Vegan tofu tacos with Asian slaw

Vegan tofu tacos with Asian slawI love tacos. They’re the perfect thing to throw together when you’re busy and want a fast, easy and tasty meal. If you pick the right ingredients, they’re pretty darn healthy, too.

These tacos definitely fit the bill. They do require some forethought, since you need to give the ingredients some time to get to know the marinade and dressing, but it’s definitely worth the effort to plan ahead. Your reward will be a healthy, flavor-packed dinner. You’ll get a hit of sweet and sour from the citrus and vinegar and hint of nuttiness, thanks to the seasame oil.

What about you? Are tacos a go-to menu item in your house? How do you make yours?

Vegan Tacos with Asian Slaw

Makes 6-8 tacos

6-8 6″ flour tortillas

Sriracha (optional, but recommended)

For the slaw:

2 c. shredded cabbage

6 radishes, julienned

1/4 c. carrots, julienned

1/4 c. rice vinegar

2 t. sesame oil

1 T. brown sugar

1 t. garlic, minced

1 t. ginger, minced

Salt and cracked pepper, to taste.

Put cabbage, radishes and carrots in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic and ginger. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is better).

For the tofu:

16 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed to get rid of excess water (if you’ve never pressed tofu, see this article)

1 c. orange juice

1 t. low-sodium soy sauce

1 t. garlic, minced

1 t. ginger, minced

Slice tofu in half (lengthwise to maximize the surface area) and set aside. In a container large enough to marinate the tofu, mix all remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is better).

After marinating, remove tofu and pat dry. Cut into slices about 1/2″ thick and place on to lightly greased baking sheet. Heat oven to broil setting and put baking sheet on the rack directly under the broiler. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until they start to brown on the edges (cooking time will vary depending on your oven and the level of moisture in the tofu, so keep a close eye on it).

When the tofu is to your desired doneness, remove from oven and assemble your tacos! Warm the tortillas and top each with slaw and tofu. If you like yours a little more spicy, drizzle with sriracha (you’ll be glad you did).

Introducing our first palm-free soap!

A lot of folks are concerned with the use of palm oil for cosmetic (and industrial) purposes and the impact of overproduction to environmental sustainability.

Even though Emmet Street Creations only uses palm oil from Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies (a company committed to only buying its palm oil from suppliers who are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), Christine’s recent trip to Costa Rica, during which she saw miles of palm plantations that strip some beautiful areas of the country of biodiversity, inspired her to further her efforts toward creating palm-free handmade soap that met her high standards for quality.

It’s been a challenge for Christine, but today I’m happy to announce she is ready to introduce the first palm-free handmade soap to the Emmet Street Creations lineup: Mango Papaya soap!

Mango Papaya soapThis soap is not yet available in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store. It will premier at The Mom and Pop Shoppe in Akron on 4/25! So if you want to be the first kid on the block to have this tropical-scented soap, come out and see us. Our booth will be set up at Musica from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Now that Christine has experienced success, you’ll likely see more palm-free soap offerings in the Emmet Street Creations store in the future. But be assured, when palm oil is part of the recipe, we’re committed to only using products by sources committed to sustainable production methods.

(If you want to read more about the use of palm oil in soap making, check out this excellent post on Bramble Berry’s blog.)

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Banana soap by Emmet Street CreationsIt’s been another busy week on the Emmet Street! I procrastinated doing yard work by getting a lot of writing projects done and Christine has been busy getting ready for Crafty Mart’s The Mom and Pop Shoppe in Akron on Saturday (our booth will be set up at Musica from 10 AM to 5 PM). Come out and see us and check out the premier of new smells that are not yet available in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire us and usually we share our favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.) Since we’re going to be at Crafty Mart on Friday, I thought I’d share some of the goodies we’ll have with us instead.

  • Lemongrass and Green Tea – Just what the Buddha ordered to start your day with calm and mental clarity.
  • Beachin’ – We’ve still got a way to go before it will be warm enough to sunbathe on the shores of Lake Erie, the scent of this soap will tide you over while you wait.
  • Honeysuckle Shea Butter – Once it is warm enough to hit the beach, the honeysuckle will be in bloom, too! This is one of my favorite scents and the natural shea butter keeps your skin moisturized.

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, you may have missed out on the celebration of National Library Week! Since we’re big fans of the public library, we were celebrating! Here’s some of the fun you missed:

  • Drop and give me 20 (minutes of reading) – April 12 is Drop Everything and Read Day. We, of course, quietly celebrated.
  • It’s a little-known fact that National Library Week is celebrated by showing feats of strength (in architecture) – Here are some innovative and beautiful libraries. (It’s on my bucket list to see the Skywalker Ranch library, but I believe tours are strictly invitation only. So, if anyone can make that happen for me…)

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

I’m so excited it’s finally spring that I’m feeling a bit fruity! Check out this post about the benefits of using banana in your skin care regimen. There will be oodles of fresh strawberries in your local grocery or farmers’ market soon why not whip up a gluten free, vegan strawberry pie with a pecan-oat crust? It’s delicious.

See us on 4/25 at The Mom and Pop Shoppe in Akron!

Crafty Mart Mom and Pop ShoppeImage credit: Crafty Mart

That’s right, we’re hitting the road! On Saturday, April 25, we’ll have a booth set up at The Mom and Pop Shoppe hosted by Crafty Mart, Akron, Ohio’s longest-running handmade market.

