March 16, 2011

Cookies and pie



I rarely buy desserts like cookies, cakes or pies. In fact, I really can't remember ever buying an entire pie or cake. I'm not a big fan of very rich or sweet foods. If I need/want a dessert, I make one. I don't like to have sweets around the house, and I don't get a lot of cravings for them. Baking the treats is actually more appealing to me me than eating them. Though if in the right mood, and hungry, I might eat some vegan cookies, if they happened to appear.

That's what happened recently when my husband returned from a trip to Whole Foods with a very small package of Skydottir Epic Cookies. There were three, petite but thick, cookies in the box and I was really hungry. The cookies were gluten-free, vegan, local, and handmade with all manner of organic this and that. Even I wanted to eat them on the spot. As I began to tear open the package, my husband got a strange, stricken look on his face which prompted me to stop ripping and ask what was wrong. "Aren't you going to take a picture and post it on your blog?" Well, no, I wasn't planning to — I was just going to eat them.

Then he told me the story of how Alison Dahmen, the owner and baker behind Skydottir Cookies was handing out free samples at whole Foods, and he got to talk to her about her business. She quit her day job, rented kitchen space, and was trying to make a go of her cookie business, with outlets all over Seattle and delivery to the state through her Etsy shop, so he bought a pack of cookies to bring home. I was guilt-tricked, and reluctantly spread the cookies onto my cutting mat for a quick shoot, after which I quickly ate two. I loved them, and would buy them again if a cookie urge struck and I couldn't bake. They are a little pricey, but perfectly delicious chocolate chip cookies that absolutely taste home-made. The organic flour mix contains brown rice flour, quinoa flour, tapioca flour and coconut flour, and the main sweetener is coconut palm sugar.



While we're on the subject of bakery sweets, I might as well tell you that I popped into a brand new neighborhood vegan bakery to see what was what. What I found at Jodee's Fresh and Organic Desserts, was a case filled with gorgeous pies that were not only vegan and organic, but were also raw and gluten-free. Jodee is a graduate of The Living Light Institute.



I stared at the pie case for a long while, paralyzed by too many choices of things I don't normally eat. I chose a slice of tiramisu, described by my attentive sales person as "light and refreshing." I've never had real tiramisu, so I have no old memories to which to compare this fragrant cloud of young-coconut-based confection. To me, it tasted like chocolate coconut cream pie. It was outrageously smooth and creamy, and not overly sweet — a very pleasant eating experience. Remember, I said I'm not a big consumer of rich desserts — it took three days for my husband and me to eat this not-so-big slice. I had one or two forkfuls each day, and that was all I wanted. (No judging, please.) It was delicious and creamy, but raw desserts can be so filling with all the coconut and nuts, I have definite limits to how much I can consume. Truthfully, I prefer fruit-based raw desserts, and may try one of the fruit pies next time I get the urge to visit the bakery.

According to Jodee's Web site:

Jodee's Desserts offers many delicious organic choices, including wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-glycemic desserts, made from scratch with fresh, quality ingredients. We also have fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, organic french press coffee and organic cold-brewed coffee blended drinks. Our treats deliver all of the flavor and none of the guilt to keep you and our community healthy and happy.
Bitt, from Bitt of Raw, did a terrific review of Jodee's Bakery on her blog. Since Bitt eats a mostly raw food diet, she's probably a better judge than I am of a raw bakery.

Correction: I just remembered we ordered a whole vegan cake to celebrate the birth of our third son. There were quite a few people at the birth but it would take too many words to explain. I remember the bakery asking me what day I would need the cake, and trying to explain that we didn't know what day the baby would be born. We went ahead and ordered the cake, and it all worked out perfectly in the end.

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I'm going! Are you?

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Feed 'em vegan
In a recent email from Vegan Culinary Experience, there was a special note about a new group that delivers vegan meals to political protesters. In my beloved ex-home of Madison, Wisconsin, people have been protesting the governor's horrible union-busting/standard of living busting bills, and I was thrilled to discover that vegan food is being provided to the protesters. Here's the message:

Special Announcement: We'll be doing a feature on one of our favorite new organizations, Vegan Protest Fuel, in the upcoming issue, but we're sending out this special message because VPF's mission is time-critical. VPF delivers food to protesters, exposing others interested in social justice issues to veganism. Currently, they are feeding protesters in WI, and they have the capacity to bring this sort of vegan food activism to other locations across the country. They rely on donations and if you would like to donate, please visit them at http://veganprotestfuel.com/.
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Help is needed in Japan

