Fo Reals Life

September 28, 2013 September 28, 2013/ Morgan

Can you guess the secret ingredient of these creamy scalloped potatoes? I’ll give you a hint – everyones putting it into everything right now because its finally fall.  

Did you guess it? It’s winter squash! (You know, pumpkin or sweet meat, red kuri, kaboca, etc!) Doesn’t it look beautiful?  

When I first moved out on my own I didn’t cook a ton. I did like cooking already but I didn’t have the funds (or so I thought) to cook the things I wanted to. I didn’t have the motivation either. So I bought a lot of gross packaged things – especially those dehydrated scalloped potatoes in a box with the orange cheese mix. I would eat JUST THAT for each meal for weeks and weeks. 

Well needless to say I don’t eat that crap anymore. What I do eat is yummy whole foods. And I’m not at all opposed to making those yummy whole foods taste a little bit like foods I’m nostalgic for like gooey cheesy scalloped potatoes.  

I was inspired to make these by a friend that kept making scalloped potatoes recently and posting about it! Of COURSE the recipe she was using had cashews in it (I’m allergic) so I couldn’t make it. And then I thought I could make it substituting another seed or nut but hey if I’m not going to follow the recipe as written I might as well go crazy and make my own. And lower the fat while I’m at it. The recipe that everyone was going gaga over had around 60 grams of fat for the whole pan. I KNOW I can eat the whole pan of scalloped potatoes easily so I knew I needed to lower that. This has about 10 grams of fat for the whole pan. And if you use a lower fat non dairy milk it will be even lower. But it’s still hella creamy and yummy thanks to the pureed squash.

Now, I don’t know if they taste anything like that recipe but they do taste as delicious as I could have ever hoped (and I have finished the pan of them thank you very much!)  

makes about 8 large servings

  • 2 cups pureed winter squash (canned pumpkin works, or homemade baked and pureed squash such as butternut, sweet meat, turban, red kuri, kabocha, etc)
  • 1 cup soy milk (or your favorite non dairy milk)  
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon miso paste (whatever kind you have) 
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch  
  • 4-5 sliced green onions (you could also use chives here) 
  • 5-6 medium-large russet potatoes sliced thin (about 2 & 1/2 pounds) 

Get a steamer ready on the stove for the potatoes and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  

Scrub and slice your potatoes. Steam them over boiling water in a large pot for about 5 minutes.  Sure! If you don’t have a steamer you can do one of two things: 
Throw it all together with the potatoes raw, cover the baking dish with a lid or foil and bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are tender. (I just like getting it done in half the time by steaming it beforehand.) OR Gently simmer your potato slices in salted water until almost tender.

While the potatoes are steaming blend the following together for your sauce: squash puree, soy milk, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, salt and cornstarch.

Combine the potatoes, sauce and sliced green onions in a large baking dish (I used a 9×13 glass dish) and place in the oven uncovered. Bake for 25 minutes. At the end you can turn on the broiler to brown the tops. Just watch it closely so it doesn’t burn and take it out as soon as it starts to brown in spots. 

Let it cool a bit and serve it up! I guess it could be a side dish but I don’t mind eating this as my main meal!!  

September 28, 2013/ Morgan/ September 28, 2013 September 28, 2013/ Morgan

I have been just LIVING off potatoes and my Jalapeno Ranch Dressing lately. It was only a matter of time before I got wise and threw them together in one of my favorite dishes: enchiladas! And if that wasn’t enough I topped it with some smokey spicy roasted poblano peppers that I got earlier this season at my local farmers market. This one booth has all kinds of peppers and a big pepper roaster on site. The smell of roasting peppers is just intoxicating. I bought plenty of them this year and froze them for later on when I have cravings for them (which is usually when pepper season is WELL over.) 

Now poblano peppers can be kind of spicy. If you don’t want that just use your favorite green sauce instead. A good tomatillo salsa would work just as well. Also if you just don’t want to go through the work to make your own sauce then use a jarred sauce. I won’t be mad, I promise! 

