Chocolate Inspirations: the vegan toffee-lover’s dream come true! »
If anything resembling a vegan Butterfinger makes its way into the world, you better believe your friend Megan Rascal will be all over that, like brown on rice! So of course I had to try these “peanut butter pillows” (at about 6 o’clock in the photo) from Chocolate Inspirations. I wrote the company to get a sample, and as you see, they sent me all kinds of goodies! Toffee galore!
Chocolate Inspirations specializes in English toffee. They aren’t a vegan company, but they have a whole line of delicious vegan creations (with bone-char-free sugar and everything!):
In 2009 after a suggestion from a Vegan who missed English Toffee, Pam developed a Gourmet Vegan English Toffee. The vegan community pronounced the Vegan English Toffee an immediate success and inspired Pam to create an entire line of Gourmet Vegan confections. In 2010, Marcy, a huge advocate for animal adoption, started Chocolate for Charity where a portion of the proceeds from selected chocolate items are donated to animal shelters around the country.
Yay! Letting vegans join in on the toffee party! And yay for chocolate that helps animal shelters. But, you prob want to hear about the chocolate now, yes? Hint: yes!
Well, the chocolate-topped vegan peanut butter pillows are AMAZING. They are sort of like Butterfingers but much much lighter in texture, like…pillows! You know I always share my vegan swag with my work pals but in this case, I could not. I kept all the peanut butter pillows to myself! I’m terrible! But they’re so good! Salty, sweet, and peanut buttery. YUM!
But I did share everything else with my workmates. The chocolate at about 8 o’clock in the picture is very interesting—it’s cinnamon toast toffee! It sounds odd but it’s very good. Really sweet though, so you can’t be sugar-shy with this one.
I don’t have my own pic, this is from their site, but they also sent this super pretty Italian orange chocolate bar! The office manager went cray for this one. It was popular.
But my favorite thing, AFTER THE YUMMY YUMMY PEANUT BUTTER PILLOWS OF COURSE, was the chocolate-covered cashew brittle (2 o’clock in the top picture). I’ve never been super into brittle, but it turns out, if you cover it in chocolate, I’m all for it! The chocolate is just so good with the buttery brittle.
AND they sent these adorable chocolate cups! Nice and bitter-sweet. We mixed them with warm almond milk and it was great but I like the suggestion to mix the lil’ one in a cup of coffee—mmmm! These are so cute too. I think they’d be a nice treat for kids. Much more fun than dumping a little bag of powder in a mug!
You’ll also be happy to know that Chocolate Inspirations is on the Food Empowerment Project’s recommended list. And their prices are not even cray! Any toffee-lovers out there? Are you so excited?
All-vegan ice cream shop formerly known as Lula’s makes peanut-butterific vegan ice cream! »
Jess being cute. My cone is on the left (your left) and her peanut butter chocolate chip is on the right.
As the weather was mostly pleasant here in NYC last week and her main squeeze was out of town, I got to go on an ice cream date with my friend Jess. You guys remember Lula’s Sweet Apothecary? Well, as you may recall, they had some drama last year. I don’t know much about it but I know they didn’t really close, but they don’t go by Lula’s anymore. They also don’t go by anything else so…I will call them the Sweet Apothecary formerly known as Lula’s I suppose. Regardless, I hadn’t since whatever happened, so Jess and I decided to see how things were going over there.
First of all, they had espresso ice cream. MY FAVE. Second of all, they were all out of it—I guess it’s not just MY fave. However, all was not lost as I took a chance and got the vanilla ice cream with peanut butter crunch swirl and it was FANTASMIC! The swirl wasn’t really crunchy, just peanut buttery, which is what I was hoping. Jess got the peanut butter chocolate chip. I gave it a try and it was delicious as well! Even if they have the espresso next time I go, I think I will get one of the two we got. Or maybe the espresso. OR MAYBE ALL THREE BECAUSE I DO WHAT I WANNA.
I have to say I think the ice cream there is better than it used to be when it was Lula’s. Is that possible? When I first moved to NYC, I went to Lula’s a few times and while I liked it, I didn’t find the ice cream that flavorful. Or there were flavorful options but they weren’t classic ice cream flavors. Like the maple pecan was great, but the traditional options weren’t as plentiful and were just a little underwhelming. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I swear, the flavors now are perfect! TWO peanut butter options?! BE STILL MY PEANUT BUTTER-COVERED HEART.
And you’ll be happy to know they still have all the vegan candy bars for sale, including personal fave Go Max Go’s Thumbs Up.
