Fo Reals Life

For Really Good Food

Taco Life

Fo Reals Life

January 28, 2014 January 28, 2014/ Morgan

I’m a HUGE fan of sandwiches. For way too long I ate the same vegetarian sandwiches over and over. Lots of chickpea salads and tofu salads, really. There’s so much more though! Of course there are all sorts of vegan burgers (like this one, or this one, or this one!) but what about a really good roasted vegetable sandwich? YES. That’s what I’m in the mood for. Simple, flavorful and healthy with a yummy vegan mayo. Mmmm… 

I can’t wait to take a bunch of these bad boys out to the beach in my picnic basket. You know.. when summer comes. (Please oh please come soon!) And if it was summer, I would say that you should grill both the eggplant and pepper – that would be FABULOUS! 

I don’t know if I have mentioned it yet but we are building a tiny house on wheels right now. I’m not sure if it will be ready by summer but we are going to buy a nice little outdoor grill like this one for BBQs on our porch! 

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 6 big pieces of roasted red pepper (jarred or your can roast your own – see below!) 
  • 1 cup Plant Strong Mayo (recipe here!!)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • buns and greens (spinach, arugula, etc) for your sandwich!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and peel your eggplant (or you can leave it unpeeled.) Slice it into 1″ rounds. Place the eggplant into a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Let it sit for about 15 minutes (this helps draw out extra moisture and some say helps with bitterness.) I like to wipe the extra salt and moisture off with a wrung out damp kitchen towel. 

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with the garlic powder and oregano (try to get it on both sides.) Why garlic powder? It doesn’t burn as easily in the oven like fresh garlic does. Place the rounds on a parchment paper or Silpat baking mat lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 5 minutes.

To make the basil mayo – blend the plant strong mayo, basil and garlic together until smooth. (I just put it all in a large wide mouth jar and blend with my immersion blender. Then put on the lid and store it! Easy and less mess!) Leftovers should keep for at least a week in the refrigerator! 

**To roast your own bell peppers: If you have a gas stove you can do it over the flame. Just hold the pepper with some tongs and turn it over the flame to char it on all sides. You want it to be totally blackened. If you don’t have gas you can do this under the broiler in your oven. Just turn the pepper over to expose each side once the side cooking is blackened. When they are totally charred place them in a paper bag (or in a bowl with a lid) and close it shut. This is so they will steam inside the bag and losen the charred skins. Let them sit in there for several minutes. Then once they are just cool enough to handle you can rub or peel the charred skin right off and take the seeds out of the inside. Easy! 

January 28, 2014 January 28, 2014/ Morgan

Here’s a quick appetizer you can throw together last minute for a get together or party. It would be even simpler if you used premade taco seasoning but you’ve gotta watch out for that stuff. Sometimes it has nasty things (msg, whey, etc!) in them and usually they are VERY high sodium. Just make your own and you’ll love it! 

This seasoning blend is based off the one in my Taco Party Cookbooklet. It’s just a much smaller amount (and I cut the salt back by quite a bit! I’ve noticed that my tastes have changed to enjoy less salty foods. Add more salt to these if you find it necessary for your own tastes!) 

I think these would be really fun if you set out little bowls of different vegan toppings for people to try out on each taco pepper. My kid loves to add toppings to her own foods so maybe your kids would have fun making their own too! 

I got these sweet peppers at my regular grocery store but I’ve seen them at Costco too. They are SO beautiful and very very sweet. Not at all spicy. They make perfect little stuffing peppers. You could even make the Tofu Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Peppers with these instead of jalapenos if you’d like! 

