Saturday, February 23, 2013

Starting A Week Dairy-Free and Wholesome Sweeteners Review

One of the blogs I follow, Healthful Pursuit, started a 7-Day Dairy Free Challenge and as you may already know I have been on and off about trying to go dairy free for good for awhile now.  However, I have a cheese weakness; I love it.  It is because of cheese that I have never fully gone dairy free, I don't really drink milk unless I am using it for baking/cooking.  So seeing this challenge I jumped right on it, we will see how it goes.  (I am starting a little late due to the fact I kept putting milk in my coffee out of habit.)

I started this morning, and today has been fairly easy other than I really wanted real butter on my pancakes this morning.  The spread I have just doesn't cut it, but I can easily get a different dairy-free spread.  Today I also hosted a Mom's Meet, we sampled Wholesome Sweeteners Agave Syrups.  And since I can't just sample what they give me, I needed to figure out something to make that (1) was gluten-free, (2) dairy-free and (3) had to use Agave.  I checked out the Wholesome Sweeteners website for some ideas, and a few other sites I tend to linger too long on and decided on the Wholesome Sweeteners Strawberry Sangria and Berry Bliss Bars. {Notice the berry theme}

First, I want to say that the Agave Syrups were REALLY good.  We sampled 6 different flavors, Raw Blue Agave, Blue Agave, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Maple and Strawberry.  Our favorite by far was the Vanilla, if would be really good in teas, oatmeal, smoothies, or by the spoonful. I would recommend checking out their website for a lot more information but Wholesome Sweeteners is Fairtrade Certified and all organic, they agave syrups are also low-glycemic.  The only flavor we didn't really care for was the strawberry, it tasted too artificial.  The other flavor that we probably wouldn't buy, was the maple.  The flavor wasn't bad but we all agreed that we would rather just buy real maple syrup.  I would guess if you needed something low-glycemic then it may be a good substitute but if not then I don't see a reason to switch. We also sampled their Organic Stevia Packets, we didn't really care for them they just tasted like all the other artificial sweeteners out there. (If you use artificial sweeteners, let me know if you can taste a difference.) 

Now, on to the bars...Berry Bliss Oat Bars. I first saw pictures of these bars on the Healthful Pursuits blog, it was a guest post that then gave the link to, Oh How She Glows, which is also one of those blogs I tend to linger too long on too, she writes vegan recipes.  The original recipe uses Maple Syrup, I substituted with the Blue Agave Syrup; I also used gluten-free oats.

To see the original recipe check out; Oh How She Glows, Berry Bliss Oat Bars

Now on to the beverage...Strawberry Sangria. This was from the Wholesome Sweeteners recipe page. I made just a little tweak and used just the Blue Agave Syrup.

This is how I made it...really simple. In a pitcher, add 1 750-ml bottle of Rose` Wine, 1/4 cup of Agave Syrup, 1/3 cup of Raspberry Lemonade, 1-2 cups sliced strawberries and 2 cups ginger ale, stir and refrigerate.