General Tso’s Tofu and Panera: What This Meat-Eater Ate on Meatless Monday

Hey, everyone!

So… I decided to start becoming more intentional with what I eat because I want to eat better.

I mean, I used to be a better eater when I was pescatarian. It literally never occurred to me that I could just say I was a pescatarian, but actually just pig-out on processed junk foods all day everyday.

Instead, I cooked WAY more often. Even found a friend in my favorite ride-or-die kitchen knife I’d always use to chop veggies. (RIP. My mother’s impatience caused it to meet its match and it succumbed to a too-frozen Mother’s Day Coldstone cake.)

I was DISCIPLINED back then! I tried all the things and consistently would take a nice walk through the “forest” on campus to get to the campus garden sale every Thursday.

I was just really happy back then!

And now? I kinda wanna get back to feeling good (and not stuffed and heavy) about what I eat. And also just regain that discipline and try more recipes kinds cause I have to, and can’t default to a budding cold cut sandwich with tons of Miracle Whip.

So! Why not tell you what I eat too? I LOVE finding new recipes online. I’m also that person who feverishly reads through comments on those recipes to see what changes I should make, if any.

Anyway anyway, I digress…

Here we go!

Breakfast

Didn’t happen. I tended to my mom for a few hours and by then? I didn’t have a taste for the (almost) vegan waffles I had planned to whip up.

… or the Ego ones.

… or even the piece of toast with sunflower butter.

Lunch

Since I got a late start today I immediately went into the kitchen to finish up Minimalist Baker’s general tso’s tofu. I had made the marinade and let it soak in it overnight.

And as a person who doesn’t particularly like tofu? It. Was. GOOD.

I chose it because several people in the comments said their steak-a-day husbands were asking for seconds!

So it’s like… a must try at that point!

The sauce was flavorful, sweet, and sticky-good.

The tofu was crispy on the outside and tender inside.

Because I was hungry by the time I started fixing lunch, I only finished out a small batch. But after that I was just lazy. I didn’t wanna fix the rest! But I did end up frying it and storing it? Gotta read up on how to store unfinished tofu.

Then I had a yogurt for dessert.

I wanna cut back on dairy, but baby steps, ya know?

Dinner

Paneraaaa! For sandwiches, I always order their Mediterranean Veggie(minus the cucumber and tomatoes) and grab a bag of kettle chips to go with it.

But today (and dang near ever since they debuted the option) I did a Pick Two, and got my trusty Mediterranean sandwich and, the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad… minus the chicken.

I usually get this salad when it comes to their sandwiches, but never without the chicken.

And I’ve gotta be honest, I missed it if nothing more than because it was another topping that helped me not have uncomfortable feelings in my throat.

Because my throat is uncomfortable and tight-ish.

You see, my allergist told me the reason I can’t just munch on raw lettuce and apples is because they’re part of some weed family (at least the apples are), and I’m allergic to pollen and those certain weeds.

So when I try eating salad and the like, I have to go HAM on the dips, dressings, and toppings if I want to be able to consume them without my throat getting that lodged air pocket-feeling like when you’re holding back from crying.

Ugh. I’ll live, but it’s just ugh.

What I Snacked On

This Monday was a crazy hot mess so there wasn’t too much snacking.

I did get to rush through a slice of Marie Calendar’s banana cream pie, hence why there’s no picture.

And I ate the leftover pieces of tofu I fried but didn’t put in my actual general tso’s dish.

Like, I’ve seen people on food blogs (both the author and commenters) say how they kept eating prepared tofu before the meal was even assembled and I’ve always been like…. HOW?!

Until today, y’all!

I get it now. I’ll have to go into more detail later but buy Nasoya’s extra firm pre-pressed tofu, dry it out even more with a cloth or paper towels, throw the marinade on it and place it in the fridge for 24 hours instead of the instructed 2-3 minutes and BOOM!

Follow the recipe and fry it up with cornstarch and yaaaas!

Make sure you don’t let it fry too long, or make the pieces too small. It can get tough and unpleasantly chewy on you real quick.

But that was exciting! Fixing successful tofu like that.

What I’m Excited to Try

Pinch of Yum’s Loaded Mediterranean Street Cart Fries. Don’t know when I’ll be able to try it cause I have NONE of the ingredients, but I’m excited to try it!

I’ve been wanting fried pita chips from my favorite hookah joint for a couple weeks now, and I need to eventually stop at Trader Joe’s to restock on their sweet potato fries (literally best at-home sweet potato fries EVER. Hands-down. BODY-down!).

It’ll all happen. I can feel it, just you wait!

Conclusion: How Do I Feel?

I felt good today! I was full, but satisfied for the most part.

There was one moment when I wanted all the sweets—honey roasted almonds, banana bread, apple tart, dark chocolate, Hershey’s Gold—but I couldn’t/didn’t follow through.

But! I did it! No meat this Monday! Grandma offered me jowl bacon with tons of fried crispy fat (my favorite) and a bite of her Cajun burger but I declined. Yay me!

Now, off to figure out how in the heck I’m gonna play catch-up with the rest of my to-do list.

See ya next week!

Warmly,

Cierra M

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