I've been reading blogs for a long time now. I enjoy the variety that's out there and I especially enjoy those that inspire others to live life to the fullest by mixing things up and encouraging folks to try to knew things. Among those kinds of blogs are a few that inspire me to keep exploring the deliciousness of cooking and eating in all its wondrous variety. Some focus more on local cuisine like one of my old favorites Mixed Greens Blog. I've been reading this blog off and on for several years and I always found it amazing when I would visit to catch up on their beautiful posts that many of my posts were along similar lines. Maybe it's because we both live in the Northwest and are tied to the local, sustainable and seasonable way of life. It happened again recently when checking in from a longer than usual absence. Though this blog is not specifically vegetarian it features many foods that are and if you don't come away envying their food photography, I'll know something is wrong with you. A recent post of there's also reminded me of why I can only claim to be 98% vegetarian and not an absolute purist. But maybe only someone who grew up on local shellfish would understand.
A blog I more recently came upon that inspires me is The Voracious Vegan. I'm not a vegan, though many of the meals I prepare are, but this nice lady makes veganism very approachable through her wonderful and creative food posts. And if anyone is inspiring others - she is. You should read all about The Great Vegan Challenge of 2010 where her dad (a very open-minded fellow I might add) had some amazing breakthroughs while eating vegan for three weeks - all meals lovingly prepared by his awesome daughter. I think most people would wish they had such open-minded and willing family and friends when it comes to trying out new ways of eating and living. I for one am very eager to try The Voracious Vegan's Chicken Fried Seitan. Nearly all pre-packaged mock meats out there have yeast in them and since my intolerance to yeast is still alive and vicious having some recipes to try home-made versions is very welcome. I've had seitan before and really liked it and this recipe sounds great. I would love to try it in a vegan version of "Chicken" Marsala - loaded with mushrooms and gravy over mashed potatoes. Oh yum!
Another blog I've been reading regularly these days is Love Veggies and Yoga. And it was a recipe from this blog that I recently tried for myself. My own variation of Averies No Bake Vegan Choc Chip Protein Bars. Now I'm constantly making muffins for Mark - he loves them. But I only feel so-so about muffins and much prefer something that doesn't have any leavening for a snack - like chewy granola bars. Well these are like that, only raw. Though Averie does mention that they could be dehydrated and I may just do that for future backpacking trips. Her recipe (scroll down the page of the above link to find it) suggests, no promises, success no matter what combination of ingredients you put in these. So far she seems to be keeping that promise. I replaced coconut with slivered almonds, didn't add chia seeds since I didn't have any, used chopped dried apricots in place of raisins and cut the sweetener (in my case that was agave syrup) from 1/2 cup to a 1/3 cup. And for my tastes I would cut the sweetener even more the next time I make these. I'd also like to use a more sustainable option for individually wrapping them in the future - I hate throwing away saran wrap - even the non-toxic recycled stuff I use - and wrapping up these bars takes quite a bit of it. The bars were definitely worth making and very simple. I love anything with oats and the banana makes a great addition I wouldn't have thought of on my own. In the future I would enjoy trying these with other nut butters, seeds, nuts and fruits - the combinations are endless as are the adventures for the taste buds.