Fo Reals Life

March 02, 2014 March 02, 2014/ Morgan

Are you in love with collard greens yet? If not, this is the dish to make your heart do somersaults!  It’s a sweet and sour dish with just a few ingredients. It’s a super effective and easy way to make a huge pot of greens that you will gobble down.  Your family might just gobble them all down too. 

I posted the nutritional information for collards on this post for Quick Collards and Jalapeno Garlic Polenta. Just so you know, they are awesome nutritional powerhouses! Calcium, Vitamin A, Protein and Fiber plus so much more!!! You’ve got to jump on this collard green bandwagon.

These are super good as a side dish to these vegan Buffalo Chickpea Burgers with some baked fries. My 3 year old has been asking to have it on brown rice every day since I’ve started making it. She absolutely LOVES them. So do I!  

  • 12 cups collard greens (about 2 bunches), stems removed and leaves chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 can pineapple rings in juice, 3/4 cup juice reserved 
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (like this one!)
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce

Chop up the pineapple and measure out 1 cup. If there’s some leftover eat it! (or share I guess…)

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add the collard greens, chopped pineapple, 3/4 cup pineapple juice, rice vinegar and tamari. Bring to a simmer, put a lid on it and turn it to medium-low. 

Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Check every now and then to make sure that all of the juice hasn’t evaporated (and add some water if necessary.) Let it cool slightly once it’s done and serve! 

February 13, 2014 February 13, 2014/ Morgan

I have a very vivid memory of eating breakfast with friends after a long long night. Someone made hash browns. Now I LOVE potatoes – but homemade hash browns from scratch (like raw potatoes grated) has got to be one of the worst things I’ve ever had. The texture was horrible. It was greyish brown… oh gosh it was so bad. I really hope that friend doesn’t read this and remember. Haha!  I’m sure that others have had some kind of success with using that method. I haven’t. It isn’t fool proof. Mornings require fool proof for me. 

And then BING! The answer! Have you ever accidentally thawed out frozen hash browns? It’s just cooked shreds of potatoes. COOKED. So just take those potatoes that you’ve been cooking in your slow cooker (and you have plenty in the fridge, right? If not, get on that!) and get ready to make some easy oil-free oven hash browns

Next week I’ll be moving to a new house (again!) and so I’m going to break in my new kitchen with a video on how to make homemade hash browns without oil in your skillet!

The KEY to good fluffy fully awesome not from frozen hashbrowns is prebaked potatoes. There is no substitution. Next week I’ll be making a video on how to do it on your stovetop! Sometimes it’s just nice to have some space available on the stove for tofu scrambles, gravy making, etc!

  • Baked Potatoes that have cooled, preferably refrigerated several hours. You can use red, russet or gold potatoes. Probably even purple potatoes (I never see those!) I cook my potatoes in the crockpot!   (1-2 baked potatoes per person)
  • salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. 

Take a sturdy box grater (like this one) with large holes and shred your cooled baked potatoes. The skins are just fine to leave on. Some will shred up and some will end up just falling off in big pieces that you can discard. 

Now toss in a pinch or two of salt. You can also add other seasonings here like chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. 

Take a handful of the grated potatoes and place it on your lined baking sheet. Form it into a little flat disk that is a little bit larger than your spatula (you want to be able to easily flip these!) Gently press it down so that it sticks together. Continue doing that until you have used up all of your potato. 

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Now gently flip your hash browns over and then bake again for another 10-15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve with gravy, plant strong biscuits, fruit, unsweetened yogurt or whatever you love to eat with your hash browns! 

February 06, 2014 February 06, 2014/ Morgan

In my house I have a few staples that I like to keep on hand for quick meals. These are baked sweet potatoes (in the crockpot!), baked russets, red or gold potatoes (also in the crockpot!), cooked beans and this brown rice. 

This is the EASIEST totally fool proof way to cook brown rice. It turns out perfect every single time. Never overcooked, never undercooked, and it’s never “exploded” (you know what I mean? When the grain splits open?) All you need is a casserole dish (preferably with a lid like this one but you don’t HAVE to have a lid – you can cover it with foil!) plus some rice and water. Easy!!!

It’s so nice to have it in the fridge waiting for me when I want to make some burgers (like black bean or spinach or even buffalo chickpea!) Or if I come home starving and need something that is healthy, plant-strong and filling I can just throw some rice, vegetables and beans (plus maybe some chili cheese sauce or salsa!) together for a quick satisfying meal. This really keeps me from eating processed quick vegan junk food!

