The Best Products (I’ve Tried) of 2012

Can you guys believe we’re just a little over two weeks away from a new year? Craziness. When it gets to be this time of year, all I’m thinking about is how excited I am for Christmas, enjoying my time off from school and all the things I accomplished over the past year.

And if you’re a foodie like I am, you might also be reminiscing about the new food you’ve tried over the past 12 months…I know I am! With that said, here are a few of the best things I’ve tried since January 2012!

Zevia

zevia ginger root beer

Before I sucked it up and finally bought my first (overpriced) can of this amazing stuff in May, I’d heard lots of good things about it. I’ve never been a big soda fan, but I used to enjoy diet sodas on occasion. So having an all-natural diet soda was a definite treat! Since then, I’ve tried the ginger root beer, cream soda, cola, orange and lime cola (the orange is the only gross one) and I can’t wait to try more. Like a lot of things I love, these are very pricey so I buy a 6 pack when they’re on sale or maybe once a month at most and make them last.

Kabocha squash

kabocha, peanut flour sauce, coconut flour micro muffin crumbles, frozen grapes, dark mint chocolate, justins vanilla AB

This was another blogger-hyped product that I was on the lookout for since last fall. I didn’t find one until this October and haven’t found it very often since (but I stocked up on two last weekend!), but it’s my favorite squash by far (other than delicata). I prefer the texture and taste over any other and it’s delicious with peanut flour paste, almond butter or ketchup.

Larabars

pineapple upside down cake larabar, fresh pineapple, baby carrots

I’ve seen these around for awhile, but because of my previous fear of fat, I never gave them a try until March but they’ve become my bar of choice since then. I love the flavor variety and the fact that they’re made from whole foods, like dates and nuts. My favorite flavors are cappuccino, pineapple upside down cake, peanut butter chocolate chip, chocolate chip brownie and the Uber banana bread.

Vega products

vega cocoa kissed saviseed

Can you believe I never tried Vega products until earlier this year? Vegan blasphemy, for sure. They have good quality (though expensive) protein powders, simple protein bars and I’m obsessed with their latest product, the dark chocolate-covered saviseed which is packed with protein and Omega-3s.

Cashew cream

raw key lime 'cheesecake'

This stuff is incredibly versatile, and easy to make. Basically you just soak raw cashews overnight or for several hours, and then it’s ready for blending. I’ve made a raw cheesecake (see above), nacho ‘cheez’ dip, mascarpone ‘cream’ and savory cashew cream filling–it really is good for anything!

Coconut milk ice cream

so delicious nsa chocolate

Even if you eat dairy, you need to try this vegan ice cream, it is out-of-this-world good! The healthy coconut fat makes it incredibly rich but not overly indulgent, and stores like Whole Foods carry a million and one flavors so you don’t have to feel limited to chocolate and vanilla. So Delicious and NadaMoo are my favorite brands, but there are definitely more out there–there’s a variety for everyone!

Kale

kale wraps

I think I actually tried kale for the first time last year (it was when I first tried the Whole Foods salad bars) but I didn’t fall in love with it until this year. I know a lot of people say it’s bitter, and it can be, but I’ve found lots of ways to make it tasty and craveable. Homemade kale chips (they’re best made in the dehydrator), crispy sauteed kale, ‘pizza’ kale (kale cooked with pasta sauce and olives), raw massaged kale salads, kale/almond milk smoothies…I’ll eat it almost any way, and I try to eat it at least once a day! Bonus: it’s an amazing superfood.

Coconut flour (or really, coconut everything)

coconut flour carrot cake

I used to say I hated coconut, partly because I didn’t like the texture of shredded coconut but also because I was deathly afraid of the fat in it. I avoided saturated fats like the plague but once I became pretty much 100% vegan, I realized that plant-based saturated fats were totally healthy and necessary. One of the first coconut products I bought was coconut flour–I wasn’t sure if I’d like it but I do! I really love it mixed with baking powder and almond milk and microwaved for a minute to make a crumbly coconut flour muffin but I also want to experiment more with it in baked goods. It’s hard to bake it into things without using eggs but I want to try it out.

