31 August, 2011

Delightfully Delicious...

Every once in a while I get into a mood...  I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet know this mood well.  It is called "Jonesing".  I recently discovered the history behind that phrase and I won't pretend like addiction isn't the name of the game with me.

One day while hastily running through what was supposed to be a short "in and out" trip to the local Rainbow Natural foods on Richmond, I rounded the new corner (remodeling does that sometimes) near the cold case to see if there was anything in the way of hummus or cold salads that caught my eye.  But...I didn't make it that far, for when I rounded the corner I SMELLED....sugar.  Now...don't tell me you've never smelled sugar.  We all have...we think we're smelling what the sugar was made into, but NO...your olfactory smells the SUGAR my friend...trust it!  

I stopped as if my life depended on it and scanned the shelves for the culprit...  There, larger than life were these beautiful blueberry concoctions, also known as Blueberry Oat Bars.  Now, even when it comes to "junk" foods, I err on the side of caution, so I immediately looked at the ingredients.  Oooh...organically sweetened...the plot thickens...   I counted the number of ingredients...LESS than 7.  We have a WINNER!  That's my limit...generally I won't put something into my mouth that has MORE than 7 ingredients unless I made it at my home myself.  More than 7 automatically qualifies the said item to be considered "processed" in my brain.  It is a good philosophy to adhere to, though I'll admit, sometimes life just doesn't warrant it.  There are of course exceptions, for instance...after having said blueberry oat bar, I would eat ANYthing made by the hands of their creator...just making that crystal clear.

I made sure to catch the name of the maker of these tantalizing little wonders before I sped out to finish my errands and get home in time to make dinner.  I checked out, got into my car and took a bite.  I was starving, so it seemed like the thing to do ya know?  As I brought the fork to my lips with the one hand I put my car into gear with the other; I figured the one bite would keep me satiated until I could get home.  Right...  Yeah...you know what's coming...  I slammed on the brakes as soon as the bite hit my tongue.  WHAT the French TOAST!?  The taste far surpassed my expectations to put it mildly.  To be real, bar didn't survive the drive.  Okay FINE!!  >.<  the TOTAL truth...it didn't make it 4 minutes.  It was promptly inhaled as soon as I hit the red light 2 blocks from the store.  As soon as I walked in the door, my curious hands went to work...  Who is this Auntie Loo's anyway...?


 On Facebook, in local stores and with a store front of their own, Auntie Loo's Vegan Treats get around to say the least.  Did you catch that nugget??  VEGAN....  Yeah, this bakery was going to be somethin' to write home about...I could FEEL it!  Auntie Loo is carried in over 10 stores around town...all either natural food joints or quaint little coffee shops.  Her story is a familiar one to me...right up to the part where she actually was able to make a business out of her talent for baking.  I've always been too terrified to try.  As I talked with Auntie Loo and listened to her unfold the journey to opening her own doors I was touched...  What hard work, dedication and confidence it takes to start up in this economy!  I just had to give her a hug... 

After I collected myself, making sure not to cry in front of her, I made a quick survey of her case...


I blinked twice and was really sure what I wanted...one of EVERYthing!  She was still talking to me about her bakery...her plans in progress to expand a wall over there and that there were some nanaimo bars in the fridge that still weren't ready...  Wait...hold the phone...say what?  What's a nanaimo bar?  What she described sounded like Heaven in a pan....crumb bottom layer, ooey gooey middle and chocolate on top.  I have famously horrible timing...so alas, no nanaimo bar in my box.  But, Auntie Loo's isn't going to disappear over night...not a CHANCE!  I kept looking around the shop while she was talkin' to me.  HA!  I had forgotten they do cakes!  I spotted a beautiful wedding cake model in the corner...


I couldn't get her story out of my mind on my drive home.  You have to respect someone that worked as hard as Auntie Loo has to make it to where she is.  I immediately knew I was in danger of seriously falling short on my ability to give this woman her due props in my flog.  As I brought my trappings in the door and put them on my counter in a particularly honorable place...the center island of the kitchen (the "NO matter how important you think something is...it doesn't belong THERE" spot in my house).  I took them out of the box and put them in my cake dome.  Everything looked almost too beautiful to eat.  That only lasted a couple seconds...


 The first item laid to rest was the banana split cupcake you see there on the right.  I had been plotting its death since I hit my exit.  Auntie Loo wasn't kidding when she said some of her stuff was really sweet.  But, it was CROSS your EYES delicious!  I hadn't been able to eat something like that in such a long, long time.  My particular problem with refined sugar greatly limits what I can eat.  Auntie Loo sweetens all her offerings with organic sugar sources or uses natural things like strawberry pulp.  Coupling these facts with the FANTASTIC taste, I was still in mild disbelief all her stuff is vegan.  I can get used to this...easily.  The next treat to meet its demise was the scone directly behind the cupcake I had just devoured.  I figured it would cut the sweet....I figured right.  BUT...what I didn't figure on was that it was going to be SO great.  I am not usually a fan of scones.  Quite frankly, I have never had one that didn't make me feel like I needed a Big Gulp to get through the sucker.  Her scone was unbelievably moist and SO well made.  The crunch on the outside was just as appetizing as the soft on the inside.  Bravo!  You've made a scone lover out of me, something not even my very talented baker of a mother has been able to do!  I won't bore you with the play by play of what happened to the rest of the victims, just know they have been laid to rest in the briny deep that is my tummy, for which my tummy was truly grateful.

The day before my visit to Auntie Loo's I cleaned Rainbow out of their supply of blueberry oat bars......again.

 

They also have met a tragic, but beautiful end...

It is hard for me to own up to this...being as "wordy" as I am, but I just can't really describe how wonderful her products are...you are just going to have to TRY them.  I could sit here all day, pick apart the recipes, describe how juicy the blueberries are in her blueberry oat bars or how WONDERFULLY strong the strawberry flavor is in her strawberry frostings because she uses real strawberry pulp in them....but, unless you've had something kinda like it, there is no frame of reference for you to "oh" and "ah" over.  Even if you have the BEST of creative imaginations...good LUCK trying to imagine the bliss that it is when an Earl Gray Lemon cupcake meets your tongue.  Yeah...try it...you'll fail miserably.  Even the title of this flog entry is an understatement if ever there was one.  So I also will extend a hearty congratulations to Auntie Loo for rendering this flogger nearly...mostly...speechless.

With offerings like that of strawberry lemonade, vanilla lavender and orange vanilla in the cupcake category and her various squares including my new personal FAVORITE addiction, the blueberry oat bar, Auntie Loo's Vegan Treats is WELL on its way to becoming a household name.  She may be already...have you already had YOUR Auntie Loo's today??  I have!  Bring some home tomorrow, I promise...you'll be glad you did.  

Auntie Loo's Treats on Urbanspoon

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