Rutabaga Fries with Grilled Sweet Chili Tofu

Published On 21 October, 2012 | Food for thought, Kosher, Kosher Connection, Vegan

Our baby girl is seven weeks old, she smiles, she giggles, she sleeps through the night and she is growing ever day.  With a newborn and an excited 2 and a half year old at home, it could be easy to take a step back and reach for the freezer-food, but as we adapt to life with two children, it’s time for us to take a step back and look at how and what we eat.  For the last seven weeks, I have used the “we have a newborn” excuse to justify a less conscious approach to eating but when I have strayed from my healthy eating, I feel it in my energy, my weight and my attitude.  We really are what we eat, and with two kids in the house, I want the food that is fueling my body to be as energy-efficient as possible.

If you have been reading for a while, you might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned WeightWatchers since July.  When I switched jobs, my meetings became harder to attend – so I told myself – and I switched to the online tracking program.  In reality, I got lazy.  There was a lot of change going on in our life, new home, new job, new kid, and I strayed from tracking my food, thinking I could do it myself.  I know that I can do it myself – when I commit to it and after a three month hiatus I started to track my food once again.  While I haven’t weighed myself since some time in July, I know I have gained a little weight. Not to the point that my clothes don’t fit, but enough weight that I notice it when I look in the mirror or see photos.

I worked at weight-loss last year, dropping 24lbs.  It wasn’t the easiest thing I have done, but when I stayed on plan and tracked what I ate it worked and I dropped anywhere from 0.2lb to 2.0lb in a week – and when I didn’t track, I didn’t lose. I don’t want to give up on the successes I have had and watching “Fat Sick & Nearly Dead” earlier this week provided me with an insight and a visual that I hope stays with me as I recommit to a healthier lifestyle.

The image below demonstrates how “full” your stomach is after eating 400 calories of oil, chicken or vegetables.  The fuller your stomach, the less you are going to want to eat.

400 Calories of oil, chicken and vegetables

The example uses calories as the standard measure, but let me frame it this way.  400 calories of oil is roughly three tablespoons – clearly not a meal, and not going to fill your stomach.  400 calories of chicken could be generous portion as the average chicken breast without skin has 188 calories, with skin you’re looking at 336.  If you prefer the leg or thigh, you’re talking 181 calories without skin or 265 with.  To eat 400 calories of lettuce, you’d need 5lbs of romaine!

To conclude my nutrition class for the day, as I understand it there are two groups of nutrients.  Micronutrients such as vitamins, calcium and iron, which our bodies and most organisms need in order to function, and macro-nutrients such as proteins  fats and carbs, which provide bulk energy.  In the US, it is VERY easy to live a macronutrient based diet but for optimum health, humans would thrive, live longer, weigh less, lower health care costs, have better skin and more energy by changing the way we eat.

We all fear change but simply put, macronutirents are killing people.

Earlier this week, I was in Walmart and notice rutabagas for $0.88/lb. The rutabaga, known as a swede in some countries, is a cross-breed of the turnip and the cabbage.  With its waxy outside and a starchy texture reminiscent of the potato, it’s often overlooked in stores – in fact, almost every time I buy rutabaga, I am asked what it is.  Next time you crave a french fries or mashed potatoes, consider the rutabaga your friend.  WeightWatchers – this is a zero point vegetable!

Now… stepping down from my nutritional soap box, here’s how I made this dish

Oven Baked Rutabaga Fries with Grilled Sweet Chilli Tofu

  • 3 Rutabagas
  • 1 16oz package of tofu
  • Sweet Chilli Sauce of your choice

If you can plan ahead and  prep your tofu, that would be awesome – but it’s not essential.  Remove the tofu from the packet and discard any liquid from the container and then follow these steps to remove as much liquid as possible from the tofu.

Lay a clean towel on a chopping board then lay a tofu-sized square of baking paper over the towel and place the tofu on top.  You want the largest surface area of the tofu touching the baking paper.  The baking paper is to prevent any fiber contact with the tofu but it should be small enough that any liquid can run on to the towel.  Place another tofu-sized square of baking paper on top of the tofu and place a slightly weighted skillet gently on the block of tofu.  Don’t apply the weight too quickly as you do not want the tofu to crack or break.  It’s better to use less weight so not to break the tofu – and leave the block of tofu with the weight on top for at least fifteen minutes.

Now to the fries.  Preheat the oven to 425 and lay a silpat (my new favorite toy) or baking paper on a cookie sheet.  Peel the waxy rutabaga skin then slice the root vegetable into fries.  Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping half way through for an extra crunch.  Serve the fries any time you would serve french fries, with ketchup  mayonnaise, salt and vinegar or hummus, depending on which country you grew up in!

Sweet Chili Grilled Tofu

Kosher Connections Linkup

Every month I participate in the Kosher Connections Linkup and this months theme is Root Vegetables.  I wanted to promote the rutabaga in this post before the my micronutrient enlightenment and these two topics flowed into each other while I was writing.  I encourage you to visit these other very talented foodie friends of mine and see what they have been cooking this month.  For the latest posts from This American Bite, follow me on Facebook.


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