One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Product Review: Calnaturale Svelte

I love a good grab and go shake or drink, especially one that requires no mixing, is high in protein and is a good source of calcium, vitamin D and the all important vitamin B12. Calnaturale's new line of on the go shakes have all this and more! Unfortuantely, this will be a very short review because Calnaturale Svelte shakes include one thing that I cannot stand in a shake, drink or anything else that I taste - stevia.

I wanted to love these portable nutrition powerhouses so much but I couldn't get past 2-3 sips without gagging and finally throwing every flavor I had out. I truly don't blame the company but my own taste buds. I absolutely abhor stevia in every way shape and form. I've tried my best to like products it contains and do this to cover up it's horrific taste but to no avail.

However, if you like stevia I think these drinks might be perfect for you. As I said before, they are nutritional powerhouses filled will all the good stuff a heatlhy vegan needs (inlcluding zinc, vitamin B12, calclium, vitamin D, riboflavin and protein) with only 260 calories for a 16 ounce bottle. If anyone out there has tried this product and absolutely loves it please let me know! I'd love to hear the perspective of someone who loves stevia because I truly believe you would love this product too!

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Product Review: Vega Energizing Smoothies

After years of trying to figure out why I find all Vega products completely repulsive (after spending well over $300 trying to like them over the years). I finally figured it out as I was writing the review for Calnaturale Svelte. It's the stevia!

Back when I first tried Vega back in 2006, I'd never heard of stevia so I wasn't sure of what that awful taste was that I just couldn't get out my mouth. But now I know! Geesh - why won't these companies just use sugar! Urgh. Anywho. The kind folks at Vega sent me samples of their new Vega Energizing smoothies a couple months ago.

It took me nearly 4 weeks to muster up the courage to try one of them. I already knew I was going to hate it but, as your guineapig, I am sworn to try it! As with all Vega products, I've always tried them wanting to like them so badly - mostly because I needed it to be worth the money (this stuff is not cheap) and two because they are usually full of lots of healthy stuff.

One serving of Vega Energizing Smoothie features

•Two servings of veggies
•10 g of complete, plant-based protein
•5 g of fiber
•1 g of Omega-3

The back of the package always says "just add water and go" but seriously, have the makers ever tried this stuff with just water? That's just inhumane! I decided to try the tropical tango flavor with a big glass of mango/orange juice one morning while rushing out the door to get to a rotation on time. Before I knew it the smoothie was gone, I was at my rotation and my day was humming along until I realized - "OMG (yep, i said OMG), did I just finish an entire Vega smoothie? And dare I say did I like it?!" The answer to both questions is YES!YES! YES! Finally, a Vega product that I like, even with the addition of stevia this stuff was still amazing. The natural sweetness of the juice was enough to counteract the bitterness of the stevia for me. To make sure this wasn't a fluke I tried the Bodacious Berry with the same combo of juices and it was equally delicious. I went out and bought both flavors and stocked my pantry.

Since the first two flavors were so good I just knew the rest would be slam dunks. Unfortunately, they were not. That horrible bitter stevia taste came through loud and clear and I immediately spit out each subsequent flavor. I have a feeling if you like stevia then you would be ok with the flavor. So if you've had any of the other flavors and like them please leave a comment here and share your experience with the VGP readers! Even thought the other flavors weren't hits in my book the fact that I was able to fall in love with two Vega flavors in nothing short of a miracle so all in all, no complaints over here!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Brooklyn Dark Chocolate - You are one chocolate away from a happier day!

I am not inherently a chocolate lover. I idolized my mom growing up and she hated chocolate so I steered clear as well. Add the fact that we weren't allowed many sweets growing up and you can draw a clear picture of me eating grape nuts and nibbling on raisins instead of candy as a child. It took me 3 decades but I have finally learned to enjoy the pleasures of a well crafted bar of dark chocolate. When the opportunity came along to sample Brooklyn Dark's line of 63% cacao dark chocolate I jumped at the chance. With flavors like Moroccan spice, Classic hemp, Open Sesame, and Orange Silk who could say no?

