Why We Shouldn’t Eat Meat and Dairy: From 10 Year-Old

Why We Shouldn't Eat Meat Or Dairy - from a 10 year old www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

With school coming to a close this week, I want to share something pretty remarkable that took place this year.

In the spring, our 10 year old, Bridget, came to me after school about speeches taking place in her class. The conversation went something like this:

B: Mom, we are doing speeches in our class and get to pick our own topic.

Me: Ok, well, what do you think you’d like to talk about?

B: I already know. I want to talk about why people shouldn’t eat meat and dairy.

I paused for a minute. Then I replied “Are you sure?? We can think of other ideas?

In other words, I wasn’t sure. While we talk about many aspects of food at home, I don’t expect our girls to be activists in school or with their friends. I don’t ask them to preach the values of a plant-based diet. But this came up entirely organically for her. Despite my questioning her readiness, she was certain. She was passionate to share why she felt, in her heart, why people shouldn’t eat meat and dairy.

She presented her speech to her class, and was then chosen to present her speech to the school and parents.

I’m posting her speech for you to read and share:

Good morning / afternoon teachers and fellow students!

Raise your hand if you eat meat or dairy. Raise your hand if you think you have to eat meat and dairy to be healthy.

My name is Bridget, and today I’m going to share 3 important reasons not to eat meat and dairy: our health, the environment, and animals.

Meat and dairy are not good for us like people think. Studies have shown that our biggest health problems are linked to eating meat and dairy – including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. We don’t need to eat meat or dairy, we can get all the nutrition we need in other foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains. Not only can you be healthier without eating meat and dairy, it is also better for our environment, and kinder to animals that share our world.

In order for us to eat meat and dairy, animals have to be raised in factory farms. These are not farms with grass and sunshine. Instead, animals are kept in buildings that are factories, and people are cruel to the animals. Animals suffer and are tortured every day of their lives on these farms. On milk farms, baby cows are even torn away from their moms so the mommy cows can produce milk. If they don’t produce enough milk they kill the cows. The baby cows never see their mothers again.

Eating meat and milk products is also bad for our environment. We all want to do things like recycle, and use less water to help our environment. But, the one thing that makes the MOST difference? How much meat and dairy we eat. Consider this: skipping just one burger saves enough water to drink for 3 months!

Chickens, pigs, and cows feel and love just the same as animals like cats and dogs. They bond with other animals, and with people too. They value their lives just as much as we do, and they feel pain just as we do. If people treated our cats and dogs the way cows and chickens are treated on factory farms, they would be arrested! Yet, we eat these animals every day, but we would never imagine eating our dog or cat.

I have been raised without meat and dairy. I’m healthy, happy, and just like other kids. I eat pizza, hot dogs, burgers, ice cream, and so many other delicious foods, without any meat or milk! Every time we make a choice not to eat animals, it helps our health, our planet, and the animals. Please think about this. Thank you.

She asked if she could wear the “Plant-Powered” t-shirt for her speech. I didn’t encourage that one, either! Here she is on her way out the door that morning…

bridgetspeech

…and here she is delivering her speech to the school (see the raised hands?)

bridgetspeech2

 

As a parent, we wonder whether our children are receiving the lessons and messages we are communicating. When days are tough, we feel our efforts are wasted, or that we are doing a terrible job as a mother or father. Then, we have moments where we see our children blossoming, developing into their own person. We see their heart, their courage, their care, their beautiful spirit.

This was one of those moments for me. Bridget feels more compassion about animals than any of our daughters. It’s just “in” her. She wants to free every bug or fly that enters our home, and she wants to start an animal rescue this summer… at our house! (We’ll talk about that one, lol.) But, this child has a heart for animals. More than I ever impressed upon her or ever expected. She was proud to present this speech, and I was beyond proud to listen to her.

Who knows, next year we may revolutionize hot lunch. Baby steps. :)

Feel free to share this speech! 

x Dreena

Bananascotch Pudding

 

It feels like I haven’t posted in weeks! I thought things would settle down after my signing, but it continues to be very busy. End-of-year is always busy at school (right mamas?) and I’m still pretty active with the book release.

"Bananascotch" Pudding by Dreena Burton www.plantpoweredkitchen.com #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased

Plus, last weekend I was away for Ottawa VegFest! It was incredible, I’ll share some pics and details in my next post. For now, I want to share a new vegan recipe with you.

