Friday, September 22, 2006

Back To Food...

I've gotten off the cooking-track with my posts recently, even though some of the info was fun - and important - to share.

But, we must eat. We must cook. So let's get on with it!

I was recently criticized for not having recipes on my blog and that my blog is not much more than a sales pitch.

What's interesting, is that I have neglected posting recipes lately for a couple of reasons...

First, I have been intensely testing new recipes for the last 7+ months, and I cannot 'release' these recipes until my new cookbook is published. So, what you get on my blog is mostly pics of new recipes since that is more than occupying my cooking time!

Second, I know most of you that comment already have my cookbooks, so instead of giving you the recipes I have opted to show pictures and give cooking tips and tidbits here and there.

I do have a recipes blog (link also on left of page), although admittedly I have been slack in rotating/adding recipes for the simple reason that I am preoccupied with work on the new recipes and book and well, I honestly forget to even post a recipe now and then!

I do listen to what people say - good and bad - and so although I don't have a 'new' recipe to share with you today, I thought I'd share one of the cooking articles I recently wrote for The Independent, which includes my recipe for Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars, which I blogged about waaayy back.

I will post the full article on my Cooking With Dreena blog, and the recipe portion alone on my Recipes Blog.

As long as mommy brain doesn't get me again, I will post recipes more regularly.


Alexis said...

I'm curious about what you say about not posting recipes until a cookbook is released. Is that a personal policy of yours, or of your publisher? How do you feel it relates to the lack of copyright protection for the basic formulation of a recipe?

Carrie™ said...

Happy Friday Dreena! I have your books so to put up a recipe for me would be pointless. I do like it when you show photos of already published recipes so I can see what the end product is supposed to look like,(or to remind us of things we forgot to make like Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies. I still can't believe I missed that recipe!!) And I love seeing what's coming! I always enjoy reading what you have to say and I find your posts quite informative. How many of us have you turned onto hemp seed nuts, or unrefined sugar? I see your blog as a wonderful supplement to your cookbooks. There are some out there who have sites and charge a monthly fee to get the "inside scoop" and I think you have been very generous to share your knowledge for free. Just for that alone, I say THANK YOU!

Carrie™ said...

I forgot to add spelt flour! I love that stuff! If not for you, I probably wouldn't have found out how wonderful it is.

hyphen_helena said...

Thanks for the recipe, Dreena! I have TEV and Vive is on my list of cookbooks to buy. The bars look delicious and I love anything that's simple to make. I'm making these tonight!

And I enjoy seeing the recipes for the new book, too. It's fun!

Melody said...

Your blog inspired me to buy your books and I'm happy I did!

I thank you for sharing yourself and your recipes with us... and it's sad that this person feels like you are just a sales pitch.

I can't wait until your next book and I don't care a bit that we don't get the recipes until we buy it. You work very hard at what you do..

Urban Vegan said...

You cannot make everyone happy. Don't even try! You'll just make yourself crazy.

As far as your site being criticized for being a "sales pitch," I just think that comment is silly. You graciously share tidbits of your life, your passion for animals, and your cooking tips (which I, for one, appreciate)--not to mention your separate recipe blog.

That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to turn a profit with your cookbooks-even though, again, I don't really see your site as a "sales pitch" for them. Most people don't know that publishing a book is a great deal of work--usually for little monetary return. It does not automatically guarantee millionaire-hood. (I've published a few books for kids, so I can sympathize).

Your site is perfectly perfect, Dreena. I really enjoy it. And I gather that most people do!

Vicki said...

Your Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars are one of my favorites! And you are so right on target with posting pictures and helpful hints. Though I enjoy each post no matter the topic -- that's why I read. I agree with Carrie... your blog is a wonderful supplement to your cookbooks & a window to Dreena. You keep testing those recipes! Please, full speed ahead -- I can't wait for your new cookbook! LOL! :o)

Mum the Weekend Warrior said...

I agree with Carrie and I love your blog!

hyphen_helena said...

