Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli

This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

***PROMO CODE for Zyliss Non-Stick Cookware below!***

Hey everyone! I hope that the seep of fall is blossoming beautifully for you. The air here in Alaska is crisp and pungent with the perfume of wild, highbush cranberries.

We've been having a bit of storm this week, complete with powerful winds and angry rain; many of our leaves have already dropped from the trees. Fall in Alaska is about four days long and this intense wind has just given it a big shove, hurrying it along. It goes something like this:

  • Day 1 of Fall - It starts to get real cold at night.

  • Day 2 - The leaves turn banal yellow.

  • Day 3 - The leaves turn pale brown.

  • Day 4 - The (normal) wind and rain arrives; the leaves vacate the trees.

Yes, this is a 100% accurate representation of an Alaskan fall. We don't even count it as a season, it's so short and decidedly unremarkable. We only have three seasons up here. Breakup (spring), construction (summer), and winter. Now you know! I still love our fall though...

Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

The end of construction season has the CSA we subscribe to in full swing with lots of fresh and yummy veggies like this broccoli. As our no-oil, whole foods diet trial continues, this made an excellent and quick weeknight dinner last week. I confess that I've had some slip ups here and there. Mainly a sneaky sneak of some vegan ice cream and bagged popcorn, etc. Todd for the most part has been doing pretty good on it. He made the vegan America's Test Kitchen pancakes (a former staple of his), which use coconut oil, for my non-hermit book club last week and had a few. He told me he did seem to feel worse after eating them, so maybe there is something to this whole oil thing with regards to it's inflammatory influence on rheumatoid arthritis.

The Other Side of Impossible

I'm currently reading, The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up by Susannah Meadows. It's collection of stories about families that have struggled with a chronic illness and sought out 'alternative' treatments when standard western medicine wasn't helping. It's pretty incredible how resilient these people are and I found Todd and myself relating to them in different ways. He's so incredibly enthusiastic and flexible, always willing to continue try this thing or that thing I read about in new study. And myself, unrelenting with research and constantly pouring through both anecdotal and scientific evidence regarding upcoming treatments for autoimmune diseases. #cantstopwontstop

A couple of the folks in the book have RA and I found it especially inspiring to read how they didn't stop trying to find a cure or at least something that helped them managed their pain and symptoms. No matter how bad it got, they were always hopeful that something had to give. It took me a long time to realize that we were the same. That's why we won't stop at just being vegan. If we need to cut out oil and adopt a low-fat, whole foods diet then we'll be there. It might seem extreme to some, but like the book states, until you're faced with the struggle of a chronic autoimmune disease and finding that nothing is working, not even harsh chemotherapy drugs and injectable biologics, you don't know what you wouldn't try if you even had the remote possibility at making a difference in your quality of life. 

The book actually centers on the caregivers of those suffering just as much as the victims, and how far they'll go to help their loved ones. It's really incredible at the hope and tenacity of these people. If you can relate in any way, I encourage you to pick up this book. 

Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli

Recipe by Kathleen @ Produce On Parade

This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz firm or extra firm tofu, pressed for 15 minutes then sliced into 4 rectangles
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 large broccoli head, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil
  • dash of sesame seeds, for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Press the tofu to remove water, then slice. Grill each slice in a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, until they have nice marks. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, toast the dry quinoa over medium heat for about 1 minute then slowly add the water (carefully as it will spit in the hot pan). Bring to a boil over high heat with a dash of salt then reduce to a simmer and cover; cook for 15 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork; cover and set aside.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, chop the broccoli and steam for about 5 minutes until bright green and still retains some crunch. Remove from steam basket and set aside.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce through the agave. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water then slowly whisk into the soy sauce mixture; simmer for a few minutes until thickened slightly. Remove from heat.
  5. To plate, place ¼ of quinoa and broccoli in a shallow bowl, top with one rectangle of tofu, drizzle with the sauce then top with green onions, basil, and sesame seeds. Repeat with 3 more bowls. Serve hot.
Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

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The End of The Line

"Concealing an illness is like keeping a beach ball under water." - Karen Duffy The malaria drugs aren't working.

Produce On ParadeWhen I found out today, that Todd and his Rheumatologist decided it was time he was put on Methotrexate, I softly walked into the mammography dressing room at my work and quietly wept for what seemed like a great while. Finally, deciding that I couldn't sit in there all day, "Come on now, get up now, I'm not alone at all." I gathered myself, deciding that if anyone came into my office I would just blame my appearance on allergies. I've found out that you can blame pretty much anything on allergies.

