Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman are seasoned cooks and long-time vegans from Toronto who know how hard it is to it to avoid excess salt and sugar as well as additives and animal-based by-products in commercially prepared foods. I am in love with their new cookbook DIY Vegan. Full disclosure—I adore these two women. I first met Lisa many years ago at NAVS Summerfest, and was drawn to her glowing good looks, huge smile and vitality. We became fast friends. I got to spend a week with Lisa when she attended my Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®. Sometime after that, Lisa’s friend Nicole Axworthy took “Boot” as well, and I saw the same enthusiasm, talent with food, and glowing good looks. Lisa holds a raw chef certificate from the Matthew Kenney Academy, while Nicole holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T.Colin Campbell Foundation. And, as you read earlier, these women hold a certificate from the Costigan Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®.
In their brand-new book, DIY Vegan: More Than 100 Easy Recipes to Create an Awesome Plant-Based Pantry, Lisa and Nicole show readers how easy it is to make their own vegan pantry staples at home. Using only easy-to-find whole food ingredients that enhance flavors and nutrition, they’ve given us 1oo recipes to stock our pantries, refrigerators and freezers. You’ll find easy to make vegan milks, ice creams and butters from a variety of nuts and seeds, home-ground flours, fantastic sauces and even a vegan pop tart! DIY Vegan includes an array of make-them-yourself cheeses, some quick and some artisian. There’s even a recipe for that beloved orange cheese sauce that beats everyone’s favorite boxed mac and cheese! All of the recipes are vegan and have gluten-free options, and some are Lisa and Nicole’s raw food favorites.
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or someone just wanting to kick the packaged-food habit, DIY Vegan by Nicole and Lisa will show you how to create an awesome, more compassionate kitchen powered by a pantry filled with healthy, homemade, plant-based staples.
I was wondering which of the recipes to make first. There were many that called out to me, but my time was limited the day the book arrived, so I choose the Snackworthy Cereal Bars. All the ingredients were in my pantry, but as Lisa and Nicole point out, the nuts and seeds can be swapped for other kinds. Instead of the puffed rice cereal specified in the recipe, I used puffed kamut cereal and it worked just fine. After the bars were cold, I cut smaller squares instead, for myself. Good thing I did—these chewy crunchy bars are irresistible. The coconut sugar adds lovely caramel undertones. and the bars are nice and chewy. I’ve got mine in a container in the refrigerator, since I rather like them on the cold side. Nicole took the appealing photos that grace the book. Don’t you just want one now?
Snackworthy Cereal Bars
Makes 10 to 12 bars
We packed these easy snack bars with some of our favorite ingredients, but really, this is a pretty customizable recipe—swap out the nuts, seeds, or dried fruit and you have a whole new bar. Tuck one or two in your purse or travel bag for an easy snack when on the go. Or hey, since there are oats and cereal in there, why not bite into one for breakfast?
- 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup raw hemp hearts
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- 3½ tablespoons coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the puffed rice cereal, oats, pecans, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts.
- In a small saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to coat. Press into the pre-pared pan, using a spatula to press down and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
TRY THIS: For a nut-free version, replace the pecans with ½ cup raw sunflower seeds.
Reprinted from DIY Vegan. Copyright © 2015 Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin. Photo by Nicole Axworthy.
I have a copy of DIY Vegan for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. US and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on November 17th. good luck!
Authors Nicole and Lisa want to share two of their most-loved kitchen appliances with you! Use the box below to enter to win a Blendtec blender or Breville food processor. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents* only and will run until 12:00 a.m. EST on December 9, 2015. One US and one Canadian winner will be chosen. Good luck!
Prize One: Blendtec Designer 725 Series Blender ($650 value) is a sleek, top-of-the-line kitchen appliance that will meet all your blending needs! Features SmartBlend technology, multi-speed pulse, and a 100-speed touch slider for precision control. *Shipping qualification apply. One US resident will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.
Prize Two: Breville Sous Chef 12 Plus Food Processor ($500 value) boasts power and versatility in a more compact size! This 12-cup food processor comes fully equipped with an additional accessory kit to simplify a wide range of kitchen tasks. *Shipping qualifications apply. One Canadian resident will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.