Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
Food Should Taste Good's Harvest Pumpkin Chips
It's fall and we know you've been inundated with pumpkin flavored things, but here us out on this one! These seasonal Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips from Food Should Taste Good are DELICIOUS! They're lightly seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, but they're not overly sweet. We served them up at a recent taco party with a bunch of vegan blogger friends and they were a hit! People were dipping them into white bean hummus, guacamole, and eating them all on their own. We kept a bag for ourselves and made a sweet cashew dip sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg and sweetened with maple syrup - so yeah, that was fucking delicious. I loved these chips and will start looking for them every year at this time...and you should too! They're the perfect holiday chip, and they taste good with seemingly everything. You can order some for your holiday parties at FoodShouldTasteGood.com!
Lucy's Holiday Sugar + Chocolate Merry Mint Cookies
We've been fans of Lucy's Cookies for years, ever since we moved to Maine and they were some of the only vegan cookies we could find in markets. We were so appreciative to find a cookie we didn't have to make and that actually tasted good! If you like a crispy cookie, these are for you. There are SO freaking yummy. They come in a multitude of flavors, but we're really excited about these seasonal Holiday Sugars and Chocolate Merry Mint cookies! They're really good and the perfect thing when you just can't bake another dish this holiday season. Put out a plate of these cookies out with some almond milk and you will have one very happy Santa this Christmas! You can get more info and order some for your Holiday parties at DrLucys.com.
Essential Living Foods Superfood Smoothie Mix - Acaî + Goji Boost
I'm always looking for new ways to toss a little extra protein into my meals, and this superfood powder from Essential Living Foods with acai and goji is the perfect way! Its got a great fruity flavor and packs 8 grams of protein into every 2 tablespoon serving. As with all ELF's products, this mix is non-GMO, gluten-free, organic, and raw - so there are only pure, unadulterated superfoods in an easy to eat form! We like in smoothies, on our oatmeal, and even mixed into water for a quick pick-up with fruity flavor. You can check it out and order your own at EssentialLivingFoods.com!
I love tea. We really steer away from caffeine at our house, and we're big herbal tea drinkers. When monthly tea subscription box Teabook reached out and offered to let us try their box a few months back, I was thrilled. I love trying different types of tea - iced or hot - and was excited to see what they were all about. They sent us a typical monthly box, which contained not only 3 different types of premium tea, but a lovely glass tumbler for brewing and drinking the tea in. Being a green tea fan I immediately opted to try the loose leaf green tea. I placed the loose leaves in my glass bottle, filled it with hot water, and let it steep for several minutes before placing the strainer cap + lid to it. Then I ran out the door! I loved how simple it was to prepare while I was getting ready to go, and I also loved having a steaming hot glass of really good green tea on the commute. Teabook sends different fresh loose leaf teas monthly for you to explore at a reasonable price, and the double-walled glass tumbler is high quality and the perfect size for a cup of tea. You can get Teabook delivered directly to your door by visiting them at Teabook.co!
Lola Menstrual Cups
When we lived in Maine two years ago, I became super interested in finding alternatives to traditional tampons. Some studies have shown that typical tampons contain carcinogens and often tons of perfume. I don't (any my lady parts DEFINITELY don't) want any part of that. The vagina is a pretty great and super sensitive piece of equipment, and I like to keep it as harm-free as possible during my monthly menstruation. I had tried a product called the Moon Cup, which is similar but slightly different. I could never seem to get comfortable with it and ditched it after a few uses to go back to organic tampons instead. Recently I've again become interested in finding an alternative to expensive and wasteful organic tampons, and started looking around for a better option. I stumbled upon the Lola Cup after some searching and loved that it looked more flexible and a little smaller than the moon cup I had tried before, and also came in 2 packs! Lola Cups are a great alternative to tampons or liners on light or heavy days. They are hypoallergenic for us sensitive babes, BPA-free, and made from medical grade silicon. I went with size 1, the smaller of 2 sizes since I have yet to give childbirth. I won't go into the whole insertion and removal process here, but Lola Cup does come with instructions and is super easy to use. I loved it and loved that there were two so a backup was always available, and it was way more comfortable than I ever imagined. Plus, no mess! I'm a big fan, and even Alex loves the idea of never running to the grocery store on a late-night tampon run again. You can get more info from them at their website, LolaCup.com.
Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
Thirty Acre Farm Fermented Hot Sauce
When I was in Maine last month I realized that instead of just craving all my fave Maine goodies in between trips, I could start shipping some back each trip so I'd have a little supply in California, too. This was one of my must grab's my first day in town, and I even turned my Dad onto it. It is SO good! And as you can see, fermented, too! Thirty Acre Farm is a small vegetable farm down the street from where I grew up in Whitefield, ME, where they make all sorts of fermented goodies including ruby + jalapeño kraut made from their own cabbage. This hot sauce packs a lacto-fermented culture punch and some serious heat, plus is preservative free and made by hand in small batches. It's the best hot sauce I've ever had - we pour it on everything! They ship, so be sure to check out their website and email Jane + Simon to get some for yourself - it is so, so worth it. You can do that here.
Cherrybrook Kitchen Cake + Frosting Mixes
I celebrated my 25th birthday at the beginning of the month and was planning a camping trip with Alex up in the mountains, so we wanted a quick dessert we could bring with and cook while camping. We ended up totally forgetting the boxes and buying some vegan cupcakes when we got up there, but when we came back, I whipped up the vanilla cake with chocolate frosting (my fave combo!) and was pleasantly surprised. Both the cake and frosting mixes are vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, egg-free, and nut-free - so super allergen friendly. The cake cooked up moist and golden and the frosting whipped up to literally the perfect texture. I loved it! Even though I am perfectly capable of making a great cake, sometimes taking the easy route is the way to go, and I would highly recommend checking these easy mixes out the next time you're in a pinch and need a great cake or cupcakes! These would probably also be perfect for taking to school for kids birthdays, since most schools these days are nut-free for kiddos with allergies. You can check out all their mixes here.
Kevita Master Brew Kombucha
Oh man. We are just so obsessed with KeVita's new Master Brew Kombucha! It comes in 6 flavors and is some of the best kombucha I've ever had. It is perfectly bubbly and the flavors are top notch. They come in Tart Cherry, Grapefruit, Lavender Melon, Pineapple Peach, Raspberry Lemon and Ginger. My faves are definitely a toss up between the Tart Cherry, Lavender Melon, and Pineapple Peach flavors. They are so flavorful and would make any kombucha-hater rethink their position. There is none of the vinegar-y taste that sometime accompanies different kombuchas, and the probiotics in it make it stellar for your tummy! Whenever I'm having a little tummy trouble I suck one of these down and it almost always turns things around. KeVita also makes other sparkling probiotic drinks, but I'm such a kombucha junkie I reach for this stuff every time. The price is comparable to other kombucha brands on the market, but these have way more flavor. Plus they're organic, non-GMO, and stevia sweetened, so there is no added sugar, which makes these way lower on sugar than comparable brands. What I'm saying is GO FIND THIS STUFF! Its available just about everywhere, and you can check out more about each flavor here.
AMRTA Garam Masala
I love Indian food, but until recently was intimated by trying to successfully make my own. After Richa Hingle released her latest cookbook, Richa's Vegan Indian Kitchen, I felt like I finally had the recipes in front of me to try and conquer. And so far, I've loved everything I've made form the book. When AMRTA offered to send me some of their garam masala to try, I was stoked. Garam Masala is a spice made from a mix of dried and ground cardamom pods, cinnamon, peppers, and flowers. AMRTA is a family company that uses the method that their great-great grandmother did, never relying on a recipe but rather learning the technique from their mother's before them. We used it to make Richa's recipe for Garam Masala Potatoes + Onions and just fell in love. Its the perfect blend of smoky, sweet, and spicy and would be a welcome addition to any lentil or cauliflower dish for sure. We'll definitely be buying this Garam Masala again, but luckily the nearly 4 oz. jar should last us a while. You can order some for yourself here!
Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
Kefta Spice Rub
We got this spice first in a 'Try The World' delivery box Alex had ordered. 'Try The World' is a monthly subscription food box that gets delivered right to your door. Each month has a different country as a theme, and includes snacks, spices, teas, coffees, and any other delicious tidbits relating to the country of choice. In our Moroccan-themed box, we got this Kefta spice rub- and now we're obsessed! Kefta generally refers to the spice used in Moroccan meatballs, but we like it all over baked and grilled veggies and even on tempeh and in our shredded jackfruit! This stuff is AMAZING. A mix of spices like cinnamon, cumin, paprika, coriander, mint- this spice will add a TON of flavor to any ol' dish. It reminds us of the flavor in our Moroccan Chickpea Soup, and we can't wait to re-order a jar!
