Review: Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Vegan Cuts recently asked me if I would like to try their September box.  I have wanted to try them out for a long time, so of course I said yes!  What’s Vegan Cuts, you ask?  Vegan Cuts is a monthly subscription service, most known for their monthly box full of delicious snacks, they also now have a monthly beauty box and also allow you to purchase vegan food and beauty products outside of the monthly boxes.

The September box was full of delicious looking snacks that I couldn’t wait to try.  In addition to being entirely vegan, almost everything in the boxes are gluten-free as well.  This box was entirely gluten-free from what I could see, bonus!

Look at all the goodies!

Look at all the goodies!

Let’s take a look at what’s inside:

Seaweed Love Roasted Seaweed with Olive Oil

I love roasted seaweed.  If you have never had it before, it is as addictive as kale chips with a salty sea flavour.  The addition of olive oil made these ones taste really good.

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Raw Snacks Cranberry Cashew Bar

This was really good, too!  It was similar to a Lara bar, with lots of dates, nuts and cranberries.  Yum!

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Home Free Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are nut free and whole grain, and gluten-free (contain oats).  They were good, and I would probably buy them in the future if I was looking to satisfy a cookie craving.

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Kiwa Vegetable Chip Mix

These were one of my favourites from the box.  The mix contains a mix of cassava, arracacha, green bananas, beetroot, and sweet potato.  I ate almost the entire bag for lunch one day (please don’t judge me!).  I will be looking out for these in stores, they were delicious!

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Barnana Banana Bites

These were really good.  They are all raw, gluten-free, vegan and organic.  Sold!  If you love raw date bars, you would probably like these as well as they have a similar texture, but a banana flavour.  They were pretty addicting, but made with only bananas so they are a guilt-free snack!

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Sunology Natural Sunscreen

I haven’t had the chance to try this sample yet, but I have been looking for a sunscreen that is both more natural and vegan.  This seems like it should fit the bill!

Herbal Zap Supplement

Based on Ayurveda, this is a powdered supplement for boosting immunity.  It had a nice spicy kick.  After I had it, I read that they suggest trying to mix it into a cup of tea to create a masala tea.  I wish I had of tried that, it sounds delicious.
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Tee Chia Super Seeds Cereal

Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of this cereal.  The directions said to add hot water, and the cereal didn’t really absorb the water so it was a bit too goopy for me.  If I was to try it again, I would probably try a smaller amount of boiling water and hope for a better texture.

Atlantic Natural Foods Vegetarian Tuna

This was my least favourite item out of the box.  It is most likely a personal dislike of the product, as I stopped eating fish before I even became vegetarian.  The thought of eating fish doesn’t appeal to me.  When I opened the can, immediately I could smell something fishy, and I drained the product like a can of tuna.  I took one bite and it tasted too real for me.  That being said, if you are missing the taste of fish, maybe this is the perfect review for you!

Overall I thought the vegan cuts September box was awesome!  Subscribing to a box means that every month you get to try different vegan products at a great price.  In addition to the snacks, you also get coupons!  Who doesn’t love coupons?  I haven’t seen many of the products that are part of the box in stores here in Canada, so it is a good way to try things you might not have access to otherwise.  As I mentioned before, for fellow gluten-free people, most of the products are gluten-free as well.

Today is the last day to get your orders in for the October box, but there’s always November!

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Pumpkin Spiced Cappuccino

Cooler weather marks the change of season, from summer to pumpkin spice season.  That’s right, it has taken over fall.  I’m not willing to completely accept the cold weather, so I think that a cold spiced bevvy is a good compromise.  Enter the Pumpkin Spiced Cappuccino (See what I did there? sp-iced? eh? eh?).  I served mine in a wine glass, because not only do I like to feel fancy sometimes, but I also have a cat who has the cutest skill involving his paw, a table ledge and any glass he can find, which has been limiting my glassware choice lately.

Behold, the pumpkin spiced cappuccino!

Pumpkin Spiced Cappuccino - twocupsoflove.wordpress.comIngredients:

  • 1 c Natura Cappuccino Soy Milk (could also use milk+coffee+sweetener)
  • 1/4 c pureed pumpkin
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1/4 t of “pumpkin pie” spice (could use a mix of fave spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.)

Blend everything together in a blender until smooth.

My favourite spice mix is the “Everything Nice” spice blend by The Epicentre.  I love this company, and they are based out of my hometown.  They have some other good, really fresh, flavourful and fragrant spices, too.

Bonus: The Cat in Question, Troy (destroying a shoe)

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Does anyone else have a destructive cat, or is it just me?

 

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Peach Salsa

Well, I’m about halfway through VeganMoFo and have not succeeded in posting enough for the halfway point.  Maybe the next half will be full of exciting posts every single day? (I don’t think so)  Regardless of how I am doing, I have enjoyed discovering some new blogs.  There is a section on the website listing all of the gluten-free blogs participating, and a lot of them are new to me.

I was inspired to post this recipe out of procrastination.  My boyfriend has been gone for a few days, so naturally, I trashed our apartment.  I need to clean up, but isn’t it more fun to blog instead?  I thought so.

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I think my recipe for peach salsa is a wonderful way to highlight in season peaches.

Peach Salsa

  • 5 peaches, finely diced
  • 2 cups of tomato, finely diced
  • 1/4 c of minced cilantro
  • 1/2 c of finely diced red onion
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 hot pepper, finely diced (optional/to taste)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix everything together and let sit for several hours.

