Kaeng Raeng 3-Day Cleanse
I just completed my 3-Day cleanse program from Kaeng Raeng and I feel FANTASTIC! Refreshed, rejuvenated, and really ready for some bread...haha. I actually went in for an endoscopy, colonoscopy, blood work and stool tests late last week to try and diagnose why I've been feeling so crummy lately. Though they still haven't figured out what's wrong, I needed to eat healthy, nutritive, easy to digest foods afterward and really enjoyed starting this cleanse after my procedures; it was a great way to ease back into eating after being forced onto a liquid diet for 36 hours prior, and was nice and gentle on the tummy! Plus, it was a great way to up my water intake, since I was pretty dehydrated afterward.
I first became familiar with the Kaeng Raeng company at Expo West two years ago and loved both their Director of PR, Kelly, and the simple ingredients that make up their products. Their cleanse, available in 3 or 6-day varieties is made of simple ingredients, each containing just fruit, pea protein, psyllium husk and probiotics. Unlike most juice cleanses where the fiber is completely removed from the drink, leaving you hungry and without energy, Kaeng Raeng's cleanse pack a fiber-ful punch punch thanks to the addition of the psyllium husks. This is better for your body because it slows the digestion of the drink so your body can absorb more nutrients and doesn't instead just get a sugar rush from all that fruit juice.
The cleanse comes in 3 flavors, so its easy to pick and choose a flavor that suits you best at each meal. I also love that they're made (locally for me) in California and are certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO. Plus, they're completely free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. And each serving (thats 3x each day!) contains a full serving of fruit, 15 grams of pea protein, and 2 billion probiotic cultures. That makes for one very happy tummy and definitely helps keep #HANGER at bay!
These cleanses aren't about fasting or starving- you're encouraged to eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as you'd like, and of course drink plenty of water. Like I said above, I did the 3-day detox cleanse. It comes in 3 flavors: Into The Blue (blueberry + banana), Daybreak (mango, peach + pineapple), and Joyful (strawberry, raspberry, + pineapple) so you can mix it up at each meal. They come in powder form and are recommended mixed with water, juice, or blended into a smoothie. I mixed mine with water so I could fully taste the drink's flavor and texture, but I actually really liked it that way and thought it was plenty sweet enough to enjoy that way as well. Each drink is made from a mix of 1 oz of freeze-dried raw fruit, non-gmo protein, probiotic cultures, and vegetable fiber.
The strawberry, raspberry + pineapple flavor was my favorite and the one I finished first. I liked the mango peach flavor second best, and preferred the blueberry banana least- but I'm not a huge banana fan, either. I loved the way they made me feel. All day long I felt light, energized, and satisfied. I have a lot of stomach issues so I usually get a few hours a day of stomach ache-age, but on the cleanse I really felt great and had almost no stomach pain. I was eating plenty of raw fruits and veggies along with the drinks and was using the higher end recommendation of adding 32 ounces of liquid to each packet. The best part about these drinks- and maybe what I was most surprised by- was how realistic and full they tasted. Since Kaeng Raeng freeze dries whole, raw fruit and adds psyllium to the packets, the detox drinks are packed with fiber and actually have a great mouth feel when you're drinking them. Add some ice and it makes a super easy, yummy smoothie! Plus the 9 grams of fiber per serving (27g/day) keeps you filled up for way longer than a juice ever could. Just make sure you mix the powder in water very well (like with a fork or whisk, not just in a shaker bottle) before you drink it or it can get a bit clumpy. I'm sure if you're mixing it into a blended smoothie there would be no problem, though.
I mean it when I say I really loved these drinks- I would definitely order the 3-day cleanse again (it recommends about 4x per year) in a few months when I'm ready for another digestive reset or to help detox a bit before my wedding next fall - though for us brides, they do offer a special Bridal Cleanse Pack. Doing a Kaeng Raeng cleanse is a great way for ANYONE to sneak a little heath into their week, and a really great way to ease back eating after a couple icky health procedures like I had. I'm back to feeling like my old self, my skin is glowing, and I actually haven't had any mega stomach issues since starting the cleanse at all. I'm so happy with it! You can check out more about Kaeng Raeng, their philosophy, and order a cleanse for yourself HERE!
*Kaeng Raeng provided the cleanse to me at no charge, but all opinions are true and my own. It's good stuff! *
Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
We've been Honest Tea fans for a long time because of their simple ingredients and organic, high-quality teas, and I love nearly all of their flavors. Sometimes I prefer something a little sweeter, sometimes something completely unsweetened - and Honest Tea always ahas something to satisfy. This new Green Dragon tea flavor is possibly my new fave. Its super lightly sweetened, just enough to balance out any bitter left behind by the green tea. It is slightly fruitier than a traditional green tea, with hints of lemon and passionate fruit, but has all the health benefits - and I could easily drink it all day long! Find it at your local grocery store.