Peace Cereals are my new favorite breakfast addition. They offer delicious flavors like Vanilla Almond, Walnut Spice, Wild Berry, Raspberry Ginger, and Maple Pecan (pictured in bowl above) that are completely vegan, organic + non-GMO! They have a great crunch and I like them a bowls of cereal themselves or as a topping for my yogurt or acai bowls. Alex's favorite flavor was the Blueberry Walnut (he loves blueberries!) but my fave flavor is a toss up between the Vanilla Almond and the Maple Pecan. The vanilla is a little sweeter, but just so good! Plus, all Peace cereals are loaded with whole grains, fiber, and protein to get your day started right. I can get behind that! You can check them out on their website or find 'em at your local grocery store.
Sweet Earth Functional Breakfast Burritos
Okay, THESE are a game changer. I've tried all of the vegan frozen burritos on the market and while they're generally okay (I'm talking Amy's brand + even the original Sweet Earth burritos, plus a few other smaller So Cal brands), they don't usually have a ton of flavor or texture, or are so packed with faux meats and cheeses you can't really enjoy them. These burritos, which I first tried at ExpoWest back in March, caught my eye because they were designed to be different. Sweet Earth calls these 'functional burritos' because they're high in fiber, protein, nutrients and superfoods. They're unlike any other frozen burrito out there right now, and they taste GREAT! Like, way better than you'd expect. The 'Get Cultured' (pictured left), is a Korean-inspired blend of tofu, fermented red pepper, cabbage, edamame, and fresh ginger. The probiotics in the burrito contribute to gut health and better digestion, and make this the very first probiotic breakfast burrito, so that's neat! The 'Lighten Up' (pictured right), is Mexican-inspired and filled with spinach, black eyed peas, red bell pepper, seasoned tofu, and salsa verde, and clocks in under 200 calories. I really liked them both, but preferred the flavors of the 'Lighten Up' because I love anything with a little spice! They definitely kept me fuller, longer and I have been looking for them in grocery store freezers ever since. I haven't seen them everywhere but I have spotted them at my local Whole Foods! You can get more info at SweetEarthFoods.com.
Lucy's Triple Chocolate Brownie Crisp + Chocolate Chocolate Crunch Cookies
We've mentioned Lucy's before, but we just can't get enough! The new Brownie Crisps are SO GOOD and the Chocolate Chocolate Crunch cookies got me through that time of the month- which basically means they're a miracle in a box. They're the perfect amount of crunchy and sweet and they taste like the packaged cookies I always hoped were in my lunchbox as a kid- only wayyy healthier. If fact, 'Lucy', the creator, is an MD who created the cookies for her own child with food allergies. Not only can you pronounce all the ingredients on the label, but they're allergen free too, meaning no peanuts, tree nuts, milk or eggs! I also like that they are little smaller than the average cookie or brownie, so I feel like I can eat a couple extra without guilt. (That's how that works, right?) Lucy's are nearly everywhere now in terms of grocery stores, so you should be able to find them pretty easily. If not, you can order from DrLucys.com!
We also found these toothbrushes at Expo West back in March, and we're loving them! We have always tried to use a more eco-friendly toothbrush, and previously bought recycled toothbrushes made by Preserve. The only problem? They're still made of plastic, and you have to mail back the used brush to help keep the cycle going, which is kind of a pain. These bamboo brushes make far less of an impact on the environment and come in adult, kid, and even dog-friendly sizes! To quote right from the website:
The handles are all made from organically grown, sustainable, biodegradable, antimicrobial bamboo. The recyclable bristles are Dupont Tynex, arguably the best quality and most trusted bristle available. So when you’re done using your Woo Bamboo toothbrush, you could literally pull out and recycle the bristles, and throw the handle into your compost where it will gently biodegrade. As we say, they’re “Dentist approved, Mother Nature recommended!”
