|Fave Thrive Market Chocolates & Sesame Tofu Eggplant Bake|
Ok. I don't remember the last time I was this smitten by a savory recipe. And I LOVE every single recipe that I share with you guys—I have very strict criteria for everything that makes it from my kitchen to my computer!
But about a month ago, I began having an INTENSE craving for tofu; an ingredient that heretofore I pretty much ignored. I'm not anti-tofu, but I typically reach for tempeh when I'm jonesing for soy-based plant protein, as it's fermented and easier to digest/has more bioavailable nutrients. I also usually like the hearty texture better. However, Trader Joe's has started selling sprouted tofu using sprouted soybeans, which is a better option for digestion and nutrition than traditional.
I can sense some of you begging the question (rightfully so), "Laura Lea; we've heard that women(and people in general) shouldn't eat soy. Is this true?". It IS true that soy contains something called phytoestrogens, which can disrupt the hormonal endocrine system, including the thyroid. However, my understanding is that this only occurs in a significant way when soy is over-consumed on a regular basis. In moderation, soy can help with heart health, and it is a great source of plant-based protein. I urge you to focus on organic, non GMO forms of soy like tofu, tempeh, miso and soybeans, and minimize the amount of products that contain soy derivatives. When deciding between tofu and tempeh, I do suggest choosing tempeh more frequently, but barring any specific medical conditions, I think some tofu in a well-rounded diet can be a healthy addition as well. Again though; go for sprouted tofu if you can find it.
I also want to note that I consume dark chocolate every day, which contains the emulsifier soy lecithin. I personally don't worry about this, as it's such a small amount, but it's important to be aware! (HERE is a great scholarly article on the pros and cons of soy consumption). Please remember that I'm not a medical professional, and you should talk to one if you have specific questions for your body and lifestyle!
Anyway, while I still adore tempeh, I've had a tofu hankering that just won't quit, so I decided to make this Asian-inspired bake with often-neglected health food: Eggplant! Low in calories, high in fiber and full of nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folic acid, eggplant is a total powerhouse. Both tofu and eggplant are sponges for whatever flavoring you throw their way, so I thought they'd be lovely teammates in the dish. And how right I was!
There is something so incredibly satisfying about this Tofu Eggplant Bake. I always enjoy a huge scoop over white Jasmine rice, something paired with something green. For a bit of texture contrast, throw pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds on top, and don't forget to drizzle over some of the leftover marinade!
I've gotten a lot of requests for this recipe, so I'm hoping y'all love it as much as I have; please do let me know.
Fave Thrive Market Chocolate Goodies
When I'm craving a clean, slightly bitter, pure chocolate experience, this is my absolute favorite choice. Most high-cacao percentage fair trade chocolates are mediocre in flavor, from my experience. Not this baby; it is absolute delicious and full of rich, slightly floral notes. When I'm feeling particularly decadent, I will chop one of these bars and use it in my Holy Fudge Black Bean Brownies or Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you are a true chocolate connoisseur, this is the bar for you.
If you tend to gravitate towards milkier, less bitter chocolate, this is an amazing healthier option. The combination of semi-sweet chocolate, crunchy almonds and a hint of salt is problematic in the best kind of way! I like to suggest this to friends and family who are just recently making the transition to healthier eating. You'll get all the pleasure of classic chocolate candy bars, but none of the icky ingredients! Plus, I think it tastes way better.
Ohhhhh mercy. Eating Evolved coconut butter cups are pure genius: I mean, it's a healthy, whole-foods version of a Reese's using melt-in-your-mouth coconut butter, which I also affectionally call Manna from Heaven. These cups are a great choice when you want something a little more substantial than a square of chocolate, but your sweet tooth cannot be ignored. I like to have them an hour or two after lunch if I start to feel a bit peckish, because they are full of satisfying healthy fats. If you love the experience of biting into crackly chocolate to find an oozy, creamy center, you will be smitten with these.
This is for all of my Ghiradelli truffle or Ferrero Roche lovers out there! It's an even more scrumptious, fair-trade, quality-ingredient version, and I was overjoyed when I discovered them on Thrive. These are a great option to have around for guests to grab, and I will also put one (or two) in my purse if I'm going out to lunch or dinner. Knowing that I have a more nutritious, wholesome dessert option helps me skip out on the cake or sundae that my dining companions might order. Just remember that they will melt if you leave your purse in the car...speaking 100% from personal experience.
What is it about the textural combination of chocolate and almonds? It is an absolute dream, especially with these particular chocolate covered-almonds. The thin layer of ganache encasing each almond is absolutely luscious, and I adore the bitter contrast of cocoa powder on the outside. Similarly to the Eating Evolved cups, I enjoy these as a treat/snack hybrid when I want something a bit more satiating. Be careful though—it's easy to keep reaching into the bag; they're THAT good!