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Spring is here, and that means time for spring cleaning! Well maybe not, I can’t say that the arrival of spring suddenly sparks a desire to bustle around scrubbing my abode, but with a move in my near future, the scrubbing is on my calendar wether I like it or not.
Spring cleaning is all about a fresh start, a cleaner home, uncluttered minds and the like, but how much good are you really doing by filling your home with countless chemicals, and potentially toxic mixtures. Wouldn’t you prefer to know that you are actually cleaning your place, rather than just coating it in a cocktail of hard to pronounce, unkown substances. I know I sure do!
Sadly, with the current eco-friendly fad, it is hard to know what ‘green’ products truly stand above their traditional counterparts, and which are just a greenwashing scam designed to rid you of your hard earned cash. I’m no chemist, but a bit of research, and personal experience has led me to the products I am happy to recommend as upgrades for your current cleaning products.
So for the products I am happy to recommend:
ECOS brand laundry detergent-fabulous stuff! Costco has been carrying these big jugs of it for the past few years now and I was so excited to see that it is a vegan product and eco-friendly to boot! It comes in a couple of different scents, although I have only ever used the one pictured (Magnolia & Lily) and despite the name, I think the scent is quite understated, and I would imagine the others are as well. While I am very happy with the detergent, I wound’t say it is amazing at tough stain removal, but otherwise, for everyday laundry needs, I definitely recommend it. Additionally, I have been using it for at least a good year to do a weekly wash of delicates like ballet tights and spandexy things, both of which can be easily ruined, and I have been very happy with how gentle it has been (those tights are pricey so decreasing the rate of turnover is of great importance!!).
Method brand dishwasher tablets– I have to admit that a few years ago when method products first started showing up all over the place, I fell in love with the cute containers but I was quite dubious of their environmental claims. It looked like just another company taking advantage of the green movement. I am not entirely convinced otherwise about the truly safe and green attributes of the actual products, but as a company, I am very impressed with where method is heading. All the containers are 100% recycled, their head office is LEED certified, and new products come out that indicate they are continually working towards green initiatives. While I think some of their ingredient choices could use some work, overall they are a huge step above traditional cleaning products, work wel, and are easily found, and i am willing to support that.
As an aside, I would love to try the ECOS brand laundry detergent, but it has proven to be quite elusive…
BioSource Multipurpose cleaner– Don’t let the small container size fool you, this is a super concentrated cleaner. You mix it up 1 part cleaner to 64!! parts water for everyday cleaning. What I like about concentrated cleaners, besides the obvious packaging savings, is that you have a wide variety of cleaning strengths available from the one product- for heavy duty cleaning, just don’t dilute it as much! This is another vegan product and the ingredients are purported to be 100% readily biodegradable. While the scent is definitely one of a cleaner, it is not overly strong or offputting, and once it is diluted, hardly detectable. Another big plus, for me anyways, is that this is a Canadian product. I love supporting local companies that are doing a good thing and I heartily recommend that my fellow Canadians (and others if you can find it) give it a go.
Lastly, my favourite cleaning buddy:
Baking soda is just fantastic!! I’m sure most of you are aware of the cleaning properties of baking soda, but I had to put it up there anyways. The texture makes for good scrubbing, I often make almost a paste of it and water to put in pots to cook off burnt food (not that I ever burn food or anything…), you can use it to wash your hair, clean your teeth, and perhaps best of all, in baking!! An incredibly well rounded product.
I would love to hear any other product suggestions you have in the comments. I’m always game for trying out new green things.