We like that. Plus, they feel good on the teeth and do a great job of getting them clean! Even the dog lets me clean her teeth with it- that's gotta be a good sign. And, if for some reason you want customized toothbrushes, they do that, too! Check 'em out at WooBamboo.com.
Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
Four Sigma Foods- Instant Chaga & Xoco Blue
Living in Maine last year, we actually spent a lot of the year foraging and learning about edible plants and mushrooms. Finding a good chaga mushroom is like finding GOLD. You chip away small hunks and steep them to make a slightly sweet, earthy tea that boosts the immune system. I had friends who would store their dried chaga for months and years and use it just as needed, especially in the winter months when immunities were already low and head colds run rampant. When we heard about Four Sigma's Instant Chaga tea powder we were totally intrigued. And after trying it? Well it makes mushroom hoarding seem like craziness. It has the same light, earthy flavor I remember, but in a way more convenient container. We also tried the Xoco Blue- a chocolate shot with reishi and herbs that melts away stress, and tastes like heaven. A little earthy, but rich and chocolatey...perfect as a sweet treat or a before-bed sipper. We have used Four Sigma's Instant Shiitake before in our chickpea scrambles and love the flavor it adds there, too. Basically- I'm obsessed with their products. Mushrooms are making a comeback, and we're so glad! You can check out all of the fungus-y goodness at FourSigmaFoods.com, and follow their fun Instagram HERE.
Green Pea Cookies
We've become a bit obsessed with these tiny green sweets. They melt-in-your-mouth and are sweet- but not TOO sweet. And they don't taste at all like peas! They're made from just 5 simple ingredients by 3 friends, consisting mostly of roasted green peas, powdered sugar, and flour- no preservatives. The recipe is based on a Singaporean cookie loved by one of the co-founders of the company, and it is SO good! There are just 100 calories in 6 cookies, and they come in a gluten-free option, as well. Oh and a chocolate-dipped and seasonal cranberry flavor, too! They're killing it over on their Kickstarter- which is great, because I NEED MORE GREEN PEA COOKIES! Its cookie crack, and I can't wait to get my hands on more. You can support their Kickstarter HERE or check out their website directly HERE!
We always love trying new body care products, and Bella Organics is another to add to our favorites list! The deodorant creme has just 7 ingredients and is made from recognizable, edible ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, and arrowroot powder. The Iced Lemonade scent was a little strong for my tastes, but it definitely held-up after a rigorous 5 mile run in Southern California heat! It has the texture of a body butter, but far less oily, so its smoothes onto skin and is easily absorbed, and doesn't leave a white sticky mess everywhere. The lip balm kept my lips soft and quenched, and wasn't greasy. Plus, it smelled great! Bella Organics offers all kinds of body-care products, from face cream and mud masks to body scrubs and baby diaper creams. Check out the whole line at LoveBellaOrganics.com!
Vegan Products We're LOVING Right Now!
Veggies Don't Bite: Overnight Oats Jars
Sophia from 'Veggies Don't Bite' is the best. A fiery, sweet, hot-sauce loving' pregnant lady (for now, at least), she's also a bit of a breakfast genius. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Sophia at a blogging event about a month ago and after hearing her talk about her new overnight oats jars, I knew I needed one. Sophia is kind of the Queen of Oats. She regularly posts yummy looking bowls of oats created by her and her cute kiddos on her Instagram and offers 10 different (and YUMMY!) flavor ideas for your overnight oats jars right in the included pamphlet. Flavors like Blueberry Muffin, Oatmeal Cookie, and Ice Cream Sundae will convert you to a overnight oat-er if you aren't already. And oatmeal- especially when packed with Sophia's recommendation of fruit, nuts, and hemp seeds- is super nutiritious and (now) super easy to take with you everywhere you go! Since the jar retails at just $9.99, its affordable and makes a great gift for anyone, especially someone trying to join the healthy breakfast club! See Sophia's magic at work: VeggiesDontBite.com.
I've been sucking on VerMints for quite a while now, but when they offered to let me taste-test ALL their flavors? Well I said heck yeah! These organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, nut-free AND kosher mints come in 6 flavors: Peppermint, Wintergreen, GingerMint, Café Express, Cinnamon, and (my favorite) Chai. Instead of keeping the mints whole with horse bones and hooves, they use gum tragacanth & agar- much more appetizing post-dinner!
