I am so happy that summer fruit is in full swing right now!
I made some peach crumble bars about a week ago for a graduation party. I love coming up with desserts for this particular group of friends because it's quite a challenge to make something that everyone can eat. I love a challenge. ;)
I am vegan, of course. My friends who hosted the party are unable to eat: dairy, soy and nuts. Most people who talk to me about accommodating friends with specific dietary needs have a certain venom in their voices. It must be tough for those who have to purchase expensive allergen-free desserts from the store. More often than not, if you're unable to get them fresh, you have to splurge on frozen products. I don't know about anyone else, but I only enjoy frozen things if they happen to be ice cream. Or smoothies. Or milkshakes. Or chocolate. Honestly, some chocolate tastes really good frozen.
So, I made these crumble bars because they seem to fit the bill perfectly. I had some perfectly ripe peaches, oats, gluten-free flour, and all the other ingredients just lying around in my kitchen wasting away. I decided to give them all a purpose.
I love peaches in the summer. They're juicy, sweet, tangy, and soft. Nothing better in a salad, on pancakes, in my smoothies, and just, generally, around and in my mouth. They also cook down very nicely into jam or compote. I made the latter for these crumble bars and it was the easiest process in the world.
I would definitely recommend a Vitamix/food processor/stick blender for the compote. It's not necessary, of course. I've also made the compote without blending the peaches beforehand and it came out just as delicious. The amount of time and texture does change when you blend the fruit, though. I found that it comes out more consistently and is easier for slicing the finished bars. Chunky or smooth, it's up to you. Now, if you would care to indulge (but not too much because this is kind of healthy), go grab some ripe peaches and crumble them! ^_^
Peach Crumble Bars
Yield: approx 9-12 servings
(1-8x8 square pan)
Soy, Nut, & Gluten Free
For the compote
For the crumble
Oven 350 F.
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I took an amazing trip to Colorado and Utah. We only dabbled in Utah for a short while and mostly stayed in Colorado. Most of our trip consisted of driving which is why my photos are landscapes, landscapes and more landscapes! Since it was my first time exploring the inland part of the Western U.S., I was a bit in awe of the drastic differences in climate that I experienced. I remember experiencing some form of snow at least once a day during the week that we were traveling. Some days would drop 20 degrees and then spike back up again. Rain followed us through the mountains and often turned to snow or sleet. The desert was the most interesting, as it was dry, sunny, and hot with a cold breeze. I loved it!
I also ate some pretty interesting food while on the road. We stayed in a different place for each night, which gave us plenty of opportunity to explore local food options (or, eat Asian fusion for 3 nights in a row because that was the best vegan option in town). Luckily, we found some awesome markets (and the ever-faithful Whole Foods) on the road that supplied us with breakfast, snacks, etc. I'm glad I can highlight some of the food gems that we found on our trip for you. Hopefully this will entice you to visit the area one day...it's amazingly beautiful. It's definitely somewhere I'd love to go again.
Vegan Adventures in Colorado & Utah
The Beet Box Bakery & Cafe
The Beet Box is such an amazing cafe which quite an unassuming appearance. When I first found their menu online, I freaked out. "This is what I would make for my own cafe!" Boy, was I totally right.
The pastries the Beet Box keeps in their case are different from day to day. They always make everything fresh and in house, including their breads. The first thing I got was a sandwich as I was famished from not eating on the plane ride (yes, this was our first stop after getting off the plane!).
Yes, I was quite pleased with my decision. This is a delicious sandwich that I wish I had created. Gluten-free bread, hummus, onion, radish, apple, cucumber and butter lettuce. My God.
Among the other delicious things we ate there (a total of two trips, I promise!) were cinnamon scones, a strawberry fruit tart, roasted beet sandwich, curry cauliflower croissant, and a cashew cheese mushroom panini. Definitely a spot I would hit up any time of day if you're in Denver looking for vegan eats.