I have a TON of tummy troubles and even occasionally trouble feeling like I've completely emptied my gut after an especially hard-to-digest meal. That's where Digestic, a totally vegan, organic herbal supplement comes in (I SWEAR I WOULD NEVER SELL YOU DRUGS OR PHARMA). It's made from foods you'll recognize and that naturally aid in the body's expulsion process like papaya, fennel, wormwood, cardamom and aloe. Frankly, if you're constipated: this is a really healthy way to get things moving. You don't need to need it consistently, just when you really need the extra help, though some people choose to eat it with every meal. I don't need THAT much help, but I liked having these on hand after particularly heavy meals. Since this is a bit of a personal product, perhaps it's best explored further on your own. You can get all the info + order some for yourself here!
Making your nut milk is great and probably cheaper, but isn't always convenient. And at home, I never splurge on the fun or fancy nuts, so I always just have boring old almond milk. Elmhurst Harvest took the work out of it with these awesome new Walnut and Pistachio milks! Okay, so they make an almond version too but again - I'm all over the almond milk. These milks come in original, vanilla, and chocolate flavors and are really yummy! They're a bit thicker than traditional nut milks, so instead of using them for cereal I prefer enjoying a glass by itself or using them to mix it up in my baked goods and donut frostings. The drinks are rich, creamy and best of all - I don't have to shell a single pistachio! You can buy some for yourself here.
If you're looking for reasonably priced specialty superfoods like golden berries, cacao, maca powder, goji berries - whatever! - you should definitely check out the Imlak'esh Organics brand. They make a range of super high quality products in beautiful packaging, sold at really great prices. Their products come in a variety of sizes so you won't get stuck with a ton of something you don't want, and they even sell in bulk, which can be really hard to find when it comes to organic, raw superfoods. Plus they have creative superfood + nut snack mixes like their ChargeBoss Clusters and Camopy Clusters, which are great way to squeeze healthy superfoods into your afternoon snacking routine. You can see al of their products here!
Purple Carrot is a plant-based (meaning TOTALLY VEGAN Y'ALL) meal delivery service that sends fresh, often organic, always non-GMO, perfectly portioned ingredients paired with seasonal recipes to your door weekly. They recently partnered with co-founder and NYT journalist Mark Bittman to create even more innovative recipes and to spread the word on this awesome alternative service. With popular brands like Blue Apron and Plated touting meaty and vegetarian-friendly meals, us vegans sort of get left out of the shuffle. But we have little time and want to eat delicious meals, too! I was impressed with the ease of the meals, and 2 out of 3 were something I would've probably made at home anyway, but were prepared and served in a slightly fancier way that I normally might've. The ingredients were fresh, though having each one individually packaged seemed a bit excessive as far as plastic waste goes. Broccoli isn't really my favorite so I didn't LOVE that particular dish, but otherwise I thought they were really yummy and made plenty for Alex and I. I'm a chef, so having someone else pick out all my meals isn't really my jam, but if it is, you can at least let them know your preferences. The meals are really quite reasonably priced. A box with 3 meals for 2 people costs $68 and to feed 4 people twice a week it costs $74 - so pretty fair, really. And if you're looking for a little practice on looking techniques or some kitchen inspiration, these meals will definitely get you there quickly - the meals generally take only about 30 minutes to prepare. I really enjoyed my Purple Carrot box and would definitely order it again on a busy week or maybe a week I had guests in town and wanted to skip the guess work. You can check out sample meals and get $20 off your first order with the code NEWCARROT here!
New Products + New Favorites from Expo West 2016!
Expo West 2016 has officially come and gone and OH MAN were there some awesome things to see and eat! I spent 3 full days there this year - one more full day than last year, and it was so worth it. I feel like I saw nearly everything possible and tasted everything I wanted to - some things more than once. Here I've rounded up the best of the best (in my humble opinion) and the best of the newest products at the show to share with you guys. Some of the products are on the market already and some will be coming out later this year.
My top favorite of the show - the STUNNER - was the brand new vegan aquafaba-based mayo from Sir Kensingtons. It comes in a regular and a chipotle flavor, an it is TOO DAMN GOOD. It's totally soy-free, which is perfect since I'm off soy completely now, and tastes bette than any other vegan mayo I've tried...which I think is nearly all of them. It's my new fave BUT won't be on the market officially until summer. At Expo they were serving to with French fries, which was absolutely delicious, but I can't wait to try it in potato salads, on sandwiches, and in dips and sauces! Seriously, my fave new product at this year's show. I seriously cannot wait for you guys to try it!
I've really been trying to eat a few less desserts and watch my sugar intake lately, so seeing these new tart flavors but Hail Merry made me SO happy! Their mini-tarts are rich in healthy fats and flavor and have half the sugar of the regular tarts, plus are bite-sized for easy portion control. The Strawberry Rhubarb was my favorite flavor, but they were all quite good. Hail Merry also debuted a new Salted Brownie macaroon bites flavor and two new bean-free hummus's made from the nuts they also use for the tarts. I loved meeting the people at their booth, they were all so kind and made me feel even better about supporting them. They rock! Also - how rad would those sweet potato tarts be for Thanksgiving? Dessert = made!
My favorite drinks from the show were a toss-up between these new Matcha Almond Milk and Ginger Almond Milk drinks from Califia Farms (left) and these new Fermented Botanical drinks from Clearly Kombucha.