Oh my! I just finished baking-- and eating!-- these and they're delicious! I don't have barley malt syrup so I used molasses instead (in a smaller quantity) and it was fine. I don't know if thst makes them less healthy, though.

I made two batches: one plain and one with cranberries and pecans. They both taste wonderful, but the cranberry pecan bars fell apart and the plain ones held up. More oil next time? I don't care that they're in odd pieces, though-- still taste the same! Thanks for the recipe; it's a keeper!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

Some people are so silly! Your blog is so helpful and inspiring. I happily got both books as soon as I heard of them and the response they were getting from happy vegans.

I make it a point to always link to a cookbook when I blog about a recipe from that book. If it's already on the web (by way of its author) I just link to that.

Granted, I'm in love with good cookbooks and treasure each great one I've found. I think that the only thing that would make any of my trusted favorites (like Vive and VwaV) better is if they could somehow be constructed like Cradle to Cradle (recycled plastic from old computers!), this way they'd be eco-friendly AND splash resistant. :)

*a* said...

I love your blog and your cookbooks (and am waiting breathessly for your keep testing those recipes!). I know I've told you before that not only your cookbooks, but more importantly your blog is what inspired me to go from vegetarian to vegan. If I had only been making the occasional recipe I may have continued on my "dairy" way and never made the switch, but hearing what you (and your other readers) have to say had madde my transition a lot ore comfortabl and for that I thank you! So...Thank you!
p.s. your easy pleasin' oat bars are one of my favorite recipes! I make them all the time!

Anonymous said...

Unless you asked someone what they thought of your blog, I don't see why you should care what they say, and what are they criticizing it for in the first place? No one is forced to look at your blog, and you are not obligated on what content to put in it. Cherie

Anonymous said...

Seeing your blog is the reason I bought your book Vive Le Vegan. I really wanted to try those easy pleasn' oat bars. Because of your recent post about the cashew dip, I will be buying your new book when it comes out, though it will be tough to wait for that recipie for so long. Even if this did seem like a sales pitch, who cares? You need to make a living too. Plus it is YOUR blog. You can write anything you want in it.

Anonymous said...

Rich agrees that it's your blog and that it's ridiculous for people to expect you to post certain things on it. The problem is that a lot of people in this world are selfish and think everything is for them (including the thought that what good is a (non-human) animal if not for the stupid human to eat. Cherie

Anonymous said...

Is your free cookbook contest still going? - Lisa Goldman

VeganCyclist said...

i love your blog, your photos and your stories, and I don't think it's a sales pitch! it's YOUR thing, and if people don't like your THING, they don't need to read your blog ;)

Seriously, I love this place. It was a long summer when you took your brea k :)

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I have never found your blog to be anything but inspirational. When I became vegetarian and especially vegan I felt quite isolated and a bit nervous as I had the responsibility to make sure my two kids and my seriously omnivore husband were healthy and did not feel deprived. I had no one in my life who was vegan to use as a role model. This blog and your cookbooks have been a significant aid to me. Even though I have never written here before, I feel as though I am part of a larger community, and I thank you for that. Please do not feel you have to justify your generous contribution to others. Whoever was critical perhaps does not realize that by sharing your spirit and your family you have shown a greater contribution than by just slamming up a list of ingredients! Please keep on doing what you have been doing from the heart.

Melissa West said...

Dreena, you totally rock... please don't take those criticisms to heart. I am happy to support you by buying your recipe books and recommending them to other people. I don't expect you to post recipes. The way you are so accessible with people is totally amazing - and totally above and beyond so I don't think you should change one little bit. I am totally star-struck and honoured to say that you are a friend, tickled pink every time you return an e-mail. In fact, I very rarely share your recipes with other people, I insist they go buy the recipe books to support you because I think you have done such amazing things and have such a good thing going on. Don't you change one little bit - you are a gift to all of us vegans, vegetarians and struggling vegans and vegetarians. I totally think that you have every right to earn a living by promoting your work through your blog. Your life is a total inspiration the way that you are at home full time with your girls AND writing cook books that have inspired the veg. world and non-vegs alike to eat a healthy plant based whole food diet. Keep up the great work.

maybepigscanfly said...