Since I was never a chocolate lover who craved chocolate morning, noon and night I've always been more reserved when it comes to eating dark chocolate. Two little squares once a week or so is enough to keep me happy. On the back of each bar of Brooklyn Dark it says "You are one chocolate away from a happier day" to which I said out loud to myself "we'll see about that!" as I unwrapped the bar of Moroccan spice and broke off two squares. I cannot describe the perfection that is Brooklyn Dark chocolate. The Morrocan Spice flavor is everything chocolate should be, its velvety and warm but at the same time savory with hints of cumin, coriander, vanilla and black pepper. It taste like the best Moroccan sauce you have ever had in your life. It immediately fills the senses without overloading them.

Next up I tried the classic hemp, which is just that - a classic dark chocolate bar. Although it has hemp in it (all Brooklyn Dark flavors do) you don't notice it at all. Its just a perfect rich bar of chocolate. The sweet citrus taste of Orange Silk snuck up on me. First I tasted the bits of dried cranberries and the slight crunch of the sunflower seeds and then just as I was about to type "can't taste the orange at all" a subtle burst of orange filled my mouth with a taste reminiscent of orange liqueur.

By now we all know that small amount of dark chocolate in the diet can be beneficial to our health - it's full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and recent studies have shown in might in improve cognitive impairments . Add to that the power of hemp seeds, which are a rich source of essential fatty acids and, dare I say it, these bars are down right good for you!

Since I mozy through eating chocolate at a snails pace it will likely me months before I finish the three bars I've opened and move on to the last flavor (sesame seed) but when I do I'll be certain to update this blog to let you know what I think!

You can find Brooklyn Dark Chocolate at on the Brooklyn Dark website and at these fine stores 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tortilla Soup Recipe from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores

Roberto Martin was kind enough to let me share my favorite recipe from his new book Vegan Cooking for Carnivores. Check out my review of Vegan Cooking for Carnivores here.

Tortilla Soup

2 medium white onions, chopped

4 large plum tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 cups broth made from Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base or Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ bunch cilantro (stems and leaves), chopped

½ bunch scallions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

3 corn tortillas, charred over an open flame and cut into strips


Seven corn tortillas cut into thin, 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch strips (see Note)

1 cup safflower or grapeseed oil for frying

Kosher salt

2 firm avocados, halved, pitted, removed from their skins, and thinly sliced

1 cup grated vegan cheddar or Jack cheese

½ bunch cilantro, minced

In a large bowl, toss the onions and tomatoes with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Preheat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet until really hot. Place the onions onto the hot pan, and resist the urge to flip them a million times. Push some of the onions over and place the halved tomatoes on the hot pan as well.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot or small stockpot, bring the broth to a low simmer and add the remaining ingredi¬ents. When the onions and tomatoes are charred, add them to the broth.

Ladle a cup or two of broth into the hot grill pan to deglaze the pan to pick up any charred bits of flavor left behind. Return this liquid to the pot, and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the garnish.

Make the fried tortilla strips: Heat the oil in a small pan until a test tortilla strip fries quickly. Working in batches, fry the strips until they are golden brown. Transfer them to paper towels to absorb excess oil and season lightly with salt.

When the garnish is complete, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Return the soup to the pot and reheat.

To serve, ladle an 8-ounce serving into each of six soup bowls and place a pinch of the vegan cheddar or Jack in the center of each. Arrange some tortilla strips over the cheese, and place a few thin slices of avocado over the strips. Sprinkle each soup with minced fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

Note: 2 cups hand-crushed, store-bought tortilla chips can be substituted for the fried tortilla strips, if desired.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cookbook Review: Vegan Cooking for Carnivores

Although Roberto Martin is a celebrity chef I had not heard about him until his debut cookbook Vegan Cooking for Carnivores hit the shelves. Granted, this is because I live under a rock filled with full-time mommyhood, work and school. Living under this rock gets me even more excited about new vegan cookbooks coming down the pipeline as I am too swamped to do any large-scale recipe testing right now but still crave new culinary adventures.

