Sometimes when I’m walking through the grocery store (though it is a whole lot less often these days) I stop to read processed food labels. I admit, there is still a part of me that is so drawn to the convenience of it all. And I see other parents, toddlers in tow, carts piled high with boxed dinners, and I think, what the hell is wrong with me? They are nice, normal, families who have many of the same struggles I do and they are eating this stuff. What could be so bad?
So, I re-read labels. The same ones I’ve read a dozen times, just to make sure the shit is still there so I steer clear. Fake sugars; led me to chronic headaches. Red #40; possible link to ADHD in children. Corn/soy oil; probably GMO with unknown long term health effects. Fake flavors I can’t pronounce; it’s just not food. And the packaging! My neighbor commented to me that we only put our trash out once a month- for a house feeding 3 adults, 1 child, 2 dogs and 2 chickens, that’s not very much. It’s because we don’t eat much that comes in a box= no trash.
But there’s some good that comes from all this label reading: I get inspired to try new flavor combinations from the garden. This throw-together dinner was inspired by one of those boxed dinners, the kind you just “add water” and the complete meal appears on your plate. Mine took longer, but I must say, was pretty darn tasty. And we got to eat all the cherry tomatoes, kale and Thai basil that was overgrown in the garden.
Zesty Thai Basil & Kale with Tofu
Bunch of cherry tomatoes (at least a cup)
Large bunch of kale, washed and chopped
Large bunch of Thai basil, leaves only, washed
1 package extra firm tofu, with water squeezed out, cubed
Prep the kale, basil, garlic, ginger and tofu before getting started. Cooking goes pretty quickly.
Place small amount of oil into a heated wok. Toss in the tomatoes. If they are big, you can cut some in half, but smaller ones get a nice “pop” texture by not cutting them. Stir constantly so they don’t burn.
After a few minutes, toss the kale in. Stir until it cooks down a bit, then add the garlic and ginger. We like strong flavor, so I used heaping spoonfuls of both.
Then add the Thai basil. It will start to smell really yummy now. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
Put the cubes of tofu in and stir gently so as not to break it all up. Pile the mixture on top the cubes so flavors go into the tofu. Reduce heat on the wok now and let it set, covered for a few minutes.
We had this with seasoned rice, which was cooked and prepped already. (Brown rice cooked with vegetable broth and seasoned with a pinch of hot red pepper flakes.)