What I love most about VerMints, aside from the lack of guilt over ingredients, are the creative flavors. The spiced mints will make you reconsider what a breath mint is all about. Between the refreshing wintergreen and the sweet chai, plus the caffeine-quenching coffee flavor- there's a VerMint for every occasion! Find 'em in regular tins or pocket-sized at VerMints.com.
Authentic Foods Gluten-Free Flours & Mixes
Edward & Sons
Edward and Sons online grocer has become my go-to spot lately for specialty products I can't always find and don't always want to have to look at 6 different stores for. They have everything from canned jackfruit to boxed mac 'n' cheese, sprinkles to shredded coconut. Basically everything a good vegan, gluten-free kitchen needs! I love that I can find a staple like coconut cream next to Not Chick'n bouillon cubes and cheese sauce mixes, and can get it all shipped directly to my door- no hopping store to store hoping they have what I need. And the gravy above? Well that has become a staple around here, too. We're always whippin' up roasted veggies and potatoes 12 ways, and these ready-in-3-minute gravies pack a lot of flavor and are perfect in a pinch! Check 'em out at EdwardandSons.com.
Vegan products we're LOVING right now!
GoPicnic Ready-To-Eat Boxes: These easy-to-carry boxes are packed with vegan, gluten-free snacks you can take anywhere! We loved the red pepper hummus with multigrain crackers best, and loved even more that you could fit the small boxes into a purse or bag to travel with you all day. Kid-friendly and appetizing to adults, these meals are great for airplane traveling, field-trip lunches, and plain ol' picnics! The boxes come in snack & meal sizes, and some are focused on certain meals, like the protein-packed almond butter & multigrain bagel chips for breakfast. They even offer a subscription, so you can get these sent straight to your mailbox. Rather get it today? Try Target, Whole Foods, Costco, or Walgreens!
Cream of Coco Sustainable Soap: Available only for a limited time, Wisdom of the Ancients has re-released their popular Cream of Coco Sustainable Soap- and we're glad they did! Free of synthetic foaming agents, preservatives, fragrances & dyes, the soap is also wrapped in 100% recycled packaging. The soap is made of just 4 ingredients, the base of which is an ultra-moisturizing Mbocaya nut oil. It's never tested on animals and each bar is hand-cut, meaning that you'll always get a slightly different shape and color- so you KNOW its real! Its super sudsy, and lathers up great in the shower or in the sink. Its gentle enough to use on skin AND hair, and is incredibly similar to the soap used for over 2,000 years by native Paraguayans. A soap you can feel GOOD about using!
Primizie Thick Cut Crispbreads: Crispy, crunchy, flavorful- what more could you ask for in a chip?! Made with natural ingredients, these crisp breads are also cholesterol & preservative free. 3 of the 4 flavors (chile, simply salt, and italian) are 100% vegan & non-GMO. They taste great as a snack on their own or dipped in guac, salsa, hummus or our favorite- in our homemade spinach artichoke dip! We devoured the simply salted on our own, but brought the other flavors to holidays parties, and they were a hit! They're not greasy since they're grilled, and each chip is hand-cut, so you know they're made with love :) We'll definitely be serving these up with our favorite dips at the next party!
Vegan products we're LOVING right now!
1. Blode Kuh Vegan Tree Nut Cheese- Blode Kuh (pronounced BLUE-deh KOO) means 'silly cow'. If you follow us on Instagram, you've probably seen some of our posts about this amazing, flavorful, soft cheese. We discovered the booth at our local Long Beach Farmers Market and we're SO PUMPED! In rows of fresh produce and food trucks catering exclusively to non-vegans, this find was a gold-mine. They make 8 flavors of their cheesy spread, all handmade weekly with organic cashews by creators Maxi & Doug. They have flavors like Truffle Fluff, Sriracha Cheddar, White Cheddar, Herbievore, and Garlic Green Peppercorn. And for the Sriracha Cheddar? They make their OWN raw, vegan sriracha! Now THAT is quality- and you can taste the difference. And what I like best about Maxi & Doug is that they agree that most vegan cheeses aren't palatable or even cheese-like. Instead of dealing with it like the rest of us, they dove-in and started making a better product- one they liked and could be proud of. For now, they're selling at Farmers Markets in the greater LA area, but I am PRAYING they go big- I cannot get enough of the stuff! And everyone that tries it agrees...its better than the rest!
