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Holy lengthy title, Batman!  Bear with me, this post is going to be somewhat longer too, but for convenience’s sake, I’m not going to divide it up.  I’ll try not to go on long-winded rants, and just show off lots of pictures of food.

Oh, and just in case I’m showing this site off tonight to a class at the university, I thought I’d say hi, ECMP 355!!

First on the long list: sushi.  I went to the grocery store, and lo and behold, there were fresh shiitake mushrooms!!!  I have worked with dry before, and while they taste fine, the smell of them makes me nauseous.  However, the smell of the fresh ones was entirely different, and so beautiful!  I opened the bag, and this warm, earthy, rich smell floated up to meet me as I sniffed hesitantly.  The whole time I chopped these, I was drooling.

Shiitake

So, one of the rolls was a combination of crumbled extra firm tofu, sesame seeds, and diced-up fresh shiitake mushrooms, which I cooked together until the mushrooms shrunk, and then added a sauce made of tamari soy, freshly grated ginger, and sesame oil.  I cooked off the sauce, and then used this as a filling.  My other rolls were carrot, lettuce, and bean sprout; and avocado and cucumber.  Served with a side of edamame beans.

Sushi Rolls

Now for the cookies.  Actually no picture, here.  Just an alteration of another Kid’s Company’s Coming recipe into something friendlier/less sugar-laden.  I feel comfortable posting this recipe even though it started from a cookbook because I’ve changed it so much.  Seriously, I did this with half the sugar they called for, and a little bit of dates, and could have probably still have removed more of the sugar, as they were very sweet.  Actually, please go ahead and mess around with the sugar-to-dates ratio, and share how they turn out.  While you’re at it, why not experiment with taking out some of the oil in this recipe too (I left it in this time for a treat), especially if you’re using lots of dates.  I made these to brought these to class (and yes, we still bring cookies to class in university), because if you keep the cookies small, this batch makes lots.

Fiddle Diddles, or Haystacks, Minus the Sugar-Induced Coma

– 1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter Substitute

– 1 cup or less Natural cane sugar (check out this site, this brand is both affordable and vegan, except for the honey products!)

– approx. 1/3 cup chopped dates

– 1/2 cup soy milk or some sorta nut milk (use unsweetened, there’s already enough sugar here)

– 6 tbsp cocoa powder

– 3 cups quick cooking rolled oats (not the instant ones)

– 1 cup medium shredded, unsweetened coconut

– pinch o’ salt

– 1tsp vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat to melt butter, and to soften the dates so that they can be stirred in.  Mash dates into mixture well.  The book says to bring it to a boil, but I don’t think it’s overly important, here, as long as everything’s melted and blended.

Add everything else, mix well, and drop small rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Cool, possibly in the fridge or freezer.  Should make around 40 cookies (I think I had thrity-something, wich isn’t too far off).

Also working out an awesome bread recipe, but that’s gonna have to wait.  It needs a little work.

Finally, we’ve come to my lunch today.  I had no school, so I had time to raid the fridge.  This isn’t the fanciest recipe in the world (like most of my fridge-raid hashes), but it sure did turn out good.  I don’t know what to call it, though.  It’s got some Thai influences, but isn’t really, truly Thai, or even necessarily Asian for that matter.  And if I call it a quesadilla, I’m afraid every person in Mexico may spontaneously shudder (what with the lack of cheese, or cheese substitute).  Anyway, whatever it is, it was mighty tasty, and filled with more coconut!  If you’re feeling special, toast the coconut first, along with some sesame seeds.

Sesame-Coconut Quesadilla-like Thingy

Nikki’s Lunch Thing that’s Kinda Like a Coconut-Sesame Thai Quesadilla

Sorry, I’m going to make you use your best judgement for the quantities, here.

– a tortilla

– sauce ( large spoonful of tahini, some soy sauce, spritz of lime juice, a little rice wine vinegar, and freshly grated ginger, mixed together well.)

– about 1/5 block of extra firm tofu, crumbled

– soy sauce

– handful chopped fresh garlic chives

– grated carrot

– bean sprouts

– a little shredded, unsweetened coconut

(an epic view of the ingredients)

Epic Lunch

Spread sauce on tortilla (use extra for dipping later, if you like, but don’t overdo the sauce inside the tortilla, or you’ll have a mess).  Fry tofu crumbles in nonstick pan (or regular pan with a little oil) until they begin to turn golden, then add a little soy sauce to flavour and add colour.  Cook off soy sauce (should only take a few seconds), and add to one half of the tortilla shell.  Pile on top of that the rest of the ingredients.  Fold over other half of shell, and place on a tray in toaster oven, heating until just warmed and lightly crispy (about five min, I think).  Don’t over-cook, or the sprouts will be iffy, and you’ll burn the shell.  This can be done in a microwave, but results will be sub-par.  In fact, if you have no toaster oven, I recommend wrapping this up and cooking it in a frying pan briefly.  Otherwise, if you’ve folded it in half and toasted it, cut it into quarters before eating.

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Hey, look, I have time to blog!

I really, really loved the Wiel Pistachi-Oh! bars when I first tasted them.  The ingredients all sounded so simple and healthy, unlike so many of the crazy, chemical loaded energy bars that can be found out there.  However, the price tag is a little high to consume them on a regular basis.  Upon mentioning this to a friend, she remarked bluntly, “well, why don’t you make your own?”

Why didn’t I think of that?

So, here is my imitation recipe, at a fraction of the cost per bar.  They are a little softer than the store-bought ones, but I kind of prefer that.  It may be due to the fact that they are fresher, too.  If you wanted, you could try a higher nut-to-date ratio.  If you’re looking to carry them around, throw one in a Tupperware container, and you’ve suddenly reduced the waste that you would have created buying individually wrapped bars too.  Or, if need be, wrap in plastic wrap, but you will risk crushing your bar.  I think this would also make a good pie filling/tart filling/date square filling or other additive to baked goods.  You could try cooking the bars a little, but I didn’t notice any spectacular difference to them when I did this.

Energy Bars in Pan

Date and Nut Energy Bars

note- all ingredients were measured before any sort of chopping.

– 3 cups of pitted date

– 1 cup cashews

– 3/4 cup shelled pistachios

– 2 tsp cinnamon or 1tsp cinnamon and 1tsp allspice

– about 2 tbsp of lemon juice (add a little less if the mixture looks too moist already)

1.) Put the dates in a large bowl, and cover with hot water.  You could, if you wanted, chop them first, but this recipe will work without chopping.

2.) Chop up the cashews and pistachios very fine.

3.) Drain the dates once they are softened, mash up, add the nuts, and mix well.  Add in the spices and lemon juice, and mix well again.

4.) Spread so that it’s a little less than, or about a centimeter thick in a tray, preferably lined with wax or parchment paper, so that you can remove the bars easier later.  My tray I used was some obscure size, maybe 10 by 6, or 11 by 7 (I’m aware that those aren’t metric units…), but I think an eight inch square tray would work.  Let sit several hours, then score, remove bars from tray, flip them over, and stack them up like you were curing soap, so that all sides dry a bit.

Sliced Energy Bars

Sorry for the mediocre pics.  I didn’t feel like worring about good photography that day, for some reason.