Friday, July 19, 2013

Desperation Garbanzos

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was on the hunt for something to feed the fam for lunch.  Things were low in the pantry, but I didn't want to make a run to the store.  I was feeling desperate.  What to do, what to make?  Eight eyes were expectantly staring at me, almost audibly demanding, "Food!  We want food!  And not toast and cereal either!  Make something, Woman of the House, and make it good."  Gulp, oh, yes, the desperation was increasing.  Let's see, I had cans of garbanzos but no tahini - not gonna have hummus.  I had a strange bunch of just celery leaves I picked up at the Farmer's Market.  How to combine...  No potatoes, but rice is located, yes!  It's coming together...  I began sauteing, chopping, stirring, seasoning, and before I knew it, I had a dish, and not just any dish, but a dish that those demanding eyes would approve of.  I had...Desperation Garbanzos!  Read below to see how you too can make this awesomely satisfying dish that I will definitely be making again.

Desperation Garbanzos


1 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 - 15oz. cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 and 1/2 cup celery greens, chopped (or celery if you don't have enough greens)
10 mint leaves, chopped
1 - 11 oz. of your favorite peanut sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Jasmine rice


In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute for five minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another five minute over medium heat.  Lower heat to medium low and simmer for another fifteen minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Serve over rice.  Very flavorful!  Feeds five hungry vegans.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: Nasoya - Vegan Nayonaise and Vegan NayoWhipped

Here is another of my horribly belated reviews.  I am grateful to companies who entrust me with their products enough to send me free samples, or in this case, full-size jars, in order to feed my family and do honest reviews.  I have just been so caught up in the doings of things in our life, that unfortunately, they got put on the back burner too long.  Anyhow, here this one finally is.

Nasoya was kind enough to send me two jars of their new and reformulated versions of Nayonaise: the "now creamier" original nayonaise, and their new nayowhipped spread.  Our family was regular purchasers of the old nayonaise several years ago before we discovered a competitor's brand.  GR, however, always preferred nayonaise.  What made me make the switch to the other brand was that I liked their thickness, texture and flavor; I always thought nayonaise was a bit on the thin side, but it was a good product to have on hand when we wanted a vegan mayonnaise.  So, when I was contacted about an opportunity to review a new formula, I was very excited to give them another chance.

The jars arrived well-protected in a small box along with two lid grabbers to make jar opening easier.  I love these grabbers and use them all the time!  It took a couple of weeks to fully review these products because I wanted to try them in different capacities.  So, for the nayonaise, I made a batch of my Kids Love It! Potato Salad for the Fourth of July, and for the nayowhipped, I made my Macaroni Salad .  We also had sandwiches with them, as well as just tasting them right out of the jar.  Keep reading for more information.

Here they are nestled in their box with the lid grabbers behind them.

Here is the reformulated nayonaise with the potato salad.  You can see that the potatoes are not really coated with the nayonaise, giving away that it still is a thinner product than its competitor.  However, the taste was great, for some of us, on the salad.  I made this for my family and parents, and everyone has eaten my potato salad with the competitor's spread and so could make an honest comparison.  However, I told them instead of straight comparing, I wanted them to tell me what they thought of it completely on its own merit.  Everyone but SR and GR said they really liked the flavor.  SR and GR were adamant that the potato salad was not as good with nayonaise.  I liked it as well and also liked it on sandwiches.  Straight out of the jar, it had a subtle flavor, but I do still wish it was thicker.  But, overall, we liked this.  I'm not going to say we'll switch back to using this full-time, but it is a nice substitute.

What really surprised me was the reaction to the nayowhipped.  I thought that the Blessings would definitely not like the tangier flavor of this formula on the macaroni salad, but all three of them loved it.  SR and GR actually preferred this flavor over the nayonaise.  So, everyone (I didn't feed this to my parents) liked this in the salad.  I prefer the nayonaise in sandwiches, however, just because I'm not a fan of tangy spreads.  Straight out of the jar, the nayowhipped had an almost sweet aftertaste that I could do without.  It also has the same spreading consistency as the original flavor, so the texture for me was not a whipped one.

On an interesting note, I compared the ingredients of the two jars to each other to try and figure out what made the whipped have a different flavor.  What I found was that they had the exact same ingredients listed, just in a different order.  The only things that were a bit ambiguous were "spices" and "natural flavors."  So, I can't tell you why one is tangier than the other.