I mainly just LOVE the combination of creamy jalapeno ranch and potatoes. It’s a match made in vegan heaven. Add a corn tortilla and you’ve got a meal you can serve to guests! (I don’t try to serve people my usual cold baked potato with a container of jalapeno ranch. It just doesn’t look as good. But it does taste good!!) 

I don’t bake these as long as some recipes for enchiladas call for. I like my corn tortillas to have a bit of integrity left so I can pull each one out without them falling apart. I don’t know if its weird or not to want that but hey, we’ve all got our weird quirks, don’t we? (Please, just say yes!)   

Jalapeno Ranch Potato Enchiladas (with Roasted Poblano Sauce)  

  • 5-6 medium sized potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups chopped kale  
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 1-2 minced jalapenos (optional but for extra kick!) 
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a double batch of Jalapeno Ranch (recipe below) 
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 batch Roasted Poblano Sauce (recipe below) or your favorite enchilada sauce, preferably a green sauce  

Double Batch Jalapeno Ranch:

Blend together the following until nice and smooth: 2 cups SILKEN tofu (this is about 1 & 1/2 packages mori-nu silken tofu), 1 cup soy milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk), 4 green onions (green part only), 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos (or 1 fresh), 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon dry dill weed, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 4 teaspoons lemon juice, 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Roasted Poblano Sauce:

Roast 3 large poblano peppers either under your broiler or over a gas stove until charred. Place in a bowl and cover to let steam. Remove the skins, seeds and stem. Blend together with 1 cup water, 1 cup soy milk (or your favorite non dairy milk), 3 cloves garlic, the juice of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 Tablespoons flour (rice flour works great here!) Bring the mixture to just a simmer over medium high heat and cook until thickened (for me, once it comes up to a simmer it is generally thick enough.) 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Get out a baking dish for your enchiladas (I used a 9×13 glass dish.) 

Scrub and cube your potatoes (no need to peel them.) Steam over a pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until mostly tender.  

Add the steamed potatoes, jalapenos if using and kale to a large nonstick pan. Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until the jalapenos are tender and the kale is wilted, 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the cilantro, green onions and jalapeno ranch. They should be REALLY saucy, which is what you want! (Who likes dry enchiladas?)

Warm your tortillas up in the microwave (or wrapped in foil in the oven) until they are pliable.  

Now pour 1/2 cup of your enchilada sauce (the roasted poblano sauce or whatever kind you’re using) into the bottom of your baking dish. 

Take a tortilla and add some filling to the middle. Roll it up and place in the dish on top of the sauce. Continue until you use up all of the filling. Top the enchiladas with the rest of the sauce, spreading it out as necessary.  

Bake for 10-15 minutes uncovered, or until they are warmed through. I like to broil them at the end sometimes until the tops are crusty and brown. Just turn on your broiler and watch carefully until they are browned to the level you desire.  

September 28, 2013/ Morgan/ September 27, 2013 September 27, 2013/ Morgan

I’m starting to get a lot of fall produce. Kale is super cheap right now at the farm stand and I can buy large no spray butternut squash for $1 each. (Eating in season is AWESOME for your wallet!) Luckily squash stores very well and I can buy them up without worrying about them going to waste. You can also cube them and freeze them. The kale can be steamed and frozen to keep longer as well. 

This was such a satisfying noodle dish. I love butternut squash in both sweet and savory dishes but I was surprised how well it went with Asian flavors.  

And my three year old LOVED this. First she eats all of the kale. Then the noodles and then all of the squash. She’s funny like that! She crazy loves kale. (Girl is awesome, isn’t she?!) 

Oh and the tiny amount of sesame seeds is totally worth putting on your dish. Being plant strong (and Dr. McDougall followers!) we don’t do oil but the seeds add just as much flavor but also texture. It’s awesome! And you only need a tiny bit to get a ton of flavor. 

serves 4

  • 6 oz soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (smallish 1/2″ cubes) 
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 3 Tablespoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or agave
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha  
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (You can toast them yourself in a pan over medium heat. Just stand there with it and shake the pan. They should be ready in a minute or two max. The flavor is totally different from untoasted sesame seeds.) 

