Fo Reals Life

March 24, 2014 March 24, 2014/ Morgan

Some days only a simple meal will do. I do love fancy complicated dishes but don’t forget that I’m also a mother who is too dang busy to cook a lot of the time. I have to throw stuff together real fast but that doesn’t mean that I have to skimp out on health and flavors. 

I’ve been getting asparagus on sale this week (I’m buying it compulsively because it’s so cheap!) so what better thing to do than throw together a soup that cooks in 20 minutes! It’s simple, creamy (but still vegan!) and super low calorie (you know, so you can eat doughnuts later!!) 

Since it is very simple you can look at is like a primed canvas to build upon. Add extra vegetables, fresh herbs, different spices, or just leave it simple because simple doesn’t mean bland. Spring asparagus is so incredibly flavorful that you may not want to add a single thing! 

  • 2 lbs asparagus, wood ends trimmed off
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium is best!) 
  • 3 shallots or 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the onions in a nonstick pan over medium high heat until they become translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so, or until fragrant.

Add the broth to the pan along with the cauliflower. Chop your asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces and add to the pot as well. 

Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes

Blend up with your immersion blender, high speed blender or whatever you’ve got until it is silky smooth. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste! You could also add any fresh herbs that you enjoy here such as dill, parsley, basil or thyme. 

To make the fancy asparagus tip garnish cut the tips off before adding to the soup and set aside. Blanch them in a separate pot of boiling water for 60 seconds and then dunk into ice water to stop the cooking process. Garnish your soup with them and feel ultra fancy-pantsed! 

March 12, 2014 March 12, 2014/ Morgan

But really, who didn’t eat grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup growing up?! It’s a classic kid dish. I want my daughter to get to eat it too – of course in a healthier version without a bunch of processed stuff (like Daiya – blech!!!) and without any animal products. I think we will be eating these two recipes for a long long time. 

Now, just a fair warning – this is totally a vegan Velveeta-like American cheese sandwich, not an artisanal aged cheddar-like cheese sandwich. I grew up with the processed cheese slice grilled cheese sandwiches and I freaking LOVED IT. Loved it. It’s simple, delicious and satisfying! It’s a huge kid with my kid!! She says “Don’t forget the pickles!!” 

Now are you ready to dig in to a childhood classic?!  Got any others you’d like me to remake??? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try my best!! 

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 12oz  (about 1 cup) silken tofu (such as Mori-nu Soft Silken Tofu)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 2 Tablespoons miso paste (white, “mellow” or red work!)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional, for color!) 
  • 3 Tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour. If you cannot find it you can use rice flour or cornstarch but it won’t have the same texture so try to find tapioca starch sometime!)
  • bread! As much as you need. This makes a lot of sauce so you can make many grilled cheese sandwiches!

Blend everything together until it is very smooth. I use my immersion blender for this! Heat the sauce in a small saucepan over high heat until it comes to a boil. Make sure you stir constantly while making this sauce so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom. Continue to stir while boiling until the sauce becomes thick. Remove from the heat.  

Heat up your pan (I used my shiny new cast iron grill pan that I am totally in love with!!) for you sandwiches. Spread a bunch of cheese sauce over one slice of bread and slap the other piece on. Grill them on a dry pan until browned on each side (really, there is no need for butters, oils, or anything else – it gets lovely toasty in a dry pan!!) Serve up with your tomato soup – which, by the way, you may want to start before you start making sandwiches! 

Tomato Soup:

  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of tomatoes (either whole or chopped)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or stevia to taste)
  • salt to taste (for reference, I used about 1/2 teaspoon. How much you use will depend on how salty your broth is and how salty you like soup!)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk

Saute your onions in a nonstick pot with a tablespoon or so of water over medium high heat. Cook until the onions are translucent.

Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

Stir in the vegetable broth, tomato paste, canned tomatoes and sugar. Bring up to a boil and then put on the lid. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Take the pan off the heat and blend the soup. Again, I use an immersion blender for this. It’s PERFECT for blending up soups right in the pot! You can also use a regular blender though you may have to blend in batches. 

Once blended stir in the soy milk and add salt to taste. 

If you need to reheat some later make sure you reheat gently. 


March 12, 2014/ Morgan/ February 17, 2014 February 17, 2014/ Morgan

I LOVE potato soup! It’s always been a huge comfort food for me so when it’s cold out (like when it has been snowing here recently) I’m drawn to making a huge pot of potato soup. Sometimes though, you want things to be a little more exciting and that’s where this came from! I had already had potato soup a couple of times this week so I figured that I should change it up before my family totally strangled me. I’m not sure that they love potato soup as much as I do. I can finish two bowls of it before the Mr. even finishes one. 

This was such a wonderful soup that my cat even wanted some. Well she sniffed it anyway and then sat right in my light for taking pictures. 

