vegansaurus!

06/17/2014

Massel Concentrated Liquid Stock makes for vegan cooking bliss!  »

imageWhen Massel, the company famous for its vegan bouillon cubes, offered to send me samples of their new liquid stock line I was really excited. I’ve used the cubes before, and I love that their products are clearly labeled “vegan” and free from questionable ingredients like MSG. So, I tried Massel’s new vegan concentrated stocks line and I LOVE it! 

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imageMy new favorite things: adding a bit of bouillon stock into a pot of quinoa cooking on the stove, using it to flavor noodle soups, or my very favorite: use Massel liquid stock to make a broth for cooking broccoli! You just add 3 tablespoons chicken-free liquid stock to 4 cups of boiling water. Steam the broccoli in the water/stock mixture on the stove and it turns the broccoli into the most luscious, savory, rich goodness imaginable. It’s magic! I have never loved broccoli as much as I do now, thanks to Massel!

According to the company website, one tablespoon of the highly concentrated liquid stock makes 1 cup of soup stock.  Once you’ve formed a stock base, you can just toss in your favorite soup fixings like veggies, noodles, leafy greens, veg protein or whatever pleases you!

My favorite flavor was definitely the vegan “chicken” flavor, and the one flavor I really didn’t love as much was the beef flavor. Here’s a great recipe reposted with permission from the Massel vegan recipe bank on their website.image

Gluten Free Vegan Sesame Noodles
Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. spaghetti (gluten free, if desired)
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ⅓ teaspoon Massel Vegetable or Chicken style Better Bouillon 
  • ½ cup peanut butter (sunflower seed butter, if you have nut allergies)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce (tamari sauce is gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoon Sriracha or favorite hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method

1.   Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

2.   While the pasta is cooking, whisk the rest of ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle mixture over drained pasta and toss well.

3.   Serve immediately, room temperature, or chilled.

Enjoy! See this list of where you can buy Massel products.

05/12/2014

Verb brings you vegan dry shampoo and more!   »

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Dry Shampoo in action! The videos on Verb’s “Demonstrate" page are awesome! 

I’m been lucky enough to have hairstylist friends (bang trims, galore!), which means I also have access to some awesome hair products. One of my BFFs, Jessica, has been working for this awesome company, Verb (based out of Austin, Texas, ya’ll), and I’ve been a fan of their Leave-In Mist for a few years now. It’s a great conditioning detangler, and heat protector!! (I’m a former bleached blonde, so I know a thing or two about fried hair. Jenny Bradley feels me on this!) I knew that particular product was vegan (and gluten-free), but was stoked to learn that so is everything else (minus the Forming Fiber, which they’re working on reformulating). They don’t test on animals (p.s. WHY DO COMPANIES STILL DO THAT?!?!) and they’re made in the good, ole U.S. of A. (#Merica)!

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The answer to all my defrizzing prayers. 

I knew I had to write about them, so they sent me some other products to try (yay free stuff!)! The Hydrating Shampoo and the Hydrating Conditioner left my hair feeling super soft and tamed the frizzy situation (which can be a BIG situation, depending on the weather). I also tested out the Styling Cream, which isn’t something I’d seek out on my own, because my hair is super fine (and not in the “girl, you look fine” kind of way), but it totally didn’t weigh my hair down and CRUSHED the fly aways!

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The key to the prettiest locks for the laziest gal. 

Then there was the Dry Shampoo. When I bleached my hair regularly (many hair colors and years ago), I only washed my fried locks once a week. Now that I’m rockin’ the au natural color (because I’m cheap and lazy!) I’ve been washing my hair daily (who knew I’d been killing so much natural hair oil all those years?!), but Dry Shampoo lets me be the lazy woman I’ve always dreamed of being (and no one would know by looking about my fabulous hair!!). 

If you don’t live in Austin (don’t move there, the locals hate it when people do), then you can order from their website!

