Fo Reals Life

October 05, 2013 October 05, 2013/ Morgan

I’m not a huge salad person. I never have been. Of course there are parts of salads that I have always loved – the creamy dressing and the crunchy croutons. I kind of thought my days of croutons on my salad were over. I mean, aren’t that usually the oiliest thing on your salad (even if you add oil?!) 

And then I made them without oil. And holy crap. They’re even better than I remember. And this salad? Well this is now a salad that will be served at my house several times a week. That’s coming from someone that says she doesn’t like salad.  

You may remember that traditional caesar salad dressing is made with raw eggs, anchovies and cheese. How the heck did I get around that? Magic. Oh no, wait.. after going through maybe 25 different recipes for vegetarian caesar dressing I threw the concept together and made my adjustments. And here it is. A salad dressing that tastes awesome, creamy, salty, and cheesy – without the bad stuff.  

With no oil! So now you can eat some of this lovely salad for dinner and finish it off with some doughnuts for dessert (Maple, Pumpkin Spice, or Peanut Butter?!!) In my mind if you eat a salad – any salad – you can have more dessert. So maybe I will convert and become more of a salad person. Because doughnuts. 

If you want it to be even heartier you can add in a can of drained chickpeas for some extra heft! Yum. Or roasted potatoes would be amazing in this. I’m doing that now. As soon as I’m done posting this.  

Check out those cute little feet up there.. she’s just waiting for some more salad. My kid LOVES those croutons. (ME TOO.. I’m making more today!) She even loves romaine hearts and this dressing. She was eating the dressing with a spoon! (Also she was snitching capers by the spoonful as well. She love food like her mama!) 

  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds or hazelnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard (use more if you like it spicier)  
  • 1/4 cup water  
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan mayo, or more water (the mayo makes it creamier but you can use water. I used my favorite plant strong mayo from this recipe.)  
  • black pepper and salt to taste

Blend up the roasted almonds or hazelnuts until it is a mostly uniform and fine flour like meal (but not blended until it turns into nut butter!) You can do this in a food processor or high speed blender. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add black pepper and salt to taste. 

Herbed Croutons

  • 4 cups cubed bread, crusts removed (French or Italian bread works great here.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning together. Toss with the bread cubes.  

Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they start to brown slightly (and are dry throughout. You can test that by indulging yourself and eating one!)  

Let cool completely before bagging up. They should keep for several days.  

To make that salad: chop up about 2 romain lettuce hearts (or one large head of romaine lettuce) and toss with the salad dressing. Start with less at first but don’t feel bad if you like to drench your salad in dressing (I accidentally wrote “your self” at first.. you can do that too.. whatever floats your salad!) Add some croutons, some fresh cracked black pepper to taste and eat up! 

October 05, 2013/ Morgan/ October 04, 2013 October 04, 2013/ Morgan

I apologize to anyone in advance that is on a diet. Or that hates peanut butter. (If you’re allergic you can totally substitute any nut butter in these!) While these are baked, whole grain, vegan and oil free they are not FAT FREE or sugar free. But what the hell! They are delicious and I love them. So eat a salad for dinner and have a doughnut for dessert. (It all balances out in the end!) 

I made these peanut butter doughnuts (or do you like to call them donuts?) two ways – some are dipped in peanut butter glaze and drizzled with chocolate. The other ones are dipped in chocolate glaze and drizzled (or more like poured..) with peanut butter glaze. 

And while I’m a huge chocolate freak I have to admit that I really liked the ones dipped in peanut butter glaze and drizzled with chocolate best. I’ll let you decide and tell me what you liked more.  

These have a bit more of a tender crumb than my other doughnuts while they are warm but let them cool all the way down. Then they will have that perfect firm cakey texture that is so good in baked doughnuts.  

If you eat them plain they definitely taste like peanut butter BUT it isn’t a really in your face screaming peanut butter taste. If you like that taste then you will certainly want to use the peanut butter glaze and then drizzle with chocolate. (Or don’t add any chocolate at all!)  

Alright. Now go get your doughnut pans. Don’t have one? I seriously think you should get one… but really if you don’t have one you can use a mini muffin pan to make doughnut “holes”. Or you can go buy one for under $10 at your local craft store (yeah! I found mine by the cake baking stuff at the craft store) or in some larger home stores. Or you can of course buy them online but then you have to wait. Don’t wait. Make these.  