Happy Leaf Kombucha
Up next is a small kombucha bar and cafe in Denver called Happy Leaf Kombucha. Their cafe was amazing in its aesthetic. Their bar and tables were all rustic woods. The art on the walls was the most impressive that I've seen for sale locally in a long time. We stopped in here to get a light snack and some kombucha, since I'm a big kombucha fan. I'm used to drinking GT Dave's , which is delicious, but it isn't on tap!
I must say I was a huge fan of Happy Leaf's product. The kombucha was totally clear and very easy to drink. It didn't sting as much as any other bottled kombucha I've had before. The flavor was subtle as well without too much sweetness.
We ate some homemade hummus while we were there, which was delicious and fresh. They had a soup on special that day as well. It was spicy, smooth, and not too overpowering. A great find.
City O' City
One of the most impressive vegetarian restaurants I've ever been to, hands down, is this wonderful place. City O' City had a great vibe. It was hip, casual yet smart, modern yet comfortable, and inventive yet accessible in their food and beverage offerings.
We went here for dinner the very first night we spent in the city after coming in on the plane that morning. We had received a recommendation for this place and we were so hungry that we went over immediately. After dark, the restaurant dims the lights for a very private sensual feel. This place is kind of magical; I just don't know what else to say.
The first time I ate at City O' City, I got a savory waffle for dinner because why not?! Waffles are things that I seldom make for myself, but I really do love them. I was definitely not disappointed. This waffle was insane. It was a dense, almost cornbread-like batter with thinly peeled spring vegetables on top that had been sauteed lightly. To top the whole thing off, they poured a vegan cheese fondue over everything. The cheese was thin in texture so it didn't overwhelm the dish at all. Genius.
The second time (yes, we went here twice as well) we went to City O' City was the very last day on our trip. We stayed in Denver for the entire day because our flight was overnight, so we took our time with breakfast. Always a treat.
I couldn't help myself. I got a waffle again! This waffle was the WoW (waffle of the week!!!). It was a cinnamon raisin waffle topped with granola, vegan cream cheese, and orange peel. Absolutely to die for. Oh, and we also found Sasquatch. This place has everything you could ever want, so just go and enjoy. <3
During our travels through the mountains and desert, we had to eat on the go a lot. I'm sure you all know how tricky this can be for plant based eaters and those with dietary restrictions. We had a surprisingly easy time finding things! There were an abundance of Asian restaurants in every major town we drove through, which always had at least a few vegetarian options. Some places were better than others. These summer rolls were one of the better things we found. ^_^
We also had to make some stops while driving for snacks. We were so lucky to find small and big businesses that offered vegan options for quick food. Oddly enough, we consumed a lot of freshly pressed juices on our trip. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat many vegetables while on the road. What a worry wort.
I also grabbed a fair amount of kombucha from the store in addition to those that I got on tap. What can I say? I'm addicted to it.
My boyfriend is kind of a barista (like, kind of). ;)
So, while we traveled, we tried different coffee shops in search of delicious espresso and coffee to keep us energized. Just like with the Asian restaurants, some of the coffee shops were better than others. We found some surprisingly good cups of coffee while on the road, though. It was such an exciting moment to find one that really hit the spot. Some of the notable shops we found were Corvus Coffee and Deja Brew among others.
About a year ago, I visited my very fist Voodoo Doughnuts location in Portland. I am certianly a lucky gal to have the pleasure of visiting another location a year later. The Voodoo in Denver seemed to have a slightly larger selection of vegan doughnuts, although it could have just been the time of day that we dropped by. My boyfriend got a fruit loops doughnut (I mean, genius again) and I got a maple cream filled doughnut. I was a bit overwhelmed so I didn't finish the whole thing, but man did I enjoy it!
Overall, I'd say my first experience in Colorado was a success. I got to eat a lot of amazing food, spend time with an amazing guy, and see some amazing natural sights. I climbed stuff, soaked in a hot spring, met some buffalo and horses, met up with some friends, and generally had one of the greatest trips of my life. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Here's until the next time that I travel! I won't keep you out of the loop, I promise! In the meantime, go to Denver. It's a rad place. ;D
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.