Kelp noodles

coconut curry kelp noodle stirfry

If you’ve ever seen these before, they’ve probably grossed you out just a little. They weirded me out too the first time I bought them but I really wanted to try a raw noodle substitute and I’d heard good things. Unlike shirataki noodles, these are made from a seaweed so they’re more of a whole food, they don’t smell weird and they soak up the flavors in anything. They make the perfect low-cal sub for pasta and I especially love them mixed with pasta sauce, nooch, a crumbled veggie burger, kale and olives. I also included them in a stirfry the other night and they were amazing–recipe coming soon!

Garden of Life RAW protein powder

pumpkin chip cinnamon roll with vanilla chai protein frosting

I’ve tried a lot of vegan protein powders, from the (not-so-good) cheapo soy-based powders to the delicious but expensive Vega and Sunwarrior. But I think Garden of Life is my fave. First, it’s made from a blend of raw sprouted plant-based proteins, like quinoa and sunflower seed. It’s also pretty high in protein (17 grams per serving) and is a bit cheaper than some other higher-quality brands, it’s sweetened only with stevia but best of all, it’s delicious. I love both the chocolate and vanilla chai (only available at Whole Foods) flavors and the lovely team at Garden of Life was nice enough to send me some samples of the regular vanilla too so I can’t wait to try that one! Look for a review soon and possibly a giveaway in early 2013!

Figs

A delicious new breakfast: sprouted grain French toast topped with fresh fig and raw vanilla chai protein powder.

It actually makes me really sad that fig season is over–it became my new favorite fruit over the past few months. It pairs so well with both sweet and savory things and though they are a bit expensive, they’re worth every dollar. They’re out of season now but at least I can settle for dried figs!

What are some new foods you’ve tried (and loved) in 2012)? What’s your favorite squash variety?

College Vegan on a Budget: “Nuttzo” for New Finds

A series of posts on my adventures in buying vegan health foods as a college student.

I know I said last time that I wasn’t going to be buying anything else before the end of the semester. Welllllll…that was before I ran out of nut butter and had to go without it for about a week. And I came back to no fruit other than some pomegranate seeds and frozen banana slices. Not acceptable. So I had to make a quick trip today which worked out perfectly because I had one final around noon and I headed to Whole Foods right after that. Let me just say that shopping at WF on a weekday afternoon is a lot better than going on a Saturday afternoon. Other than a shrieking baby, my trip was pretty pleasant and quick. But most importantly, I left with everything I needed…and more.

Just a few WF staples to tide me over for a couple days.

Just a few WF staples to tide me over for a couple days.

What I Got: Mother’s plain salted rice cakes, Nuttzo mixed nut/seed butter (new to me!), Hail Merry raw maple vanilla almonds (always a winner), brown figs (I can only get these at the WF near me at school, needed my fix before break!), small superfoods kale salad, Heavenly Organics dark chocolate ginger honey patties (can’t believe these only have three ingredients!), Theo dark chocolate orange bar

What I Spent: $28.32 (mostly because of that Nuttzo…)

Verdict: I don’t really want to talk about how much I spent on the Nuttzo but it really is hard to find cheap nut butter that doesn’t have added oil or sugar (but does have a little sea salt, because it brings out the nut flavor) but everything else was pretty cheap. And the chocolate bar, rice cakes and nut butter will last a while so I’m not too worried.

Do you like mixed nut/seed butters? Do you make special trips to the store if you’re running out of something you love?

College Vegan on a Budget: Last Stock-Up

The latest installment in a series of posts on sticking with a college-sized budget with expensive, vegan tastes and a love for cooking.

My last week of classes officially started today, and I am beyond excited to go home for Christmas break! I don’t wanna brag, but my college is giving us 5 whole weeks of break this year–usually we only get 4, so I feel really blessed. Thanksgiving break came and went too quickly so I’m planning on enjoying every moment of Christmas break.

