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!
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!
Product Review: Vegan Rise Bars Deliver Ethical Energy »
The 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.
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!
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.
Product Review: Dr. Alkaitis Skin Care Is Posh For Your Pores »
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.
Alchemy Creamery: Brooklyn-based vegan ice cream with wacky flavors! »
Look what I found in the Carroll Gardens Union Market last night! A new (to me) vegan ice cream, Alchemy Creamery. It’s all vegan and also gluten-free, though I don’t know if gluten is a concern with vegan ice cream.
There was some sort of pumpkin spice flavor, an apple cinnamon flavor, and then the chocolate chai-flavored “Fixation,” which I bought and you see above. It’s nice and creamy. In a word: delicious. The flavor is more chai than chocolate I think. The chocolate is bitter enough to balance out the chai though, which I usually find too sweet. Right? Chai is always so sweet. So yeah, this flavor isn’t that chocolatey but it is bittersweet enough to balance out the chai sweetness.
I want to try the apple cinnamon one next! Actually, if you look on their site, there’s hella crazy flavors I need to try. I will let you know what progress I make. Of course being Megan Rascal, I had to suggest a flavor I want to the makers, that flavor being coffee. Not mocha—strait-up coffee! A nice person named Giuseppe (right?!) answered my email saying he’s working on an espresso and donut flavor that will be out in the summer. I say hells yeah to that.
Apparently you can now buy the ice cream at all the Union Markets in city! And they will also deliver to the NYC area. How will we get it to our west coast friends?! I will work on this. But you will have to trade me those vegan cinnamon rolls they have at the SOMA Whole Foods.
Product Review: Sproutein, Epic Protein, and Sprout mixes turn smoothies into nutrition explosions! »
Confession: I think everything Alex Malinsky touches turns to gold. Known in the raw food world as the “raw guru,” Alex got into raw foods super young and has emerged and maintained his status as an A-list raw goods preparer and purveyor. Although Alex hobnobs with celebrities, he still takes time to let me know about his new products, and sends me free samples now and then. I’ve tried a bunch of his stuff over the years—Rawmio is sooo good—but I have to say that I think his new protein powders are the most delicious products of his I’ve ever tried!
I drink raw vegan smoothies almost every morning and I’m always on the lookout for newer and better protein powders and superfood add-ins. I’m not satisfied with enjoying the same smoothies every day, and I think variety is what keeps me coming back to the blender on the reg. Alex and his brother Mark’s Sprout Living's new line of Sproutein and Epic protein powders and sprout mixes are really, really high quality stuff. They come in a variety of really mild-tasting yet nutritionally dense flavor varieties, including Vanilla Lucuma, Chocolate Maca, Original, and Sproutein.
Anything Alex puts his energy into has to be organic, raw, vegan, bioavailable (read: has usable protein and nutrients), fiber, ethically sourced, low glycemic, sprouted, etc. but these really go above and beyond. The Sproutein contains high quality sprouts that are easier to digest than full-grown greens and high in minerals and chlorophyl. Ingredients include such dreamy ingredients as: Freshly Freeze Dried Sprout Powders (sunflower, amaranth, millet, kale, quinoa, mung bean, alfalfa, chia, and golden pea), Hempseed Protein Powder, Goji Berry Powder, Maca Root Powder, Yacon Root Powder).
All of the powders contain healthful ingredients, but If you’re particularly interested in bombing yourself with hearty protein, the Sproutein blends have nine grams of protein per serving, and the Epic Protein blends (my favorite is the Vanilla Lucuma, with Chocolate Maca in close second!) contain 19 grams (!!) per serving.
My verdict is that these powers are very low glycemic and blend so nicely with my typical berry-banana smoothie combos that they’re a no-brainer addition to my breakfast—and maybe yours? I also tried and loved the Sprout Living Broccoli and Kale Sprouts Powder Mix in the smoothie too, because superfood smoothies can have all kinds of rad ingredients!
I’ve included a recipe for an absolutely delicious smoothie I made this morning, topped with millet puffs and some Rawmio Raw Chocolate Truffle Cake shavings. I added in Vanilla Lucuma Epic Protein and Broccoli and Kale mix. Amazing!!! And my colon is so happy. Enjoy!
Strawberry Banana Epic Protein-Sprout Mix Smoothie
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 1/2 frozen bananas
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 heaping scoops Vanilla Lucuma Epic Protein
3/4 tsp. Broccoli and Kale sprout mix
5 small ice cubes
6-8 drops stevia (to taste)
Blend and enjoy with your favorite ingredient toppings.
Get Sproutein, Epic Protein, Sprout Mixes and all other Alex Malinsky-approved products online and in select health food stores nationwide.