04/04/2014

Cookbook review: Mayim’s Vegan Table!   »

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I just received Mayim Bialik’s debut vegan cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table, and I absolutely love it. I have had so much fun making the recipes out of this book. They are easy to follow with super accessible ingredients. I got the feeling this book is catered towards people who are new at veganism or feeding picky, young eaters, but I think anyone can enjoy it! While it can be exciting to make challenging recipes with multiple, unusual ingredients, most of the time I want to make quick meals that are big on flavor. In that respect, Mayim’s cookbook definitely delivers! Like, WHOA! 

The first recipe I made was the creamed cornbread, which is pictured above. I never would have thought of using creamed corn. It added a texture to the cornbread that was both soft and incredibly moist! This recipe did call for quite a bit of maple syrup, which I could see some people very much enjoying, but I would definitely cut down on that next time, maybe even adding some jalapeños. But don’t take that as me criticizing: I very much like having recipes in my repertoire that are delicious in their original form, but can also be easily tweaked to suit my own palate!

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The next recipe I made were the brussels sprouts chips. I meant to share these with my dad, but I ended up eating them all in one sitting. Oops! Peeling the layers of brussels sprouts is not much fun, but the result is so spectacular that I don’t mind doing it again! I hadn’t had roasted brussels sprouts chips since I last went to Social Brewery and Kitchen, so this was quite the treat.

imageMayim’s cheese sauce shows up in a few different places in her book, so I decided to give it a whirl, on it’s own. I used Daiya mozzarella, and in place of wheat flour, I substituted rice flour. I was curious if this recipe could hold up gluten-free. Good news: it does! I think many gluten-free substitutes, such as flour, breadcrumbs and pasta, can be used in the same ration without compromising the taste in her recipes. That is just another reason I am loving this book!  

imageI baked the cheese sauce atop enchiladas (my own recipe, not the ones featured in the book). I was very pleased with the consistency of this sauce freshly made as well as baked in the oven! I could see using this sauce not only on the enchiladas and mac’n cheese in the book, but also with burgers and chili cheese dogs! 

Next up, I made the soft pretzels. These were an Instagram favorite, but I have to admit, I already knew that would be the case! image
I knew I had to make the pretzels, both for myself and because if I’m going to do a review, pretzels are going to be the hit. I am super with-it, when it comes to food trends! My first thought was “Oh no, working with bread dough is so tedious.”, but I should have known better! Mayim’s recipe couldn’t have been easier or faster to make. One thing: the recipe says it makes eight, but then only has you form four pretzels. I only made four and they were huge! So next time I will make eight. I brought two over to my sister and her husband, who are both particular about food. They LOVED THESE PRETZELS, and keep demanding more! So, don’t just take it from me that they are incredible. 

imageThe very last recipe I made were the baked zucchini chips! They were fantastic and I ate them all in one sitting. Four zucchini have never disappeared so quickly! I didn’t have any vegan parmesan, and even though the recipe said that ingredient was optional, I wanted a cheesy taste. I diced up some Daiya mozzarella instead, and I thought it worked pretty well. Of course, I then had to dip them in Sriracha, because, what else? 

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So, that’s that! There are so many more recipes I can’t wait to make, including her Matzo ball soup and falafel! The cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, with appetizer, bread, sauce, breakfast, entree and dessert sections. There is also a sweet introduction, leading up to nutritional information for vegans and a few how-tos. If you are in the market for a new cookbook, I think Mayim’s Vegan Table is definitely worth checking out! 

Full Disclosure: The publishing company sent me this book free for review, however, all of the opinions stated in this post are mine. 

04/02/2014

Sea Bakin’: Crispy, savory, aquatic vegan treats!  »

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The three glorious flavors of Sea Bakin’

I am a fan of sea vegetables in pretty much any form (hello, B12 source!), but let’s face it, when it’s in the form of “bakin’” (aka crunchy, flavorful awesomeness), I want IN on that action!!

