Monday, May 25, 2009

New Foods Challenge Accepted!

Katie of Chocolate-Covered Katie announced a new contest a few weeks ago and I've finally gotten around to posting about my results. The challenge was to try either a new product, fruit, vegetable, or whatever and I think this was such a great idea since I often find myself in food ruts. While I have a lengthy list of more foods I want to try, the contest ends June 1st, so I'll post about these for now:

I was beyond excited to see the new Living Harvest Tempt hemp milk ice cream at my local Whole Foods and grabbed a pint. I was only able to find the vanilla bean, mint chip, and chocolate fudge flavors at the store, so I chose mint chip. OH MY GOODNESS!! This is fantastic! I love this ice cream because it's gluten-free, not soy-based, not terribly high in fat/sugar, and doesn't have any aftertaste like soy ice cream can have. Also, the little chocolate flakes just melt in your mouth and remind me of the mint chip ice cream of my childhood. This product is pretty rich, but I can't stop eating it and I think I'll have to have a pint in my freezer at all times.

As I went to the checkout line at Whole Foods with my hemp milk ice cream, I noticed a basket full of every flavor of Justin's almond/peanut butter squeeze packs. I've always wanted to try these after reading about them so much on other blogs, so I grabbed one pack of the classic peanut butter and one pack of the maple almond butter. The peanut butter was pretty good- nothing too special, but that's what I expected. What I was really excited to try was the maple almond butter, so I squeezed out as much as possible onto some apple slices. While this certainly is some special almond butter, I wasn't blown away. Don't get me wrong- I think this was delicious and was so glad to try it, but I tend to prefer raw almond butter so the flavor of the roasted almonds was a little overpowering for me. My favorite part of this product, though, is the convenience! I'll probably keep a few packs of the peanut butter on hand because they'll be great for traveling and school lunches (even though I only have 2 weeks left!).

Thanks so much Katie for this fun challenge! I'm already planning my next trip to the store to cross a few new foods off my list :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Crepes Two Ways and Another Surprise in the Mail

I have no idea why it took me so long, but I finally got around to making the crepes from Vcon. They were so easy to make gluten-free by substituting some millet flour and xanthan gum for the wheat flour. I made the savory version of the batter and made 4 crepes, but then added some agave nectar to the 2nd half of the batter and made another 5 crepes. I froze them all so now I have a bunch of crepes for any type of meal whenever I want! But of course I couldn't wait very long to try them out, so I made the Potato Mushroom Blintzes (also from Vcon) and topped them with some Vegan Gourmet Sour Cream, natural apple sauce, and fresh thyme leaves. While the crepes themselves were great, I wasn't a huge fan of the potato mushroom filling. I think there just wasn't a whole lot of flavor, plus I'm not a fan of the whole "carb wrapped in a carb" kind of meal. Oh well, they can't all be winners.

Even though my first vegan crepe adventure was savory, I think the real way to eat crepes is for a sweet breakfast. This morning, I just warmed up two of my defrosted sweetened crepes and filled them with some Wildwood plain soy yogurt (my Whole Foods started carrying it and it's great! I like being able to control the sweetness), lemon zest, grapefruit zest, agave nectar, and chopped blackberries. Topped my crepes with a drizzle of more agave nectar and some whole blackberries. Now this is how crepes should be eaten!! This was one excellent, light, and special breakfast. The crepes taste exactly how I remember nonvegan crepes tasting and they were simple to make.

And the last cookbook of my Amazon preorder arrived Friday afternoon! I immediately flipped through my new copy of Vegan Brunch and tagged a bunch of recipes I want to try soon. The layout of this book is fantastic and it has some delicious-looking pictures. I think I've gotta hold off now on buying any more cookbooks- I have too many things I want to try in a bunch of them that I don't know where to start!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

You've Got Mail

If you remember, a few weeks ago I announced my search for vegan butterscotch chips and Annieeggplant from the PPK boards was kind enough to help me out. We had a fun little "mini-swap" with each other. In return for these two bags of butterscotch chips, I sent her some Ricemellow and natural, vegan soap bars. I've been trying to perfect my gluten-free oatmeal cookie recipe before I make some with these precious chips, but I have sampled a few (hence the opened bag in the back of the photo) and they are delicious! Of course, they do taste artificial and all, but what do you expect?

I was completely shocked yesterday when I received another package from Annieeggplant in the mail yesterday! The package included a letter in which Annie told me that she thought that her package to me was "lame" (her words, not mine) compared tot he one I sent her, so she sent me some good from an Indian market and chocolate bars. While this was completely unnecessary, I appreciate it none the less and can't wait to try some of this stuff. In her package, Anne sent me two boxes of some sort of vegan "jell-o" mix (one mango and one cherry), cardamom powder, black sesame seeds, some kind of crunchy nut candy, a small jar of asofetida, a Ritter Sport marzipan bar (my dad always gets these for me- love 'em!), and a raspberry dark chocolate bar.

Today, the surprises kept on coming! As I mentioned in my last post, I preordered the new Babycakes cookbook a few weeks ago, and it arrived today! I've been spending my night reading this book and planning what recipes I'm going to try first. Even if you eat dairy, eggs, or gluten, I suggest you buy this book because it looks amazing. The pictures are gorgeous and the layout is wonderful. I'll report back on some recipes later :)

Just to let you all know, I have been photographing some of my more impressive meals and once I have enough, I'll post about them. So please don't think I've forgotten about you all- you'll get a good food post soon!