  • 1 can brown lentils, drained (about 1.5 cups cooked) 
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder (my favorite no-salt chili powder!)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 15-20 mini sweet peppers, cut in half lengthwise (or large bell peppers cut into “scoop” sized bites)
  • extra optional toppings – Chili Cheese Sauce, olives, green onions, cilantro, avocado, guacamole, tomato, salsa, vegan sour cream, jalapenos, etc 

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium high heat and cook the onions until they are translucent. Add the lentils, spices, salt and water to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the lentils have absorbed most of the liquid (about 5 minutes.) Roughly smash some of the lentils up with a fork so that they stay together inside the peppers, unless you like em messy!

Spoon the lentil taco filling into the raw pepper halves and add whatever toppings you like. Then there is only one thing left to do: dig in! 

January 28, 2014 January 28, 2014/ Morgan

I haven’t had a Wendy’s Frosty in FOREVER. SO LONG. But I LOVED them when I went there and always had to get one. And when I made this malt for the first time? VEGAN HEAVEN! It was totally like a Frosty – except vegan and healthy! WHAT!!! So now I’m obsessed with THESE. Another chocolate thing (like the pudding or chocolate overnight oat parfait!) to eat every day. Okay, maybe not every day but as much as possible. 

Now let’s talk malts. You may or may not have had malts growing up. I loved chocolate malts. LOVED! Finding vegan malt powder? Figured it was not going to happen. Then I went to Bob’s Red Mill store in Portland and just happened to see this. 

This is Barley Malt Extract (you can buy it here!) It’s 100% vegan so get ready to party with it! The stuff you find in most grocery stores for malted milk is full of .. well.. milk. Yuck! Not only is it good in this, I think it will come in handy for many other recipes I’ve got ideas about. Now let’s just hope I don’t turn it all in to Chocolate Malts before using it in other things!

I know. It’s winter for a lot of folks. Polar Vortex season even! Who wants a shake or a malt?! YOU DO. Really! Imagine this with a Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Slider and a side of Chili Cheese Fries. TALK ABOUT HEAVEN. That’s on the menu for us. Put it on yours. You won’t regret it! 

This recipe is for ONE HUGE serving though (or I guess two medium!) so you’ll have to make more if you want your family to have any. Of course you can just keep it to yourself… 

And here’s one happy camper that’s getting to have a malt and it’s not even DESSERT time!! Yeah, mama!!

makes 2 smaller servings or one HUGE serving!

Blend everything together until very very smooth! I like to use my immersion blender for this part but a food processor also works. 

Pour into clean ice cube trays and freeze until solid (at least a couple of hours.)

When you’re ready for a malt blend up the chocolate ice cubes with about 2/3 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk. I used a food processor for this but if I had a high speed blender (like this one!) I would totally use that. You may be able to do it in a regular blender too – just let the ice cubes thaw for about 5-10 minutes to help your blender out a bit! 

January 27, 2014 January 27, 2014/ Morgan

This is an old recipe of mine that I had to revamp. My tastes of changed, my foods have changed and my kitchen has changed. It’s tastier than ever and a perfect appetizer – LOVE EM!! (Heck, truthfully, I had them for breakfast. So there. You can eat em whenever!) 

I can’t think of anything better to plop down in front of the TV with than these. They are MADE for watching TV, especially games. I mean, they are basically bar food, right? I made them EVEN MORE amazing by topping them with a creamy beer cheese sauce and some bacon crumbles. Can you believe this is vegan? 

Now I’m not going to say that you could fool someone with these. To me, they are vegan and perfectly so. I don’t even LIKE trying to “fool” people. I like to show people that yeah, it is vegan food, but yeah guess what? It’s super tasty too.

You’ll have some cheese sauce leftover and some of those bacon crumbles leftover. I’m sure you can think of things to do with them but here are some hints: beer cheese on french fries, on tacos, bacon crumbles on anything with potatoes.. You shouldn’t be too upset about extras, right?

  • 4-6 baking potatoes
  • Vegan Beer Cheese Sauce (recipe below!)
  • Easy Tofu Bacon (recipe here!!), chopped/crumbled 
  • extra toppings – green onions, sliced olives, guacamole, vegan sour cream, jalapenos, hot sauce and/or minced cilantro

(or you can cook them in the crockpot!) 