I spent a good time distressed in that dressing room, but I've found people to cry over much, much less. Our situation could be worse. I know that. I've had a nine year old patient with hands so crippled and deformed that you'd absolutely refuse to believe they weren't that of an 85 year old woman. I've seen a 17 year old boy who already had two total hip replacements. Just kids, much younger than Todd, but with rheumatoid arthritis much more severe.

I think what's especially devastating is that fact that we've tried pretty much everything. In alphabetical order: acupuncture, exercise, fluid draining, a gluten free diet,  Hydroxychloroquine, nightshades free, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, massage therapy,Sulfasalazine, omega 3's, physical therapy, Prednisone, strength training, steroid injections, supplementation, the foam roller, The Stick, a vegan diet, and yoga. We've played seek and find with everyone possible treatment, only to be let down time after time again. It seems that we're at last, at the end of the line. That's the worst part. That there's nothing left but chemo drugs. They may lend relief from inflammation and pain and possibly stop the degradation of joints, but it's at the cost of a healthy liver, strong immune system and longer lifespan. It also means continual blood work and regular appointments with the rheumatologist. Maybe all we did was believe if only for it's sake, but now we don't even have that. I guess I'm saddened and surprised that we're only where we are now, regardless of our fight. At times, when vulnerable, I feel that our efforts have let us down.

That's not true though. Some things we tried did help, even if only a little, but some really didn't help at all. Acupuncture was one that didn't help, exercise helps but it has limitations, the fluid draining from Todd's knees is wonderful. He's had it done several times. We discovered (bittersweetly) that being gluten free didn't make much of a difference. Hydroxychloroquine is the malaria medication, and it clearly didn't produce the results we had hoped. If you read about rheumatoid arthritis and it's relation to diet, the repeating advice is to avoid meat, dairy and nightshades. We try to avoid nightshades most of the time but Todd seems to think that they don't really bother him. Milk, we found, is a huge trigger. Aleve and Advil are okay, but they can only help mask the pain and can be damaging when taken chronically.

Todd has been going to massage therapy for a long time. It helps but it never really solves the root of the issues. It's just a temporary fix. Todd was on Sulfasalazine in high school and also I believe, in college, but ended up going off it. Fish oil made his arthritis worse. Physical therapy is a bit helpful but it doesn't address the inflammation issue. Prednisone works like a freaking miracle but it's very short term, and is so very horrible for the body. Todd does strength training regularly and it helps. The steroid injections in his knees work well but you're only permitted a few per year as, ironically, they can degrade the joint.  We still do some supplementation. We take B12, calcium and vitamin D. Todd puts the Raw Meal by Garden of Life in his shakes and I know that it has a plethora of additional supplements like chlorella and varying seed sprouts.  The foam roller and The Stick work kind of like a massage and can help with the tightness a bit.

So what did we find was the most helpful in regards to easing Todd's symptoms of RA? Converting to a vegan diet has helped him the most out of anything we've done. Honestly, I was kind of surprised. I didn't really expect it to help as much as it did. I am profoundly happy, as it's probably one of the only ways to get Todd to eat better! Captain Vegan Junk Food, indeed. It's a work in progress, but hey, all that meat and dairy was replaced by veggies and beans! Mostly. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, I implore you (be sure to talk to your Doctor first!) to try being vegan for a week or two and see if it helps. Yoga is another thing that really seems to help Todd feel better.

So our course of action now is Methotrexate, along with the things noted above, that we've found helpful. I'm proud that Todd and I have been able to address the disease from all angles. We've stuck with the things that seem to work and let go of those that don't. I'm most glad to see that we're at least cognisant in accepting the sad truth that we're aware more help is needed. I guess we've arrived at that bridge. Wallowing in sorrow isn't becoming and it doesn't help anything get better. We won't let RA control our lives, I know we've done too much and come too far to give in now. We'll do whatever we need to.

Produce On Parade Produce On ParadeI hope, if you happen to have rheumatoid arthritis that you find at least some of this useful. I know I've found comfort in reading other people's experience with Juvenile RA, what they find solace in and what helps them relieve their RA symptoms. I hope this post can offer that to at least one reader.

I should note, too, that Todd of course is handling this much better than I am. Usually I am very strong and try to think, "There's more we can do..." but now I feel that there's not much else. I finally got to the point where, like Karen Duffy expressed, my struggles felt like trying to keep a beach ball underwater. I've done a fair job though. It's only escaped swiftly to the surface twice. My Dad knows about one time and this is the other. That's not too bad.