Vegan Peanut Butter Doughnuts 

makes 6 large doughnuts

  • 1 & 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg 
  • 3/4 cup soymilk (or whatever non-dairy milk) 
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts + more for topping if desired

chocolate glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk) 

peanut butter glaze:  

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)  
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the peanut butter, vanilla extract and soy milk together in a small container and set aside.Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg into a large bowl. 

Add the peanut butter/ soy milk mixture to the sifted dry mixture. Add in the chopped nuts and stir to combine. Do NOT overmix!!!! 

Put the batter into either a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off to pipe it into your doughnut pan. Fill the pan to about 3/4 full in each doughnut. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes (if you want to test it insert a toothpick and pull it out. If there are a few crumbles of cake on it or it is clean that’s fine. If it’s gooey let them bake a little longer.) Let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then pull them out. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes longer. 

Making the glazes – You can make both but you won’t need that much glaze for 6 doughnuts. If making both I suggest cutting one of the recipes in half (like the chocolate if you want to do a chocolate drizzle after dipping them in peanut butter glaze) but if you don’t mind having some leftover you can make the full batch. Whatever works best for you. 

For both glaze recipes mix all of the ingredients on the list together in a small bowl. Add a bit of extra soy milk (or favorite non dairy milk) if you need to thin it out a bit.  

Once the doughnuts have cooled slightly you can dip them into the glaze. Make sure to get the excess off before flipping them right side up. You can always dip them 1 time or let them set up and dip a second time. Let the glaze set for several minutes. Then take the other glaze (if desired) and drizzle it over top. Then you can top them with more chopped nuts. 

Serve up with a big glass of non-dairy milk and enjoy!  

October 04, 2013/ Morgan/ October 03, 2013 October 03, 2013/ Morgan

I don’t know about you but I still have a few zucchini growing on my plant. ONE DANG PLANT grew a bazillion zucchini. Trust me, I know for sure, I’m only ever planting one zucchini. You’ve probably already used up all of yours by now in breads, soups, compost, throwing them on your neighbors porch, stir fry, and anything else you can hide them in. I canned a TON of zucchini relish. 

No matter what you did here’s just ONE MORE thing you can do with zucchini. Hide it in hummus! You can throw it in raw for a really refreshing dip. Or you can roast your zucchini until golden browned (I roast them at 375 degrees in the oven until done.) and then put the ROASTED zucchini in the dip for a really nice silky hummus. Either way, throw some in there. With some olives. And forget about adding oil or tahini – with this much flavor going on there’s no room for those things. (Plus there’s no room for those things when I want to fit into some holiday outfits in the next few months!) 

Zucchini Olive Hummus

  • 1 medium sized zucchini, chopped (raw or roasted – up to you!) 
  • 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup green or kalamata olives (or a combination) 
  • 2 Tablespoons brine from the olives
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Combine everything in your blender EXCEPT about 1/4 cup of the olives. Blend until very smooth. Add a bit of water if necessary. Roughly chop the remaining 1/4 cup of olives and stir into the hummus. Taste and add salt if necessary (I found the olives to be salty enough.) This hummus tastes really great on a baked potato! 

October 03, 2013 October 03, 2013/ Morgan

If you’ve never had risotto before, you are in for a treat. If you have – you know what I’m talking about. Somehow (magic?!) some rice, broth, alcohol and vegetables transform into a super creamy, silky, and dare I say sexy meal that is both comforting and luxurious.  

This combination tastes so damn good I just can’t think of much more to say about it. I loved it and I groaned with pleasure at the table while eating it. It’s just one of those things for me. Toasted hazelnuts have so much incredible flavor that they really pull of this together with a crunchy texture to add as well.  

Oh and I strayed a little bit away from the traditional here and used beer instead of wine. I’ve used wine a million times but adding beer was the best decision I could have made. It adds this… well.. little somethin’-somethin’ to the dish that really played well with the herbs, squash and nuts. If you can’t find a good beer for this dish please feel free to use a dry white wine instead. I know not everyone gets to live in the Pacific Northwest like me (where we have access to tons of awesome local microbrews!) but I’m pretty dang sure you can find good quality beer anywhere if you look hard enough.  