I've found, with past vegan cookbooks by celebrity chefs that I'm never really blown away creatively by what's on the page. If you have a decent collection of vegan cookbooks by now you likely won't be either by Vegan Cooking for Carnivores. With that being said, each recipe in the book is a sure-fire hit - even if it they do lack the creativity I have come to expect from the new crop of vegan cookbooks. Reliability is exactly what I need being a busy mom who needs to get a wholesome, delicious meal on the table every night or packed away in my daughters lunch for the next day. My daughter has the discerning palate of a judge on Top Chef at the age of 10 months old so if the food isn't amazing the first time around it's getting thrown on the floor our family dog immediately. Martin passed the baby/dog test with flying colors and won my heart over with his tortilla soup recipe. I'm a sucker for good latin food.

Because I see so many cookbooks every week I've become a bit of a creativity snob but if you're looking for great, reliable, wholesome recipes that the whole family will enjoy then I highly recommend Vegan Cooking for Carnivores.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Uncookbook Review: Rawlicious

For years I've worked on amassing quite the collection of raw cookbooks but, without a dehydrator, I couldn't fully release their potential. I finally bought a great little used Excalibur 3500 Deluxe Series 5 Tray Food Dehydrator from a classmate who simply didn't have room for it anymore and I was ecstatic to finally try out so many of the recipes I've had to pass on over the years. There were so many recipes I wanted to try from raw cookbooks I've owned for years but, true to the blogger within me, I decided to venture into new territory and try out the small collection of new raw books I had sitting on the shelf.

The first book I grabbed was  Rawlicious: Delicious Raw Recipes for Radiant Health by Peter and Beryn Daniel. The forward is by a favorite of mine in the raw food movement Victoria Boutenko who literally wrote the book on green smoothies and changed my life in the process. Unfortunately, aside from the forward, I was underwhelmed by this book. It is a very very basic introduction to raw foods with recipes as simple as macadamia nut, cashew and Brazil nut butter where the only ingredient is a couple cups of nuts and a blender. Not even a blend of nuts - cashew butter equals cashews plus a blender, that's it. Not exactly rocket science. There was nothing too inventive or imaginative about the salads or soups. The breakfast options were elementary and the gourmet meals section was filled with extremely dressed down versions of pastas and pizzas I've come across in other raw food books. Perhaps I have been too spoiled by Juliano and raw food goddesses like Ani Phyo who push the boundaries and turn fruits and vegetables into works of art. It's very hard to go from make rich creams, cheeses, multiple types of bacons, pizzas, sandwiches and warm raw soups to Egg Mayo and Sushi rolls. I'll have to pass on Rawlicious  this time around. But I look forward to seeing what these authors have in store for the future.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Put Your Top On! (Healthy Top)

Have you ever seen those ultra-expensive gourmet whipped creamed canisters that turns whipping cream into whipped cream with a touch of a button? I'm a bit obsessed with them but for over $100 I'm stuck making whipped cream the old fashioned way. Well not completely and totally the old fashioned way - I'm not about to sit over a chilled bowl with a whisk for 20 minutes but I will break out my kitchen aid mixer and a chilled bowl. For the longest time the only vegan option for homemade whipped cream was soy based but as of last year Mimic Creme came up with a soy-free, gluten-free almond and cashew based whipping cream called Healthy Top that I love!

Each 16 ounce container makes about 4 cups of whipped cream and the calorie count isn't horrific either. I used this yummy fluffy cream to make the Agave Whipped Cream in my Flax Seeds Waffles with Agave Cream recipe (pictured below) from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food . I'm starting to see this stuff pop-up everywhere from health food stores to your run of the mill conventional grocery stores and, of course, you can always fine it online.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cookbook Review: Chloe's Kitchen

From the moment Chloe Coscarelli won The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars I’ve been meaning to try her award winning cupcake recipe but writing a cookbook of my own kept me from trying all the new recipes that I wanted to so until her new book Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way came out I did not have the pleasure of trying any of her recipes. 

