Saturday, March 6, 2010

recipe origins

Cranberry flaxseed bars! I love these guys.


From my aunt Dena.

Cranberry Flaxseed Snack Bars

2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
1 1/4 cups flaxseed, ground (or 1 2/3 cup pre-ground flax meal)

Combine cranberries and apple juice concentrate and simmer 5 minutes.


Put into a food processor with the flax and process until it resembles dough.


Press into a 9x9 inch pan. Chill.

I love this recipe. Let me count the ways.

1. 3 ingredients. Hard to beat for ease.
2. No baking!
3. Healthy fat woo!
4. No added sugar
5. Vegan
6. Gluten free
7. Dairy free
8. Uses up the Craisins that’ve been luring me with their snackability
9. Delish!

I think it’s funny how the big new trend in food blogs is “make your own Larabars” or energy bars or whatever people keep calling them- food processing dried fruit/fats/etc. My aunt has been making this for years!

Another example of a “new trend” that really isn’t:


Banana freeze. Freezing bananas and blending them in a food processor. Sound familiar?

But it’s not from some hot blogger. Rather, it’s from a Lent cookbook. My church spends much of the year not eating meat and, for the more hardcore Orthodox than I, dairy. So there are bazillions of meatless Orthodox cookbooks, my favorite being:


Is that a great name or what?! Anyway, this was published in the early 90s. Frozen banana soft serve is, in fact, a classic!

Another example of something new that isn’t:


Caramelizing your bananas before adding your oats.

I’ve seen people blogging about this “new idea”, and it’s actually how I’ve always done oats. I’m stoked that everyone’s coming aboard the caramelization train! It was something I did without even thinking about it!

It’s awesome. Food is like fashion. What’s old is new again. A good idea is a good idea, and people keep reinventing and repackaging things, but what it comes down to is yummy recipes!

Last night’s dinner was a classic. There are also a zillion versions of chickpea and tomato stew out there, but I always come back to my love Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe because it is JUST SO GOOD. From Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, which is probably my favorite cookbook of all time.


You saute onions and garlic in olive oil, then add chopped peeled tomatoes (I used canned) and let them cook down, then add chickpeas (again, I used canned), tons of fresh parsley, dried thyme, and water (I use a blend of water and the tomato juice from the can). Let it all coalesce for half an hour or so, et voila.


Some thoughts on ingredients: yes, this recipe of COURSE would be better if I used fresh tomatoes and had reconstituted dried chickpeas.

However, the cans were great for convenience. I think there are a few tips for buying canned goods that have helped me. Number one, I used Goya beans. I have almost NO brand loyalty, but I buy Goya beans whenever I can, because their beans are good-sized, of consistent quality, and firm (and are incidentally often the cheapest!). They also now offer several low sodium varieties, which is what I got. My second tip is using organic canned tomatoes. At my Safeway, organic and conventional canned tomatoes now cost exactly the same, and the organic, along with the environmental benefits, TASTE a lot better! So those are my tips.

Also, adding a tonnnnnn of fresh parsley to anything is going to make it taste good. Even with canned ingredients, fresh herbs go a long way.


Served with (if I do say so myself) rather perfectly fluffy brown basmati!


Hope everyone gets out there and enjoys (at least in the DC area) the lovely weather we’re having! I’m planning dinner with friends (one of whom is lactose intolerant, thus some of the motivation to make the cranberry bars) and I’m also planning lots of romping in the sunshine!


Jess said...

Those bars look absolutely amazing! You are quite the baker :)
<3 jess

Jo said...

Why do you need to use frozen apple juice? Or is it not apple juice? I've never heard of frozen apple juice concentrate. I really want to try these bars!

Anonymous said...

Lol, I love how people come up with something "new" that has actually been around for quite some time. Those bars look reaaally good and since I have most of that stuff, except the apple juice, I want to try making them. :)

Anonymous said...

i know, banana soft serve is in a recipe book i have from years ago too! and it's kinda funny that certain bloggers claim ownership over the idea..nope! yum those snack bars sound awesome!

Anonymous said...

I am SO loving your blog - so happy you stopped by mine!
The bars look awesome, and you can't beat those ingredients :) And I'm with you on the reinventing the wheel thing - everything's been done! But I still get a little sad when I find out something I've been doing for eons thinking I was clever is actually widely known and practiced :P haha. Oh well :)
I've yet to try banana soft serve due to no food processor - but I just got one and cannot wait for my first try with it!

Amanda Meadows said...

Those cranberry flax bars look absolutely amazing :)

Andrea @ said...

Haha, it really is hysterical how food becomes trendy. It's like bringing back eighties fashion and calling it new. Love that you've been hip to them all along.
I really want to make those cranberry flax bars- so easy and pure!! Thanks for the idea!!

Katie ♥ said...


Thanks for the comment!!! Sushi is my fave ever and any kind of icecream makes me happy!!!

I love getting new readers to the blog!!! Loving your blog and the blogs name!! Those bars look amazing, I do not own a food processor, but need to get one!!!

Have a great day!!!! xoxo

Anonymous said...

May I just say how incredibly awesome you are!? Seriously, your About Me features one of the most inspiring attitudes I've ever come across. And as a non-Greek girl living in a Greek household, I must say that you all have fantastic food that deserves to be enjoyed.

So happy I found this--adding immediately!

Amanda said...

I think I'm on for the caramelizing the bananas, then throwing them on some french toast! They look so yum!!

MelindaRD said...

The chickpeas and tomato looks great. I bet I would love that dish. As for the bars, if I had the apple juice concentrate here I could make them right now.

Mitri said...

AHHHHH! I'd love to look through that cookbook. :) I know my grandmother gets Catholic cookbooks from the community, especially around Christmas, and I just love reading everyone's contributions (even though I don't live there or know those people).

Chef Aimee said...

OOO those bars look good!

Ana said...

Great recipes! Loving those cranberry flaxseed bars.

Haha! It is definitely funny how "trends" of food come and go and People always want to call it their "big new idea"!

Mom on the Run said...

I wish I had cranberries on hand because I would make those bars right now. Thanks for posting :)My older cookbooks are my best cookbooks!

Michal said...

Holy moly those bars look so yummy!