This one is very easy. It was another recipe I had intended for PPF, but the puddings section was amply filled. My testers loved this plant-based pudding. The ingredients are ones we usually have right on hand, and with a quick blender blitz: a pudding that is a cross between… banana pudding and butterscotch pudding!

"Bananascotch" Pudding by Dreena Burton www.plantpoweredkitchen.com #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased

Bananascotch Pudding 

link to print/share recipe

This pudding tastes like a cross between butterscotch and banana! It’s incredibly quick and easy to make, and kids love it for dipping fruit, slathering on waffles or pancakes, or eating straight up as pudding.

2/3 cup soaked and drained cashews (soak for 3-4 hours, drain fully)
1/2 cup overripe banana, sliced
3-4 tbsp coconut sugar (adjust to taste)
1/8 scant tsp sea salt
3/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Blend cashews, banana, 3 tbsp of coconut sugar, sea salt, yogurt, and vanilla in a blender. If using a high-speed blender, this will take just a minute or two. With a standard blender, you will need to scrape down the blender a few times and work the mixture. Taste, and add more coconut sugar if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3

Serving Suggestions: Serve with fresh fruit, or top portions with shredded coconut or chopped nuts. Also, try layering with plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt and granola in parfait cups!

Enjoy, guys! Before I sign off, below are some recent reviews, giveaways, and features of Plant-Powered Families. If you are loving the book, would you take a minute to add a review on amazon? Thanks!

x Dreena

Bits and Bites
The Blender Girl review and recipe for Creamy Fettucine
Ricki Heller review and recipe for Baconut
Kathy Patalsky of Healthy, Happy Life review, giveaway, and recipe for Cinnamon French Toast
Love Fed review, giveaway, and recipe for Savory Chickpea Omelets
Kiwi Magazine recipe for Baconut
Veg Kitchen recipe for Polenta Pizza Crust
Pure Thyme review, giveaway, and recipe for Artichoke Sunflower Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce and No-Bake Granola Bars
Taste Space review and recipe for Chickpea Nibbles
Vegan Mainstream review and Q&A
Heartwise Ministries Radio Interview

Video: Plant-Powered Families Releases Today!

 

Today is the official release of Plant-Powered Families! I’ve made a brief video to talk about the book, and also to thank you for your ongoing support.

Few notes from the video:

I’ll keep it short today. I have a whole lotta’ house to clean up here. Been a busy week with wee girl’s birthday party and getting ready to for the book launch.

My gratitude, once again, to all of you for your support and community over the years. And, my thanks to the incredible team at BenBella Books for helping me bring this book to print. <3

x Dreena

Plant-Powered t-shirts, “weegan” onesies, and more!

 

Do you have a “weegan”? Are you a plant-powered cook? Do you want spread the word about eating vegan and Living plant-powered?

Now you can… with these energetic, bright t-shirts, totes, and aprons. Yes, even onesies!

Since I started writing Plant-Powered Families two years ago, I’ve wanted to bring out some feel-good vegan t-shirts and items. So, a couple of months ago I hired a designer and an assistant to help out with these designs. I’m really pleased with them, and hope you like them too. Here’s just a few of the items (link through to see ALL).

"Plant-Powered" t-shirts and more! via Dreena Burton www.PlantPoweredKitchen.com #vegan

"Weegan onesie! via Dreena Burton www.PlantPoweredKitchen.com #vegan

 

 

My favorite so far is this bamboo tank! Yep, I ordered one for myself (and an apron, and kiddo tee, etc). And, if I had still had a wee babe, I’d have defintiely ordered that onesie too!

It’s almost cute enough to try for a 4th. Almost. 😉

These items and more (including mugs and aprons) are now available through this page. Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Also, remember you have a chance to win a selection of these goodies! Check out my post for details.

Stay tuned, next week I have a wicked giveaway for Mother’s Day… and a site makeover!

Plant-Powered shirts, totes, mugs, and aprons for the whole family! www.plantpoweredkitchen.com #vegan

Please tell me… do you like the designs? What else would you like to see down the road? More quotes? Different items? Please send along your feedback so I can create more designs for your plant-powered self and loved ones! 

 

This post contains affiliate links. Your support allows me to create more great content. Thank you.