The drinks form Califia Farms are creamy, rich, and a delicious and brilliant alternative to regular nut-milk flavors. The matcha is my personal favorite, but the ginger is a very close second. They are light and sweet and for someone who doesn't regularly drink bottles of nut milk, I love these flavorful alternatives. There is also a thick coconut version, but it didn't taste extraordinary to me. These are available NOW so keep an eye out for them!
The new botanicals drinks are the perfect fermented drink for someone weary of the strong flavors of kombucha or the caffeine in iced tea. They are lightly carbonated and sweet and taste so great - there's nothing else like 'em. Clearly Kmobucha knocked it out of the park on these ones. My favorite flavors were the Lemongrass and Strawberry Milk Thistle but they come in at least 4 more flavors. Look for them on shelves soon!
These products were our favorite unexpected finds of the weekend. The products from Yai's Thai were so incredibly spicy and delicious. They all had a unique flavor and great heat to them, and we fell so in love they let us take a few sample bottles home. These sauces are better than literally ANY other Asian hot sauce (you know the ones) on the market right now, but only for those who really truly LOVE the spice of a good Thai chile. We later found out they started in Maine, my home state, which gave them extra bonus points in my book. Worth buying for sure!
Sheese is a soy-based cheese (off limits to me, but I tried it anyway) out of Scotland, that I;ve seen all over the internet but never in the US. Turns out they just don't have great distribution here yet (hence why they were at the show), but their products are all really good. They come in a variety of flavors and types, and they've really got a great product. Request it in your local stores!
Upton's Jackfruit has been on the market since last year, but this new curry flavor they're releasing is a delicious addition to the family! Its a flavor I would've been hesitant to try on my own, but I love how they paired it with simple brown rice at the show - it would make an easy weeknight meal for sure.
Upstairs, Gardein was sampling their soon-to-be-released breakfast pockets made with Follow Your Heart's vegan egg and Field Roast's chao cheese. They were so good - I would definitely eat them regularly if not for my soy-intolerance. They would be a perfect on-the-go hot breakfast! Look for them this summer.
These were two totally new to me drinks. First the Sapp brand: maple water is seeing a surge of popularity in the market the last two years since coconut water has come out and become so popular. They are similar in texture and lightness of taste, and are equally hydrating. Like maple and coconut water, birch tree water has its own healthful properties, and has a super lightly sweet flavor - much like the Sapp brand name suggests, it tastes reminiscent of tree sap, but in the best way. I really enjoyed these drinks and the packaging and would definitely buy them in the future.
Teaonic is a line of cold tea drinks designed to aid in healthful bodily function in some way or another. They offer a drink for digestion, skin, liver, adrenals, weight, hair and nails, and the brain, as well as a femininity tea. I got the gut version, made with chai tea, since I always seem to have stomach issues. It was unsweetened, which I preferred and was a smaller bottle, so I didn't get stuck drinking it all afternoon. It was actually really good, and did seem to make my belly feel nice after drinking it, though I'm sure I'd need to keep it up for long-term effects. I'd try it again!
These drinks all fall into the category of things I've tried before, but love too much not to share. Farmhouse Culture makes some of the best sauerkraut on the market - their smoked jalapeño flavor is life-changingly good. Their Gut Shots are equally as awesome, and a smart way to use the healthy, probiotic-packed juice from their fermented products instead of dumping it down the drain. The liquid is filled with a ton of good-for-you bacteria and has a yummy, spicy kick that makes your whole stomach feel good after drinking it. I drink a shot every morning before breakfast and whenever my tummy feels a bit off. It is my GO-TO probiotic product!
I've said it a million times on instagram, but I'll say it here too: I love me some Mamma Chia! They make the best chia-packed drinks out there, and these energy drinks are an excellent addition to their line, They're a little tangier than the regular drinks and are a great coffer-free alternative to that afternoon slump.
Daily Greens makes some really fantastic green juice. They have a bunch of flavors, but this Renew flavors packed with watermelon juice + greens, so it not only tastes great but is super hydrating. Plus, the packaging is lovely. You can find these at Whole Foods and Sprouts for sure, and hopefully more chains in the future!
I had seen the Bixby Bar once or twice at Fresh 'n' Easy before they closed them all down here, but had never tried one. As soon as I realized they were made in Rockland, Maine I knew I HAD to get my hands on one. This bar was TOO GOOD. Salty and sweet and rich - super indulgent and satisfying. Also totally GF and organic. They come in several flavors and I would definitely buy them again. I think they're available at Whole Foods!
Oh Alpendough...so good, so only available in Colorado. I'm really hoping they get their distribution opened up because it was AMAZING, especially since it was all gluten-free as well. Big fan, and will be a big customer when it makes its way to California!
Organic Gemini has taken a little-known tuber, the tiger nut, and turned it into a soon-to-be-sensation and one of my favorite products at Expo two years running. They 'milk' the nuts into a creamy, rich, lightly-sweetened drink and add cinnamon and one of 8 flavors. They are MIND-BLOWINGLY good. And super good for you, too! We have a recipe for a Chocolate Mocha Smoothie made with tiger nuts if you're looking for a recipe to try for yourself.