Bogs footwear keeps you warm and dry in the slush! »
It’s been kind of a weather nightmare in New York as of late. I’m sure you all heard about Sandy, but then this past week we had a dang snowstorm. Seriously? Seriously. And as usual, I was completely ill-prepared for snow. I had some cheap boots on that immediately let icy cold water seep in and they have no traction so I pretty much almost slipped and died 80 times. I thought, “omg I should’ve word those boots Bogs sent me!” They sent these boots to me for free last year but the weather wasn’t that cray back then. Now, the weather is CRAY with a capital JEEZ LOUISE. Basically, it’s perfect Bogs weather.
My Bogs, picture above, are called the Charlot and they are completely vegan (obvi). Not all the boots are vegan, some have leather. But the insoles are vegan so you don’t have to worry about that. These boots are bulkier than I expected so don’t think you’ll be wearing them to the club, but they sure are rugged. And I got compliments from the girls at work, so that is always a good sign. I walked around in the slush and didn’t slip once and my feet stayed totally dry and toasty.
Here’s some nice background from Bogs:
Bogs are made with 100% natural rubber sourced fairly from Malaysia and non-toxic glue. The materials we use are die-cut to minimize waste. Our shoe boxes are made from recycled materials and are shipped from the manufacturing plants by sea to reduce our environmental impact.
They also sell a line of camouflage ”hunting” boots but I like to think of them as “wildlife photography” boots. There are a lot of other styles and colors to choose from. Bogs are great for snowy/slushy/icy/rainy days or super for you farmer/gardener types. And if you like to jump around in mud, get some Bogs and you’re good to go.
UPDATE: I got official word on which Bogs are vegan and which aren’t (because I’m the best!):
All Bogs are Vegan except the following styles (which have leather on them):
McKenna, Mason, Seymour, Hudson Buckle, Jamison Leather and Bridgeport Leather.
Everything else we make is using a mix of natural and synthetic rubber (about 80% natural) and are vegan-friendly.
And they are working on manufacturing Bogs without glue (through a new heating process) and making their antimicrobial lining on the insoles 100% organic. Look out for that next year. I’m very excited for this!
Choc&Nut vegan chocolate spread is chocolatey delicious! »
You may have already heard of Choc&Nut vegan hazelnut/cashew chocolate spread as it’s been making waves in the vegan chocolate-loving community. Well I received a free jar to sample and now I will tell you all about it!
Choc&Nut is made by a very sweet family business in France and I know you will all be excited about this: not only is it organic, it’s palm oil-free! So you orangutan fans* can eat with a clear conscience.
Onto the flavor! As you can see, I tried it on a nice toaster waffle. It’s excellent! The flavor is sweeter than many chocolate spreads I’ve had and it definitely has a Euro taste to it. Reminds me of the chocolate we’d get on family trips to Europe when I was a little one. It’s also very smooth. Some chocolate spreads are granular like when you grind your own peanut butter, but this is not like that. It’s smooth as silk. Another difference between this and say Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread is that this doesn’t have a salty flavor. I like the saltiness of others, but I like this too. I think it just depends on what you’re in the mood for. I think this is definitely a good Nutella substitute and would be awesome in crêpes. If you have a good vegan crêpe recipe, dude, get some of this, a few banana slices and go to town!
There Facebook has some adorbs recipes but they aren’t vegan. I’m thinking we could veganize them? If you do, send me a pic and I’ll post it. But not a janky pic! I have standards. Maybe not in men, but definitely in photography.
*Orangutans are my 2nd favorite animal in the world! It’s elephants, orangutans, …dogs or otters…mountain gorillas or dolphins…I don’t know, I haven’t really figured it out past the first two. Point is: I love those ginger monkeys!
Go Max Go debuts vegan Butterfingers! »
The rumors are true: Go Max Go has added a new candy bar to its vegan line! The bar is called Thumbs Up and it’s a vegan version of a Butterfinger. I love Butterfingers, so Go Max Go sent me a free bar to try. Now I will tell you all about it.
Official opinion: AMAZING! Like, so good. I can’t remember exactly what Butterfingers taste like, but to my best recollection, these are an excellent approximation. They are crispy and best of all, peanut-buttery. As soon as I bit in I was like, “hot damn!” I’ve had a few vegan Butterfinger-type things in the past and they were all great, but they were generally a harder consistency than the real thing. Very toffee-like. These are different; they’re much lighter, which I think the real bar is like. Kind of like half-toffee, half-peanut butter wafer.
If you want to get your own Thumbs Up, Go Max Go tells me the bars are going to hit stores this month! They should be showing up in online vegan stores first, so keep an eye out. I for one can’t wait!
Whole Foods debuts their own brand of vegan meats! »
And we’ve been eating them up and they’re TASTY. Chicken patties, burgers, meatballs, nuggets, THE WORKS.
I believe they’re at all Whole Foods but Whole Foods doesn’t tell us shit so you might want to call a store near you and get the 411 on meatless meatballs and chickenless nuggets and WHAAAT. This stuff is GOOD. $4/package. I think that’s everything
[thanks to wonderful megan and miles for the tip <3 ]