I was uncharacteristically offline for a while yesterday, and when I finally logged in, I discovered something incredible and life-altering.
You know how you don't realize that something's missing in your life until that something is right in front of you? That's how I feel about the new Dyson Supersonic hair dryer.
You guys, this is the biggest hair development in decades. It is supersonic. A supersonic hair dryer. Hair dryers have really not changed since we went from the bonnet style dryers that could only be used while seated to current hand-held models. I mean, sure, in the Eighties hair dryer manufacturers added diffuser attachments to deal with all that permed hair, and at some point they added different heat levels and "cool blast" buttons, but in general, we've gone from rigid bonnets to use with our curlers, to semi-portable flexible bonnets, to hand-held dryers.
This is a step change, for sure. For someone like me who heat styles her hair every single day, the new technology that promises to prevent heat damage and to dry hair in a fraction of the time it takes with current dryers is life-changing. People, this is the Vitamix of hair dryers.
The only drawback is that, price-wise, the Dyson is also the Vitamix of hair dryers. My Scottish ancestors would be rolling in their grave if they knew I was considering a $400 hair dryer when my $20 one is still kicking around.
Of course, being a Dyson, I'm sure the dryer will last for years, if not decades. Personally my hair dryers tend to burn out after a couple of years of hard-core use, so that is something to consider in my cost-benefit analysis. Although, in the words of my beloved late grandma when my grandpa asked her if the low cost of homemade bread would offset the price of the bread maker she had just purchased, "Not in our lifetime, Clifford. Not in our lifetime."
It's true; unless I have a Yoda-like life expectancy and go through 80 hair dryers before I die, it's not going to financially pay off. Not in my lifetime, Clifford.
Oh, but the heart wants what the heart wants, doesn't it? Would it be a frivolous purchase? Of course it would be. But isn't everything that isn't a basic necessity a frivolous purchase? Blenders make smoothies just fine, but my Vitamix blends spinach, hemp, and frozen fruit into the perfect frothy blend in ninety seconds. Brooms work just fine, but my Roomba cleans under all the beds while I have a drink with my feet up, like a caricature of a 1950's dad home after a hard day at work. My $20 hair dryer works just fine, but just think of all the time saved and hair repairing products that would not have to be purchased if I had a Dyson!
Be right back, need to add "time saved" and "fewer reconstructing/ repairing hair products purchased" to my cost-benefit analysis.
Sigh. I think my Scottish ancestors are going to win on this one. For now. But I probably have enough time to save my pennies for the day that my current hair dryer goes to the grave. I won't be mourning it for long.
Tofu. It gets a bad rap, doesn't it? In my experience, one mention of tofu and people around you act like they just saw a mouse in your kitchen. "Ew! Tofu!"
But here's the thing: tofu is great. It is an inexpensive source of protein; it can be cubed and tossed into soups and salads, it can be blended into hummus and salad dressings for added creaminess, and it can be used to make scrumptious desserts. In other words, tofu is the food equivalent of that friend who everyone needs to invite to their party: the friend who can happily get along with anyone and who just makes things better in their own way. We all have that friend who can earnestly talk to our elderly aunt about her sciatica, but who can also talk politics, current events, and the relative merits of Chris Hemsworth versus Chris Evans, depending on the circle. Those easy-going, versatile friends are so valuable; you need at least one of those friends at every party you host.
And that's the great thing about tofu. Tofu fits in everywhere. Tofu takes on the flavours of whatever dish it is added to, and makes it even better. Tofu is the unsung hero of vegetarian cooking, and this recipe in particular will make you love it even more.
Press tofu: Drain liquid from tofu and place on a tea towel. Cover with a second tea towel, and put a plate over it. Set a heavy can on the plate to press the liquid out of the tofu (see photos below). This should take about 20-30 minutes.
After pressing, cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish.
Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey or maple syrup, soy sauce, and basil. Pour over tofu. Allow to marinate for 2 hours or overnight, turning the pieces of tofu occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu from marinade and transfer to a medium bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until evenly coated. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until outside is crispy.
Enjoy with rice and roasted vegetables!
NOTE: marinade can be reserved for drizzling over rice, vegetables, and tofu for an extra burst of flavour.
NOTE: Tofu can also be eaten cold, in a salad.
To press all the liquid out of the tofu, first place the block on a tea towel.
Cover with another tea towel and a plate. Set a heavy can on top of the plate and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
Marinate the pressed tofu for at least two hours - the longer, the better!
I absolutely love pasta. Pasta Night happens weekly at my house, and it is one of my favourite nights of the week. For one thing, pasta is quick and easy to prepare, and for another, everyone in my family loves it. You just cannot get better than that!
I admit that I normally lean towards tomato-based sauces, but every once in a while I crave something creamy and decadent. This sauce tastes creamy and decadent without the cream and without the decadence. It's a very healthy alternative to traditional Alfredo sauces. Because I like to up my vegetable intake, I've added roasted zucchini and sundried tomatoes, but this is optional. Peas, roasted cauliflower, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, or roasted red peppers would all be delicious as well - or you could just serve the pasta as-is.
The sauce can be made ahead of time and re-heated, for those hectic weeknights when everyone needs to be several places at once and you have a crying toddler hanging on your leg. Pasta Night for the win!
In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for approximately 40 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender. Drain.
Place the potatoes along with almond milk, olive oil, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, and onion powder in a blender or food processor until very smooth and creamy.
Return to the saucepan and keep warm until ready to use.
MAKE-AHEAD: store in the refrigerator and then heat the sauce when ready to use, over medium-low heat.
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
Toss prepared pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce, roasted zucchini (see below), and sundried tomatoes. Enjoy!
Note: this sauce goes well with many different vegetables - roasted cauliflower, peas, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, or roasted red peppers are all delicious additions.
Optional Roasted Zucchini Addition:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss zucchini slices in olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.