Sweating the not so Small Stuff – Vegan Cookie Bars, Plus More July Giveaways

It’s Somer Saturday. It’s been a jarring week with some shock and grief added in, so there has been jam making and baking and yes, still lots of smoothie making. However, I admit I’m a bit of an emotional eater and I needed some real comfort food,  so I made these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars ever so slightly lightened up. And trust me, one was plenty, and you’ll never miss what’s missing.

Slightly Lightened Up Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

(cookies in honor of Amanda’s Birthday today! Happy Birthday Amanda!!!)

2 C. White Whole Wheat Flour (for Gluten Free option substitute Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour)

1 C. Rolled Oats (use certified Gluten Free for GF version)

1/2 C. Raw Sugar

1/2 C. Pure Maple Syrup or Agave

(yes this still seems like a lot of natural sugars, my original pre-vegan go to recipe nearly double the amount)

1/3 C. Coconut Oil (original recipe called for 1 C. butter)

4 T. Almond Butter

1 T. Ground Flax Seed

1/3 C. Almond Milk

2 t. Vanilla

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 C. Vegan Chocolate Chips (original recipe had 2 C.)

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Combine flour, oats, ground flax, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Then, using a pastry cutter, cut in almond butter and coconut oil until crumbly.  Add agave, almond milk, vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir til just combined. Press into an 8×8 pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes then cut into 16 squares.

Now for the Real Sweaty Bit. Remember my post about Homemade Pit Paste? Well, Christie’s post yesterday at Turning Veganese reminded me that I’m not the only sweaty girl that wants a natural deodorant that stops me from smelling like my brother Abe’s armpits (sorry Abe) and isn’t going to give me alzheimer’s or dementia. Here is the original post and recipe. I’ve been using it for a couple months now and it’s really, really fabulous (except at Ragnar once where I accidentally caught a whiff of myself. However, I was using Erika’s borrowed pit paste, and yes we’re “that” kind of close,  and she did mention was missing one of the oils, so I can’t vouch for it).

Since most of you likely have cornstarch, baking soda and the coconut oil needed to make it, Today’s giveaway is a pre-measured essential oil and rosehip blend that you will need for the remainder of the recipe for 3 lucky winners. It will come to you in a cute teeny tiny oil vial, just dump it in your recipe, and voila, Pit Paste!

Rules of Engagement:

1- You must be a follower of this blog, if you don’t know how to do that, there is a “Follow blog via email” button at the top column to the right. This contest is open to US readers only, since the oil vial is glass and may seem a bit questionable to customs officers.

2- You must like this post (click on the title name of this post, then go to the bottom of the post just above comments and push the like button),

3- You must comment below, telling me how you deal with sweating the not so small stuff.

Winner to be announced Saturday July 21st, 2012. 

And now for the real moment you’ve all been waiting for.

The winner of the Lululemon Giveaway is: Sydney Kegan!

Winner was selected by using the random.org service. Please email your mailing address to me at goodcleanfoodblog@gmail.com and I will mail you your prize!

I’m going to suit up in some Lulu gear myself to pound the not so small stuff onto a trail and leave it all behind.

See ya on Tasty Tuesday!

82 thoughts on “Sweating the not so Small Stuff – Vegan Cookie Bars, Plus More July Giveaways

    • I’m sure it would would great with the GF sub, I’ve had the most success with bob’s red mill GF flour blend in baking. Since you press it all into a pan, you won’t have to worry about it spreading or getting too crumbly either. Thanks for your kind words!

    • Yes, absolutely! Let me know how it turns out. You can also and an egg and leave out the flax if you like since it’s used as a binder. Just reduce the milk to 1/4 C. total. Let me know how you like it! The batter may not taste very sweet when raw, but it’s plenty sweet once baked.

      • Sounds great. I think you’ll love it and it’s far less tedious than individual cookies. You could also substitute honey for the agave or maple syrup.

        Fight on. Cookie bars on Sunday! Woohoo!

      • I cannot tell you how jealous I am, I pay upwards of $20 bucks for a measly quarts worth. I adore maple syrup, so I’m okay with paying through the nose for it. But I use it sparingly!

        Thanks Heidi!

  1. still love my pit paste. stopped at a cool little earthy-crunchy shop in Park City today (post to come) and they had locally made deodorant for an arm and a leg with way more ingredients than ours and it probably worked less well and was infinitely more expensive. Could have used some of those cookie bars today, but ended up going to the real City Cakes – again, post to come. It was a very vegan sort of day. Kids are pooped. I am too!

    • Dude, the pit paste is the bomb. I can’t believe it took me so long to make the switch.