Again, to be completely honest, which is what I like to do, I won't go out of my way to buy these products on a regular basis.  But, GR was so happy to have them again, that I'll probably buy her a jar to have for her sandwiches.  And, when I make the macaroni salad, I'll use the nayowhipped.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Patriotic Salad and Fourth of July, 2013

I know, I know, I know, I said I was going to get all my reviews and award out first...but, this is a timely recipe, and I just had to squeeze this one in.  On the Fourth of July, my mom and I decided to just serve up four salads.  She made three bean salad and coleslaw, and I made my Kids Love It! Potato Salad, which will be featured in my next review (hint, hint) and a fruit salad.  The fruit salad was going to have tons of different kinds of fruits in it, but I started putting berries in the bowl first, and then I added a few bananas, and then something struck my eye.  No, it wasn't a wayward blueberry; it was the look of the salad: it was red, white, and blue.  Hello?!  This was the Fourth of July, by golly, so I just to had leave it as is.  And, yes, I can tell you, that I made a big deal of it at my parents'.  "Hey, did anybody notice the colors?"  "Isn't it great that this salad is red, white, and blue?"  I ignored JK's comments that the blackberries were black; they look dark blue to me, humph.  "I know what!  I'm going to call this my Patriotic Salad, yes!"  Yes, indeed, I was very proud of myself, and you should be too.  Er, I mean, it's pretty, isn't it?

Patriotic Salad


1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries
2 and 1/2 cups strawberries, halved or quartered
3 bananas, sliced


Make sure all the berries are rinsed and drained well.  Put all the fruit in a large bowl and gently toss.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Try to finish in one evening; it does not save well.  Feeds five hungry vegans and a Grannyma and a Poppy.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Okay, everyone, be prepared:  I have three reviews to do and a blog award.  But...not all in this post.  I'm way behind in getting all these posts up, however; so, they will all be up within a week.  Hope you enjoy the sneak peeks at these products!  First up is the snack box by Vegan Cuts.

This is a monthly subscription box filled with samples of vegan products, mostly food, for you to try.  It was so fun receiving our box for review.  It was filled with products that I like, and one especially (Teese cheese) that I have been really wanting to try.  The only non-food product in this box was a lip balm.  I took pictures of all the products out of their packaging, but then that just got to be too many pictures.  So, you'll have to do with what I've pictured here.  :-)  Keep reading for a detailed review of these products, and how I feel about the subscription box in general.

 Here are the products kind of jumbled together in our box.  It was stuffed full of goodies.  Besides the products, there were coupons and a list of the products that were sent.

 Here's another shot of everything we got outside of the box.  From left to right we have Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips, Skinny Pop Popcorn, Teeccino Herbal Coffee French Roast Organic Dark Roast, 22 Days Plant Protein Power Chocolate, Oloves Lemony Lover, 22 Days PB + Chocolate Chip Nirvana Vegan  Protein Bar, Milas Roasted Peppers & Artichoke Bruschetta, Meow Meow Tweet Lip Balm Rosemary Eucalyptus, Teese Vegan Cheese Alternative, and Life is Life Parmesan Style Aged Nut Cheese.  Please note, I did not misspell any names; if one or two seem "off," that is how they are really spelled.  

So, in order of how we tested them:  

22 Days PB + Chocolate Chip Nirvana Vegan Protein Bar:
Ingredients: Organic Rice Protein, Organic Peanut Butter, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Dates, Organic Inulin, Organic Dark Chocolate Chips, Organic Sesame Seeds, Organic Sprouted Flax. 
Of course you knew we'd I'd have to pick the chocolate bar to down first.  Did I really have to share?  Of course!  As a matter of fact, my whole family tried each and every one of these samples and gave me their honest feedback.  Here's what they had to say about this bar:
JK:  Good!  It looks like seitan.
GR: It's edible.
SR:  You can definitely taste the peanut butter; I like the chocolate chips.
Me: Besides a slight chalky taste, which is not unpleasant, I liked it.
G: It's one of the best protein bars I've ever tasted.
Overall, we gave the bar a thumbs up!

Oloves Lemony Lover:
Ingredients: Pitted green olives 91%, sunflower oil, lemon pieces 3%, garlic, oregano, salt, vinegar, acidifiers: lactic acid and citric acid.
JK:  They're great!
GR: Mmm, they're pretty good!  
SR:  They're really good; they're one of the best olives I've had.
Me:  They are really good, very  lemony.
G:  I would eat them, if I had other olives to mix them in with.  It's not bad, a good olive blend.
Overall, we gave the olives a thumbs up!

Teese Vegan Cheese Alternative:
Ingredients: Filtered water, tapioca maltodextrin, tapioca starch, coconut oil and/or sunflower oil, pea protein, yeast extract, salt, carrageenan, vegan natural flavors, lactic acid (vegan), natural white color added, annatto.
So, this is non-gmo and gluten-free, as well.  It says on the package that it's great for mac and cheese, so that how we tested it.  I made a big bowl of mac and cheese and we dug in.
JK: Good.
GR:  Liked the cheese, but missed the rest of it that was spilled.  (See my comment for explanation.)
SR:  Doesn't like cheese, so didn't taste it.
Me:  I liked the flavor.  What surprised me though, was the unexpected explosion and subsequent propulsion of a few tablespoons of cheese when I punctured the tube.  That was a good photo!
G:  I wouldn't not eat it, but it's a little too sweet.
Overall, we gave the Teese a thumbs up.