Mix together your tamari/soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, sugar, sriracha, cornstarch and water and set aside. If you need to toast your sesame seeds do that next. 

Add your butternut squash to a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add about 1/2 cup of water (you can eyeball it) and cook your squash until mostly tender but not mushy. This can take about 10 minutes and you will want to stir your squash every 2 -3 minutes at the very least. Check to make sure you haven’t run out of water and add as necessary. 

Meanwhile bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your soba noodles according to the package directions. When they are done rinse them with water and set aside. 

When your squash are mostly tender add in your chopped kale. Cook for about a minute. Now turn up the heat to high and stir in the noodles as well as the sauce mixture. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened. Toss in your sesame seeds and serve! 

You can certainly add more sriracha or chile flakes if you enjoy it extra hot.  

September 27, 2013/ Morgan/ September 26, 2013 September 26, 2013/ Morgan

I’m still trying to build up a bigger repertoire of vegan sandwich fillings for packing off into lunch bags. This one is definitely a keeper and going into the regular rotation! You could throw it into a wrap or pita pocket as well if you want to switch up your breads. 

I used jarred roasted red peppers but you can easily roast your own at home. If you have a gas stove you can hold them with tongs over the flames until they are nice and charred all over. If you don’t just stick them under the broiler of your oven and turn them until they are charred all over. Then I just stick them in a bowl and cover it with a lid (aka a plate.) Let them steam a few minutes and then the skins will slip right off. You can cut them open and remove the seeds and stem – and there ya have it! Super easy roasted red peppers. I’m just lazy and use the jars of them. 

What’s your favorite plant-strong sandwich filling? Got anything that i’ve just got to try out?!  

Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Sandwiches

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons tofu mayo (or your favorite vegan mayonnaise)  
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 minced clove of garlic) 

Smash up the chickpeas with the back of your fork in a medium sized bowl. Add in all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. It should keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Makes about 4 sandwiches, depending on how much filling you like in them!!  

September 26, 2013/ Morgan/ September 26, 2013 September 26, 2013/ Morgan

Sometimes soup is the only thing I want to eat. After I gave birth to my daughter my dad flew up to see us and he took care of me by making me a big batch of potato soup. I still love it and I especially look forward to it when it starts to get the least bit chilly outside.  

Right now I can get organic leeks from the local farm stand for 3 for $1. YES… 3 for one whole dollar. So I’ve loaded up and have been making soups!!! Leeks are awesome because they taste almost garlicky.. and get really yummy scrumptious when cooked until nice and tender. The worst part about them is that they are DIRTY on the inside. So do what I do : cut them in half lengthwise leaving the bottom intact. Wash out everything in a sink under running water. Then cut into half moon slices. Super easy and not at all dirty gritty.  

If you don’t have leeks don’t worry – I’ve got a recipe for potato soup without leeks right here that is a staple in our house! 

Simple Vegan Potato Leek Soup

  • 3 leeks, cleaned and chopped (only the whites and pale green parts!)
  • 5 – 6 medium sized Yukon Gold (or any yellow) potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup soy milk (or your favorite milk alternative)  
  • salt and pepper to taste  

Sautee the leeks in 1/4 cup water over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the chopped potatoes, broth and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat. Put the lid on and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Take off the heat and add the soy milk. Puree in batches or with an immersion blender until it is the consistency you desire (some chunks of potatoes and leeks is good or you can puree it until it is silky smooth. Both taste awesome!) Add salt and pepper to taste at the end (you may not need any salt at all depending on the vegetable broth you use.) I like to garnish it with some chopped green onions but that’s not necessary. You could also throw in some thyme, chopped parsley or marjoram at the end if you wish. 

  • To make soy-free use almond, rice or your favorite non dairy milk instead of soy milk. 
  • To make Mcdougall Maximum Weightloss friendly omit the soy milk and use additional vegetable broth instead.