October 3, 2010
Erin Floresca, Contributing Writer
Wendy Gabbe Day, NW Veg volunteer extraordinaire, has recently published her first-ever cookbook titled Scatter Vegan Sweets. This cookbook features over 85 scrumpdillyicious whole-food, low-fat and gluten-free recipes that will satisfy any sweet tooth. From scones, cookies, brownies, waffles and muffins to fig bars, pies, granola bars and smoothies, there's a delicious recipe to be found for every day (or meal!) of the week. There's also a section of frostings and mousses to create just the perfect topping for your sweet treats. We recently caught up with Wendy to find out just what went into the making of this festive, healthy and tasty cookbook.
What inspired you to create Scatter Vegan Sweets?
I love sweet foods - smoothies for breakfast, granolas bars mid-day, quick breads and muffins for lunch, cookies, cakes and pies for dessert. But I didn't want to be consuming large amounts of sugar, and I wanted these sweet "treats" to be loaded with whole-food nutrients. So I decided to create a cookbook with gluten-free recipes that are low in fat, modest in their amounts of sugar, and loaded with nutritious fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and beans, too.
What inspired you to go above and beyond and make the cookbook vegan and gluten-free? Are you gluten intolerant?
I've been vegan practically all of my life - I'm so grateful for my parents' influence - so it was quite natural to create recipes in this fashion. I don't even really know why eggs and dairy ended up in sweet treats anyway? I'm not gluten intolerant, but I'm definitely gluten sensitive. I've realized I feel much better and lighter having minimal amounts of gluten in my diet. With so many wonderful gluten-free grains and flours available, everyone can eat their cake with or without gluten, too.
Your dad is a well-known author and veg cooking instructor. How did he influence this book?
I grew up hanging out in the kitchen with my dad and cookin' up sweet and healthy treats. He's been writing and teaching pure vegetarian cooking for over 20 years, so you might say my desire to create a vegan sweets cookbook is in my blood - literally.
Iíve heard you say that garbanzo bean flour is your new favorite flour, why is that?
I love the texture of combining garbanzo bean flour with oat flour or brown rice flour - it adds nice richness to baked goods. But even more than the great texture, it is so nutritious to be eating beans and grains in treats like cookies, cakes and muffins. And the best part is, no one will ever suspect there are beans in there. But I don't recommend licking the batter bowl clean, the garbanzo bean flour can be a little potent in its unbaked state.
I notice you use Medjool dates in many of the fruit-sweetened recipes. What is the significance of those dates?
I like creating treats that are sweetened with dried fruit, such as dates, raisins, apricots, etc. I've found Medjool dates to be plump, soft and really delicious - they are definitely my go-to fruit sweetener.
Who was the lucky person who got to sample all of these recipes while you were formulating them?
My husband, Eric, works from our home office, so I was continually bringing him goodies throughout the day. He loved sampling them all (well, most of them), but then I'd make him help me clean up the kitchen in the evenings - and he wasn't so excited about that.
Iím sure you love all of the recipes in SVS, but if you had to pick one as your favorite, which one would it be?
That's so tough - but if I had to pick just one, I'd have to say the Raw Berry Buckwheat Smoothie that we have almost every single morning. I soak buckwheat and nuts overnight, toss in some Medjool dates and frozen fruit - and within minutes we've got a creamy and delicious (and nutritious) breakfast. Eric's most requested recipes are the Coconut Cupcakes topped with Chocolate Frosting, and the Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies.
If you'd like to check out some of Wendy's recipes, and order Scatter Vegan Sweets, go to www.VegFoodandFit.com