Fo Reals Life

For Really Good Food

BBQ Polenta Pizza Recipe

YUM! It’s Friday! For many people that means PIZZA NIGHT! How about make some healthier fun pizza at home tonight? (Or whatever day you feel like having pizza!)

Have you ever had polenta as the pizza crust? It’s kind of surprising how great it can be. See, I’m following Dr. Mcdougall’s Maximum Weightloss guidelines (no flours is a big one!) and this fits the bill. It is more processed than what you want to be eating most of the time but it does work in this plan. So I’ve been eating pizza and losing weight – how awesome is that? 🙂   And check out the nutritional information. I was shocked when I figured it out. 100 calories for a slice of pizza? Uh, YES PLEASE!

Now you can top your pizza with whatever you want – don’t feel that you have to do what I did. Of course if you do top it with what I topped it with you won’t be sad. Unless you don’t like lots of yummy toppings. I do. Of course I’ve got kind of a problem with overloading sometimes so this pizza was hard to eat without a fork! YEAH, by the way, you can eat polenta pizza like regular pizza. Especially if you make a big rectangle pizza instead of a circle and cut it into square slices. Then it works perfectly!

Man, I never thought that vegan pizza would be so freaking awesome. It is. There’s so much going on that you don’t need anything else. Let’s get cooking!

BBQ Polenta Pizza

  • 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal (polenta grind)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (use a bit less if you use another kind of salt)
  • your favorite bbq sauce
  • 5-6 mushrooms sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 zucchini cut in half and sliced thin
  • 1/2 onion sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen works well)
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil and add in the salt. Whisk in the cornmeal and stir continuously. If the bubbling starts to pop at you turn the heat down a touch and keep stirring. You want it to thicken up to the constancy of whipped potatoes. (As thick as you can get it.) It shouldn’t take a terribly long time but make sure you can keep stirring during this time.

Pour onto your parchment lined baking sheet and spread it out into your desired shape (rounds or rectangle or be crazy and make something else.. I don’t know.. an amoeba is kind of my style haha) Put the baking sheet into your refrigerate to set up the polenta.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Now get a nonstick skillet and place it over medium high heat. Add in your peppers, onions, mushrooms and zucchini. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add in the corn and garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Once your polenta is cooled down and set (15-20 minutes works fine for me but you can always wait longer) put it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Now take it out and flip it over. The easiest way to do this is to place another piece of parchment paper on top, flip it and slide that new parchment onto your baking sheet. Trust me, this step is essential (I tried without it!) but not that big of a deal. Now bake your polenta for another 10-15 minutes.

Take the polenta crust out and spread it with your favorite bbq sauce (I used about 3/4 cup but you may need more or less.) Add a layer of spinach on top and then sprinkle with your vegetable toppings. Place back into the oven and bake 5-10 minutes or until everything is nice and toasty.

Slice up, serve up and enjoy!

Nutritional information per serving : Serving size:  1/8th of the pizza

100 calories, 0.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 20.3g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 3.1g sugar, 2.9g protein

June 21, 2013/ Morgan/
June 19, 2013/ Morgan

I know that sushi can seem intimating to a lot of people. It seems like you need STUFF to make it like special mats to roll it on and maybe some magical skills that you can only acquire if you go to culinary school in Japan. Well I’m here to calm ya down. It’s not hard. But you don’t even NEED stuff. You can just roll things up into a cone! And then you don’t have to worry if your rice isn’t perfectly sticky or if you want to have way more ingredients in your roll than you should (risking a burst roll!) No see… you can just makes these – temaki – and be set to go! It’s a super easy meal or snack. My daughter LOVES them. I love them.

So they are easy. And they are healthy. (Okay maybe you should leave out that second slice of avocado unlike what I did.. hahah!) They seem special but they aren’t. They are the hotdogs of the fancy food world. Something you can make in a jiffy (especially if you have a large batch of rice that you made at the beginning of the week that you can just scoop a cup out of!) and walk around eating.

And you don’t have to TRUST ME (trust me!) that avocado and mango is a mind blowing pairing. You can put whatever you want in there. My favorite thing? Baked potatoes. Like french fries. Yeahhh….. mmmm!

