Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awesome Asparagus Pasta

We visited the Amish markets in Gloucester, NJ this past weekend, and as we were driving past the farmland, I kept hoping to see the brazen stalks of asparagus boldly poking straight up through the newly tilled soil, the vegetable harbingers of spring.  I thought I saw them, but I couldn't be sure...Then, I looked for them in the Amish markets, and there were a few, but doesn't look like they are up yet.  I am impatient.  Why? Because this asparagus pasta, with its four ingredients (literally) is one of my most favorite dishes to make and to eat.  It is fast, easy and gorgeous.  Great for a quick dinner or a dinner party.

Try it once the asparagus are brave enough to rise up out of the soil.

Asparagus Pasta (Dawn's Vegan Version)
[Adapted slightly from the recipe published in Gourmet Magazine, May, 2000 contributed by Faith Heller Willinger]

Here is the direct link so you can open it side by side with my blog to make it.

1 pound (1 bunch, for the most part) fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 to 2 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest (the zest of a half to a whole lemon)
1 to 2 tsp Kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
One pound pasta (Mafalde are GREAT if you can find them, they are sort of like one-quarter-width lasagna noodles. I also use Gemelli or penne, basically it is great on any pasta, but I tend to prefer long, interesting ones if I've got em in the house).
Optional: Some of the lemon juice, to taste if you like
Optional: Nutritional Yeast to sprinkle (if you want, totally awesome without it).

I would copy and paste the directions, but with copyright issues, you'll have to open the link for the cooking directions, sorry guys! Wasn't sure how to go about getting permission for this one...Gourmet being out of business and all.

Anyway, basically I am replacing the Parmesan with extra salt and lemon zest  I think I might have added extra olive oil, I'll update this the next time I make it if anything is different.  You may want to add nutritional yeast at the end if you want to thicken it, but it is really pretty thick without adding anything (just be careful adding the water to the pasta at the end).

Where are you, spring?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Vegan Weekender: Our First Freezing Weekend of Spring Fun

So, we had a pretty good weekend.  Friday afternoon, my three year old boyfriend and I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars of Power.  They were really just the vanilla power bar recipe with chocolate chips and about 2-4 tablespoons of slivered almonds.  OMG were they good.  Tasted like cookie dough, but made from cashews, dates, and protein powder! Oh, I added 1/4 tsp of almond extract, too, maybe that was the kicker.  That's my son's step stool so he can reach the counter to cook :-)

Got take-out on Friday night from an Italian place that is normally great, and they totally messed up my dinner (was literally pizza sauce and veggie pizza toppings on some pasta, gross).  However, Saturday night made up for it.  We ordered from a local Korean restaurant and they were totally into doing things vegan-special.  We got sweet potato & zucchini glass noodles, tofu "steaks," a nice, spicy rice "cake" dish which was really awesome (we asked for no fish sauce, they are great with requests) and fried veggie dumplings (SO good, not just cabbage). They also added (not sure if it came with it or if they were being nice) full, separate sides of sauteed mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini & a side of kimchi. WOAH. 

Here's a picture of the spicy rice-sticks thingy.  It was really, really good (and spicy!).  We ate the dinner as a freezing cold picnic at a park, so I didn't get pics of everything else. Sorry! Next time.

Saturday during the day, we visited a big Amish market in Gloucester County.  Here's some of the things we saw:
Big ol' window sign. 

Not for vegans! Quarts & pints of pig? Just weird. 

Best pretzels in the world.   



Then, on to a local nursery to check out the plants and make a welfare vegan visit to the little animal farm they maintain.

Seedlings finding their way to the light. 

Flox.  Lot's o' flox.

And our welfare visit to the animals. We go there to pet them and play with them. They seem to like our visits.

Friendliest goat ever.  Loves to be scratched.

Lastly, another Trader Joe's run.  More excellent vegan plunder:

Somebody was very excited to see all the fun food we got piled up on the dining room table. 

 Isn't he cute? Like a cabbage patch doll's head sticking out of the garden.

P.S. Trader Joe's laundry detergent is plant-based and not tested on animals. AND it is awesome and has a great, lavender smell.  It's my favorite detergent. 

 My son picked out those baked onion rings, and guess what? Vegan, baby.

 TJ's marinara sauce? Vegan, baby!

Soy creamer? Vegan. 

 Love to see that little V.

Vegan treat tower.  Move over Mordor. 

 Smart dogs? Vegan (of course!)

Strawberry smoothie? Vegan. 

