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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.

-K

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Ever since I’ve had a vita mix in my kitchen, virtually every morning has started with big green smoothie. Otherwise, besides grinding my own chickpea and rice flour I haven’t really pushed the vita mix to do anything regular blenders can’t do – which isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate how fast and easy it is to blend things like nut based sauces so perfectly! I definitely wanted to try juicing, and I finally got my hands on some nut milk bags, so I thought I’d record my first attempt!

First, here is what I used:

IMG_2003All chopped up and ready to go – I added 1/2 c. of water to get things moving, but I think I could have used less:

IMG_2006Super pulpy post blending:

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After squeezing it through the nut milk bag, I was left with a bit of pulp:

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…And a big glass of juice!

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Delicious! With a bit of warmth from the ginger, this was a little more pleasant to drink on a fall morning than a cold smoothie. As an aside, a juice this size (2 cups, or 16 oz), costs $6 from one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants, which makes my nut milk bags worthwhile in just a single use! 🙂

-Eve

I’ve been slacking on the blogging end of things recently. Partially to blame is my discovery that I feel most excellent when I avoid gluten! While this is great news, I haven’t been too adventurous with my meals. I have to admit though, I’m a bit bummed out that I feel SO much better sans gluten. I love me some bread, and I was definitely just getting really into bread baking. Ah well.

So, the OTHER big news (even bigger news, maybe?) is that I now have one of these beasts in my kitchen:

vitamix

mine didn't come with all that fruit...

What with my GF experiments, this couldn’t have come at a better time! So far I’ve only ground fresh rice flour, but I’m looking forward to making more of my own GF free flours in the future.

I’ve been enjoying one of these (kale, flax meal, fruit and either hemp or almond milk) every morning:

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yumyumyum...and so healthy!

And have been busily blending up all manner of (ultra) creamy things. I had no idea how much I used a blender until I went a month without one! I’m making up for lost time now!

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The slimy looking bits on top are onions, I promise.

Something that I’ve made recently that I managed to snap a pictures of was this bowl of deliciousness: My boyfriend recently celebrated a birthday, and pho was his birthday meal request. We’ve tried a few recipes for vegan pho, and I hadn’t really enjoyed any of them…until now. We used the recipe (almost verbatim) from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews by Nava Atlas. This soup was amazing. If you’ve never encountered pho before (I hadn’t!), I do urge you to try it. Basically, you fix yourself a bowl of rice vermicelli (we used brown rice vermicelli), something filling and substantial – the chew factor? – (we used some leftover satay tofu), and some raw veggies (carrots, cucumber, green onions, cilantro. Then, you ladle a particularly delightful broth (flavoured with lots of ginger and garlic, five spice powder, and in our case, fresh shitakes) into your bowl and call it a day. Or a meal. Or both, because it’s just that good. Yum.

Speaking of which, our brown rice vermicelli claims that 1/8 of the package (we usually use 1/4 package for a meal for 2) contains 50% of your RDI of iron. Is that even possible? If so, awesome, and if not, it’s particularly good vermicelli anyhow. I am curious though, because that seems like a ridiculous amount of iron for a noodle.

And since my rampant consumerism in the form of a vitamix has already taken over this post, lookee what I found today!

AAAADHNEmxgAAAAAACsIJQI’m totally enamoured. I have ridiculously wide feet, so I figure to find cute shoes that are wide enough AND vegan AND cheap AND decent quality is always cause for celebration. I have a couple pairs of Steve Madden shoes now – I don’t think they are in any way a vegan line, but they do seem to have many styles in pleather. Also, I lovelovelove most of their shoes. Win!

-Eve

Warm Spiced Pumpkin Nog

Warm Spiced Pumpkin Nog

This has been my morning drink for the past few days, nice and warm and seasonally appropriate. I had pumpkin puree needing to be used up and had already made the usuals; pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, so wanted to try something a little bit different.

The recipe makes approximately 4 cups of nog, enough for two large mugs. I will also warn you that I like my food lightly spiced and not too sweet, so I have included a range of measurements.

Warm Spiced Pumpkin Nog

8 heaping Tablespoons of pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon each of allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom

pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon each of vanilla extract and agave nectar (or to taste)

3 cups soymilk

Heat milk. Thoroughly mix spices, extract and sweetener with pumpkin puree. Add hot milk and stir.

Enjoy!

K