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Ahimsa

Practicing Non-Harming Toward Yourself and the World

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Feeling Fall, Kimchi rice, and Brussels Sprouts

It’s fall here in Asheville, and I couldn’t be happier. I spend the whole year looking forward to October/November. I start surrounding myself with oranges and reds, cooking with cinnamon and nutmeg, and eating every imaginable pumpkin-flavored food. 

A couple days ago I purchased my first table. Buying furniture makes me feel like such an adult. I love it. To celebrate, I put together a beautiful fall-inspired centerpiece.

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Later that night, I cooked a delicious dinner for a date, although I was having such a good time I forgot to take a picture. I made pumpkin risotto (which I plan on making again next week, and I will definitely share the recipe), which I served inside of a roasted pie pumpkin and topped with a few thin strips of romano cheese. I served a Caesar salad alongside of it, and for dessert served up some pumpkin cheesecake from Trader Joe’s. 

Tonight was a more subtly awesome dinner. I bought some Kimchi rice from Trader Joe’s, and then made miso-roasted Brussels sprouts to go with it, along with a (rather ugly) fried egg. I added sliced red bell pepper to the Brussels sprouts, which was a great addition. The whole meal was really fancy, and much healthier than takeout. 

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My goal for this coming week is to be mindful of portion control. It’s my largest nutritional problem. Even healthy meals can become unhealthy when you eat too much of it at once. Wish me luck!

Pumpkin Birthday Cookies

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. Mostly it was  due to lack of a working computer (I’m buying a new computer this week, but this update is coming to you via phone), but my life has also been delightfully exciting since my last update. I’ve been staying busy, spending time with quality individuals, and just generally spreading my awesomeness around the community.

Who doesn’t love cookies?!

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I’m starting Ahimsa up again with delicious winter cookies! These are the Sell Your Soul Pumpkin Cookies  from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I made them for a friend’s birthday picnic today. They aren’t the sweetest treats in the world, but with all the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, they are perfect for this cold mountain weather.

I’ve been going crazy over all the pumpkin flavored food and drink that appears this time of year, particularly beer. What’s your favorite seasonal pumpkin goody?

A Fancy Pizza, Breakfast, and Brownies

Breakfast was grits (with vegan butter), roasted potatoes (made with extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt), and the tempeh white bean sausage patties from Vegan with a Vengeance.  Although the sausage patties were definitely tasty, I still prefer seitan-style versions, like those in Vegan Diner.

My lunch today was a bit unusual in that it was an incredibly high-fat meal. I tend to eat something small, but I felt adventurous and wanted something fancy. I started with a marinated kale salad using Gena’s incredible Smoky Avocado and Cumin Dressing. I actually made the salad last night for dinner, but marinated salads keep well, and letting the salad marinate overnight really increased the great flavor the dressing gave the kale. I threw some diced roasted red pepper into the salad for a little more flavor and color.

I also made the unique pizza you see above. It’s unique because it was never in the oven – I made this pizza using a frying pan on the stove, which is considerably faster than using the oven, and the crust gets nice and crispy but remains chewy. I topped the pizza with a simple home-made cashew cheese (cashews, sunflower seeds, nooch, salt, water, and turmeric for color) and caramelized onions tossed with chopped fresh chives and white truffle oil. I topped it with a sprinkle of hickory smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Yesterday afternoon I was craving a little chocolate in my life, so I made the banana split pudding brownies from Vegan with a Vengeance. Banana and chocolate always pair well, so obviously these were great. My brother also approved, and lamented that he wouldn’t have sweets around the house once I’m back in Asheville.

Oh! That reminds me – my awesome vegan friend Carol and I got approved for a great apartment close to downtown Asheville. I’ll be back in Asheville soon, and that makes me unbelievably happy!

Something else I’m excited about is that there is now an Instagram app for Android. Finally!

Meals When You’re Short on Time

I have to admit, I have a great view while I work, even on a stormy day. However, because I’ve been incredibly busy lately both with working and trying to get things straight to move back to my beloved Asheville, I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to prepping and cooking food. So here is a bit of what I’ve been eating over the past week.