This weekend is (hopefully) the last shopping trip of the semester while I’m at school. I bought a lot of stuff, but I can bring it back with me when I go home so I’m not too worried about it. As usual, I picked up a couple new-t0-me things because, well, why the heck not? Some of the things I bought are specifically for recipes I’m planning on making so if they turn out amazing, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Sprouts

My Sprouts haul

My Sprouts haul

*=organic

What I Got: Silver Hills Bakery The Big 16 sprouted bread*, gold nugget squash (love finding new squashes), navel orange, cauliflower, buckwheat flour*, curry seasoning

What It Cost Me: $16. 43 (this is why I love Sprouts!)

Verdict: I’m excited to try the squash and the bread. I’ve been on the lookout for a really good sprouted bread without unnecessary ingredients (Ezekiel is okay, not my fave, and Alvarado Street is a little too processed) and I was excited to see that they sell Silver Hills bread in CO. I love their simple, whole ingredients so I’m super excited they sell it here. Now I need to look for their Little Big Bread and their gluten free breads!

Whole Foods

Whole Foods staples...

Whole Foods staples…

What I Got: almond flour, dried pineapple*, red enchilada sauce, Coconut Secret raw coconut nectar (not sure how I feel about this yet…), So Delicious no sugar added mint chip coconut milk ice cream (love the mint chip combo), Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter squeeze packet, dark chocolate raisins*, Garden of Life RAW chocolate protein powder (new favorite protein powder brand), spelt flour*, Vega One French vanilla protein powder packet, Theo toasted coconut dark chocolate bar, mini candy canes* (so excited for these), Rudi’s gluten free spinach tortillas, kale*, no oil tangerine dressing, baby carrots*, black figs* (I’ve been missing these like no other)

What I Spent: $86.73 (typical lately…)

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting to spend this much, but then again I spent under $50 last weekend and I was running low on protein powder, which is a major chunk of the total (even with a coupon). I bought the coconut nectar because I needed more maple syrup and it was the same price for a larger amount, but I’m not sure I love it yet. I think I’ll use it in recipes, but save my beloved maple syrup for waffles and almond butter. 

...and Whole Foods splurges

…and Whole Foods splurges

Do you like sprouted bread? What’s the best new food find you’ve discovered lately?

 

College Vegan on a Budget: Stocking Up

A look into my adventures of learning how to budget shop for healthy vegan groceries.

After my refrigerator fiasco of last week (BTW: I got a new fridge out of the deal, score!) I had to throw out a bunch of my food. Normally I don’t mind tossing things that I didn’t love or whatever, but now that I’m buying almost all of my own groceries, it kinda hurts to have to waste so much, especially not by choice. I just didn’t want to risk getting sick! However, I was excited to do a big restock of my fridge and freezer. Yeah, I get excited over grocery trips. Lame, maybe, but I don’t care! Anyways, I went on a couple shopping trips this weekend while I was at home and my dad was nice enough to buy a few things for me so I won’t be counting those things in my budget list, but I am pumped to try them. I got my first ever kabocha squash and after hearing so many amazing things about them I am roasting mine ASAP, and I also got a chocolate raspberry Raw Revolution bar that sounds so good.

Pantry staples.

Whole Foods

This is all the stuff I bought for myself to restock my fridge, freezer and pantry. I missed a few things, but I’ll be making a trip back next weekend for some extras. (*=organic)

What I Got: kale*, garnet yams*, black grapes*, black figs*, brussel sprouts, baby carrots*, Jazz apples, bulk nutritional yeast (nooooooch!), raisins*, unsweetened vanilla almond milk*, sprouted tofu*, bulk maple almonds (ob-sessed), garbanzo beans*, virgin unrefined coconut oil*, harissa hummus, pineapple upside down Larabar, frozen sweet potato puffs, kelp noodles, NadaMoo! mint chocolate coconut milk ice cream, dry roasted edamame, pumpkin puree in a box*, Justin’s vanilla almond butter squeeze packs, olive bar olives, black bean dip, fresh guacamole, hot sauce dressing (ummm, yes please), Truvia

Fridge and freezer stuff.

What It Cost Me: $81.84 (pretty good for having some higher priced items in there)

Verdict: So glad it came in under $100. I had to do a bunch of restocking since my fridge was basically empty, but I got a bunch of things that will last me a while like the nooch, coconut oil, hummus and sweet potato puffs. I only spent over $5 on 3 items, which is a great way to save money. Those more expensive items add up!

