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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Product Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Last month the nice people at Vegan Cuts sent me one of their monthly subscription Snack Boxes for review. Needless to say, I was very excited about the idea of getting an assortment of vegan goodies to try & eagerly awaited the Snack Box's arrival. While I have never personally subscribed to a "monthly box" service like this, I know that one of the main concerns people have about them is whether or not the contents of the box will be things you'd actually want to try. To put it simply, the Vegan Cuts Snack Box did not disappoint!

Rather than listing what was in the box, here are some pictures from when I opened it:



As you can see, there were a lot of vegan snacks to try! Almost all of them are things that I would have picked for myself to try if they happened to be on the shelf in a store where I buy groceries. Of course, having everything in the box be a surprise, like opening a care package from a a cool vegan friend, was pretty fun! Even though not everything in the box turned out to be my cup of tea, there were some things I ended up really liking a lot and would definitely look to buy in a full size package (the Oloves Lemony Lover and Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato chips top that list). The best thing about the Vegan Cuts Snack Box was the opportunity to try a variety of vegan goodies that I would otherwise have probably never gotten to the chance to taste because they just aren't available in stores near where I live.

For the monthly fee of $19.95 you get a Snack Box containing 7 to 10 different vegan goodies, mostly gluten free, delivered to your door (no shipping charge in the US, $8 to Canada, $15 to elsewhere).

If you are interested in trying the Vegan Cuts Snack Box you can get information or subscribe here: http://vegancuts.com/subscription



***NOTE***
There are different products in the box each month. The box I received for review included Teeccino, 22 Days, Teese, Food Should Taste Good, Skinny Pop, Oloves, Parmela*, Milas, and Meow Meow Tweet* (plus a couple of coupons).

* Parmela & Meow Meow Tweet were the only two I couldn't try (one has soy & the other eucalyptus) but they sound really good & I wish I could!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

5 Minute 3 Ingredient Vegan "Parmesan"

That's right -- you are 5 minutes and 3 ingredients away from vegan "Parmesan"! This isn't like the soy-based vegan parm that you can buy (like Galaxy Foods) which melts a bit and tastes almost exactly like the dairy version. It is totally different but totally delicious! I just call it parm because I use it in the same way: sprinkled on pasta or veggies; it even works really well as a breading in some recipes (sorry, not posted yet!). This vegan parmesan happens to be not only dairy free but also soy free and gluten free, plus it is made with walnuts (which have omegas) and nutritional yeast (which has b12 and other vitamins).




2 cups shelled walnuts, halves or pieces
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until the walnuts are in small bits; you should be able to sprinkle the parm like crumbs. Check frequently to avoid turning it into a sort of nut butter. Yields about 2 1/8 to 2 1/4 cups. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.



*** NOTES ***

If you happen to buy the Nutritional Yeast that comes in a shake-top container (like Red Star), saving the containers to use with this works really well!

It is best to sprinkle this parm on top of food when you are ready to serve/eat it rather than putting it on before cooking or reheating food; it won't melt but the nutritional yeast will get kind of mushy if it sits on something moist.

* Loosely adapted from a recipe in The Starch Solution by John and Mary McDougall

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mushroom Gravy

There are a lot of fancy mushroom gravy recipes out there with many ingredients and sometimes hours of cooking time. This recipe is a for a basic mushroom gravy with only four ingredients and minimal prep and cooking time. Makes about 1 to 1.5 cups, enough for two to three people.



Ingredients:

1 8oz package of white button mushroom (similar types of mushrooms should work too, like portabella or cremini)
1 cup water
1 cube Edward & Sons organic "not-beef" bouillon *
1 TBSP non-gmo or organic corn starch **

Wash the mushrooms, remove the stems, and cut them into pieces roughly the size of a nickel or quarter and 0.25" thick. In a saucepan, heat the water over high and add the bouillon cube, stirring to dissolve. When it boils, add the mushrooms, stir, cover with a tight fitting lid, and reduce the heat to medium or so. Allow the mushrooms to cook until they are quite tender, at least 15 minutes but probably longer (just check them periodically). Once they mushrooms are done, removed them from the pan and set aside. Return the pan to medium and a small whisk to stir in the corn starch. Keep whisking gently over medium heat until the liquid becomes somewhat translucent and thickens. Stir in the mushrooms, remove from heat, serve hot and enjoy!