I have to totally agree with everyone who has commented on your post. You and your blog definitely provide me with inspiration and I have never thought of it as a sales pitch. I'm impressed that you've been posting so much lately when your deep into publishing your 3rd cookbook! I just want to thank you for all that you've done.


Candi said...

Hi Dreena!
I was sad that someone felt the need to say what they did about your blog and the "sales pitch" stuff is just ignorant. Sorry that people come here to say that to you after all the work you do and how much you share with us all. I love your blog and love the tips you give!! I've learned so much from it already, and enjoy Vive le Vegan very much. I was surprised you had any recipes at all on here, and I appreciate them very much. UV is right that you cannot please everyone, but you are sure doing a great job sicne you have a huge fan club that loves what you do and appreciates all your hard work.

On to food... I finally made the Coconut Lime cookies! I'm the last vegan on Earth to make them! lol! They were excellent!! My daughter who dislikes coconut AND lime loved the cookies. Lol. Very creative and ones I'd never have thought of myself. :P

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Dreena said...

To all my lovely bloggers... thank you! xxoo

I posted this entry simply for the reason that I truly believe that if this one person was willing to say this to me in e-mail, that there are probably many more of you that may be thinking it.

It has always been important to me as a vegan cook and author to be responsive to what vegans and vegans-in-training are looking for and to try and provide recipes and information to improve their diet and make the transition wonderful and permanent.

So, in publishing a recipe here, it's not to 'respond' to this one person, because I recognize that his e-mail was somewhat ignorant. Rather, I evaluated what my blog has been giving in recent months, and while yes, I have been offering cooking information, some product/ingredient tips here and there, and a few other things, it indeed had been a very long time since I've shared a recipe. It is the food after all that keeps us living this healthy, compassionate lifestyle. I share recipes when I write articles for VegNews or other publications, so it is decent to share occasional recipes on my blog as well.

That e-mail gave me an opportunity to review my work and while I won't be publishing recipes every week, I will once in a while - as I did earlier with my blog.

But, for any of you wondering, I did in fact indicate to this person that my blog's purpose is more of a 'value-added' work to my books and that if he didn't like it, he could move on to other blogs.

You are all beautifully supportive and inspire me to work harder and more creatively!! I wasn't expecting these comments or looking for a 'boost', but boy, you sure did give me one! I can cook, cook, and bake all week now. :)

Now, to answer some of you directly...

Alexis, there are several reasons. First, even though I have completed many recipes, I sometimes tweak/change them later and so I try to maintain the integrity of the recipe until the book is published. There are exceptions, such as with the articles I do with VegNews, though I try to finish those as much as I would like to see them in my book. Also, from a publisher's perspective, while sharing a few recipes here and there is not a biggie, they have little point to publish a book if too many of the recipes are already 'out there'. Finally, at times recipes are copied and published under someone else's name elsewhere on the net (with the smallest change). I have had this happen, so it's tricky when working on the internet.

Hey Carrie, hope you're havin' a nice weekend too! Thank you again for your sweet words. And yes, how COULD you miss those cookies!! Have you ever tried the Carob-Coconut-Pecan cookies? I know, it's not chocolate in there, but I swear they are very, very good - just the combo of flavors - if you ever pick up some carob chips give them a whirl. :)

Thanks hyphen helena, and seeing how quickly you made those bars and have enjoyed them is a great reward for this post! The cranberry/pecan ones may have fallen apart just because there was too much 'extra' in there. If you do them again with extras, you can add a little extra thick sweetener to help bind them. The barley malt (or brown rice syrup) works very well because it is sooooo thick... if you can find it sometime on your next shop. :)

Melody, I very much appreciate that, thank you... and I'm super pleased you are enjoying my books.

