Tofu Balls

September 15, 2006 at 8:43 am (B_minus (2.5 stars), Farm recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, Tofu)

I really want to find some good recipes for faux meatballs, or something to serve with spaghetti and a red sauce. This one is from the farm tofu cookbook: Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler.

Mix together:

1 lb. tofu, mashed (I used nasoya extra firm)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
14 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Oil an 8×8 pan with 2 Tbs. olive oil.
2. Form mixture into sixteen 1.5 inch balls and arrange on the pan. Bake about 30 minutes, turning carefully about every 10 minutes, until browned and set.

My Notes
The batter for these tasted pretty boring, so I was a bit worried. But the final balls actually have a nice nutty flavor, probably from the nutritional yeast and wheat germ. I made them quite a bit smaller than called for, and used a cookie sheet and only 1 Tbs. olive oil. The balls didn’t hold together very well, and some of them broke apart when I turned them. I didn’t think they were great with pasta sauce–their flavor was too subtle and they immediately broke into pieces. Derek, however, said he liked the crumbles in his pasta.

When I heated up a second batch I just sprayed the pan with oil and set the oven to 400 degrees. The balls browned much better, and held together perfectly when I cooked them.  I think these balls make pretty nice finger food.  Derek thought they’d be good for a party, but they’re kind of a putrid brown, and look a bit like dog doo, so that would probably have to be addressed before serving them for company.

The first time I made these Derek gave them a B-, but the second time he changed it to a B+.  The only difference was that my tofu had gone slightly sour, so they had a more sour taste.  Derek said they tasted like liver (and to him that’s apparently a good thing).  He ate a bunch of tofu balls the night I made them for dinner, but he didn’t eat the leftovers, however.

Rating: B
Derek: B+

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Breakfast Cereal Reviews

September 15, 2006 at 7:39 am (Product Reviews)

These are my reviews of breakfast cereals I’ve tried. There are only a few here now but I will add to it as I get the time. For a fair comparison, nutrition info is always for a 150 calorie serving.

Nature’s Path Organic Optimum Rebound Banana-Flax-Almond-Matcha Green Tea

That’s a mouthfull!

  • Taste: Excellent. I really enjoy the texture–flaky with substance but not rock hard. This cereal tastes very sweet and also pleasantly nutty.
  • Nutrition: 7.2g sugar, 5.8g fiber, 4.8g fat, 8g protein: a good balance of 23% fat / 17% protein.
  • Ingredients: There are a number of whole foods such as rolled oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds, as well as lightly processed foods such as soy nuts, wheat bran, dried bananas, oat bran, and molasses. However, there are also a number of refined sweeteners, soybean and sunflower oil, as well as highly processed ingredients like soy protein and puffed Kamut. They do add flax, but it’s *whole* flax seeds. Sigh.
  • Environment: The box is slightly smaller than a typical cereal box, but there is an inner plastic bag that is still only 1/2 full. It’s 100% organic which is a plus. The company also has a committment to sustainability, and has some good initiatives regarding electricity usage, carbon offsetting, and sustainable energy sources.
  • Company: Nature’s Path312is a Canadian company, with factories in Vancouver and Washington. It has no large parent conglomerate. The founder is a vegetarian.
  • Conclusion: An okay choice for an occasional breakfast but shouldn’t be a daily food choice.

Nature’s Path Ginger Zing Granola

  • Taste: Excellent. There’s a pleasant little bite (or should I say zing?) from the ginger, it’s a little sweet, and has good texture.
  • Nutrition: 5.5g sugar, 2.2g fiber, 5.5g fat, 3.3g protein: The lack of protein (32% fat / 9% protein) means this granola doesn’t have much staying power.
  • Ingredients: Oats are the first ingredient, but the second is sugar and third is soy oil. The rest of the ingredients look okay except for some more sweetener (oat syrupt solids).
  • Environment: It’s available in bulk. You can’t do better than that for lack of packaging. The company also has a committment to sustainability, and has some good initiatives regarding electricity usage, carbon offsetting, and sustainable energy sources.
    Company: Nature’s Path is a Canadian company, with factories in Vancouver and Washington. It has no large parent conglomerate. The founder is a vegetarian.
    Conclusion: A good alternative to dessert, but not a very good breakfast.

