Vacation in a Bottle


I’m fairly convinced that there will never be a day where it doesn’t snow in Iowa. Yep, I’m sure of it – winter is going to last forever.


I know it’s the same story around the country so you all feel my pain – but a predicted 8-9 inches on top of the 18-19 inches we already have on the ground!? Rats!

It’s times like these that I turn to my trusty and reliable winter blues remedy – vacation in a bottle. Aka coconut scented lotion! It does wonders for the soul! One little dab instantly takes me to the white sand beaches of Hawaii… pina colada, anyone? 8)


Back on the mainland, I got to cooking something hearty and heartwarming for dinner – Sloppy Joes – with a twist…muwahaha!


First of all, let me just tell you that sloppy joes will always and forever remind me of the crazy lunch lady in Billy Madison… “I know how you kids like ’em…EXTRA SCHLOPPY!”

At any rate – the twist in my sloppy joes is that they’re made with crumbled tofu instead of ground meat! :D

I started with this block of Nasoya Lite Firm Tofu, which I pressed…



In my handy, dandy Tofu Xpress – literally one of the coolest things EVER!


Take one block of tofu, stick it in the container, put the lid on top and push down to lock.



Place in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight, and all the extra liquid is pressed right out!


See? I am such a sucker for cool, unipurpose gadgets – and this one just about takes the cake tofu. Order one here!


After I drained the liquid, I crumbled up my tofu and the rest is history.


Tofu Sloppy Joes

Based on the Nasoya Sloppy Joes recipe.


2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 small onion, chopped

1/2 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 package firm tofu, pressed & crumbled

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups tomato sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce


1. In a large pan, sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil over medium-low heat until softened, ~10 minutes*.



2. Turn the heat up to high, add the crumbled tofu and cook until it takes on a light golden brown color, ~3 minutes.


3. Add the rest of the ingredients into the pan, stir and let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes, until thick and bubbly.

4. Serve on a toasted bun!

*If you feel like you need to add more oil or your sauteing veggies will burn, add splashes of water to cook them in, until they’re tender.




Ok, while not as “hard” as ground beef or turkey, looks and taste wise you would never know this was tofu! :D


This sauce was really nice – a little salty, a little sweet, and a perfect little kick from the chili powder. And I know you’re thinking it – “there’s GREEN PEPPER in there!!” (one of the foods that I would banish from the face of the earth.) Yes, I could taste the green pepper and next time I probably won’t put it in there, but for green pepper lovers or neutralists, you would dig it. :)


Served open faced so I could get as much filling as possible, natch.


On the side I had some nice, steamed broccoli.


These pre-washed and pre-cut bags of veggies are SO convenient! All you do is snip a couple holes in the bag, and microwave for 3.5 minutes.




No more excuses that veggies are too hard or time consuming to make! ;)


A lot of you have asked me over the past couple of weeks if Ben eats/likes tofu. The answer is yes/no. Yes, he will try anything I make but, no, he doesn’t really like tofu and usually has something else for dinner on the nights I make it. Kudos are always given to him for trying though! :D

Well I am getting ready to settle in to watch The Bachelor. Apparently something juicy happens tonight! :D Although, something juicy has happened on every episode this season, so I don’t know how much more juicy it can get! I’m predicting that Gia walks out tonight. There, I said it. What do you think is going to go down?

Have a great night, all!


Are you game to try new food items? Or do you know what you like and eat accordingly?

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  1. Evan Thomas 02.08.2010

    I had no idea Nasoya made an official tofu presser! That’d be so much better than a plate and a book(what I use).
    I’m having tofu tonight, too! Baked with maple syrup, yum yum!

  2. Run Sarah 02.08.2010

    That recipe looks awesome! Love the tofu pressor too, what an awesome idea!

