Posts Tagged ‘ food ’

No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls… Jealous Much?

Friday, February 7th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I think I might be over cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, now that Mommy has introduced our family to “no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls.”

She found them on a website called, Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl, which is apparently orchestrated by an 18 year-old girl from Norway.

(That’s the country where your great-grandfather on Mommy’s side was adopted from, by the way.)

So, it’s official: These no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls are awesome!

Not only are they pretty easy to make, considering you don’t even cook them, but they taste so good that they are extremely addictive.

However, the ingredients are healthy and simple: 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • a pinch of maldon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped 70+% dark vegan chocolate (or use vegan chocolate chips)

So I kind of think these might be our new family favorite treat.

They’re mainly sweetened from the dates and “fattened” by the cashews; which provide less than 1% of the daily recommended amount of cholesterol.

Remember my theory on consuming more than 0% but less than 1% cholesterol?

“Being a vegan means your cholesterol intake is more than 0% (from good fats, like avocados, cashews, coconuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc.) but less than 1% (because of no animal fats). I think part of the reason vegans feel so much better after nixing animals products is because they are no longer experiencing another living (at one time) animal’s cholesterol and fat running through their veins.”

Like most food that Mommy and I approve of for our family, these no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls are better when made by us… not bought pre-made and packaged from a store.

Having a fun (and delicious!) recipe like this makes it even more fun and special to be a plant-based family. Like I’ve said before, it’s not about what we can’t eat, but about what we can!

We get to enjoy this secret dessert snack recipe that hardly anybody else knows about. It’s not the kind of thing a person would normally think to make or eat, but when you rule out animal products from your diet, you (are forced to) discover new foods that you actually like better than what you were eating before.

I’m contrasting this recipe against any token grocery store cake, or boxed cake mix, made with food dye from petroleum and/or bugs, along with a whole paragraph of unpronounceable ingredients.

Yeah, that’s not food.

This is!

I’ll take no-bake vegan chocolate chip cookie dough balls anyday! But, shhhh… we’re adopting them as a secret family recipe now- thanks to an 18 year-old girl in Norway named Solveig Berg Vollan!






P.S. Click right here for the full recipe featured on Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl!

Or check out other vegan recipe reviews I have written.

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Daddy, Is Ice Cream Healthy? And Cookies, Too?

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last week your teacher at school introduced you and your classmates to a new concept: that not all food is healthy.

Since then, you have been asking me if every single food item you can think of is healthy or not.

“Is ice cream healthy, Daddy?” you genuinely asked me.

The same happened about cookies, too.

You later asked me about cheesy crackers, though you didn’t bother to ask about cake. However, for some reason, you’ve yet to ask me if vegetables, like broccoli and carrots, are healthy.

I snapped a few shots of your health-related project at school.

You had to decide which pictures, cut out from magazines, best resembled the kinds of foods we regularly buy each week when we get groceries, by placing the cut-outs in a paper sack.

I had to laugh at yours, compared to your friends.

Yours was so… politically correct, as the token vegetarian kid of the class:

Bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples. That’s it and that’s all.

What I learned from this is that you are definitely paying attention when Mommy and I pick out the fruits and veggies at Whole Foods. Beyond that? Not so much.

You didn’t choose pasta, bread, beans, or rice, which are all staples in your diet. Just bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples.

I’m pretty sure you were the only kid to not include meat in your brown grocery sack.

But with your selection, you made it look like our family is a bunch of fruitarians.

(Yes, that’s a real thing! And yes, technically, bell peppers and tomatoes are considered fruits, depending on who you ask.)

One day you’ll fully understand what meat is. All you know is that the other kids at school eat it but you don’t- you either get soy butter or veggie patties instead- which you love, by the way.

You always think I’m joking when I try to explain what the butchered meat is at Whole Foods. You ask me each week, ‘Daddy, what’s that red stuff?”

But hey… as long as we’ve got bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and apples, though; that’s apparently all we need anyway.




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The Difference Between Vegan And Plant-Based, Part 1

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Well, needless to say, “going vegan” and “switching to a plant-based diet” were trendy things to do in 2013.

I speak from personal experience, having taken the animal-free plunge myself back last March; for better or worse, like Scrooge McDuck diving into his pool of gold coins.

(Only my leap of faith makes more logical sense than his.)

Even your Nonna (my mom) recently officially became a “mostly vegan” vegetarian (like you and Mommy are) and has been very excited to cook new recipes for us when we visit.

What was once a ridiculous lifestyle claimed by certain extreme people living on the fringes of society… has now gone mainstream. 

After all, the number of American vegans doubled within a recent year and a half span. That’s a huge shift in terms of a micro-trend!

But why? How is the invisible sun (reference to the song by The Police) causing this movement across the country, affecting us normal people who don’t wear hemp underwear or throw red paint on people who wear fur coats?

“Netflix documentaries” would be my personal number one answer; though several of them are available for free on YouTube, as well: Forks Over Knives, Hungry For Change, Vegucated, The Beautiful Truth, Dying To Have Known, Supersize Me, and Food, Inc.

These days, mainstream society is able to be educated, at their own will during their own free time, and learn that despite what we are taught our whole lives about nutrition, the human body does not require the meat, milk, or dairy products of another animal and species in order to be healthy; as long as there is regular access to what I have named “the Big 6” (vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds).

