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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Zing Gluten-Free Power Bars

Zing bar

I don't really like power bars.

People keep telling me that I should pack them in the car, tuck them in my pockets for long days away from home, and definitely stash them in my suitcase when we are traveling. I have tried. I don't really like them.

A couple of months ago now, when the light was still high in the sky at 9 pm, Keren stopped me. You might know Keren better as Frantic Foodie, and that she is. How the woman organizes dozens of food-related events in Seattle, while she has a baby younger than Little Bean is way beyond me. I'm often exhausted by 6 pm. Keren seems to just thrive on this beehive of activity that is always swirling around her.

Along with this, Keren seems to know everyone. And she wants to connect them all together.

So she stopped me and said, "You have to stay for a few more minutes. I have to find Minh-Hai. You have to try our bars." We waited. We talked with Christine, who was selling chanterelle mushrooms nearby. But I sort of dreaded the encounter, I'll admit. You see, I really don't like power bars (or snack bars, or whatever bars people call them). I've recommended some here, because I know other people like them, and I want to point out the best of them. But in that moment, I didn't need another bar.

Minh-Hai smiled as she reached out her hand. And then she handed me some Zing Bars. "We would love for you to try them. They're gluten-free."
I smiled, said thank you, talked with her for awhile. She's lovely. I forgot the bars and focused on her.

And when we got home, I put them in the cupboard.

Just a few weeks ago, Danny was gone at work, and Little Bean was running me ragged. She wasn't sturdy enough to stand at the counter yet and help me cook. We had no hand-held food in the house. Everything needed to be prepared. So I reached for one of these in the pantry and took a bite.

Wait a minute. What?

These are good. I mean, good. I mean, they taste like actual food. The chocolate peanut butter tasted like a clean Reese's cup. I almost thought it was candy, except it was not too sweet.

The fact that they're full of good fats, important proteins, free of hormones or anything artificial? That's great too. Zing Bars were created by a team of four registered dieticians, who designed them to be wonderfully healthy and ridiculously tasty.

That they are.

I loved the cranberry-0range and almond-blueberry as well. But if I needed a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon, a slight pause before taking off after the toddler again? I'd reach for one of those Zing chocolate peanut butter bars in a minute.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

silicone financier molds

Lu's breakfast (version 2)

Yesterday, Danny decided to make polenta. This isn't unusual here. We take turns jumping up from the couch with a new idea for breakfast.

But this one was different, because he decided to make the polenta in Little Bean size.

She's eating all the time these days. Most of all, she likes reaching over to eat what is on our plates. Danny figured that, if we could make more food that fit into her hand, entire, she'd eat her own food.

So he made warm polenta with fresh herbs and goat cheese. Then he pulled out the silicone financier mold we bought last month.

We've been busy. We haven't been able to use them. We imagined savory financiers and small puddings, little bar cookies, and other goodies we have yet to create. However, we hadn't made any of them.

So he spread the polenta over the molds and put them in the refrigerator. An hour later, he popped them out of the molds — no problem — and cooked them in olive oil, topped them in parmesan.

Little Bean speared one with her fork and chewed. Then smiled, then ate them all up.

And then she looked at Danny, who was already teary, patted his hand, and said, "Thank you." (in toddler language, of course.)

We were both unable to speak for a few moments.

Danny said, "You know, I've probably cooked for thousands of people, and it has always meant a lot to me when they enjoyed my food. But that right there? That means more to me than any of those meals."


That moment would not have happened without those molds.