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Dessert courtesy of Whole Foods

I didn’t make dessert!

On Sunday evening, we headed over to an Easter party with family friends. My contribution to the party was a savory dish, chosen to ensure there’d be something I could eat for dinner while everyone else gobbled up their ham.

bulgur

And so I brought my favorite Bug-a-Boo Pilaf.

Most people ate it as a side dish, but I took an extra-large portion for my main course. (I also ate hummus, steamed veggies, and salad brought by others.)

bulgur2

I must remember to use sesame oil more, as I said on Twitter.

Bug-A-Boo Bulgur Pilaf
(Makes four Katie-sized servings… in other words, “Four large servings”)

1 cup vegetable stock (I used Imagine No-Chicken Stock)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 zucchini, chopped
5 green onions, cut into about 1-inch pieces (don’t use the roots)
2 medium carrots, finely diced
3 cups bok choy or spinach (I’ve made this recipe twice now, once each way. Both work well.)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups cooked bulgur (it works best if you chill this in the fridge for a few hours before using)

In a bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Set aside. Preheat a pan or wok over medium-high heat and sauté the carrots and zucchini in your sauté-liquid of choice. Add in about 1/4 of the stock mixture. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes.

Add the green onions, bok choy (or spinach), garlic, and another 1/4 of the stock mixture, and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Add the bulgur and the rest of the stock mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes.

date

Time for dessert!

Normally I don’t buy any of the prepared desserts from my local Whole Foods. In the past, they only offered three vegan items: chocolate chip cookies, chocolate pudding, and chocolate cake. None were made with whole grains, and the chocolate cake tasted dry and boring when I once tried it.

But I always look, just in case something fun and new decides to surprise me. And on my most-recent trip to the store, an item did just that!

Please excuse the ugly photo. It does not do the date-nut bread (or cake, for it tasted more like cake) justice at all. Not only is this loaf made with only whole-grain flour, it’s also completely free of added sugar in any form (even agave). Its sweetness comes from bananas and dates. Check out the ingredients.

It tastes delicious—so soft and moist and sweet. I definitely had more than one slice. Now I’m going to have to try and figure out how to replicate this bread… a google search yielded no results. Dear Whole Foods, please share your secret recipe!

basket

I transported my contributions to the feast—the loaf and pilaf—in an Easter basket.

Speaking of which…

As usual, I’m overwhelmed by all the kind words on yesterday’s photos!

I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again: You all are incredible, and you make a girl feel like a million bucks!  (For one thing, you certainly make me feel braver about posting photos of myself on my blog; that’s so nerve-wracking for me!) And for those of you with discerning eyes… yes, in yesterday’s photo, that is what you think it is, sitting in my basket. Get excited… I know I am! Winking smile

Published on April 26, 2011

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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68 Comments

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  1. Jennifer JCD says

    Banana + dates = win win every time. I’ve made banana bread with dates instead of sugar before. If you have Veganomicon you can find a recipe in there and blend up some dates for the sugar and use whole grain flour instead of white. It turns out really yummy! I got the idea from the banana date scone recipe from the same book (I think). Yummy!!

    We usually steer clear of the prepared foods section, but sometimes it is nice to buy a treat once in a while. It’s pretty rare though, as I love cooking and baking too much.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I might be the only vegan who DOESN’T have the book, but I’m sure I can find a copy at the library or bookstore. Do you know how much date “paste” you use in place of the sugar? And do you scale back on any other ingredients to make up for the volume the dates take up?
      No worries if you don’t remember how you made it… I can always experiment! 🙂

  2. Molly says

    Mmm I wish I would have thought of a quinoa pilaf to take for Easter lunch. My cousin is so sweet and, knowing that i don’t eat meat, she made a delicious salad with romaine, strawberries and almonds. Then I brought a huge bowl of cantaloupe and my Moll-teser cookies that I had just invented that morning. It was great!

  3. Cait @ Beyond Bananas says

    I don’t ususally go to the hot bars in places.. but I did use to AWLAYS buy things like weight watchers and lean cuisine. Now I take one look at those things.and itm akes my stomach churn! So much sodium too! ugh

  4. McKella says

    Banana date bread does sound good…so does pilaf…ok, so I’m hungry.
    I don’t usually buy prepared foods, but every time I go to Good Earth or Real Foods I’m tempted to buy a wrap or some soup. Yesterday I was out running errands and hunger hit, and the little snacky I always carry didn’t cut it. I still had a few errands to run and I managed not to buy out the deli section of Good Earth. I did eventually get a salad at Costco though.

  5. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) says

    I need sesame oil too! I love it and I ran out last time I used it…thanks for the reminder! The salad and the loaf sound amazing. I need to know about that loaf too. I don’t buy prepared stuff normally. I’m just too cheap and I like baking. I’m glad you had a great Easter!