It’s alright, Pickle, i’ll just take pictures of you! 

Yup, our cat is named Pickle. Our other cat is named Pepper. (And before that we had Beans and Franks!) 

  • 2.5 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, grated with a microplane zester or finely minced
  • 1 cup corn (I used fire roasted corn from Trader Joe’s!) 
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk or your favorite non-dairy milk
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped Tofu Bacon (recipe here!) 
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (optional)
  • salt to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt)

In a large pot bring broth, potatoes, celery, corn and garlic to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and put the lid on. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add in the soy milk, nutritional yeast and salt to taste. Blend up about 1/4 of the soup using either an immersion blender (my favorite tool!) or take a portion out to blend in your blender. 

Add the green onions and chopped tofu bacon at the end. Serve with lots of crackers and black pepper to taste. 

January 21, 2014 January 21, 2014/ Morgan

You may not know this, but I grew up far from my current home in Oregon. I grew up in Arkansas with a mother from Texas and a father from Kansas. I ate a lot of “Southern” food. My favorites were cornbread, big pots of black eyed peas, fried okra and chicken with dumplings. Now I know that some people think that putting biscuits inside your soup is dumplings. That’s cool – whatever floats your boat. To me, that’s just biscuits on your soup. This is my dumplings – they are like thick hearty noodles. 

Of course these days I eat much healthier (and of course, vegan / plant-strong!) The dumplings are whole wheat and the soup has lovely white beans in them. It still has that hearty stick to your ribs goodness that really brightens your spirits in the cold winter or when you’re stuck in bed sick (if you’re stuck in bed make someone else make this soup for you!) 

Oh and I don’t skimp on the dumplings here. They are plentiful and that’s just the way I like it. Do you know that they are sometimes called “slick dumplings” ? I thought that sounded a bit funky so we’re going with just dumplings here. Whatever you call it, it’s still the best darn dumpling soup I’ve ever had! 

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled (or not – your choice!) and cubed 
  • 1 can white beans, drained (about 1.5 cups)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 3/4 – 1 cup soy, almond, or your favorite non dairy milk (start with less and add more as necessary!) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Put a large pot over medium high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and add a bit of water now and then if needed. Cook until the onions start to soften slightly. Add in the garlic and potatoes and cook for another minute or so.

Add in beans, broth, water and bring to a simmer. 

Meanwhile mix the whole wheat flour, non-dairy milk, salt and baking powder together in a small bowl. Knead a few times and then roll out the dough on a floured surface until thin. Cut into square (or be crazy and use a cookie cutter or make triangles, octagons, amoebas,  whatever!) 

Drop the dumplings one at a time into the simmering soup. Stir it around to prevent them from sticking. Tturn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through. 

Stir in the parsley before serving. Add any salt or pepper to taste at the end. 

January 21, 2014/ Morgan/ January 14, 2014 January 14, 2014/ Morgan

This winter I am ALLLLLL about chili! I love other soups too but chili is calling me lately. Especially since it makes fries taste amazing. Yet, I had never made a white chili until I saw a picture on Pinterest (damn you Pinterest!) that made me jealous of the white chili goodness. Of course I had to make it vegan, plant-strong and taste awesome. So some research, some testing and bam! Some white bean chili for ya with the added bonus of some extra veggies too. It’s filling, warming and if you make too much it freezes well – an awesome bonus if you ask me! (PS – I freeze soup in pint sized wide mouth mason jars. Leave about an inch of space for expansion and you should be good! I love having individual serving sized jars of soup waiting for me in the freezer.)  

To make the crunchy baked tortilla strips I just preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Cut the tortillas into strips and lay them in a single layer on the pan. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until crunchy. Yum! Oh and you can also season them by squeezing some lime juice over top before baking and sprinkle with salt and chili powder. CRAZY YUM! 

  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped tomatillos (or tomatoes if you can’t find tomatillos.) 
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional if you don’t like spicy food!) 
  • 2 medium sized zucchini, chopped
  • 1 can low sodium white beans, drained
  • 1 can low sodium garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 – 4oz cans green chilies (fire roasted if you can find them! I buy mine at Trader Joes) 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (Mexican oregano if you have it) 
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • optional (but AWESOME) garnishes: sliced green onion, cilantro, baked tortilla strips, limes, extra minced jalapeno, avocado, etc!

Place a large pot over medium high heat and sauté the onions and peppers together in a couple of tablespoons of water. Add more water as necessary to prevent sticking. Once the onions are tender and begin to turn translucent add in the garlic and jalapeno. Cook for about a minute longer.

Add everything else to the pot now and bring the chili to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat down a bit and let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary (but with the beans and broth you should be good!) 

Garnish with some sliced green onions, cilantro, baked strips of corn tortillas and some lime wedges to squeeze over the chili. Even a few chunks of avocado would be delicious!