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl (feature recipe from Plant-Powered Families!)

Our girls are on spring break this week and next, so I’m busy keeping them busy at home! They are spread out in ages (almost 14, 10, and almost 6), so I find they rarely want to do the same things. Sometimes the older two hang out, other times the younger two play together or do projects – today they are painting birdhouses. But, the girls are at a stage where they often don’t enjoy the same activities. Anyone else have this experience with their kiddos? Have any ideas or advice to share?

One thing we did enjoy this week was a walk through Redwood Park. This park is peaceful and beautiful in its own right, with majestic trees and serene paths…

 

fairy3

Recently, I heard about a “fairy kingdom” that has developed in the woods of the park. At some point, one or more children had the idea to put a couple of little wooden doors and wooden birdhouses on trees, where the fairies come to visit! Well, the idea caught on and now we have a wee enchanted forest with doors at the base of trees and painted birdhouses with charming personal touches. Here are a few examples, though the pictures don’t do justice to the entire scene:

fairy4

fairy6

We strolled through the kingdom, and all three girls were engaged with the fun. I was too! Of course, afterwards the younger girls were keen to paint their own contributions to the fairy forest. So, they started painting and decorating their little houses today. If you live in the South Surrey/White Rock area, go for a stroll in Redwood Park – the fairy fun is just beyond the treehouse.

peanutbutterpuddingtext

 

Now, when activities fail me, there’s one thing our girls always enjoy together… homemade treats! They all love this Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl. Ok, our middle daughter opts for the pudding without the berry swirl, no surprise there. :)

This is a new recipe from my Plant-Powered Families cookbook,  but my publisher is sharing the recipe now. This pudding is very easy to whip together, and tastes like a PB&J sandwich – without the bread! It’s all whole-foods based, from the pudding to the swirl!

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

Oh, and for those of you possibly wondering… “uh-oh, is there a lot of peanut butter in this book? I’ve already preordered!”… No, there isn’t. In fact, I believe this is the only dedicated peanut butter recipe in the book. And, you can substitute a nut butter like cashew or almond if you have peanut allergies in your household.

And, if you missed my last post and don’t know about the preorder offer of a bonus ebook and special giveaway, check out my last post for details!

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl! from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Pudding photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Enjoy the pudding, friends!

x Dreena

Plant-Powered Families is HERE! (+ bonus ebook and giveaway)

 

Plant-Powered Families is here! I’ve mentioned this new cookbook a few times, and today I can officially announce that it releases on May 12th! In this cookbook, I share over 100 recipes, plus insights and tips from my 14 years of raising 3 “weegans”.

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

This is my fifth cookbook, but my first cookbook with full-color design and photographs for every recipe (taken by my friend and colleague, Nicole Axworthy). Cover photo credit: Lindsay Faber.

All the recipes are vegan, whole foods plant-based, and many with allergy-friendly options to make them nut-free or gluten-free. This is collection of both new recipes along with selected “tried and true” dishes. I have revised some old favourites, making them easier, more nutritious, and also with some allergy-friendly alternatives. Of course, there are many new food creations, including:

  • Sunday Morning Pancakes
  • Cinnamon French Toast
  • Blueberry Lassy Muffins
  • No-Bake Granola Bars
  • Green Superhero Dressing
  • Cheesy Caesar Dressing
  • Potato-Meets-Egg-Salad
  • ‘Baconut’
  • Red Lentil Hummus
  • Vegan Feta
  • Motsa’ Dip
  • Ultimate Cashew Cheese
  • Cream of Cauliflower Soup
  • Smoky Bean Chili
  • Smashing Squash Soup
  • Thick ‘n Hearty Tomato Sauce
  • Polenta Pizza Crust
  • Artichoke Sunflower Burgers
  • Ta-Quinos!
  • Autumn Dinner Loaf with Homestyle Gravy
  • Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans
  • Creamy Fettucine
  • “ShipShape” Joe’s
  • Balsamic-Glazed Sweet Potato Fries
  • Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl
  • Fudgesicles
  • Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Crazy Brownies
  • Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Protein Power Balls
  • Apple Nachos Supreme… and more!
Cinnamon French Toast from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton

Cinnamon French Toast

Artichoke Sunflower Burgers from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton

Artichoke Sunflower Burgers

Red Lentil Hummus from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton

Red Lentil Hummus

Vegan Feta from "Plant-Powered Families" by Dreena Burton

Vegan Feta

Cream of Cauliflower Soup from "Plant-Powered Families" by Dreena Burton

Cream of Cauliflower Soup (with Seasoned Polenta Croutons)

Autumn Dinner Loaf from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton

Autumn Dinner Loaf with Homestyle Gravy

Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans from "Plant-Powered Families"

Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans

Crazy Brownies from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton

CRAZY Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

Apple Spice Cake with "Cream Cheese" Frosting

Apple Spice Cake with “Cream Cheese” Frosting

Apple Nachos Supreme from "Plant-Powered Families" by Dreena Burton

Apple Nachos Supreme

Beyond the recipes, this is where you will find my vegan mama insights and food tips… answering the questions I hear from readers so often, including:

  • What do you pack in your kids’ school lunches? How do you make them nut-free?
  • What do you serve at birthday parties? Do you send your children to non-vegan parties and social events?
  • How do you handle weekly food preparation? What do you batch-cook/freeze?
  • … and the ever-popular: HELP! I have a picky eater!

I answer all these questions — and more — sharing what I’ve learned and as a mom of three for the past 14 years. I’ve also included a nutritional FAQ section, with help from my friend and colleague Heather Nicholds.

Plant-Powered Families releases on May 12th (perfect for Mother’s Day)! I encourage you to pre-order now and receive a special early order gift, a bonus ebook with 15 NEW plant-powered, family-friendly recipes. (If you have already pre-ordered, yes, you are still eligible to receive the pre-order bonus.) Your 15 bonus ebook recipes include… Lemon Coconut Muffins, Amaranth Porridge, Soy-Free Vegan Feta, Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Greek Lentil and White Bean Soup, Pumpkin Seed Poppers, Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Mousse Frosting, and more!

Lemon Cranberry Coconut Muffins from bonus "Plant-Powered Families" ebook by Dreena Burton

Lemon Cranberry Coconut Muffins

Mango Hemp Dressing from "Plant-Powered Families" bonus ebook

Mango Hemp Dressing

Pumpkin Seed Poppers from "Plant-Powered Families" bonus ebook!

Pumpkin Seed Poppers

Soy-Free Vegan Feta from "Plant-Powered Families" bonus ebook!

Soy-Free Vegan Feta

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Mousse Frosting from bonus Plant-Powered Families ebooks by Dreena Burton

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Mousse Frosting

To receive this bonus ebook:

  1. Order Plant-Powered Families (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | Indigo) before May 12th.
  2. Email your proof of purchase to plantpoweredfamilies@gmail.com.

That’s it! PLUS…

I know many of you will be sharing news of this book via social media, so I’m offering a special giveaway. To enter the giveaway:

  1. share this post on social media (Facebook, twitter, IG, etc) using the hashtags  #plantpoweredfamilies
  2. then leave a comment with rafflecopter (below), and you will be entered to win ALL of these prizes…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A+ Healthy Baking Recipes for Back-to-School (nut-free)

I’m late with a back-to-school post year, but that’s because our kids aren’t back in school yet!  In British Columbia, there is a teachers’ strike that began in June, so our girls still haven’t returned to school yet, and probably won’t until October. Our girls have a tutor right now, and are doing some daily online work. It’s not the same, for them it’s an extended summer. Nevertheless, I am trying to feel the “back-to-school” vibe, and getting in to my regular baking routine!

During the school year, I rely on a few key baked goods to put into lunch rotation for the girls’ lunches (and also for hubby’s work lunch). These snacks are all nut-free, so perfect for school snacks. People always ask “what do you pack for lunches”. Last year I posted my top 10 recipes for packing school lunches, and today I’m sharing my A+ List of Healthy Baking Recipes for Back-to-School!

Top Healthy Baking Recipes for Back-To-School! #nutfree #vegan

1) Maple Banana Bread Muffins: These are a long-time family fave, and I cannot tell you how many tweets and notes I get saying something like “omg those muffins are wicked“. They really are good. And easy!  So, go bake them. :)

Maple Banana Bread Muffins by Dreena Burton, #vegan #oilfree

 

2) Apple-Hemp Muffins: I love these because they pack a good dose of nutrtient-dense hemp seeds in a fragrant, tasty muffin. Kids can be a little fussy about eating hemp seeds, they won’t even know they’re in these muffins!