These are really fun and easy to make for a party too. Just lay out the stuff and have everyone make their own rolls. I like to have out several different toppings but you won’t need a ton of each. Some sliced fruit, some sliced veggies, maybe some baked tofu or tempeh, some toasted sesame seeds, etc.. it’s nice to only have to cook rice for a party, don’t ya think?

You can find the nori at any Asian Market or in the ethnic isle of some bigger grocery stores. That is where you can also find the rice vinegar.

*If you can’t find rice vinegar you can use some apple cider vinegar but it will be a little harsh so use less (1-2 teaspoons less per 1/4 cup)

*If you don’t like nori don’t worry – you can use soy wrappers (like the ones in the picture above) which you can find at Asian markets. You can also just use lettuce or collard green wraps!

*Let’s say you make the rice and it doesn’t seem perfect – who cares! It’s not a big deal with these rolls which is what makes them absolutely wonderful for beginner sushi enthusiasts!

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice (or “sweet” brown rice)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced mango
  • 1 package toasted nori sheets
  • optional: soy sauce, wasabi, gari, sriracha
  • any additional vegetables or fruit that you would like to add such as cooked potatoes, pineapple, sliced carrots, baked sweet potatoes, green onions, spinach, thinly sliced apples, kale, strips of peppers, cucumber, sliced zucchini, etc

Bring water to a boil and add the brown rice. Turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 45 minutes.) Remove from the stove, remove the lid and cover the pot with a towel to absorb extra moisture in the rice.

Heat up the vinegar until simmering and add in the sugar and salt. Mix until dissolved and then remove from the heat. Let cool.

Once the rice has cooled for a few minutes transfer it to a bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over it. Mix together with a light touch (I like to use my big flat wooden spatula.)

To make the hand rolls: Cut one sheet of nori down the middle and place one half shiny side down. Add about 1/4 cup of rice to one end. Top with a slice of mango and a slice of avocado. Roll into a cone. Eat up or serve with some soy sauce, wasabi (they are great mixed together!) and some gari between rolls. Yum!

You can also use soy wrappers if you’re not into the taste or texture of nori. You can find them in Asian markets near the nori.

Nutritional information per serving : Serving size:  2 rolls

240 calories, 5.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 50g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 6.2g sugar, 4.6g protein

June 19, 2013/ Morgan/
June 13, 2013/ Morgan

I’ve been working really hard on booklet #2 lately so that is why the blog has been so quiet. The booklet is going to be Clean Eating Vegan Meals (all Mcdougall Maximum Weightloss guidelines friendly meals – PLUS it all happens to be soy and gluten free!) and I’m really excited to tell you more about it soon! (Come over here… I’ve got a secret.. I’ve been eating this way for a little while and I’ve lost a bunch of weight in the last 2 weeks just from changing a few little things!!)
Anyhow – I don’t have any problems with soy except for that it is pretty calorie dense so I wanted a milk substitute to put into my iced coffee that was lower in fat. I looked at rice milk at the store but that stuff is CRAZY. It’s full of oil, sugar and other crap. No thanks!

Then I looked around for something I could make at home. This is easy as can be, requires only a blender (and not even a fancy Vitamix!) and something to strain with (I used a tea towel.)

I love the taste! It’s oaty – but rich – but not goopy – it’s really refreshing! AND it’s CHEAP! Woohoo!! Let’s just get to it instead of talking about it.. you should have this totally ready in about 3 minutes. Ready? GO!

Oatmilk

makes about a quart

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 5 cups water
  • a few drops of stevia to taste (or a bit of sugar – whatever you prefer) , optional

Blend the dry oats in your blender for about a minute or until it is like a flour. Add in 3 cups of water and blend to combine. Strain through a tea towel, coffee filter or double layer of cheesecloth. Add in the remaining water and sweetener to taste. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Make sure you shake it really well before pouring each time.

ENJOY!!!

(I’ll update with the nutritional information next time I make some so I can estimate how much oats comes out when straining. No matter what this stuff is pretty dang low calorie.)