      Excited for your city cakes post. Hope you had something better than the “meh” cupcakes we got from them at whole foods and that your birthday is awesome, even if you are pooped.

      We did temple square today with house guests, I found a crazy good gluten free vegan portobello sandwich with heaps of veggies at the Farr Ice Cream shoppe directly across from the Lion House. I was SO pleasantly surprised. I thought I was going to be stuck with lettuce and tomato. When I ordered the sandwich, the woman even changed her gloves as she told me she just touched meat. Wow. Totally unexpected and awesome. Had someone else take photos, will do an ETW with it as soon as I get them.

      • That is the best news of the day! We’ve been up there twice and left to get our food because we didn’t think there was anything else to eat. If only I’d thought to go in the ice cream shop…hmm, wonder why I didn’t. And City Cakes redeemed itself only through it’s mac-n-cheeze. Their chili was awful, – AWFUL!, the cupcakes the same, the lemon bar similar and the scone was the best of all, which isn’t saying much… We didn’t bother with the $20 cakes.

      • Oh man. That sucks! I don’t think I can be bothered to go there for just mac and cheeze. We need to see if cake walk is any better.

    • Blech. I’m sorry, on your birthday too, for shame! Yes, I didn’t want to go into the ice cream shoppe either, but the sign said sandwiches and everyone else was starving. It was awesome!

  2. Sorry to hear about the shock and grief, I hope everything is ok. 😦 It’s good to know that no matter what happens, baking is always there for you.

    How I deal with sweating the not so small stuff: In light of the awful things that happened to me this year, a year that I thought was going to be my best and turned out to be the worst, I remember that as bad as things may get, I am still fortunate because I have family to lean on. Even if life falls apart completely for me and my husband, we won’t be forced into homelessness or hunger. We may be sad and penniless at some point, but my family will provide us the great luxury of a humble roof over our heads, enough food to feel full, clothing, a daily shower, medical care if we need it, and clean water to drink. That is far more than a huge percentage of the world has. So I won’t complain about our life changing drastically, all the things I’ve lost, small stuff or not-so-small stuff. I should be grateful for having my basic needs met.

    When bad things happen to good people, I remember this too. They were fortunate, and lived fortunate lives. They were taken care of, educated, loved and provided for by their families and friends. That is above and beyond what many people on this planet experience. I am happy for them, even if I lose them.

    And finally, nothing in life is guaranteed to stay the same, and I’m at peace with that. I try as hard as I can to appreciate when things are going well.

    (End of rant!)

    • I love your rant. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today. I have much more than most and have so many things to be grateful for. It’s a humbling experience to have challenges and still realize that those challenges are small in comparison to what others who are less fortunate face on a daily basis.

      Thanks for helping me put things into perspective. Xoxo

      Thanks also for entering, you will love the pit paste, and it’s frugal as can be, which is an added bonus.

      • Thanks…I guess it is my daily reality check when I think “my life is over” and I have to remember that it’s really, really not. You know? 🙂 🙂

      • I think Erika and I would both agree and have been in that “my life is over” position at times too, only to wake up the next morning to rays of sunshine, kisses from our little ones and our faith to somehow heal us. If only everyone could see that and have those experiences, the world would be a lot less sad.

  3. I’m sorry you had a difficult week. Hope things are better or at least getting better for you.

    This past year I lost my dog Toni. She meant so, so much to me. For awhile I felt like the grief would never become bearable. This was definitely a “not so small” bit of stuff for me. To deal with it I just let myself feel what I was feeling without judgment. Sometimes when I’m going through a difficult or scary time I try to tell myself to snap out of it or to get over it. I get so wrapped up in trying to fix things or to figure it all out that I don’t listen to the part of me that sometimes needs to feel sad or overwhelmed or scared. I don’t stay in those feelings but for me somehow when I don’t try to just push it away I end up feeling stronger and then I can be fully available to go fix what needs fixing.

    • Debbie, thanks for your sweet words, I’m on the mend.

      I like that you were able to let yourself grieve properly, I think that sometimes we try to push our feelings aside or bury them only for them to resurface later when we least expect them to and when we are less prepared to deal with them. Sorry for the loss of Toni. It’s hard for others to understand how a pet IS family.

      Thanks for entering. Love, Somer

  4. I try to think of 5 things I’m grateful for every morning from the previous day. That helps me put things in perspective and remember the great, positive things in my life! That makes the dishes in the sink not that big of a deal 🙂 Great blog!

    The cookie bars look yummy!

    • I’m going to do that today. Sometimes it’s hard to count your blessings when you feel like garbage. And I’m sure it will help me face the leftover stack of dishes from the weekend with a different attitude.