Produce (minus apples and yams).

Now I’m all restocked and ready to go for another week here at my apartment! I’ll be doing some meal prep throughout the week and will hopefully come back sometime with some recipes for you to try out. Tonight I’m making socca pizza for the first time…with a twist!

How much produce do you buy every week? What’s your favorite dip/dressing?

Five for Friday

I haven’t completely given up on Friday Faves posts, even though it probably seems like it! I just felt like going with a different approach this Friday so hopefully it’s just as fun as usual!

Five Things I Have to do This Week

1) Call in for jury duty. Ummmmm, yeah, I totally got assigned jury duty next Monday. No bueno, but luckily I don’t have any major assignments due then. I am really really hoping I don’t actually get called in because it’s super inconvenient, probably boring and I have to pay $1 an hour for parking. Uh, what?!

2) Write a 2100 word paper. I know I’m doing a liberal arts major and minor, and I don’t mind writing, but that’s a lot of words, plus it requires research. It’s a little dumb too because it’s for a journalism class and I know for a fact that as someone going into the broadcast field, I will never have to write anything even close to that many words. Try more like 50 words or less per story. Oh well…

3) Prepare my first weather forecast. I am really pumped for this one! Because of special programming the last two weeks, I wasn’t assigned to do weather on my news night. But this week is my first week going live, and I’m super excited. Hopefully I can write up a script that is at least somewhat decent…but honestly, I’d rather ad lib the weather like I did for our practice week.

4) Grocery shop. Is it lame that I’m excited about this too?! Whatever, I like to go grocery shopping. I have to finalize my list tonight and then tomorrow’s the big day. I’m hoping I won’t stray too far from the list…

5) Meal prep. Another exciting one, and my first time actually purposely prepping food for multiple meals. I don’t always have time during the week to whip up a single serving lunch or dinner, so making some things ahead of time will be a big time saver. A few things on my list to make: tofu nuggets, pumpkin maple bean cornbread casserole, pineapple coconut flour shortbread squares and dark chocolate-covered edamame. Yes, I realize two of those things on that list are desserts–gotta keep my priorities straight, right 😉

Don’t these look amazing? Photo courtesy of The Veggie Nook.

Five New Finds I’m Loving

1) Whole Foods vegan chocolate mousse. Okay, if you see a little cup of this in the prepared desserts section of your Whole Foods, buy it. Immediately. I’m not kidding. This stuff is straight-up, chocolate-y crack. It’s mind-blowingly creamy and rich, so you only need to eat a little at a time. And it’s only $2.99, so it’s fairly cheap. I’m thinking it’ll make the perfect frosting for my protein microwave cakes.

2) Mrs. Dash fiesta lime seasoning. This stuff is a great way to add Mexican flair to everything (I love it on black beans) without any salt.

3) Coconut flour. I got mine in bulk from Sprouts, so it was extremely cheap. It works great in protein cakes, smoothies and I want to try it in pancakes and waffles. I know it’s hard to use in vegan recipes, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna try to make it work.

A protein cake made with coconut flour, flax, vanilla protein powder, almond milk and topped with raisins and cacao nibs.

4) Almond Breeze unsweetened almond coconut milk. I’ve been on the lookout for this since I first heard about it and I finally found it at Target. It’s a little thicker than almond milk, with a hint of coconut taste. I really wish they’d come out with an unsweetened vanilla version in refrigerated though.

5) Kelp noodles. I’ve enjoyed these three ways: Italian (red sauce, nooch, olives and crumbled veggie burger), Asian (peanut flour sauce, peppers) and cheezy (nooch, cashews). The Italian was definitely my fave, but I really loved them all. The noodles really take on whatever flavors you mix them with, and they’ve got a slight crunch which is cool.

Five Frustrating Things

1) Bicyclists who run red lights. Seriously, guys, us drivers have to constantly be watching out for you, and it’s not cool when you ignore traffic rules.