Speaking of moving, it’s always rough trying to find roommates unless you have people you know that you can live with. The process is generally assisted when you’ve got friends helping you out in the hunt though, right? After posting an ad online, I was having a good time regaling Eve with the various gems that I was getting responses from and then I got a real winner:
i saw ur ad on craigslist for the house, and i think i would make an awsome roomy. i am doing some high school course this summer @ college, and i need a place to stay and i think i would like to stay with you like you said in the ad. i am not a vegtarian but i am respectable of your ideas, and i can keep my meat on my half of the fridge. as for smoking, i am trying to quite and will only smoke outside. i always make sure to wear lots of colone so you will never smell smoke on me. also i have a pitbull, so im happy to hear that you like animals. he is pretty nice most of the time, so im sure it wont be a problem. anyways if this sounds like i might be a good fit i am around pretty much anytime since i dont have a job right now, but im looking lol. not to worry, i will be sure to have rent, no matter what! let me know when you want to meet.
Needless to say, we had an excellent time over that one, until Eve finally came out with it; Leon was a creation of hers (the stinker!!) anyways, it was all in good fun, and we then suckered her boyfriend into it as well (under the guise of me wanting some advice on various people I was thinking of getting back to! :D). Hopefully that gave you a few chuckles, and I certainly hope that none of you have Leons in your life to deal with!!
A while back I found myself in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) with my family for the weekend. This meant investigating the veggie eateries in town! We ended up eating at the super swanky looking but spectacularly vegetarian unfriendly hotel restaurant for lunch on the first day (not kidding, there were zero vegetarian options, not even the usual paltry side salad) but fortunately Edmonton redeemed itself by brunch the following morning at Padmanadis. We were quite the group that headed out that morning; a vegan, a vegetarian with a bunch of food restrictions (no gluten, peanuts, soy, dairy, corn, and a couple of other things I think), a diabetic allergic to spinach, and three omnivores with varying levels of veggie acceptance. Fortunately for all of us, we had a most enjoyable time and better yet, everyone loved their food!! Two thumbs up for that! 🙂 When we were there the restaurant wasn’t terribly busy (Sunday for brunch) and while I didn’t take any pictures of the actual restaurant, it was nice,spacious and bright with fun pictures (apparently of staff and frequent patrons) adorning the walls. My good friend who resides in Edmonton, called Padmanadi’s the hip place for Edmonton vegans and I can definitely see why, that being said I think it has a good balance between hip and modern and ‘hippie’. My parents felt comfortable dining there (unlike some of the other vegan/veggie establishments we have been to in the past, which have garnered some comments about the waitstaff etc.) and my father even talked about suggesting it to a business associate who coordinates work meetings and dinners. Also, fairly irrelevant, but I LOVED the taps in the bathroom! They were basically a glass bowl with a glass disk held above it, which water ran onto and over into the bowl, creating a little waterfall effect.
So about that food, eh? As I mentioned, we came for brunch so that was the menu we ordered off of. We had an extremely helpful and chipper waiter who was happy to answer our (many) questions about ingredients etc. and was happy to offer suggestions on what to order which was much appreciated by
me the indecisive among us. In my defense, this is actually the first entirely vegan restaurant I have ever been to, and it was quite novel to be able to choose absolutely ANYTHING off the menu!! So, what did we end up ordering?
Up first is the hot rice cereal with coconut milk (one of the few options that my friend with all the food restrictions could have- as an aside, she said previously when she ate there, off the dinner menu, there was basically nothing that she could eat, however they were open to whipping something up for her) My dad also got a small side dish of this, they both thought it was fantastic and quite decadent (akin to rice pudding).
My Dad also got the French Toast (banana coconut french toast with mango compote). This was a big hit; he loves tropical flavours and french toast so this checked quite a few boxes for him!
My brother got the spicy eggplant omelette. He was iffy about the eggplant at first but I convinced him to order it anyways and I think he might have a more favourable opinion of eggplant now. Also, this came with Daiya cheese, and as one of the omnivores in the group, I was pleasantly surprised to hear nothing of the lack of real cheese flavour. I always figure that vegan stuff probably tastes ‘real’ to me because I just don’t remember what the dairy/meat product tastes like, but I would say this is a firm vote for the authenticity of Daiya.