Nature’s Path Flax Plus:  not bad in flavor, okay in nutrition.  Will write more later.

Nature’s Path Oaty Bites:  I bought this chex-type cereal hoping it would taste like Barbara’s oat cereal, but no such like.  These are much sweeter tasting, with a strong rice syrup or barley malt flavor.  I really disliked them with soymilk, but they’re not bad to grab a handful of when you feel like munching on something sweet.  They have only 1g fat and 3g protein per serving, so mostly carbs.  They’re organic though, and the ingredient list is normal looking (grains, sugar, natural flavors).

Kashi GoLean Crunch

  • Taste: Good, not great. It’s a little sweet and a lot crunchy.
  • Nutrition: 10.4g sugar, 6.4g fiber, 2.5g fat, 7.2g protein: A bit high on sugar, and low on fat (13% fat / 17% protein), although adding flax seeds would balance this out.
  • Ingredients: Various whole grains make up the first ingredient, but the second is (highly processed) soy protein, and the third and fourth are forms of sugar. Later is has whole grain flour and canola oil, neither of which thrill me.
  • Environment: A typical bag, big box combo. Haven’t researched Kellogg’s otherwise, except that they have fought against GMO labeling.
  • Company: Kashi is owned by Kelloggs, maker of pop tarts, eggo waffles, etc.
  • Conclusion: Don’t buy, but if you’re stuck at a friends house it’s a better choice than fruit loops (another Kellogg’s brand).

Bear Naked Banana Walnut Oatmeal

  • Taste: Not too sweet, but sweet enough. A bit slimy from the flax seeds. Edible if you’re hungry, but not too tasty. The banana flavor was faint, but I didn’t care for it. I think I’d try the peach and nut flavor next time.
  • Nutrition: 7.9g sugar, 3.5g fiber, 6.2g fat, 4.4g protein. Reasonable stats, if just a bit high on fat, and low on protein (37% fat / 12% protein), but the flax seeds and walnuts help make this cereal quite filling.
  • Ingredients: Second ingredient is sugar, but otherwise it’s made of just a few natural, whole foods.
  • Environment: Individually packaged packs of oatmeal in a cardboard box. I couldn’t find anything about the environmental record of the Bear Naked compay.
  • Company: Appears to be a small, American company.
  • Conclusion: Not a bad product to keep in your desk at work for when you need reasonably filling, nutritious food fast, and you’re hungry enough you don’t mind the slightly slimy texture.

Breadshop Bulk Blueberry ‘n Cream Granola

  • Taste: Not very sweet at all, with unsweetened soymilk a little dull tasting.  The dried blueberries are great, but I think I’d rather just add dried  blueberries to another cereal.   The texture is not great–the granola doesn’t have much crunch, more like meuslix.
  • Nutrition: 4.8g sugar, 2.7g fiber, 5.1g fat, 4.1g protein.  High fat (31%) without even a nice crunch.  Low protein (11%) and low on fiber.  Poor.
  • Ingredients: Excellent! Just a few ingredients, all pretty whole/natural:  Oats, honey, expeller pressed canola oil, freeze-dried blueberries, natural blueberry flavor, oat bran, soy milk powder, natural vitamin E.
  • Environment: Bulk, can’t do much better than that.
  • Company: Owned by Hain, a large organic/natural conglomerate that doesn’t have a parent company.
  • Conclusion:  Neither nutrition nor the taste is solid enough to buy this cereal.  I won’t buy it again.  I will find some dried blueberries to add to my cereal though.

An article about organic cereals, and their parent companies

Cascadian Farm -> General Mills

Kashi -> Kellogg

Barbara’s Bakery -> Weetabix, the leading British cereal company, which is owned by a private investment firm

Mothers -> Quaker Oats -> Pepsi

Healthy Valley -> Hain-Celestial group (a large organic/natural conglomerate)

Arrowhead Mills -> Hain-Celestial Group
Peace -> Golden Temple, a for-profit company owned by a nonprofit group

Nature’s Path -> a Canadian company with no parent company

A chart showing the ownership of many organic and natural brands:

Click to access orgChart.pdf

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