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:

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.


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

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!