Peanut butter tofu with veggies and brown rice. This dish (and a bunch of variations on it) has been in regular rotation for me for a long time. I can’t share a recipe, because I always wing it and use what I have laying around. Generally though, I dry-fry tofu until it’s golden brown (I used frozen and thawed tofu for this version, and it worked great), and then set aside. Then I add canola oil, and saute vegetables. Most of the time I use frozen vegetables because there is no prep involved and you can get a nice variety for really cheap. After the vegetables are cooked, I add the tofu back into the pan. In a small bowl, I combine peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriacha or chili-garlic sauce, crushed garlic, minced ginger, and water, and then whisk. I pour this over the vegetables and tofu, and toss to coat. Turn off the heat, and serve.

One great tip for being able to throw together quick meals is to always keep extra cooked grains on hand. For example, any time I make brown rice, I make at least four cups of it. It lasts up to a week in the fridge, and you don’t have to worry about having a healthy, filling base for a weeknight meal.

Black beans with Salsa. This is so ridiculously easy: saute aromatics (garlic, onion), add 1 can of drained and rinsed beans, and about half a jar of really chunky salsa. Serve with rice. I also had some orange baked tofu.

Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits from Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. Ok, so this wasn’t exactly a quick meal, but it was fucking delicious. The tempeh is tossed with a ton of spices in this recipe, and the flavors are so vibrant. And spicy! I’ve always loved grits, but I’ve never had them with almond milk and creamed cashews, which made them so creamy and rich-tasting. I also thought the cherry tomato/green onion (I didn’t have the leeks called for in the recipe, so I used a large scallion) went really well with the tempeh and grits. This recipe made me really sad that I haven’t made very much from this cookbook. Now I’ve got several pages marked so I can try more in the future. I also love that every recipe comes with a song suggestion!

I’ve also been eating meals out of Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond. I received this cookbook as a Christmas present from my cousins, and it’s been a great help to me. Sometimes I come home and don’t feel like being creative, so I just want a cookbook I can rely on that doesn’t have ingredient lists a mile long, and with recipes that are truly quick. So far, I’ve made several recipes from this book, and they have all proved simple yet flavorful. The Chinese Vegetable Lo Mein with Tofu, the Barbecued Beans, Caramelized Onion, Walnut, and Sage Pizza, and the Crusty Tempeh Cutlets are all particularly awesome.

What are your favorite quick weeknight meals?

Rosemary-Mustard Sausage and a Veggie Burger

I woke up feeling sluggish yesterday, so I wanted a hearty breakfast. I made Ricki’s chickpea flour scramble, which reminds me of eggs even more than a tofu scramble. I’ve tried the recipe once before, but I ended up burning the chickpea flour. This time I kept the heat on medium-low and it cooked perfectly. I didn’t have tahini so I left that ingredient out, and the texture and flavor were still fine. I also added spinach, fresh chives, and a little black salt.

The sausage was delicious. I had a coupon for Gimme Lean Sausage, so I had bought some, but I wanted to do something more exciting with it than the usual light frying. I added some Dijon mustard and spices to it, and it turned out great.

Rosemary-Mustard Sausage (makes 4 patties)

1 cup Gimme Lean sausage
1 1/2 Tbs Dijon or stone-ground mustard
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion salt (or 1/4 tsp onion powder + 1/4 tsp salt)
White pepper, to taste
2 tsp vegetable oil, for frying

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Mash together with a fork, and once everything is well-incorporated, shape into four equal-sized patties.

Once the oil is hot, fry the patties for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Serve.

I also made these awesome gluten-free veggie burgers for dinner last night. The recipe is from Meghan Telpner’s Making Love in the Kitchen, which is a blog I’ve recently fallen in love with. There’s a lot of great information and recipes for healthy eating.