2. ENERGYBits- Made from 100% organicallly grown, non-GMO spirulina & chlorella algaea and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%!!)- for just one calorie per tab. They act as a plant-based energy shot to help supercharge workouts, increase mental alertness, and give you healthy energy to help get through the day. Since they're small they go down easy- and are cool for kids, too! They are 100% ALGAE, which means nothing in them will do anything but good for you. And since they're high-protein, they help stave off hunger and unnecessary snacking & cravings. I've been poppin' one overtime I feel run down or snack after I've already eaten. I'm hooked!
3. Fruigees Organic Fruit Snacks- These little babies have been SAVING me lately! As a nanny, I am constantly running around. Between car rides to school and activities, plus the constant GO that a 4 & 2 year old have, its nice to have an easy-to-eat in the car snack that isn't full of crap. These delicious treats come in3 flavors: 'Kalefornia Grape', '24 Carrot Orange', and 'Nothing Beets Cherry'. My fave is the 24 Carrot Orange. And with 1/2 cup of fruit per serving, they're fruit-filled enough to make adults happy and sweet enough to keep the kiddos happy. Plus, they have 100% serving of Vitamin C. What more could you ask for?!
Vegan Products We're Loving Right Now!
1. Lucy's Cookies in Lemon Goodness & Berry Best (vegan + gluten-free)
Have you seen these before? We've tried them before in their chocolate chip & sugar cookie flavors and LOVED them. They were one of the few vegan/ GF/ non-GMO sweet treats we could find at the grocery store near us in Maine last year and they became a regular grocery cart staple. They're the perfect amount of crunchy and sweet and they taste like the packaged cookies I always hoped were in my lunchbox as a kid- only wayyy healthier. If fact, 'Lucy', the creator, is an MD who created the cookies for her own child with food allergies. Not only can you pronounce all the ingredients on the label, but they're allergen free too, meaning no peanuts, tree nuts, milk or eggs!
These flavors are new and seasonal, but way worth picking up. The lemon goodness was light and perfect next to glass of earl grey as a late morning or pre-bed treat. Mmm, my favorite. Alex preferred the berry best because he loved the fruity flavor. He thought they were reminiscent of raspberry shortbread. They were yummiest dipped in coconut milk and looked extra yummy flecked with pink from the berries. We would definitely get these flavors again, and are looking forward to trying their 'pumpkin patch' & 'chocolate mint' flavors as the seasons change! www.drlucys.com
2. Rhythm Kale Chips in Pineapple Coconut & Bombay Curry (vegan + gluten-free)
Sure, I can whip up a batch of my own kale chips and coat 'em in curry, but something tells me I'll just never make 'em taste quite as good as Rhythm Chips does. They cook their kale chips to perfection in vegan-friendly flavors like Pineapple Coconut & Bombay Curry. The pineapple coconut flavor smells like a Pîna Colada- which sounds weird when you think of these as CHIPS, but if you think of them as crunchy nuggets of deliciousness then you'll do just fine. They were great as a dessert stand in and would be welcome on any beach day outing. The Bombay Curry was my personal favorite. The combo of smoky, sweet curry and crunchy kale was AMAZING! I ate up the whole bag in under an hour, but what's more guilt-less than some baked kale?! And yes, this counts as a vegetable serving. At least, I count it as a vegetable serving. Pick some up the next time you're the grocery store or when your garden kale bites the dust for the season. www.rhythmsuperfoods.com
3. Rhythm Superfood Chips in Barbeque (vegan + gluten-free)
Okay, yes, another Rhythm product. Its just that we've been seeing these bags EVERYWHERE lately and we had to see what all the buzz was about! And we're glad we did. These chips, made up of good-for-you super foods like quinoa, amaranth, oat bran & pea protein. They're sort of like corn chips in flavor, and are coated with a hearty dusting of the BBQ flavor, which is mild and not too spicy or overwhelming...though they are a little salty, so have some water handy. I ate these all week in snacks, lunches, and as a late night snack. YUM! I like finding pre-packaged snacks for when I'm in a pinch but don't wanna feel like a guilty gal after I indulge. Rhythm chips for the win! www.rhythmsuperfoods.com
Louisville Vegan Jerky
When Alex stumbled across Louisville Vegan Jerky while perusing Reddit, he immediately texted me. "New veg jerky- Looks AMAZINGGG." I was intrigued immediately. Alex and I have varying opinions on what kind of vegan meats and actually worth eating, and as someone who also doesn't eat gluten, I sometimes have a hard time finding faux meats I can even taste test. After chatting with Stanley, the guy behind the jerky, we arranged to try each of their current three flavors: Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper, Bourbon Smoked Spicy Chipotle, and Sriracha Maple. Louisville Vegan Jerky is a winner across the board- vegan, gluten-free, sourced local ingredients, amazing meaty texture, and creative flavors all in one bag. Our favorite was the savory black pepper, but the sriracha maple tasted like breakfast sausage- SO GOOD! Right now, LVJ is hosting an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for new packaging and to spread the jerky goodness. If you're a fan (you will be- take our word for it), consider supporting them- they're a great company! Plus, if you donate, you get all kids of great jerky goodies. Check it out here.
