vegansaurus!

04/23/2014

We totally heart Cocomels: delicious coconut-milk vegan caramels!  »

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Guys, I’m happily OBSESSED with Cocomels vegan coconut milk caramels. Like, completely OBSESSED. JJ’s Sweets sent me a bunch of free stuff to try and as usual, I shared these goodies with my coworkers. Everyone absolutely loved them and multiple coworkers said these are the best things I’ve ever made them try. 

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I was never much into caramels but I thought I’d give these a try anyway and boy am I glad I did! They are nothing short of awesome. And totally addictive. 

As they are made with coconut milk, some of them have a bit of a coconut flavor. People were comparing the vanilla Cocomels to Samoas Girl Scout cookies. I’ve never had those but that’s what everyone said they tasted like.

The coffee and sea salt have less of a coconut flavor. The coffee is my most very favorite of all the flavors! It tastes like rich coffee, like when you get coffee ice cream—not a subtle cappuccino flavor. The sea salt was my second favorite as you know I love the salty and sweet combo. 

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Now, don’t die! They also sent me a few of their chocolate-covered varieties!* I gave my mom the chocolate-covered vanilla ones and she pretty much died. These were all good but I actually prefer the straight up caramels. The chocolate seemed a little minty almost? Maybe I’m being cray but that’s what it tasted like to me. Loved the sea salt one of course! Here’s a picture of the chocolate-covered sea salt Cocomel, in all its glory:

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Jeez, don’t drool on the computer! OK you can because it’s your computer and you can do whatever you want. Unless you are at the library (NERD), in which case do not drool on your computer and keep it down over there. 

Other exciting bits of info:

-I love the packaging design! (Reminds me of the sidewalks in Rio. Why yes, I am fancy. Thanks for noticing.)

-Cocomels are made in copper kettles, all old-school like!

-They are gluten free, organic, non-GMO and corn syrup-free!

-The boxes are made with wind power for freaks sake!

-The chocolate they use is fair trade!

I know, it’s all so exciting! You can buy Cocomels online at their siteFood Fight Grocery, and Abe’s Market. You can also get them at Whole Foods Market stores in the NorCal, SoCal, CO, NM, UT,  NY, CT, NJ, TX, LA, AR, OK, KS, NV;  Select Sprouts in AZ and CA, Vitamin Cottage, The Fresh Market, New Leaf, and numerous smaller chains, COOPs and independent grocers. I cannot recommend these enough! I want more!

*UPDATE!: Several people have found the chocolate-covered caramels are sold-out on the Cocomels site! JJ’s Sweets just put this note on our FB:

The Chocolate-Covered Cocomels are available in a two pack only in a few select locations right now, but you will be able to order the larger bags of them on the site in the next few days…. making a fresh batch now! 

04/21/2014

Veal calves: horrifically abused by-product of the milk industry  »

Mercy for Animals has released another undercover video, this time from a veal facility in Canada. These little babies are not just confined, they are sick and injured, and get no medical attention. Why would they? They are just “food,” right? And then on top of that, the workers in the factory pretty much torture them. I couldn’t watch the whole video, it’s too sad, but the parts I watched are disturbing.

I hear plenty of meat eaters proudly declare they don’t eat veal. Most people know it’s often a cruel industry. But do people know that veal is a by-product of dairy production? It’s very simple: Cows need to have babies in order to produce milk. Many of the babies born are male. These male calves are useless to the dairy industry. So they are shipped to veal farms.

Even “humane” dairy farms do this. That’s what I always tell people when they say such and such dairy farm is so nice to the cows: ask where the boy calves are. I dare you. 

When I was a vegetarian, I had no idea that the cheese I consumed drove the veal industry. When I found out though, that’s when I became vegan. Of course I learned all the other reasons to be vegan eventually, but the link between dairy and veal is what made me vegan pretty much over night. I just thought to myself, if veal is a by-product of the dairy industry, dairy isn’t very vegetarian at all! Basically, being vegetarian isn’t very vegetarian. 

You can learn more about this investigation and send an email from the Mercy For Animals page.

04/17/2014

Alicia Silverstone releases new book all about being preggers the vegan way!  »

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I don’t think I’ll ever choose to get pregnant, but I know lots of people do! And we get a lot of questions about vegan pregnancy around here but alas, I don’t know jack about it. Luckily, Alicia does! Silverstone has just released this handy book, The Kind Mama, that goes from getting preggers to breastfeeding, all while staying vegan: 

In The Kind Mama,Alicia Silverstone has created a comprehensive and practical guide empowering women to take charge of their fertility, pregnancy, and first 6 months with baby. Drawing on her own experience, as well as that of obstetricians, midwives, nutritionists, holistic health counselors, and others, Silverstone offers advice on getting one’s “baby house” in order through nutrient-rocking foods that heal and nourish, and, once pregnant, gentle ways to boost comfort, energy, and health during each trimester. She helps readers navigate everything from prenatal testing and birth plans to successful breastfeeding and creating a supportive “baby nest.” 