  6. Angela says

    Mmmmmmm…the bread sounds delicious. I can’t wait until you figure out the recipe. I think that should be your next project.

    I never buy prepared foods because usually I can make it better myself. Plus, we have little in healthy prepared foods where I live.

    Looking forward to the cookie recipe too.

  7. Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) says

    Aaah Chocolate Covered Katie you are TOO DARN BEAUTIFUL you know that? Can I please have your face+hair, with a slice of that cake on the side? 😉

    YAAY a cookie recipe tomorrow?! I can’t WAIT! And I’m intrigued about what’s in this basket…I’m gonna go back and have a closer look! 😛

  8. Holly @ The Runny Egg says

    I love dates/nuts in a cake type dessert so I would have loved this dessert. I’m sure you’ll figure out the recipe at some point!

  9. Stephanie says

    I don’t have a Whole Foods in my hometown but we do have a Planet Organic, and they have the best kale salad ever. Actually all their vegan stuff is really delicious, like their vegan potato salad and moroccan couscous salad, and they even have stuff that I can’t ever find at Whole Foods, which is weird because it’s totally a bigger company than PO (or at least that’s what I think. I could be wrong, though). Other than that I usually just make all my own stuff. It’s cheaper, often healthier and more soothing and calming. Cooking/baking keeps me sane.

  10. Faith @ lovelyascharged says

    I HAVE SESAME OIL! I got sooo excited when I realize that my poor, almost-empty pantry has an ingredient that gets raved about on a blog…maybe I should bust it out for a stir-fry this week?

  11. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says

    I hardly ever buy prepared foods as they’re generally loaded with unecessary stuff. Plus it’s more fun making it on our own!

  12. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) says

    Your salad and that date nut bread look delicious! I love date nut bread, it’s so sweet and tasty. Yum!

    I buy things from the prepared section now and then, depending on what it is. I love veggie sushi rolls!

  13. Lauren says

    Yum, that date loaf sounds so good! You went to Bryn Mawr? I was just down the road at villanova for 2 years before transferring!

  14. Emilia says

    I love bringing grain and legume dishes to parties when I know there’s going to be mainly meat and processed dishes. I brought the best herbed lentil- bulgar dish to the last party I went to– it was a hit! 🙂

  15. Jess says

    well, a lot…it’s just easier. Usually I can get enough for me, so I’m not cooking in the kitchen, worrying about leftovers, or having food rot in my fridge. I’m pretty careful of what I buy, but I do try for fresh when I can.

  16. Elle says

    i don’t usually buy prepared foods except for hummus. it’s more fun to make it yourself and definitely healthier. i did buy a chocolate chip cookie with macadamia nuts and coconut from the health food store the other day though.. i was so excited that they had vegan cookies! :-p

  17. chelsey @ clean eating chelsey says

    The only thing I buy for myself in the prepackagaed aisles are hummus and crackers. Otherwise, I’m strictly a make it on my own kind of girl!

  18. Katharina says

    Ohh I love how you go about being vegan 🙂 I do the same thing as a vegetarian. Since it is my choice, I don’t expect everyone to bow down to that so I bring a delicious main dish that everyone can enjoy!

    And that banana-date cake? That is soooo yummy sounding. Dates are my absolutely favorite.

    XO!

    p.s. I’ve got a couple shout-outs to you in a post that’s coming up 😉 always inspiring, beautiful one!

  19. Kiersten says

    I almost never buy things from the prepared food section, but that’s mainly because there’s never any vegan items at our store. If I had a Whole Foods or some other vegan-friendly store, I probably would. If you figure out how to recreate that cake, please share the recipe! I love your Easter dress, by the way, you look too cute!

  20. Mariah says

    the date loaf looks scrumpious!
    i love the hot bar at whole foods but there so many yummy things that i tend to go overboard sometimes…oh well it happens:)

  21. Albizia says

    I could never make bread like this so I would definitely buy it. Even when I had normal cooking conditions (an oven and everything) I preferred to buy things I cannot make taste the same. As for the foods I knew I could make much better than the store-bought version, I would never think twice before I put on the apron and start cooking.

  22. Samantha says

    I definitely steer far away from the inside of the grocery stores… I barely ever buy anything pre-packaged unless I’m seriously craving something and don’t have time to make it… which is very, very rare… the last time I indulged in buying pre-packaged was probably… I don’t even know it’s been that long… I do miss the feeling of having food already made for you though, so much easier but unfortunately so bad for you.

