Tofu and Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

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Wesak (also called Vesak), a Southeast Asian holiday, celebrates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha. Wesak is one of the most important Buddhist events and is celebrated with color and gaiety. While Wesak food varies by country, it is proper for food to be vegetarian. This dish was simple to prepare and delicious! If your children do not like spice, you may want to omit the cayenne.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 pound firm tofu, cubed
1 small Thai chili pepper (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, minced (optional)
1/2 cup all-natural, chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons agave or molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more, to taste)
2 cups cooked Asian rice

Instructions:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Saute broccoli until par-cooked, about, 5 minutes. Add red bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, tofu and chili pepper (if using). Sautee 5 minutes.
2. While cooking, combine peanut butter, hot water, vinegar, soy sauce, agave and cayenne pepper. Pour over vegetables and tofu. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Serve atop rice.

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Lauren Capitani was an early foodie. While her friends were busy watching Family Ties , she was tuned into Graham Kerr and Yan Can Cook, and served her friends and family dishes such as beef wellington and baked alaska while still a teen. After college, Lauren received Masters' degrees in both journalism and business and worked in both subsequent fields. At 29, she decided to rewrite her life and became an assistant teacher. For the first time, her vocation became her avocation. She now has certification in both both elementary and early childhood education and has taught at seven schools on both coasts (and in between). Lauren has lived summers in France, England, Spain, Japan, and Thailand, and has visited more than a dozen other countries. When her own children start limiting their food choices, Lauren turned it into a teaching moment and created One World Whisk, a global cooking initiative for children. The project garnered more than 200 followers before its one-month charter was complete.

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