Well! Sounds like the new vegan pregnancy bible!

So, do we have any soon-to-be parents in the crowd? I’m really curious, what have been the biggest struggles with regards to being vegan? I’d love to hear about everyone’s experiences. I know when people aren’t even vegan, EVERYBODY has something to say about what they should be doing when they get pregnant and have a baby. I imagine it might get even more cray when you’re vegan on top of that. Am I right?

Find links to buy the book here

04/16/2014

Lulu’s chocolate: organic, raw, vegan, and chocolaty!  »

imageMaca Buttercups. 

Lulu’s is an organic raw chocolate company with not only super exciting wrapping design, but lots of yummy flavors! They are on the Food Empowerment Project’s recommended chocolates list, wrapped in vegetable-dyed, environmentally-conscious packaging, made with fair-trade cocoa, and sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. Basically: EAT WITH RECKLESS ABANDON! Lulu’s sent me a bunch of free chocolate to try and now I will tell you all about it.

imageSexy packaging! Rococo, mother-lovers!

Overall: LOVE. And I don’t know if I’m just gassed from their write-ups, but I felt like I was totally eating something that is good for my body! Chocolate is good for you now, right? Especially raw chocolate!

My very favorite was the smoked sea salt almond bar. Salt and chocolate is the best combination and Lulu’s pulls it off perfectly! I shared all the bars with my coworkers (because I am so nice to them) and they liked everything, but this bar was especially popular with them as well. 

My other favorite was the coffee crunch bar. I also love coffee with chocolate and once again, Lulu’s does it right!

imageSmoked sea salt almond bar.

At the top, you can see the maca Buttercups. Maca is supposed to be super good for you, I think? At least it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Below is the chocolate maca chunk. 

imageChocolate maca chunk bar. 

I have to be honest, I wasn’t that into the maca flavored chocolates. They are fine but just kind of not that flavorful and not as good as the straight chocolate bars. But the Buttercups were pretty good actually! Besides the Buttercups though, I would mostly get the maca chocolates for the interest-factor. I.e. APHRODISIAC SEXY TIMES!

imageLove truffles. 

The love truffles are pretty exciting. They have hazelnut Rawmio! They were a little too rich for me, all truffles are, but my coworkers really liked them. So if you are a truffle person, these are for you. They have a hint of salt too! Yum.

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So clearly I am a Lulu’s fan! If you want delicious chocolate that’s actually good for you, Lulu’s is where it’s at. 

In other Lulu’s news, they currently have an Indiegogo campaign! They want to open a “chocolate lounge” but they need your help. There’s less than a week left and they still have a ways to go! So let’s help them out! I love when we get together and support vegan, socially and environmentally-conscious businesses! And you don’t have to be in Arizona to donate, the perks include LOTS of chocolate! So if you are thinking of buying any of their chocolate to try, think about doing so through the campaign so you get yummy raw chocolate AND you help out a vegan business. Let’s do this!

04/15/2014

Help Asbury Park, New Jersey get its very own all-vegan chocolate shop!  »

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Cinnamon Chocolate Covered Toasted Macadamia Nut Truffles! Yum!

Kristina Swenson learned to make chocolate as a child in Hawaii, now she wants to bring her skills to New Jersey! A natural progression. But Kristina needs your help to get her chocolate shop, The Chocolate Rabbit, started. 

I haven’t tried these chocolates but they sure look nice! And I am excited to have an all-vegan chocolate shop to force my family to stop at when we drive the NYC-Philly route. 

I know, another day, another vegan kickstarter, but I happen to love that our community can come together to fund the vegan endeavors of our brethren. We are mighty! Plus you KNOW I love kickstarter perks. Imma get some chocolate!

You can learn more and donate here. Good luck, Kristina!

04/14/2014

Blossom Du Jour goodies now available at NYC Whole Foods!  »

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Check it out! Whole Foods and Blossom Du Jour have teamed up to bring you Blossom goodies on the go. They will be rolling out a lot of products over the next year but the first out are Almond Biscotti Chips, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Choco Brownie Bites, Oatmeal Cookies & Pot Pies. POT PIES?! YES!

The line debuted at the Chelsea Whole Foods last Friday. I haven’t tried anything yet but best believe I’m getting pot pies as soon as I can get my chunky hands on them. And if they box up the vegan cronuts OMG!!!