This may be one of those dishes you want to make on a weekend. Especially if you can serve them up to someone special. Date night? Got it! Family rocked it this week? Yeah let’s have fancy dinner tonight! Dinner with a sappy movie in your PJs? Heck yeah risotto does that too!  

  • 2 cups arborio rice (a high starch short grain rice used for making risotto. A must have!)
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (1 large leek) 
  • 4 cups finely diced peeled butternut squash
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 & 1/2 cups beer – preferably a hefeweizen or other low bitter beer like some red ales or something similar. (Think Fat Tire ale. Nothing that comes in a can.) 
  • 2 Tablespoons miso
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is preferred) 
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (I used 1 Tablepoon thyme and 1 Tablespoon rosemary. Parsley or sage would be nice as well.)  
  • 1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste  

In a large heavy-bottom sauce pan sauté the leeks and squash in a couple of tablespoons of water over medium-high until the leeks have softened. Stir in the rice. 

Now add in 1 cup of the beer and cook until it is fully absorbed. 

Now stir in 1 cup of the broth and lower the heat to medium. You will want to stir the pot most of the time from here until the end so don’t go away yet. Cook until the 1 cup of broth is absorbed by the rice and then add in another cup.  

Continue adding broth and cooking until it is absorbed. After your last cup is fully absorbed add in the remaining 1/2 cup of beer. The rice should be creamy but still thick – not at all like soup but more like thick porridge. 

Now turn the heat to low and stir in the miso, nutmeg, chopped herbs and add salt/black pepper to taste. Fresh ground pepper in this is divine, by the way.  

Top each serving with a portion of chopped toasted hazelnuts or stir them all into the main dish if you desire.  

Serve with a nice glass of wine and a salad. Enjoy! 

October 03, 2013/ Morgan/ October 02, 2013 October 02, 2013/ Morgan

I have a bunch of hazelnuts (filberts!) to use and I really wanted to make some kind of sweet cookie type of dish with them. I saw a recipe for Maple biscotti in a Moosewood cookbook and I thought I would take a clue from them to create this really yummy fall flavored biscotti. They are perfect for dunking into coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Or for just eating while running out the door in the morning.  

Making biscotti without oil, added fat or eggs was sort of a challenge at first! I think i’ve finally got these right though. You’ll have to make sure the get crisped up at the end but once they are nice and dry they will last for weeks (if you can keep your hands off!) That makes them a GREAT gift for holidays, parties or housewarmings. Bring it with some yummy coffee or hot chocolate mix and everyone will love you.  

You can use whatever nut you want. Just make sure they are toasted. And use GOOD real maple syrup – you won’t be regretting it!  

I dipped some in chocolate and those are lovely as well. I like them both ways, really. But hazelnuts really REALLY love chocolate. REALLY LOVE CHOCOLATE. And so do I. 

Maple Hazelnut Biscotti

  • 1 & 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (pastry or white whole wheat works well here)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (Here’s how I toast hazelnuts!) 
  • melted vegan dark chocolate chips, optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  

Mix the ground flax and 2/3 cup water in a small bowl and set aside. 

In a large bowl sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add in the flax mixture, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla and hazelnuts. Mix to combine but try not to overmix. 

Pace the dough on the cookie sheet in a log shape that is about 12-14″ long and 4-5″ wide. You want to flatten it just a bit but it will spread out some while cooking. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch. Take it out and let it cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled slice the cook with a serrated knife into 1/2″ slices. You can cut it at a severe angle (on the bias) so that you get longer angled biscotti or cut it straight across for short biscotti.  

Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet again and but back into the oven. Turn the oven down now to 300 degrees and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until mostly dry. They will harden while they cool. Let them cool on a cooling rack.

If you want to dip them in chocolate wait until they are cooled to room temperature. Heat up your chocolate until melted (either on a double boiler or in the microwave.) Dip them and set them on parchment paper or wax paper to let the chocolate set. 

Once completely cooled you can bag them up and store them for at least a week or maybe two if you don’t eat them all before that! (They will soften up if you have a humid kitchen like mine and you forget to bag them properly!) Serve with coffee, tea, hot chocolate or just a nice tall glass of almond milk.  

October 02, 2013/ Morgan/