Category Archives: reviews

New Larabar flavor?

I don’t know if this is truly a new flavor or just new to me, but I am loving the “new” Larabar I tried this week 🙂

New flavor

Blueberry Muffin is delicious! I think it might just be a new favorite. The only place I have seen them is Whole Foods.

Happy Tuesday! 🙂

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Worthy replacement

When I first went vegan, I wasn’t too interested in “replacement” products. You know, like soy cheese (and soy free too), cream “cheese” and so on. Tempeh Bacon. You catch my drift. Non-dairy ice cream was about as far as I would go.

But little by little, I have tried products such as those and mostly I’ve been impressed. I love Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream, which taste exactly the same as the real deal to me.

Some products have been better than others, that is for sure, but it has been fun to try all the various alternatives out there. Even more evidence that it is possible to eat a vegan diet without sacrificing all of your favorite foods (or condiments).

The latest product I have experimented with is Nayonaise, a mayo-like product from Nasoya, those tofu people:

028 I adored mayo when I was a kid. I ate a lot of bologna sandwiches with it smothered on the bread over the course of my childhood. That’s not exactly something I am proud of, but it is what it is.

Since I started my journey to health in 2007, mayonnaise has been a rarity, as it contains a lot of calories and fat, especially when served at a restaurant. At home, the fat free versions just didn’t taste as good. Then, when I went vegan and said no to eggs, mayo was out for good.

Until tonight when I decided to give the Nayonaise a shot on a Morningstar Farms Grilled Chik’n patty for dinner.

029 When I opened the container, I thought: “Wow. It smells like mayonnaise. The consistency is a little weird. Oh well, let’s see!”

I have to say, it has been a LONG time since I’ve had mayonnaise. However, the Nayonaise tasted pretty darn close to me. I can’t wait to try it on veggie burgers and in recipes (like potato salad) that would normally call for mayo.

Like I said, the consistency is different but the taste (and smell) are spot on. Do you use faux mayo? How?

Have you tried any other replacement products? Which ones were hits? Misses?

I did not care much for this vegan alfredo pasta I had one time. But that’s the only thing I can remember not loving. I’m sure there are others, but the good definitely outweighs the bad!

New Larabar Flavors

When the Larabar people saw my guest spot over at Woman’s Day, they offered to send me samples of the new flavors: 

Larabars!

Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Chip Brownie!

I was so excited to try these as I love Larabars and every time they come out with a new flavor, I end up loving it (much like the recent Tropical Fruit Tart).

The Carrot Cake flavor (not pictured) was pretty good but the other two really blew me away!

Best Larabar ever! The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough was amazing! I love the chocolate chips being mixed right into the bar as most of you know, I’m quite fond of chocolate chips, ha ha.

I was ready to declare this one my new favorite until…

Another new Lara! HOLY MOLEY!

While it’s more dessert-like and less snack-like, the Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabar is very, very good. It is definitely my favorite of the three new flavors.

Thanks Larabar for sending the samples! I look forward to purchasing some on my own very soon 🙂

Disclaimer: These samples were sent to me for free but I was under no obligation to review them, or review them positively, nor was I compensated for my review.

Latest new product finds

I’ve tried quite a few new products this past week, thanks to a Whole Foods gift card, so I figured it’s high time I share them with you all!

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I had been eye the So Delicious coconut milk yogurt for months but it was always too expensive for me. Since I had a gift card and it was on sale (for $1.50, gasp!) I went ahead and picked up a couple.

While I did appreciate that it wasn’t as sweet as normal non-dairy yogurts, I have to say it just didn’t do it for me. But I have another flavor to try later, so we’ll see!

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I had been hearing such good things about Gardein from some other vegan bloggers, so I was thrilled to find one of their products on sale as well.

I try not to use “faux meat” products too often but this one had an ingredients list I was very comfortable with: all things I was familiar with and could pronounce!

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This tasted great! And believe it or not, even though it’s what some people might be looking for, this did not taste like chicken to me and I was happy with that. I was also happy with the 21 grams of protein and no sugar!

I can’t wait to try some other Gardein products in the future 🙂

Finally, I tried some kombucha, which I have heard you either love or you hate.

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I will admit that it sounds disgusting and the vinegary smell is a bit unsettling at first, but I thought this particular “flavor” (grape) tasted great!

I was not as impressed with the Mystic Mango flavor, which surprised me since I love mango of everything else! But I guess it’s hit or miss when you are dealing with fermented, raw tea, no?

What new products have you tried recently?

