Buffalo Toad Food


Week 2 of camp is officially underway!! We had a blast today bowling, and two of my 4 year old campers got strikes! I can’t even do that well! It was also the very first time in 10 years of working at camp that I did NOT pig out on the snack food that all the junior counselors bought… I had 3 French fries, and was done! GO ME! Now, for a sentence that doesn’t end in an exclamation point: We had tofu for dinner.

Why the title of “Toad Food” instead of “tofu”? Well, when my sister and I were little, my mom would take us to this Japanese place not far from our house, and our meals always came with miso soup. Back then, I didn’t like the soup at all, but my sister LOVED picking the tofu out of everyone’s bowls. At one point, she started calling it “toad food” and it kind of stuck. As a matter of fact, calling tofu “tofu” is hard for me! It’s been toad food as long as I can really remember.

ANYWAY, when I got home today, we had a container of tofu that needed using up, so I sliced it up and got it under some weights to press out the water. Upon opening the fridge to concoct my usual Gliding Calm-inspired rub, I noticed that we had a HUGE bottle of Frank’s Red Hot just sitting there. Hmm… I wonder… buffalo tofu? I thought it could be done! THEN I remembered a simple recipe for buffalo chicken tenders, and decided to adapt it for tofu. Here are the steps, in numbered-list form (my second favorite, only to bulleted lists)

  1. Slice tofu and press out water.
  2. Sprinkle tofu with paprika and black pepper
  3. Melt 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance or other butter or butter substitute.
  4. Mix with approximately 1/4 c. Frank’s Red hot
  5. Bake or sautee tofu until crispy.
  6. Coat tofu pieces with butter/Frank’s mix.
  7. Enjoy!

I served ours on a bed of lightly sauteed spinach:

Now I remember how much I love Frank’s Red Hot. I’m not sure I like it quite as much as Green Dog Wine, but I do love the stuff! All this needed was a bit of bleu cheese dressing for dipping, and it would’ve been PERFECT!

And now, for the camper quote conversation of the day: Camper: MARA! I dunkded my head in the pool! Me: NO WAY! Show me again! (Camper dunks head) I never did that before and guess what? I didn’t drowned!

HOORAY for no drownding, and hooray for buffalo toad food! Tomorrow is a treasure hunt! (Sorry I’m so exclamation happy today)

Have a wonderful evening, and Happy Tuesday! Don’t forget you can still order your foodie charms here, and please check out my good friend Megan’s relatively new food blog, Meggie’s Munchies. She’s fabulous, and so’s her blog!

Posted in simple recipe, tofu, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Hot Diggity!

Yup, I’m going to announce the winners of the Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil (a.k.a. the best moisturizer EVER) but first you have to read through my dinner and the sushi salad recipe!

Dinner tonight was simple and light after our relatively light “streaker burritos” from Moe’s. What, you may ask, is a streaker burrito? Well, its a “naked” burrito, sans tortilla. SO DELICIOUS! We headed to the movies to see Up (a wonderful movie, by the way. Great job Pixar!) and then to the grocery store. What did we see on sale?

Overly processed, far from natural, yet oh-so-delicious fat free Ballpark hot dogs. Then we got not-so-natural, high fiber whole wheat hot dog buns. The best part about this dinner? It was a whopping 1 Point® per hot dog! I ate mine like a true Chicagoan: without ketchup! I made some oven fries on the side as well.

This was such a summery meal, and perfect for the first official day of Summer! The best part? Both the hot dogs AND the buns came in packages of 8!

And now, because my good friend Chanelle has been bugging me for it, the recipe for the sushi salad I ate for lunches this past week. I don’t have a picture of it, mostly because it wasn’t too pretty by the time I thought to take a picture. The recipe is simple though:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 small package surimi (fake “krab” meat), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar (rice vinegar is good, but I used red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp. wasabi paste


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill and serve!

Ok, now stop bugging me :) I told you it was easy!

**Drum Roll Please!**
After using random.org and coming up with comment #25, the winner of the Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut oil is:
You’ll be getting an email from me soon, and I’ll get your information on to your benefactor! You’ll have to let me know what you think of the coconut oil!

There’s some cool stuff on tap for this week but I think I’ll keep you all in suspense!
Have a fantastic night, and for the few hours that are left:


¡Hasta mañana!

Posted in beef, contest/giveaway, giveaway, simple recipe | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Happy Father’s Day!

*Gasp* I’m posting in the morning!

I really wanted to get this post up early so that my dad could see it… as of right now, he’s in Cuzco, Peru between sessions of working with the Incan shamans down near Macchu Picchu. This is his third journey down there, and each time he comes back with stories and pictures that are the things of dreams.

Over the last few years, my dad and I have gotten closer, and I’m thankful every day for our relationship. Even when he moved across the country to Oregon, we’ve maintained our closeness thanks to modern technology. Last year, Adam called my dad and asked him to make my engagement ring! It was something I’d dreamed of since I was a little girl watching my dad make jewelry in his shop. So, Dad…even though you’re THOUSANDS of miles away right now, I wanted to wish you a Happy Father’s Day! I can’t wait to see you in August!

Happy Fathers Day!

Love you, Dad!

See you all tonight for dinner… and don’t forget to enter to win a 32 oz. jar of virgin coconut oil by leaving a comment here!

Have a great Sunday!

Posted in family | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Cute Food Saturday!

Welcome back to the 17th installment of Cute Food Saturday!! You can see the other installments by clicking here.

Before we start, I just wanted to remind you all to enter my giveaway for a 32 oz. jar of Virgin Coconut Oil by visiting this post and leaving a comment. That’s it! Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Now, onto the cute!

First off, the wonderful Angela from Oh She Glows created these adorable and healthy cupcakes for a festival this weekend!