Most of the veggie burgers I’ve made in the past were bean or vital wheat gluten based, but these ones were made of tempeh and veggies, including broccoli stalk! (I’m always searching for a great way to use those up.) I used chickpea flour rather than spelt or  brown rice because it was the only gluten-free flour I had on hand, but you couldn’t taste the flour anyway. I also added some chipotle powder and red chili flakes to give it a nice kick.

I had no idea that chia seeds would be such a great binder! These burgers held together better than many I’ve made in the past.

I served my burger on sprouted Ezekiel bread (not gluten-free, I know, but it was all I had) with Vegenaise, dill pickle, spicy brown mustard, and alfalfa sprouts. And of course, I had tater tots on the side. 🙂

Oh, and taking a break from food talk, republican representative Steve King of Iowa, said this during a meeting of the House Agriculture Committee:

I’m here to tell you I’m a committed carnivore. I like meat. I sit on the Ag Committee and we had a hearing before the Ag Committee when we invited in the president of the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, President Wayne Pacelle. And we had one or two other witnesses from the anti-meat crowd or anti-animal husbandry crowd. PETA was there and one other animal activist group. So we just asked them, under oath, “are you a vegetarian?” And they confessed they were vegetarians, all of them. Well there they are with an agenda for our diets.

Um, really?  Vegetarians and vegans don’t have to “confess,” we usually make our diets well-known. And sure, treating animals in factory farms better and getting Americans eating healthier might be an agenda, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the agendas of Big Ag.

Hot Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette

This is going to be a really quick post, but I wanted to share an awesome sort-of-recipe with you guys.

A few months ago I received a gift of some foodstuff from Belize, including some habanero hot pepper jelly.

I had no idea what to do with it, so it’s been sitting in my pantry since January. Problem solved! I was trying to think of a quick salad dressing I could whip up for lunch, and I remember once reading about using this stuff to make a vinaigrette. I tried it, and it was great. Plus, it was a pretty yellow color:

Although I typically have a notepad nearby in the kitchen to write down recipes, unfortunately I wasn’t exactly expecting this to be as awesome as it was, so I don’t have a recipe. So here are my basic instructions.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon or stone-ground mustard, hot pepper jelly, and garlic salt. Whisk vigorously with a fork. As for amounts, the dressing was predominately olive oil, probably 1/4 cup or so. Maybe a tablespoon of vinegar, and then just a little of everything else to taste. This was ridiculously good, and I’m sad my jar was so tiny!

Animal Rights for Dolphins?

A recent Scientific American article highlighted an idea that was proposed at a conference for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  This proposal was for a “declaration of rights of cetaceans.” Due to studies that have shown that cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) have superior cognitive and social capabilities, the presenters brought forth the idea that these creatures should be viewed as “non-human persons” and should be afforded the basic right to a life free from human-induced use and suffering.

The article also highlights a case brought before the Spanish parliament in 2008 that attempted to stop the use of Great Apes in human experiments, although the judge determined that the Apes were property and therefore not able to be adopted (the case was based around animal rights activists who attempted to adopt a chimpanzee that had been used in experimentation).

I’m glad ideas like these are popping up in scientific circles and in the news. Despite the government attacking animal rights activists, it feels as though people are (albeit quite slowly) opening up to the idea that animals should not be abused for human use. The “happy meat” movement could be seen as a sort of perversion of this – omnivores feel guilty about the extreme pain and suffering factory-farmed animals experience, so they make themselves feel better by purchasing meat they think are from animals that have led a good life. Obviously, though, “happy meat” (which is a myth) does not stop animal exploitation and cruelty. They are still brutally slaughtered unnecessarily (you don’t  need to eat meat, as many people still claim).

Although more people may be open to ideas of animal rights than in past decades, there is still a long way to go. As long as people view animals as property or food, animal rights activists will be fighting a battle. We want the animals to be able to live without being a “thing” that humans use for a selfish reason. So let them live, and go vegan.

Hello, 2012

Happy 2012 guys!