Vendors offering a wide array of handmade goods will be set up at three different locations Musica, Summit Artspace and the Akron Art Museum. We’ll be at Musica (51 E. Market St., Akron, Ohio) from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Christine will be bringing flavors of soap that are not currently available in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store. Mango Papaya was inspired by her recent vacation in Costa Rica and Rosemary Herb Loofah was the successful result of her Loofah Soap experiment. Supplies are limited, so get yours before they’re gone! Of course, you’ll also be able to purchase customer favorites like Soap á l’orange and Citrus Clouds, too.

Remember if you come out to The Mom and Pop Shoppe, you’ll save the shipping costs you’d pay when you order on Etsy. You could use that savings to get a pizza at Luigi’s Restaurant, an Akron favorite since 1949. Just look for the giant pizza hanging on the exterior of the building (or follow the good smell wafting through the air).

See you there!

Know someone who loves to support handmade makers? Why not share this post with them so they can plan to attend? It’s easy! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

Soap making secrets: Why is coconut oil used in soap making?

Soap a l'orangeSoap a l’Orange provides cleansing power thanks to coconut oil

One of my favorite ingredients to use in soap is coconut oil. I’ve used it in every single batch of cold process soap that I’ve made.

Every oil provides a different benefit to soap. Olive oil is conditioning, but doesn’t provide cleaning power. Castor oil helps create bubbly soap, but won’t add hardness to a bar. Soap makers have to think about the unique properties of each oil before creating a batch of soap in the soap lab.

So, why do soap makers love coconut oil? Because it gives soap its cleaning power. It’s a lather making powerhouse that creates big, fluffy bubbles. Lather’s a good thing because it helps draw dirt and oil away from your skin. Coconut oil also helps to create a harder bar of soap.

While coconut oil has wonderful cleansing benefits, it can be irritating when used incorrectly. According to the book, “The Soap Maker’s Companion,” by Susan Miller Cavitch, soap made with a high percentage of coconut oil (over 30% of the total oils in the recipe) can strip away the natural layer of oil that protects our skin. Once that layer is gone, our skin is more susceptible to becoming dry and irritated. Basically, when too much coconut oil is used in a formula, the soap can overclean your skin! (I’ve simplified the explanation. If you’re a nerdy soap maker with a love of science, I highly recommend Susan’s book.)

When coconut oil is used with other moisturizing oils at its optimal concentration, less than 30% of the total oils in the recipe, it’s not drying and helps to make a delightful bar of soap.

Of course, everyone’s skin reacts differently and Emmet Street Creations makes soap with different concentrations of coconut oil.

If you are looking for a gentle soap made with less than 20% coconut oil, try our Beachin, Lemongrass and Green Tea, or Crisp Apple Rose soap. If you like soap that provides big fluffy later, try our Soap á l’orange, Chipotle Caramel, or Peppermint soap. 

Can’t decide which one to try? Try them all and save money with our 3 for $12 special!

Do you have a question about the soap making process? Ask it in the comments or on our Facebook page and I’ll do my best to answer it in a future post. 

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

Emmet Street Creations hits the roadChristine’s ready to take the store on the road!

Happy Monday! It’s been a busy week on Emmet Street. I traveled to my homeland to spend a long weekend with my family and, since it was Easter, Christine ate her weight in hrudka (and maybe some chocolate bunnies), don’t judge.

Now that we’re full of vim and vigor, we’re gearing up for the local bazaars, fairs and fleas the summer season brings. Our season kickoff is in Akron on April 25. We’ll be at The Mom & Pop Shoppe hosted by Crafty Mart–the perfect place to find handcrafted soap (and other goodies) for Mother’s and Father’s Day gifting. Mark your calendar and come out to check out what’s new (rumor has it there will be items that are not available in the Etsy store)!

On to links we want to share with you!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire us. Check out some of our favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following us on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

  • Aromatherapy can reduce stress and give you energy – Glad to see the Cleveland Clinic is on board with aromatherapy. I keep small vials of lavender essential oil to promote calm and eucalyptus essential oil to promote energy and clear thinking at my desk. Sometimes it works.
  • Dairy-free cheese – There’s a nut milk cheese movement happening, people! This is exciting news for me since I love cheese, but my tummy doesn’t. The soy and oil-based vegan cheeses I’ve tried were not fantastic, so this news renews my hope (and inspires me to start tinkering in the kitchen).
  • Slide the City is coming to northeast Ohio – Heavens to Murgatroyd, a giant water slide! This looks like a tsunami of fun.

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Spring (and all the Easter candy I’ve eaten lately) as me thinking about epic salads again. Looking for inspiration? Check out Christine’s experiment with mason jar salad and this delicious Meyer lemon salad dressing.

Quick and easy appetizer: Radish and butter crostini

Radish and butter crostiniI’m loving all things radish right now. Radishes provide many nutritional benefits and in northeast Ohio we’re approaching the time of year when eating them fresh from our own garden is a real possibility.

I also love eating radishes with a little butter and salt. I know the fat content of the butter negates some of the healthy benefits of the radish, but a girl has to treat herself now and then! All things in moderation.

If you’re looking a for an easy, flavorful appetizer with springtime flair for your next garden party, try this crostini recipe. Almost everyone likes toast with butter and adding the radish adds an extra dimension of flavor and texture to the experience.

Have you tried eating radish with butter and salt? What do you think about the combination?

Butter and radish crostini

Makes 12

1 French baguette (cut into 12, 1/2 inch slices)

4 T. butter, softened

6-8 radishes, thinly sliced

Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Heat oven to broil setting. Arrange bread slices on a cookie sheet and place under broiler to toast (I like to mist mine on both sides with a little extra virgin olive oil, but it’s optional). It takes less than a minute of broiling on each side to get the bread its perfect, golden toastiness, so keep a close eye on it! Remove bread from oven and allow to cool.

Spread butter on toast and arrange radish layers on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top as desired and enjoy!