June 13, 2013/ Morgan/
June 05, 2013/ Morgan

Once you’ve had good chips you kind of become a fanatic about them. Almost preachy. “DUDE! Have you had kale chips!? They are like.. the best thing ever.. and they are totally good for you because they are KALE! AND KALE IS LIKE SUPERMAN BUT IF YOU COULD EAT HIM!” Except that a lot of kale chips that you can buy in the store are well.. fatty. So they are more like if superman retired, gained 50 pounds, and then you ate him.

Where was I? Oh yeah so these chips! DUDE! They are amazing. It’s not a lie. And they can be really healthy. Just cut out the oil (don’t need it!) and spice em up!

Let me brighten your day even more. You don’t need a dehydrator for super awesome kale chips. You just need an oven and some time. And I’m sure you can find some time for some guilt free chips, right?

Once you get the basic feel for them you can make them with any spices you want! Some lemon pepper kale chips? Sounds awesome! What about salt and vinegar kale chips? I’m all over that already. Curry kale chips? Super garlicky kale chips? Sriracha kale chips!!? Get in the kitchen and get yourself ready to make a snack worth snacking on.

This makes up for me posting that totally evil cupcake recipe, right? I sure hope so.. love you guys! 🙂

Spicy Vegan Nacho (no oil!) Kale Chips

  • 1/2 large bunch of kale (my bunch was HUGE – so I used 6-8 leaves here)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (if you want them to be even less spicy use paprika instead)
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast  (you can use more if you LOVE nooch!)
  • 1 teaspoon miso (if you don’t have it you can use 1 teaspoon tamari/soy sauce instead)
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium tamari or soy sauce (low sodium!)

Preheat your oven to 174 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Wash your kale and strip the leaves from the stems (you don’t want any of that tough core.) Tear into good chip sized pieces and dry throughly.

Mix together all of the remaining ingredients until it is a nice paste. Now take each kale “chip” and rub some of the paste on both sides and then lay on the parchment paper. Continue until you have filled your baking sheets with lovely kale chips.

Bake in your oven for 90 minutes. You can rotate the pans after about 45 minutes if you think your oven gets really hot in any spots. After 90 minutes turn the oven off and prop open the door. Leave the kale in to finish drying out for another 20-30 minutes.

Eat up! Yumm! Store any leftovers in a paper bag. If they get kind of chewy you can dry them out some more in the oven at 175 (maybe an additional 15-20 minutes.) Enjoy!!

Nutritional information per serving : Serving size:  1/4 recipe

0 WWPointsPlus  53 calories, 0.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 9.3g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 0g sugar, 4.8g protein

June 05, 2013/ Morgan/
May 29, 2013/ Morgan

I’m pretty sure that i’m not the only one here that loves cake. Everyone does. If you don’t – you’re weirder than I am. I made these for a birthday party where I knew I’d have to bring out the vegan treats. I was worried that making carrot cake was a bit too “hippy” but I was assured that I was wrong. (Also, the cupcakes at the birthday party that weren’t vegan were ALSO carrot cupcakes.)

And.. I don’t think I was trying to be EXTRA hippy when I did the next thing – I added beets to them. I ran out of carrots! And beets are sweet like carrots right?

Okay, someone told me at the party that I could have used zucchini. Doh! You can use zucchini too – or extra carrots – if you are totally afraid of beets. But I loved them this way!!!

Let me just tell you a little secret though – you could put ANYTHING in the cupcakes and top them with cream cheese frosting and they will taste great. That stuff is the devil. It’s EVIL I tell ya! So so good.

So, let me come out with it right now: these aren’t healthy. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Sure, there is no oil in the cupcakes and they use whole wheat flour but they are full of sugar and Tofutti cream cheese is straight up bad for you as well.

But they are tasty. Very tasty. And easy to make. And if you share them and maybe eat just one or two…. right?! RIGHT?!

I swear I ate only 2 (while I was taking these pictures…) I am so glad we ate them all because they were addictive.

Look at this picture below. You know you want one. Go get your pan out and get started. I’m sure you’ve got something to celebrate!