Rawpothecary is another juice company we love that is all about drinking straight from natures pharmacy. Their creative juice blends taste incredible and began as a treatment for her fathers illness. The Holla Pîna flavor is my favorite!
LoveGrace is a juice company based in New York. I happened to meet the owners at a vegan party in the Field Roast suite after Expo one night, and they hooked us up with some of their juices and smoothies. The Cacao Smoothie was super good - rich, sweet, satisfying - like a healthy milkshake! But ever more I loved the Yerba Mate Herbal Energy drink. It was mixed with nice so it was sweet and tasted like a spicy lemonade, but gave me a ton of morning energy - which was exactly what I needed to get through day 3! They have a ton of juices in their line and ship to your door, or you can visit one of their locations in NYC!
Temple Turmeric is a company I really love. They make a great product and turn turmeric into a normal, taste-good drink. I love all their flavors, but could;t get enough of this spicy Pure Fire Tonic. It has a billion (literally - it say so on the bottle) probiotics in it, and wakes your digestive right up. My insides felt clean and refreshed after drinking it, and I daresay it even gave me an energy boost. I'll definitely be buying these regularly!
I know that these Chia Pods are a tad expensive to always have in the fridge, but I got to take home these free ones from Expo this year and I am loving them! They're great on the go or when you just don't have the time (or enegery) to make your own chia pudding - even though its pretty easy to DIY. But these awesome little snacks come in 8 flavors and are easy lunchbox food, which sometimes is the only think you want to eat. Yum!
I had heard about Little Secrets dark chocolate candies (super similar to M+M's) all over expo and told I had to get over there. When I finally did I tried like 4 of the flavors before realizing only 3 of them were vegan. Whooooops. Anyway, the dark chocolate ones are totally vegan and totally delicious. Again, had to go easy on them because they do contain soy, but they tasted so much like the real thing - but way better and less full of artificial ingredients. I would definitely use these for entertaining non-vegan guests - they'd never know the difference!
Last party attended at Expo was at the Hope Foods booth. They were debuting their new green chile guacamole - which I can confidently say is the ONLY packaged guac I'm comfortable eating - and sharing mini margaritas with everyone. I'm not a big drinker but definitely needed one after walking around for 10 hours at Expo. Also - the people at their booth were so FUN! We even got hat that read 'Nice Spread'. Ha! 😉
Overall it was an excellent experience. I got to bring some friends along this year and show them the ropes, plus I met a ton of great people working for great companies that I am really happy to support. Oh yeah, and I think I visited the Daiya booth at least 6 times for snacks - you can see their mac 'n' cheese samples below. And Tim (@veganfatkid) is also down there. Expo is like the biggest blogger get-together ever, we all have way too much fun hanging out together and munching the day away. Plus the after parties are rockin'! We're talking full vegan taco bar, here. We can't wait until next year! Until then, which products are you most excited to see hit the shelves?
PlanetBox Review + Giveaway!
Since I'm coming back after a nearly two week break since my last post, I figured involving a giveaway might soften the blow. Luckily, PlanetBox came to the rescue wth this gorgeous Rover Box, which we'll talk about...in a minute. In the meantime, I wanted to update you guys on what we've been up to instead of posting lately!
Two weekends ago we had our engagement party. It was awesome and low-key and most of our favorite people were there to celebrate with us. We had an ice skating party (in keeping with the winer sports theme apparently) and it was the first point at which I really started to feel engaged. I spent the following week balancing my time between visiting family and working on the first edits of the manuscript and shooting the cover photo for my cookbook, Homestyle Vegan (out in November but available on Amazon for pre-order right now!).
This past weekend was Expo West, the biggest Natural Foods Expo on the West Coast. We met with hundreds of brands and really great people in the health food spectrum to see the latest innovations, upcoming product releases, and best new vegan foods products at the show. We'll have a round-up of our faves from the show coming this week. Finally, next weekend is our very first, 100% vegan taco pop-up, Tacolepsy! We'll have three specialty tacos for purchase, some sweet treats, and some drinks, too. But since you probably came here for more info on this gorgeous lunchbox and how to WIN one for yourself, please feel free to keep scrolling!
I am just obsessed with this lunch box that PlanetBox sent me. Called the 'Rover', this non-toxic, stainless-steel bento box meets segmented container meets TV dinner tray is perfect for on-the-go munching and is a great way to keep your favorite foods perfectly portioned and in their own separate areas. If you're like me and prefer a larger variety of foods in smaller serving sizes, then this is the lunchbox for you. This stylish lunchbox, which retails for nearly $50, is just a bit smaller size than an 8 1/2x11 inch piece of paper but holds nearly 4.5 cups of food! It's perfect for kids or adults, and comes with a cute, insulated carrying bag to keep your meal as warm or cool as you'd like. And if customization is your thing, the rover is easily personalized with matching water bottles, lunchbox magnets and accessories!
PlanetBox is dishwasher safe and easy to clean, so you won't be stuck digging peanut butter out of the crevices or soaking sticky plastic lids for hours. The compartments easily allow for and encourage healthy portion sizes, which is perfect for grazing all day or sitting down for a healthy, hearty meal at lunchtime. Because the Rover is such a high-quality box, you won't have to worry about replacing it yearly like most boxes that get worn out, cracked, or warped. The Rover is in it for the long haul! It's also completely recyclable, if you do someday decide to pass it on. Ready to enter for your chance to win one of your very own PlanetBox Rover Lunchboxes? Scroll down!
