Isn’t it hard to believe that 2014 is well underway?? In my opinion, 2013 went by way too fast, but I’m so excited to see what this year has in store for me! Already, it’s been eventful, and we can thank the polar vortex for that. Fortunately, the coldest part of the winter is followed by the warmest, and I’m enjoying the “heat wave” that is 35°F weather. It truly is the little thing.
Chirag and I rang in the new year with friends at a local brewpub, and we had a wonderful time celebrating, dancing, and eating cheese. He left for a business trip in Europe on the 2nd, so I’ve taken advantage of the excess of free time that I seem to have these days by becoming a permanent fixture on my sofa, along with my two closest blanket friends. It has been too cold to do anything other than go to work, and then burrow. Next week, I’m making the long journey across the planet to see my grandma for 2 weeks. I absolutely cannot wait to see her! I’m having a hard time containing my excitement, which is accompanied by a really hard time focusing on non-trip related things. Here’s a list of things I’m excited about, regarding my trip:
- Everything grandma (hugs, laughs, stories, midday naps, watching her favorite soaps even though they are extra ridiculous)
- FOOD. All the food. I’m salivating already.
- Long chats with my aunt.
- Meeting my cousin’s baby for the first time, and playing with her 4-year old again.
- 85°F weather. All day, everyday.
- Sleeping in/relaxing/no work-related stress. Sleeping past 5:30am on a Friday morning would be bliss.
There are so many more things I’m excited about, but I’ll keep it short here.
So, I know that in this post, and in the media, and probably in anyone’s daily conversations lately, the weather has been the number 1 topic. I mean, not only is it socially acceptable long-elevator-ride-small-talk, but it’s been so extreme. The weather often influences my lifestyle in a hundred different ways, and I’m sure it does for others as well. For instance, early this week, when the weather was at its absolute worst, I caved and made the most delicious cheesy baked pasta and it was perfect. Warm and comforting — everything you could ever want out of a cold weather dish. But coming off of the holidays where I ate one too many Baked by Melissa cupcakes, and more donuts than I’d like to admit, I felt compelled to eat something lighter and cleaner by midweek.
Enter lettuce wraps.
I’m a carb person. I love everything carby and starchy: bread, rice, potatoes, crackers. I actually don’t even remember the last time I had a lettuce wrap. That’s why I was surprised when, on Wednesday, I found myself craving an Asian lettuce wrap. It was one of those “where did that come from?” moments. But I went with it, and I was so glad I did. First of all, lettuce wraps just look pretty. Those bright green lettuce leaves are so beautiful and fresh; it was hard not to find this dish appetizing on the onset. Also, the filling was so simple and light, yet flavorful and hearty.
Feel free to make changes to suit your tastes with the filling. I used tofu, corn and cole slaw mix (lettuce, cabbage and carrots), but you can also chop up some mushrooms and peppers, or use a meat substitute, like BOCA meatless ground crumbles. You can also change this from wraps to a salad (it’s probably easier and tidier to eat it as a salad, but finger foods are so much more fun!) I’ve also included step-by-step pictures at the end, since the colors are so beautiful!
Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
2 tsp olive oil (or 1 tsp each of olive and sesame oil)
14 oz. firm or extra firm tofu, drained, rinsed and excess water pressed out
1 cup frozen corn
1 hot green chili, chopped
1 cup cole slaw mix
1 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar (balsamic or rice wine)
Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
- Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu. Using a spatula or spoon, crumble the tofu into very small pieces. Cook for 5 minutes, flipping occasionally, or until the tofu becomes golden.
- Add green chili and corn to tofu, and cook for another 2 minutes, until the corn softens.
- Add the cole slaw mix to the tofu mixture, and cook for 1 minutes, until the cole slaw wilts slightly.
- Stir in crushed red pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and soy sauce. Let the mixture simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the tofu and vegetables.
- Remove the mixture from heat, and drizzle in vinegar.
- Serve hot tofu mixture in cold lettuce leaves.