We had a few questions for Stanley on the jerky situation- including how to get Louisville Vegan Jerky in your local grocery store. Read on for his answers!
What was the “aha!” moment that brought you to making vegan jerky?
I moved to Louisville when I was 13 from Oahu Hawaii where my father was stationed in the Navy. We had a lot of exposure to foods like Musubi and Char Siu while living there, but they were all centered around meat. I called my dad one night back in 2012 and asked him for a Char Siu marinade recipe. Char Siu is typically bbq pork, but I was going to try to make it with some soy protein. I marinated the soy and through it in the oven forgetting to set the timer. I was watching tv when I suddenly realized it had been in the oven too long and rushed into the kitchen to find slightly burned "vegan char siu". I put the tray to the side and started on a new batch. About 30 minutes later I went into the kitchen and out of curiosity tried the overcooked char siu. It wasn't the best (as it was a little burned), but I could taste the potential immediately. I cooked the next batch with a little more care and WOW it was delicious jerky! I took a few ziplock bags up to a local bar and let people try it. Within 30 minutes people were asking me where they could purchase it. We worked on several different jerky flavors over the next few weeks and started selling it in local coffee shops and grocery stores right away.
We loved the Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper. What’s your favorite flavor?
My favorite is the Sriracha maple. The sriracha mixed with the maple just does wonderful things to your taste buds.
Can we request to get your product at our local store?
Yes! That's the way we've been able to grow into 50 stores over the last two years. I make cold calls to grocery stores all over the country based on requests we get from people that want to see it in their town.
We really dig the artwork on your bags. What’s the story behind it?
I worked in graphic design before I got into this business and my brother is an illustrator. We've worked on several different packages working our way up to the current one. I really like vegan products that take themselves seriously. Like a lot of vegan cheeses that were out in the early 2000's for example, all based their packaged on "vegan! natural! green living!". Now there are companies like Kite Hill and Dr. Cow that very nicely blend into the dairy cheese brands with wax paper and wooden containers. I love that kind of stuff. When we were putting together our packaging, we based the characters off of historic Louisville people that made an impact on the city. I like the apothecary, minimalistic look that's pretty trendy right now and kind of based the overall feel around those two ideas.
Do you have a favorite vegan spot in Louisville?
Louisville's a great town for vegans. Most restaurants have something vegan on their menu's, or will make a custom plate on requests. I really like this popular sushi/mexican restaurant called Dragon Kings Daughter. They do a ton of vegan dishes (tofu tacos, vegetable gyoza, vegan sushi rolls, etc), and they even have veganaise! I also like the Asian restaurants that all have tons of vegan options in the Highlands : The Joy Luck, La Que and Heart & Soy. I wish we had more places that were all vegan and made crazy stuff like buffalo tempeh wings, and philly cheeze steaks etc., but there are a lot of great restaurants here.
We know you have an Indiegogo campaign going, tell us how that’s going and some of your big plans for the money.