I usually avoid making new year’s resolutions because I think it’s pointless and arbitrary, but this year I’m going to try to reach a few goals in my life. Here’s a list of my goals for this year:

  1. Go back to school. It’s been a couple years since my last semester, and I really miss it. I’m not cut out for a life of retail, and I want to have more opportunities than what I have now. I’ll probably finish my political science degree (since I’m almost done anyway), and I’m thinking of double majoring in environmental science.
  2. Get my license. I know it’s crazy to think of a 24-year-old not being able to drive, but I just sort of never got around to it. Plus, I could never afford to buy a car anyway. But it’s definitely time to get on the road.
  3. Have a healthier (and thus happier) life. Yoga, meditation, healthier food… I to pay more attention to both my physical and mental health this year. I used to do yoga everyday, meditate everyday, and I need to get back on track with that. I want to start avoiding processed foods (goodbye vegan doritos) and eat more natural foods (hello rejuvalac and fermented nut cheese).
  4. Join an organization, class, or local group. Lately my life has been mostly working and then coming home to chill. I want to participate more fully in my community, and I’ve been wanting to start bellydancing classes.
  5. Be more social. I tend to be a loner, and I want that to stop. There are more potlucks and parties in my future.
  6. Improve the photography on Ahimsa. I’m often not 100% happy with the photos I post here, and I feel with a little practice and better equipment I could fix that.
  7. Make a budget and stick to it. This is going to be the hardest for me. I’m terrible with money, and I spend far too much of it on food.
  8. Learn a new craft or hobby. In 2012, I plan on learning how to make beer, tempeh, and fermented nut cheeses.
  9. Do not leave my house on 12-12-12 (or is it 12-21-12?). There are going to be some crazy-ass people in the streets.

It sounds like a lot, but I’m positive I can do it. Do you have any goals for this year?

Also, I want to share a bit of the fun I had last night. Here’s some Toubab Krewe for you:

 

Sophie’s Kitchen Giveaway winner!

The Sophie’s Kitchen Giveway winner is vidya108!! Congratulations!

Vegan Seafood + Giveaway

I recently received coupons from Sophie’s Kitchen to try three of their vegan seafood products for free. These took me a long time to find, but luckily a couple weeks after receiving the coupons my local Whole Foods started selling three of the selections: prawns, calamari, and breaded shrimp.

I purchased these three, and last night I had a vegan friend over to sample these with me. I have to admit that I spent a lot of time online researching how you eat these foods. Despite having grown up on an island and having a childhood surrounded by seafood, I hated the taste and never tried many of our regional specialties. So, yes, I googled “how to eat prawns” and “what is calamari?”. The breaded shrimp didn’t need any researching, however, since it was the one kind of seafood I would eat growing up. Although, honestly, since I usually drenched them in cocktail sauce I probably couldn’t taste the shrimp.

Anyway, for the calamari and breaded shrimp, I followed the package instructions for baking. You can also deep-fry these, but I’m not a fan of cooking with that much oil, and baking is significantly easier.

The rings are the calamari (which is squid), and the crescent shapes are the breaded shrimp. They were done in just 15 minutes, which means they’d be a great side dish for when you’re busy.

For the prawns, I decided to dice them up and make risotto. Here’s what they look like straight out of the package:

I was actually a little freaked out by how real they look. Luckily though, they aren’t real, and thus require no de-pooping or other gross things. 🙂

I kept the risotto very basic. The only seasonings I used were fresh oregano, salt, and lemon juice. The rich flavor of risotto comes from the wine and fat (in this case extra-virgin olive oil and Earth Balance butter), so I like to keep everything else simple.

So, now for the most important part. How did everything taste? Although I personally wasn’t a big fan of the calamari, my friend said they were her favorite. I never tried calamari in my pre-vegan days, so I can’t attest to what it’s suppose to taste like, but I think the main reason I didn’t care for them was just the texture. My friend that liked them the best has a great palate (and in fact cooks for a living), so I would say just give them a try and see how you feel. I’m probably just really picky.