So if you haven’t been to the Sweet Apothecary formerly known as Lula’s in a while, go! Tis the season!
The address is 516 E 6th St, between ave A and B.
Better Off Spread: totally metal gourmet nut butters with badass vegan flavors! »
If there’s two things I love (shut up, there’s at least two), it’s peanut butter and metal! So how could I not try Better Off Spread? Spoiler: I couldn’t not! As soon as I heard about the gourmet nut butter brand, I had to have some. Not all of their flavors are vegan but they sent me three vegan flavors to test drive: Every Rosemary Has Its Thorn (dark chocolate rosemary peanut butter!), And Justice For Almonds (dark chocolate coconut almond butter!), and The Ace Of Spice (spicy peppery peanut butter!).
I tried the chocolate coconut almond butter on some toaster waffles and it was the yum! I really like the grainy texture—that’s how I like my nut butters. Not all Skippy-style smooth. I like the little grains of nut. And I was worried about the coconut but it wasn’t that strong flavor-wise. I do think there were little bits of coconut, which blended nicely with the grainy texture and made it even a bit more crunchy (not like chunky peanut butter though).
As for the chocolate rosemary peanut butter, I was quite trepidacious. Rosemary and chocolate? Say whaaaa? But then I tried it and, low and behold, it was delicious! I managed to eat the entire mini jar in one sitting—straight, no chaser.
For my final act, I tried the spicy peppery peanut butter. I wasn’t sure how to eat it and I’m kind of a nancy about spice. The jar suggests noodles and such but I thought, hey! How about some spicy peanut butter tofu!
I pan-fried the tofu first. Then I microwaved the jar of peanut butter to liquify it a bit. I mixed it up and TA DA! Spicy peanut butter tofu. I know the picture looks like it’s battered and fried, but it’s not. I just couldn’t get the consistency very thin. It was pretty thick—kind of like eating spicy peanut butter on tofu. WHICH IS BASICALLY MY DREAM ANYWAY. So it was thick but very good. I think it would have been much-improved by some soy ginger sauce and that prob would have thinned the sauce a little. It also would have definitely been nice over a bed of sautéed spinach but not all of us plan ahead or leave our houses after dusk (vampires).
More fun things about Better Off Spread in their own words:
Our spreads are always made with the best ingredients we can find. We always use organic, non-GMO nuts and don’t add any oils, fats, preservatives or sugars to them, just natural ingredients combined to make freaking awesome flavors. All of our spreads are hand made in Brooklyn, many of them are vegan and gluten-free and straight up good for you.
Do you heart them? I heart them! That brings the count of things I love up to at least three. Take that, clinical depression!
But guys, I have half a jar left of the peppery peanut butter; what should I do with it?! Help!
Peanut Butter and Sambal Wontons with Chocolate Sauce from Olives for Dinner! Born from hurricane Sandy anxiety, these look just glorious. You know I’m always into the savory-items-made-sweet and sweet-items-made-savory so this is right up my alley. Plus, I love dipping things in chocolate. Who doesn’t? Evil people!
Massive peanut recall! Check your foods! »
Right now might be the only time ever that folks with peanut allergies are looking at the rest of us thinking, “Haha, suckers!” If you haven’t heard, there’s a massive peanut recall afoot, and it affects a lot of fancy vegan peanut products.
A whole bunch of products made in by Sunland, Inc between March 2010 and Sept. 24, 2012, might be infected with salmonella! So far 35 people in 19 states have gotten sick, and the FDA and CDC are all over it. TWO YEARS worth of products? WTF, Sunland?!
The full list of recalled products is on the FDA’s website, but here are some that vegans are likely to have bought! If you’ve got these in your cupboard, either just chuck them or go to the FDA site for more details if that seems wasteful! The good news is unless you’re a tiny child (nice work reading the blog!) or real old or have a compromised immune system, salmonella isn’t too serious.
- Trader Joe’s, Arrowhead Mills, Cadia, Kirkland, Natural Value, Naturally More, Sprout’s, & Sun Harvest peanut butter
- Sprout’s tahini & almond butter
- Justin’s Nut Butters—anything with peanuts!
- Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor
- Peanut Butter Newman-O’s (yes, they’re vegan)
- Earth Balance Natural Almond Butter and Flaxseed
- Anything with the Sunland name on it
- AND SO MUCH MORE!!