Apple Hemp Muffins by Dreena Burton, #vegan #oilfree

 

3) Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Oat Bars: These are the bars I make when I want a snack that will “hold up” well (ie: it won’t get squished in a pocket during a field trip!) These are dense, chewy, bars that are a much healthier alternative to storebought granola bars – and far more satisfying. I usually double the batch and freeze half! These are from my PP15 ebook, and if you don’t have a copy, I offered a special on my FB page last week. I’ll extend the offer, use code PP15school at checkout for 25% off!

Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Oat Bars by Dreena Burton, #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree

Oh, and this particular photo of the bars was taken by Tami of Nutmeg Notebook. She shared on Instagram, and I’ve reposted a few times since!

4) Oat Snackles: (Pictured in background, on dishtowel) These are what I bake when I feel like I have literally 10 minutes to get something in the oven. If you make them enough times, I bet you can meet that time! The kids love them, and you can customize with dried fruit, chocolate chips, seeds, etc.

Oat Snackles, by Dreena Burton #vegan #oilfree #glutenfree

5) Power Cookies: These are a cookie treat, but still quite healthy. I’ll be putting this new cookie in rotation this year. For the kids… right. 😉

Power Cookies by Dreena Burton - #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

 

6) BF Blueberry Muffins: These I make a little less often just because the prep is a wee bit longer (not much, just slightly). When I do make them, the girls think they are quite the treat!

BF Blueberry Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

 

7) Berry Scuffins: When you want a baked berry fix that’s a little quicker, this is your recipe! For the fall and winter, you can use frozen berries or substitute apple or pear (toss in a little lemon juice first to help prevent discoloring).

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

 

8) Banana Oat Bundles. I’ve been making these since my 13 year old was a wee babe! They are the perfect grab ‘n go snack, for lunches or anytime of the day. (And the added chips, always welcome.)

Banana Oat Bundles by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree

 

10. Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls. Ok, technically not a baked good, but certainly a healthy school treat (with a nut-free option) and most definitely a favorite for kids!

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls by Dreena Burton #vegan

There you have it! My favorite, wholesome, baked snacks for packing into lunches. All of these recipes freeze well, so if you are energized to double batches, go for it!

Oh WAIT. I have another… these CINNABON MUFFINS...

Cinnabon Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan

Brand new! Bit of a teaser, I have another round of testing to go, then I will share up. Promise!

What is your go-to baking recipe during the school year? Share what works for you!

POWER Cookies for Back-To-School

My wee girl starts full day kindergarten this year. It’s her first time in full-day school. And my first time with ALL my girls in full-day school! For the last 13+ years I’ve been with kiddos. So, it’s a big change for her, an even bigger change for me.

Once school starts, that is… our teachers are on strike here. But, eventually school will start again. Maybe I’m feeling the stress of the change, because I’ve been baking a lot. Ok, I bake a lot most days! But, it seems I’m baking more than usual – Berry Scuffins, Raisinet Cookies (from LTEV, I’ll try and post soon), and these new delicious Power Cookies.

Power Cookies by Dreena Burton - #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

 

These are the kind of cookie that satisfies a sweet tooth but also offers some nutritional punch. For a cookie, it’s pretty darn healthy, made with whole-grain oat flour, coconut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and tahini. I use tahini so the cookies can be nut-free for school lunches. Most schools are nut-free zones, and that can be tricky planning school snacks. Many commercially-prepared snacks that happen to be nut-free tend to have dairy, eggs, or made with overly processed ingredients. So, it’s always useful to have a few nut-free goodies in your repertoire!

If you don’t have to make them nut-free, you can substitute another nut butter. I don’t always enjoy tahini in plant-based cookies, but here it works! I do prefer a very mellow, good-quality tahini (suggestions in recipe). If you can find a good brand, it’s worth it. But, you will forever be tahini-spoiled! Once you taste the good stuff, you don’t want to go back. (Just a heads up!) 😉

If you follow my Instagram posts, you may have seen this pic of Go Raw watermelon seeds. When I did my final test of these cookies, I was out of sunflower seeds. I thought “why not try the watermelon seeds“? They worked fabulously! They certainly aren’t essential, however. If you don’t have them, sunflower and pumpkin seeds work just fine. (As a side note, the watermelon seeds taste lovely on their own. They have a mellow seeds flavor, somewhat like sunflower but milder-tasting – and the sea salt used is minimal.)