The prawns were huge, so I chopped them up to have more bites of them in the risotto. I feel like these would be great appetizers with a good dip or sauce. They were a tiny bit bland, but I’m pretty sure that’s how they’re suppose to taste. The pink color was beautiful in the risotto, and I would love to serve it to an omnivore to get their opinion. It took a few bites to get over how real they looked and felt to me, but once I did manage to convince myself of their veganness, I ate away. Next time I buy a package of these (yes, I will totally buy these again!) I plan to make a seafood salad. Their taste actually reminded me a little of the “fake crab” fish that is used to make seafood salad.

The breaded shrimp were my absolute favorite. I loved popcorn shrimp and cocktail sauce when I was a kid, so I felt like I was reliving a little bit of my childhood with these. They’re delicious, and I would serve these to meat-eaters without a second thought.

Now for the giveaway! This is the first ever contest on Ahimsa, and I’m really excited about it. Hopefully it won’t be the last. Sophie’s Kitchen has generously offered to send the winner 2 coupons to try their product for free. You have four chances to win, and leave a separate comment for each. ***Make sure you leave a valid email when you comment so that I can contact you if you win!!***

1. Visit Sophie’s Kitchen’s website and comment with what 2 products you would try.
2. Follow Sophie’s Kitchen on Twitter.
3. Like Sophie’s Kitchen on Facebook.
4.  Like Ahimsa on Facebook.

I’ll randomly choose a winner on Saturday, December 31st at noon. Good luck!!!

Meals For My Busy Days

Whew! We’re nearing the end of our busy season at work, and as of January I’ll have way more time off, and much more time in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to having more chances for experimentation.

Here’s a few pics from some of my recent meals. I’ve been cooking mainly large pots of food, so that I can feed myself and still have plenty left over to take to work. One of my favorites so far has been the Home-Style Veggie Noodle Soup from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner.

It’s hearty, comforting, and delicious. The only variations to the recipe I made were to sweat the vegetables before starting the soup, and adding vegan Worcestershire sauce along with the tvp granules.

I also made the Cheezy Mac from Vegan Diner, and added some kale into it.

The cashew based sauce was creamy and smooth (I soaked the cashews for approximately 6 hours because I had to use my food processor – if you have a high-powered blender that would be unnecessary). I ate the pasta alongside a roasted portobello with pan-sauce gravy. I’ve been addicted to making pan sauces lately, and will show you how in an upcoming post!

Around Thanksgiving I found myself craving a dish I actually despised as a child: green bean casserole. I didn’t know exactly how to make it since I constantly ridiculed it and considered it disgusting as a kid, so I used the recipe from C’est la Vegan. It came out amazing and paired great with mashed potatoes with basil and buttered corn.

So those are just a few examples of what I’ve been enjoying. Coming up: a giveaway (the first on Ahimsa!), a vegan seafood party, pan sauces, and a lot of Asian vegan cooking!

Spicy Lettuce Wraps

Hey guys! I’m finally back online after some technological mishaps, which I fixed by getting drunk on Thanksgiving and taking my computer apart with a screwdriver. All it took then was buying a USB wireless adapter, and everything’s set!

After such a long absence from Ahimsa, I’ve decided to give you guys a delicious recipe. It’s truly quick and easy, and I love these for lunch because they still feel special despite being so dang simple to whip up. Here you go!

Spicy Lettuce Wraps (serves 2, but would double or triple easily)

4 Romaine lettuce leaves, washed
1/2 cup tvp granules
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs ketchup
1 tsp hot sauce

Spice Blend
1 Tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp onion powder

First, rehydrate the tvp: combine tvp and water in a microwave safe bowl, and heat for about 4 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, and add the 1 Tbs oil. When oil is hot, add the tvp, and saute for about 2 minutes, just until it starts to brown. Then add the ketchup, hot sauce, and spice blend, and stir. Saute another 2 or 3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 scallion, chopped
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients, stir to mix thoroughly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.

To make wraps, just put a generous scoop of the tvp into the lettuce leaf, and top with a dallop of fresh tomato salsa. It’s really tasty. 🙂

There are a few variations you could do for these: use ground walnuts instead of tvp, use collard or another leaf instead of Romaine, substitute salsa verde for the tomato salsa, or add shredded vegetables.