      We had good food we ate on those dishes.
      We ate together as a family, at the table.
      We can afford to eat nutritious whole foods.
      We have a dishwasher that makes life easier.
      We have many hands that can help make lighter work.

      I’m going to ignore the fact that some one in this house used dish washing soap in the dishwasher last night instead of dishwasher detergent. And that there were mountains of bubbles everywhere on the flour last night. It’s almost funny now 😉

      Thanks for your comments and for entering the giveaway!

      I need to make more cookie bars….

  5. I’m sorry you had a rough week, Somer. Sometimes it seems like it takes those times to make you realize how great everything is the rest of the time. It looks like you did an excellent job of comforting yourself! These bars look phenomenal (great pictures too, by the way!)! I’ve gone back to this email several times over the weekend to drool at the gorgeous things! Amazing recipe, Somer!

    I hope this week is perking up for you. Lots of hugs! xoxo

    • These are nothing compared to your latest post my dear. Seriously insane!

      I wanted to ask you about sugar. I use raw sugar, pure maple syrup or agave in my kitchen but haven’t purchased coconut sugar or maple sugar because of the price. Is there really a difference between what your body does with them and are they more unprocessed than the other options? I know Chef AJ for example only uses date syrup, but she buys it instead of making it herself and I looked at the kind she buys and it has the same amount of calories as agave or maple syrup and absolutely no fiber. Which has got to mean that all the date goodness is taken out and only the sugar is left behind. It’s confusing to me!?!

      Anywho. Thanks for your positive words and virtual hugs. I need to email you! xoxo

  6. Coconut sugar is made in a much more sustainable way than any other type of sweetener, which is the main draw for me. It also has a very high mineral content (Heather explains it very well here: http://sundaymorningbananapancakes.blogspot.com/2012/07/grilled-sweet-potatoes.html). I have severe hypoglycemia (my body over produces insulin at a crazy rate), so I’m trying to remove sugar from my diet as much as possible (without getting crazy about it). I do find that I don’t experience that much of a spike after consuming coconut or maple sugar, though, it might just be wishful thinking. 🙂

    I hope that helps! Talk to you soon! xoxo

    • Thanks for the info. I need to do some more reading and will check out Heather’s explanation as well.

      That sucks about the hypoglycemia :/ Can you control it all through diet? Glad that it doesn’t spike as much with the maple sugar and coconut sugar.

  7. Thanks for liking one of my posts – I’m glad that I could discover your blog!

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having a tough time.
    I try to practice gratitude each day, and it really helps me to write them down. Each day, I write down 5 things that I’m grateful for. Some days are easier than others but it always works in making things seem brighter. Also when things are not so small, sometimes it’s helpful to accept that it’s a tough time and give yourself a break, rest up, do some stretches, drink a cup of tea (and take your time). Often things are worse if I try to pretend everything is ok when it’s not…

    I love the cookie bar idea, I’m definitely going to try this out!

    • Amanda on this blog recommended a cup of tea too. I haven’t done it yet, but I think it’s time. Rest is much needed as well.

      I really love the 5 ideas thing. Another reader suggested something similar in the comments above. I did it today, and if nothing else, it helped me to feel more grateful.

      Thanks for your comments and thanks for entering the giveaway as well.

      • Have some tea! Especially on a night like tonight. Mine has been steeping for a mere half hour. Should probably go unsteep it and enjoy it. You’re welcome to join me, but that’s a bit of a drive for a cup of tea on my new deck…

      • I wish I could join you too! But yes, the drive and my sleepy eyes are prohibitive. Brewing peppermint now and hoping that it helps to tame my emotions and the storm. Calmed down, just a bit melancholy. I think it’s mostly hormonal at this point. Will pop in to drop you a birthday prize sometime this week. 🙂

  8. Hey Somer! I’m sorry you’ve had a tough week. Hopefully this next week will be better! sending hugs:) and i just wanted to let you know that i passed on the Sunshine Award to you! I really feel so blessed to have “met” you! You’re always there with a kind and encouraging word. Thank you:) Congrats!

    • Thanks for catching that. I’m always writing my posts in a state of delirium, whether that be before the kids get up or after they go to bed. You can cut it in with the coconut oil, or you can melt it in the almond milk. I’ve done it both ways, which is probably why I erred above. Cutting in is probably the most practical. I will update it. :/

    • Apparently we are trying to edit at this post at the same time, so I’ll see what you do and then go in so I don’t break whatever you’re trying to fix 😉

      • Sorry, i didn’t actually try to edit it, but sometimes I have a hard time just looking at the blog – it seems to think I always want to update it. I didn’t update at all, but might be making these now as penance for ignoring my two older children all morning at demanding of the youngest. Yes, I feed my children to make us all feel better – Bad mom, bad mom!

