less than impressed.

by Janetha on November 14, 2010

in meals

i made a lot of progress on the spare bedroom today.

sure, i may still be in my pajamas from this morning, but progress has been made. that’s what matters.

we are turning it into an office for me slash video game room for marshall, so i would really like to get it organized ASAP. right now, there are piles and piles of paperwork everywhere i turn. i can’t wait to have a desk and some filing cabinets to get everything in order.

well, obviously i can wait.. seeing as how i have been in my house since july.. but you know what i mean.

i took a break from unpacking and made dinner for marshall, nick & myself.  nick is vegan, so i had to see what was on hand to whip something up we could all enjoy.

luckily, i had some tofu in the fridge. i pressed it in my tofuXpress and diced it.

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i opened the cupboards to see what sauce i could use. i have a never ending stockpile of trader joe’s sauces that i stock up on when in california, so i picked one that was vegan.

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truth be told, i’ve had this jar in my cupboard for over a year (well, in a different cupboard, since i have moved twice in the past year)—i never made it because marshall doesn’t like the flavor of coconut milk in thai food (I KNOW, HE IS CLINICALLY INSANE) and that is the main ingredient. i didn’t want to make it for myself, so i was just waiting for a time to make it when there was someone else around to eat it. when marshall agreed that he would eat it, despite the coconut milk, i knew it was time to crack open the jar.

more about the sauce in a minute. back to the tofu. i was originally going to make emily’s coconut crusted tofu, but then i realized i missed the boat on the 2 hour marinating window. instead, i drizzled the tofu with rice vinegar and coated it in unsweetened coconut.

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so.. in the end.. it was similar to emily’s—but probably not as awesome. i still have hers on my to-make list!

i baked the tofu at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning the cubes every 10 minutes so every side got nice and toasty.

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while the tofu was baking, i prepared some trader joe’s brown rice medley.

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this stuff is great. it has three different textures (long grain rice, barley and daikon) that all work really well together. highly recommend!

i dumped the curry sauce in a pan along with a couple cups of kirkland (costco)stir fry veggies that i had steamed beforehand.

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i let the veggies and sauce simmer until the rice and tofu were done.

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then it was time to eat!

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i took a cue from ashley and used her paper towel trick to bounce the light and reduce the shadow in my bowl. i think i need a little practice, but it definitely made a difference. thanks, ash!

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this trio worked together fabulously. i was really surprised that the sauce tasted nothing like coconut! marshall was pleasantly surprised as well. it was actually more of a limey, spicy sauce. definitely had a kick.

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while i enjoyed the flavor of the sauce, i wasn’t in love.. and neither was marshall. i probably won’t be buying it again for a few reasons:

  1. we don’t have trader joe’s here. so,when i buy jarred sauces from trader joe’s, it means i am in another state. which means i have to wrap them in bubble tape and pack them in my suitcase, check my luggage and pray they don’t break en route to my house. yes, it is a process, but i am willing to do this for jars of TJ’s products that i really love. i didn’t love this one enough for all that effort.
  2. not worth the calories.  if you think worrying about calories and fat grams and all that is lame, that’s ok. but for me.. well, in some cases, i care. while i don’t count calories, i am calorie conscious. one serving (1/4 cup) of the sauce is 180 calories and 15 grams of fat. i probably ate 1/2 cup of the sauce (because when is 1/4 cup of curry sauce a serving?) if it tasted like one of mama pea’s balls, sure, totally worth it. but really—the sauce didn’t do it for me and i would rather eat something either more delicious or less caloric.
  3. marshall didn’t love it. if he was crazy about it, i would totally buy it again for him. that boy can eat 9,000 calories a day, so #2 is not an issue for him. 

now you know way more than you wanted to regarding my opinion on trader joe’s thai green curry sauce. you’re welcome.

by the way, the tofu was incredible. thanks for the inspiration, emily.

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it was nice to cook dinner again! i have been slacking this whole week and haven’t really prepared many meals. i think i am back in cooking-mode, this upcoming week will involve lots of new recipes, i will be sure to share them with you guys!

i will announce the winner of the swag giveaway tomorrow night.. get your entry in while you still can.

Qs~

1. do calories per serving influence if you will buy a product or not?

2. what was the last new-to-you item that you were less than impressed with?

xo. janetha g.

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Jessica @ How Sweet November 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm

They do to a point. If it’s something I LOVE then I could care less about calories. But if it is something I don’t really enjoy (like salad dressings, I can never find one I like) I will be more conscious.