Crazy for Carbs

The fact that the Atkins diet was once so popular baffles me. Why would people willingly give up delicious carbs? Pasta, bread, muffins, scones, pizza crust, potatoes… those are my favorite foods.

I recently made a delicious loaf of bread that was half all-purpose and half-spelt flour. It tasted the same as a loaf made of all-purpose, but the crumb was softer and more delicate. It made for a great firm but gentle dough, and it turned out to be fantastic for sandwiches. I topped it with sesame and sunflower seeds.

I need to work on a way to make those seeds stay on the bread. I tried to press them into the dough before baking a little, but when I took the bread out of the loaf pan half the seeds still feel off of the top. I’m definitely open to suggestions.

Last night for dinner I made gnocci with cashew pesto and the Greek salad from American Vegan Kitchen. The gnocci was significantly easier than I imagined it would be. All you have to do is boil or bake the potatoes until tender, peel off the skin, and mash them. Then add oil and flour until it makes a sticky (but not wet) dough, roll it into tubes, slice, and boil. I probably spent 10 minutes doing actual work on these.

I’m really proud of the pesto. It turned out great. I used cashews rather than pine nuts, and I started by blending the cashews and olive oil together for almost 5 minutes, until it produced a super-creamy base. Then I added the basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It was perfect.

The salad was delicious, and the only change I made to Tamasin’s recipe was using green olives rather than kalamata. I got most of the vegetables off the salad bar at my local grocery store because it’s cheaper than buying them separate. I let the tofu “feta” marinate for approximately 7 hours, and although it didn’t taste exactly like feta, it still contributed very nicely to the salad.

Have you ever made gnocci? If so, what’s your favorite sauce to use?

Wingbean

A few weeks ago I posted a quick write-up on a new Asheville vegan food delivery service named Wingbean. Well, owners Pamela and Scott gave my boyfriend and I a free order to try, and it was good. I’d been wanting to try the food badly, but with a part-time job in retail it’s hard to afford much.

The food comes nicely stacked in an insulated bag with reusable ice cubes. Everything is numbered according to the menu.

The menu was as follows:

Green-Nut Noodles
This is an Asian rice noodle dish with a peanut sauce and vegetables. The menu suggests re-heating, but this was also good cold. My only complaint about this dish was that it wasn’t spicy enough, but I just doused it with bottled hot sauce. The Great Slaw of China (below) goes incredibly well with this. I feel like this would also be good with whole or chopped cashews.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh
This was my favorite dish on the menu. The locally-produced tempeh was incredibly flavorful and juicy, and I loved the hunks of pineapple. I ended up eating all of the tempeh since my crazy boyfriend thinks tempeh in any form tastes terrible, but I wouldn’t complain about that! I ate this with a side of the Great Slaw of China.

Tamale Pie
This dish was a beans-veggies-tvp mixture topped with a corn grit cake on top. Again, it wasn’t spicy enough for me, but I do realize that most people don’t like to sweat while they eat, so I let it go. My boyfriend really enjoyed this one.

Fall Harvest Pilaf

This was the only dish neither of us were crazy about, but it’s more of a personal preference than it having to do with taste. Neither my boyfriend nor I are fans of cold grain salads. The acorn squash was really good though, and I love how pretty it looked opening up the container. The cashews were a really nice touch. I used the leftovers in a green salad the next day for lunch.

Saffron Zucchini
This zucchini was off the chain. It was really vibrant, and a great side dish. I used leftovers in a tofu scramble the next morning and it couldn’t of been tastier. The zucchini was cooked perfectly, and the spices were spot-on.

Beans-N-Greens
This was a good Southern-style dish that I enjoyed along with the pilaf and the Minestrone (below). It was really good, and seasoned well. (Of course, I added hot sauce because that’s what I do.)

Great Slaw of China
Asian-style cole slaw. Aside from going well with the Sweet and sour tempeh, this is a great snack, and really good on a sandwich. It’s made with greens and fresh herbs like basil and mint.

