Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vegan Review: My letter to Marshmallows (Sweet & Sara review)

Hello Marshmallows,

Long time no taste. At first I thought you were just a side item to the wonderful smores that I would eat during the winter or the last thing I would grab when I needed something sweet and had no other options. I would put you in hot chocolate but realized that cool whip tasted better.  I even gave you a try when Easter came around and you would stuff yourself into those colored egg shaped candies only to get pissed because it was so hard I could have chipped a tooth.

You see Marshmallows, you have kinda left a bad taste in my mouth...literally.  I thought I would be done with you forever until I was on a website looking for vegan treats.  I came across Sweet & Sara. I was looking through the delicious looking treats when what do I see? You. But not just you.  You and your friends cinnamon and pecan.  Now at first I thought you were going to trick me again.  Place yourself in to a few of my favorite things just so I would eat you. But I admit Marshmallow, you had my attention. I searched a little more.

I found a lot of reviews praising you and your new found home at Sweet & Sara.  I though maybe Sweet & Sara had made you likable, after all you were in this cute square shape. I closed the website and continued my search for vegan treats.  But then you began torturing me Marshmallows.  I began thinking about you all the time, wondering where you were and what you were doing. OK - maybe I wasn't that bad but I did have you on  my list of things to try.

Then one day, while walking around Whole Foods, there you were.  I stared at you for a second.  It was kinda awkward as we have not seen each other in a while but you looked so lovely just sitting there by other treats.  I picked you up and I have to admit a smile came across my face.  I saw you in all your glory, pecans, cinnamon, ewey gooey white fluff. I didn't get my hopes up though. I wanted to make sure it was real this time.  I didn't want you to disappoint me again.

Everything else was a blur until I was sitting in my car opening your container and placing my fingers around your softness.  I placed you in my mouth and was so overcome with joy.  You tasted fabulous!  Now, I don't want to get carried away and embarrass myself so I will just get to the point.  Sweet & Sara made you delicious.  I praise them for thinking outside the box and giving the vegan world such a good little treat. I am sorry for having doubted you for so long.  I hope you can forgive me and I promise that next time I question you...well there won't be a next time.  I am hooked!

Your Reformed Marshmallow Hater

So in summary here is my final review:
(on a scale from 1 to 5)
Taste - 4 1/2 - I would have given them a 5 but unfortunately they tasted like my fridge when I tried them a few days later. Plactic bag next time! :-)
Price - 4 - While the $5.99 might be quite a shock for most people, it really is a reasonable price for 16-18 pieces and I was satisfied after eating just one. So it was well worth it to me.
Flavor - 5- Cinnamon and pecan are two of my favorite things.  These are the only ones I have tried so far but neither one was overpowering and went beautifully with the marshmallows.
Texture - 5 - It really is the perfect texture. soft and a little chewy.

I can't wait to try other flavors!  Thank you Sweet & Sara!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

World Wide of Giveaway - Soft Lips Pure!

Review + Giveaway for the entire PURE line (a $42 value)

Click the link to go to Wide World of and enter for your chance to win Soft Lips Pure all of which are 100% natural and preservative, phthalate, paraben, sulfate, mineral oil and gluten free. Also, they have many other giveaways so check it out!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vegan Review + Recipe: Avocado Pesto Pasta (recipe by Chloe Coscarelli)

New recipes intimidate me.  They really intimidate me if they have more than 5 ingredients that I don't have in my kitchen.  Since I have only been vegan for about 4 1/2 weeks now, I have been even more intimidated trying to cook my own vegan food from scratch and with fresh ingredients.  Most of my time is spent going to Whole Foods and getting something vegan from the deli but that takes a big chunk of change out of the pocket not to mention that it is ludicrous to try to do that for every meal.  AND to top it off I still have to feed my vegetarian husband and my carnivore son.  How can I make everybody happy?

Well I started off by doing the sly (make it look like real ricotta) when I made my first vegan meal - Vegan Lasagna. I didn't tell my husband that I used tofu in place of the ricotta cheese to give it the texture of lasagna .  We have a don't ask don't tell policy when I make food like this one. My husband and my son  loved it! Boy, was I relieved!  My first vegan dish a success! "How did I do it?" I asked myself. "What was I going to do now? What if I set the bar too high with my first vegan dish?"  So I was very nervous when I began my second vegan dish, Avocado Pesto Pasta by Chloe Coscarelli.

I first watched Chloe win Cupcake Wars a few months back.  I was intrigued by this whole vegan cupcake think she was doing.  Now, I was not a vegan yet at this point but I thought "Vegan's eat cupcakes?"  I had already been contemplating the switch from vegetarian to vegan for a little while but seeing her make those cupcakes really sealed the deal for me.  They looked absolutely fabulous!  Why am I telling you about these wonderful cupcakes, you ask? Well because those vegan cupcakes led me to Chloe Coscarelli's website.  I was looking through her blog that had a lot of food recipes (including her winning vegan cupcakes) when I stumbled on the Avocado Pesto Pasta recipe.  I read the ingredients (there was more than five) but it really looked simple and besides everyone in my family loves pasta!  So I began making my second vegan food dish.

The recipe called for a lot of things that I already had in my kitchen except avocados and pine nuts. Now I was a little stressed about this, more than my usual cooking stress, because I knew about avocados (or so I thought).  I knew Guacamole was made out of avocados.  And I knew I hated guacamole. But I was ready.  I was going to give it a try and besides I hadn't tried gauc since I was 14 so maybe it wasn't as bad as I remembered.