To enter the giveaway, just fill out the options on the widget below. Giveaway open to US residents only. Winner will receive a PlanetBox Rover Lunchbox, a Carrying Bag and a set of Magnets! Winner will be given a choice of colors but there is no guarantee you'll get the exact color you want. Good luck!
Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
That's It Fruit Bars
I love these 2 ingredients bars! Yup, each bar contains just apples and one other fruit, dehydrated into a chewy, fruity, good-for-you snack bar. Sure they're vegan, but they're also GF, non-GMO, raw, high in fiber and free of added sugars! They come in 9 flavors - apple with blueberries, coconut, banana, mango, cherries, apricots, pears, strawberry (my personal favorite) or pineapple - so there's something for everyone! These bars have become a favorite on long day trips, before and after working out, and as a sweet, guilt-free treat after dinner. You can find all the flavors at ThatsItsFruit.com!
If you love the taste of bananas and are the type of person who squeezes them into smoothies, puddings, baked goods and eats them all by themselves on the regular, then you're going to LOVE this new product. Banana water takes all of the vitamins, minerals and electrolytes packed into a regular banana and makes it drinkable! And because it's packed with potassium (each bottle contains 2 medium bananas worth!), it'll keep you fuller and hydrated longer than regular water. It comes in three yummy flavors- original, mango and passion fruit. Each tastes pretty strongly of banana, but the fruity flavors were my favorite. You can get more info on Banana Water and Elmhurst Naturals Products here!
Vegan Cuts Athlete Box
I'm so stoked on the new Athlete Box from Vegan Cuts! It's packed with everything you see above - protein powders, bars, drinks and snacks. Basically, everything you need to be the fittest vegan in town. We've tried the Vegan Cuts Snack Box before, but are so pleased to see this new, athlete-aimed version. Too often, people think that vegans are weak and can't possibly be body-builders, so I love that they teamed up with Badass Vegan John Lewis to curate this protein-packed option and prove otherwise! The box contains over 20 products (all pictured above) valued at over $55, but you can get your box for just $28, with free shipping in the U.S. My favorite treats were the Go Raw Choco Crunch Sprouted Cookies, the 'No Cow' bar, the Hemp Pro 70 Vanilla Protein and of course, Badass Vegan's Spirulina Chocolate Chip Cookie. You can check out each of the products inside and order your own over at VeganCuts.com!
Rhythm Superfoods Roasted Kale Chips
These new chips from Rhythm take the traditional kale chip and walk all over it. These chips are thicker, crunchier, and come in 5 seriously scrumptious vegan-friendly flavors - sea salt, smoky bacon, sea salt and vinegar, chili lime and roasted garlic and onion. Made with organic lacinato kale, they carefully roast the leaves whole, so the chips are much larger than a normal kale chip. These chips are rich in vitamin A, C and K and the whole container has just 100 calories, perfect for munching totally guilt-free. Check out more from Rhythm here!
2015 Holiday Wish List!
It's that time of year again! The holidays are here, and I've curated a list of some of the greatest / funnest (I know it's not a real word) / loveliest things I've seen around the internet that I would LOVE to open up on Christmas morning. Or any morning, really. If you like some of the stuff on here all you have to do is share the link with your family members and make shopping that much easier on them. Every product on this list can be purchased online, so no searching through crowded stores or waiting in long store lines - we made it pretty easy! Some of the items you might've seen before, but I'm sure there'll be something new for you to find. We tried to include a little something for everybody, but of course I'm biased and swing towards cooking utensils and ladies clothing - sorry fellas! You can also check out our gift guides from Holidays past: 2013 + 2014. Now, let's open some presents!
1. Constellations Tea Towel: This thing is super cute, would look great under serving dishes at parties, and totally reminds me of the huge night sky and vivid constellations I grew up seeing in Maine. I love it!
2. Weekends are for Waffles Crop Top: This is maybe the truest statement ever spoken. I feel like I would live in this top because it looks incredibly comfortable, and has basically my life mantra scrawled across the front. I'll take two!
3. Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp Cooking System: Okay, so technically this won't be available until mid-January, 2016, but that does't mean you can't ask your family to pre-order it for you or give you a gift card! Or you know, just wait two weeks. This cooking system is the ultimate in camp cooking. With two burners, a frying pan and a 5 liter cooking pot, you can whip up just about ANYTHING while you;re in the woods. And as a crazy camper who LOVES to eat, this just speaks to me. Alex + I will be getting one to take on plant-based adventures for sure!
4. Bow + Drape ‘Daily Poutine’ Boyfriend Sweatshirt: Again, its just SPEAKS to me! We eat a whole lot of poutine in this house and I love sparkly things. Plus, Bow + Drape does a TON of custom food-inspired designs that include a lot of emojis. Their website has something for every foodie, be sure to check it out!