2) Having random pains. Since Wednesday, my right ankle hurts when I go downstairs, and now my lower back aches, and there’s some pain behind my left knee sometimes when I walk or workout. Yeah, I’m kind of a mess right now. Luckily I can still do all my normal stuff but it’s just annoying.

3) So many assignments due next week. I get it, the semester’s already underway and all that, but I’d like a little break from all the homework, readings and papers.

4) Getting sucky parking spaces. I’ve actually been pretty lucky this week with parking. I parked in the garage most of the week for school and usually got a space on the third level, so it was nice and covered. But parking at the apartment complex can be hell. I lucked on out Wednesday night and got a decently close spot, even though I got back around 8:45 pm. But most days, if I get back anytime after 3 (which happens pretty much every day), I have to park kinda far away. Not a big deal, just annoying.

I don’t like having to park Alejandro far away from me…

5) Super hot classrooms. Seriously, I have class in this one room that feels like 110 degrees. No joke. It’s hot enough outside but even hotter inside. We should just have class outside. I always crank up my A/C once I get back to my apartment after that class.

What’s one thing that’s frustrated you this week? What’s your favorite alternative flour (like nut or gluten-free flours)?

 

College Vegan on a Budget: The Newbie

This is a new series I’m testing out and it’s all about shopping on a college girl budget, as a vegan who has healthy (and expensive) tastes. Enjoy!

I’ve never really grocery shopped for myself before. Yes, I’m a college junior and have been “on my own” (with my parents help) the past 2 years, but until now I never had the means to go grocery shopping. Sure, sometimes when I was home and had access to a car I’d pick up a couple splurges for myself at Whole Foods, but I never had to pay for staples and such. Now that I have a car and am living off campus with a full kitchen, grocery shopping is a necessity. I can’t always rely on my mom to get me what I need every two weeks, so I’m having to start grocery shopping for myself. Call me a nerd, but I’ve always had fun doing it! But now, it’s serious business–I have a budget I have to stick to. This week, it was $50 (plus $20 in cash that my mom gave me). Could I do it? Let’s see how my weekend shopping trips turned out!

So excited about the chiles, the coconut flour and the coconut Greek yogurts!

Sprouts

Can I just say that I love this place? Seriously, I can’t wait til the Sunflower Market back home turns into a Sprouts because it’s such a great alternative to WF. Now that I’m back at school, though, I have access to Sprouts which is great for my tastes and my budget.

I looked up their weekly deals and sales before I headed out so I knew what I should stock up on based on my not-so set-in-stone shopping list. And I tried to tell myself to stick to that list, but being the first time I’ve ever bought a lot of stuff on my own, I was like a kid in a candy store. I kept seeing all these things I wanted to try and I ended up getting a few things not on the list, but it didn’t turn out too expensive.

What I Got: fresh roasted Hatch chiles (made in store that morning!),  2 red mangoes , whole raw cashews in bulk, coconut flour in bulk (excited to try it), dried mango slices (nothing added!), 2 So Delicious coconut milk Greek yogurts (yay!) and a Luna Fiber bar. 

What It Cost Me: $15.43 (I used cash)

Verdict: I will try to shop here more often (even though it’s a little out of the way) because I got a lot of great stuff pretty cheaply. And they have a lot of products Whole Foods doesn’t stock, like the fiber bars, coconut flour and vegan Greek yogurts.

Oh peanut flour, how I’ve missed you!

Whole Foods

Ah yes, my favorite store! Unfortunately, it doesn’t always love me back. When my parents take me there, a typical stock-up trip can cost $60 or more. Since I was just planning on getting a few fill-in items, I figured I wouldn’t have to worry. Just to be safe, I kept my cell phone’s calculator handy so I could add up totals as I went along (and I’ll be doing this from now on).

Again, though, I went a little too crazy and bought several things not on my list. Good for my foodie curiosity, bad for my budget. But you live and learn.

What I Got: fresh black figs, raw agave nectar, maple almonds (got a little too many of these…), nooch (always necessary), kelp noodles, dark chocolate chunks (ran out and couldn’t live without ’em for a week!), frozen edamame (running low), frozen pineapple, PB2 (impulse buy…I was missing peanut flour, which I haven’t had in a couple months), vegan cookie, coconut milk caramel from checkout counter.