Just Beet It Cupcakes

makes 12-16

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup soy milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded beets (or zucchini or more carrots)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

frosting:

  • 8oz Tofutti cream cheese (or your favorite brand), brought to room temperature
  • 8 oz powdered sugar (as a maximum – you may want less!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract (or more vanilla)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with your cupcake liners (I use a brand that is nonstick which I LOVE!)

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the applesauce, soy milk, sugar and shredded carrots and beets. Mix until just combined (don’t overmix!) Fill each cupcake liner to about 3/4 of the way full – I use a 1/4 cup to measure it out.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.. (You can do the toothpick check  to see if they are done – insert a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If you pull it out and it’s all gooey then they need to bake longer. If it has a bit of crumbs on it then it is fine. If it is dry it’s fine too!) Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:

Whip the cream cheese with electric beaters until soft and fluffy (30 seconds – 1 minute.) Add in the powered sugar 1 cup at a time (add it, whip it, add it, and so on..) until it is to your desired taste and consistency  Then add in the vanilla and maple extract. You may want to add just a touch more powered sugar after. Cover the frosting and refrigerate until the cupcakes are 100% cool.

I used a fancy piping bag for these cupcakes but no one is going to care because they taste so good. Just spread it on with a knife if you want!

– I’m not even going to figure out the calories on these because I don’t want to know! These are a once in a blue moon kind of treat – not an everyday or every week or every month affair. Eat at your own risk! 😀

Hooray! The first printed edition of the Vegan Taco Party is SOLD OUT!! And we’ve switched printers now so the new copies of the booklet are EVEN BETTER. I’m so excited and proud of of those!

You can order them HERE for only $13 (plus s&h)

This booklet has everything you need to have the best vegan taco party on the block! Try out some vegan Tequila Queso Dip and Baked Corn Chips, an ice cold glass of Homemade Horchata, maybe some Chipotle Tofu Tacos with a side of Roasted Corn with a Cheesy Chile Topping and finish it all off with some Watermelon Popsicles! That is just a small sample of the recipes you’ll find in this mouthwatering little book.

May 2013 Vol 1, Issue 1!

Here are some special things about this booklet:

  • Over 40 recipes including drinks, appetizers, sides, tacos and desserts!
  • All of the recipes are 100% vegan! (And healthy vegan too!)
  • There are color photos of every recipe in the book!
  • It is also a coloring book with cute little pictures to color in while you’re cooking (or I guess your kids can color them if you let them!)
  • It is 100% lovingly made by me. The drawings, the recipes, the photographs – everything.

May 29, 2013/ Morgan/
May 24, 2013/ Morgan

It’s Friday and for many people that means PIZZA NIGHT! Pizza is so easy to love and so easy to make. It also is basically a flatbread with endless possibilities.

This beautiful pizza (isn’t it colorful?!) is just a wicked tasty healthier version of the peanut sauced pizzas you see in some fancy pants pizza places. While researching (looking at 1000 or so recipes) everything I saw called for AT LEAST 1/2 cup of peanut butter. That kind of made me feel heavy just reading it.

I figured we could lighten that up but still keep that awesome nutty flavor. No problem! And then top it with some easy baked tofu, some fresh veggies and then.. OM NOM NOM! (I watch at lot of Sesame Street with my kiddo so that was a Cookie Monster om nom!)

Ohh so for the tofu you could get a little fancier (and spicer!) and go for some Sriracha Baked Tofu. It’s just as easy to make, really but it’s a bit more crazy than just plain ole baked tofu. Not that there’s anything wrong with plain ole baked tofu – me and my daughter are crazy for that stuff! We had to force ourselves to stop munching on it while making the pizza.

Man, anyone that thinks vegan pizza would be boring hasn’t tried something like this! There is so much flavor going on here that you won’t be missing anything. Except maybe a few dashes of extra sriracha on top!

Now, I’m sure most people know this but I just have to say – this pizza is even better the next morning (cold) for breakfast. Try it out and you won’t be sorry! Well, you might be sorry if you get some cilantro stuck in your teeth before you go out to work. That would be bad.

serves – 2-6 (depending on how much you share. I could eat a whole pizza!)