Urban Vegan, if I hadn't seen your name on that comment I would have thought my husband published it! It sounds like he's talking to me reading your thoughts - you two would get along I think!! And yes, the world of book publishing is an odd one! What are your children's book? My bil just self-published a book on teaching children about money - he teaches programs through schools and financial institutions. I'd love to hear more about your books - are they vegan books or something else? I don't think you have anything about them on your blog - I haven't seen anything anyhow. Please tell more!

Vicki, I should have you on speed dial - or maybe speed e-mail - to keep me going with the recipe testing... you are a good motivator!!

Thanks 'mum'! :)

Don't get mad, that's cute - and there's gotta' be some use for all those old dino computers out there!! hmm, the books may be heavy though - but yeah, easy to clean!

Aimee, it is just marvelous to know that the blogging world has helped you cut out dairy altogether. Really, this network of blogs is such a helpful tool for people, and I thank you for including mine among those that have helped you. :)

Cherie, thanks to you and Rich for your feedback... as I mentioned the e-mail gave me a chance to review what I've been doing. My blog is yes, my blog, and so I can do what I want with it, and one of those things is to help provide information that people are looking for. I do love your comment about people thinking animals are just there for them to eat. How self-serving and ingorant that is. People have such little regard for animals - period. A few weeks back we were at the beach and there were was a large group of ducks sitting/feeding/resting on the grassy bank next to the water. We quietly moved around them to get to the rocks and by the water where our girls wanted to play. We noticed an older couple later push their way STRAIGHT through the ducks - disturbing their peace and feeding as if they were garbage that they had to wade through. What was unbelievable is that there was NO need to go through them - but they had absolutely no regard for their living. My husband and I just looked at each other and shook our heads in disgust. Anyhow, off topic, but your comment brought that to mind!

Anonymous, thank you... and if you ever pick up or subscribe to VegNews, that dip will be in the next issue, fyi. :)

Hi Lisa, I do a giveaway once in a while, but no, it's not going on right now.

Vegancyclist, I am now missing summer very much too!!! Thank you very much for your comment.

Anonymous - wow. You haven't commented before, but I am so pleased to hear from you today. I am truly touched by your experience and your thoughts and thank you for sharing them. I understand the responsibility and weight of choosing this diet not just for yourself, but for also for your family, and I am just so happy to know that you have found help and reason to make the change with the information you find here and on other blogs. Many thanks and kudos to you!

Melissa, you are a darling, and I am very grateful for all of *your* support and appreciation as well. Also, your blog provides excellent nutritional information to everyone making healthful changes, and you deserve a lot of credit for taking the time to provide all of that detail for folks. Thank you for your incredibly lovely comments and support. xo

Teresa, as I've mentioned before, it is because of this blog that I am writing my 3rd book - because of the inspiration and enthusiasm that I feel from communicating with vegans and vegans-in-training! I appreciate your feedback very much, thank you.

Hey Candi... hmmm, maybe it's because I'm a Libra!! Always looking at both sides of things, weighing things out, trying to be 'fair'... arggh, I need a new astrological sign - ha! Anyhow, I'm delighted you are munching on those cookies, and thank you for your sweet words. :)

Dreena said...

I think that was the longest comment in blogger history... ha!

Vivacious Vegan said...

How did I miss this post? I feel so left out. Dreena, I think everything that could and should be said has already been said. I am a long time fan and agree with all of the rest of your supporters. I appreciate your blog and all of it's contents, whether that be recipes or pictures or cooking tips or personal tidbits. You are a beautiful person, inside and out, with a lot to offer. Don't let one silly comment get you down.

On another note, I made your Fudgy Brownies from Vive and they turned out dry and crumbly. Hubby said it was like eating the cocoa powder from a hot chocolate packet. I thought I followed the recipe exactly but there must have been something I did wrong. It's funny too because I didn't use the ww pastry flour because I've had problems in the past with this being crumbly. What do you think did it? BTW, I think the idea of grinding up the choc chips is brilliant.

Dreena said...

