Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clif, Lara and Luna bar recall

Sigh. Wouldn't it be great if being vegan kept us completely safe from scary food poisoning? At least we don't have to worry about all the tainted meat scandals. But bad things can happen even to wonderful foods like spinach, peppers, and peanut butter.

In case you missed it, Clif, Luna and Lara bars containing peanut butter have all been (voluntarily) recalled due to a risk of salmonella contamination. Here's a list from Whole Foods of recalled products that they sell.

Not long ago I bought two big cases of Clif Bar variety packs from Costco, one for me and one as a gift for a friend. I've already eaten a bunch of them, but had to throw out the rest. I guess I need to buy my friend a replacement gift, too. The risk is very small, but certainly not worth taking!

I called Clif Bar & Co (1-800-CLIFBAR) about a refund and they were very nice on the phone. You don't need a receipt for a refund, just tell them how many bars you're throwing out and give them the sell-by codes. They told me I should get a refund check in 3 to 4 weeks.

All the more reason to try my hand at making some more of my own energy bars!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kidney Bean Patties

I was feeling creative last night and wanted to use my shiny new food processor - thanks Omnivorous Boyfriend! These came out looking disturbingly like raw meat, but they taste great. Plus they're dirt cheap and easy, yay.
I made heavy use of the food processor, but this could all be done easily by hand.

1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or just mix oregano and basil)
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Chop the onion and garlic in a food processor till finely diced. Place in a medium bowl.
  2. Put the beans into the processor and process to a mushy paste, drizzling in a teeny bit of olive oil to help it along (stop while there's still a little texture). Add to the bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir it all up.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray it with olive oil.
  5. Shape the mix into four patties and cook for 5 minute on each side.
While they are burger-shaped, because of the texture and flavors they're not burgers to me. I'm having them for lunch this week with a side of savory cream of buckwheat - sounds insane, I know, but I really like this with Japanese rice topping.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kate-style Lara Bar

Hi there, I'm back! Sorry for going so long without an update - I just haven't been making anything blog-worthy of late. After a year as a vegan, I'm finding I have lots of go-to recipes and products that I know I like (and repeat often). I'll try and be a more active blogger, though, as long as I have something worth sharing.

And I think this is *totally* worth sharing - home-made Lara-style bars. This afternoon I found myself craving a cherry-pie Lara bar, but my local grocery store was out of that flavor. I've been wondering for a while about making my own - with such simple ingredients, how hard could it be? Well, not hard at all. I decided to put a twist on mine and use half figs and half dates for the base, since I find the date flavor overwhelming sometimes in the real Lara bars. Plus I love figs.
I threw an equal amount of pitted dates and black mission figs into the food processor and let 'er rip until a big sticky ball formed (this took a few minutes). Then I took about one tablespoon of the base and kneaded in with my hands about two tablespoons of chopped dried cherries and one tablespoon of shredded coconut. Squished it all up and pressed it into a bar shape.

I like it even better than the real thing! Lots cheaper, too.

I put the extra ball of date-fig base in the fridge, can't wait to try out some more combinations.