What It Cost Me: $39.32 (yikes!)

Verdict: I will definitely be sticking to the list in the future at WF! Too many impulse buys add up, especially the PB2 which was $6! I also need to be careful with the bulk stuff, since it can be expensive. I ended up with a bunch of almonds, and while I’ll definitely eat them, they weren’t cheap. Also, the figs were supposed to be $3.99 for a pound, but somehow ended up costing me almost $6  even though they weighed a little over half a pound (maybe they were priced wrong?). Definitely need to read labels more closely and avoid buying multiple things that cost $5 or more. The other items were really cheap, so if I had been more careful, I could have stayed under $30.

Obviously, I am such a beginner here when it comes to budget shopping. I wasn’t able to use any coupons, which could have saved me, and while I did try to avoid buying all the things I’ve been dying to have or try, I need to make more of an effort to do that. I will definitely use up all the items, but in the future I need to be more conscious of cost and if I really need it or if I can wait a couple weeks. However, I am excited to try all the new-to-me items!

Do you have experience budget shopping? What is your biggest grocery shopping splurge?

Friday Faves (July 13)

Well it’s Friday the 13th…anyone experiencing any bad luck today? I’m really not a superstitious person so I think bad things (and good things too) can happen any time regardless of the day on the calendar. Plus I’m feeling pretty darn lucky today anyway–my birthday’s in exactly two weeks and I went to the dentist yesterday and came back with no cavities. Yay!

(Soon to be) Favorite Starbucks Drink: Refreshers

It’s like a limeade with a caffeine boost!

It’s no secret that I love Starbucks, but sadly I haven’t been in a couple of weeks, even though we just moved within a 5 minute driving distance of one. But now I have an even better reason to go–their new Refreshers drinks! P.S. They’re giving them away free today between noon and 3 pm so get one now. They have different versions of the drinks–two iced ones in their stores, three sparkling water kinds and instant VIA packets at grocery stores. I’ll be keeping my eye out for those the next time I go shopping and I’m hoping I enjoy my free one!

Favorite App: Phonto

Just in case you didn’t know, this was a lunch. Steamed edamame, squirt of sriracha, baby carrots, blueberries, sprouted toast topped with blueberry chia jam and cashew cream cheese.

I can’t say enough good things about the LabelBox app, but now there’s another photo editing app I love–Phonto. As a self-professed font nerd, I like being able to add a caption directly to my photos in a million different fonts and colors. From now on, if my photos aren’t LabelBox’d, they’ll be Phonto’d. Just warning you 😉

Favorite Fitness Move: Planks

Not this kind of planking, but isn’t this adorable?

Until maybe a year ago, I had no idea what planks were. And now, I’m hooked. I do them a couple of times per day in addition to my other fitness routines and I’ve been working on holding them for a long time. Right now I can only do them for 2 minutes straight, but I want to get up to 5 minutes soon! They’re such a good fitness move since they pretty much work everything–arms, core and even legs.

Favorite Day I’m Looking Forward To: July 27th

From my birthday last year…apparently I was proud of this tiny strawberry I grew on my strawberry plant!

I’ve tried not to talk about it too much on the blog, since people don’t really care too much about other people’s birthdays, but I’m definitely excited to turn 20 in exactly two weeks! It’ll probably feel really weird to finally be out of my teenage years but I’m ready to be one year closer to legal drinking age 😉 Actually, I’m just more excited about the plans I have for my birthday this year. On the actual day, I’m gonna get Whole Foods salad bar for dinner (and hopefully some bakery-made vegan dessert) and watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and who knows what else. And over the weekend, I’m planning on going up to Denver for a day of shopping and going out to eat at (hopefully) a completely vegetarian or vegan restaurant for the first time ever. Possibly even Native Foods Cafe, which just opened in Boulder! Shopping, good eats and the Olympics–doesn’t get much better than that for me!

What do you like to do for your birthday? What’s your favorite fitness move?