4-6 Baking Potatoes

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. After scrubbing the potatoes poke them all over with a fork. Place them directly on the oven rack and bake for 45-60 minutes. 

Let cool slightly and then cut into quarters. With a spoon gently remove the soft inside of the baked potato from the skin, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh attached. (That sounds horrible but I can’t think of another way to say it.) You want them to have structure so don’t leave them super thin. In fact remove LESS than you think at first and you can go back to remove more if necessary. 

 

Vegan Beer Cheese Sauce

  • 1 & 1/2 c. beer (amber or hefeweizen recommended, not IPA)
  • 1/4 c. roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 c. flour (rice flour works well)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon miso paste (white/yellow)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder, optional

Combine all of the ingredients and blend until very smooth (I like to put them in the pan I’m going to use and blend up with my immersion blender. LESS TO CLEAN!) Pour into a pan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer. Whisk the sauce continuously and cook until nice and thickened (3-5 minutes.)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the scooped out skins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. Spoon a bit of beer cheese sauce on each one and then top with some tofu bacon. 

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is starting to lightly brown.

Top with any other fun toppings.

AND EAT!!! With a beer!!! 

January 27, 2014/ Morgan/ January 27, 2014 January 27, 2014/ Morgan Eccleston

I’ve had some missteps with vegan pancakes. Specifically no added fat whole wheat vegan pancakes. Whew! I guess I have high expectations of my recipes. Anyhow a lot of recipes called for adding applesauce or mashed bananas. This makes for really heavy man-hole cover pancakes. Sometimes they would be squishy doughy even though they have cooked forever.

Somehow I just figured that I’ll take all of that out and make them as simple as possible – and guess what ya’ll? Totally worked! This is my new favorite thing to make when I don’t feel like deciding on dinner or when I cannot for the life of me think of what to eat for breakfast on a lazy weekend.  

I’m also throwing in a “how to” on making these really quick Spiced Apples that are on the side. It’s as easy as slicing and throwing in the pan. They go with all sorts of breakfasts or are even good as a snack. I don’t normally just grab a big apple and eat it raw but I love them sliced up (don’t ask. I don’t even know.)

(makes about 12 small pancakes) 

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (you can also use whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 & 1/4 cup soy milk (or other non dairy milk substitute)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or a 2 drops of liquid stevia 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Measure out the soy milk and add the lemon juice. Set aside. (It will curdle like buttermilk and adds really nice flavor to the pancakes.) 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. 

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Now add in the soy milk mixture and vanilla extra. Stir only until incorporated (you don’t want to overmix batters.)

I made our pancakes using about 2-3 Tablespoons of batter. I could easily make four at a time this way. Make them whatever size you want but be sure to cook larger ones longer. 

Pour batter into the pan and make sure not to overcrowd if you are making more than one at a time so that you can get your spatula in to flip them.

Cook until the edges dry out slightly and the bottoms are golden brown (2-3 minutes for small pancakes.)

Flip and cook for an additional minute or two (until this side is lightly brown.) 

Serve with  Spiced Apples (below), fresh fruit, applesauce and/or maple syrup if you like. 

Spiced Apples

  • 3-4 apples (I use Fuji – they are the best for this!)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (use a microplane to grate whole nutmeg – it’s AMAZING freshly grated!!!) 
  • 2 Tablespoons water

Slice your apples really thin. I used a mandoline for these (makes it quick and uniform!) 

Add to a nonstick pan that is set over medium high heat. 

Add in the water and spices.

Stir occasionally and cook until softened (mine took about 5 minutes to be slightly crisp yet soft.)

Nutritional information per serving :
Serving size 1/12 of pancake recipe (adjust for larger pancakes)

1 WWPointsPlus, 35 calories, .4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 6.5g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, .7g sugar, 1.5g protein