Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Yesterday, July 31st, was Harry Potter's birthday! My littlest sister has been really into Harry Potter lately, so she decided that we'd better throw a party for him. We made the vanilla cake from How it all Vegan for Harry, with pink and green icing just like Hagrid had done. (she insisted that we write "Happee Birthdae Harry" too!)

I don't really eat cake, so I can't say much about this recipe, but it was very easy, used ingredients that you're sure to have on hand, and would be easily adapted. We had a couple of people over, too, and they seemed to enjoy the *vegan* cake.

Too late, I realized that we could have had some fun with the whole Harry Potter thing, with themed dishes like tofu nugget "wands" or other [more creative] things. Ah well, we could always do that another time!

...I had this for dinner yesterday. I'm not sure of what I should call it, but here's what I did:

I chopped up some eggplant, then 'toasted' it in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat until cooked. I then threw in some sliced mushroom and let that cook a bit as well. Next, I tossed a bit of julienned carrots with a glop of lentil soup. After the carrots had softened up a bit, I put this lovely mess onto a plate, drizzled a bit of tamari sauce, sprinkled on some cinnamon, and voila! A minimalistic dinner that was delishhhh. I should have thrown in some tofu, too, because it would worked great in this.

And, we made granola bars! Woohoo! Here they are in their Tupperware box:
These are great for energy bars or non-spill trail mix. And they are quite energy dense (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oil, and sweet stickiness...), so don't go overboard with these if you're trying to lose weight or something like that.

Improv Granola Bars

The amount you make depends on how much you use of each ingredient!
Feel free to modify greatly any quantity- this isn't supposed to be a strict recipe. Making granola, in bars or otherwise is so, like, centering your good energy. You've gotta go with the flow. (anyways, learning to eyeball things is good for you. puts hair on your chest... ;)

In a nice big bowl, mix together:
4 parts rolled oats
About 1 part nuts and seeds (we used sunflower seeds)
About 1 part chopped dried fruit (we used golden raisins, apricots, crystallized ginger, and cherries, and coconut.. is that a fruit?)
About 1/2 part ground flaxseed
Optional- spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice...

In another bowl, mix some canola oil, vegan sugar, vanilla extract, a teensy bit of blackstrap molasses, and sticky liquid sweetener like agave nectar, corn syrup, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup. You don't want too much oil because this liquid stuff is what hold your bars together- lots of sticky sweetener. I warned you- these are meant to be energy packed. Don't be scared. Make a bit less of this liquid stuff than you'll think you'll need- it's easy to add more later.

Now, add the liquid ingredients to the oat/nut/fruit mixture and combine. If it's a bit dry, add some oil and sticky sweetener. Too oily? Add oats and sticky sweetener. Too oily? Add sticky sweetener and a bit of rolled oats.

At this point, you should be trying to achieve a certain consistency and texture. If it's good, you'll have little problem dumping the mess into a parchment paper'd tray and pressing it firmly and well until packed. There will be some oats sticking to your fingers, but that's just fine- all you don't want is the whole mixture globbed up on your hands.

Pop in the oven at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes (until golden). Let cool a bit, cut into bars but don't remove from tray, then let cool until it's easy to take apart.

I really wish that I could be more helpful with this recipe, but it's really so much easier than you'd think. Just DO IT.

Some suggestions:

-A 'Hawaiian' bar with Macadamia nuts, coconut, pineapple, and papaya, as well as other tropical dried fruit
-Drizzle with melted vegan chocolate, or dip into chocolate like those Quaker granola bars
-Go wild with the dried fruit- try apples, banana chips crushed into smaller bits, dates, figs...
-Use almond extract, almonds, add a bit of almond butter, then make a glaze/coating with almond butter. Whoa. Then try that with peanut butter and peanuts.


KleoPatra said...

How cute!!!

You don't eat cake? Hmmmmmmm... wondering why!!! It is a cute cake, i have to say.

Dinner sounds terrific, minimalistic can be the best!

Making yer own granola bars... good job!! Thanks for the recipe, and the suggestions to mix it up a little. Terrific.

Peggy the Veggie said...

Cake just isn't really my thing. :)

Cherry said...

The eggplant dinner sounds great. Great idea for the granola bars! Really creative.

Cherry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peggy the Veggie said...

Thanks! Eggplant is my favorite veggie. :D