Minestrone Soup
This was a good, warming soup. Although I wasn’t too fond of the gluten-free noodles (they do taste slightly different), the overall soup was really good. With a piece of toast slathered in Earth Balance, this would make a lovely light lunch.

Cookies!
The New Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies were so good that my boyfriend and I split them and finished them off at once. Very delicious.

Overall
I was pleased with all the dishes, and it would definitely be a great option for people who are too busy to cook or students. I used the majority of these dishes to supplement whatever I was making for dinner, but they could certainly be eaten on their own. I just really enjoy cooking, so I would make something of my own to go along with the Wingbean options.

The print menu you receive with your bag lists detailed descriptions of the dishes, as well as information about how best to re-heat them and what other options they pair well with. The back side lists the ingredients for everything. I was really happy to see that all of Wingbean’s food is made with simple, whole ingredients, and the majority are organic.

For more information on Wingbean (and to look at their menu and place an order), visit their website: Wingbean.

Go Max Go! Review

Not having a computer is driving me absolutely bat-sh*t crazy. I feel so disconnected from the world when it comes to current events (we don’t have a TV), and I’m frustrated that out of three computers, none of them work. ugh. So I’ll continue to post when I can, and today I’ve got two reviews for you. First up, is Go Max Go! candy bars, and then following this post will be a review of Wingbean’s delicious food.

I was delighted when Go Max Go Foods offered to send me samples of their vegan candy bars. Here’s a quick run-down of what I got, and a few thoughts on each one.

Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups
I loved peanut butter cups growing up, and I still like them enough to make them from time to time. These are just as delicious as the Resee Cups I grew up eating, except they taste more mature. The peanut butter is undoubtedly of better quality, and the rice milk chocolate coating is just as sweet and creamy as you can imagine. These are delicious, but I’m afraid I’d just as well make them myself, although if you want to satisfy your cravings more quickly, grab these.

Snap Bars
These are basically Crunch bars with rice-milk chocolate. They have a delightful crunch, and they’re the lightest tasting of all the bars. In fact, it’s the only sample I received that I almost finished off in one sitting.

Jokerz
My boyfriend said this tasted like a Babe Ruth, and although I’m sure he’s right, I can’t confirm since I haven’t had one since I was little and I can’t remember the taste. It was really good though, and was one of my favorites. It consists of really creamy caramel and chopped peanuts.

Mahalo
The Mahalo bar has a coconut filling with a chocolate coating and almonds on top. Although I absolutely adore coconut, this was too much for me to handle. I took my first bite expecting it to be my favorite, and was disappointed with how dense it was. I feel like it would taste better if it were thinner, or had a larger porportion of chocolate with the coconut. I couldn’t eat more than one bite of it because it was so thick. This was my least favorite of the six candies I’ve tried.

Buccaneer
This tastes like a 3 Musketeers bar. Thick nouget covered in rice-milk chocolate. It was really tasty, and it bought back memories of my grandfather, who used to keep a bowl of mini 3 Musketeer bars by the couch in my grandparent’s den.

Twilight
Undoubtedly my favorite, which is why I saved it for last. Lots of creamy caramel on top of chocolate nougat. Oh god, this was so good. I couldn’t stop eating it. Next time you’re in a store that sells Go Max Go products (I think most Whole Foods sells them), buy this! You won’t be disappointed.

Overall
My overall impression of this group of candy was that for the most part they’re so rich that one bite would probably be very satisfying for most people. That’s definitely a good thing since these vegan bars are slightly more expensive than their non-vegan cousins. As I was tasting these, I would end up taking one or two bites and sticking it in the fridge and eating pieces off of it over the next two days.

I also love rice-milk chocolate as an alternative to the dark chocolate I usually rely on when I buy vegan candy. It’s sweeter and feels like more of a treat.

Although I don’t see myself buying these very often, they’re great if you want to treat yourself to something special. Have any of you had any of these chocolate bars? What did you think?

For more information, visit Go Max Go Foods’ website.

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