And last but never least, my delicious lunch today, a vegan grilled cheese with: Daiya mozzerella, fresh organic basil (TJ's) grilled & sliced Delightsoy vegetarian soy patty, organic roma tomatoes (TJ's) a little nooch, oregano, salt & pepper on TJ's sourdough bread.  Yeah, baby:

Hope you guys all had a great weekend.  What did you do for your first weekend of spring?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Need for Absolutism: In Defense of the Vegan/Omnivore Alliance Against Factory Farming

It makes sense.  Tom Philpott proposes that vegans and omnivores work together against factory farming.  I don't think he's sure exactly what we are going to do yet, and that is fine.  Point is to promote the idea that we are a much larger force if we work against factory farming together.

Here is his article:  I didn't find the article to exactly express warm welcome toward vegans, but that is OK.  It is a great place to start.

The fighting begins immediately following the article's release. If you haven't already, you should see the thread that resulted from Food Inc.'s posting of the article on Facebook.  Wow.  I haven't even checked Twitter yet, I've been in the Facebook discussion for a long while now.

My thoughts are as follows:

We are going to face the same issues as always between vegans and omnivores in said alliance. We need to start by avoiding the fighting, stereotyping and name-calling. One issue Tom doesn't take up is that there appear to be at least two schools of vegan ideology: the "abolitionist" and the "welfarist." The abolitionist vegan wants to do away with animal agriculture entirely. The welfarist vegan still eats a vegan diet and agrees with much of the sentiment, but ideologically supports welfare measures to improve the lives of farmed animals (and, might also support improvements in slaughterhouse techniques, improved stunning, slowing speed of the line, etc.).  It gets in the way of effective, open communication between vegans & omnivores when the argument focuses only on rebuking abolitionist thinking.

Plant-eaters who are interested in working side-by-side with omnivores on this issue should consider this: If we support (not necessarily promote) welfare vs. abolition given the current (and historical) demand for animal products, 10 billion land animals a year, we acknowledge the realistic goal of decreasing and not necessarily eliminating demand for animal products. We don't have to compromise our own value system to do this. Some people will choose veganism and some people won't, as a direct result of learning the same information. We can give the information. We can discuss the information. And then people choose.

A rigid focus on absolutism, as in going 100% vegan is the only way to fight factory farming, may not be as helpful as a focus on decreasing demand in general.  There are so many factors in play that keep omnivores eating meat and animal products: strong taste preference, embedded ideology and decades of misinformation promoted by the USDA to name a few.  We can definitely still educate and support those interested in totally eliminating animal products and embracing veganism with all of the resources we already know and love.  But others need help setting more flexible goals.  I see supporting flexibility to reduce demand as a realistic strategy for dealing with the complexity the topic brings to the table.

Let's accept that the idea that truly eliminating factory farmed meat and animal products would be just as "radical" as not eating any meat and animal products (as "radical" vegans do).  Let's work instead of argue.  We have no where to go but down...from 99% of available animal products being factory farmed to even 80% would be a great success.  Borat would definitely approve.

I don't know how many other "welfarist vegans" are out there, and therefore we have the next problem: I'm sure some vegans already don't think I'm a vegan. I truly hope we stop marginalizing each other in this way and can agree on some obvious common ground.   Vegans against vegans, vegans against vegetarians, vegans against omnivores, omnivores against vegans, selective omnivores against eat-everything omnivores, the debates rage.  There is a continuous spectrum of eaters, from the eat-everything omnivore to the vegan with multiple food allergies, and we all fall somewhere along that spectrum.  If we are within an arms reach of the next person down the line, why not reach out and hold hands?

I choose a vegan diet and support the lifestyle for many reasons.  Another important reason to choose a vegan diet, one that can ring true to many, is that it is near impossible to accurately source and purchase more ethically farmed meat and especially more ethically produced animal products (butter, cream cheese, etc.) very tough. There is also the question of the actual meat.  Where are family farmed animals sent to slaughter?  It seems that some family farmed animals are still sent to commercial slaughterhouses (where the atrocities are well known) because the small butcheries have been put out of business. I don’t have more information on this issue.  And, for those interested in this topic, I can't seem to get more information on it, despite some looking and my respectful questions on the AWA blog.  Omnivores should be as informed as possible when choosing to eat animal products from any source.  If folks want to do the research to source more ethically farmed animal products (including going to the slaughterhouses used by family farms) then that is their decision, but they should be as informed as possible when making that decision.  