5. Mint Green Paddle Cutting Board and Kitchen Utensil Set: I have an affinity for collecting cute serving dishes, and these are no exception. I love the mint green color, but the set is available in a whole bunch of colors, if green isn't really your style. They are beautiful, hand-made, and would look lovely serving up some scrumptious vegan appetizers!
6. Pineapple Tumbler: I LOVE pineapples (I have a pineapple tattoo on my right inner arm). I also love gold, shiny things and this tumbler is basically screaming my name. It would be perfect for whipping up drinks at a party or just showcasing on your tiny ikea-inspired alcohol cart.
7. Kitchen Quick Chart: I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, especially this month as I'm wrapping up recipes for my cookbook, due out Fall 2016 (yup - free plug). I can usually remember conversions and substitutions pretty nicely, but sometimes after 4 hours of testing recipes and a huge kitchen mess, I couldn't even tell you the last ingredient I tossed in the bowl. Having this hanging in the corner of my kitchen would be a lifesaver!
8. Soludos Jason Polan Smoking Slipper, Pizza: Look, at this point you know I have a very friendly relationship with food, but if you know me reallllllly well, you also know I LOVE a good pizza. And these shoes just seem to get it! I love Soludos brand anyway, 'cause they make really great, beach-friendly shoes, and their artsy collab with Jason Polan just took them to the next level. I'll take a size 9!
9. La Vie Boheme White Mandala Yoga Travel Rug: I'm the kind of girl that drags my yoga mat all over the country when I travel, 'cause for some reason I feel like I need it. Yoga mats are kind of personal, you know? You've sweat all over them, they've seen you at your worst, but they never last as long as you'd think. That's why I love this alternative! Its a rug versus a plastic-y mat, so its more flexible (better for packing) and is washable, as opposed to just wiping the top layer of grime off my mat. Oh, and its GORGEOUS!
10. Non-Stick Mini Donut Pan: Because as much as I love donuts, there's just something about a MINI-donut that is fricken adorable. And I can stuff more mini-donuts into my mouth than normal ones. #noshame (also, see number 12)
11. Seafood Green Pottery Citrus Juicer: It's tiny, it's cute, it's hand-made, and it's my favorite color. I'll take it!
12. Donut Ornaments (4): 'Cause they're the cutest? Hopefully I get these BEFORE Christmas so I can hang them on the tree, but if not, I'll just keep the tree up until New Year's (like that wasn't happening anyway) so I can enjoy them a bit longer!
13. Carved Heart Enamel Personalized Popcorn Bowl: I just fell in love with this when I saw it. I love all things enamel and the personalization on this bowl adds the sweetest touch. And sure it says 'popcorn bowl', but I'm betting you could put fruit, salad, chips - just about anything in it you like.
14. Magical Thinking Henna Letter: Alex and Amber both start with the letter 'A', so over the past six years of dating we've gathered a handful of letter 'A's from various shopping trips and travel excursions that we have hanging around our place. We have some made of plastic, some of metal, and even a wooden one, but I love the designs on this one and that it's hangable. (More letters are available on the site!)
15. Hi-Filter Teapot in Deep Green: Do I need another teapot? Probably not. But I LOVE this one! It's got a stainless steel strainer inside so it's great for brewing loose leaf tea, and a no-drip spout for clumsy mummy's like myself! Plus, it's in my very favorite shade of my very favorite color, so I'm sold.
Thanks for reading through our gift wish list! We hope it gave you inspiration for gifts to give and maybe even to receive this year. If you're still looking, definitely check out our gift guides from 2013 + 2014.Hope you have the happiest Holidays!
Latest Obsession: Canopy Verde's Bergen Vegan Tote!
When I got my new Bergen Vegan Tote from Canopy Verde in the mail, I was already in love with it. I'm not super girly, I rarely wear anything but jeans and don't even own makeup; I don't wear a lot of jewelry and I never, ever carry a purse. I'm just a minimalist gal with low-key style who likes to keep it simple. So when I first talked to Linda from Canopy Verde about the bag, it was important to me that it be something I could use everyday, all day, and would go with everything. I wanted something effortless, and I found it in the Bergen Tote. It's made of eco-friendly brown faux leather and organic stone-colored cotton, and because of its chic, simple design it really does go with everything - this is no one-season bag!
I wear a lot of neutral colors, so this bag really did fit quite easily into my current style profile. And because Canopy Verde keeps it simple, the Bergen really is a classic design that would look good on anyone's shoulder. Because I'm always running around and dragging a bunch of crap with me, it was important that I find a bag that I could actually carry my stuff in. The Bergen Tote is lined with beautiful tangerine fabric and adorned with wooden accents, with plenty of room inside for me to carry some notebooks, my camera, phone, and wallet with room to spare. It has a few good sized inner pockets, including a zippered one, as well as an outer pocket along the back side perfect for tucking your phone or cash.
The Bergen Tote is thoughtfully made with organic certified cotton, PVC-free vegan leather, and eco-friendly dyes, so it's also a bag you can feel really proud to carry around. Linda Wong, the creator, is inspired by mid-century Danish design, her Brooklyn neighborhood, and a commitment to being as Earth-friendly as possible. She works with a fellow woman entrepreneur in Hong Kong to create the bags and ships them internationally, always trying to cut down on waste and reusing materials whenever possible. She's a kickass #GIRLBOSS and someone we're happy to support.