My mom and her college roommate (the diabetic) both got the traditional eggs benedict. I think at first the non-vegan names threw them for a loop (they kept asking if the ham, cheese, egg etc. was ‘real’) but they both enjoyed it and had a fun time dissecting the dish to figure out the various components (the ‘egg’ had a butternut squash ‘yolk’ etc.).
Lastly, I got the Thai Benedict, which I was assured was not spicy, and sure enough, it was well within my tolerable level of heat (aka, basically not spicy at all). I loved the flavourings of the dish, although really with peanut and cilantro, I’m not sure how you can go wrong! 🙂 Most of us also got the house root vegetable fries on the side, which were lovely (not greasy at all which was a pleasant surprise!) and contained taro root (the white with purple flecks right near the little bowl of salsa), which was a new veggie for many of us (and which our waiter happily gave us the name of). Since then, I got myself a taro root and chopped it up and baked it in the oven with sweet potatoes-very tasty!
That’s not all though, we splurged for dessert too (I was especially excited about this even though I really wasn’t hungry for it at all, but who can pass up the opportunity to actually order and eat dessert!?)
There was rice pudding, chocolate hazelnut cheesecake (oh yes!), and panna cotta ordered. All were deemed delicious, with much discussion on how one would make the recipes vegan etc.
All in all, I thought Padmanadis was fantastic, great food at reasonable prices, great service and great company! I would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in Edmonton. I also really enjoyed the opportunity for the omnivores in the group to try vegan food in a relaxed atmosphere (they really don’t push the vegan aspect, which I think probably serves it well in Alberta, which isn’t exactly the most vegan friendly province! ;)) and the discussions about the food, ingredients, and preparation that ensued. Here’s hoping we all went away with a little more open minds and full, happy bellies. 🙂
I don’t know about you, but I am quite the chocoholic! Thus when I came across both of these products I knew I had to give them a shot. First up, Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk:
What I love about this product is that it still has all of the nutritional additives that the plain almond milk (and soymilk) has. I always like it when I can tell myself good reasons to have a delicious treat (50% of your B12, go ahead, have another glass ;)). The fact that it is the almond milk is also really appealing; while I don’t have any real problems with soy, I would rather get my soy from products like tofu, edamame, and tempeh than from soymilk so I love that Silk has made that possible (a lot of the other almond milks don’t have the add-ins that Silk does – that may not be a deal breaker for you but I don’t take supplements so I like knowing that my morning milk substitute provides a good amount of calcium, B12, and vitamin D) and hey, I would never complain about having the additional choice of chocolate! 😀
As for the actual product, it is sweetened, but I didn’t find it overpoweringly so, and that along with the chocolate, brings up the calorie count to over double that of the original TrueAlmond (60kcals in the TrueAlmond and 130kcals in a cup of the Chocolate) so that is something to consider, if you are a calorie minding individual. That being said, they aren’t lying when they call it dark chocolate, so much so that I was happy to mix it half and half with the plain and still have a yummy chocolatey drink. I also took to heating it up and adding a drop of mint extract for a yummy mint hot chocolate experience. Mmmm!
So five gold stars, two thumbs up etc. from me for the Dark Chocolate Silk TrueAlmond. I definitely suggest picking some up if you see it in your store.
Next up, Vega Shake & Go Chocolate Smoothie mix.
This is actually not the kind of product I normally purchase, mostly because of the prohibitive cost. A bag of this is usually betwen $20-$25 around here and it contains ten servings, not exactly the most budget friendly product out there. I purchased this while I was out travelling, unsure of what kind of food I would find, so I figured having something like this that you can just add to water was a nice safeguard against living off of
side salads, er iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots for 10 days.