If you are as appalled and saddened as I am about the tragic situation unfolding in Japan, and feel able to make a contribution, the following message from moveon.org might be of interest:
The devastation in Japan is simply horrific. The death toll is rising by the hour. Tens of thousands remain missing, more than 450,000 people have been displaced, and millions lack access to food, water, electricity, and medicine.1 And as rescue and relief workers struggle to operate around the clock, Japan must also contend with partial meltdowns and the escalating risk of an even worse catastrophe at several nuclear reactors.2 Right now the people of Japan are in crisis, their resources are stretched thin, and they need our help. Many organizations are already on the ground providing relief, including Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross. You can provide immediate assistance by donating to help fund the emergency response:
  • Doctors Without Borders is sending highly trained teams of doctors into the hardest-hit and most difficult-to-reach regions of Japan. (Note: Doctors Without Borders is not accepting contributions "earmarked" for Japan, but rather drawing from general support to enable their important response work there.) Donate here:

28 comments:

  1. I wish I had your taste buds and will power, Andrea! I never buy sweets/treats either, but when I bake? I want to eat the entire batch of whatever I made, lol! I too prefer fruit desserts and don't like things too sweet, but man...if only I never craved homemade baked goods or could stop after just a taste :-)

    Courtney

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  2. I made your Spicy Peanut Stew recipe for dinner tonight and we looooved it. I'm planning on putting it up on my blog soon. I wish I felt the same way about sweets as you do. I'm not going to lie, I probably would have devoured that whole piece of pie by myself in one sitting.

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  3. Courtney,
    I can't claim any will power — I've always been this way. I don't really know why. Sometimes I really want to bake something and eat a lot, but not that often.

    Kiersten,
    I love that stew recipe, too, and I was just thinking about it. Maybe I got a telepathic message from you! I could eat a whole piece (or two) of pumpkin pie, but something about the tiramisu made me want it only in small amounts. I'm just weird, what can I say. :D

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  4. I'm the same way with sweets, but it's great to learn about new vegan finds! Jodee's place sounds like it warrants a visit.

    And, thanks for the head's up about Vegan Protest Fuel. I'm all for it! I've heard of the coffee for protesters and pizza for protesters etc...but this really cool. The people of Madison and Wisconsin in general are excellent! They're fighting for all our rights, really. Fair play to them!

    The situation in Japan seems to keep going from bad to worse. Thanks for the charity info, and here's hoping and praying for Japan and for all the world that it's not too late to stop a full-blown melt down.

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  5. I am glad you liked the pie, I wasn't sure because I remember you saying that you weren't big on rich sweets. i find theirs to be a lot better than Chaco Canyon's raw pies that are way too dense.

    I do like Skydottir although I have to say I can't eat as much of those as I can the pies. My body does better with more fats (like the raw desserts) and not as well with grains and real sugar (like the baked desserts). I guess I'm an odd duck.

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  6. Now, you see, I AM big on pies and sweet things (literally! :o( ) and I could have demolished that pie in one go! You're so lucky to have so many wonderful vegan outlets near you. And what a great idea, vegan catering for protesters!

    I thought that was a cutting mat under the cookies! Do you do patchwork?

    The situation in Japan is so deeply distressing. It's on our news channels all the time and I can't see how they can recover from it. A terrible situation.

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  7. There aren't many premade vegan sweets I can buy here. A couple of cookies and that's it. And those aren't local. You need to eat more cookies to support an awesome local cookie project :)

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  8. When I saw the title of the post I thought my eyes were deceiving me! It's nice to hear that, although in moderation, you enjoyed both of these sweets.

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  9. Rose,
    If you go to Jodee's, take your camera! The pies are beautiful!

    I'm stunned but not surprised at the outpouring in Wis. I wish I were there joining the protests with my friends and neighbors.

    The devastating natural disaster in Japan is horrible on its own, but the nuclear disaster is unthinkable.

    Bitt,
    I agree with you about Chaco vs. Jodee's, based on the little I've tried from each place. The pie was much lighter than I expected. The label on my cookies listed coconut sugar as the main sweetener, and at Jodee's I was told the main sweetener was agave syrup, for what it's worth.

    Penny,
    You're so funny! You would probably love Jodee's pies — I'm the odd one for not enjoying rich treats.

