Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vegan Cookie Bars

One of my goals for the new year was to expand into baking a bit more - I've never been much for baking, but in the interest of developing a more well rounded Veggie Guy, I decided it was time to give it a go.

I wasn't really sure what to call these - I got the inspiration from something called "Congo bars", but those called for walnuts and coconut - two things I'm not overly fond of. They also weren't vegan. Anyway, my wife simply dubbed them "cookie bars", so that is what they shall be named.

The end result was indeed quite cookie-esque, if you ignore that they're about 1/2 inch thick, and that they're in bar form, rather than the traditional circular configuration.

I managed to find vegan peanut butter chips at a local store called Raisin Rack. Frankly, I've never seen them anywhere else (and frankly, as often as RR changes things around, I may never be able to find them again). I'm pretty sure you could substitute 1/2 cup of peanut butter for the chips and life would be just fine.

So here we go...

Vegan Cookie Bars

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
  • 8 oz light brown sugar
  • Ener-G egg replacer equivalent to 3 eggs*
  • 4 oz vegan chocolate chips
  • 4 oz peanut butter chips (or 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter)

*The Ener-G package directions say that 1 1/2 tbsp Ener-G plus 2 tbsp warm water = 1 egg. I doubled the water for this recipe so the batter would mix better.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, mix melted Earth Balance and brown sugar. Add to flour mixture.

Fold in prepared Ener-G egg replacer (about 1/3 at a time).

Mix in chocolate chips or peanut butter chips/peanut butter.

Transfer batter to a greased, lightly floured 9x13 glass baking dish. Press down batter evenly with a spatula (or your hands, if you're impatient like me and don't like to look for utensils).

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

This is the type of dessert I'd take to a gathering of omnis - they're relatively familiar-looking, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could recognize that these cookie bars don't contain eggs or dairy.

Anyway, that's enough of that. Something else I wanted to bring up...

Maida over at Mission Vegan posted an alternative to fried rice in stir fry dishes - wheat berries! I'm quite intrigued by this idea and - while I haven't tried it myself yet - I thought I'd share. I can't wait to give it a go!

Ok, back to the mad dash of "oh my gods, the weekend is almost over and I've still got a ton of s*** to do!" Yay!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dal Soup for A Frigid Winter Night

I'm guilty - this blog has been a bit light on recipes lately. I haven't really been trying out new recipes lately, mostly because of myriad other things going on:

  • I've been working crazy hours at The Job (TM), getting in early and leaving late pretty much every day.

  • My new blog, 6 Figure Blogging Strategies, has been taking up a lot of time... not only with posting, but with coding, setting up ad campaigns, and all of those other "new blog" tasks to minimize my time in the Google sandbox (it's kind of like purgatory for blogs, I hear).

  • We've been gearing up for Aria's birthday, which is today (my baby turned 6 today *sniff*).

So in the interest of stalling, I'm recalling a recipe that I originally posted a couple of years ago... but since I made it again today, I thought it would be a good time to share this with my new readers...

This is a highly inauthentic but quite tasty "dal soup" I make at least a few times every winter. It's a spicy, simple dish that works perfectly for those post-holiday winter nights. Comfort food, in my estimation.

Dal Soup

2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 cup red lentils

2 tsp lemon juice

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/4 cups coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Add Earth Balance butter, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, and chili powder to large saucepan. Cook for 30 seconds on medium heat, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes, lentils, lemon juice, vegetable broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with chopped cilantro.

Note: I use roma tomatoes because they are a little heartier than other types of tomatoes, and stand up better to long cooking times. Just a personal preference there - other types work fine, they'll just be a little softer.

If you have the time and inclination to make your own naan or poori, either of these breads make a fantastic accompaniment for dal soup. One of these days, I'll get around to posting a recipe (and maybe even a video demonstration) for making these fantastic Indian breads.

ETA: Happy Birthday Aria!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Comment Moderation

Blech. I never thought I'd have to do this... but as of today, I've enabled comment moderation.

It really sucks, because I have such a wonderful and creative group of readers... and up until now, giving you free reign on my blog has gone perfectly. I've learned a great deal from all of you, and I hope you'll keep commenting on my posts.

Just so no one thinks they said something to offend me... here's the comment that forced me to make this decision:

Kevin, on my Low Fat Eggplant Parmagian post:

"For an overall informative review of various pills used by people across the world to treat anxiety, erectile dysfunction, depression as well as to facilitate [link removed], just log in to the website [link removed]. An entry to the pill-care zone would acquaint you with the manifold advantages of FDA approved pills for treating anxiety, erectile dysfunction et al and altogether this website would provide you details on how to opt for those pills as well as the correct procedure of administering these pills to your system."

Well, Kevin, I deleted your comment and removed the links here just to piss you off. But I did keep the link to your profile, just so everyone reading knows what a plinth you are.

For the rest of you, my wonderful readers... please don't be offended by my decision. I'm simply committed to keeping this blog crap-free (well, I guess that's dependent on personal taste. After all, I did run over a pumpkin effigy of Criss Angel).

All right... I've gotten that all out of my system. New recipe coming soon....
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