BroccoliHut November 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I’ve never tried jarred curry sauce–thanks for the info on the TJ’s version. I think I’ll skip it.
1. I do look at kcalories when buying foods, mostly out of habit.
2. I have been less than impressed with my peanut flour…but I haven’t experimented with it much.

Erica November 14, 2010 at 8:45 pm

I have that rice and haven’t made it. Now I’m excited about it. Great job whipping together a vegan friendly meal. I will glance at the calories- if they are seriously outrageous for a small- I will put said item back. Somethings are totally worth it though ;)

elise November 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm

bummer about the less than stellar sauce. :(

isnt the tofu xpress the most amazing tool ever? Im freakin obsessed. between that and the rice cooker i hardly do anything in the kitchen anymore, haha.

Pure2raw twins November 14, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Glad the tofu turned out for you!! And I do not really look at calories in things anymore. I know what I eat and what the body can handle so that seems to be working for me. I would stress too much over calories that it was making more worse. Sorry the sauce was no good :(

Heather (Where's the Beach) November 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Oh I hate it when that happens. I will say that calories and nutritional values do matter to me. And if you buy something that you normally wouldn’t and then it turns out to be less than stellar, well that just sucks

Nicole C. November 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I don’t count calories so I don’t reallly look for calorie content unless I’m guessing they are high and I want to be wrong.

No new to me item, I stick with what I know so I’m not disappointed. So sad, so unadventurous I’m probably missing a world of tastiness.

BTW, if you want Trader Joes anything I can send it to you. For real, we have lots of them around.

I’m going to go listen to Ben yell at the TV, poor Steelers.

cbrady3 November 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I’m definitely calorie conscious! If it’s high calorie, I want it to be GOOD calories..healthy fats, etc!

Jamie @ Food in Real Life November 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Calories do affect some things I buy- especially when it is something like a sauce, and it’s not really giving me any nutritional value in exchange for the calorie content.

Matt November 14, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I mainly look at the ingredients when I buy something. I am much more afraid of certain ingredients than high calorie counts! Sometimes more calories = more nutrition ;)

edenseats November 14, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Since going on my road to recovery with me eating disorder, I’d like to say by now with all the therapy and treatment behind me, “Yes, i dont car about calories! ladidadida….”. But I care! Some things are so worth it, and I am pretty sure Mama pea’s ball are on that list (that sounds so naughty!). And Tj’s Salty Caramel Sauce is up there too! I feel like I make better sauces at home so I generally dont buy them. I like the “Soy Vey Teriyaki” sauce with tofu. I think its only 40 calories per serving and is a bit more impressive in that taste dept.

I dont get what all the fuss is about chia seeds. I dont think they taste like anything.

Heather November 14, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I still need to try tofu. I need to get over my fear of it. Your pics make me wanna try……. :)

Erica D November 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I agree with you; the calorie counts of sauces scare me! I hardly use pre-made ones, for that reason. By the way, I made your sesame-ginger couscous the other night (due to lack of supplies, I subbed brown rice for couscous, edamame for cucumber, spinach for basil) and it was a hit with my fam! The dressing makes it, even though I’ll be making it with a little less ginger next time ;)

Sunflower seed butter is a little odd to me; I’m not sure if I just have really bad luck with Maranatha products (the almond butter spreads for everyone else but me!), but I’m regretting spending $5 on the jar. It’ll be eaten as I acquire the taste for it, but lesson learned!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 14, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Wow…1/2 c sauce for you, would mean more like 3/4c for me b/c I like a little food with my flood of condiments LOL And yeah, at 1/2 c and 30g’s of fat..I’d wayyyyyy rather break into some Godiva or Sees Chocolate than curry sauce LOL

Thanks for the review b/c I live 2 blocks from TJ’s and have so much access…too much so…so it’s good to hear an honest product review!

I’ll stick to their peanut flour. That’s the latest thing i bought…and loved. Posted about the cookies i made with it. holy dont care about calories b/c they are that good, kind of cookies :)

janae @hungryrunnergirl.com November 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm

At least it looks amazing?
1. The calorie content does effect whether or not I buy an item. I would rather use up all my calories on ice cream and candy!
2. The last product I was disappointed with was a thing of apples that I bought from Costco. The outsides looked amazing but they were so grainy and gross! I guess it wasn’t new to me but I was definitely disappointed!
Way to get so much done today:)

Mama Pea November 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Yeah, my balls are better than any peanut flour cookies. Just sayin’

You should make your own curry sauce! It’s so easy!!!

lynn @ the actor's diet November 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

good to know – i always see that sauce and wonder!