So maybe a shoulder tote isn't your style? I get it. And so does Linda, because she has designed everything from clutches and wristlets to satchels and shoulder bags - they have something for everyone! Including more colorful designs, if that's your thing. This Weekender Bag is going on my Christmas list for sure! You can shop directly on their website here, or shop past seasons and favorites on their Etsy page. A huge thanks to Linda for letting us rave about her bags - we love what you're doing, keep it up girl!
[All opinions are our own, we were not compensated for this review.]
Top 5 VEGAN Camping Must Haves + GIVEAWAY!
1. ENO Doubleneck Hammock + Straps
We bought our ENO hammock at REI after seeing it advertised a few times. We were super curious and love to snuggle so it seemed like it would be a nice addition to our camping gear. Priced at about $70 for the Doubleneck - or 2 person - hammock, we figured it was worth it. We also bought the ENO brand attachment straps for the hammock so we could still string it up in areas with few trees or hanging spots. We first used our hammock on our Big Sur camping trip 4th of July weekend (above), and we've been hooked on it ever since! We even brought it with us on our most recent trip to Maine and I didn't think my younger sister was going to let us have it back. She loved it! It is made out a parachute-type material and spreads to fit two bottoms or two people laying down side by side. It was a great way to catch a breeze on top of the mountain we were on and a nice way to unwind and watch the sunset after a long day of hiking. The best part? The whole hammock folds up into that attached bag shown at the center of my back in the picture above, which is only about 4x6 inches. Seriously- best camping purchase we've ever made!
2. Jet Boil Flash Cooking System
This system has changed the way we camp. Before we were always concerned about having a fire ring so we could cook, but now we can dispersed camp anywhere we want and always have hot meals on-the-go! We're thinking about hiking the 220 mile JMT next year and owning a Jet Boil is an absolute must. We've made oatmeal, pasta, pho soup, and even just boiled water for hot drinks and to do dishes with. The setup is easy and about 2 cups of water is boiling in less than a minute. Plus, if you're into attachments (Alex is), Jet Boil offers a ton of other cool things like portable pots + pans, a stability system, canister cozies, and a range of other cooking attachments. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, do yourself a favor and invest in a Jet Boil. The fuel is cheap and it is so, so worth it to have steaming hot chocolate in under 2 minutes after a rainy 9 hour hike. Trust me. You can check them out at JetBoil.com.
3. Squeeze Pod Travel Toiletries
My biggest issue with travel - of ANY kind - is always dealing with the toiletries. Packing them into travel-sized bottles for convenience, only to have them explode or pop open and leak all over everything. So then you start wrapping them in plastic sandwich bags but then you're just left digging the exploded bottle out of the goop it's swimming in. Ick. Enter SQUEEZE PODS! When I was first emailed about these I was skeptical, but as soon as I received the product I realized how genius it really was. The creator was a huge traveler with as much frustration as I have over toiletries, so he aimed to make something better. These little pods come in 9 toiletry types: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair gel, lotion, shave cream, hand purifier, facial cleanser + toilet odor eliminator. They are made with pronounceable ingredients you can trust like coconut oil, aloe vera and shea butter and contain NO parabens, phthalates, sulfates, phosphates or other harmful preservatives. All of Squeeze Pod's products are made in the USA, 100% vegan and TSA compliant! They even offer cute kits for 'Girls Getaway Weekend', 'Guys Getaway Weekend', and 'Sleepovers' that contain a bunch of toiletries into an easy-to-share kit. We really loved taking our Squeeze Pod toiletries camping, especially on our super rural Big Sur trip, because we often didn't have access to facilities of any type, so having small, easily dispensed amounts of product became key. Plus, there is so little waste, it's easy to pack in the toiletries and pack out the trash without it being an issue. We're taking our Squeeze Pod's everywhere now, and we want you to be able to, too! Scroll all the way to the bottom for a chance to WIN the kit pictured above! 9 travel-sized, leak-proof toiletries in one TSA-friendly carrying case could be yours. Details below. Good luck! If you don't want to wait, you can check out their full line of products at SqueezePod.com!
4. A Sharp Knife
There is just no better thing you can ever have in life than a really great, sharp knife. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and when we're camping it's no different. We like to eat as much fresh food and home-cooked style meals while camping as we can because it's cheaper than buying everything pre-packaged and its way healthier. Don't get me wrong, I am all for some packaged mac n' cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but there is really only so much that food will do to power you for an 8 mile hike at camp. Start throwing some fresh veggies and fruit into your meal ideas and that knife will come in seriously handy. Plus, if an axe murderer is roaming the woods at night, you got this. We even bought a knife we keep specifically in our camping gear, which you can find here. (pictured above)
5. Vegan Snacks!
On top of meal planning for our trips to conserve space and wasted food, we are always sure to bring plenty of snacks. Between the drive to where we camp (usually about 5ish hours) and the downtime spent at camp, plus packing for hikes and adventuring, we like to bring a variety of goodies - both sweet and savory - to munch. Above is a photo of the haul we took on one trip, but its a pretty good representation of what we normally bring with on smaller trips, too. Lots of granola + power bars, faux jerky, granola, oats, chips, fruit, and PB + J for when you want to feel like a kid again. Oh and of course, S'MORE stuff! Of course you could just bring these S'mores cookies, instead. And if you're like us and go camping year round, be sure to check out the monthly snack boxes from Vegan Cuts + Urthbox! They both offer great deals on fun and creative snacks that get shipped to your door monthly. We always end up with leftover snacks in our box that we toss into our camping tote for trips. It's perfect and always snack sized!