I didn’t have a ton of time on my hands when I tested out recipes for this book so I tried to pick things that looked like they were relatively quick and easy and contained ingredients I have on hand in my kitchen. I started with Black Bean Baby Cakes with Pineapple Salsa. I figured this recipe would be fantastic no matter what. You really can’t mess up a black bean patty and the pineapple salsa paired beautifully with the baby cakes. The Mandarin Peanut-Crunch Salad with Crispy Wontons wasn’t on my short list of recipes to make since it had many ingredients that weren’t immediately on hand but the picture of a beautiful, bright, green and orange salad topped with curls of crispy wontons kept calling me back and I finally had to give it a try. It was delightful. The flavors were fresh and sweet and the crunch of the wontons were perfection. One of the stand-out recipes for me that made my taste buds a bit more excited than the others was Chloe’s Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus. I’m always looking for something new and innovative in a cookbook and I think this was one of Chloe’s shining moments. I, once again broke my quick and easy rule and spent a day in the kitchen putting these things together. Since Chloe said they freeze well I doubled the batch so my time in the kitchen wouldn’t be in vein and I’m glad I did. The flavor combination of falafel with avocado hummus was outstanding. I even shaped a couple falafel’s into sticks and dipped them in hummus for my 7 month old to try and she loved them as well – so they’re a hit for the whole family (and my dog loved the leftovers that she threw on the floor). 

Outside of the Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus, I didn’t go head over heels for any of her recipes but I have to say that I really really liked everything I tried. Chloe makes consistently good food that isn’t too “out there” and uses simple ingredients that can be found at any grocery store. Her recipes are great bases for you to let your imagination run wild and for that reason I applaud this book. I think this book is a fantastic introduction to veganism for just about anyone.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Convenience Food Alert! Harmony Valley Foods Hamburger & Sausage Mix

I love quick and easy vegan products that don't require refrigeration. I have the bad habit of over-shopping and my fridge is constantly packed with food that often ends up going to the rabbit, dog or compost bin to ensure it doesn't go completely to waste. So shelf-stable products are always a plus to have around. Harmony Valley foods makes a line of shelf-stable vegan hamburger and sausage mix that make approximately a pound of hamburger or sausage style crumbles by just adding water. Not only are they convenient from a storage stand point but they are great to travel with if you're not sure that there will be vegan options when traveling to visit friends or family. All you have to do is add water and wait 15 minutes then season as you'd like.

I was addicited to the sausage mix for a long time and then one day, I just stopped liking the flavor. I don't know what happened. It just started tasting tangy in an off sort of way. I don't know if it was just flavor overload or if the product loses some of it's flavor over time. But I would recommend that if you try this product to eat it all at once just in case. Another quick note, Harmony Valley also happens to be the name of a beef factory farm so be specific when you google this stuff. Until then, happy cooking!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Sexy Vegan Cookbook by Brian L. Patton (with a bonus recipe)

Every once in a while people will comment that I'm too harsh in my cookbook reviews. I must beg to disagree. I am exceedingly passionate about great, innovative vegan food. There are so many authors out there who create masterpieces in the kitchen with simple ingredients that you don't have to break out your 1980's edition of Encyclopedia Britannica to decipher. I am in the unique position that I get to read and cook from the majority of the new vegan cookbooks on the market so I get the opportunity to see and eat some amazing recipes and so not so amazing recipes. The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude by Brian L. Patton is one of those innovative, outstanding cookbooks.

I've been knee deep in a world of babies, book writing and school so I'm out of the loop on who the new hot young vegan talents are so I have to admit I've never heard of Brian Patton before. I don't know if he's a blogger, tv personality, or just (as the title of the book says) and ordinary dude who woke up one day cooking his heart out. One thing I can tell you for sure is he is an artist in the kitchen and, I have to say, I like his personality. Anybody who starts their book off with cocktails and calls them the most important meal of the day is a friend of mine. Patton's onion dip is so sweet and tangy I want it on everything, his balls are nutty yet filling (no really, he has a recipe called my balls that is made of walnuts and they have a great earthy walnutty flavor). His recipe for Curried Fried Tofu Salad makes me unnaturally happy and his Cauliflower and Roasted Fennel soup was not only a hit with me but my 6 month old daughter loves it as well. We used purple cauliflower to make it even more fun. But my all time favorite recipe from this book, that makes this book a must have is the Pretend Canadian Bacon. It is brilliant! Just brilliant! I've used the marinade on super firm tofu as well as tempeh, both baked and fried variations and they were a party in my mouth every time. The publishers were kind enough to let me share the recipe with you. So without further ado - Pretend Canadian Bacon!