WIAW: New in Review

Who else loves finding new products at the grocery store? I know I can’t be alone…well, maybe I’m the only one who almost squeals when I see something I’ve been searching for forever or something that just looks too good to pass up 😉 Lately, on all my Whole Foods trips, I’ve been buying at least one new-to-me product so I thought I’d share some of them with you in case you’ve been seeing them too and wanted to know if they’re worth the splurge. Spoiler alert: most of them are!

(Some) of the new-to-me flavors: lemon bar, key lime pie, peanut butter cookies, chocolate coconut chew.

First up, Larabars. Not exactly new, but lately I’ve been branching out and buying some flavors I’ve never tried before. Sure, I love the pineapple upside down cake and cappuccino, but I need to try new ones so I can find new favorites! And some of them were. The peanut butter chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie ones were awesome, the chocolate cherry torte not so much, but that can be expected because I hate most cherry flavored things. It was decent though, but mostly because of the chocolate chips! I haven’t tried the other flavors in this pic, but it’s only a matter of time 😉

From the freezer/fridge: Spicy Nothings curry sauce, NadaMoo! java crunch coconut milk ice cream, Amande peach almond milk yogurt, Nayonaise.

Okay, I can’t say enough good things about the curry sauce and coconut milk ice cream! The curry sauce is perfectly spicy (which, coming from me, is saying something, because I love all things spicy, and most things aren’t spicy enough) and so good over veggies and the ice cream is so dreamy and creamy, all without dairy. Love it. I kinda like the Amande yogurts, since they’re made from almond milk, but they have the weirdest texture. I can’t wait to find the So Delicious Greek style almond milk yogurts because I’m guessing they’ll be so creamy and thick, not jelly-like like Amande. I do love that it’s got vegan probiotics and plenty of calcium though. I haven’t tried the Nayonaise yet, but I really want to use it in curried tofu salad and tofu crab cakes!

Told you I love the LabelBox app!

Like I mentioned in my latest Friday Faves post, I love LabelBox app. It’s probably not new, but it still is to me, and it’s just so fun to use. Get it now if you still haven’t (bonus–it’s free)!

Annie Chun pad Thai style brown rice noodles, Alter Eco dark mint chocolate, veggie spirals quinoa pasta.

The quinoa pasta isn’t new to me, but this particularly shape is! Who else loves getting cool shaped pasta just because? Plus this one is made with veggies, in addition to corn and quinoa flour. Yum. I also really love the brown rice noodles. They just have two ingredients, brown rice flour and water. It doesn’t get more simple than that, and they’re also really tasty with Asian dishes! But the real winner in this line-up is the chocolate. I used to think Chocolove was my favorite chocolate brand, but Alter Eco basically takes the cake. 7 of their 10 flavors are vegan, they’re totally organic and fair trade certified, which I think is awesome. The company is really focused on sustainability and being fair to the coffee growers, which is so much more than most companies can say. Plus they have a chocolate bar with quinoa puffs in it, which just sounds delicious!

A yummy, nutritious Pan-Asian dinner: brown rice noodles stir-fried with Spicy Nothings curry sauce, steamed kale and spicy orange-glazed chickpeas.

And finally, another recipe for you! I kinda made up this dinner on the spot but it turned out so good that I couldn’t not share. You can use whatever curry sauce you love or have on hand, but I definitely recommend the Spicy Nothings brand.

Spicy Curry Stirfry with Orange-Glazed Chickpeas (vegan, gluten-free)

For Chickpeas

1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 large navel orange

maple syrup, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tsp cornstarch

For Stirfry

1 oz brown rice noodles

3 tbsp curry sauce

handful kale

In a small bowl, mix together orange juice, maple syrup and red pepper flakes. Toss in chickpeas and let marinate for 15-30 minutes.  In a pot, boil water and add in brown rice noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. In a wok or sauce pan, cook chickpeas and kale until orange glaze starts to bubble. Stir in cornstarch until glaze thickens and add in noodles and curry sauce. Mix until combined and serve garnished with cashews, cilantro or sesame seeds. Serves 1. 

Do you like buying fair trade products? What’s your favorite noodle/pasta shape?