  3. Molly 02.08.2010

    I LOVE sloppy joes. I have been making mine with turkey lately, but iM gonna have to try it this way. YUM. Brings me back to the days at summer camp. Those were always the best :)

    I am hatin this snow too. I seriously start day dreaming about summer and then snap out of it as soon as I realize Im surrounded by 10 inches of SNOW. Will the days of grass under barefeet, sunny days on the lake, ice cream eaten OUTSIDE, and yummy food (like corn, watermelon, produce in general) EVER get here!? grrr

  4. Just Audrey 02.08.2010

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know of a giveaway I am having on my site for Glass Dharma straws. They are beautiful glass straws that are so fun in green smoothies, juices, or even just lemon water. Perhaps your readers would be interested?

    Here is the link to the giveaway:

    Thanks! : )


  5. I love coconut scented everything for the same reason!

  6. Kim 02.08.2010

    Tofu press….what a concept! Squishes the jiggle right out!

  7. Lauren 02.08.2010

    Get out of town!!! That is just about the most amazing kitchen gadget I have ever seen. I’m usually not a fan of fancy off the wall kitchen gadgets, but this is one I would use ALL the time! :)

    I never thought to use tofu for sloppy joes. I usually use chic peas or lentils which are pretty awesome by the way, but I am sure tofu is just as awesome. Good to know! ;)

    Enjoy the Bachelor!

  8. Cassie Diane 02.08.2010

    I’m SICK of all the snow in Iowa! I like snow around the holidays. But otherwise, it should not snow. Ever.

    I do try things. My friends eat really healthy foods. Some are quite weird. I usually don’t like it, but at least I tried it!

    As far as the bachelor, I want Ali and Vienna gone! I think Ali’s very dramatic and Vienna… is Vienna. I love Gia and Tenley (sp?), but I wonder if Gia is a good match for Jake. I’m curious to see how Jake gets along with Vienna and Gia’s families.

    I’m really hoping that the snow is enough for a snow day… but either way, im done with freaking winter!

  10. Jenna 02.08.2010

    Love the tofu press. I need one of those in my life.

    I am lucky that Mike will pretty much try anything once as well. He tried tofu for the first time the other week. Although he didn’t love it, I don’t think he minded it either. :)

    As for the Bachelor, I have no idea! However, I did read a spoiler that Vienna wins. But I just can’t imagine that being true. She is nutzo!

  11. Sandy 02.08.2010

    Wow, this recipe looks awesome!! I’m a big fan of sloppy joes and I also love adding variety to my recipes!! I’ve never heard of a tofu press but maybe I might just pick one up now! =)

  12. Melissa 02.08.2010

    Totally thought of the Billy Madison lunchlady when I saw “Sloppy Joe’s!” :)

    For the most part, I’m game for trying new things. Not so sure about tofu sloppy joes (I like mine with ground turkey, usually), but I did buy some tofu since you’ve been raving about it! I think I’ll try the Sesame Peanut Tofu Pasta first and see how that goes . . .

  13. So cool that your hubbie will try tofu!!! I am still afraid of it myself.. well cooking it at home anyway.I love to try new foods though. I say, I’ll try anything once.

    Um yeah I LOVE the Bachelor and I”m thinking the same thing. SOMETHING happens with Gia. I don’t know… I like her but there is something off… I don’t know. I can’t wait to see this episode though!!!

  14. ShutupandRun 02.08.2010

    I’m predicting things are going to blow up with Vienna. Or maybe Gia has some skeletons? Hard to say.

  15. OMG! I need one of those tofu presses. Where can I find it?

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  17. Margaret 02.08.2010

    I’m totally game for trying new foods. There’s almost nothing I won’t eat (except liver or painfully spicy food) so I love to experiment at home. We love trying new restaurants, too, and even in our favorite restaurants, I almost never order the same thing twice.