Pretend Canadian Bacon
Makes 12 slices

One 16-ounce block super-firm tofu (or one 14-ounce block very-well-drained extra-firm tofu; see Tip below and Tip on next page)
1/2 cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce  
1 teaspoon liquid smoke  
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Cut the block of tofu into 2-by-3-inch pieces. Then cut the pieces into 1/8-inch-thick slices. (If you want to
get fancy, you can use a round cookie cutter or pint glass to cut circular slices, but that will leave excess that will go to waste.)
In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, liquid smoke, maple syrup, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Pour the mixture into a large zip-top bag, add the tofu slices, gently slosh them around so they get coated, squeeze the bag to suck out as much of the air as possible, and place the bag in the fridge to let the tofu marinate for at least 3 hours but no more than 5 hours.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Place as many slices as you wish (without overcrowding) into the hot pan, and fry until browned on one side (3 to 4 minutes), then flip and repeat. Cook the bacon in batches if you need to. If you would like to freeze the uncooked slices, use the same freezing method as with the Tempeh Bacon (see recipe, page 32) to preserve these for up to a month.

Super-firm tofu has the least amount of water of all the tofus. This allows it to hold together very well for grilling or broiling. When very well drained, some extra-firm tofu can get pretty close to the texture of the super-firm tofu, so it’s a manageable substitute.

Drain that tofu!!
There’s a ton of water in that block, and we have no use for it. Take the block out of the water it’s packed in, and place it on a plate. Then put another plate on top of it and add something heavy on top of that plate, like a couple of cans of beans. Let it drain for 30 to 60 minutes — the longer, the better. Discard the water and proceed with your preparations.

Excerpted with permission from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude ©2012 by Brian Patton.  Published with permission of New World Library

Monday, June 11, 2012

Snack On This! The New Blueberry Hemp Power Snack

A couple months ago I got an email asking if I would like to try the latest "superfood" by Navitas Naturals. It had all the buzzwords of the moment - blueberry, hemp, superfood, gluten free, no refined sugars the whole nine. The word "superfood" is a huge turn off to me but I thought "what they hey, why not" and I decided to give it a try. The official name of the product is Blueberry Hemp Superood Power Snack (now that's a mouthful). They are bite size snacks (about the size of one of those fun size Snickers bars) and if anything were to ever look like what non-vegans think vegans eat this would be it. They are brownish-purplish little bars dotted with all sorts of seeds. The ingredients on the back just sound like it should be good for you - organic camu camu powder, organic lucuma powder, organic maca powder, organic chia seeds, the list goes on! I have no clue what most of that stuff is but I assume they're supposed to be...well...superfoods. I could go on and on describing these things but let's just say this, think of every buzzword for every healthy thing you could imagine and it's in this stuff.

I carried them around in my purse for a week then one day, while sitting in my pediatric nutrition class, I decided to give them a try. Everyone around me was slightly intrigued and slightly horrified by their appearance but, after one bite I had to admit, these things are darn delicious. I mean, really really good. They are super sweet without being high in sugar (sweetened by dates), have a great blueberry flavor and a little crunch thanks to the sesame seeds. As far as all the other fancy ingredients on the label, it's nice they are there but the flavors that really come through are the dates, sunflowers and blueberries. I have to say, these are one of the best on the go snacks I've tasted in awhile and they are also incredibly filling so a little goes a long way. I highly recommend these little snacks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quick & Easy Low-Calorie Vegan Comfort Food is here! (Plus it's giveaway time!!!)

IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE! IT'S FINALLY HERE! As of May 15, 2012 Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food is officially in a bookstore near you (or on your favorite online store). Writing this book has been a true labor of love as I balanced work, school, blogging, pregnancy and writing - and I couldn't be more proud of how it turned out. Every recipe has complete nutritional analysis plus I give you 4-day menu plans for 1,400 to 2,000 calories. So whether you're trying to lose weight or are happy with where you are and just want to maintain your weight or heck, if you just love good food and want more of it in your life this book is for you!

