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there will be s’mores

18 Jul

When my sister and I went vegetarian about four or so years ago, there was really only one thing we found ourselves longing for. When we were kids, our favourite after school snack was the S’more. Not a very labour intensive method was used, we just placed a marshmallow on a graham cracker, threw some chocolate chips on top and nuked in the microwave for a few seconds then-the best part-smooshing the melty chocolate and puffy marshmallow with another graham cracker.

Enter Sweet & Sara. The genius company behind the vegan marshmallow. I recently placed an order on vegan essentials and yesterday a box arrived for my at doorstep. These are what were nestled inside:

there will be s'mores

I was reallllly excited to try these and they did not disappoint, these were better than any marshmallow I’ve ever had in my life. These are some gourmet marshmallows, fluffy with a delectable hints of vanilla (and not that cheap vanilla taste. The good kind). I was a bit sceptical that these would not hold up for a s’more though…would they puff like a marshmallow should? Or would they fail miserably as so many vegan cheeses do? My province currently has a ban on any open fire (it’s really dry here, my neighbour’s well ran dry the other day) so I had to pass on any attempt to recreate the authentic campfire treat and take the microwave route. No matter, the s’more I made was just as I remembered, with gooey melty chocolate and marshmallow nestled between crunchy homemade graham crackers.

Sweet & Sara offer there own take on the vegan s’more which I ordered along with my marshmallows to sample.

peanut butter s'more

I tried the Peanut Butter S’more and it was really good. It reminded more of a moon pie (or whatever they’re called) rather than a s’more though and I don’t know if I’d purchase one again. I prefer my homemade s’mores, they’re a lot cheaper to make too!  All in all, I love these products and am kind wishing I had have splurged on the Coconut variety they also offer but oh well, I think that my summer is kind complete anyway with my vegan vanilla marshmallows.

sweet & sara's smores

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Noel Nog!

12 Nov

It’s that time of year again!

The other day my sister called me from the grocery store saying “They have soy nog, you want any?”  Of course I said yes!  I love So Nice’s Noel Nog, I find it’s not too sweet unlike So Nice’s Vanilla Soymilk.  Plus, this year it’s in a cute and stylish bottle, last year the carton’s design was rather dated.  Whatever the bottle, I love the taste, pure nostalgic nog bliss.

It’s kind of scary though, the holidays will be here before you know it, I have started to prepare though-I imported my Sufjan Stevens Presents Songs for Christmas album to my ipod so it’s all ready to go when the need for it arises.

Sheese!

27 Sep

Yesterday after class, I stopped in to Pete’s Frootique, a local grocery store here in Halifax and after picking up some local produce (which included a pumpkin!) what should I just happen to see as I walked past the cheese cases? Sheese!  I was shocked.  Sheese here in Halifax?!  I didn’t even know it was avaliable anywhere in Canada yet.  So of course, I had to try it.  Maybe it was just curiousity or more likely the sweltering heat we experienced yesterday affecting my rationality, but I dished out $7.49 for a block of the Medium Cheddar style.

 When I got home, I just had to try it.  I was suspicious though…my first and last experience with commercial vegan cheese was just horrible, ugh I can still remember the revolting texture (slimy) and smell (garbage).  But after opening the container of Sheese I was pleasantly surprised, the smell was cheddar, not garbage-like at all!  And the texture was firm and a tiny bit crumbly.  So all that was left was the taste test, I sandwiched a slice between two crackers (this by the way was my all time favourite snack as a child) and took a bite.  And it was perfect!  It didn’t taste exactly like cheese but damn is it ever close!  It was delicious, and I wasn’t regretting the price tag anymore.

I’m really excited to try more uses for it but to be honest I’m not sure for what.  I don’t remember what I used to use cheddar for besides eating it with crackers!  I remember Bittersweet had great success in baking with it in Cheddar Scones so I might try making cheddar biscuits or croissants (I doubt I’ll have time to make croissants though but the ones at the Farmer’s Market always look so good!).

Puffins!

23 Aug

Have you ever had Puffins? I’ve been meaning to try them for quite awhile. I have eyeing them at my local Health Food Store but the price always scared me away. A few months ago, they finally arrived at the supermarket for a bargain price. I haven’t been eating cereal too much in the morning lately, I prefer my oatmeal as I have control over what ingredients will go into it (like sugar for example, I don’t like sugar in the morning) but yesterday I finally broke down and bought a box of Puffins of the Cinnamon variety. Despite the possible drawbacks of cereal of the boxed variety, I do love cereal so I decided to have a bowl for dessert last night.

 

These were pretty delicious, crispy, not too sweet and full of cinnamon-y goodness. And they made a perfect dessert (as I said, I love cereal, it’s a delicacy to me), and light!  Afterwards, my stomach didn’t feel as if it was running in slow motion (hmmm, that’s an odd way to explain over-eating, isn’t it?).