Life is Life Parmesan Style Aged Nut Cheese:
Ingredients: Cashews, Nutritional Yeast, Soybeans, Salt, Tamari, Lactic Acid.
JK: Good.
GR:  Didn't care for it.
SR: (Dared to taste this even though she doesn't like cheese, but she likes nutritional yeast flakes.)  I'd take this in small quantities.
Me:  This was a very small sample, about one teaspoon.  So, I made pasta and sauce and sprinkled just the tiniest bit on to everyone's serving.  What I tasted, I thought was subtle but good.
G:  Strong but tasty.
Overall, we gave the parmesan cheese a thumbs up!

Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips:
Ingredients: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil and/or Canola Oil, Sweet Potato, Corn Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt.
JK: They're fine.
GR: Doesn't like sweet potatoes, so she doesn't like these.
SR: They tasted like a combination of tortilla chips and potato chips.  She liked them.
Me:  Yes!
G:  They're good.
Overall, we gave the sweet potato chips a thumbs up!

Skinny Pop Popcorn:
Ingredients: All Natural Popcorn, Sunflower Oil and Salt.  "That's all.  Nothing More.  Nothing Less."
JK:  Didn't like this.
GR:  It's okay.
SR:  Liked this.
Me:  I liked this.
G:  Okay for diet popcorn.
Overall, we gave the popcorn a thumbs up!

Meow Meow Tweet Lip Balm Rosemary Eucalyptus:
Ingredients: Cocoa butter, virgin coconut oil, hempseed oil, candelilla wax, essential oils of rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint.
JK:  At first thought he liked it, but didn't like the smell.
GR:  Didn't like this.
SR:  Was worried about being poisoned by the eucalyptus, but also didn't like it.
Me:  Was overpowered by the menthol-like smell and bitter taste.  I did like the tingling on my lip and the smooth texture.  But, I didn't like it enough to say yes, I like it.
G:  Loved it!  He earned it for his pocket.
Overall, we gave the lip balm a thumbs down!

Teecino Herbal Coffee French Roast Organic Dark Roast:
Ingredients: Organic carob, organic barley, organic chicory, organic ramon seeds, natural coffee flavor.
This was one tea bag-like serving that G steeped in a mug, which we all shared.
JK: Didn't like it. - no surprise there!
GR: Pretty good!
SR: Liked the tea bag for convenience.  Better than the coffee at church but not better than Dad's coffee.
Me:  I'm not a coffee drinker, but I gave this a whirl.  Ready?  It tastes like coffee!
G:  Everyone who knows him knows that G is the ultimate coffee snob.  He also liked the bag and thought it would be good for the office for those people who didn't like the office coffee.  He didn't personally care for it but thought the flavor got better the longer it steeped.  Prefers caffeinated coffee and doesn't see the point in drinking caffeine-free coffee.  But, he would accept this in a social setting!
Overall, we gave the coffee a thumbs up!

22 Days Plant Protein Power Chocolate:
Ingredients: Organic fruit and vegetable blend, organic flaxseed, organic whole grain brown rice protein, organic cocoa, organic guar gum, organic natural flavor, sea salt, organic stevia leaf extract.
The directions said you could blend or mix this with water, so I whisked it with water in a large mug.  Definitely should have been blended.  I could not get out the lumps.  Also, we all agreed it would have tasted better with a tall cold glass of your favorite vegan milk.
All of us:  None of this liked this product.  The flavor was off, it didn't taste good in water, and it was too lumpy no matter how long and hard I whisked it.
Overall, we gave the protein power a thumbs down!

Milas Roasted Peppers & Artichoke Bruschetta:
Ingredients: Roasted Pepper, Onion, Artichoke, Vegetable Oil, Tomato Paste, Garlic, Salt, Vinegar, Thyme, Black Pepper, Basil.
I toasted a burger bun and spread this small sample on for all of us to taste.
JK:  Nope - not surprising to Mom.
GR:  Doesn't care for bruschetta, but this one was okay.
SR:  Likes the sour-y part of it.
Me:  Yes!  I loved it!
G: Would eat it.
Overall, we gave the bruschetta a thumbs up!

Whew, that was a lot!  So, for the box in general, I think this is a great idea.  It gives you a chance to do just what I did: try a sample of something to see if you like it before you plunk down money and/or shipping costs. I would have liked to see larger samples in the parmesan cheese and coffee, but everything else was large enough.  I also liked the variety of samples.  Their website is:  I'm also looking into being an affiliate with them.  So, if I can figure out how to do their link, you may see that up on my page.  Keep an eye out for it.  Overall, my family loved VeganCuts!