04/10/2014

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has SEVEN vegan flavors! We try the Salted Caramel!  »

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The popular NYC ice cream company Van Leeuwen now has 7 vegan flavors you can buy in stores!!!! THIS IS THE BEST! Why didn’t you tell me? Well actually I saw the banana nut flavor but didn’t really feel like trying, though I thought it was cool they had an exotic vegan flavor. But I didn’t know they had a million vegan flavors! So I saw this Salted Caramel—with Maldon, my favorite salt! (SHUT UP)—at Union Market in Brooklyn and I had to try it because I am such a scientist.

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It’s delicious! Creamy, salty, caramel-goodness. It’s very rich, I don’t know how much I could eat in one sitting, but so good. Top a slice of vegan apple pie with a scoop of this and you’ll probably die of happiness. But it’ll be worth it!

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As you see, these are all soy-free. I know some of you like that. They didn’t have the Coffee Crunch at Union Market and YOU KNOW I love coffee ice cream! But Van Leeuwen’s FB says they have it at the Whole Foods in BK. I hope they also have the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk! 

More exciting news: looks like Van Leeuwen has branched out to LA! Their FB seems to have the truck in Venice mostly but they also said you can get all the vegan flavors at The Oaks Gourmet at 1915 n. Bronson ave. So there you go LA, you get all the good vegan stuff! 

Has anyone tried the Coffee Crunch? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

04/08/2014

Court rules to send abused elephant Sunder to sanctuary!  »

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This is exciting! Sunder has been chained and abused for years while PETA India has campaigned for his release. Finally, the high court of Bombay ruled in favor of PETA! HUZZAH!

ONE PROBLEM. Sunder was supposed to be freed in 2012:

The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then spirited away at the behest of Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained in chains. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined Sunder found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down.

It wasn’t a ruling by the high court so maybe it’s different this time. Regardless, I’m happy that the government of India is on Sunder’s side! And let’s all hope to the highest hope that this time Sunder gets his sanctuary! My heart goes out to you, sweet ele!

I’m not sure if there’s an easy way to donate to the sanctuary Sunder is supposed to go to, but here is some info on that. You can donate to PETA India here

04/07/2014

Della: vegan, socially responsible accessories and tech cases!  »

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Della is a socially responsible fashion line that provides jobs, education and skills training to women and men of Hohoe, Ghana. So the company sounds pretty amazing, but the bags also look super cute! And I just so happen to need a little sleeve for my bitty work computer! AND 30% of all sales for THIS WEEK are being donated to PETA! It’s DESTINY. So I bought this cute vintage coral one. I’m in love. 

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No really, this is just what I was looking for. I have a giant bag with a big open interior. So far, I just shove my work macbook in when I need to bring it home but I’m always like, “this seems like the worst idea ever.” Well, never no more! I now have a perfect responsibly-made macbook sleeve to protect it.

And as I was saying, the company looks really awesome. It was started by an LA designer and an entrepreneur in Ghana as a way to help the women of the Hohoe community. The women who make the Della products not only make a fair wage, they also take classes in literacy and finance. You can read all about it on their site. Here’s a little peek inside the company:

If you are looking for a cute bag, laptop case, headband, or THIS FREAKING AWESOME POCKET SQUARE, check out Della! And if you want to support PETA, this is the week to shop!

NYC: Young’s vegan pop-up is back this May!  »

imageHello, friends! I told you I was going to Young’s first pop-up restaurant a few weeks ago but I’ve yet to tell you how it was. It was fun! It was pretty hectic but I assume that will work itself out as there are more events. It was also pretty cramped, so I think when I go back I will bring 3 friends so we get our own table. Otherwise, you share. People were nice though, I just like my space. Oh and the staff was so nice and so amazing! Seriously, our server was so nice and very knowledgeable about the food. But, most importantly of all, the food was yummy! My pictures came out dark so Young’s sent me some of these lovely photos Kate Lewis of my favorite dishes. 

Our favorite dish was the carrot spaetzele (pictured up top)! It was a sweet and savory noodle dish. The roasted carrots on top were a perfect mix of sweet and charred!

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Here’s the banana split of Neapolitan ice cream, black cherries and hot fudge. One hundred thumbs up! The chocolate ice cream was so chocolatey, I almost died.

We also loved the smoked hen of the woods mushroom dish but the hummus under it could have been more exciting. I like hummus but I’ve just had so much of it by now! But the mushroom was excellent. I loved the smoky flavor and the texture was perfect.  

If you missed this pop-up or just want more, I’m happy to tell you the next Young’s pop-up is here! Young’s will be hosting another all vegan dinner at Old Bowery Station on May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Get your tickets here! It’s $40 for dinner and then a little more for the beer or cocktail pairing (the beer and cocktail pairing have gone down a little, so I think I will def spring for the beer pairing). I hear tickets are selling out fast so if you want to go, get your ticket asap! The menu looks good! It’s 3 courses and stars fava beans (my favarite!), ramps, and beets. Quite the trifecta! 

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