Now on to the most important part - the recipes. I've got your covered for breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks, homemade breads, jams, homemade sodas, shakes, smoothies and desserts (oh yes, there are desserts my friends).  Start your day off with Fluffy Flaxseed Waffles with Agave Cream (pictured above) with Grapefruit Brulee and Crustless Quiche Lorraine. Then move on to BBQ Popcorn (pictured below) or Spinach Artichoke Dip with Farfalle Chips as a snack.

For lunch lunch try a Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons (pictured below) or forget the rabbit food and go for a big messy Chili Dog with Eggplant Fries on the side. 
For dinner try Chik'n Fried Seitan, Andouille Gumbo, White Lasagna, Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce (pictured below) or go for the cover recipe - Seitan Cheesesteaks. 
 For dessert you have a lot of options. You can sneak over to the beverages chapter and make strawberry milkshakes, home-brewed ginger ale, or lemon grass soda OR you can head straight for the desserts section and chow down on this insanely good Lemon Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Glaze and Blueberry Sauce (pictured below), Moon Dusted Donuts, Ooey Gooeys or Butter Pecan Ice Cream. 

Needless to say this isn't your typical restrictive, bland, low-calorie cookbook. I believe in real food and bold flavors so if you haven't picked up your copy of Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food yet what are you waiting for! It's available online, in-stores and on kindle (available May 22) and nook. And for the next 7-days enter, below, to win a free signed copy of Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food! Just fill out the information below and I'll announce the winner on Friday, May 25th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Match Meats Vegan Crab Meat

Although I’ve never actually had a crab cake made of actual crab I am a sucker for a good tempeh cake with a little tartar sauce or a spicy remoulade. I’ve generally steered clear of vegan crab meat as the thought of handling something that was remotely crab like kinda grossed me out plus why go out and buy expensive mock products when tempeh is just a couple bucks and readily available? 

Somehow, while veganizing Paula Deen recipes for my blog The Lady and Seitan  I found myself with a need for mock crab meat, on more than one occasion. So it was time to bite the bullet and order this strange beige stuff. I was surprised at how nutrient rich and high in protein Match Meats Mock Crab meat is. I was also surprised that immediately upon opening it my entire kitchen smelled like the Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransico. Every dish I've used this stuff in from my own impromptu crab cakes and She Crab soup to Paula Deen's Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes have turned out phenomenal with a great, chewy texture and, what I assume, is a crabby flavor. Match Meat's Mock Crab Meat is now I staple item that I keep in my fridge just in case since it cooks up quickly and really hits the spot. However, the smell alone makes me think not once, not twice but thrice before making anything with it. I only cook with it on warm days when there is a great little breeze going outside so I can open my windows, light a candle and let the scent waft out the house.   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quorn's New Vegan Burger

There's a fungus among us - and it is damn tasty. When the folks at Quorn contacted me about their new vegan burger I was over the moon with excitement. Their products have always looked soooo yum-tastic but none of them are vegan. Finally Quorn heard to pleads of its vegan audience and came out with a vegan burger. But not just any vegan burger, a smoky, savory, meaty vegan burger that is completely soy-free! New vegan meat analogs pop up in the market nearly everyday  but it is very rare that a soy-free product enters the market and I couldn't be more excited. Don't get me wrong, I love soy but honestly, it seems like every commercial vegan product is made of it!

Like most veggie burgers these patties can be cooked in the oven, microwave, grill or stovetop. After trying all four methods I think the stovetop method is my favorite hands down and produces the most juicy burger. I love these burgers so much that I want to make sure that you guys get a taste of these new treats as well so I'm doing a little giveaway. When I 1000 "likes" on facebook I'll give away 3 free quorn products to 3 of my facebook followers. Just head on over to facebook, hit the like button and I'll announce the winners the moment we hit 1000!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: Vegan For Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina

As a student of nutrition I can't tell you how frustrating it is when I hear misinformation and hysteria about nutrition and veganism. The scientific literature is filled with solid, reproducible evidence that a vegan diet is not only safe but abundantly healthy for humans at all stages of life from birth and beyond including pregnancy and lactation. This has been echoed in position papers for years and is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetics Association).
In Jack Norris and Virginia Messina's new book Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet , the authors lead you through a thorough, evidence based journey on the nutritional needs of vegans for every stage of life and give new vegans tips on how to make the transition. I knew this book was a winner when my mom picked it up, read it cover to cover and then said to me "I now feel 100% comfortable with you raising a vegan child, it's completely normal and so healthy for them!" This, coming from my mother is a BIG DEAL.