The dish itself was pretty easy to make and the sauce for the recipe is raw which is a double bonus. The sauce also included the pine nuts, which I had never eaten (I don't think) and certainly had never bought them.  But let me tell you...WTF?!  $7.00 for a little bag?!  I almost crapped myself at the register since the pine nuts were ever-so-cleverly not priced on the bag.  I sucked it up anyway because they eventually made the dish taste even better than if I hadn't used them.

I test tasted the sauce and it was incredible! And whole wheat linguine tossed with it made it super-incredible! I totally looked at avocados in a brand new light now. I am so glad I tried this dish and my husband liked it even better than my first vegan dish! I have raised the bar even higher!  But it really did taste wonderful.   

This all wouldn't have been possible without Chef Chloe sharing her recipe on her website so she deserves most of the credit.  Here is her website and the recipe below.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Look at this yummy goodness!

- The Vegan Variety

                                              Chef Chole's recipe and website:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vegan Product Review: Something to satisfy your sweet tooth!

A few weeks ago I found a deal on amazon for YummyEarth Organic Lollipops.  I am not a big fan of candy but I thought I wold give it a try. I can't keep eating vegan cupcakes all the time right? Although I would like to, my waistline and gut say otherwise. So, I wanted something that would help satisfy my sweet tooth without all the extra artificial crap and calories.

I was going through Amazon to see what they had to offer vegan-wise.  Then I stumbled across YummyEarth Organic Lollipops.  They had a fabulous sale going at the time. $10.00 for a 150 count container plus they even offered free shipping at the time! (They had me at free shipping.) Plus, the awesome container!  Forget the candy dish or shoving a bag of lollipops in your cabinet only to forget about them until the next Halloween comes around. This was a container my friends! Like the ones you see at a candy store.  The ones that give you the satisfaction of sticking your hang through a plastic hole at the top and digging around until you find the perfect lollipop (or suckers I sometimes call them). OK, enough about the container...

I decided to give the lollipops a try. They arrived in record time and I quickly opened the box.  I looked at all the fruity colors and started digging through. Strawberry Smash! It was just as I thought it would be only better. They were fabulous. They were, well, Yummy!

I placed my (awesome) container on my kitchen counter top, so that now whenever my husband, son or I are craving something sweet, they are right there in front of us. And there are so many I even shared some at with the people at work. (they didn't even know. hehe)

So to sum this all up, I would give YummyEarth Organic Lollipops a two thumbs up.  Lots of flavors and the price is unbeatable!  Here is the amazon site:  Let me know if you have tried them and what you think!

Vegan Deal: Free stuff!

Vegan Deal: If you live near an Earth Fair Supermarket you can sign up on their website and get a free lunch tote! I love free stuff!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Product Review: Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers

While I haven't been a vegan very long, I have been a vegetarian for over 21 years and have had my share of veggie burgers. I suffered through every bite thinking "Well, it's better than eating meat". That being said, I quickly grew tired of them and hadn't eaten a veggie burger in years. So when I started my search for vegan foods I found myself standing in front of the frozen food aisle looking straight at the frozen veggie burgers. "Oh hell",  I thought, "this can't be the only thing a vegan eats, right?" Four weeks into my veganism, I now know that vegan  food is aplenty but at the time I said, "Screw it. I'll try the damn veggie burgers... again." I was in the frozen foods organic section at Hyvee when I picked up Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers. I had never seen them before but I took a deep breath and grabbed the box.
An hour later, I was sinking my teeth into the most delicious veggie burger I had ever tasted! I knew then my life as a vegan wouldn't be as hard as I thought. I really didn't know how I would make it without milk and cheese but so far it has been really easy.   I never knew there were so many substitutes. I now put Tofutti cheese on the veggie burger's for an an extra little treat.
 I am still trying new things and as I find them I will share them along the way. If you want more information about Dr. Praeger's Veggie Burgers the website is  Let me know if you have tried them and what you think.  More vegan product reviews are on there way!

Monday, August 9, 2010

My New Journey

Hello! Well here it is my first official blog! I decided to do this blog because I recently became a vegan. I have been doing a variety of research (reading books,websites) trying different recipes, and just learning about vegan food. I had a lot of questions so I thought creating a blog would not only help me express what I learn but also give others a chance to learn or share information. 

It is going on 4 weeks of my new found veganism. It hasn't been that difficult for me (yet). I have been a vegetarian for over 21 years so my transition would be a lot easier than it would be for others.  My husband, (who used to think In-N-Out Burger was a food group) has just become a vegetarian. I was shocked to say the least.  When I told him I was going to become vegan he said, "Oh ok, well I will go vegetarian." Yes, I was waiting for the burst of laughter and the "just kidding" but that didn't happen.  He was serious. It is now going on his fourth week as well and I have to say I am impressed. I truly believe anyone can be a vegetarian/vegan if they knew all the information that most of us ignore.

So if any one out there starts to read my blog and would like to share and recipes news or stories, I would love to hear them and post them on my blog! Oh and of course if you would like to follow my blog you can as well.  I am also on twitter.  Thank you for visiting by blog! (whoever you are out there)


So excited to start my new blog.  I will finish getting this blog up and running shortly.  Thanks for visiting and stay tuned!