Product Review: Nasoya TofuPlus (Plus Recipes and a Giveaway)

Tofu is one of those foods that I’ve tried a few times but never felt motivated to do anything with it myself. I’ve made smoothies with the silken variety, but I’ve only actually purchased the block-style tofu once. Even then, I never quite built up enough interest to prepare it and ended up giving it to a friend.

Times change, though, and after spotting barbecued tofu listed on a local restaurant’s menu a few months ago, I was intrigued enough to go searching for a recipe I could make at home. I bookmarked Baked Tofu Bites as a possible contender.

And then I filed it away until a couple of weeks ago, when I was contacted to review Nasoya’s TofuPlus! Clearly, the Universe thought it was time I experimented with tofu at home!

The Product
You can read ALL about Nasoya TofuPlus on the company’s website, but the gist of it is right there on their label:

nasoya tofu plus

“Excellent source of vitamins B2, B6, B12, D & Calcium
Good source of protein, cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat”

Works for me! Now, what to do with it…

The Experience and Observations
I kind of knew how to prep tofu for cooking, namely pressing all the water out, but had I not known, Nasoya kindly offers Tofu U with all kinds of tofu information.

makeshift tofu press (2 plates)

Behold, the leaning tower of tofu

After pressing my tofu between two plates for close to an hour (I was busy), I cut about half of it into cubes and marinated them in regular old bottled bbq sauce for almost an hour longer. No, that’s not what was called for in the recipe I linked to above, but as I already mentioned, I was busy. Plus, I didn’t have most of those ingredients.

bbq tofu bites in the oven

Don’t the bbq tofu bites look cute? After baking them at 350° for about 20 minutes on each side, they looked even cuter on my sandwich.

bbq tofu bites sandwich

I didn’t have a wrap or a wheat bun on hand, so I decided to have myself an open-faced bbq snack sammie with a healthy spoonful of pineapple-raisin broccoli slaw.

This was a good little sandwich, but it didn’t really set my hear to fluttering, if you know what I mean. The little bbq tidbits were warm…and kind of chewy. So I popped the leftovers into the fridge, planning to “fix” them somehow the next day. Only, I didn’t have to because when I tasted one straight from the container the next day, I practically swooned. The tofu had apparently needed more melding time with the sauce, or maybe it needed “resting” time after baking, but whatever it was, these bbq bites were fantastic! I snacked on them off and on all weekend. At about 5-10 calories per cube, they were definitely in the right calorie range.

On Sunday night, it was time to address the other half of my block of TofuPlus, which had been waiting in my freezer. (Big surprise!) I decided to make a sort of Tofu Parmigiana, similar to my sort of Chicken Parmigiana. Just press sliced tofu pieces in a mixture of panko, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning mix and brown them in a smidge of oil.

tofu parmigiana

I think a little egg white wash prior to the breading would have helped with crumb adherence, but this was close enough. Especially after I sprinkled some cheese on top. Spicy marinara, creamy tofu in a crispy crust, flavorful cheese–all for around 350 calories. This (sort of) recipe will definitely be making a reappearance on my menu. And soon!

Although I’m not a vegetarian and don’t really have an interest in becoming one, I do enjoy meatless meals now and then. I’m really looking forward to adding more tofu dishes to my meal rotation.Since I don’t like soy sauce or most Asian spices, I’ll do my experimenting in other areas. Tofu chili, tofu tacos, tofu pizza–this could be fun! :)

The Giveaway
Nasoya has offered to give one U.S. reader an opportunity to try TofuPlus for themselves. (Not that you wouldn’t just take my word for it that it’s good stuff.) If you’d like to toss your name into the hat, just say so in the comments. I’ll do the selection on Friday (02/07) and let you know if you’ve won!

Say you do win the TofuPlus…what will you do with it?

FTC: Nasoya provided the product; opinions are a reflection of my own unique and speshul experience.

For the Love of Olives: Oloves (Review/Giveaway)

This is a product review, not a sponsored post. I was provided the product free of charge, but received no additional compensation.

Like most bloggers, I get lots of pitches for products to review. Most I turn down, for one reason or another, but the only reason I would turn down a pitch that opened with, “Do you love olives?”, would be if they claimed to have some sort of magical weight loss effect.

Thank goodness for me, the Oloves company makes no outlandish health or fitness claims. The company does point out that their snack-sized portions of seasoned olives are vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, and low in fat, which is fair enough. No empty promises of flat abs or fat-burning boosts.

I received packages of three flavors of Oloves: Tasty Mediterranean (basil and garlic), Lemony Lover (lemon and garlic), and Hot Chilli Mama (habanero pepper sprinkles). Each package is 1.1 ounces and contains about a dozen olives, equaling 50 calories per pouch. That’s a nice low-calorie snack if you want to eat a dozen olives. It’s even lower calorie is you only want 3 or 4 olives. (Yaay!)

Unlike most packaged olives, the Olove olives aren’t packed in brine. While there is a light coating of oil on the olives, the packet doesn’t drip with it. This is good news for those of us who might enjoy these on a road trip! No mess! (No pits, either.)

oloves hot chilli mamaFor my official taste testing, I tried each olive variety two ways: 1) straight out of the packet, and 2) sliced into or onto some of my standard entrees.