Especially this past decade, I’ve witnessed big companies capitalize on “the hope” of a cure for cancer, by spreading/selling awareness to consumers; while their products often contain carcinogens- which are actually known to cause cancer. (As explained in the Netflix documentary, Pink Ribbons, Inc.)

That approach isn’t for me, though.

Instead, I tend to stick with the forward-thinking of a wise Jewish man who came to America escaping Nazi persecution in Germany; Albert Einstein, who became a vegetarian the final year of his life. He said this:

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.

As these “Netflix documentaries” teach, elaborate studies like The China Study show that people who completely, or nearly completely, eliminate animal products from their bodies dramatically (!) reduce the chances of getting cancer and diseases.

It’s like this: When you stop eating animal products, you “turn off” the cancer cells in your body. But eating animal products empowers the cancer cells.

But it’s not just about avoiding cancer and disease. After all, any heckler in the crowd can just say, “Who cares? You know you’re just going to die anyway, right?”

True, but I am a guy who had extreme psoriasis for a decade… and constant sinus pressure and sinus infections for over two decades… and was very allergic to cats… and then saw all those problems go away after becoming a vegan.

Now that I’ve explained my personal motivation for becoming a vegan, I want to explain what didn’t entice me to become a vegan, in the second half of my letter.

To be continued… (Here’s the rest.)




P.S. The pinto quinoa burger (in picture above) recipe Nonna used is from a blog called Goodness Green: Plant-Based Recipes And Wellness.

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

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Tags: , , , , , | Categories: The Dadabase

Annie’s Homegrown Is America’s #10 Best Small Company

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

Tuesday afternoon when I picked you up from school, your teacher Ms. Lauren directed me over to the current poster on the wall, featuring what you and your friends have been learning about this week.

The question was, “What do we buy at the grocery store?”

As always, you had the most random, confusing answer:

“Old MacDonald mac and cheese, apple squeeze things, fruit juice, pizza.”

By “apple squeeze things,” Ms. Lauren knew you meant fruit pouches (GoGo Squeez applesauce pouches).

But as for “Old MacDonald mac and cheese,” she had no clue…

I explained to her that Annie’s Homegrown makes a type of mac and cheese called Bernie’s Farm, which contains noodles in the shapes of rabbits, tractors, carrots, and cows.

That, to you, is “Old MacDonald mac and cheese.”

The only other peculiar answer I saw on the list was your friend Sophie’s: 


Yes, well, I guess sometimes you do have to get spoons at the grocery store…

Of all weeks for this story to be something I would write about, when I signed on to the MSN homepage today, I saw a link to the story, according to Forbes, “America’s Top 25 Best Small Companies.”

Annie’s Homegrown is #10 on Forbes’ list!

Do you know how happy that makes me?

I love it that a food company like Annie’s Homegrown, who is committed to saying no to GMO’s (and Monsanto) and petroleum-based food dyes (like Kraft uses) is able to be so successful in the free market.

The other thing I love is that there’s enough people in America who demand real food (that doesn’t contain mysterious and potentially harmful chemicals) so that a brand like Annie’s can be this successful.

This is such a beautiful case of supply and demand.

But most of all, the best part of this story for me is, you love Annie’s enough to mention it at school as one of the necessary staples that you like to buy at the grocery store.

You’re as passionate about Annie’s as I am! (Okay, so maybe you just like the way their food tastes and looks, and you’re not really aware of Annie’s “no GMO” policy, but still.)

That gives me one more reason to be so proud of you.





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Non-Petroleum Candies Melt In Your Bed, Not In Your Hand

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

I imagine it’s pretty typical for parents to reward/bribe their child with M&M’s during the process of potty training.

However, we’ve watched a few too many documentaries on Netflix to let you eat candy that contains petroleum-based dyes, like M&M’s do.

Instead, we found that Kroger now has their own brand of healthier (and less chemical friendly) alternatives to classic favorites.

I don’t you want to end up like I did as a kid, suffering from anxiety problems and digestion issues due to food dyes that aren’t actually food.

After all, no one willingly chooses to eat petroleum… yet the FDA approves it as a food additive.

Just like with the beaver [body parts] in vanilla and strawberry flavorings

But Kroger’s brand, called Simple Truth, makes what they call “Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Drops.”

Basically, they’re M&M’s without petroleum and tar ingredients. Instead, they’re colored with vegetable juice.

So, the deal is, Mommy lets you have two of them every time you go potty… on the potty.

Saturday night, you convinced her to let you sleep with the bag, which only contained about 5 remaining candies.

Mommy trusted you not to eat the candy, but to simply hold the bag all night, like you do your monster trucks and trains.

And you did.

You woke up in a haze Sunday morning, as Mommy and I walked into your room after hearing you mutter something about cats.

There you were, wrapped up tightly in your blanket, with your arms tucked down inside.

As we unwrapped you like a stuffed burrito, we discovered the bag of chocolate candy, still clenched tightly in your grip.

Well, you didn’t eat them, just as Mommy trusted you wouldn’t.

But as you look at the comparative picture above, you can see that your candies melted to mush in the night.

Good thing we had another bag ready for you in the pantry.





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