Anyone for a spa day?

foodart1Some panda love for my favorite panda-loving, chocolate-covered vegan:

Adorable, no?

Adorable, no?

A great outdoors cake:

You can almost smell the fresh air!

You can almost smell the fresh air!

And for my running friends:

I wouldnt put this one on...

I wouldn't put this one on...

And lastly, a cup of coffee this morning:

Could you drink this?

Could you drink this?

Have a fabulous Saturday all!

Posted in Cute Food Saturday, giveaway | Tagged | 17 Comments

Barbecue Fail and a Giveaway!

Nope, I’m not infallible. I don’t always make meals that are fantastic. In fact, today was a downright FAIL. At 5:30 this morning, I put a chopped up onion, a lean pork loin, ketchup, diet coke, garlic, and hot pepper in the crock pot to cook for 12 hours in the hopes that I’d come home to a delicious barbecue meal.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

I came home to a burnt mess on the bottom of the crockpot with a shrunken, kind of barbecue colored pork loin in the middle. Adam and I thought that maybe if we took it OUT of the burnt mess, shredded the meat and tasted it, maybe it wouldn’t be terrible. Again: nope. It was dry and barely seasoned.

THEN, I added barbecue sauce to the bowl of shredded pork, stirred it up, and put it on a sandwich with fat free american cheese:

Not bad huh? Haha looks are deceiving. It was still dry, but now it was on bread with cheese. So, Adam is out getting us some delicious sushi in honor of National Sushi Day! Thanks for the heads-up Tina!

You can win me!

You can win me!

Onto other news… FREE STUFF NEWS!! Earlier in the week I was sent a 32 oz. jar of virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, and they have so generously offered to send one of you, a What’s For Dinner reader, your very own jar of virgin coconut oil! I’ve been using it as a moisturizer for a few days now, and my previously NASTY dry elbows feel super smooth! It smells amazing, and I can’t wait to start cooking with it. I think some coconut shrimp are in my future!

To enter, just leave a comment below! For an additional entry, subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter, and email me at mara@imadedinner.net to let me know you’ve done so. Winners will be announced at Dinner time on Sunday, June 21!

FINALLY, I have Guest For Dinner for you!! I met Julie waaaaaaaay back when I was in 6th grade and she was a big bad 7th grader at Hebrew School. She had this amazing singing voice, and we figured out that eventually, we’d end up at the same high school (betcha didn’t remember that, huh Julie?) We remained friends through high school where she was often the star on stage, and I was a mere costume wench, sewing aprons together for our showing of The Crucible. Our paths connected again more recently on Facebook, where I then found her fantastic weight loss and healthy eating blog, Flip This Body. She seriously rocks! So, Julie, pull up a chair, have a seat at my table, and tell us about your meal!
Even with all the recipe oriented magazines I subscribe to, I find that most of my favorite recipes come from friend and family referrals. (Which is what makes this blog so great, in my opinion!) This recipe comes from a Facebook status update from my friend Karen (the wife of one of my college theatre professors, in fact.) Her status was literally all the ingredients, and I had to figure out the rest. Add one charcoal grill and some teriyaki sauce and you’ve got…


1 lb. ground turkey (I used Jennie-O)
1/6 cup minced dried onion (or 1/3 cup chopped fresh sweet onion)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries (can throw them in whole)
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1 TBSP teriyaki sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with your clean, bare hands (makes me feel like a kid again :). Form into 4 patties (1/4 lb. each). Grill or pan-fry. I used my charcoal grill and it took about 20 minutes, flipping the burgers every 4 or 5 minutes to ensure even charring (turkey can burn easily, so monitor diligently.) Once done, place on an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin (my new favorite bread product!!!) and top with 1 TBSP of your favorite sweet teriyaki sauce (I used Soy Vay.)

The thing about cooking turkey (like chicken) is that it needs to be cooked all the way through, or you can risk salmonella poisoning. I suggest using a meat thermometer around the 15 minute mark. The burger will be done at 182 degrees. Make sure to put it in through the SIDE of the burger to get an accurate reading. I had it sticking into the top of the burger for a while and it didn’t get above 130 degrees, but then I tried the side of the burger (making sure at least 1/2 of the thermometer stick was in the meat) and the needle immediately shot up to show it was done!

I LOVED this burger. I have never been a big fan of turkey burgers because I always found them kinda bland and dry. But this burger was moist, flavorful and FILLING. I actually had to put back some of my side dishes after plowing through that puppy because I was so full! The savory sauces & herbs balanced well with the sweet cranberries, and both were great compliments to the turkey. It kinda reminded me of Thanksgiving, in June! :) The teriyaki sauce was my addition to the recipe, and it added a great layer of extra flavor and zing.

I used Sparkrecipes.com to calculate the nutritionals — and they’re not bad! Each patty is about 225 calories, 9g of fat, 1g of fiber and 24g of protein. Add the teriyaki sauce (35 cals, 1g fat, 0 fiber, 0 protein) and the Arnold’s sandwich thin (100 cals, 1g fat, 5g fiber, 4 g protein), and you’re looking at about 355 calories for the whole sandwich (7 Weight Watcher Points.) I definitely will be having another one for lunch tomorrow! Enjoy!
Thanks so much Julie! These look quite fantastic, and like something that would go over VERY well in our house!

The sushi is here, so I’m heading out, but I leave you with the camper quote conversation of the day: “Hey, why are your pants on backwards?” “That’s how I like them!” “Doesn’t the zipper bug your butt?” “No, i just like them this way.”

This occurred after our arts and crafts project of “Teddy Bear Stuffers” where we each got to stuff and take home a stuffed animal!

Have a great night all!

Posted in dinner out, giveaway, Guests for Dinner, pork | Tagged , , , | 52 Comments