Compared to the other flavours offered (Vanilla, Berry, and Tropical), the chocolate has more calories, but it also has more iron and calcium, two things I am generally concerned about how much I am consuming, and hey, it’s chocolate, so I really need any other reasons to choose it! 😉 The other thing I love about it, and all Vega products, is the impressive ingredients list:
Organic green pea protein, natural flavours, organic coconut palm nectar, flaxseed, hemp protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic green food blend (alfalfa grass, organic kale leaf, organic spinach leaf, organic broccoli sprout, spirulina), xanthan gum, digestive enzyme blend, and dairy-free probiotic blend (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum).
By itself, the mix does have a bit of a ‘healthy’ taste, but nothing too strong (I still though it was yummy mixed into almond milk). I would definitely suggest using it as an add-in to a regular smoothie rather than having it on it’s own, I thought it was quite a tasty addition to a frozen fruit and spinach smoothie.Aside from that, I also found it to be quite sweet, and initially thought it was sweetened with Stevia (which I find sometimes has a bit of an aftertaste) but the ingredients indicate otherwise. I also used it as a chocolate flavouring for the waffles I made in the hotel, stirred it into oatmeal with pears (mmm, chocolate pear oats), and mixed it into almond milk for a healthy hot chocolate; all tasty uses of the product.
Overall, I would say it is a good product, although perhaps best used as suggested by individuals who aren’t epecting their ‘smoothie’ to taste like Nesquick. Mixed into a full fledged smoothie, I think it would be happily consumed by most and for the ingredients, I would say a good way to sneak greens into the smoothie of an otherwise reluctant greens drinker. 🙂 Really the big negative is the cost. For 10 servings, it doesn’t go far if you are using it regularly, and while the ingredient list is impressive for a packaged product, you can eat your greens fresh for much less than that.
Here is take #2 on Gardein products. This time we’re talking about the Tuscan Chicken breasts.
Again I was drawn to the wholesome ingredient list and impressive nutritional profile (80% of B12, 40% iron in one serving? sign me up!). I cooked these in the frying pan as suggested on the package which yielded a bit of a crispy exterior which contrasted nicely with the er, meaty interior. I opted to chop it up into chunks and put it in salad, which I found quite tasty.
Overall I would definitely recommend this product. These in particular made for quite easy travel eating as I could cook them up and then stick them in the fridge for later and still enjoy a healthy and nutritious meal whenever I wanted. I think this might be the key to Gardein products, using them IN a recipe rather than just eating them alone as one might do with a meat product. For the Tuscan chicken breasts I would say the only real downside is the cost.
Next time I
see it on sale pick some up, I am going to have to try out some of the recipes from the Conscious Cook that utilize Gardein products.
Well here it is, Vegan MoFo 2010! I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year (plus a month!) since we did this last! Unfortunately I am not terribly prepared (and, ahem, a day late) so this first post isn’t a very exciting one but here goes…
I just got back from a trip out East to visit some of my relatives from my moms side of the family and while we spent some time staying with relatives there was also some hotel dwelling that happened. I find it difficult being vegan in a new city (although HappyCow is pretty much the best invention ever!) particularly when trying to eat on a budget (most vegan/vegetarian restaurants aren’t the most economical). Fortunately we got a hotel room with a kitchenette (and it also had a free breakfast buffet-more on that later, and a dinner spread tuesday through thursday) so we could just get groceries and make our own food. Anyways, for convenience sake we picked up a few premade products that I wouldn’t normally purchase, so here is a review of #1: Gardein Santa Fe Good Stuff
Of all the products investigated, Gardein was my pick. The ingredient list is surprisingly short and all familiar, just a medly of vegetable products and grains as well as various vitamins. The nutritional stats also impressed me, with each serving providing you with good portion of iron (although a couple of their other products had a better nutritional profile, this was purchased with the idea that it was pretty much a meal in itself).
Sorry for the lousy picture, hotel lighting wasn’t great. Anyways, these ended up being microwaved and while the flavour of the filling was good, (and not too spicy for this wimp!) the outside left a bit to be desired. A bit of a scary meaty texture for me (although my meat-eating mom assured me that it didn’t in fact taste like chicken) as well, but I think to give these a truly fair chance, I would need to give them a go baking them in the oven.
