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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

February 11, 2013 February 11, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston

Don’t you just love the mellow and sweet taste of roasted garlic? I do. And the smell of roasting garlic makes any house smell inviting and warm. Of course, it’s easy to forget to get garlic roasting an hour before you need it. Sometimes having the oven on for an hour can be just FAR TOO MUCH.

I’ve seen that some people microwave it but I’m not interested in that. You don’t get it roasted so much as steamed. Something about the microwave also takes away from the aromatics of the garlic.

Maybe you want to get it done in a quarter of the time though? I’ve got you covered on that.

Quick Roasted Garlic 

Step 1

: Get your oven going at around 375 degrees. I highly recommend roasting these while you have other things in the oven. Anywhere between 350 – 400 is a good range to roast these at.

Step 2

: Break your garlic into cloves but leave the skins on.

Step 3

: Throw them on a baking sheet and put em in the oven.

Step 4

: Bake until softened – about 15 minutes. You should be able to tell by their smell and by feeling for softness with your finger. Go ahead and poke one of the cloves to see if it’s soft. If you want them softer you can leave them in for a bit longer, just give the pan a shake so they don’t brown too much on one side.

Step 5

: The skins will come off easily after they’ve cooled for a few minutes. Take them off and store them. You can keep them in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze them for a few months. Then when you need one just pull it out and throw it in a dish.

Roasted garlic is amazing in soups, stews, sauces, dips, on sandwiches, in mashed potatoes, etc. You can throw it into any savory dish, really!

See, wasn’t that crazy easy?! No cutting off half the bulb and wasting the tips. No dousing it in oil. No waiting for an hour. Simple stuff is really great stuff.

February 11, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston/ February 08, 2013 February 08, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston

While I’m calling this a breakfast you could certainly have this as a tasty snack. Or add some more sugar and call it dessert. 

See? I’m still resistant towards breakfast. I know! EVERYONE says it’s the most important meal of the day – yadda yadda yadda! Not for me, it isn’t. If I feed THE BEAST (my “hunger”) too early it acts like a crazy wild animal all day. I’ve done studies! (ON ME. This is for me personally ONLY. Do what is best for you!) So I let the beast have some tea and fruit in the mornings. We chill out and I don’t go out and ran a marathon or anything. My mornings are relaxed. I figure that it all balances out this way. The Beast gets fed mid/late-morning and all is well. 

So be it breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner.. whatever… this is a new and interesting way to get in a different grain! (Well, new and interesting for me. I’ve never really eaten much kasha!) 

Kasha is toasted buckwheat. It’s a gluten free food if that concerns you and it’s got a really complex flavor. I think it’s amazing in savory applications but it does sweet equally well. You can usually find it in the bulk section of your grocery store by the other grains. It’s worth checking out!

I don’t like most oatmeal but I love this porridge. You can top it with a bit of seeds/nuts and dried fruit or for a really tasty treat throw on some berries. It’s dead winter so frozen berries it is. I cannot WAIT for summer, yall! 

 Recipe notes… 

*Use whatever kind of milk alternative that you like for this.

*You can sweeten it with stevia if you like or even a liquid sweetener. It really won’t change the overall dish. I like to just use plain organic sugar.

*You can also add a bit of vanilla extract (2 teaspoons), other flavorings or some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg would be lovely. Play around with it!

Creamy Kasha Breakfast Porridge

serves 4

  • 1 cup kasha
  • 2 cups soy milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Throw everything into a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Put on the lid and turn the heat down to low. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the kasha has absorbed most of the liquid.

Serve with fruit, tea, some extra soy milk, or whatever else your heart desires!

Nutritional information per serving

Serving size: 1/4 recipe 

5 WWPointsPlus, 208 calories, 3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 37g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 5g sugar, 9g protein 

February 07, 2013 February 07, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston

Today I wanted to showcase an AMAZING Plant-Based (Plant Strong) success story. My intention is to show that eating this way is not only life changing but also easy for anyone to do. Read on to see how Deborah has totally changed her health by eating Plant Strong despite living in the state known for oversized steaks and fattening comfort food!

Being Plant Strong is more than just being vegan. You focus on eating whole-foods, plant-based diet based on whole or minimally processed plants, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. It excludes animal-based foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs as well as oils of any kind. Minimal use of nuts, seeds, avocados and other naturally high fat plant foods is encouraged as well.

The first pic is Deborah holding a cake on her 40th birthday, the last pic was taken a couple of weeks ago after a 4 mile hike with a 50 pound pack of sand strapped to her back (she’s training for a ruck march in March!)

“I started my plant based life in March of 2012.  I went to the doctor because I was having chest pains when I ate, and I was diagnosed with acid reflux. He talked to me about dietary changes and prescribed Nexium. I walked out of his office, and for some reason it struck me that at 42 years old and 338 pounds, it was only a matter of time before I had other health problems, and the medication would be for diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.  I knew that it was time to change.  I started trying to eat healthier, and then I happened upon some Netflix documentaries, including Forks Over Knives.  On March 12th, I switched to a plant based diet. Since then I have lost 116 pounds, and feel like I have gotten my life back.  I went to my doctor in November of 2012 for a physical and he was thrilled with my results.  My blood pressure and cholesterol are great, and my energy level is through the roof.  I still have some weight to lose, but I know that if I continue what I am doing, I will get there.  And the best part is I LOVE the food that I am eating.  I no longer crave sugar or any of the bad things that I used to eat. 

