Fo Reals Life

For Really Good Food

March 31, 2014 March 31, 2014/ Morgan

Ever get a craving that you just can’t shake? (Story of my life!) I wanted some yummy Sloppy Joe’s that tasted like the stuff I grew up with – the stuff, yes friends, in a can! Of course I wasn’t going to just grab a can of that stuff and go so I had to make my own. It was silly easy, delicious and I must say the very dang best vegan Sloppy Joes i’ve ever had! 

I call them Sloppy Mo’s because, well, 1.) my name is Morgan and 2.) I also go by “mom” a lot. A LOT. I’m thinking about changing my name. And not telling my child what my new name is! Hahah! Just kidding of course. 

But really, if you miss that beefy delicious mess on a bun you have got to try this out. The Mr. even requested that I make it again for him to have while I’m out of town! Since it’s so incredibly easy to make I just had to oblige. 

6-8 servings 

  • 1 (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar (malt or rice vinegar work great!)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb (16 oz) crumbled tempeh
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Blend the chopped tomatoes, ketchup, sugar, molasses, yellow mustard, garlic and vinegar together until totally smooth and set aside (I used my Blendtec but you could totally use an immersion blender!) 

Cook the chopped onion, pepper and tempeh in a nonstick pan over medium high heat until the onions are translucent and the tempeh is slightly browned. Add a bit of water as necessary to prevent sticking. 

Pour in the sauce and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook until it becomes thick and delicious! 

March 31, 2014/ Morgan/ March 19, 2014 March 19, 2014/ Morgan

A few days ago I got a brand new Blendtec high speed blender and I’ve been enjoying it so so much! Smoothies, juices, almond butter and everything else I can think of has gone into that thing. Today I was inspired to make a dressing in it and I was not at all disappointed. And that’s coming from someone that says that they are not into salads. I LOVE this salad! 

I used some of the Vegan Garlic Dill Havarti and I swear that just took this salad from “wow this was good!” to “HOLY MOLY I could eat this every day!!!” This salad just screams “SPRING IS FREAKING HERE, FINALLY!!!” and I really needed that to be screamed at me because I am fully ready for spring. Okay, tomorrow is the official first day of spring so just go get the stuff for this today and make it tomorrow. You will have spring fever in no time!! 

You don’t have to have a high speed blender to make this dressing so don’t get too worried. Just follow the directions for using juice instead. It will still taste fan-freaking-tastic (I actually wrote fan-freaking-tasty on accident but that’s an even better description!) But you DO have to make the Vegan Dill Cheese because it is amazing on a salad! 

Dressing:

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 peeled orange (or 1/4 cup orange juice if you don’t have a high speed blender)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

Blend everything in a high speed blender (I used my new Blendtec! Loving it!) If you don’t have one you can use the orange juice and use an immersion blender or a regular blender. It should keep in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Salad: 

  • Vegan Garlic Dill Havarti (recipe here!)
  • washed baby spinach (several cups per person)
  • 4-5 sliced strawberries for each salad
  • several slices of red onion
  • Strawberry Basil Balsamic Dressing (above)
  • sliced toasted almonds, if desired

Toss your spinach, sliced strawberries and red onion together. Use a small spoon and dollop some of the Vegan Garlic Dill Havarti all over your salad. Sprinkle with a few almonds and pour on a bit of dressing (as much as you like!) Enjoy! 

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. 

Enjoy! 

March 12, 2014/ Morgan/ February 27, 2014 February 27, 2014/ Morgan

My favorite thing in the world right now is to take unhealthy junky (but delicious!) foods and transform them into much healthier meals! It makes me feel like a scientist or a magician. Is that kind of like a wizard alchemist? Yeah that’s what I feel like. A plant strong food wizard alchemist! 

Super. Duper. Yummy. Seriously, you should make these. Maybe even double the recipe. 

These sandwiches are crazy good. I didn’t even think I would have been so incredibly satisfied after eating one. I am thrilled!!! Smokey browned mushrooms, seasoned onions and peppers all under a creamy tangy cheese sauce!? Plus some jalapenos and chile flakes.. OHHH Heck yeah I’m thrilled. I’m thinking this would all be amazing stuffed into a huge baked potato (so you don’t need buns, yall!) 

This Liquid Smoke, Wright’s, is the only one I can find locally that doesn’t have any other weird ingredients. Some other brands have sugar, soy sauce, MSG, food coloring and other crap in them. This one is just condensed liquid smoke – nothing crazy. If you don’t like the stuff, use smoked paprika or leave it out all together. 

makes 4 sandwiches

  • 4 portobello mushroom caps, sliced thin
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion, cut into strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Basic Cheese Sauce! Recipe below
  • 4 buns (I get mine at Trader Joe’s – no crazy ingredients! Also check out a local bakery for buns, french rolls or whatever you can find that fits into your diet.)