Tay November 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’m sorry you didn’t love it :(

1. Heck yes calories influence my decisions and what I eat! Of course, I also eat what I want – and if it’s high in calories, then I’ll eat it rarely (ha! not always) and/or in small servings. Or I just eat large servings, enjoy it, slightly slightly regret it, but move on. It happens!

2. I recently bought cranberry-orange cream cheese that I do not like at all. Oh well – it was only .99 cents!

Mary (A Merry Life) November 15, 2010 at 12:21 am

All your Trader Joe’s stuff is making me want to take a trip there myself! Too bad that involves crossing an ocean now. ;)

Hmmm. I think that might be a good recipe for me to try if I ever get around to trying tofu.

I’ve been using or at least trying to use ash’s paper towel light tip too. I’m not sure if I read it on your blog or her blog but it’s actually pretty brilliant.

1. do calories per serving influence if you will buy a product or not? To a point. I don’t count calories (I try but it’s ridiculous horrible in my opinion) but I do pay attention to anything I buy that comes with nutritional info. If it’s super calorific? I either don’t buy it, buy a different version, or only eat a little bit.

2. what was the last new-to-you item that you were less than impressed with? An avocado I got on sale. Yeah. I bought a two pack of avocados and they took FOREVER to ripen and one of them would not ripen for anything and even when we thought it had it hadn’t and was a weird texture. Not cool at all.

Mary (A Merry Life) November 15, 2010 at 12:23 am

Er, that’s not to say avocados are new to me… just buying them in a package without being able to check them first. It was a bad idea.

movesnmunchies November 15, 2010 at 12:29 am

i hate how serving sizes does that… I usually find those vegan, all natural cookies and they look delicious, but then it says two servings and I’m like “do you really think I’m gna eat only half of this cookie?!”

Lauren November 15, 2010 at 5:46 am

I still have so many TJ’s products I have yet to try. I can’t help it, every time I go I have to pick out at least 12 new items and then I simply can’t use them fast enough. I’ve always wanted to try the curry sauces though.

love you!!!

Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 15, 2010 at 7:05 am

Calories are a factor only when it’s not worth it. I don’t really count them or pay attention to them in foods I like, but if it’s a 400 calorie prepackaged brownie for a vending machine or something, I’m not gonna touch it. I’d rather eat dough balls :)

MelissaNibbles November 15, 2010 at 7:22 am

I’m not going to lie, calories influence my purchases. I blame my mom for that habit…and everything else :)

I want a tofu press. I might actually eat tofu if I had one.

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) November 15, 2010 at 7:28 am

i try not to worry about calories, because I did TOO much for so many years, but it does matter some. usually i check the ingredient list, if it’s short and i know where the calories are coming from (aka good sources!) i’ll cut back on say, the rice on the side or the tofu in my bowl to even it out a bit, but never really obsessive. but if it looks ridiculously high cal (like, 200 kcals for 2tb, etc) then i won’t even bother- not worth it!

i wasn’t all that impressed with TJ’s ginger cat cookies… i know half the blog world loves ’em, but I wasn’t a fan.

xo

runningaroundnormal November 15, 2010 at 8:05 am

What a lovely meal, Janetha!! I wish there was a TJ’s around here, too.
I guess it influences what I buy to a point. I was going to say no, but then I remembered just the other day I was drinking a Wood Chuck pumpkin beer and noticed the insane amount of calories in the beer (that was posted on the label ) and I probably won’t buy it anymore. So I guess only if it’s an insanely high amount of calories – and not worth it. knowwhatimean?

ihearteggs November 15, 2010 at 8:48 am

Macros in a food really do matter to me, especially when I’m in prep for a competition. While some sauces may be “worth it”, i find I’d rather season my food with spices and lower cal fare and eat MORE food, than have a little bit of a high cal sauce

thedelicateplace November 15, 2010 at 8:49 am

1. coconut milk is one of the flavors of otherworld-edness. boy is cray cray
2. quality of calories per serving counts to me. i will eat eat if it’s high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbs…take for instance last night and my bacon craving. my 830 snack was 3 pieces of bacon haha. happy sleeper i was last night :)
3. i tried jay robb’s protein powder a while back and hated it. i’ll stick to chia and hemp powder

a taste of health with balance November 15, 2010 at 8:56 am

love that sauce! yeah I usually look at calories and that determines whether or not (most of the time) I’ll be making it/eating it. I mean if one serving has a crazy amount, I’ll probably pass

Teri [a foodie stays fit] November 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

Rob doesn’t like Thai food because of the coconut flavor. He and Marshall can be outcasts together while you and I dine in Thai bliss.