Norris and Messina, both registered dietitians, discuss protein from plant sources, vitamin b12, calcium, vitamin D and bone health, fats, iron, the vegan food guide, vegan diets during pregnancy and breast-feeding, raising vegan children and teens, vegan diet for people over 50, the health benefits of veganism and how to manage weight, heart disease and diabetes with a vegan diet. Vegan for Life is an essential book for all vegans. Not only will it educate you on a healthy vegan diet but it will empower you with the knowledge to tackle most any nutrition related question that comes your way about a plant based diet.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Breakfast Lifesaver! Amy's Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich

I'm not a morning person. Not even a little. Getting up at 9am is my idea of getting up early. But now that I have a little girl my schedule has been turned upside down and I find myself getting up before sunrise to get ready for the day. Between getting myself ready, my daughter ready and heading out the door on time breakfast has slowly shrunk lower and lower on the priority list. But as a breastfeeding mom skipping out on any meal isn't an option. I love making tofu scramble breakfast burritos but that requires me getting up even earlier to make tofu scramble every morning which also isn't happening these days.

I've always been very skeptical of store-bought tofu scramble, especially frozen scrambles. They never looked that appetizing and the few that I have tried have been bland and pasty.When it comes to Amy's brand products things have been hit or miss for me. I love their enchiladas, hate their breakfast burritos. Love their black bean burritos but hate their soups and the list goes on and on. When I saw these breakfast pockets I was desperate and willing to try anything. I threw a pocket in the microwave as I was headed out the door with  my daughter on my hip and was surprised that it was amazing! The pocket was a little gummy but the scramble was dead-on and delicious. The next day I decided to pop the pocket in the oven while I got ready, 30 minutes later the car was packed, we were ready to head out the door. I grabbed the scramble pocket out the oven and headed out the door. The gummyness of the pocket was gone and it was divine. My only complaint is the size. It's super yummy but also super small. It really takes two and some orange juice to fill you up. But size aside, this is absolutely perfect. And if you have kids this would be the perfect size for a breakfast on the go!

Friday, January 13, 2012

So Pricey Yet So Delicious Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt

A belated happy new year to all of my wonderful readers! I have had a fantastic hiatus from blogging taking care of my new baby girl and am finally getting a chance to return to both my blogs and share great recipes and reviews with you again.

First up is So Delicious brand Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt. If you've made it past the title of  my review on So Delicious Coconut Milk traditional style yogurt then you know I love this stuff but, years later, I'm still debating if it's worth the pricetag and that's where I find myself with this new greek style yogurt. I've never had cow's milk greek yogurt (and never will) so I have nothing to compare this to as far as it's authenticity to being a true greek style yogurt. I can say that I have tried all the flavors that my Whole Foods had on the shelf and with every flavor I didn't so much as taste the fruit that was flavored them but a tartness that permeated through every spoonful. It wasn't an awful tartness, just a tartness. And the tartness didn't stop me from eating it. I'm just assuming that greek yogurts are more tart than traditional styles. What I love about this new greek style yogurt is that it is really high in fiber (8 grams), lower in sugar than the traditional style, and also has the good stuff like calcium, vitamin D, and B 12 without being high in fat.

Of course, at $2 a cup this won't be something I eat everyday, or even every month. I wish the price would come down on both lines of So Delicious coconut milk yogurt. I would eat this stuff everyday if it did. But $2 for 6 ounces of yogurt is just ridiculous. It cost me more to buy the 4 flavors of yogurt that were available at my Whole Foods than to eat a full meal at my favorite restaurant. That being said, if you happen to win the lotto in the next couple of weeks So Delicious Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt is a great investment, if not then I'd say give it a try if it's ever on sale or there's a coupon.
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