  18. Julie 02.08.2010

    lol sloppy joes remind me of billy madison, and the lunch lady song by Adam Sandler. “sloppy joes, slop sloppy joes yea”. All I can picture is Chris Farley danching around lol

  19. That broccoli looks delish! And so easy — you’ve inspired me to pick up a few bags!

  20. Ha! I have a “tofu” press too! Except it’s for making sauerkraut…=) Like you said, multifaceted!

    And the Bachelor – I’m pretty upset after moving from Mpls to San Fran that it’s aired two hours after all of my friends see it and then post what happens =(

  21. Renae 02.08.2010

    Hi, The broccoli looks good, will have to try that.
    The Bachelor…..3 visits down, crazy Vienna to go. I’m getting the feeling that Ali leaves…I thought Tenley would be a good match, but now not thinking so. If Ali stays, I’m thinking it will be between her and Gia. We’ll find out soon! Here we go…………..

  22. Love the tofu press! What a handy, dandy gadget!! Such a great idea to make tofu sloppy joes!! I am definitely down to try new foods!!

  23. katie 02.08.2010

    girl those look GREAT! gah i bet that tofu press is super handy-i would love that!

  24. Sarah 02.08.2010

    Where do you find the Nasoya Lite in DM? I’ve looked everywhere – even made a special trip to Whole Foods while in Minneapolis this weekend and still no luck!! Tip us off please! :)

  25. ashley 02.08.2010

    I totally hear you on the snow fellow Iowan!! And that Tofu Sloppy Joe recipe looks delish. I’m usually game to try new food items, but I do have my limits too :-)

  26. Jenna 02.09.2010

    The Billy Madison quote made my day! That movie is so ridiculous, but I can’t help but quote it from time to time. I’ll finish off the scene by adding Billy’s line of “Lady, you’re scaring us!”

    The dinner looks amazing, as usual! I started eating tofu just this week and I am loving it, so I might have to invest in a tofu press down the road.

    In regards to your question, I do like trying new things when people make them or I make them. I don’t like going out to eat and spending $10 or more on something I might not like. I guess I’m cheap like that! :)

  27. Oooh I’ve never seen Sloppy Joe’s, but it looks really tasty! I think I might cook something similar tonight, thanks for the inspo!!
    I love trying new foods!! I try and seek them out – I’m currently on the look out for any amazing caulifower recipes, cos I HATE cauliflower with a passion, and I want to like it. All food should be good food to me, no holding back! (Except red meat – I don’t eat that!)
    Have a great evening!

  28. […] Comments « Vacation in a Bottle […]

  29. That tofu press looks so cool! I usually press tofu between some paper towels and heavy books. This way looks much easier!

    Ps. have you heard about the Almost Famous Chef Competition winner yet? I entered too but didn’t know if they announced the winners yet. (We should both win!)

  30. I have some tofu in my fridge that I have to try. I’m pretty open to trying new things (in general. sometimes I could leave a lot of meat products.) and my husband will try it if it doesn’t look too scary.
    I’ll have to try this recipe!

  31. Haily 02.09.2010

    Bahaha Kristin.. I have had the “lunch lady land” song from SNL stuck in my head all day now…Schloppy joes, schloopy, schloopy joes….

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  34. Irean 03.02.2010

    Were do you buy the tofu press??? its sooo cool~~
    I want one!!

  35. Babette Pain 03.17.2010

    sorry, I I don’t get it

  36. Laura 06.16.2010

    I was looking for a Tofu Sloppy Joe recipe and yours looks great!


  37. […] started by marinating my tofu, (pressed in my handy dandy tofu press!) letting it soak up all the wonderful flavors for ~5 minutes a […]

  38. […] Joes are VERY American and not common on menus over here. This recipe comes from Iowa Girl Eats with a quick cross-reference with Sheila Lukins USA Cookbook to make sure I was on the right […]

  39. Katie C 07.10.2013

    I thought your quote from Billy Madison was a good add in….and when I told my bf what was for dinner his first response was the same quote! HA!

    So, I decided to make the schloppy joes a few hours before dinner so the flavors had time to party ~ I actually added more chili powder than called for, two, maybe three pinches of salt and also some pepper. I’m going to add more garlic and onion next time too only because we are onion/garlic crazy! :)

    I WILL be making more of your dishes! Thank you! :)

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