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Magazine recipes that linger–cole slaw and “flapjacks”

If you are like me, you read new food magazines voraciously, especially ones that have cool typeface and awesome photos like Food Network Magazine. But then after trying a recipe or two, they pile up until you have a chance to clip your faves. I swear there is a business idea in there, if only I had time to develop such an idea.

Anyway, that being said, there are recipes I have clipped that I go to–frequently. One such recipe is the one I use for cole slaw from…wait for it….GQ. I have to hand it to GQ. My comp subscription has made me feel old at times, but every month I look for its recipes and ideas about food. Seriously. So in the June 2008 issue, there were barbecue items–how to cook a hamburger properly for one, how to make kickass grilled peaches for another. But the one that stood my test of time was the cole slaw recipe–it’s simple, it’s classic, and it’s delicious. It also gives me a template even if I veer a bit with the ingredients, but I never seem to want to because of how delicious the original recipe is.

Then there was this other one–an article and recipe in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. This is a mag my mom reads and probably has 35 years worth of them piled up, but I grabbed one in an airport one day and wound up clipping this article about British “flapjacks.” Food journalist/blogger/restauranteur Molly Wizenberg wrote it and made these things appear to look and sound delicious. The recipe haunted me for two and half years until I pulled it out again the other day. The one thing holding me back–an ingredient called golden syrup, which is only available in specialty food stores and British import shops. They are not pancakes per se, but more like cookie/granola bar hybrids that they call flapjacks. The ingredients are simple–quick cooking oats, butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and a pinch of salt. I’ve always loved the taste of oatmeal and oatmeal cookies and anything made with oats, but dang…golden freaking syrup. Finally, I realized something. The last few months I have found things the new-fashioned way–online. Well, duh. You can buy anything on Amazon.com these days. So there it was–Lyle’s Golden Syrup, maybe $5 a can but about $10 in shipping. That was fine with me. It arrived and I made the recipe the next day. My wife and I devoured the whole tray and I made another tray which I devoured this past week. Now let’s be frank–a stick of butter will make almost anything taste good. But these flapjacks are the bomb, and I suspect we will make them again this weekend, making two trays or more.

Thank you, Molly Wizenberg. You brought me something from your own experiences/memories, and now I’m going to get really fat eating them because they taste so good. Now, if anyone can share a recipe that resembles those Buitoni toaster pizzas from my childhood that they don’t make anymore, I will be forever grateful.

Product review: Element Bars

I realize that this blog is often geared toward recipes, reviews and ideas that are not exactly healthy. But we do include our share of healthy ideas, and truth be told, my gut is growing in inverse proportion to the inactivity I’ve endured following recent back surgery. And so I need to eat better, something that is always easier when it’s more convenient.

Well, there is a product that was pitched to me recently for this blog that is healthy, convenient, and tasty–and has the added bonus of being gluten free–Element Bars. Standard granola bars often have so much added sugar or other sweeteners that offset the health benefits. Protein bars have long lists of ingredients that you can’t pronounce and usually they have this weird aftertaste. And there has been another wave of bars–the all natural kind, and Element Bars fit that bill. But they take it a step further by allowing you to customize your bars.

Go to www.elementbars.com, and poke around. You can make your own bars based on whether you’d like them chewy, oaty, crispy, datey or fruit&nut. Those are the “core” parts of the bar, and from there you add whatever types of dried fruit, nuts, sweeteners (such as honey or maple syrup) and “boosts” such as whey, fiber or Omega-3. But you can also order pre-determined recipes, and some flavors I sampled were Datey Divine, PB Power, Almond Sunrise, Cherry Charge, Banana Repair, and Cherry Chocolate.

They were all delicious, and I’m not just saying that because they sent me product to try. But there was the added bonus of knowing I was eating something all natural and good for me–with good amounts of fiber or protein or both. I have to say though that I was really partial to the “Cherry Charge,” which had oats and whey crisps, as well as dried cherries and cashews. And maybe one of the best points here–I was running out the door twice recently and realized I had no time to make breakfast. I grabbed an Element Bar, ate one in the car and my hunger was curbed for a few hours. No joke. I guess when you give your body the nutrients it needs, you don’t get hungry. Imagine that!

Seriously though, for you folks that are health conscious, you won’t find a bar that tastes this good with this much nutrition. Or one that you can create on your own. Now that’s good marketing.

For more information, check out www.elementbars.com

Product review: me & goji cereal

Now this is one of those ideas that will make you smack your own forehead, and tell yourself you should have come up with the idea –make your own cereal based on various lists of ingredients. That’s the premise of me & goji, the brainchild of two friends named Alexander and Adam, who enjoy healthy food that tastes good–but also with an eye toward the fact that different people like different types of cereal ingredients.

So you go to www.meandgoji.com, and you choose a base such as flakes, or hoops or granola; and add things like dried fruits and nuts. I ordered the oat rings with dried cherries, granola clusters and almonds. And there are several things I like about me & goji. First, the oat rings are solid and sturdy and stand up to milk for several minutes. You know they are made from whole grains, yet they taste really good. The cherries are tart but not too tart, and the clusters and almonds add a nice counterpunch. The only drawback is that I would like to have more of the secondary ingredients. I’m guessing it’s about 70% oat rings, and 10% of each of the others.

It also comes in a cool capsule that you can stick easily in a gym bag and have a good snack after working out. You also get to name it whatever you want, so mine was “Mikey’s Mix.”

You also pay per ingredient, so you have some control over that. And me & goji might cost you more than a traditional box of healthy cereal, but the fact that you can custom design it and tote it easily anywhere makes it worth that. It’s also a cool thing to order for holiday gifts and/or stocking stuffers. In fact, I’m going to order some today for that very reason.

So check out me & goji, but don’t beat yourself up for not thinking of the idea first.

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