Benji even approved of them!  After playing with one for awhile, he deemed it acceptable to his discerning palate.  I tried in vain to get a picture of him with it but damnit this dog is hard to photograph!  Anyone have any tips on how to get a good picture of animals?  (None of the animals in my house are particularly photogenic, Benji used to be when he was a puppy, I have so many cute baby pics of him)

Back to Puffins, poking around on their site, I discovered that there is more than the two varieties the stores around me carry-like, ahem ahem, Peanut Butter!  I need to try this!  Even though, it could prove to be very, very dangerous to have in my cupboards.  And the company, Barbara’s Bakery seems to be a company with morals!  They support conservation projects and check out their Adopt-A-Puffin project.

So, I am definitely not regretting my breakdown in my “I’m not buying cereal anymore” belief, it tastes great and I’m helping a delightful little bird-even though techinically I’m not cheating because I’m eating it as a dessert. So there.

Fried Rice and Vegan Shopping in Halifax

4 Aug

Yesterday, my copy of Don’t Eat off the Sidewalk arrived in the mail. All of the recipes sound delicious and I needed something to make for lunch at work today. So I made the Fried Rice and it did not disappoint, it made a wonderful meal and it was so simple to prepare.

I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now and one of the areas where I struggled to veganize are products in the make-up department.  They just seemed to be impossible to locate in my city. Until, that is, yesterday.  ATTN:  Vegans of Halifax.  On a recent shopping excursion I was able to find two (that’s right, TWO) stores that were carrying Beauty Without Cruelty Cosmetics. Biscuit (if you haven’t been in lately, go! They’ve recently renovated and it’s huge now-they even have a tea section! And an even bigger selection of the awesome clothing) on Argyle St. was carrying BWC foundations ($12) and nail polish ($9). They were on clearance though with no plans to restock, however the staff said they were looking at possible plans to carry an Australian vegan, organic line in the future. (anyone know what brand that would be?) Pete’s Frootique on Dresden Row now have an area dedicated to healthier lines of cosmetics and they were carrying BWC mascara (much to my delight), liquid eyeliner (again, this made me very happy) and nail polish.

Anddd on the first day I wore my new mascara, a woman at work told me that she wished she had my eyelashes. Cruelty-free and compliment-inducing, sweet.

Review: Abba Hair Care Products

12 Jul

Last night I ventured over to a new shopping/business complex that opened up across the harbour, Dartmouth Crossing. I didn’t expect to be impressed but to be honest I was impressed. It’s designed to look like a village (with uber awesome street lamps and everything) and it has lots of stores coming-both big and small names. And a huge movie theatre. Yeah, it’s a total tourist trap but whatever, it’s cute.

One of the stores I went into was a salon that sold a ton of beauty products. I went in there to see if they had anything vegan. I quickly scanned the shelves looking for brands that I’ve heard of. Sigh. Nothing. I made a comment to my mom regarding how hard it is find vegan products. “What about the shampoo over there that says 100% vegan on it?” she replied. I had walked right by a sign that said vegan! Crazy. And there were multiple shelves of Abba Hair Care Products. I’ve never heard of the brand before and of course I had to try it.

On their website, Abba claims that their products are always:

  • 100% Vegan
  • Sulfate Free, DEA Free
  • Free of Synthetic Dyes
  • Eco-Sensitive Salon Formulas
  • Cruelty Free

After a lengthy process of choosing which shampoo and condition I should purchase, I finally decided on the Creme-Moist Shampoo and the Thickening Conditioner.

crm_mst_lg.jpg
Creme-Moist Shampoo
After arriving home, I looked at the bottle of shampoo again and noticed that it was for colour treated hair!  Oops.  I’m sure it won’t matter that my hair’s not dyed though.  The main reason I was attracted to this particular shampoo was it’s wonderful scent!  It’s Cherry Bark, Berry & Sweet Almond Essences smell heavenly.  I could gush on and on about how wonderful it smells, it’s just that good.  So, enough about that smell, how does it actually work?  I lathered my hair up with a dab of it and it was nice, I didn’t need to use a lot of it either.  It rinsed perfectly as well.  Now time to condition.

thick_cond_lg.jpg
Thickening Conditioner
My hair is always in desperate need of volume and the recent humidity we’ve been experiencing does not help!  So, I was very curious to see if this conditioner could do anything for my hair.  At first, I was bracing myself for a disappointment because well, compared to the shampoo, it didn’t smell very nice.  It smelled fine but it wasn’t amazing.  So again, I lathered my hair all up but this time waited 1 minute like the bottle told me to.  On rinsing, omg, even though it was still soaked my hair felt so silky and soft! 

Final Verdict
After styling my hair, I could definitely see an improvement, you know how your hair feels after you hair dresser washes it?  Oh yeah, my hair felt like that.  My hair did see an increase in volume and a definite improvement in texture.  I would definitely purchase Abba products again ( I really want to try the straightening balm), even if just for the smell of the shampoo, ha ha.