I am calorie conscious too and don’t want to eat something high calorie if it’s not that great. Especially with sauces and marinades, there are so many that aren’t high calorie/high fat so I’d rather go the low route on those and use my high cal/high fat splurges on dessert!

lowandbhold November 15, 2010 at 10:17 am

When cooking at home I do pay some attention to calories, but for the most part I just eat what I want and what seems healthy. Still, there are some things that just totally aren’t worth it – I agree 100%.

emily November 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

Thanks for the shout out, I’m glad your tofu was tasty!

1. Yes! I don’t count calories per say, but I’m especially conscious of things like sauces.
2. Mango Honey Low Fat Stonyfield. It had no flavor whatsoever and the texture was strangly thick and viscous.

Holly November 15, 2010 at 11:56 am

what the he!! is in that sauce that it is 180 cals for 1/4 a cup? that’s like worse than maple syrup…and granola…

going to go check out the paper towel trick…

have a lovely monday my dear janehtha :)

GetHealthyWithHeather November 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I am so going to coat my tofu in coconut next time! Bummer bout the sauce.

Naomi(onefitfoodie) November 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm

i think calories do matter to me to an extent. If its something I LOVE and dont have that much adn just want it right then right there, and I know its good then screw calories, lets talk about moderation…BUT if its something I do not enjoy such as a mediocre dessert or mediocre pasta dish, I would rather save those calories for something I love like key lime pie or ice cream!

I love the idea of coconut shreds on tofu!

thedietbookjunkie November 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm

i don’t *count* calories either, but i know the caloric content of almost everything i eat. it’s important to know what you’re putting in your body, it IS your body, after all. :)

kelli! November 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm

haha I have found with most bottled indian sauces the calorie content is high! Guess we just gotta make our own :) Or bottle a lght and healthy one..we could be millionaires haha ;)

julie November 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm

i feel like you should move to long island. i’m a lucky lady and have 3 tjs within 15 minutes of my house. haha it’s not good for my wallet.

i’ve seen that sauce a bunch of times and negated it just because i had a not so hot vibe about it. i recently tried artichokes and i gotta say i hate them. hate. them. deej & van love them though so i guess the super sized costco jar will remain in our fridge ;)

Salah November 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I dont really count calories…I really just monitor my fat, sugar, and sodium intake and try to eat a veggie or fruit with every meal. :-)

ytotheummy November 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm

mehhh sometimes, but not always.
I honestly don’t really bother looking at calories unless it’s on a “just to know” basis, because I think it’s important to know how much I’m eating, and debating if it’s worth it or not.
So, for example 350 calories for pretzels is wayyy different than 350 calories for a totally bomb a$$ dessert.

Andy November 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Bummer the TJ’s sauce wasn’t great. There are a rare few things from TJ’s that I don’t love. There sauces can be a little calorie heavy and I suppose we are aware and limit such items. But they are good to have around every now and again.

I think the last thing I bought that I didn’t love was beer. It was a Brown Ale aged in wood barrels that wasn’t my thing. I have a serious probably with frosty brews.

But it still should be mentioned that Trader Joe’s is my BFF.

Katie November 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Sorry the sauce wasn’t good, especially since you’ve been wondering about it for a year! We have some marinades and grill rubs like that that Ari’s bro got as wedding gifts. Still, that curry rice bowl is soooo up my alley, and I’m also all over the wild rice of late! You know what’s delish? Rice blends + BARLEY. Try it. The texture is so yummy!

Also, I NEVER read through recipes either! I’m usually halfway through the prep when I notice something’s supposed to be marinating for 3 hours. But I just keep on anyway ;-)

Laura (starloz) November 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm

i dont count calories but i do check the nutritional information on everything at the supermarket so i know im safe in my pantry

Emilyeatsclean November 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

coconut crusted tofu sounds delish!! and the last new to me item that i was less than impressed with……”healthy” tapioca pudding :(

nickphillipstattoos November 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm

and no matter what she says.. it was pretty good i thought! thanks for the dinner!

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