I am a lifelong Texan, and was raised on traditional southern comfort food.  So deciding to become plant based was a big decision for me, and one that required me to relearn everything I knew about eating and cooking. It did take a little extra time and effort to begin with, but it was really much easier to make the transition than I expected.  Now it is pretty much second nature to choose and cook the best, healthy foods.  Most days I eat oatmeal for breakfast with almond milk, walnuts, and chia seeds. Sometimes on weekends I will make tofu scramble or some other healthy plant based breakfast.  During the work week, I take my lunch from home about 90% if the time. I sometimes take giant salads, or a baked potate with some yummy toppings, veggie fajitas, or leftovers from dinner the night before.  I have 4 children and a husband who are not plant based eaters, so I do stlil cook some dishes for them with meat.  But more and more often, we are eating plant based meals at home. I have found a TON of really good recipes for plant based foods, everything from ‘meat’ loafs to homemade burgers, to fantastic stews and soups. It has been trial an error, because just like with traditional food, there are recipes I have tried and not liked.  But almost every one of the traditional comfort foods that I grew up with I can now recreate in a much healthier version. They have definitely all begun to eat a LOT more fruits and veggies than they did before. My children snack on fruit, or carrot sticks now instead of the processed junk that we all ate before.  That is one of the things that I feel the best about, knowing that I am teaching my children a better way, and giving them a good shot at being healthy for life.  I cannot claim to be 100% vegan, because every great once in a while I might be out somewhere and eat something that has cheese in it, becuase choices are limited, etc. But this happens less and less often, because I just don’t think it is good for my body.  But I can say that I do not cook with any animal products for myself, and I also avoid cooking with oil. There is no longer any oil, butter, or many of the things that most people consider staples in my house. 

I have struggled with food addiction my entire life, and I feel like that is over now.  I eat when I am hungry, and I enjoy my food.  But I no longer crave junk food, sugary stuff, etc.  I am not starving myself, in fact my employees are shocked at how much I eat! If I am hungry, I eat. But I make sure that what I eat is as much whole, plant based food as possible.  On the rare occasions that someone brings cookies or some other treat and I decide to try one, they don’t even taste good to me anymore, and leave me wondering why I even wanted it! 

I love the fact that when I cook, clean up is super easy!  There is no greasy, gooey mess to clean up.  My pans can literally be rinsed clean just by putting them under running water. When I do this, I always think that this must be how my arteries are now, nice and clean.  They are not covered in the gunk that I used to put in my body!  And when I am making homemade veggie burgers, or loaf of some kind, I can taste it while I am making it to see if it is right. No worries about E. Coli, etc.  My food is as safe to eat raw as it is cooked! 

For anyone considering plant based, I urge you to TRY IT! You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.  It took only about 2 weeks for me to see a HUGE difference in the way I felt. I was still severly overweight, but I suddenly felt like a new person. I woke up every morning with a ton of energy, and I felt that way all day. No more afternoon slump.  I used to be so tired by the time I got home at night that I felt like it was all I could do to manage my end of the day chores and drag myself into bed. But now I literally have energy right up until I lay down to sleep.  I also used to snore really badly, and my husband would tell me that he thought I had apnea because I would seem to stop breathing.  I never had a sleep study done, because I was afraid.  But about a month ago, I asked him if I still snored, and he said nope, that I am so quiet when I sleep now he can’t tell I am breathing!  I sleep so much better than I used to, and feel refreshed every morning.

I also have struggled with IBS my whole life, and now I am completely symptom free. I am very passionate about my new lifestyle changes. I have done a lot of reading, and I believe that what I am doing is the best thing for my body. And the most convinving thing for me is the way I feel. My body tells me every day that I am doing the right thing.”

Let’s give Deborah a huge congratulations on her 

incredible

 life change! Your story is such an inspiration to all of us!

February 07, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston/ February 06, 2013 February 06, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston

Okay, so I have a problem. I LOVE chocolate. LOVE LOVE LOVE.  It’s only a problem because well.. it tends to be really high in the fat/sugar department and because my lovely Mr. is allergic and gets jealous. He knows how lovely it is.

That’s okay, I’ll have these and he can have the

Creamy Dreamy Orange Pudding

! Plus I’m working on a lot of other lovely creations that both of us (and you!) can indulge in. 

Like the last pudding this is a mix of silken tofu and some other yummy things. I added in both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. It’s SO tasty. It kind of reminds me of chocolate mousse but without that feeling that you just ingested 1000 calories. It is much more rich than the orange pudding but sometimes we need a little treat like this, right?!

Oh yeah and let me tell you a little secret – it was AMAZING with raspberries. Perfect. Fantastic. You can use fresh or thawed frozen berries. The tartness mixed with the creaminess of the pudding and the sweetness of the chocolate.. oh it was divine. 

Guess what! This dessert is also easy to make and very quick to whip up. You only need a few ingredients and you’re good to go. The hardest part about this is waiting for it to set up in the refrigerator for a while. I think you can handle it though, right? (Or just sneak some before it’s ready…)

Recipe notes…

* Using SILKEN tofu is a MUST here. You cannot substitute regular tofu for this. It will taste bad.

* You can use whatever kind of vegan chocolate chips you have on hand. I haven’t tried it with carob chips yet because I JUST thought of it but I’m going to and then I’ll update you. I have a feeling it will be tasty!

Vegan Double Chocolate Pudding

4 servings

  • 12oz  (about 1 cup) silken tofu (such as Mori-nu Soft Silken Tofu)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (it takes about 45 seconds to melt them) or over a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate and remaining ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until very smooth. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.

Enjoy!

Nutritional information per serving

Serving size: 1/4 recipe 

5 WWPointsPlus, 174 calories, 9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 19.7g carbohydrates, 0.5g fiber, 16.4g sugar, 5.6g protein 

February 06, 2013/ Morgan Eccleston/