I’m back again!

Thank you so much for all the supportive comments on my last post. I’m really grateful to have such kind readers.

Hope you are ready for a full day’s worth!

For breakfast this morning, I had THE BEST green(ish) smoothie ever 🙂

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I think what made this one special was a new protein powder I picked up at Amazing Grace, a local health food store (this packet cost me less than $1).

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This smoothie contained 1 cup Silk vanilla soy milk, the NutriBiotic chocolate rice protein powder (which I will be buying again), 1 frozen banana, a few handfuls of spinach and a tablespoon of natural almond butter.

It sort of ended up with a split pea soup tint, huh?

043 It was so delicious and so filling! I did not eat my mid-morning snack until after noon 🙂

But I think this might also have had something to do with it:

044I was so excited when FINALLY this showed up on Whole Foods shelves here in Louisville. It’s as good as it looks!

045When I finally did break into my snack, I enjoyed some delicious almonds. Ever since I read on Gina’s blog that almonds were a good source of calcium, I have been trying to include them more in my diet.

018 Lunch was so good (or I was so hungry) that it managed to escape my camera entirely!

I tried the Black Bean Mango chili from Health Valley. It was good but not the best I’ve ever had.

Later in the afternoon, I enjoyed some Peeled Snacks!

047I was contacted by this company last week and they sent me some free samples to review for the blog.

Today, I tried the Pine-4-Pineapple since dried pineapple is one of my favorite dried fruits.

048This dried fruit is unlike any other I have had. I’m used to dried fruit that is really sweet, almost candy-like and I always eat too much of it.

The Peeled Snacks actually looks like the “real” fruit, they are organic and taste much less processed with no added anything.

The bags are also portion controlled which is great for someone like me who needs help in that area 🙂

You can find these snacks at most Starbucks locations, but I didn’t look to see how much they are. But if you are a fan of dried fruit I suggest you check them out.

After enjoying this snack, I went on an amazing 4 mile run!

For dinner, I had my usual Monday pasta only this time I had Barilla whole grain penne with 365 brand organic pasta sauce, cauliflower and Gimme Lean “sausage” for some protein.

049 I also had a slice of whole wheat toast with Smart Balance Light and a Zevia soda (reviews coming soon).

050 For dessert, I had a small cup of oatmeal (1/4 cup) with almond butter and a couple pieces of Green & Black’s bittersweet dark chocolate. Holy heck it was good!

051Once it melted, I stirred it up and dove in with my spoon 🙂

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Great day of eats, all tracked and accounted for. The 9:00 rule holding steady. Awesome run. Everything is good!

Man it feels good to be blogging again. I think I might finally be getting out of this funk!

I’m going out of town later in the week and I’m setting up some really great guest posts for you guys.

Hopefully I’ll be able to check in a little bit while I’m gone too.

Thanks for always being so kind to me. “See” you tomorrow 🙂

Snow Day 2010

When I woke up at 5:30 this morning, I found out that I didn’t have to work today!

It started snowing last night into today and I think we’ve gotten somewhere around 6 inches of snow.

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Suzie and I have had fun today!

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Instead of going back to sleep, I enjoyed some leftover pancakes and coffee!

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Since I had the day off from my full-time gig, I got to work on my home duties that had gotten neglected over the busy weekend!

I literally cleaned my entire apartment, did laundry and dishes. Now I’m really hoping I get to go back to work tomorrow or else I won’t have anything to do 😉

I snacked on some nuts mid-morning and then took a break for lunch in the midst of my housework.

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Veggie burger with hummus in a pita pocket, plus some cauliflower. And a tangerine!

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Of course, I had some more tea this afternoon 🙂

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Loved this one!

All my cleaning worked up an appetite. I had this later in the afternoon.

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For dinner, I started off with a spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

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Then I made some rice & beans (pinto) sprinkled with hot sauce.

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And even more tea, if you can believe it. I’m obsessed!

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Jasmine is definitely a favorite. I think I like the other Jasmine tea I had before better than this one, but this is still really good!

I also tried a new product for a snack tonight.

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First, the Silk Almond milk is delicious. I’m glad I got the original because it’s just 60 calories per cup and its creamy and sweet (I used it in my green monster yesterday).

My mom has been raving about these Chocolate Cheerios forever, so when I finally saw them, I had to try them out.

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These taste just like Cocoa Puffs. I mean that in a good way. I’m going to have to be careful with these 😉

What’s the best new product you’ve tried lately?