So overall I would say the pros of this particular product are: convenience and ingredients/nutritional profile
and the cons are: texture (although for some the authenticity might be a pro, for me, notsomuch), and cost.
I did get another garden product that I will review later, but overall I would suggest at least giving them a look next time you are eyeing up the faux meat products, and based on their website, they have a fair selection of products to choose from. In the interest of full disclosure, these products were purchased and Gardein has had no contact with me whatsoever, so these reviews are my complete and unbiased opinion.
My coworkers and I were invited out to a picnic a few weeks ago and while the property is gorgeous and right on the river, I think my favourite part was all of the food-bearing plants it had. The property boasted two vegetable gardens, countless fruit trees, and blackberry bushes and the two dogs that reside there were pretty cute too! 😉 The owners are some of the nicest people I have ever met and knowing I’m vegan, insisted on sending me home with some goodies from their gardens. ‘Some’ is perhaps an understatement though, as I came back with two bags full of zucchini, beets (with greens!), cauliflower, potatoes, kohlrabi, and plums that resulted in a very full fridge! After a failed beet green smoothie adventure, I let the remainder sit in the fridge until I could do them justice, which happened to be in the form of this healthy soup that I came across in a recent cookbook perusal. I am not sure that calling this Italian is correct but somehow the rosemary and balsamic vinegar combination tastes very Italian to me.
Beans and Greens Soup (Adapted from ReBar Cookbook)
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
4 cups cooked chickpeas
3/4 cup diced, canned tomatoes
greens from two bunches of beets, chopped
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Saute onions in a frying pan until golden, add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant (don’t burn the garlic!). Add chickpeas and tomatoes and enough water to just cover all the chickpeas. Bring to a boil then let soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add beet greens and cook until just wilted. Add balsamic vinegar and salt (if desired, I didn’t feel it needed any) to taste.
As going to an event is a great excuse to bake goodies, I whipped up a batch of the cowboy/cowgirl cookies from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. I used sliced blanched almonds instead of pecans and added some cinnamon and vanilla extract. Two thumbs up from me, and I think all the omnivores who were in attendance as well as they disappeared awfully quickly. I will warn you though that the recipe makes a LOT of cookies (granted I think it does say that in the book, but apparently I didn’t really believe them).
A few weeks ago I won a blog contest for a years subscription to Purely Delicious Magazine, a raw food and eco-lifestyle magazine. I was super excited about it but figured it would be a few months before I would actually get my hands on the first issue, so I was incredibly surprised when early last week the magazine found its way into my mailbox! I don’t think I have ever had a magazine arrive that fast (and it was shipped from the U.S.!!)
The magazine is very visually appealing; all the pages are glossy with gorgeous photos and is printed on recycled paper with vegetable based inks. Two thumbs up for all that from me! 🙂 Just goes to show that green doesn’t need to mean substandard; this magazine is far nicer than many other non-green magazines I have seen.
The contributing authors are a nicely varied group with some big name raw people (not that I know very much about that at all, but I did recognize Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes-Monarch) and in this issue alone there are several holistic health counselors , raw food educators, a culinary school graduate, and a nutritionist. There are a variety of recipes (complete with mouthwatering photographs-I love this, I am such a visual person!) as well as other articles (charity spotlight, article on yoga, the impact of your diet on the environment, recycling, and sprouting). I was pleased with the wide variety of subjects they touched on and I look forward to seeing the content of future issues.
As for the recipes, I have yet to make any, although I do intend to (I will let you know when I do) but most of them are not quick and easy which is the major downside I see to making gourmet type raw food. Sure it looks beautiful and tastes delicious, but it might take you two days to make it. That said, not all the recipes fall into that category; there is a nice looking beet recipe that only requires 20 minutes of marinating and a salad that requires no special tools or procedures, but the stunning chocolate mousse cake you were drooling over is going to require a chunk of your time. To be fair though, nowhere does the magazine imply that it is for people who are new to raw foods or that things are going to be quick and easy.