    Samantha
    http://flavorator.blogspot.com/

  23. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    No I never buy prepared foods, ever. I am creeped out by the tongs! I have a small child and I know that little kids stick their fingers in the food and touch all over the tongs (and adult probably too)…just my own mental image of germs that I realized AFTER becoming a mom and realizing just how much kids touch things…lol.

    But hey, convenience is a beautiful thing, right!

    The 1st picture of the post..wonderful!

  24. Adam says

    I love the Health Starts Here banana date bread! I work at Whole Foods, so I may be able to get the recipe 🙂 there’s also a pumpkin bread made with the same base ingredients.. anytime you see that Health Starts Here logo, it means there’s no added sugars of any kind, only whole fruit, no extracted oils, no eggs, and no liquid dairy (but watch out in savory items, unfortunately they may contain some cheese.. but don’t get me started on that lol)

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Oh my gosh, Adam, if you could procure that recipe you would be my new best friend!!! !!! 🙂 I even went to the WF website, but no luck.
      I don’t think I’d ever seen the “hsh” logo before… maybe it’s new at our Whole Foods in Texas. I’m super-excited to hear your news that there are other baked goods like the date loaf. You’d better believe I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that pumpkin one!

      • Adam says

        Ok, got the recipe! 🙂

        Although it was formatted by weight to make 23 pounds of batter lol, so I had to try to scale it down to one 1.5 pound portion of batter, so these measurements are rough, but it should still work out ok.. I hope lol

        I’m anxious for you to try it, I’d like to see how close it comes to the store-bought version 🙂

        HSH Date Nut Loaf

        1/4 lb Dates, chopped, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
        1/4 lb (about 1/2 cup) Date Sugar (if you can’t get date sugar, you could probably substitute it for another 1/4 lb dates, soaked and pureed)
        1/3 lb (about 2 medium) Bananas, pureed or mashed well
        1 1/2 tsp Powdered Egg Replacer
        2 T Water
        1/4 lb (about 1 cup) Whole or Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour
        1/2 tsp Salt
        1/2 tsp Baking Soda
        1/2 tsp Baking Powder
        1 tsp Vanilla Extract
        1/2 cup Walnuts, coarsley chopped

        In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together date sugar (or soaked pureed dates), pureed banana, egg replacer, water, and beat at medium speed until well combined.

        Add in flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix just until combined.

        Fold in chopped dates and walnuts.

        Transfer batter to a loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

        • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

          Wow, Adam, thank you SO much!!! I will definitely be trying this! Hopefully soon :).
          Is it ok if I link back to this, to let all the readers know? If not, that’s completely ok too! I don’t want to get you in trouble with Whole Foods or anything, because I appreciate so much that you took the time to get the recipe for me!!! 🙂

  25. Tara says

    So I know it’s not healthy at ALL, but whole foods carrot cake owns my soul. It is seriously the most amazing thing ever. Actually, it’s just the one by us, because we got a slice at the one in San Diego while on vacation and it wasn’t nearly as good. I also love their hot bar and soups.
    I’m excited for more recipes, especially if it involves chocolate!!!

  26. McKayla (green groats) says

    I usually don’t buy prepared stuff (mostly because of cost), but I occasionally give in to the food bar at WF. We have a super-sized whole foods in my town, and the selection of food bar items is rather impressive (a bit overwhelming too). After a few times of feeling sick to my stomach from eating too many of their goodies for dinner, I tend to only go to WF for bulk items. I find they have great prices on all different kinds of oats!!!

  27. Beth @ naturallyyoursbeth says

    That pilaf looks like it would be an awesome side dish!! All the veggies in it looks amazing! I do buy prepared foods, but I’m always veer careful to study the ingredients. Sometimes prepared stuff is paved with ingredients that I can’t even pronounce…those items don’t make it into the cart 🙂 that date bread looks sooo good though.

  28. GingerandRice says

    Costco sells the most AMAZING peanut butter cookies!
    Really anything cooked at Costco is yummy, but i try to eat mostly homemade stuff.

  29. BroccoliHut says

    I don’t often buy prepared foods either, but I once tried some pea-guacamole from Whole Foods–it was SO good!

  30. Dalai Lina says

    I have been known to purchase chicken nuggets for my carnivorous children. I bet that makes you want to ralph!

  31. Stephanie says

    Just noticed that Elana Amsterdam mentioned you on her blog today, specifically mentioning Fudge Babies. Today’s post is a variation of your beautiful, tasty creations!

      • Stephanie says

        So sorry! Just to let you know, I have been trying to shanghai my hubby’s eating habits towards healthier options and your recipes are a huge hit not only in our house, but I’ve got most of my friends and coworkers hooked on your babies. For everyone who asks me for the recipes I email them your web address so they can putter around themselves. Thanks so much for helping make a healthy difference in our lives!

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