The olives are good on their own, but I enjoyed them more as part of my meal, starting with the Hot Chilli Mama olives on my Mexican chicken wrap. Nii-i-ce! Spicy, but not in an in-your-face way. On first bite, I thought these olives could do with a little more heat, but after a few seconds, I felt a nice little after kick. I love when that happens.

My next experiment was with adding the Tasty Mediterranean olives to my faux Chicken Parmagiana (chicken, marinara, panko, and mozzarella). Usually I slice some black olives for this dish, but I have to say, that the basil-garlic olives really did take it up a notch.

salad with oloves lemon garlicFinally, one night I sliced the Lemony Lover olives on top of a simple salad. The lemony, garlic flavors worked well with the Pomegranate dressing and really brightened things up.

Three varieties of olives, three successes. It doesn’t get much better than that. If the olives came in a resealable packet, I’d have called them perfect. (I only eat 3 or 4 at a time and had to rely on a binder clip to keep them nice and fresh between servings.)

TWO lucky U.S. readers have an opportunity to win sample packs of their very own! All you have to do is leave a comment letting us know your favorite way to eat olives. On Thursday (01/23), I’ll pick the winners via random draw.

On the off-chance you don’t win one of the sample packs, you can check out the Oloves website to find a store near you that carries them. Or you can find them on Amazon (affiliate link).

Scenes from the Week

I don’t post on the weekend very often, and I don’t have anything profound to share on this particular Saturday other than some photos from the week just past.

After two weeks, I’m becoming quite the accomplished bookbinder:

custom photo book just married couple

This is a book made with my own widdle hands and the new Tall Jeans book binder machine. The couple pictured are Paul and Gina Somebody who were married this past May. I’ve been gluing their smoochy selves to photo books for two weeks, and I have to tell you, I’m a little sick of them. If their photo wasn’t eventually going to pay my quarterly health insurance and car insurance, I’d probably be drawing mustaches on them by now. :)

In addition to all that bookbinding, I also had to spend a day in the “Home of the Whopper” to do some fancy pants soda machine training. Awesome group of trainees, which doesn’t always happen. Also, the customers were nice and friendly.

What you may not know is that BK has gone and got themselves some new fries:

bk satisfries photo 40% less fat 30% fewer calories

Normally, I would not be tempted at all, because I despise am not fond of BK’s regular fries. (They coat perfectly good potatoes with some godawful batter!) But I confess, I was curious. Not enough to spend 250 calories on a value-sized order, but curious still.

I was also hungry. There was no Subway sign in sight, and my other option, Wendy’s, was located next door. It just seems rude to walk out of my customer’s restaurant to patronize another one. No matter how tasty their half-sized Apple Pecan Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Dressing might be. So I decided to go with Plan C (used only once before) and get a Whopper Jr.

But then I heard a man order a “fry burger” which I’d seen advertised on another sign for $1 and promptly forgot about because I wouldn’t be ordering one. When I saw that it actually was a regular-sized hamburger with lettuce & tomato and just a few fries poking out, I had myself:
a great idea

If I got the fry burger with the satisfries, I could taste the fries without having to buy a whole order! And then I could report back to you guys, which would absolutely, totally justify it as both a business expense and an exercise is proper journalism! Not to mention that I’d save about $1.50 along the way. It was practically ordained that I should have the fry burger!

And so I did:
fryburger (hamburger with french fries on it)

As you can see, the manager allowed the satistution, and I ordered a fryburger! I took one bite of the complete assemblage, didn’t see the point, and pulled the fries off to enjoy separately. I also took the top off the burger to compensate for the four-and-a-half fries and also because the burger patty was seriously tiny (maybe a scant two ounces?) and the bun overwhelmed it.

The satisfries were pretty tasty actually, but then I’m a sucker for crinkle cut. :) They’re crispy and light tasting, and my small serving was the perfect size to go with my open-faced tiny burger. I’d order it again if I had another Plan C day, and I’d enjoy it, but you’re not likely to see it in my regular or semi-regular rotation.

Moving on…

I don’t believe I showed y’all my new den rug (pardon the mess, I was rearranging stuff):

sisal rug on my den floor

My den floor has been displaying its naked parquet for a while now, but rugs are expensive. Plus, I have a slight decision-making affliction that make sit difficult to choose. Despite that, when I spotted this 9×12 sisal rug at a neighbor’s garage sale for $20, I quickly decided it was perfect for the next year or ten. It’s not comfy on the feet and it lacks punch until my floors get their darker stain, but it helps define the seating area. Money well spent.

I found an even better bargain today, while out on my walk:

an old wooden ladder at the curb

Wooden ladder curb find! And I only had to carry it a half mile or so! :)

I was going to carry it overhead so I could poke my head between the rungs and use my shoulders to carry most of the weight, but it was already separated into two separate ladders. So it was the one in each hand method instead. I worked up quite the sweat carrying those things home, but it was worth it. Once I get them cleaned up, one will be repurposed as a towel holder for my bathroom and the other will go on the patio to hold…something that comes to mind later. (If I only had higher kitchen ceilings and a bunch of cookpots, I’d have myself a nifty potrack.)

And that’s the week that was. Mundane, but in a really good way. Here’s hoping next week offers more of the same.

I hope you’re having a great weekend! Be sure to stop by Monday for this month’s AIM post!