* This makes the gravy salty so do not use this and serve with food that is already salty. If you want to use this gravy with salty food or are watching your sodium intake, try using only part of the cube or use a low-sodium bouillon or broth instead.

** This amount of corn starch gives you a thin gravy. For a thicker version, just increase the corn starch a bit. Other thickeners, like tapioca starch or arrowroot, will have different results so you may need to make adjustments for those.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Enter the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomato Soup and Chili Throwdown

A while back, Muir Glen sent me some of their canned tomatoes. I'm not that big a fan of most canned tomatoes so it was a real surprise when I tried their Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes in a pot of chili and LOVED them! If you haven't tried them yet then you are missing out.

Muir Glen just contacted me again about a recipe contest featuring, you guessed it, their Fire Roasted tomatoes! I am happy to pass this info along to my readers so you can enter your best tomato soup or chili made with fire roasted tomatoes.



Take a peek at the nice prizes the winner gets:


Not pictured: the title of "Muir Glen Soup and Chili Master" and an honorary plaque.

Here are the details:

"Are soup and chili your claim to fame? If so, we’re challenging you to put a twist on your tried and true recipes using Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes in our first annual Soup and Chili Throwdown. Get your creative juices flowing for a chance to win your own stash of soup and chili-worthy Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes (recipient of the 2012 Bon App├ętit Seal of Approval), a tomato red Le Creuset stock pot and a set of tomato serving bowls. Plus, the grand prize winner will walk away with the title of Muir Glen Soup and Chili Master and an honorary plaque, which will be yours to defend in next year’s Throwdown. Contest ends 2/28."

Enter at http://www.muirglen.com/connect/sweepstakes

I would love to hear about your entries but make sure you actually visit that link to submit them.

Perhaps you have a winning tomato soup or chili recipe up your sleeve! Good luck!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

These delicious pumpkin pancakes aren't quite as fluffy as my plain or banana pancakes because the pumpkin makes them dense. That being said, they taste amazing spread with vegan margarine and dripping with maple syrup!


2 cups unbleached flour
4 tsp baking powder (measure generously or add a tiny bit extra for fluffier pancakes)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup agave
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups plain or unsweetened nondairy milk (almond works well)
1 cup cooked pumpkin puree or canned cooked pumpkin
vegan margarine or oil for frying

Combine the flour, baking powder, and spices in a large mixing bowl and stir. Add the agave and 1 1/4 cups of the nondairy milk, stir until the lumps are gone, and then stir in the pumpkin. Add the extra nondairy milk as needed to reach pancake batter consistency, probably about 1/4 cup or so depending on your how much liquid is in your pumpkin (you will need to add some but not necessarily all so do this slowly, stirring in a spoonful or two at a time). Add a little bit of vegan margarine or oil to a frying pan at slightly below medium heat. Pour the pancake batter into the pan to form 3-4" cakes. Flip the cakes when a few bubbles form on top and the bottom is light golden brown. Cook on the second side for just a moment and then enjoy topped with vegan margarine and grade B maple syrup!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Muir Glen Organic Reserve Kit Giveaway!

Annually, Muir Glen Organic offers a limited number of tomato Reserve Kits made with special Harvest Sunset tomatoes.

Chosen specifically for their exceptional sweetness, the Harvest Sunset™ Reserve--a blend of yellow and red tomatoes, offer unique but complimentary textures, colors and flavor profiles.



This year's kit contains:

One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Diced Tomatoes
One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic No-Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
A recipe booklet featuring a variety of recipes created by award-winning chefs from around the country made with the 2011 Reserve Tomatoes

I don't know about you, but this is making me hungry for some soup or maybe some chili (fire roasted tomatoes in vegan chili, anyone?).

Each kit has a retail value of $10 (not including shipping). I will add details of how to order your own as they become available.