  • 1 large pizza sized ball of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 lb tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter you like)
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (or other milk alternative)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated with microplane
  • 1 – 3 Tablespoons sriracha (to taste!)
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

First bake the tofu – preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Toss your cubed tofu with the 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce. Spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are lightly browned.

Turn the oven up to 425 degrees. If you use a pizza stone place it in to preheat with the oven.

Stretch your pizza dough out and place onto your pizza stone (dust it with cornmeal if you think it will stick) or onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Prebake your pizza dough for about 8 – 10 minutes or until just starting to brown.

Make the nutty sauce: Whisk all of the ingredients for the Nutty Sauce together in a medium sized sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a simmer while whisking continuously.  Whisk until thickened and take off the heat to cool.

Spread the nutty sauce over the prebaked pizza dough. Scatter the tofu, red onions and red peppers over the top.  Bake for 5 – 7 minutes longer, or until the crust is as crispy as you desire.

Take the pizza out and sprinkle with the green onions, cilantro and shredded carrot. Now cut yourself a big ole slice and enjoy!

Nutritional information per serving : Serving size:  1 slice (1/8th)

7 WWPointsPlus  232 calories, 9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 31g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 5.3g sugar, 9.7g protein

May 24, 2013/ Morgan/
May 23, 2013/ Morgan

There is a lovely Thai restraunt near us that I used to love to go to. That is until I had my daughter. It’s just that the place isn’t really “kid friendly” and it’s more of a date night place. Since we hardly ever go anywhere for date nights it has dropped off of our radar.  That doesn’t mean i’ve stopped loving Thai food though!

(One of my neighbors came out and accused us of being “hipster” for taking pictures of of our curry on such a lovely evening! hahahah! Then I sold him a Fo Reals Life Vegan Taco Party booklet!!!)

Thai food could easily be a complicated affair including trips to the Asian market for things like lemon grass, kafir lime leaves and galangal. There happens to be some pretty nice curry pastes that you can get in many regular grocery stores though that are flavorful and vegan! I use Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste when i’m not feeling like making a big deal out of dinner.

This is so easy to make that you could do it for any weeknight dinner. It makes quite a bit so you will have leftovers. The leftovers are just as tasty the next day as they were the day you made it. Curry leftovers are actually some of my favorite leftovers (besides pizza!)

You can add any vegetables you want to this. We had some fresh asparagus and potatoes from our farmer’s market. I wanted to keep it simple so I just threw in some red pepper to balance it out. Use whatever you have in your fridge or one of these: onions, eggplant, carrots, sweet potato, any kind of peppers, summer squash, green beans, peas, finely sliced greens, broccoli, cauliflower, etc! See, anything would taste great in here. Just undercook everything slightly because it tastes best when the vegetables are still just a bit crisp.

You may notice that I use coconut extract in this recipe. I find it adds the perfect coconut taste without all of the extra calories and saturated fat. It’s a sweet little trick from Mary McDougall’s recipes!

Easy Tempeh, Potato and Spring Vegetable Red Curry

makes 4-6 servings

  • 8 small red potatoes, chopped
  • 15-20 stalks asparagus
  • 8 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons red curry paste (or to taste)
  • 3 cups soy milk (or your favorite milk alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • sriracha to taste

Place a steamer over a pot with water in it and steam your potatoes and tempeh until the potatoes are fork tender (anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how large the pieces are.)

Take the asparagus and snap off the tough woody ends and discard them. Chop the tender stalks into 1-2″ pieces.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Saute the asparagus and bell pepper for 3 – 4 minutes. Whisk the curry paste, soy sauce and coconut extract into the soy milk and add it to the asparagus and peppers. Add in the potatoes and tempeh.

Bring to a boil and then immediately turn the heat down and simmer. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.

I like to serve this as a one pot meal but you can always eat it over some cooked brown rice or quinoa.

Nutritional information per serving : Serving size:  1/6 curry dish

7 WWPointsPlus  274 calories, 6.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 41.6g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 5.3g sugar, 15.1g protein

May 23, 2013/ Morgan/