20 October 2012

Vegan Viands #1: Grape Nut Bars & Chex Mix

It's starting to be "that time of the year." You know the time, when the days are getting noticeably shorter, you start to think earnestly about holiday parties and schedules, and you start to crave baked goods and rich foods as if you were going in to hibernation (okay, maybe that last part is just me). Invariably, as soon as mid-October rolls around, I start to think about all the ridiculous holiday cookies I plan to make (I have some October favorites, so stay tuned!).

With that said, it's a little early for holiday cookies, but it's never too early for vegan treats!! Thus, I've decided to roll out a new and regular feature to my blog, which I'm going to call Vegan Viands. The Vegan Viands posts will all be about fun vegan treats or snacks, things we don't eat regularly but are still important components of vegan cooking. I mean, after a delicious vegan meal, a luscious vegan dessert is in order. Or, let's say you've been invited to a football party and want to make sure you have something vegan to eat, you need a go to vegan snack that's easy to transport, share-able, and delicious.

But why Vegan Viands? Well, hmm. First, I am my father's daughter and alliteration is awesome. Second, I vetoed other words for various reasons: "sweets" - not everything I want to put in this feature is sweet; "treats" - there's already an AWESOME vegan bakery with that name; "vittles" - based on victuals and just didn't have the right connotation (has a boring/last resort implication to me); etc. Third, I love words! Why not use this as a way to use an uncommon word! The word viand has just the right connotation to me. So, without further ado, here are TWO (yes, two!) recipes for the first Vegan Viands feature, both of which are coming to a football watching party tonight.

Grape Nut Bars
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. white sugar
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. Grape Nuts cereal
1 1/3 c. puffed rice cereal (e.g., Rice Crispies)
2/3 c. old fashioned oats

1. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine corn syrup, white sugar, and peanut butter. Microwave until quite hot, stirring every minute (takes about 2.5 minutes in my microwave).
2. Meanwhile, combine other ingredients.
3. Pour cereal mixture into hot ingredients, stirring to combine.
4. Press in to a lightly oiled 9x13 pan and let rest until solid.

Helpful Hints
  • You can also do this recipe with 4 c. of Grape Nuts, but they become much harder to chew. 
  • I have successfully substituted brown rice syrup in place of the corn syrup. My guess is that other liquid sweeteners would also work, but keep in  mind that both corn syrup and brown rice syrup are very viscous.
  • It will help to lightly grease your hand before pressing the mixture into the pan. 

Chex Mix
4 c. rice or corn chex
4 c. wheat chex
3 c. Cheerios
1/2 bag stick-shaped pretzels
3-4 tsp. seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
1. Melt "butter" in a small pan, add W. sauce and seasoned salt, stirring until it just starts to bubble.
2. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients in a very large bowl.
3. Pour butter mixture over other ingredients and stir well to coat.
4. Split mixture into two 9x13 cake pans. Bake 1+ hour (until dry), stirring every 15-20 minutes.

Helpful Hints
  • My mom puts peanuts in her Chex Mix as well, but you can really add anything you want!
  • Careful about buying W. sauce as a lot of it is not vegan (it often contains anchovies). However, there are a few vegan brands out there, although you may have to go to someplace like a Whole Foods. Alternatively, you can make your own, which I often do. I'll post that recipe sometime soon. 
The post "Vegan Viands #1: Grape Nut Bars and Chex Mix" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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