I'm here to support whatever measures will help people to eat less (hopefully significantly less) of that 99% of factory farmed foods. If a person ate vegan one, two, three or more days a week, they could eat family farmed animal products on the other days and reduce a lot of suffering, ethical problems and demand for factory farmed meats. Let's go there.

What goals do folks propose? Let's start working, and leave education of the finer points for another time. Maybe we can create a page with links to the resources, books, articles & webpages people we are all discussing so that can be put out of the way and people can access it at their leisure. 

Questions for the masses:
If you support welfare reforms to animal farming, are you still eating factory farmed products? If so, which ones? Let's assume the why answer is because they taste good, fine, let's accept that. Let's get some data on what foods people are having difficulty sourcing ethically and refer them to vegan versions or somehow to ethically sourced animal versions (I don't know about this, though, I will need people's help and not just a referral to the AWA website). Since everyone will not go vegan in my lifetime (or likely any other) what do folks propose omnivores do instead? Please be specific as I have not heard a resource put forward that was not somehow linked to commercial slaughterhouses which many people, knowledgeable omnivores included, are against. Not saying they aren't out there, just saying I don't know about them and I have done some digging.

Ideas? Obviously I say eat as many vegan meals per day, per week, per year as possible.  We also must work together to create options where it seems like there are none, to share resources, to support and encourage each other when the going gets tough.  I can help with the vegan end of things.  Who else will come to our aid?  Will Rohan answer? Light the beacons!

Feel free to comment on this post with ideas, insights, and solutions.  No criticisms or attacks, please.  I know it is a lot to ask, but let's stay solutions-focused.  For the animals, for ourselves, for our future.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegan Plunder

So, in honor of Meatout yesterday, I went to Trader Joe's for a big ol' vegan shopping trip.  It was FUN.  I love going there when I feel like shopping.  Thought I'd share the photos to inspire anyone considering doing the part or full-time vegan diet.  Look at the variety and quantity of vegan food options that are available at your local Joe's.

Here is the plunder.

This is not quite everything I got, but a good bit of it.

Check out the freeze-dried fruit, TJ's had freeze dried blueberries!

Yeah, baby.  I'm sending all of those out in the mail to my dear family who don't have a nearby TJ's.  I already have enough of it at home :-)

The Westsoy milk is great, OOPS, I am just noticing I bought Vanilla and not Plain.  Oh well.  I use the plain one for my vegan cream sauces.  That big jug o' juice is blueberry.  Excited to try that.

Close-up of the (Vegan!!) Cherry Chocolate Chip Soy Ice Cream.  So excited to try this.  Every time I go to Trader Joe's, I notice non-vegans buying it, so finally remembered to pick some up.

 My favorite cashews in the whole world are from TJ's.  I buy at least three bags of the roasted, salted ones, and I keep the raw ones for all my vegan sauces, cashew ricottas, etc.  Keep the raw ones right in the freezer.

BEST pre-made tofu veggie burgers I have ever had and that guacamole is really, really amazing for a packaged guac.  Couldn't believe how good it was, actually.  It is a new product for me.

More new stuff for me: Moriello cherries,  TJ's hot wheat cereal, Country Choice Organic Oatmeal (that company makes a fantastic vegan vanilla sandwich cookie, btw), and TJ's rice crackers.

And, so psyched for the Almond Butter, already know the Non-Pareils are great.

Hope this is an eye-opener in terms of the exciting variety of vegan food choices out there!  
What did you guys do in honor of Meatout?  

P.S. The rain finally hit us here in south jersey, but showers bring flowers :-).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Overcoming Barriers to Veganism, Strategies for Success

Overcoming Barriers to Veganism, Strategies for Success

Dear Meatout visitors and Vegan Fazool readers,

Welcome. Thank you for interest in veganism.

I thought it would be useful to explore two of the challenges folks face as new vegans or as struggling vegans: giving up animal products and responding to questions from others about your veganism (because trust me, it will be “yours” once you “go” vegan).  I will provide resources and strategies for success in the face of said challenges.  I will be abbreviating animal products as “APs” for brevity’s sake. 

