*PERSONAL NOTE: Next time… when entering the ‘time’ for posting… make sure the DATE changes to the NEXT day… *sigh* (This was not ready to post… still needed to change the name… and fix a few things.) *geez*

This post has been edited, and reposted. *at the correct time and date*

As part of my new, no-grad-school-clinical-classes, summer routine…

I now require the girls to choose a vegan or vegetarian recipe, make a list of ingredients, and shop for said ingredients.

Adding insult to teenage angst misery?

I make them COOK IT TOO.

The first attempt, was, well, a practice in patience, and grammatical and syntactical precision.

My younger teen announced… “I’ve found the perfect recipe!”

“Oh! Already? You’ve only been looking for, what, 30 minutes?”

“Yea! What about this recipe for black bean burgers?”

Hmm… not ideal… but it did require chopping, mashing, measuring, and processing… “Okay… go ahead, check the cabinets and fridge, and make a shopping list.”

An hour later, I was presented with the following list (and now wish I would have photographed it):

  • lettuce
  • whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 large beef tomato
  • avocado

AND… *drum roll please*

  • 1 package frozen black bean burgers

Um… yeah… do you really think mom’ll fall for THAT one?

Well, exhaustion won… because, also in the about to expire and be discarded list?

4 russet potatoes.

Okay… at least they could make the potatoes from scratch.

So t’was the first teenager cooked dinner: BLACK BEAN BURGERS and BAKED, SEASONED POTATO WEDGES.

This week, I was able to refine my instructions… and the girls ultimately chose a family favorite:


The original recipe is from my late 1990’s Betty Crocker cookbook for “Sweet Potato and Tofu Jambalaya”.

I have been cooking this recipe for almost 5 years now. And, as with every other recipe I seem to have experience in?

I inevitably end up CHANGING some things…

In addition to the measurements… I’ve also changed the order of the steps.

But first… take a look at those sweet potatoes. Yes those…

Look closer…


Lesson 1: When mom asks you to check to see if the sweet potatoes are still good? MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY TAKE THEM OUT AND LOOK AT THEM.

My husband, their dad, had to run back out to get 2 fresh sweet potatoes…

Meanwhile, the preparation continued:

chopped green onion. I have these cute little measuring bowls from my pamper chef days… (the little glass one…) my younger teen (the semantical genius herself) prepped this part…
meanwhile, her sister drained and chopped the tofu….

A little note about tofu…

Out of the mouth of babes… don’t believe the recipes…

If you are ‘frying’ tofu? Don’t “press all the water out”… just drain it… chop it and go…


IN 5 YEARS… I have had to deal with tofu:

  • crumbling
  • not browning
  • getting mushy
  • having to add water, oil, and/or broth

…in order to get ‘cooked’ semi-firm tofu…

I struggled for years, and always ended up with subpar tofu…

My older teen got this beautifully browned tofu, no crumbles, no added oil or water:

I was excited. My teaching skills must have finally manifested a pure result… thinking the usual adage of those who can’t do – Teach…

“How the heck is it not sticking? What did you do? You must have gotten all the water out!”

“Huh?” They looked confused… “No… I just drained the package, patted it with the paper towels and cut it up…”





Meanwhile… #what-my-older-teen-said, while cooking the tofu:

“I’m dying on the outside…”

While successful at the tofu frying, they could, for some strange reason, only fixate on the fact that, well, olive oil tends to ‘pop’ when heated…

And occasionally lands on bare skin.

“Well, you know what they say honey…”

“What’s that mom?”

“If you’re afraid of getting burned… don’t go in the kitchen.”

My younger teen snickered.

Okay… moving on…

Prior to the Tofu being browned properly for the first time in 5 years… all ingredients had been lined up like little soldiers:

In chronological, non-original-betty-crocker-recipe, order… here’s the ingredients:

One process I change in this recipe was the tofu… because… well, TOFU is bland. Like any other protein in the dietary spectrum? They are only as good as the herbs, spices, and oils their cooked in…

Thus… I changed the 1 tablespoon of oil to 2… and began splitting out the 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (for vegan, use soy sauce)…

1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire sauce is sprinkled into the now browned tofu:

Oh… and throw in the green onions at the last minute.

Once you can ‘smell’ the onions cooking… scoop the tofu/onion mix into a bowl:

Once that is set aside… yeah, like this…

Next ingredient: SWEET POTATO maybe?

“Tell your dad, Thank you.”

*ugh* [in unison]
Thanks dad…”

(also in there? finely chopped 3-4 small garlic cloves. Per my younger teen? Small is relative, and bigger is better… garlic is their favorite food.)

Next… add in the DANGEROUS ingredient:


**WARNING: When adding this spice to frying, sautéed food… DO NOT INHALE.**

“I’m gonna die.” the younger said, shaking hand hovering the heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne over the pan.

“As long as you lean out… and don’t inhale… we’re good.” the older wisely stated.


We all lived.

Next was the chicken (or veggie) broth:

Still working out the amount of liquid… but this is 1 cup chicken stock, with added water… we are guessing the next attempt will equal 2.5 cups of broth (stock + water).

The second tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce)… in with the chicken (or veggie) broth.

Mix in (pic missed)… with sweet potato and garlic… COOK 10 MINUTES, low boil.

Add 2 cans of rinsed, drained black beans. Mix in gently.

Cook, for, hold on for it… 3 whole minutes… then add the instant rice:

Mix in… put a lid on… bring to low boil… cover… for 5 minutes.

Add in cooked tofu, Worcestershire sauce (or soy), and green onion mixture.

Mix in, at younger teen speed, and place a lid on it.

Set aside, at least 5 minutes.

And serve:

As always, I hope this helps you be braver in the kitchen, try some old, family favorite, via you progeny.  And, well, maybe learn a thing or two…


Oh… and for fun… here are my notes.

I will see if I can post a refined version in my Favorite Recipes page later.