Think you need a cookie close up. Zoom in on the chips!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Got it?

Nope, that’s a raisin on the left, There… to the right!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Yeahhhhh, that’s it.

Now bake… :) Enjoy, enjoy my friends!

x

Dreena
Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Power Cookies

ReciPage to print/share recipe
My wee girl is a bundle of high energy! I created these vegan cookies to give her bite-sized nutrition to fuel her non-stop pace!

2 cups oat flour (use certified gf for gluten-free; see note)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 – 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (I like mini-chips; can substitute raisins or currants)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or sprouted watermelon seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (lightly rounded)
2 1/2 tbsp tahini (or raw almond butter if not needing nut-free, see note)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (see note)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut, chocolate chips, seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini (or almond butter) with the maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir through until well combined. Place scoops (about 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp in size) on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just set to the touch, then remove from oven and let cool for a minute on sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about 15-18 cookies.

Oat Flour note: Don’t substitute an equal amount of another flour (like spelt)_ here – it has a different volume and requires more liquid to come together. If you want to sub another flour, use less to start, about 1 2/3 cups, and add in any extra as needed after bringing together the wet and dry ingredients. If it’s too wet/sticky, add a touch more flour.

Tahini note: Tahini brands vary in taste and textures. If possible, use a mellow-flavored tahini (ex: Baron’s, Achva, Alwadi)

Maple syrup note: The mixture should come together nicely, but if it’s quite thick and not combining, add another 1/2 – 1 tbsp of maple syrup mixed with another 1 tsp of nut butter or tahini.

2-Ingredient Halloween Treats: Chocolate Lollibats!

Chocolate Lollibats - Plant-Powered Kitchen

With three kiddos you probably think I have all kinds of adorable Halloween food treats up my witch’s hat. Years ago, I was ridiculously devoted to Halloween. Before having children, I would take time off work to decorate my house. Yes, I took vacation days to create Halloween characters, decorate my house with lights, set the scene with music and then bring all those creepy/silly characters to life. Here’s the thing: outside of cooking, I’m not much of a crafty person. I don’t have a sewing machine. Using a glue gun stresses me out. But, I managed to pull off this silliness (and more) over the years…

halloweenCollage

I have a soft spot for those three witches, they are my babes. 😉 The witches’ cauldron has blinky lights inside, snakes and spiders on top, and a sign in with “Doubledouble toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble“. And those ghosts? I have dozens! they are ghouly on windows, but also so cool inside hanging from doors and lights – and even on hedges outside! So, the girls absolutely love this crazy side of their mother. Yet, I have less and less time to pull it off every year, let alone get crafty in the kitchen with really cute Halloween food. Any other mothers with me?

Yet, I want to make more fun Halloween treats, because the “treats” that are out there? Anything but. Mass-marketed Halloween candy is rife with artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, GMOs – not to mention dairy and gelatin. If you follow my FB page, I posted a couple of images over the weekend about GMOs in Halloween candy and also some alternatives. Link over if you want to have a look.

Every Halloween our girls run through the neighborhood collecting stashes of this junk. We donate it or otherwise give it away. The girls are actually totally cool about it. They don’t want most of those candy. We sort through and find a few acceptable treats. Then, I trade up for the GOOD stuff. Better chocolate treats! And also little bags of organic chips. Or, I treat them with some of my own homemade goodies!

So, this year I was determined to make some sort of playful Halloween treat. It had to meet 2 conditions:

1) Quick and easy to make.

2) Nut-free option so they could share at school.

Behold… Chocolate Lollibats!

Chocolate Lollibats!

As I mentioned, I don’t have a lot of kitchen-crafty things. So, when I had this idea in mind, I needed to get a mold to set some chocolate. I popped into Kitchen Therapy, and lucked into this silicone bat ice-cube mold. I see online they also have pumpkin molds!

Silicone Bat Mold

I had a hard time deciding a name for these little treats. Originally I had a different ingredient combo, and frozen them. So, “Batsicles” came to mind. But, realizing these would not work for school, I reformulated. I was tossing around some name ideas, then polled you all on facebook. “Lollibats” edged out “Bat Bites” and “Batsicles”. I love all the names. You may call me Batwoman. 😉

Holy chocolate treats, vegan Batwoman!

