Posts Tagged ‘DIY Projects’

Tin Wallet

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment
My vegan wallet.

Maybe it doesn’t look like much, but I’m quite proud of my little wallet. A repurposed mint tin with a sticker and a teabox label slapped on. A little rubber band action inside, and I’ve got all the money/ID/coffee card organization I need.  


nutritional yeast “quesa”dilla




Vegan Food Bars

February 11, 2010 1 comment

I’m a big fan of energy bars. They are a compact way to get some solid food in your stomach. From the vegan perspective, eating a Clif Bar, Odwalla Bar, Lara Bar, or whatever, is a good way to get some protein and nutrition. Of course there tend to be drawbacks to such convenience. The biggest for me: wrappers. Every bar comes in it’s own super-sealed foil/plastic landfill fodder. If you eat one a day, you can just imagine how much indestructible non-biodegradable trash you send to landfills and maybe the oceans. Hence, my new project: DIY energy bars.

My goals for making my own vegan food barzz:

  • Filling snack for work
  • Nutrition packed
  • All organic
  • No wrapper
  • Protein the way I want it (soy-free)

It turns out this is pretty easy. If I can do it successfully, you can too. The beauty is that you can modify your recipe every time to try different flavors and ingredients. I have done a sweet cranberry bar, a simple banana-nut bar, and I’m excited to try more variations. Here’s a basic recipe:

Vegan Food Barzz:

Ingredients (all organic for me, and almost all from the bulk bins at Whole Foods):

  • Dry:
    • Rolled oats (I like quick oats)
    • Walnuts
    • Almonds
    • Ground Flaxseed
    • Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.)
    • Sunflower seeds (or others if you want, optional)
  • Wet:
    • Medjool Dates
    • Apple Sauce
    • Agave Nectar
    • Peanut Butter
    • Bananas
    • Fruit Juice (optional)


Pick whatever ingredients you want from these lists, and in whatever amount seems good to you. I would say the key ingredients are rolled oats, dates, and nuts.

1. Chop nuts. I just use a knife, but a food processor might speed things up.  2. Preheat oven to 325-350ish (I just do whatever seems to work).  3. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.  4. Chop dates. I like to slice them lengthwise, then into smaller bits.  5. Mix wet ingredients in a small pot over low heat on the stovetop. Apple sauce, dates, peanut butter, etc. This makes the dates easier to work with, and gives you a consistent thick liquid.  6. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. You want just enough wet stuff to make a thick dense batter.  7. Press batter into a small baking pan after greasing it with Earth Balance or coconut oil. It should be about a 1/2-inch thick. Think Clif Bars.  8.  Bake for 25-40 minutes, until it looks good.  9. Allow to cool, cut ’em up, throw ’em in the fridge.

I know, this is a weak excuse for a recipe. But this is basically how I do it. I know what I want in the end and try to keep that in mind while I chop, mix, and bake. This may mean taking the pan out of the oven a few times to touch-test, experimenting with covering the pan or leaving uncovered. The point for me is to experiment, and have a nice little food brick to nourish me on those short work breaks. They are tasty, healthy, and come with a little pride every time you avoid throwing out a wrapper. My bars have tons of vegan Omega-3’s, protein, whole grains, and fruit. You can’t argue with that.

Homemade Bike Fender

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

It took a while, but I finally finished my DIY bicycle fender made out of shampoo bottles. At first I thought one bottle cut in half and bolted together would do the trick, but it wasn’t long enough. I put it off a while, and then I had to add on that last segement a little haphazardly, due to a coming snow storm. I am pleased with the results, though. It’s nice to have a place to slap on all those stickers I have been saving, and so far it seems to be working!

It attaches to my seat post and frame with a bike pump attachment that just happens to snap perfectly in that spot. I had to secure it to the shampoo bottle base at 4 different spots to make sure it was straight and didn’t wobble.

I realize I could have bought a real fender for around ten bucks. But when I saw them on other bikes, I had one of those “I could make that” moments. It is just a piece of plastic, after all.  It took some tinkering, but shampoo bottles were the perfect solution, I think. Voila: upcycled bike fender. Not the prettiest, but I’m proud to have turned potential garbage into something useful. Now I can get to work and back when the road is wet without having my whole backside soaked. And I can still recycle the fender whenever I am done with it.


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