      • No worries, I sometimes go in to fix typos or broken links on other people’s posts here so I didn’t think anything about it 😉

        As if you’re a bad mom…I might make those again now just to make myself feel better. Hey if it makes me a better mom it has to be good for me, right?

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  10. Holy schmokes, these vegan cookie bars look amazing. I have been searching for some good vegan baking recipes, and this just shot to the top of my list. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Yay! Thanks!!! I hope you like them. Vegan baking really scared me at first, but it’s really no more difficult than regular baking and when you bake a little lightened up as well, you don’t feel so heavy and yucky after having a treat. BONUS!

  11. Brazilian jiu jitsu (also BJJ) has been my savior in terms of helping me cope with family issues, frustrations at work and problems that sneak up on me for no good reason. BJJ is as intellectually involved as chess but using your body and you always have to think 3 steps ahead or you’ll get pounded and when it’s me versus some gigantic Miami police officer I don’t have time to think about whatever else it is that’s stressing me out. 🙂

    • Two words: PURE WORSHIP!

      Thanks for entering and thanks for commenting and putting a radical picture in my mind of a stellar vegan girl outsmarting a huge police officer! LOVE IT!

  12. Made these yesterday – good, but too sweet for me, which means everyone else loved them! They were tasty, though next time I’d probably cut the sweetness a bit, just for me. I’m tempted to try to make them into a breakfasty thing and use up some of my jars of jam and some nuts… I’ll keep you posted. we need to finish up the first batch first.

    • I think the agave or pure maple syrup could easily be cut by another 1/4 C. I may do the same, but I’m starting to be more sensitive to sugar and realize that others still have a sweet tooth so I didn’t cut it more in the post. I can’t believe the original recipe had MORE sugar. I must have been a sugar crazed fiend…..

    • Oh and a reduced sugar breakfasty version sounds delish. I’m thinking apricot layer if Erika is willing to share…..

  13. I’m so sorry that shock and grief entered your life. It’s hard for me not to obsess or not sweat any of that kind of stuff, but I usually take a deep breath, make a mental note of those whom I love and love me back and remember that I’m a small part of a big universe. Even like today with the shooting in Colorado, I want to shout: But how many civilians died this week in Iraq? How many children have stepped on land mines? There’s tragic loss happening every day, and its hard to put it all in perspective, but we can only try. Big hugs. Eat some of those delicious-looking cookie bars for me, and be staunch, darling! (As we said in London!)

    • Thanks babe. Would you believe I try not to watch the news? Not because I want to be ignorant and uninformed, but all the horrible stuff going on in the world gets me down, and most of it I can’t do anything about. So I do what I can and give where I can, which always ends up lifting my spirits in the end.

      • I completely understand, and agree. It does get so overwhelming, even from pet rescue all the way through to war and other senseless deaths. We can only do what we can– we can’t all be Mother Teresa! Sometimes its the smallest kindnesses that mean the most. 🙂

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  16. Ha!! I don’t use deodorant anymore at ALL. My husband tells me that I never stink (and, yes, I do ask sometimes). My secret? I eat fresh garlic with olive oil every day (it’s my “naughty” treat). Really. LOL

    There are times (during PTA board meetings) when I’m sweating a bit too much; I’ll step out to the ladies room with my cucumber/melon purse wet wipes, give a dab, and I’m off to go. Fresh as a daisy, er, uh, cucumber!

    I know I won’t win anything, but I feel somehow that you would appreciate all that.

    Aaaaaanyway…I will try a bit of coconut oil next time (which I keep on hand). My kids like the taste, and it may give my tongue what it needs! That, and some extra applesauce. I’ll bet that does it…may make another batch today. I’ll let you know how it turns out. BTW, no complaints on the first batch – it just wasn’t as “gooey” as I’d dreamed about!

    Later, Somer. Have a great day.

    • Shannon, I adore this! So jealous of you! I’m as sweaty and stinky as they come and no over the counter natural deodorant was working for me. Still rockin’ the pit paste and loving it. And yes, this tad bit naughtier version is still boatloads healthier than traditional chocolate chip cookies, I think you’ll love it, I know I did, but I suffer when I eat too many indulgent treats which is why I created the healthier version 😉 xoxo!

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  21. You misssed the salt in the ingredient list though it is mentioned in the instructions. I used 1/2 teaspoon which seemed in keeping with the rest of the recipe….they’re in the oven now and the dough tasted great! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Thanks for the heads up! You probably guessed right. I’m kind of thinking I might have to make these…just to make sure your guess was right. 😉

    • You make an excellent point! I will ask Somer, the original author, but my guess is it’s going to be about 1/2 t.
      Thanks for letting me know!

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