Silicone bat mold

When looking at this recipe, you may wonder why I’ve added nut butter. Why not just melt the chocolate and fill the molds? Well, you could do that. Absolutely. The chocolate will be very hard, however, just as it is in chocolate chip form. By adding a touch of nut butter, it allows the chocolate to be softer to insert a toothpick. I also find this consistency preferable for little kids, easier for them to bite into. Finally, it makes the dark chocolate taste a little more like milk chocolate!

batsiclesholding

Chocolate Lollibats  ReciPage link

1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp sunflower seed butter or a good-quality tahini (as in this post) (can also use almond/cashew butter or peanut butter if nut allergies aren’t present); see note

optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder (I use Organic Traditions, I’m loving this stuff! – use 1/2 tsp for sunflower butter, 1/4 tsp for nut butters)

Set a heat-proof bowl over a small pot with a few inches of water (setting up a double boiler). Turn heat to medium-low. Add chocolate, sunflower seed butter or nut butter, and vanilla powder to the bowl. Stir through until it is fully melted. Remove from heat, and spoon into a chocolate mould (I use a silicon ice cube mould). Once finishing with spooning in the chocolate, transfer the filled pan to the fridge to cool completely. Once firm, invert to remove the chocolate shapes. Serve as is, or insert toothpicks into each to make “lollibats”! (If you don’t have molds, pour the melted chocolate into a very small rimmed pan or dish so that it will be about 3/4″ thick. Once cool, cut into small cubes, and insert toothpicks.)

Nut Butter Note: If using just 1 tbsp of nut butter, the lollipops will be just a touch firmer than using 1 1/2 tbsp. I prefer the consistency with 1 1/2 tbsp, they are much like a milk chocolate. For school parties, it might be best to keep them firmer with 1 tbsp of the nut butter.

Chocolate Lollibats from plant-powered kitchen

“But the bat just flew into my fingers, mom!”

If you want more Halloween inspiration, here are some imaginative ideas (sweet and savory):

Homemade “Rolo” Knock-Offs and 3-layer Almond Coconut Chocolate Bars from from Oh She Glows

Raw Witches’ Fingers from Choosing Raw

Jalapeno Popper Pepper Jacks from Spabettie

Falafel Fingers from Vegan Richa

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween! Have any fun and easy ideas for food or decorating? Please share with us!

Sending plant-powered kitchen love to you all! xx -Dreena 

Momo Granola Bars: Matt Frazier’s No Meat Athlete

Momo Granola Bars from No Meat Athlete

In the last few years, there has been quite a spotlight on plant-based fitness. When I first became vegan, there was little talk of vegan athletes. Now, it’s very different. A plant-based diet is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the arena of fitness and athletic pursuits – as being the optimal diet to achieve optimal performance.

Matt Frazier is one of the people making great strides (literally!) to help educate people about plant-based nutrition as an athlete. I first discovered Matt’s very popular blog, No Meat Athlete, through Gena Hamshaw. Matt brings well-researched and referenced posts to his readers, with a balanced and approachable voice. His posts are educational and inspiring, often dispelling myths about the plant-based diet and also how it relates to athletic performance. Plus, Matt manages to sneak in the occasional entertaining post (that one’s a personal favorite).

No Meat Athlete

Matt has just published his first book, No Meat Athlete. As an ultramarathoner that “runs on plants”, Matt shares tips, recipes, motivational stories, and insights from his years of training and also transitioning to eating plant-based. This perspective will benefit vegetarians and vegans working towards fitness goals, and also athletes looking to clean their diets with a plant-based foundation.

No Meat Athlete is divided into two main sections:

Plant-Based Nutrition For Athletes – this section covers food and nutrition philosophy, how to get started on a plant-based diet, plant-based nutrition for sports, some tips for getting started in the kitchen, and recipes to fuel athletes and their families.

Running On Plants – this section focuses in on the aspect of running and training, how to begin to run, how to make it a habit, then moving into more advanced training tips, and finally Matt’s insights for training for racing.

