Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scrumptious Coconut Milk Ice Cream Bars!

So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis are decadently satisfying. I had the pleasure of sampling chocolate covered vanilla bars and coconut almond bars. This is better than any dairy ice cream I can remember. True, it's been a while, but ice cream has a special place in my heart. I remember the last dairy soft vanilla ice cream cone I ever had pretty vividly because it was the hardest thing besides pizza (we have ridiculously good pizza in NJ) to give up when I first went vegan. With these chocolate covered bars, I really can't complain about missing my beloved ice cream.

The vanilla bar is a classic chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bar with a substantial stick that doesn't let the whole thing fall apart after you've taken a few bites. The chocolate melts instantly in your mouth, and it is good, rich chocolate. The vanilla ice cream, though mostly made up of coconut milk, has a strong (in a good way) vanilla flavoring. You can't spot the coconut on your tongue unless you start wondering how they got the ice cream to be so creamy and full. There is no soy aftertaste, just smooth vanilla goodness. These bars are sweetened with agave. Since they're mini, they're only 150 calories per bar. It's big enough to satisfy your sweet tooth and any chocolate or ice cream cravings you might have, but it's not so big that it will make you feel like you shouldn't have splurged.
The coconut almond bars are a little more caloric, though at 170 calories per bar, not enough to significantly expand anyone's waist line. The coconut almond bar is possibly even more delicious than the plain chocolate and vanilla, especially if you're an almond/chocolate/coconut lover like me! The coconut pairs well with the almond bits embedded in the crisp chocolate covering. I'll repeat: they're decadent. But not too big or overly filling. Just enough. I highly recommend picking these bad boys up if you see them!!!

Also coming soon...a review of the equally scrumptious So Delicious coconut milk mini ice cream sandwiches!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marvelous Mushrooms

Here is a photo of a cute little mushroom that I saw on a recent walk through my town. I have no idea what kind it is, it could be fatally poisonous for all I know, but it inspired me to write about mushrooms.
Pre-washed and sliced cremini or baby portabella mushrooms are so convenient! I usually put them on my pizza, and sometimes I just cook them up with whatever else I'm making for dinner. Here, I made some seitan following a recipe in La Dolce Vegan. I added the seitan/mushroom mixture to some whole wheat pasta, it was really hearty and delicious. I also recently made a mushroom gravy very loosely based on the miso gravy recipe in Vegan With a Vengeance and paired it with yummy biscuits and some baked tofu.

This definitely can be described as an "I need to go food shopping since I'm running out of stuff, but I really don't feel like going out" dinner. Although it was very beige, it was really satisfying and way better than going out to Wegman's after a long day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fabulous French Toast

Mmmmm...I love having big weekend breakfasts. Here is some French Toast I made recently, heavy on the cinnamon. I used dark whole grain bread from a local bakery and some left over Wegman's whole grain bread. It was so good slathered with Earth Balance margarine and drizzled with some maple syrup. The recipe I used was from How it All Vegan, it's so simple to make. I like leaving the French Toast in the oven at 200 degrees for a few minutes before serving it, I picked up that tip from Sarah Kramer in one of her books. The result is perfectly warm and delicious French Toast! I love to pair it with organic, freshly ground, fair trade coffee.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vegan a Go-Go!

I finally got a copy of the much awaited Vegan a Go-Go! , Sarah Kramer's new vegan travel book. Even though I knew it was small and travel sized before I ordered it, its size initially surprised me when I recieved it because it really is tiny. That is a good thing, as its purpose is for travel! I can definitely see myself popping this book into my suitcase the next time I go somewhere, as it won't take up that much precious room in my carry-ons.

As promised, it's filled with familiar recipes and travel tips for vegans. Many of these recipes require an oven, stove, microwave, food processor, or other kitchen appliance. Staying in a place with some sort of kitchen is usually the best option for travelers anyway, as you can save a lot of money by preparing your own food. There's also some "no-bake" recipes in the baking section. No-bake pie, no-bake cookies, no-bake bars and icing will come in handy when we're craving something sweet and we're staying in a place without an oven.

I really liked the vegan travel tips in the beginning of the book. To seasoned vegan travelers, some of the tips seem obvious, but it's nice to have a handy checklist when you're planning a trip. I think my favorite part, and the one I will use first when preparing for my next big trip, is "In Sarah's Travel Bag". She's got some good ideas in there that I never really thought of. There are also some new recipes that I have yet to try like Multigrain Porridge and Fettucini Alfredo (it's made with no-cook sauce!) . The milk alternative section will come in handy if we are traveling in a place without soy or rice milk readily available.

Sarah stresses the importance of being packed and prepared well before your trip so that you can get plenty of sleep and relax the night before. I really need to work on that as I tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to last minute travel details like packing, getting tickets printed and passports ready, getting my little shampoos and other liquids to fit inside a 3 oz container, then smushing all of the little lotion bottles into a quart size zip lock bag. I always leave this to the last minute thinking it won't take that much time, and it always stresses me out and leaves me sleep-deprived in the airport the next day.

Overall, I think this book is practical and helpful to vegan travelers, especially those that are new to vegan travel. I look forward to actually using this handy little book on my next vacation. Another winner from Sarah Kramer!