Whole food energy bars

Whole Food Energy Bars | A Dash of Compassion

I had every intention to share this recipe with you sooner but things were a little chaotic over the last few weeks of 2016, and then the holidays happened—and you know how that goes. With the dust settling from my recent kitchen renovation, I’m just starting to dive into new photography and other food-related projects and it makes me pretty damn happy.

But I wanted to get the recipe for these whole food energy bars to you first. I rely on these babies whenever I’m in need of a nutritious, travel-friendly snack and I figured you’d love them, too.

Whole Food Energy Bars | A Dash of Compassion

Can we talk about 2016 for a minute? It was a rough year for a lot of people, I know, and crazy things happened around the world that we’ve had difficulty digesting. It makes me realize just how unpredictable our lives can be. On a personal level, though, I look back on 2016 as a year that was pretty great. I declared it the year of home improvement last January, and renos did happen: I got a brand new kitchen, we updated the main-floor bathroom, painted the entire house, installed new trim throughout, and my hardworking husband tackled a lot of little things that needed to be fixed or replaced (the “little things” list never seems to end). Phew.

Because we put so much money into the house, we put off any big travel plans for another year. But I did get to NYC twice in 2016, and treated my mom to her first-ever NYC experience for her 65th birthday. She loved 5th Avenue, and we counted every New York block we walked.

Caramel-apple crumble wedges

Caramel-Apple Crumble Wedges | A Dash of Compassion

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m feeling completely off. I can’t sleep, I’m having trouble concentrating on work, and my house is a mess. Do you ever have those days or weeks? I feel like my whole life is out of whack and I can’t seem to get anything done, no matter how hard I try.

So you’ll have to excuse me for being a bit mindless but I was determined to share this recipe with you today anyway, mostly because apple season is nearing its end and these caramel-apple crumble wedges are just too delicious to keep from you any longer.

Caramel-Apple Crumble Wedges | A Dash of Compassion

This easy recipe is a spin-off of my raspberry-oatmeal breakfast wedges I posted a few months back, but with a late fall twist! Think of this as a wholesome breakfast-meets-apple-caramel-pie kinda deal. It’s pretty rad. And super easy. And you likely already have all of the ingredients in your pantry (brown rice syrup is a staple for you too, right?).

Rest assured, despite my lack of sleep and motivation, I’m still surviving without my kitchen. For the last eight weeks I’ve been making all our meals in my dark, dingy basement and relying on my countertop Blendtec Smart Oven Pro to do the work I would expect of my regular oven. It’s definitely been meeting my expectations and it has also allowed me to continue baking delicious things like this (and this and this and this).

Although it’s on a much smaller scale than my regular oven (like, I can’t bake a regular pan of muffins or cupcakes, but I can do mini!), I do love that the built-in convection setting allows me to speed up the cooking time of sweet potatoes and pizzas, it bakes evenly and it lets me know when the time is up by sounding out a gentle “DING!” and automatically shutting off (but still keeping warm) until I’m ready to take out the pan from the oven. The new interior light also allows me to see how my precious meals and desserts are doing, and automatically turns on when the cooking time is up—I love that!

Dark chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse frosting + DIY Vegan’s 1st birthday!

Dark Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse Frosting | A Dash of Compassion

I can’t believe it. Has it been a year already? One whole year since DIY Vegan hit store shelves and Lisa and I officially got to share our cookbook with the world. This time last year was super exciting—and still continues to be—since it was the culmination of 18 months of work creating 135 brand new recipes (with gluten-free versions of each one!), testing and retesting, writing, editing, and photographing, plus all the sweat, tears and joy that go into creating a book.

We’ve had quite a year and a lot of fun promoting DIY Vegan through articles, podcasts, cooking demos and TV shows. Did you catch our latest segment on Breakfast Television? That was officially my first time on live TV. A cool experience? Hell yes. Nerve-racking? You bet. I hadn’t been in front of a TV camera since journalism school.