Challenge #1: “It is surprisingly easy to give up animal products.”
We have all heard the edict promoted by vegan activists that it is “easy” to give up animals products.”  Well, yes and no.  There are many variables that influence how difficult this change will be for you: issues with taste preference, fear of cravings, lack of education and resources on “what to eat” as a vegan, lack of basic cooking knowledge, dependence on take-out or restaurant food, dependence on APs in regular cooking, lack of specific cooking knowledge for vegan foods/recipes, lack of knowledge in how to substitute plant-based for animal-based foods, access to a grocery or market that carries a nice selection of vegan options (not as much a problem today as it was 10 or 20 years ago, though). So, it can be a minor problem or a major one, depends on how many of the variables affect you.  Eating a vegan diet is an important step in dismantlement, so we must address these barriers.

Solution #1, Craving Management:  If you are concerned about cravings, the best way to go vegan is to just totally cut out all animal products for a three to four week period.  Dr. Neil Barnard is the biggest proponent of this strategy.  Once you are totally free of animal products for that period of time, your body adjusts to allow your tastes to evolve to prefer plant-based foods.  After the 3-4 week period without any APs, cravings will significantly diminish to a very manageable level or disappear completely.  I personally found this to be true.  If you expect it to be tough at first, especially regarding your favorite items, then you can properly prepare yourself and achieve success. The strongest cravings will be in the first days and will get easier and easier as time passes.  Just have a plan to deal with them.  If you eat the products you are craving, you will start over again at square one.  There are compounds in animal products (like casein in cheese, and the saturated fats in beef) that function to make our brains really, really like them.  Dr. Barnard touts the addictive properties of these substances.  But, once your physiology adapts to the lack of APs, something magical happens and you just don’t want them anymore or you want them a lot less.  Try it and you will see.  Check out Dr. Barnard’s book, “Breaking the Food Seduction,” for excellent treatment of this topic.

Solution #2, Understand Taste Development & Learn to Cook
I agree with Erik Marcus, long-time vegan advocate, when he says to try lots of vegan foods, recipes and products until you find what you like.  This is, of course, true of your current diet now.  We all try foods and sometimes we like them and sometimes we don’t, and that can change over time as well.  When transitioning to veganism, don’t rely on others’ reports of what is good, try it for yourself and if you like it, great, if you don’t, don’t worry about it.  See Dawn’s Unsolicited Advice for my list of cookbooks, blogs and, well, unsolicited advice for what works for me.  There is no nutrition information in that post, so for your nutrition questions start with  Also, make (or learn to make) your favorite dishes and leave out or sub for the APs.  That can be surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it, but it depends on your experience in the kitchen.  Learn to cook, it is worth it.

And you don’t have to give up treats or desserts.  Vegan baked goods are amazing and it is fun and fascinating to learn all of the different substitutions for eggs J.  Check out how many great chocolates are vegan (soy lechitin is used instead of milk products) and look into the frozen section of your grocery or natural market for delicious vegan ice creams and treats.  You will be happy you did.

For you coffee addicts (like me!), there are dozens of plant-based “milks” on the market to add to said coffee: soy, almond, coconut, hemp, hazelnut, rice, as well as soy-creamers for coffee.  There are tons of excellent vegan products on the market that mimic meaty APs and some of them are great (Yves Pepperoni is a favorite of mine on vegan pizza).  You may like some and not like others, this is fine.  There are excellent vegan replacement products for cheeses, sour creams, cream cheese, mayonnaise and yogurt.  However, a note of caution, until your tastes totally change, you may find these products taste “funny;” that is because they taste like plants and not like animals.  I avoided them for a while when I first changed my diet.  Once I was vegan for a while, I went back and tried some of the products I didn’t like at first.    Many vegans love Daiya cheese, but I hated it for my first year vegan.  Now I really, really like it.

Solution #3, Strive for Ninety-Five:
You can read more about this in my About Dawn page, but I have about a dozen days or so a year where I allow some vegetarian-friendly animal products back into my diet, mostly for holiday/vacation social situations.  And I still consider myself to be a successful vegan.  Actually, if you think about it, even if you went crazy eating animal products for 18 full days of the year you would still be eating a vegan diet 95% of the time (vegan for the other 347 days).  The 95% vegan or 347 days-a-year vegan is a strategy that works for me, and allows some flexibility when dealing with certain situations.  I also have found it allows folks (especially friends and family) to hear a pro-vegan argument better, perhaps it displays a flexibility that folks assume vegans lack.  Remember, I am a social worker, so am very sensitive to the individual and group dynamics at play in these situations.  I obviously totally support a 100% vegan diet every day of the year.

Challenge #2: People are going to challenge your veganism.  Often. 
Sometimes it’s like the vent opens in people’s brains when they hear that you are vegan and they let loose some steam to varying degrees.  I’m not sure exactly what all the frustration and defensiveness is about (I do have some theories) but get ready to be a productive member of a big debate team.