Enter our giveaway below to win 1 loaded Squeeze Pod Travel Toiletries kit with 9 different types of portable, spill-proof toiletries and a cute zippered pouch to carry them in! US entries only please. Winner will be chosen 8/19/15. Good luck!
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Top 5 NEW Faves from Expo West 2015
It was our first year tackling the monster that is Expo West this year- and I had a goddamn blast! There were tons of products to see, people to meet, and of course samples to eat. I spent 2 full days there and still feel like I missed seeing half the vendors. It was madness! We got bags and bags of samples, found a bunch of new products to love, and met the faces behind some of the products we already love. We dug through our goodies, used most of them, and then decided to share a few of the favorite NEW products we found at the show. Not all of them are on the market yet, so you're even getting a little sneak preview of some products that'll be hitting shelves this summer. We can't wait for Expo West '16!
1. Sriracha Sunflower Seeds from Hail Merry
Jackie from Vegan Yack Attack and I were walking around the Expo when we spotted these on a corner table at the Hail Merry booth. The ladies there were all really sweet in indulging us by opening the bag, letting us try them, and them giving us each bag for later. They were so good! I'm already a sunflower seed fan- I love the crunch and getting a little extra protein in salty snack form- but these elevated the seed game for sure. They're just the right amount of spicy, without being too greasy or sticky to eat. Of course they leave a little spicy orange residue on your fingertips- just lick it off! These seeds are low-temperature dehydrated, then covered in spicy sriracha powder. They're not only vegan but gluten-free, non-GMO, and paleo-friendly, too! These aren't on the market yet- but they'll be here soon! Kept eye out for them here.
2. Organic Soda Syrups from Organic Fair
This is one product that I knew I was going to love as soon as I saw it and now I can't wait to order more! The booth was tucked away on the top floor of the event and had some of the friendliest guys behind the booth. Organic Fair makes simple syrups for soda out of organic, vegan ingredients like raw cane sugar, spring water, citrus, hibiscus flowers, molasses, herbs + spices. They're what soda should be, frankly. And they taste way better! I haven't had traditionally commercially made soda in years- its just bad for you, and we all know it. So this was a nice treat! I was able to buy a little sparkling filtered water down at Trader Joe's, pour about a tablespoon of syrup into a glass, and add the water. Ta da! Soda. I loved the earthy, lemony lavender flavor best, and Alex was really diggin' the ginger ale. We will definitely be buying more- its the perfect cure for a sweet craving and a great thirst-quencher on warm days!
3. Haunted Ghost Pepper Tortilla Chips from Paqui Tortillas
We stumbled upon the Paqui table on Day 2. The bright green cilantro tortillas (some of the best tortillas I've EVER HAD) caught Alex's eye so we wandered over and started grabbing chips. The guy at the table was super friendly and after we chatted about our mutual affection for super spicy foods, he pointed us toward the end of the table with a scary looking black bag labeled 'HOMEMADE HORROR'. Naturally, we were intrigued and had to know what was in the bag. Turn out, Paqui is the only company making tortilla chips dusted in a heavy orange GHOST PEPPER powder. Yup, ghost peppers- one of the spiciest peppers in the world and ranking at nearly a 1 MILLION on the Scoville Scale. And that sweet sweet goodness is spread all over these bad boys! Don't get me wrong- they're super fucking hot. But if you like really spicy food, this may be just the snack to for you! Also, would make a good (and also awful) prank food for someone. We like them best dipped in a bit of cold, fresh guacamole to mellow out the spiciness. You can order them here, but be aware that not all the other flavors are vegan-friendly.
4. Cheezy Mac in 3 flavors (Boxed) from Daiya Foods
ON MAN. This one's a game changer. After trying the Earth Balance Boxed Mac last year I was left disappointed. It lacked the flavor and texture of the boxed mac I grew up with, so when we saw samples of this new shelf-stable boxed mac with cheese sauce- I was hesitant. Luckily, I'm not one to let free samples go uneaten, so I grabbed a little cup of each flavor and tiny spoon and gobbled 'em up. I liked them all, but the alfredo was the cheesiest and yummiest. They're easy to whip-up and I can't wait 'till they hit shelves this summer. They're the perfect after-school snack or comfort food to munch!
5. The Neat Egg from Neat Foods
I was pretty excited to try this product after having tried their amazing neat meat- a meat alternative made from just a couple pronounceable ingredients like nuts + beans! No weird fillers here. And the neat egg? Literally just CHIA SEEDS and GARBANZO BEANS! Can it get any better than that?! We've used it as a binder now in cookies, waffles, and a loaf of banana bread with great results. We're big fans of this eggy alternative! Look for online and in stores soon.