Hi Vivacious! OH no... brownie distaster, we need a brownie hotline I think. :) Definitely should not have been crumbly. Those brownies should come out just a little drier - and higher - around the edges (because the edges cook faster), but I mean just a BIT drier than the rest, which should be very dense and almost fudgy, and not high or cake-like or crumbly. When I make them, I either use all white flour (eeek!), or a combo of the white and w/w pastry as I list in the ingredients. If you used all w/w pastry they may have been a bit grainy (I made cupcakes the weekend with all w/w pastry - they still tasted okay, but just a bit too fibrous texture for a cupcake imo). Still though they should not have been dry and crumbly. I am wondering if an ingredient was just overlooked - I do it myself - how many times I have made cookies and they are almost in the oven and I realize I've missed putting in the sugar - doh! Not that you have my mommy brain going on, but it happens sometimes. When you put the batter into the pan, was it very thick. It should be very thick and dense, and you have to pat it down with some parchment all around to distribute in the pan. Then, when it is baked, it almost doesn't look quite cooked in the centre, but it firms up more while sitting. Then, it is actually best to refrigerate them before cutting them. Hmmm, I don't know if this is helping, but I am bummed for you that they didn't work out - because when they do they are sooo yummy! OH, a tip to save baking bummmers: whenever cookies/brownies don't work out that well for me in testing, I crumble up and freeze them and then sprinkle them on top of (or stir into) ice-creams. Even if the cookies are crumbly or dry, they transform into goodness with ice-cream! After all that, thank you for your kind comment - as only a vivacious vegan can offer up! :)

Harmonia said...

Hey there LADY! Well, it is YOUR blog and I think since it's YOUR blog you can blog about what ever you want how ever you want. We all love the pics and the recipes but we know that you are in the process of getting your 3rd book underway and we are behind you! YOU ROCK! ;)

Dreena said...

Harmonia, what a doll you are! You have always been incredible with your support and super keen to know more and try new things... you're the best, thank you!

Gaia said...

Hi Dreena,
Everybody pretty much said what I would want to say to you so I'll just give you a big hug and thank you for everything that you give, including your time. Time is precious and what you give to us can't be spent doing other things that are important to you so personally, I feel priviledged to have you share whatever you want to share with us. :))

Krista Park said...

I have two questions about snack bar recipes. I made "Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars" for the first time last night. I like them, but both for the sake of calories and sweetness, I'd like to decrease the amount of sweetener involved. What would you suggest I replace the maple syrup with in order to keep the consistency about right.

I also made the "Totally Nutty Bars" for the first time last night. I'd like to decrease their calorie density a bit by stirring in kashi puffs or kashi GoLean cereal (or an equivalent). In your experience with these bars, should I exchange the cereal 1:1 with one of the nuts? Or fruit? Or a combination? I'm, again, worried about accidentally creatig a bar that doesn't stick together.

I know I'm going to be experimenting, but I thought I'd ask first for suggestions.

Dreena said...

Gaia, what a sweet soul you are... thank you for that. Your blogs share so much - in two languages!! - so thank you for that as well. :)

Hi Krista, I'm happy to hear you've tried out the recipe, and that's a good question. It's interesting, because I think some people may find the bars not sweet enough and then others, like yourself, would like to make them a little less sweet... just goes to show how different our tastes and preferences are!! Anyhow, off the rambling track there... you can use more brown rice syrup in place of the maple syrup, since it IS less sweet and though I'm unsure of the caloric difference off-hand, I'm fairly certain it has a lower glycemic index (for blood sugar). Also, you can increase the amount of soy milk and then add a little stevia for added sweetness without calories (and stevia is a healthy herb-based sweetener). For the totally nutty bars, it's the volume that counts more than if you sub the cereal for the nuts or fruit. So, if you want to sub 1 cup of cereal for 1 cup of some combination of the nuts and fruit, then that should work just fine! If when you are pressing it together you get a sense that it isn't 'holding', then add another tbsp or two of the brown rice syrup or barley malt. Good luck with both of these adaptations - keep me posted on the results! :)

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