If you don’t think you can eat this much rice within 4-7 days (that’s how long I keep it in the fridge!) then do not worry your head one little bit. Brown rice freezes beautifully!! I just freeze it in 1 cup servings in freezer bags. I also flatten the bags before zipping them up so that they take up less space (plus they thaw quickly that way!) 

adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe 

  • 5 cups water (or low sodium, oil free vegetable broth!) 
  • 3 cups brown rice (my favorite is short grain)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Put your rice into a large casserole dish (like this one with the oven safe lid!) 

Bring your water and salt to a boil. 

Pour the water over the rice and cover tightly with foil or a tight fitting lid. 

Put in the oven and bake for an hour. 

Take it out, fluff it up and eat it. 

To store leftovers – I typically will save at least half in the refrigerator (depending on my plans for the week) in a glass container like these. The other half will be put into freezer bags in 1 cup serving sizes (makes it easier for recipes!) I smash the rice down flat in the bag so that it freezes quicker, thaws quicker and it takes up less bulky space in the freezer. It should last at least a few months in the freezer. 

February 02, 2014 February 02, 2014/ Morgan

I have been eyeing the asparagus for weeks now at the grocery store. Just stalking it really.. waiting for the price to drop some.. but I wasn’t feeling too committed  Then I found some that looked GREAT and caved. I roasted it with lemon, pepper and garlic and then… ATE ALL OF IT. Oops! I had to go buy more so I could share some with my family! It was just so delicious, sweet and savory all at once. 

This is a perfect side dish to most any meal (especially some mashed potatoes!) and it’s so easy that you can throw it together last minute. Those are my favorite kind of dishes and help me eat more vegetables because if I can get it done without much effort I’m going to be more likely to do it at every single meal. 

Now the biggest problem is that I’m addicted to asparagus and the price isn’t staying low! I guess there are worse things to be addicted to!

  • 20-24 large stalks asparagus
  • zest of one small lemon (I zest with my microplane grater!) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated with a microplane
  • salt to taste (a pinch or so)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. 

Cut the bottom inch off of your asparagus stalks and discard (it’s usually really woody and tough.) Toss your asparagus with the salt and arrange in a single layer on your baking sheet. 

Roast for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Toss with the lemon zest, black pepper and garlic. Add more salt to taste if necessary. Enjoy!

January 29, 2014 January 29, 2014/ Morgan

Looking to add a dash of AWESOME to your salads? Or a new salsa to the table? Maybe just need something to top your sweet potatoes with? Mango salsa is the cure for all of these things and more! I loooveee mangoes! They are so wonderful in sweet dishes (like my Mango Lassi Overnight Oats) but they also pair well with savory foods which makes them a big player in my kitchen.

This recipe is from my Vegan Taco Party booklet (you can buy it here!!) – AND I’m holding a giveaway for it right now! I have a first printing copy of Vegan Taco Party (by me of course!) and 1 PDF version as well to GIVEAWAY (so you have 2 chances to win!) What do you have to do? Just comment on any recipes that you have made on (a comment that helps others decide that they want to try it as well!) When you comment please include your email address in the box that designates it for commenting. I am the only person that will be able to see your email address. I will not be sending out spam or selling your email address to anyone! (Trust me, I love you guys!!!) I will ship the booklet anywhere so anyone can enter (unless you are on another planet because I cannot afford rocket fuel!)

I do this with fresh mango but you could also use frozen thawed if you cannot find fresh anywhere. I show you how to cut up a fresh mango in this video but I also came across this mango cutter which looks REALLY NEAT if you struggle with cutting mangoes. I just don’t know what else I could do with it. All you really need is a good (maybe colorful?!) knife and you’re good to go!

The Vegan Taco Party cookbooklet also happens to be a COLORING BOOK! My daughter colored in this one for me. So cute and fun. I love that I keep to keep her coloring in my personal copy of this book. 

  • 2 mangoes
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (remove the seeds if desired!)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced 
  • juice of 1/2-1 lime (depending on how juicy they are!)

Chop all of your mango pieces into 1/4″-1/2″ dice. Mix everything together with your chopped mangoes. The salsa tastes best if you give it time to rest so the flavors can meld together (an hour or so!)