I’d heard that the makers of Sea Bakin’, The Great and Wonderful Sea of Change Trading Company (say THAT three times fast) were walking around Natural Products Expo West, but (sadly) I missed running into them. I was so bummed—I wanted to eat free vegan bakin’, ya’ll!!! Thankfully, I have an in with them (an old friend from my DC raver days, but that’s a WHOLE other story), and they kindly sent me samples of all three flavors to try. Score! The flavors are Garden Vegetable, Maple, and Thai BBQ. I think the Garden Vegetable was my fave, but I liked them all! 

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Up close and personal. They aren’t that pretty but they sure are tasty!

They have a unique texture, but if I were to compare them to anything, I’d say they’re a hybrid of flavored kale chips and toasted seaweed snacks. Seriously deeeeeelish! I ate them alone, and I tried them sprinkled on salads and tofu scrambles. 

Where do you get these delicious little snackys you ask? Their website says they’re available in natural food stores across California (and they’re working on other places), but you can also order directly from them

And finally, what’s a post about bakin’ without some Bacon?!

03/13/2014

The amazing new vegan goodies from Natural Products Expo West!  »

Alternative title: How the West Was Won

I don’t even know where to start. I spent my entire weekend at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA (for a good time, search #vegansatexpo on Twitter and Instagram). It was like being at summer camp! I met so many people I follow online, or vice versa, and I ATE ALL THE FREE (!!!!!) FOOD (mostly ice cream, which you wouldn’t be able to tell by these photos, but it’s true). Rather than going into extreme details about each and every thing I tried (that’s what follow-up posts are for!), I figured I’d give y’all what you really want: FOOD PORN. 

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In all my excitement about Mr. Dewie’s, I forgot to take a photo (thanks for sending one, guys!) The owners were so generous, and let me try EVERY FLAVOR. They were all good, but this caramel almond was my fave! The cashew milk is so delectably rich! There are also a few flavors made from almond milk, which totally ruled. 

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Gardein’s new Fishless Filets were a definite star of the Expo. Flaky, “fishy,” crispy… NAILED IT! And the cute little samples they passed out were served with Follow Your Heart’s Tarter Sauce. It was a match made in vegan heaven! 

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I’m embarrassed to say how many samples I had at The Piping Gourmets booth, but let’s just say I did EXTRA research and the results were unanimous: their gluten-free, whoopie pies are AMAZEBALLS. My top picks were the chocolate with mint and the chocolate with raspberry. 

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This is one of FOUR new flavors of Phoney Baloney’s Coconut Bacon. They were all stupendous!!! This “apple fennel” flavor really stood out to me. I’ll be throwing this in tofu scrambles, fo’ sho’! 

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Do you know who the Spork Foods sisters are? They’re about as cute as can be, and man can they make some tasty pancakes! Jenny and Heather are the official ambassadors for GO Veggie! Foods, and made blueberry cream cheese pancakes with the GO Veggie! plain cream cheese. Delish! 

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Edward & Son’s Native Forest has SO many awesome new products coming out. This is the first ever organic jackfruit! A few other new items I’m excited about are the organic coconut milk powder, and organic sweet potato flour! I can’t wait to play around with those. 

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The Sophie’s Kitchen “vegantoona” was another Expo fave of many of the vegans I talked to. Made from pea protein and konjac root, this “toona” has a really unique taste and nails the catfood-esque consistency of the “real thing.” Plus, it’s shelf-stable, so guess what’s going in my earthquake kit? 

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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Beyond Meat’s ”Taco Beyond” booth. I already raved about their new Beef-Free Crumbles in a previous post, but this was just SO RAD! And why isn’t it a real thing??!! 

As I said, there is NO way I could cover every product I saw there (and, sadly, I didn’t see everything!), but these are some of my favorites. I will definitely write more in-depth about some of these, and others that I left out. ESPECIALLY MORE ICE CREAM! 