All in all, Purely Delicious looks like a winner of a magazine and I am looking forward to learning more about raw foods as my subscription continues.
I know, I know it’s cruel to post this picture, but it sounds like it’s in the cards for the rest of the world here pretty soon, so here are some pretty spring flowers for you. Maybe it will make you feel better to hear that the past two days when it was super nice I spent lying on my floor reading textbooks and then the day that I finally had plans for outdoor activity it was gross and rainy.
In other news, I finally ran out of nonvegan toothpaste so went and purchased some Toms of Maine toothpaste so I thought I would give a review of it.
First the good:
-I love that the ingredients are listed out, and are such a short list, along with their purpose and source.
-The box is printed with soy ink and is made out of 100% recycled paper, hooray for environmental stewardship! 🙂
-I am not sure what ingredients cause this but I found that my teeth felt really smooth and ‘clean’ after using the toothpaste and that feeling lasted through the night (when I brushed before bed) which I found to be very different from the toothpaste I had been using before.
-You don’t require a lot of toothpaste to brush your teeth, sometimes I find that natural products require you to use more of them to acheive the same benefit as the regular product they are replacing, but that is not the case at all here. A pea sized amount has been working just fine for me!
Aaand the bad:
-The particular toothpaste I purchased is not 100% vegan! This was partially my fault but I am dissapointed. I looked on the box and saw the happy note saying the product doesn’t contain animal ingredients and that they don’t test on animals, so I took their word for it and didn’t scrutinize the ingredient list. Then when I got home and was telling Eve about it she let me know that one variety wasn’t vegan, and of course, it was the one I had purchased. The very last ingredient ‘propolis’ is listed to have been collected by bees. Now obviously that isn’t lard or anything, but I do feel like I was misled by the packaging. So for those of you that have an issue with such products, don’t buy the Fluoride-free baking soda variety (or any variety with propolis)
-Size vs. cost. I think this is something that you can’t really get away with when buying natural and vegan products, but the toothpaste was obviously more expensive than Colgate or your generic brand and the tube is smaller. (see picture for a comparison) That being said, I was pleased to see that I didn’t need to use twice as much for similar cleaning power.
Lastly, not really a good or bad thing, but the texture of the toothpaste is different than conventional toothpaste, which does take a bit of getting used to. It is thinner in consistency and doesn’t have the same foaming kind of feel that we are used to with regular toothpaste, but I don’t think those affect the quality of tooth cleaning, just something to get used to. So overall, I am quite pleased with my purchase, but I do recommend you keep reading your labels, don’t let your guard down just because of a happy looking note on the box!
Any other vegan toothpastes (or products in general) you have tried that are great and I should look for?
Sushi, Salad and Soup! Seems like thats all I’ve been eating lately, barring breakfast.
Last week I picked up a HUGE container of organic leafy greens. When I say huge, I really do mean it, it was a 2lb container and I honestly could hardly fit it into my (apartment-sized) fridge. However it was $2 more than a 1lb container so I really couldn’t resist, and since I finished it up today for supper, I would say it was a wise investment. Regardless, it has resulted in a salad-heavy diet lately.
Orange, Almond and Poppyseed Salad
Salad with Roasted Root Veggies
Like I have mentioned before, I like making up big batches of food on the weekend so I don’t have to do much preparation for meals. Soups, stews and chili’s are always excellent choices, particularly at this time of year. My soup of the week was the Sweet Pepper Coconut Corn Chowder from ExtraVeganza along with Heidi’s Lively Yourself up Lentil Soup.
First time for the corn chowder, I liked it despite using half the coconut milk in the recipe. Next time I might try blending up some dried coconut with water to add to the soup. Also, because I used full-fat coconut milk, the fat crusted onto the top of the soup when stored in the fridge which wasn’t terribly appetizing, however a quick stint in the microwave remedied that, but just a note if you plan on eating it cold.