In the meantime, you can enter to win a Reserve Kit! Muir Glen has generously offered to give away one Reserve Kit to each of 5 lucky readers!

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Please note that I need to pass along contact & shipping information from the winners to Muir Glen very soon after this giveaway closes so winners will need to check and respond to email promptly!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest Post by Erica of Cult of Kale: Tempeh Tacos with Roasted Artichokes and Spicy Sriracha Dipping Sauce

Today's post is the first ever guest post on The Vegan Kitchen blog! My friend Erica recently started a great blog called Cult of Kale (see details at the bottom of this post) and so I invited her to do a guest post here. She selected a tasty looking recipe from her own collection & I hope you all enjoy it!


I have to admit, I'm a little obsessed with Tempeh. When we lived in
NY, we would buy it in bulk from our local food co-op. When we moved to Arizona,
I was very disappointed that it was not carried by most
grocers in the area. We occasionally find it at an Asiana
marketplace, but mostly I buy it from Trader Joe's.

What is tempeh? Tempeh is a fermented cake or patty like product made
up of soybeans and sometimes grains. You can get them flavored, deep
fried, but usually double sealed in the refrigerated section
of a grocery store near the tofu. 

For this Meatless Monday, I was in a Mexican-food mood, so I decided
to make Tempeh Tacos with Roasted Artichokes and a spicy Sriracha
Dipping Sauce!

Tempeh Tacos








For this recipe you'll need:
  • 1 package of tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
    of choice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper of choice,
    chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of taco
    seasoning
  • 3-4 flour tortillas or 6-8
    taco shells
Directions:
  1. Prepare the tempeh by cutting into crumble size chunks and boiling
    in a small saucepan for 5 minutes with a dash of salt and a bay leaf.
    Dump water and bay leaves when finished.
  2. While tempeh is cooking, saute the chopped onion and
    pepper with a little oil of choice.
  3. When the onions are just starting to turn translucent, turn down
    the heat to medium and  toss the tempeh.
  4. Let the tempeh cook with
    the onions and peppers for a few minutes then add soy sauce and
    seasoning.
  5. Toss until tempeh is well coated, cooking a couple minutes longer.
    Turn off heat and place the lid on the pot, allowing it to sit on the
    burner for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Stuff your tortillas or taco shells, add additional taco toppings
    like salsa, hot sauce, tomatoes or lettuce and enjoy!
Artichokes
For this recipe you'll need:
  • Artichokes, as many as you want! My recipe is built for two, so
    adjust measurements as needed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 a lime
  • oil, for roasting pan
Directions:
  1. This is best to start before anything
    else, since you can get back to it while other foods are cooking.
    Place artichokes in a pot large enough to hold them and fill the pot
    with water.
  2. Bring water to boil. Add two cloves of
    garlic, a tablespoon of red pepper flakes and a quarter cup chopped
    fresh cilantro.
  3. Once boiling, cover the pot with lid and
    turn heat down to simmer. Allow to cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare roasting pan with a little bit
    of oil. Turn on broiler or oven up to 500°F.
  5. Carefully remove artichokes from water
    with tongs and carefully place on a cutting board. Slice artichokes
    down the middle. 
  6. Squeeze juice from the lime into the
    exposed inside of the artichoke halves.
  7. Place the artichokes with the cut side
    down on the roasting pan and place carefully into oven. Cook for 5
    minutes.
  8. Pull out of oven and allow to cool.
    Serve with favorite dip or some spicy Sriracha dip!
Sriracha Dip
For the dip you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup of vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons of Sriracha
  • 1 finely diced clove of garlic (or 1 tsp of garlic powder)
Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! You can find me on Facebook
and Twitter, as well as
right on my blog Cult of
Kale
!
Erica D. is a longtime vegan studying Urban Horticulture and
Sustainability. Her blog, Cult of
Kale
is a green lifestyle blog covering urban gardening, vegan
cooking and general tips on leaving a smaller footprint on our planet.
She lives with three kitties and her husband in sunny Arizona.