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The ugly truth

I was recently asked: How do your meals always look so perfect?!

Answer: Ha! They don’t! Why do you think I don’t photograph everything I eat? (Well, besides the fact that I’d go crazy from boredom) I don’t always bother to use matching dishes, and I definitely do not normally worry about the color scheme of my meals (i.e. if I want beige bulgur for breakfast with a Cashew Cookie baby bar, I’ll have that!).

Yesterday’s lunch exuded ugliness: Monster salad + Newman’s Own sesame-ginger dressing, zesty zucchini fries + tomato sauce (grilled this time, not raw), Chee-fu (recipe below), and a dish of Artisana coconut butter, which I ate last as a perfect ending to a perfect (but not-so-perfect-looking) meal. It’s like eating a blob of raw coconut FUDGE!


(With 15 g protein it can go on Robert’s list of high-protein foods)

Basically, you take almost a whole block of tofu (220-ish grams or so, for you measurers), mash it up with a little salt, onion powder, and vegan butter (such as Smart Balance Light), and eat! It’s got a lot of protein and can be made in like 10-seconds flat. I called it “Chee-fu” because it kinda reminds me of savory cottage cheese. Plus, Chee-fu also reminds me of this guy:


Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I think some of the bowls of porridge I make for breakfast aren’t very pretty sometimes – but they taste good. :) (And I think that chocolate sludge is quite pretty!)

  2. Mo says:

    90% of the stuff I make/eat looks hideous/disgusting to me. But if it tastes good, I don’t care. It is a little embarrassing to photograph, however. 😉

  3. Eatandrun says:

    Green smoothies!

  4. Leslie says:

    I think your meal looks quite pretty! and that is my favorite salad dressing.

  5. Well, I don’t think it’s ugly AT ALL, but people seem to be repulsed at the sight of green juice. And when they witness my 2 year old drinking his favorite blended green juice, they *really* think we’re crazy.

  6. I’m a big mixer .. :) So most of the time my meals are cute when put in my dishes, but I mix it to a big “gibelotte” as my momma was calling it before eating :) Often covered in ketchup hehe

  7. Sarah says:

    Girl, you are TEENY TINY!
    I could just fit you in my pocket! A pocket sized CCK. So cute :) :).

  8. jenny says:

    It’s often all about the name for my kids. They will adore “chee-fu.” Our leftovers meals are not necessarily pretty.

  9. Valerie says:

    I am always looking for new ways to use those Moro nu tofus!

  10. Oh gosh- ALL my food is ugly! I don’t give a damn about presentation 😛 my dinners are just a splat on a plate 😛

  11. maxinthegym says:

    All my unpictured goodies are ugly, messy, and totally delicious :) But I thought my hummus-tuna salad looked a bit like vomit 😛 still lovely though!

    You don’t cook the tofu in the chee-fu?

  12. Sarahishealthy says:

    Agh the cheefu is so cute. I love the name. Love mulan too!

  13. cindy says:

    My husband and I have veg and grain a lot which is basically steamed veggies with a cooked grain covered in lecithin granules, nooch, and chopped nuts. Not pretty, but so good! On another note…. kale and chard in a bag!!!!!! That’s been my dream forever!!! What brand is it, please? I want to see if I can find it out here in san diego. Thanks!

  14. Ohmygosh! I want my grill back! We just moved into a new house, and we don’t have a grill yet. I loveeeee making things on the grill!

    Let’s see…ugly meals…..I made chai protein monster cookies once that turned green because of the protein powder. hehe. it was still super yummy!

  15. haha i love that u said “thats why i dont take a picture of everything i eat” … lol yea theres a few times i dont picture some of my meals because i make them extra sloppy and swampy.. and i only think posting them will make people lose their appetites which is not the idea of food porn is it…. lol.

    get ur grill on girl! <3


  16. mapledreams says:

    Most of my meals are ugly..espescially my mashed up Weetabix with apple sauce! xx

  17. Kiersten says:

    I make ugly food all the time. Usually those are the ones that taste the best!

    My smoothies are always pretty ugly. I use spinach and add some cocoa powder to make it chocolatey. It always looks like swamp muck. Yummy.