I’ve made the lentil soup many times before and am a big fan. I always leave out the saffron yogurt, although someday I really think I should give it a go, since I could see some people finding the soup a bit lacking in the flavour department the way I make it.
The sushi was kind of a random addition. Pardon the photo, there is a much nicer one over with the original recipe. I saw Ricki’s post and since I have always wanted to try making raw sushi and I liked her use of almonds rather than the usual cauliflower or pine nut concoction (though I do intend to give those a fair try someday too), I figured I would make up a batch. Well, if you have the ingredients on hand, and even if you don’t, I highly reccomend her recipe! Although you might also consider doubling the recipe, as it sure didn’t last long around here. Another note, I made these up the first time using drained oil-packed sundried tomatoes which I really enjoyed. Second go around (see, I told you they were good!) I used store-bought sundried tomatoes and I wasn’t as a big of a fan. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that the packaged dried ones have a strange flavour (I don’t know if it is some chemical used in the preservation process or what) and I could definitely taste it in the sushi. Regardless, I still managed to demolish that batch fairly rapidly, but I might go for either drained oil-packed or Ricki’s homemade method of oven-dried tomatoes.
In other, non-food related news, the Olympics are so close! Maybe it’s because Canada is so hyped up about having them, but I am getting excited! I kind of feel like I shouldn’t likethem, since there are so many ethical problems associated with them but I can’t help but get all wrapped up in the worlds countries coming together and participating peacefully in making some people’s dreams come true!
How about you folks; Olympics, yay or nay?
Recently, we were contacted by JK Gourmet, a Canadian company that produces high quality almond flour and gluten free/grain free baked goods, including biscotti, muffins, and granola. They don’t sweeten anything with refined sugar, and are looking to expand their line to include agave-sweetened vegan products! Very exciting! We were offered a bag of their finely ground blanched almond flour to sample, and since I am gluten free all the time, K and I decided I should receive it. I had never tried almond flour before, and I must say, the baked goods that I’ve made with this flour have been incomparable in their rich flavour.
Upon opening the bag, I was surprised at how light and fluffy the flour was. JK Gourmet is so fine that the little bit I sampled alone almost melts away in your mouth. It is slightly sweet and nutty, with a mild and delicious almond aftertaste. Along with the sample of almond flour, I was sent a recipe for an apple galette recipe from the Grain-Free Gourmet: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Living cookbook. It was dark when I pulled the baked galette out of the oven, and although this isn’t a great photo (nor is my galette particularly photogenic), it was demolished (I had help!) before I could snap a better shot! I’ll admit that I was concerned that the almond flour would turn into a puddle of almond soup in the oven, but instead it baked into a delicious golden crust. The almond flour pastry remained very tender and was so flavourful – perhaps slightly like marzipan? My boyfriend, who adores apple pie above all else was more than happy to help me polish this off in record speed.
Next up, I knew exactly what cookies I wanted to bake with my almond flour! I had been eyeing this recipe for chocolate chip cookies from Elana’s Pantry (not veg.) for ages. Made with almond flour and sweetened with agave, these were much healthier than the average cookie. Despite that, they were the richest tasting cookies I’ve had a long time. The JK Gourmet almond flour created wonderfully dense, moist, and chewy cookies – so different from the usual crumbly gluten free cookie! As an aside, JK Gourmet almond flour is one of the few brands that Elana of Elana’s Pantry recommends – clearly, she knows her almond flour! I’m already thinking about my next almond flour cookies – maybe snickerdoodles? Yumyum!
If you would like to purchase JK Gourmet almond flour, you can click through to see a list of their Canadian retailers here, or you can purchase it online. In Canada, it seems to be fairly widely distributed, so keep your eyes peeled! 🙂
Thanks for the sample, JK Gourmet!