Thank you, Dr. McDougall

Yesterday when I got home from work, I found a lovely package waiting at my door.

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The people from Dr. McDougall’s sent me this lovely package of their soups, which are all vegan! Several of them are gluten free as well and they all come in eco-friendly packaging that is BPA free.

They also sent me this really huge bowl and a placemat/napkin set!

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For lunch today, I decided to try the Chunky Tomato because that’s what I was in the mood for 😉

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I thought I’d eat the entire container but there is more in there than I thought, so I put the rest in the fridge!

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I had a slice of Great Harvest unsweetened whole wheat bread on the side. I think it just might be my favorite bread ever.

The soup was pretty tasty. There were lots of chunks of tomato in it and I loved the flavor. It did not taste like canned soup at all, which makes sense because…it’s not.

I can’t wait to try the other flavors.

After lunch, I took Suzie on a walk for about an hour and now we’re both back home chilling on the couch watching, what else?

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I think I’m obsessed. The movie is different from the play but I like them both and it’s the only thing I have on DVD 🙂 Plus I think the movie has a few features that make it unique and fun, like the dream/dance sequence in “Tango Maureen.”

It is a beautiful day here, I’ve got all the windows open and the breeze is blowing in. Who knew it’d be in the 70’s in November? I’m telling you, the weather here in Kentucky is so unpredictable. We can have all the seasons in one week.

When Josh gets home from playing disc golf we’re going to have dinner at Waffle House. We’re such an old married couple sometimes.

Day 28: I hate fasting!

Let me explain…I have a health assessment first thing in the morning (well, at 8:30) so I haven’t been able to eat or drink anything other than water since 8:30 tonight!

Actually, it hasn’t been too bad and it has actually given me some perspective. I should stop eating earlier in the night. I should have a cut off time, unless I am really stomach-growling hungry.

Anyway, today started off with oatmeal.

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This bowl contained 1/3 cup oats, 1 chopped apple, sprinkle of cinnamon and a tablespoon each of pumpkin butter and peanut butter. So yummy!

Speaking of oatmeal, I was recently accepted as the Louisville Healthy Living Examiner and published my first article last night!

Please check it out: Eat oatmeal every day

I had some pumpkin spice coffee when I got to work and some nuts later on in the morning when I got hungry again.

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For lunch today, I heated up my leftover chickpea curry from last night and threw them on a top of a huge salad with a little bit of Italian dressing.

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It was so delicious! Best lunch I have had in a while, I really need to get back to big salads, at least until the weather gets really cold 😉

My afternoon snack had me trying a new type of yogurt, which is always fun. This time it was So Delicious, but with a twist.

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I have never tried Agave anything, that I am aware of, so I was really excited. I tried it by itself first and then threw on some Ezekiel cereal for some crunch.

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Verdict? I loved it!

It was sweet but not overly sweet like some of the other soy yogurts out there. I would definitely buy this one again and I’m going to have to check out the other flavors.

It still had 19 grams of sugar (gasp!) so I would not eat it every day but it would be nice to have once in a while.

After work, I hit the gym solo and did 3.25 miles on the treadmill in 40 minutes, including a cool down and a minute between miles. I think my running is really improving! I always do better outside but I just didn’t feel up to it with the dreary weather and lack of a partner.

When I got home from work, I was starving, so I had a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and pumpkin butter (I think I might be obsessed)!

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Then, I took a nice hot shower (nothing like it after a tough sweaty run) and got my stuff together to go to Courtney’s for Girl’s Night Potluck.

For dinner, Margie made this delicious VEGAN lasagna (you must get me the recipe girl) and we had salad and bread on the side. Yum!

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I went back for seconds on the lasagna and bread. Margie used vegan cheeses and the dish contained spinach, tofu and lots of other yummy ingredients.

For dessert, I brought these cookies, which I read all the ingredients for and I’m pretty sure they are vegan (not all from this brand are).

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I promptly ate two of them since it was nearing close to 8:30!

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Eh, they were pretty good but nothing I would get again. Unless I was taking them somewhere…at least I could share some cookies with people that had decent ingredients.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. Wish me luck tomorrow, I get to find out what changes I’ve had since July as far as measurements and stuff. I’m not expecting anything but it will be nice to have some new numbers.

I also can’t wait to see if my HDL cholesterol has gone up any. No matter how healthy I have gotten, I’m still struggling to get my good cholesterol up in the acceptable range. It pretty much hovers around 35, the highest it’s ever been was 50 and they tell me 60 is where I need to be, at least!