While I’ve always valued exercising, I’ve never been a runner. You may not be either. But, you can reference this book for more than just how to train for races. If you are at all interested in maintaining a fitness routine on a plant-based diet, then I think you will find Matt’s wisdom and tips helpful – as well as motivational. I’ve always maintained a personal exercise routine and fitness (my fitness post is coming), and we have very active girls. Our two older daughters play rep hockey, so they are on the ice or training or most days of the week. This resource will be helpful for me not just in my own athletic commitments, but also for our girls.

Matt is also a parent, and notes in this book that his recipes are family-friendly and “workable in the real world”. I appreciate this, because most of us are not endurance athletes, and most of us are living busy lives with families and work commitments. Still, we can benefit from some of the knowledge gained by athletes like Matt, to improve our own levels of personal fitness, and to fuel ourselves – and our children. (This topic is particularly important to me, one day I will write about child athletics – how as a society we are merely ‘feeding’ our kids rather than ‘fueling’ them, and yet our nutrient-rich plant diet is often challenged.) Right now, time for a recipe!

When our girls are on those long jaunts for hockey games, I love to pack them a really nutrient-dense snack. When I saw these Momo Granola Bars, I knew I’d be trying them. Matt was kind enough to allow me to reprint this recipe for you to enjoy as well!

Momo Granola Bars from No Meat Athlete

MOMO GRANOLA BARS Link to RECIpage to print/share

This is a DIY energy bar with whole ingredients at its base. It has enough carbs for a pre-workout pick-me-up, enough protein for a post-workout recovery, and enough great flavors for a dessert or snack anytime. —Mo Ferris, Johnson & Wales–trained chef and vegetarian marathoner

2 cups (160 g) rolled oats

*1⁄2 cup (50 g) rough chopped roasted and salted almonds

1⁄4 cup (55 g) rough chopped pecans

*1⁄2 cup (84 g) flaxseed

1⁄4 cup (16 g) raw pumpkin seeds

3 tablespoons (23 g) hemp seeds

*1⁄2 cup (80 g) chopped dried cherries

2 small pinches kosher salt

1⁄3 cup (89 g) peanut butter

1⁄2 cup (172 g) brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350 ̊F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Spread oats, almonds, pecans, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds onto an ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Gently shake and stir the oat mixture after 5 minutes to avoid burning the top layer and allowing both sides of the nuts and oats to brown. Remove the mixture from oven and add to a large bowl, along with the cher- ries and salt. decrease oven temperature to 300 ̊F (150°C, or gas mark 2). In a small saucepan, melt the peanut butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. once the peanut butter is melted and slightly thinner, remove from heat and pour over oat mixture. mix thoroughly. In a separate small saucepan, add the brown rice syrup. over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. When the bubbles that form get big and meet in the middle, immediately remove from heat, pour over the oat mixture, and thoroughly mix. While still warm, pour the mixture out into the corner of a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. using wax paper, firmly press and spread mixture into the shape of a rectangle 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick (no gaps!). note: The mixture will most likely not fill the entire sheet. bake for 15 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown. Cool completely. Flip the rectangle out onto a cutting board and cut into 3 x 5 inch (7.5 x 13 cm) bars. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and store in a large plastic bag. Yield: About 12 bars.

*My personal notes: I used raw almonds, and as I was out of flax seed, I replaced it with 1/3 cup of flax meal, and substituted a combination of raisins and dried cranberries for the dried cherries (though I think the dried cherries would be amazing)! Also, I cut some of these bars while cool and others after refrigerating. I got a much cleaner cut after refrigerating, just fyi.

These bars are really tasty. Not overly sweet, and very satisfying with a crunchy, chewy texture. Our whole family loved them!

Our eldest helped me with this photo, and while we were taking the pictures, a ladybug stopped by for a visit. We love ladybugs. They know a good thing in these bars. 😉

momogranolabarsladybug

Thanks Matt for sharing this recipe with us, and for writing this book. I wish you much success with it!

Are you a runner or involved in other athletic pursuits? Has a whole-food plant-powered diet helped your athleticism? 

p.s. I’ve just added a new feature to my site. On the sidebar there is a spot for you to sign-up for my (NEW!) newsletter. I will be delivering special promotions and goodies in this newsletter. Go ahead and sign up already! Also be sure to join my plant-powered community on facebook – I share all kinds of wonderful there! 😀