If there is one product that has commanded more shelf space in recent years, it’s the energy/protein/snack bar. From a one shelf allocation in the cookie aisle of grocery stores years ago to a partial grocery aisle today, bars have become the go-to supplement for millions of Americans.
Although bars are convenient, most of them have too much sugar and/or unhealthy ingredients, or just taste awful. For me, it got to the point that the only time I packed a bar was if I was going for a hike or a road trip because the alternative was worse – no food or SAD (Standard American Diet) food. Read more
When vegans or plant-based eaters discover dates, it’s a game changer. Dates are moist, chewy, and naturally sweet, so this luscious “food from the Gods” lends itself to making naturally sweet treats including what many people refer to as date balls: dates, nuts, seeds, spices, and other ingredients (i.e. cocoa, coconut, goji berries, raisins, etc) mashed and blended together into dessert or snack balls.
Although there are a zillion recipes for date balls on line, there are occasions when time or equipment (a food processor) is a factor so people turn to ready-made balls. But, as with every prepared food, ingredients are key so read labels or turn to Glaser Organic Farms – a trusted preparer of raw, vegan, and organic certified snacks. Read more
Holidays are all about enjoying food so there is no better time to give a palate pleaser than now. Not everyone is a foodie but nearly everyone appreciates wholesome, delicious food like pure maple syrup, colossal roasted cashews, creamy, rich peanut butter cups or almond cups, award winning crispy potato chips made with extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate mint meltaways, fresh fruit, and chewy, sweet dates. To wash all that down, consider Fever Tree drinks: tonic, club soda, or ginger ale. Read more
Lark Ellen Farm Trailblazers are the newest additions to the trail mix market. Unlike GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts), Trailblazers have a base of sprouted nuts and seeds that are sweetened with maple syrup and then combined with ingredients like semisweet chocolate chunks, fruits, pure vanilla extract, salt, and spices to create the most unique and delicious trail mix options on the market.
Organic, grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan, the Trailblazers are also low in sugar (2-5 grams per serving) and high in flavor, texture, and, of course convenience. Lark Ellen Farm Trailblazers come in three savory varieties: Read more
The pili nut (pronounced “peeley”) is probably the nut you’ve never heard of because pili nuts are not native to North America or Europe. Grown in Southeast Asia and primarily in the Philippines, the pili nut is often called “the chosen one” because of its nutritional value (high in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, zinc, Vitamin B1, vitamin B6, folate, copper and 8 essential amino acids).
Shaped like an almond in the shell and a pine nut in the raw, the pili nut tastes like a creamy mild macadamia nut, although a friend says “a pili nut tastes like the offspring of a macadamia nut and a pine nut.” Like most nuts, you can do many things to it: dry, sprout, roast, mill, candy, caramelize, and even turn it into nut butter. It’s that versatile. But, like most nuts, the quality of a pili nut varies depending on where and how its grown. Read more
If you think a cake can’t taste great without white flour, butter, oil,, eggs, and refined sugar, think again because it’s all about finding alternative nutritious ingredients to replace the undesirables. Instead of white flour, consider oats and almond flour.; instead of butter, oil, and refined sugar, choose date paste (dates and water); instead of eggs, select ground flaxseed meal. Using these alternative ingredients not only produces a nutritious cake but also a delicious one…promise! Read more
No prep. No waste. No mess. No wait.
Who doesn’t love a smoothie? A thick, smooth drink typically made with fruit, vegetables, and some type of liquid (i.e. water, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, juice, etc), a smoothie is thirst quenching, filling, usually nutritious (depending on what is added to the fruits and vegetables), delicious, and very satisfying.
The problem with smoothies is that you either have to make a smoothie at home or go to a store to have one made for you, which isn’t always convenient. You may be on your bike, at a sports event, or even in the car when all you have is a dry energy bar in your backpack or handbag when what you really want is a smoothie. Until recently, you had to settle for the energy bar but not anymore. Read more
For plant-based eaters who prefer a farmer’s market over an outdoor vegan fest, please know I get it. It’s not that vegan foods are bad, although there are certainly a lot of unhealthy ones out there, its that far too often these products contain oil, refined sugar, syrups, or other undesirable sweeteners, too much sodium, or ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
If most of your diet is whole food plant-based then very few commercially prepared foods are on your pantry’s shelf or in the refrigerator or freezer because finding really stellar products – foods made with top notch ingredients without all the additives, and that taste great – is tough (there is just no getting around being vigilant and reading labels).
Every once in a while, a truly great product is introduced (and it feels like a reward when you find it), which is the case with Granola Bites by the Organic Pantry Co. Granola Bites are tasty pieces of granola (almost like thin crunchy cookies) with mulberries (Cashew, Date & Mulberry) or coconut and raisins (Coconut, Cacao, and Raisin) : Read more
One of the challenges of eating a plant-based diet is finding ways to make desserts with little or no oil and no refined sugar. But, the challenge is deeper than that because a truly nutritious treat is also about what is included. Ideally, ingredients that stand alone as nutritious and delicious.
I started with a recipe called Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars by Dreena Burton and adapted the ingredients to come up with a recipe for Oat Bars that contain whole grain oats, whole grain oat flour, seeds, nuts, spices, date syrup, dark chocolate chips, and non-dairy milk. Basically, these bars are whole-grain and plant-based with no dairy, no oil, no refined sugar, and no eggs.
Oat Bars have a base of rolled oats and oat flour whose flavor is enhanced with what I call “the big 3” – pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips. The big 3 are simply three wholesome ingredients that are super tasty together. But, if you find raisins, walnuts, and sunflower seeds more to your liking, make a substitution. Read more