The time has finally arrived…tomorrow morning, Matt and I are flying up to Portland, Oregon for the first-ever Vida Vegan Blogger Conference! My life has been so crazy-busy as of late that I almost haven’t had time to get excited about it, but now I can’t help but be stoked. Are you going? I spent most of my day yesterday making batch after batch ofhomemade vegan white chocolate peanut butter that I now have to find a way to delicately pack. While I attend various classes and panels over the course of the weekend, Matt will be staffing the Almost Vegan table, selling the white chocolate PB. I only have a limited supply, though, so if you want some, I’d recommend grabbing it on Friday!
You’ll be hearing about VVC all weekend, so I’ll spare you any more chatter about it for now. Instead, here are some products I had the opportunity to try throughout the past month.
Gail from Lifemax sent me a bag of Mila to try. I was first exposed to Mila at Living Light, and had been curious about it ever since. It’s a mixture of chia seeds that has been mechanically processed (ground) using a proprietary system that purports to optimize the bioavailability and increase its nutritional value.
Mila is loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, and many other nutrients. It’s gluten-free, trans-fat free, sugar-free, and non-GMO. I find it to be a great addition to smoothies! It’s really a cool product, so if you want to learn more, you can check out their site. Thanks again, Gail!
Next, I got to try the new Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread.
It’s made of a blend of tropical oils, with just a mild whisper of coconut flavor. It’s meant to be a substitute for butter, a role it fills very well. I immediately fell in love with its slightly salty edge.
I’ve already made a few things with it. Matt’s and my two-year anniversary was a couple weekends ago, and in celebration, I made him two cakes—one for each year! This Almond Mocha Cake was a moist, dense almond-flour cake with mocha-chocolate ganache filling and cocoa-tinged coffee buttercream frosting. (The recipe is from Kris Holechek’s Have Your Cake And Vegan Too.) I used the Earth Balance coconut spread in both the cake and the frosting.
Then, the very next day, I made this Snickerdoodle Cake (from the same book): cinnamon-vanilla cake, pure vanilla icing, and a dusting of crunchy raw sugar and more cinnamon. I used the Earth Balance coconut spread in the cake and the frosting of this one, too. Amazing!
Abe from GG Bran Crispbread sent me a whole case of their high-fiber Scandinavian crispbread crackers, which I’m quickly plowing through.
These things ROCK. They’re super-low in calories and pack in a whopping 5 grams of fiber per cracker. I’m obsessed!
Besides eating them straight from the package slathered with peanut butter, I’ve been inventing a few healthy treats with them too, including these PB&J Energy Balls. You can get the recipe on GG’s site.
I also created these Pistachio & Chocolate Crusted Banana Ice Cream Patties using the GG Bran Crispbread. They’ll be sharing my recipe in their upcoming newsletter and on their blog soon, so watch out for that!
Here’s a product you might not expect to see me review: Starbucks Ice Cream. Normally, I don’t touch real ice cream, but when I heard “Starbucks,” I was intrigued. When I saw the short ingredient lists and learned they only use rBGH-free dairy products, I decided to put the almost in “almost vegan” and give it a whirl.
I tried the plain Coffee flavor and, for Matt, the Mocha Frappuccino.
I had totally forgotten how rich real ice cream is, so I admittedly gave most of it to Matt. What I did eat, though, was ultra-creamy and had a delightfully strong coffee taste. And I have to say, their packaging – made to look like Starbucks’ ubiquitous white cups – was very cute. Maybe, with any luck, they’ll come out with some nondairy flavors in the future, using that famously-beany soymilk of theirs that I love so much!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Starbucks. I received coupons and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Finally, though this isn’t food-related, I have to show you these bars of soap I received from Co-Soap Cooperative. They’re 100% vegan and made from olive, coconut, and avocado oils.
Matt and I have been using these for the past couple weeks, and I am shocked at how wonderfully they lather up, since they’re made of only oils and water. All the soaps smell great, too, and leave my skin feeling soft and happy. They’ve made my showers feel a little more luxurious lately.
QUESTION: Do you hate me for reviewing a product that contains (ok, is) dairy? I do it so, so seldom, but I can’t help but anticipate some nasty emails about it…even though, after all, this blog is called Almost Vegan! I don’t want to offend anyone, but I also want to be my freewheeling, flexible, almost-vegan self. Know what I mean?
ROLL CALL: Will I see you at Vida Vegan Con this weekend?