    I have done a bunch of patchwork but that's not why I have the mat — it's actually for trimming art work and graphic design projects.

    Mihl,
    I think you're right about the cookies — and that's why my husband bought them. :D I should buy more, though they are kind of expensive because of the high quality ingredients.

    Abby,
    Moderation is the key for me. :)

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  10. All I'm pointing out is that a girl who supposedly doesn't like sweets, eats two of the three cookies from the package, and leaves her devoted husband with a measly one. Mm-hmm.

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  11. Blessedmama,
    Ha! You think you know everything. What you said is so untrue — I eventually ate the third one, too.

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  12. Oh, I am so wrong! And ashamed... and marveling. :-)

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  13. I think it is hilarious that your husband reminded you to snap a photo of the cookies! And my mouth is still open at your casual comment that you've never purchased a whole cake--that would be pure heresy in my family!! (even though we bake all the time, we ALSO buy stuff all the time--totally sweets obsessed!). Anyway, they look great.

    I just returned home after a week focusing on a family emergency and hadn't really been paying attention to the news. What is going on in Japan is devastating to the entire world.

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  14. Andrea, I'm so happy that you enjoyed my cookies! And big thanks to your husband for bringing them to you. So sweet!
    I recommend definitely trying the apple pie next time you swing by Jodee's... the crust is rich but the apples are lighter and it all balances out perfectly.

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  15. Blessedmama,
    It's OK. Don't be too hard on yourself.

    Ricki,
    I'm kind of picky about my cake which means I usually have to make it myself.

    The news from Japan just keeps getting worse.

    Alison,
    I DID enjoy the cookies! They were wonderful. I'll keep your pie recommendation in mind, for the next time I wander into Jodee's.

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  16. Your hubby is such a sweetie :)

    Doctors without borders are a really good charity to back. Some of our own doctors from our hospital here are involved with them.

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  17. Jacqueline,
    This time we sent money to the Red Cross, but we have send donations to Doctors Without Borders in the past because I agree they are a very good organization.

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  18. Thank you for helping us remember to keep Japan in the forefront of our minds. Makes anything else in life seem small, as it should. And in reverse, too, it makes us appreciate any small pleasures, such as good food and a nice home.

    We tend to send money to American Jewish World Service, because we are confident it will get to the right agencies.

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  19. The pie looks so good.. I am drooling!
    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

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  20. Claire,
    Thanks for your thought and for the excellent suggestion. Another good one is Mercy Corps.

    Debra,
    I think you would LOVE Jodee's shop. The pies were just beautiful — and raw, organic. I didn't mention the cost ($7 per slice) so I don't think they'd be a frequent indulgence, but that's probably a good thing. :D

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  21. That pie wouldn't have lasted 5 min in my hands...ha Jodee's sounds like a very neat place. It's probably a good thing that her place isn't where I live, because I would be in big trouble!

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  22. Yay! I get to meet you at Vida Vegan! That pie looks so good.. yumm..

    and how cool that vegan meals are being delivered to protesters...

    Japan... is just so so so so sad.

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  23. I'm not really one to buy pie or cookies either, but those look mighty good!

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  24. Michelle,
    Did you see my above comment about the cost of a slice? The cost reflects the quality, but would probably keep you from eating too many slices. :)

    Melody,
    I saw your name on the program and I'm excited to meet you at the conference! Should be fun.

    Melisser,
    You know, I keep thinking about the cookies and will probably buy them again. I'm not that big a raw pie fan, so even though the pie was delicious, it remains to be seen whether I'll spring for another slice.

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  25. I thought they were homemade cookies when I saw the picture! Nice! How very nice of you to support the local businesses by eating yummy cookies and pie! :P

    That slice of pie looks so good! But also so heavy, I don't blame you for only eating a couple of bites each day. I don't think I've ever had tiramisu either, what's up with that?

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  26. It's a rare occasion for me to buy desserts as well, but oh, what a treat slice of pie looks like! If I had easy access to that sort of temptation, I may just change my ways. ;)

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  27. River,
    They look and taste like homemade cookies. Wish I had one right now. And the pie wasn't exactly heavy, but it was very rich. Is that the same thing as heavy? About the tiramisu — I think we should have tried it before becoming vegan. :D

    Hannah,
    I don't know Hannah, the creations you come up with probably trump anything that can be bought in a shop — even the best shop. (Unless of course, you are the shop's baker!)

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  28. it all looks so good!
    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

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