03/12/2014

Got my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box at the end of Feb and now I’m ready to tell you all about it! Disclaimer: I got it for free, just so you know. So this box had Pacifica lip butter, Feed Your Do from Yarok, hand cream from Chandler Farm, Greenbody deodorant, Molly Rose Balm in Pickles and Ice Cream, and a lil’ candle from Birthed By Earth Candle Co. 
I love the Pacifica lip stuff. It’s moisturizing and gives a slight red tint. I tested out the little Greenbody deodorant—at the gym no less—and it held up well! Obvi I was sweating but I wasn’t stinking. I also like the Chandler Farm hand cream. Normally I like a little scent in my lotion but this just absorbed super well, not greasy at all. So I like that. Still have to try the Feed Your Do…imma get on that because my do needs to get fed.
I’m sorry but I couldn’t get down with the Pickles and Ice Cream lip balm. Maybe it’s too avant garde for me but I don’t want to smell pickles all the time. 
So that’s the Feb beauty box! You can sign up for the monthly box at Vegan Cuts.

Got my Vegan Cuts Beauty Box at the end of Feb and now I’m ready to tell you all about it! Disclaimer: I got it for free, just so you know. So this box had Pacifica lip butter, Feed Your Do from Yarok, hand cream from Chandler Farm, Greenbody deodorant, Molly Rose Balm in Pickles and Ice Cream, and a lil’ candle from Birthed By Earth Candle Co. 

I love the Pacifica lip stuff. It’s moisturizing and gives a slight red tint. I tested out the little Greenbody deodorant—at the gym no less—and it held up well! Obvi I was sweating but I wasn’t stinking. I also like the Chandler Farm hand cream. Normally I like a little scent in my lotion but this just absorbed super well, not greasy at all. So I like that. Still have to try the Feed Your Do…imma get on that because my do needs to get fed.

I’m sorry but I couldn’t get down with the Pickles and Ice Cream lip balm. Maybe it’s too avant garde for me but I don’t want to smell pickles all the time. 

So that’s the Feb beauty box! You can sign up for the monthly box at Vegan Cuts.

02/11/2014

Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Water: Get into it!   »

As someone who doesn’t drink booze, I take my non-alcoholic beverages VERY seriously. I was excited to try Victoria’s Kitchen almond water (aka “almondade”) and, you guys, it did not disappoint! As a wise man once said, “It tastes so good when it hits your lips!” 

Have no fear, lovers of cocktails, these exquisite elixirs would make PERFECT mixers. In fact, there are recipes on their website! 

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How cute is it that David, the founder of Victoria’s Kitchen, was inspired by his grandmother’s traditional and artisanal recipe (guess what her name was???) in the south of France. Ooh la la! This ain’t your granny’s sweet tea (well, unless, perhaps, your granny is from the south of France). 

As a huge fan of vanilla, I LOVED the “original” flavor, which is vanilla and rose. I had to resist my urge to chug the whole bottle in one fell swoop!  

The “mint & licorice” had a subtle hint of both (not mouthwash-y at all). I’ll DEFINITELY being trying their recipe for the mocktail, Virgin Mojito. 

Lastly, and MOST DELICIOUSLY (IMHO), was the “coconut” flavor (which got me singing this song—try not to get it stuck in your head now #sorrynotsorry). 

I was wondering where I’d be able to stock up, and noticed they sell it a half-mile from my house at Locali (which deserves its own post). Their website says it’s available in over 1000 locations, mostly on the West Coast (hello, do you need any more reasons to come to sunny CA?!). Almondade is my new fave! 

01/07/2014

Product Review: Vegan Rise Bars Deliver Ethical Energy   »

imageThe nutritional bars market is undeniably hella glutted these days—many stores even dedicate entire aisles just for them—so when my friend Heidi told me to check out new vegan Rise Bar flavors, I was slightly skeptical; I was all like, how would these be more delightful than any of the other bajillion bars out there for us non-omnivores? 

Turns out my skepticism was bunk—these are some of the best nutrition bars ever! Probably my favorite next to Vega bars and those gluten-free NuGo organic bars they sell at the airport and Raw Energy, the impossibly cute little juice bar off Shattuck in Berkeley (go there if you haven’t already!)