First make the cheese sauce below so that it is ready to go. This is a relatively quick cooking meal so you want your sauce ready when your filling is ready. 

Heat a large nonstick pan (cast iron works great!) over high heat and add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook them in a dry pan for several minutes until they are nicely browned. Remember to stir them so they don’t burn. Once they are brown add in the soy sauce, liquid smoke and black pepper. Stir for about a minute and then transfer them from a pan to a plate or heatproof dish. Set aside. 

Now place the pan back over high heat and add all of the peppers and onions. Stir in the oregano, chile flakes and salt as well. Cook until the onions and peppers have started to brown. I like some of them to be pretty dark like you would see them when you have fajitas. 

Stir in the mushrooms to warm them back up and then take the pan off the heat. 

You can toast your buns before assembling if you like (I do!!) by putting them under the broiler until they are lightly browned. 

Now just load up the sandwiches, top with some hot cheese sauce and DEVOUR! Really, you don’t need me to tell you that because you’re going to do it. I like these served with baked fries and maybe a slaw. I’ll get back to you with that slaw recipe real soon, alright?! 

Basic Cheese Sauce

  • 12oz  (about 1 cup) silken tofu (such as Mori-nu Soft Silken Tofu)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon miso paste (white, “mellow” or red work! Can’t find it? Use soy sauce/tamari instead.)
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Blend everything together until it’s very smooth. Heat it up until its as warm as you want for the sandwiches. It’s that easy! You can do it in a blender, food processor or I use my immersion blender for this (I LOVE my immersion blender!! It’s so easy to clean and I’m so lazy that we are a match made in heaven! ha!)  You’ll have plenty leftover but I’m sure you can think of something to put it on, right?! (Baked potatoes, broccoli, pasta, cauliflower, baked french fries, burritos, etc..)

January 30, 2014 January 30, 2014/ Morgan

I did something totally crazy yall… I made a BBQ sauce with sweet potatoes! I KNOW I KNOW!! I’m obsessed. But they are SO GOOD and I wanted to make a low sugar BBQ sauce for some excellent sliders. It worked GREAT! It’s a totally interesting tomato based BBQ sauce with a hint of spice and not too sweet at all. I really don’t like sickeningly sweet sauces at all anyway. I had ketchup the other night on a fry and it was WAY TOO SWEET FOR ME! I had to mix a ton of mustard into it to make it taste alright. Hahah! But hey if you love your favorite brand of BBQ sauce use that instead on these because BBQ jackfruit is where it’s at! 

Oh and about the jackfruit – it’s a vegan’s dream food, I tell ya! Super low calorie, easy to use and shreds up like cooked meats! It’s so weird but I LOVE it. You can find it in Asian markets by canned fruit (make sure you buy young jackfruit in brine) or you can buy it online HERE. 

Isn’t it crazy looking?! So meaty but .. not! But delicious!!! 

  • 2 cans young jackfruit, in brine (like these!) 
  • 3 cups vegetable or vegan “chicken” broth (this is the best I’ve EVER had! – No crazy MSG, GMOs or oil!) 
  • Crazy Sweet Potato BBQ Sauce (recipe below) or your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • Buns, Rolls, English Muffins, Steamed Collard Greens or whatever you want to wrap around your BBQ Jackfruit (I got these at Trader Joe’s)

Prepare the jackfruit – Drain the jackfruit and rinse well. Cut the tough inner cores off the pieces and discard. 

Bring the broth to a boil and add in the jackfruit. Turn it down to a simmer and cook until most of the broth has been evaporated – about 15 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Add 1 & 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce (or more if you like it saucy!) to the jackfruit and mix well. Shred up any jackfruit with a fork that isn’t yet shredded. 

Spread the jackfruit out on a parchment or silpat baking mat lined baking sheet. Put it into the oven and let it cook until it starts to crisp up around the edges – about 25-30 minutes. 

Take out and slap it on a bun! Dig in and Enjoy!!! 

 

Crazy Sweet Potato BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated with a microplane grater
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 or 2 whole chipotle peppers (canned in adobo sauce), remove seeds if desired
  • 1/2 cup smashed cooked sweet potato
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses, optional 
  • a couple of drops of stevia, if desired

Cook onions in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add water if necessary to prevent sticking. 

Add the onions and all of the other ingredients to your blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pan!) and blend until very smooth. 

Transfer back to the pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until nice and thick.

It should keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.