Good night friends.

Day 24: Nigella and Banana pancakes

I love Nigella Lawson!

I could just listen to her talk (I’m a sucker for accents) and make chocolate all day.

She’s so gorgeous and even though I eat vegan now, I still like watching her cook. I only catch her show if I’m up early on a Saturday, like today!

I did my own cooking this morning, thanks to another great recipe from Vegan Planet…Spiced Banana Pancakes!

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I accidentally blended all the bananas instead of half, so I didn’t have any huge banana pieces in them, oh well.

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Instead of making the entire batch this morning, I decided to make what I wanted and then put the rest of the batter in the fridge for tomorrow (plus another day too I’m sure)!

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I also tried a new product for my coffee today. I got this sample from Mimic Creme a while back but had yet to try it.

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I had originally wanted to try it because I thought it was a coffee creamer but when I saw everything on the box it came in, I was thinking I must’ve been wrong.

But then I saw a couple other bloggers use it as a coffee creamer, so I said what the heck 🙂

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A lot like soy milk, it sort of “separates” so I had to stir it again about half way through drinking it. It doesn’t have much flavor but it does make my coffee “creamier” so I will have to experiment with some flavors now.

Breakfast was delicious!

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These were so moist and dense (I used half whole wheat flour) and I gasp when I say “I liked these better than the pumpkin pie pancakes!” They are that good.

Suzie is watching TV while I blog. She’s still a little sleepy.

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I can’t wait to get this day started. First, I’m off to the grocery store(s) but I’m not sure which ones yet. I kind of want to go to Whole Foods just to do some price comparing. So I think I will start there.

Then after lunch, Court and I are going Halloween “shopping” as I’m not really dressing up this year but it is fun to look at all the crazy stuff at the stores and try on wigs and hats.

She’s been going through a rough time lately, so our goal for the day is just to relax and be silly! Expect lots of pics later.

Then tonight is the UFC pay per view. So it’s going to be a loooong night at Buffalo Wild Wings. As many of you know, they have NO vegan options (boo) so I will have to eat before I leave home (and sneak a snack in my purse perhaps).

We are currently researching other places to go watch it in the future.

Hope you have an excellent Saturday!

Day 23.3: Second chances?

Well, even though at the end of my last post, I was filled with much optimism, I was a bit disappointed in our dinner at Spinelli’s tonight.

We went to the new location in the East End, which is much closer to where we live and perhaps that’s where we went wrong. We have both been to the other location in the Highlands numerous times.

First of all, the place is tiny with literally only four chairs to sit in. Apparently, even though they are open, they aren’t completely done with the building yet and anticipate having more places to sit in the future.

They did have some neat decor in the form of graffiti!

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I got the veggie stromboli with no cheese and the guy wrote “vegan” on the ticket, so that made me a little happy. 😉

This dish itself, was just okay though. Basically, just veggies and bread. Not much flavor other than the pizza sauce I doused it with.

It was also $9.00 which I thought was a little steep until I saw the size of this thing! Apparently though, it’s still $2 more than at the other location!

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The edges of the crust were nice and chewy so that was enjoyable. The veggies on the inside were rather plain but they tasted pretty fresh.

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I only ate two of the pieces and I’m saving the third for a meal tomorrow though I’m sure I’ll have to have something else with it!

Josh warmed up his stomach with a huge slice of pepperoni pizza.

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Then he enjoyed one of his favorite cheese steaks in the city. By the way, I find it hilarious that Josh loves Philly cheese steaks considering he is a big New York fan 😉

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You can hardly see the cheese on there but it is under the meat. I think Josh really enjoyed his meal, so I feel kind of bad that I was less than impressed.

Did I mention how we had to pay $1.50 to share a bottled water? What restaurant doesn’t have free water? I was kind of disappointed.

However, I’m willing to give a place a second chance (unless they were horrible) and since this location hasn’t fully opened yet perhaps things will improve. But I won’t go back to this one specifically because of their higher prices.

What about you? Do you give places a second chance if the first impression was not that great?

I don’t think I would order the stromboli again but I think my only other options are french fries and house salad. So I may just have to leave Josh and Spinelli’s to a night out with his friends. Sorry babe, I tried!

When I got home, I still felt a little hungry so I had some dessert.

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At least I knew what I was getting into with that. So Delicious peanut butter zig zag, you never disappoint me 😉

Time to make a grocery list for tomorrow! I’m going out first thing in the morning after a good breakfast. I wonder if I have the ingredients for more pancakes…

Good night!