Solution #1, Know Your Stuff:
Unfortunately, vegans often find themselves on the defensive end of argument.  We are often put in a position to dispel stereotypes and popular myths.  It is a rare occasion not to undergo a barrage of questions when telling someone you are a vegan.  It is best to be prepared to deliver a cogent argument regarding the reasons “why” you are vegan, where you get your protein, why human breast milk is vegan, why vegans don’t advocate more for animals who get run over by tractors in factory vegetable farming, etc.  It is just easiest to be prepared for these discussions.  Certainly you can refer folks to web or literature resources instead of giving the entire argument yourself.  You can always tell the person you’ll get back to them if you don’t know something.  It is best to be prepared or just to say you will look into something rather than to get angry, frustrated and defensive about your choices, and certainly better than giving misinformation.  Please be mindful of giving misinformation.  Stay calm and present yourself professionally; Even if you think defending veganism is not your job, it is assumed by others that it is.   Many times it is a lack of information on the listener’s end that is causing the problem (that is the dispelling of myths issue).   But don’t expect people to agree with you, either, once you provide them with said information.  Doesn’t usually happen.

Why some omnivores feel they can argue effectively against dismantlement of animal agriculture when they haven’t read the literature is a point of contention for me (since usually I have read the literature/articles/book they are talking about, but they haven’t read mine and are just refuting my points with stereotypes and myths).  To be honest, though, why the heck should anyone know all the problems with animal products unless they have concerns about it and have started doing some digging?  They shouldn't.  The USDA and “big ag” make sure of that.  Those bodies certainly don’t provide us with transparency in USDA nutritional guidelines or in processing or production information about animal products, so most people who haven’t dug, don’t know or have been mislead.  Remember that when doing your advocacy.  Giving factory farming information sounds like dramatization, but clearly isn’t, so please continue to do that without fear of being “dramatic.” 

In general, make sure you check (and read!) your own sources (as well as sources likely to be used by the counterargument) thoroughly before presenting information as absolute truth, since many times, there are degrees of truth within each claim of fact.  Be mindful. 

Solution #2, Find Community Support:
Follow blogs, get on FB, find community, whether that is online or in-person at a veggie club or vegan coffee house.  It helps much more than you could imagine with maintaining motivation and getting information and resources.  It is also useful for keeping up to date with the most recent news and statistics in the dismantlement movement.  And you can learn a lot about veggie foods and advocacy via FB posts, sharing, reading tweets, and tweeting. 

Follow me on Twitter @VeganFazool, or friend me on FB.

I hope this provided you with a useful framework of solutions to two of our common problems.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


P.S. Here's a picture of my next recipe post:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MeatOut is Coming!!

Quiche Du Jour (with cauliflower, spinach, and cranberries) from The Urban Vegan

 Grandma Margie's "Meatballs" A recent gluten-free, soy-free version. 

Oatmeal Raisin (and Cranberry) Cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking (with a secret Vegan Fazool substitution!!) 

Cashew Ricotta in Action (on top of a take-out tomato pie) 

See all those delicious dishes? They are ALL vegan.  And amazing.

On (or about :-) March 20th, everyone who is awesome will be participating in the International MeatOut Event, so I wanted to help you guys get ready for it proper.

Many excellent bloggers will be doing a special post on (or around) Sunday, March 20th for the MeatOut event which is organized by FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement)  they are, "a national nonprofit organization promoting a vegan lifestyle through public education and grassroots activism to end the use of animals for food." They, "believe in the inherent self-worth of animals, as well as environmental protection and enhanced public health."  An excellent, long-standing organization that has done much to advocate for farmed animals.

Things you can do to prepare for MeatOut:

1. Find some excellent vegan recipe(s) you'd like to try.  Check out the above items for nice examples.  Need a flexible "ricotta" for all your Italian cooking needs? Try my cashew ricotta in lasagna, on pasta, in a vegan eggplant Parmesan, it can be used on anything.  Do you need a vegan version of a power bar for a quick snack? Try the Vanillanutberry Candycake Bar of Power, my Vegan Ragu Alla Bolognese,  or for a quick & easy lunch, a lovely chickpea tuna salad, or maybe an awesome baked treat?  Try check out some of the blogs I follow in the right hand column of my home page and click away, they are amazing.  