Dark Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Mousse Frosting | A Dash of Compassion

So, we have a lot to celebrate. As I said to Lisa recently, I will be forever grateful for the friendship she and I formed after meeting at another local author’s cookbook launch in 2010. We connected instantly over our shared passion for veganism and outreach, and partnering with Lisa on all things food-related has literally changed my life. I’m so proud and amazed by all the awesome opportunities that have come our way since then, including this book.

You can’t celebrate a birthday without cake, right?

Roasted hazelnut-almond granola clusters from Oh She Glows Every Day + a giveaway!

Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola Clusters | A Dash of Compassion

I know you love cookbooks as much as I do, so I’m excited to share this recipe from Angela Liddon’s brand new Oh She Glows Every Day. I received a review copy of the book a little over a month ago and have been enjoying it immensely ever since.

Featuring reliable and inspiring plant-based recipes that Angela is known for, Oh She Glows Every Day takes a slightly different approach than her first bestselling cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook (read my review here), focusing specifically on quick and energizing meals for busy lifestyles. The book contains photographic glimpses into Angela’s busy life with her husband Eric and daughter Adriana (just last week, newly born Arlo joined the family!) and it is clear that her active lifestyle as a mother and entrepreneur shaped the new book’s emphasis.

Roasted Hazelnut-Almond Granola Clusters | A Dash of Compassion

In addition to the 100 recipes for smoothies, breakfasts, snacks, sides, entrees and desserts included in the book, Angela also shares easy-to-make homemade staples like all-purpose cheese sauce, coconut whipped cream, balsamic vinaigrette dressing and vegan parmesan, plus useful information on essential pantry ingredients and making meals that are kid-, allergy- and freezer-friendly.

One thing I admire about Angela is that she doesn’t over complicate her recipes. Her simple and accessible approach to recipe development makes her recipes attractive to anyone, vegan or otherwise, looking for recipes that satisfy, nourish and inspire. Plus, there’s something to be said about her carefully written instructions, which are key to creating reliable recipes that work time and time again. I’ve made more than a few recipes from the book so far, including the freshest guacamole, fresh cherry tomato salsa, homemade sunflower seed butter, nut-free dream bars, flourless peanut butter cookies and coffee shop-worthy hazelnut milk.

A few other recipes I’ve bookmarked: overnight hot oatmeal power bowl, curried chickpea salad, crispy smashed potatoes and oh em gee veggie burgers.

My go-to green smoothie

My Go-To Green Smoothie | A Dash of Compassion

Smoothies are officially back in my life now that I’m more reliant on my counter-top appliances for everyday meal prep. I particularly enjoy them on weekends, when a full schedule of freelance work, long runs, house cleanup and social obligations lead me to stray from my usual weekday routine. They have once again become my go-to breakfast or lunch—in just 5 minutes, I can have a smoothie in hand that would just about rival the most nutritious meal around.

I realize there are lots and lots (and lots) of smoothie recipes out there, but after trying so many others—some requiring a seemingly endless number of ingredients—I found myself coming back to this basic green smoothie for three simple reasons: it’s super tasty and almost effortless, and it packs in a ton of glorious greens that my body loves.

My Go-To Green Smoothie | A Dash of Compassion

My go-to green smoothie includes ingredients I almost always have on hand—spinach, zucchini, almond butter, banana and Silk unsweetened almond milk, plus some added plant-based nutrition from Vega One.

While I believe eating whole foods is the best way to obtain nutrients, powdered supplements like Vega are an easy solution if you’re on the go or want to ensure you’re getting what your body needs to function at its best. It’s a convenience food that’s actually good for you! I love that there are so many plant-based options on the market these days, but I always come back to Vega because the company is constantly improving the flavour, texture and nutritional profile. Plus, the Vega One French Vanilla powder is so delicious you don’t have to add too much to get it to taste amazing.