[Photo by Yogma via Flickr]
Vegan Dog Chews: Puppies say “yum!” »
When I tweeted about Figgy’s appreciation for his new vegan pig ears, a bunch of people responded. I understand why—it’s hard to find a good veggie chew! And I’ve read chewing is a natural habit for dogs that relieves boredom and stress, and can help clean their teeth. My Figaro doesn’t really care for chew toys nowadays—if he can’t eat it, he’s not interested. So I’ve done a fair amount of searching for the perfect edible vegan dog chew. I don’t know if I’ve found perfect, but I’ve found some good stuff. And it’s all Figgy approved!
Here are the pig ears you can see Figgy devouring in the top pictures. They are from Vegansaurus friend Vegan Essentials. Fig LOVES them. The only prob was one didn’t last that long. It lasted about ten minutes. That’s longer than it used to take him to eat those yam chews though. And like I said, he really liked it, so these will be a regular in the Figgy treat rotation.
This is a long-lasting option that is vegan, as far as I can tell: Paragon crocodile dog chews (there are hedgehogs too!). You can buy these at Figgy’s friend’s store Nip and Bones. The issue with these is that I don’t think they’re super flavorful but that may be why they last so long. It seems like Figgy likes to carry these around more than chew on them—but whatever keeps him happy! He even tries to take them with him on walks, so silly. And he does eventually work his way through them so it’s a nice little chew.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Sam’s Yams; well Fig is totally over those. They had a good run, but they only lasted him about five minutes anyway. But then I discovered these Sam’s Yams bones and Fig will actually condescend to eat these! I don’t know if the chamomile makes him calm but as chewing is a stress relieving activity, it must do something regardless.
Here’s a nice bone Figgy likes, the peanut butter Booda Bone. He’s not obsessed with these, but he enjoys them. I emailed the maker and they said both the peanut butter and mint bones are vegan. Fig likes the peanut butter ones.
This isn’t actually a chew but these deserve a mention. When I first got Fig from the PSPCA, he was a skinny-mini and liked any treat he saw. Now he’s a fatty and he’s so snobby about treats! He is totes over your dry biscuit variety; it’s all about moist, chewy treats. For that I recommend Paw’s Gourmet Chunky Chewies. Figaro loves these. They’re just made of peanut butter, molasses, and oats; so you could probably make them at home but bleh, I hate making stuff (though if you have a recipe you’ve tried and liked, send it and I’ll link it). If you are not opposed to honey, these little molasses bits from Paw’s Gourmet are a great size and also nice and soft. But the Chunky Chewies are honey-free.
Last but not least, don’t forget about a good old Kong toy filled with peanut butter. You can freeze it with the peanut butter inside to make it last a bit longer. You can find Kong just about everywhere. Again, not a chew; but this is good activity and sure to relieve boredom.
There you have it! To all those dogs who think chewiness is next to godliness, there’s sure to be something here for you.
How do Canadian superstar vegans celebrate Easter? With mini peanut butter cups in jars! Angela Liddon, you crazy diamond, never stop shining!
[photo by Angela Liddon; recipe and a million more delectable photos at Oh She Glows]
This bun is cute! I’m also pretty interested in this matzo toffee. I’ve never heard of such a thing! Can people eat this during passover? I love matzo like so much. I used to trade my food for matzo at lunch when I was little. I guess that’s kind of bad in retrospect? Oops!
7 ways to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day!
Good gravy! Why didn’t anyone tell us that today is National Peanut Butter Day? How are you celebrating? Peanut butter noodles, peanut butter hummus, grilled peanut butter sandwich cut diagonally because it tastes better?
In honor of our most beloved of nut butters, let us observe a moment of silence for everyone in the world without access to delicious, unadulterated, perfect peanut butter. I remember the times I’ve lived in a peanut butter desert, and oh, those were truly the worst of times. We feast today in your honor.
Make this: Slate’s peanut butter hummus! »
My ma sent me this recipe from Slate last week, all excited, and honestly, I was skeptical. Hummus with peanut butter? Nonsense.
But the author does make an excellent point about peanut butter being more affordable than tahini, and I also feel like smoked paprika is a genius ingredient from heaven, and beyond everything else hummus is way super-easy to make, so why not?
Results: Delicious, slightly pinkish-brownish, rich, creamy, tasty hummus. Highly recommended. You probably have all the ingredients right now! If you don’t have smoked paprika, get some immediately: It’s inexpensive and adds a dimension of taste to your foods you’ll hate yourself for missing.
Peanut butter hummus! It’s what’s for EVERY MEAL FOREVER.
[photo by Olga Vasiljeva via Flickr]