2. Go shopping for your ingredients: vegetables, fruits, and fun vegan frozen stuff or pantry items. posted a very nice post with two vegan shopping lists, basically my personal list looks like a combination of the two shopping lists together.  Check them out!  Then head over to your local Wegmans, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or your favorite natural store and buy a few items you'd like to try.  Have fun exploring the hundreds of vegan options available to us lucky vegans of the modern era.

3. Make your vegan item and, when you love it, SHARE IT with others!  

4. Inform yourself a bit more about the problem with animal products.  Spread the word!

For more vegan tips, tricks and resources check out my other post, Dawn's Unsolicited Advice.

Have a great Thursday, guys.  As always, feedback, questions and concerns are welcome comments and I will get to them quickly.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bites of Bittman

Mark Bittman has written two pieces of interest this week in his NYT Opinion column, both on factory farming.  This first one I agree with for the most part.  Of note, I am impressed that he is discussing Common Farming Exemptions (CFEs) in some detail.

The follow up piece, on the other hand, is a bit harder to swallow.  Bittman makes several errors that I have difficulty forgiving him for.

Below is the comment I wrote on Erik Marcus's public Facebook page,, regarding my reaction to the above piece:

I personally have some issues with this follow up piece. Bittman makes the fatal error of linking the words “radical”  and "crazy" with "vegan" on two occasions when it is completely unnecessary, promoting a harmful stereotype. He writes, "If activists, radical vegans, or whatever you want to call them, break the law..." Simply put it should have been, "If people break the law," or "if activists break the law." Bittman's word choice is dismissive and invalidating to both vegans and activists.  Maybe as a clinical social worker who practices psychotherapy I am especially sensitive to both word choice and stereotyping, but I know from all my years of professional experience that both make quite a difference in personal and public perception of any cause, especially a cause as vulnerable as the dismantlement of animal agriculture.

In the next breath, as you point out, Erik, Bittman completely minimizes the problem of factory farming, blaming only "the few farmers that are giving the rest of them a bad name," when many, many accounts of animal rights and welfare violations have been documented and are considered typical of the farmed animal industry as a whole.  Cruelty on CAFOs is certainly not an anomaly and to have it framed as such without any supporting evidence whatsoever was in terrible form.

Then he calls vegans "crazy" for no reason at the end of said paragraph, implying that exposing industry cruelty is "our job." Although some of us certainly choose to make it our job to educate the public about factory farming and animal cruelty issues, we aren’t crazy because of that or in spite of it. 

I appreciate the point of the article, but I do think the errors I mentioned warrant significant attention.  Maybe it was just sloppily written or done quickly under the gun of deadline, but it bothered me enough to write this mini-treatise.  Thanks for listening.

What do you guys think?  Overall, I think I am having a bad week with the NYT.  Don't get me started on the other article everyone is talking about.  I refuse to give it any credence at all.  I won't even link to it.

Have a great rest of the week, guys.  Think I'll make some brownies now instead of dinner.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vanillanutberry Candycake Bar of Power

I know, the title.  It's been a long day.  No one helped me, so, it is what it is.

Toddler finally napping now, but we ended up making the bars together.  He really helped!  He measured cashews, pulsed them in the food processor, dumped in organic soy protein powder, helped me take all the seeds out of the Medjool dates, turned on the food processor by himself with everything in it and let it run to make the dough (best part).  He tested for food safety, thoroughly sampling each ingredient: dates, coconut, chips, dried strawberries, and cashews.  He smelled the vanilla and coconut extracts to ensure their potency.  He made me cut the bars out in circles (well, some of them anyway) and then he ate the chips off the tops and took one bite of the rest.  Then he fell asleep.  Now he is sleeping. It is 5:00 p.m. Oh well.

I will need to eat about three or four of those power bars to keep up with him after this power nap is over :-).

I used Hannah Kaminsky's recipe for Good to Go bars with the following substitution & add-ins:

Substitute: Non-GMO Organic Soy Protein Powder (I use Wegmans brand) for the veggie powder, or another vanilla flavored or plain soy-based protein powder.

2 Tablespoons of sweetened (or unsweetened) shredded organic coconut
2 Tablespoons of freeze-dried strawberries, coarsely chopped
1/8 tsp coconut extract
2-4 Tablespoons white or dark chocolate chips

They are DELICIOUS.  They also freeze very well, just wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in plastic bag in the freezer.  We just use them directly out of the freezer.

Some pictures:

Here is the dough:

Here are the "bars:"

Now, I've got to run guys, will post more soon.  Lots of good stuff in the works.

Later! Dawn