Rise Bars now top my list of energy bars, I think, because they’re sweet but not terribly so. They’re definitely packed with energy, and are pretty much the ideal food to bring with you on a road trip or while hiking, but they really are nicely flavor-balanced. Sometimes you just want a handful of organic nuts and fruit squished together for you by someone else and squeezed into a wrapper for your convenience. 

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While not all Rise Bars are vegan, the flavors they do make that are gluten-free, non-GMO and are indeed vegan include: Coconut acai, sunflower cinnamon, lemon cashew, blueberry coconut and raspberry pomegranate.

My favorite flavor of the vegan Rise Bars is by far the semi-sweet and perfectly chewy lemon cashew bar. It’s sweet with just the right amount of density. The protein base is pea protein, which is one of my faves. Some of the non-vegan bars have dairy-containing whey (insert yuck chorus), so just steer clear of those! We can all practice a little label-reading discretion and avoid animal secretions, and get our vegan Rise Bars eating game faces on like champs. Use Rise Bar’s handy store locator to find them near you!

08/20/2013

Product Review: Isabella’s Cookie Company  »

Isabella Cookies are damn fine and come in lots of vegan flavors and some are weird and all are wonderful.

They sent me both the V-Ging, a spicy ginger chewy cookie topped with sweet vanilla icing, and the V-RV, a red velvet cookie with vanilla icing. They were both extremely excellent — homemade tasting and chewy and flavorful and absolutely splendid. You could buy a bag of these and polish them off yourself or bring them to a vegan bakesale and pass them off as your own. Or fool any omnivore with their deliciousness if you were inclined to share. 

In addition to being gifted those flavors for potential review, I also bought the V-Breakfast cookie — “soft maple cookie with crunchy waffles, mouth-watering chocolate chips and vegan bacon”. It’s freaking weird as hell and also tasty as hell. Plus, it’s just really cool that vegans get to have fun weirdo flavor cookies. 

If you’re in the market for store-bought vegan cookies, I highly recommend these ones. You can find them at these places or order them on their site. COOKIES WOO!

04/01/2013

Product Review: Dr. Alkaitis Skin Care Is Posh For Your Pores  »

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Growing up I’ve been pretty lucky in the skin department. I’ve been vegetarian since age 12 and vegan since age 18, so there haven’t been disgusting meat or animal product residue seeping out of my pores in a long time, thank goodness.

Still, as I grow older (I’m 25, almost 26! How did this happen?!) I am increasingly discovering the importance of treating my largest organ right. Wrinkles may or may not come in a few years, and these freckles I’ve always been fine with could lead to melanoma, so I’m determined at quarter-life to ramp up my efforts to wear sunscreen and skin brush and administer semi-regular facials. A person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do!

These days I’m always on the lookout for good skin swag, and was thrilled when Dr. Alkaitis Organic Skin Care sent me samples of their latest line, which contains the finest blend of nutrients your epidermis can handle.

Dr. Alkaitis is designed by a PhD so you know it’s legit (am I right?!) and isn’t tested on animals and contains all-organic plant-based ingredients. According to their website, “Alkaitis is the only rational approach to timeless beauty.” That sounds good to me!

My favorite Dr. Alkaitis product is hands-down the organic universal mask. My darling and I put them on, waited 30 minutes, and became awesome. My skin feels so, so smooth and smells like the bottom of a redwood forest. I also love the organic nourishing treatment oil, which I slather on myself whenever possible, and put on just after doing this mask. It’s even great on my face, which the bottle said was an acceptable use, and hasn’t lead to breakouts. Go figure!

The only weird thing about Dr. Alkaitis products is their website recommends mixing goat milk yogurt with their otherwise vegan facial mask (umm…) but there is no goat milk in the product itself, so just don’t go crazy following all the instructions on their site and you should be good. Cool? All of their containers are 100% recyclable! Score another one for the plants! Get Dr. Alkaitis products online and at fine health food stores nationwide.

 

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