September 29, 2016
  16. Sounds like you had a great day 🙂

    September 29, 2016
  17. The block party sounds like fun! And I’m so glad you’re still changing up your food, and hopefully feeling good for it?? I do hope so xx

    September 30, 2016
    • Hi Elaine, yes the block party was great. Everyone had a really good time. I am feeling really good, although sometimes I miss eating the things I used to eat I can do this and feel much better because of it. Thanks as always for the help and encouragement.

      September 30, 2016
      • Brilliant! Well done!!!! I’m so glad you feel good xxx

        September 30, 2016
  18. What a great block party you organized Suzanne!!
    Loved those cup cakes..I am sure that kids loved those.
    That noodle stir fry is my kind and kudos to you for making that change. I still haven’t started but pretty soon I think. Your post inspired me ❤️

    September 30, 2016
    • Thanks so much Sonal, I just bought more of the tofu noodles and plan on making more and varied stir fries with them. The block party was a blast, everyone had a great time and the good weather was a real plus.

      September 30, 2016
  19. Wow so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

    October 2, 2016

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