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cookbook review: Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson + Banana Blondies

Classic Comfort Food for the Body and Soul

Author: Julie Hasson
Publisher: Running Press
Soft Cover: 192 Pages
Photos: yes

Chapters/Sections:  Introduction, The Vegan Pantry, Breakfast, Breads, Soups, Salads, & Sides, Main Courses, Desserts, Sauces & Incidentals, Resources

Unique Features:  The Vegan Pantry for definitions and explanations of ingredients that virgin-vegans and carnivores may not be familiar with and the Resources page to tell us where to find said ingredients.

(a few of the) Recipes Destined for my Kitchen:  Cinnamon Orange Rolls, Mocha Java Cake, Diner Donuts, Rosemary Sandwich Rolls, Smoky Spinach and Tomato Salad, Brown Rice Hazelnut Burgers, Pastrami-Style Seitan Roast, Rockin' Reubens, Quick and Hearty Chili, Biscuits and Creamy Sage Gravy, Malted Waffles

My Thoughts/Review:  I love the photos and the fact that everything does sound like good ol' comfort food.  As with all vegan cookbooks I've come across, there are some unusual (to me) ingredients that I don't stock readily in my pantry.  But when planning a vegan meal, it would be well worth it to get my hands on something different!  Very inviting, easy to read, and not at all intimidating.  Is it any surprise that the breads in here are my favorite part of the book?  I thought not.  Definitely recommended for those looking to delve into the meatless side.

Recipe I have already tried:  Banana Breakfast Bars Blondies Cake
Banana Cake 
Yes, these are actually entitled Banana Breakfast Bars and described as Banana Blondies...but personally, they seem more like a good cake...they kind that doesn't need any frosting.  Very tasty.
slightly adapted from Vegan Diner

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. flaxseed meal, preferably golden (I used brown)
2 tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. fine sea salt
1 c. puréed ripe bananas (2-3)
½ c. canola oil
½ c. granulated sugar
½ c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. nondairy semisweet chocolate chips (I cheated)*
*or substitute toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray a 9" x 13" pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk together bananas, oil, and both sugars.  Add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and sides are starting to pull away from pan.  Place on a wire rack and cool completely.  Cut into bars to serve.
about the author:   Julie Hasson is the author of the new cookbook Vegan Diner. She has 20 years of experience in the food industry, including attending UCLA’s Culinary Arts/Professional Chef program, working at the famed Patina restaurant, and serving as a private chef for celebrities and high-profile clients. Julie opened the original Babycakes Bakery (a wholesale bakery that supplied Los Angeles restaurants and coffee houses with artisan baked goods), authored 6 cookbooks (Vegan Diner, The Complete Book Of Pies, 125 Best Cupcake Recipes, 125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes, 125 Best Chocolate Recipes and 300 Best Chocolate Recipes), has contributed extensive articles and recipes to Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Vegetarian Times, and Family Fun magazines, and is also the host of the popular Internet cooking show “Everyday Dish.” Julie has been featured on The Cooking Channel, Better, Better Portland and Martha Stewart Radio, and was one of the hosts of the cooking show 15 & Done.  Julie currently runs a hip little food cart called Native Bowl, in Portland, Oregon with her husband Jay.

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
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