The money we raise from the Indiegogo campaign will help fund our brand new packaging. We're changing over to printed bags and had unexpected "printing plate" charges and art department fees. This Indiegogo campaign is really very different from a lot of other crowdsourcing campaigns. We're essentially selling pre-sales of our new packaging and new Sesame Teriyaki flavor. We're not looking for money to start a business or fund an idea that still needs to be developed. We're ready to roll and the people that purchase jerky through our campaign will get jerky for the dollars they pledge and things like LVJC stickers and t-shirts.
What’s your long-term goal for Louisville Vegan Jerky?
I want LVJC to be the household name for vegan jerky. I know there are other veggie jerky's out there, but I truly feel like the effort we put into our texture and ingredients makes our jerky the best brand available. I want to provide a healthy, meat free snack for people avoiding animal protein. I've always been a huge fan of vegan products and still get very excited when I see new products on the market. It's a very cool time we live in for vegan food and I love being a part of it.
Be sure to support Louisville Vegan Jerky on Facebook & Twitter, and consider donating to their Indiegogo campaign to help them reach their goal- and score some free jerky! These guys are great and make the best vegan jerky I've ever had. Thanks again to Stanley for introducing us to this seriously addictive stuff...now what're you waiting for- get yourself some jerky!
When I was offered to review the Vegan Cuts Monthly Snackbox, I was THRILLED. Seriously! Until this month, I have been drooling over them monthly, jealous of all the boxes I see arriving all over instagram. We were moving and I was livin' on limited funds, but now I have officially decided to dedicate the entirety of the monthly toilet paper fund to a Vegan Cuts box instead. Just kidding- we don't have a toilet paper fund. But I'm still setting aside a little monthly moolah to get this delicious delivery sent to me! I love trying new food AND getting mail, so this really is ideal. And it was so fun trying products we might not normally pick out at the grocery store. Now we have a few new favorites!
They fit SO many scrumptious goodies into one adorable little package! I opened up the box to a list of the curated products, which this month got a help from Eco Vegan Gal. The full list included: A bag of lentil chips, a pomegranate oat smoothie by Oatworks, superfood oatmeal in espresso mocha blueberry, a pouch of vegan protein powder made with brocolli, an almond chocolate chip bar Nii bar, some NuttZo brand seven seed & nut butter, 2 packets of Numi savory tea, and a clear reusable glass straw.
And while I really did like EVERYTHING they sent, I picked a few favorites. First up? Those lentil chips! A little strange at first, I quickly decided I liked the slightly salty chips exactly because they were pretty plain- and GREAT with hummus! It's hard to find a chip that seems so worth snacking, but I felt good about eating these and loved that they were gluten-free. In fact, the whole box was!My next favorite, or should I say MOST favorite, was the vanilla protein powder. Made from broccoli seed, I was a little worried it might taste "green", but it was one of the best protein powders I have EVER had! Not too thick, not clumpy, just smooth, rich, and full of flavor. I loved it and will DEFINITELY be getting a larger container of it! In fact, this was the one product in the box I didn't share with Alex. I drank it up before he even noticed...oh well, his loss!
This sweet, chewy almond chocolate bar from Nii was the all around winner. I loved how simple the ingredients were and how filling it was, and Alex of course loved that it was packed with chocolate. Perfectly sweet with a little crunch- definitely a bar I'm not sure I would've picked out in the first place but would definitely buy again; That's the best part about the Vegan Cuts box! A bunch of stuff to try and fall in love with...or not. But for just $19.95 each month, you don't feel like this little splurge is really a splurge at all. And who doesn't LOVE getting mail?!
I recommend getting your vegan booty over there and ordering yourself one right now. Oh, you're a raw vegan? A gluten-free vegan? Yeah, they're got you covered. Beauty more your thing? They do that too. Seriously, they ROCK. They also have a super cute, fun-filled online store full of fave products and some extra stuff, too. What're you waiting for? Like them on facebook, follow them on twitter, and order yourself a Vegan Cuts Box!
(As a Vegan Cuts affiliate, I get a small percentage if you order a box. On that note, this review was published BEFORE I became an affiliate with them and is in no way biased. In fact, I became an ambassador because I love their service and the quality of their curated products and support their business- and I highly encourage you to give it a try, too.)
*YES, I was sent a box free of charge to review. NO, I didn't agree to be nice. I just really, really liked these products and I'm sharing it because I think YOU might, too.*