  18. I rarely worry about presentation when I make something just for myself (although sometimes I spend extra time making my meals look fancy.) I still think yours looks pretty good though! :)

  19. vegirl says:

    My salads WOULD be pretty (just bean, lettuce, and vinegar) but then I cover them in nutritional yeast and paprika, so all the prettiness disappears in a shower of powder! Yesterday’s chocolate banana oatmeal pudding wasn’t very appetizing looking, but once I tasted it, the sludge looked kinda pretty to me :)

  20. I don’t have a signature ugly dish. . . :( . Most of my food is pretty.

  21. I eat an ugly meal almost every day. Scrambled egg stir fry. It’s the absolute worst thing to photograph so granted it doesnt usually make it to my blog haha 😛

  22. Jess says:

    Love the ugly meal!

  23. Danielle says:

    haha I know *exactly* where that cartoon pic is from :)

    Ummmm, do I like ugly foods?

    ^(not the nutella, obv.)

  24. Justine says:

    There isn’t really a way to make hot beans over spinach look good but it does taste like heaven. Im just saying. You look adorable in your grilling photo by the way!

  25. Kristie says:

    A lot of my food is pretty ugly fugly. Which is why a lot of it goes unphotographed…and unplated for that matter haha. That ugly meal of yours looks pretty darn scrumptious to me though, I’m all for cottage cheese-like foods made outta fu, gotta remember to try that one asap!

  26. awww! i think its prettier than youre giving it credit for! 😉 i’m not neurotic about much but matching plates is one of my weird issues-i just cant help it!

  27. maxinthegym,
    Nope! I just mash it with a fork and eat :). (It’s Mori-Nu.)

  28. Cindy,
    Haha I hear ya! The brand is “Epic Roots.” Sometimes, in Texas, I can find a different brand (that also sells pre-washed organic collards or mustard greens), but I don’t remember the name of that one.

  29. Erika says:

    My favorite ugly food is mashed sweet potatoes. I usually put in something like craisins, oats, and cacao nibs, and often some cocoa powder so then it looks like brown muck with unidentified stuff in it. But oh man is it delicious.

  30. shesarunner says:

    A lot of my meals are incredibly ugly and I don’t have the time or patience to make them prettier. That is just one of the reasons I don’t take pictures of everything I eat.

    Some really ugly food: Certain soups/stews, green smoothies that turn out more gray than green (due to blueberries or other darker fruit), or muesli depending on the add ins.

    I really don’t care what food looks like, as long as it tastes good! (This statement only applies to food that is plant based…because I remember taking one look at a fish head when I was younger and being too grossed out to eat for the rest of the day).

  31. Ilana says:

    Haha… the uglier it looks the better it tastes! I drink chocolate green smoothies every day for breakfast lately… unphotogenic for serious. Also the chocolate oatmeal I like to eat…yeah. I don’t photograph everything I eat, either, because it’s not pretty!

  32. Tyler says:

    I’ve definitely drank a poo-colored smoothie before. That’s what happens when you add spinach to a berry smoothie. My “green” smoothies are never close to looking like Angela’s on Oh She Glows.

    P.S. I am on the edge of my seat for “Katie goes to college part 2” !! I want to hear about SMU :)

    1. Tyler,
      Aww thank you! That’s just the motivation I need to stop being lazy and finish writing it :). Hopefully sometime in the next 2 weeks, I’ll have it up!

  33. Erica says:

    Gosh – I have so many ugly foods – hard to count. I am amazed when things come out ‘pretty’ – but the taste is usually spot on. Some of the ugliest looking creations have the best flavors together:)

    BTW – i love your site and your ideas. I have tried some of your recipes and love and actually posted about them on my site yesterday:) Keep them coming and being real to you! xoxoxo

  34. I love salads which rarely look ugly 😉 I just need a better camera to get better pictures!

  35. Meghan says:

    Hey, the chee-fu sounds interesting. Do you use silken tofu or the refrigerated tofu?

    1. Meghan,
      I use the Mori-Nu silken firm :).

  36. Marianne says:

    Ain’t nothing wrong with ugly food. I make lots of ugly stuff, and still show it to the world! Especially when it comes to blending up smoothies with greens in them. They often look like sludge. Mmm, sludge.

    Your chee-fu interests me. You eat it cold? Do you think it would be good warmed up? I like my ‘fu warm vs cold generally speaking.

    1. Marianne,
      I actually eat it cold… if you try it warm, let me know what you think, because I never even thought to warm it up! Where is my brain? :)

  37. Ugly food is my favorite! I find that it usually tastes better than pretty food. :) Of course that’s not always the case, like with a bowl of berries or anything involving chocolate, but you know. :)