Peach Salsa - twocupsoflove.wordpress.com

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Cannellini Bean and Cashew Balls with Tamarind Chutney

I was originally thinking about making veggie burgers when I was making this recipe.  As a gluten-free vegan, my burgers are usually bunless, which is kind of lame.  I thought it would be better to make something that didn’t require a bun instead, and these fit the bill!  These have a variety of Indian spices, cashews, white beans and a few other things thrown in.  They get a bit of crunch (and flavour) from being rolled in coconut before being baked (lower fat, yay!).

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Cannellini Bean and Cashew Balls

Makes approximately 24 balls.

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 2 t freshly ground cumin
  • 1/4 t freshly ground coriander
  • 1/2 t curry powder
  • 1/4 t salt, or more, to taste
  • pepper
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 of a fresh hot chili – optional (I used half of a Hungarian hot pepper from my garden)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red pepper
  • 2/3 c of besan (chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 T tamarind juice (can get juice from making the chutney, below)
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c of cashews
  • 3/4 c of unsweetned desicated coconut

optional: fresh ginger and/or cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add ingredients one at a time in a food processor, except for the coconut.  Run the food processor for a bit after each ingredient is added.  I mince my garlic directly in the food processor, and it also finely chops my onions as well.  When you get to the cashews, try to process them so there are still pieces left for texture.  Once everything is blended, take heaping tablespoons (falafel sized) of the mixture, form it into balls and roll it into coconut.  Place the balls on a lightly greased piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.  Check after 20 minutes to see if they are done.

Tamarind Chutney

  • 1 8oz package of tamarind
  • 1 1/2 c boiling water
  • 2 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t chili flakes
  • 1 t amchur
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • salt, to taste

Soak the tamarind in the boiling water for 15 -25 minutes.  Using a fine meshed sieve, press the tamarind through into a bowl (This gets rid of all the fiber bits).  In a heavy pot, toast the cumin and chili flakes.  Grind the cumin and chili flakes and put them back in the pot.  Add the tamarind juice, amchur, sugar and salt and cook on medium until heated through.  If the mixture is too thin for you, cook longer until desired consistency is reached.  I like a thinner sauce, so I add some water to thin it out.

I served mine with some thinly sliced onions and lime wedges, and some freshly made (microwaved) poppadoms.

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Recap: The Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

Last weekend was the 2013 edition of the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival.  This is honestly the best weekend of my year! I’ve been going for several years, mostly for the food, but also for the speakers, demonstrations and information about animal rights and advocacy groups.  I was very impressed with the amount of gluten-free options this year.  I usually avoid desserts and heavily processed food, EXCEPT for this wonderful weekend in September.  I buy whatever tickles my fancy, and then go into a sugar coma post-festival. I actually bring containers so that I can buy treats and even dinner items and eat them later or freeze them.


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This year I was only able to make it out on Saturday, which was a very rainy and cool day.  The good news is that there were very few lines. I think I would definitely aim to go back on a rainy day next year, too!  I also left my cellphone somewhere during the festival, and some nice person left it at the lost and found.  Thanks, stranger!

Below is what I got at the festival.

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Slaw Party for One

I’ve been feeling summery lately, trying to fit in as many barbeques as possible.  A nice coleslaw provides a crisp compliment to my grillables.  This salad gets the bright pink hue from beets! I should warn you though, that this makes a giant amount of slaw, at least a giant amount for one person. I actually ate it for three meals one day.  SAVE ME!

"Pretty in Pink" Slaw - twocupsoflove.wordpress.com

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red cabbage, sliced very thinly
  • 1/4 c of red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 beet, grated
  • 1 apple, julienned or grated
  • sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

dressing:

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 c of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 hot pepper (mine was not very hot, so if yours is, I would start out with a small amount of hot pepper and go up, maybe a quarter of a jalapeno?)
  • 1/3 c sunflower seeds
  • 2 T agave
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 salt
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. For the dressing, throw everything into the blender and blend away.  My blender is not very good, so there were still bits of sunflower seeds when I was done.  I put them into the slaw anyway for a little more texture. Toss the dressing with the slaw and garnish with the sesame seeds.

As this only uses half of a head of cabbage, you get to decide what to do with the other half.  I actually ended up making another batch of this when I was done.  So, Much. Slaw.

pretty in pink slaw - twocupsoflove.wordpress.com

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Dinner: Grilled Vegetables and Tahini

Grilled Vegetables and Tahini - twocupsoflove.wordpress.com

Dinner tonight was a bunch of random things I had in my kitchen: brown rice and quinoa, grilled eggplant, mushrooms, onions and peppers, tomatoes, avocado, black beans and tahini sauce (tahini+lemon juice+garlic+hot sauce+water).

Grilled Vegetables and Tahini - twocupsoflove.wordpress.com

Yum!

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Peach and Mint Sweet Tea

Although summer may be winding down, there is still time to sit outside and enjoy a glass of iced tea.  My recipe involves black tea, peaches, mint and a bit of agave nectar to sweeten it.

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Recipe:

  • 10 Orange Pekoe tea bags
  • 6 cups of boiling water
  • 3 cups of cold water
  • 4 peaches, sliced
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 2 T agave, or more if you like it super sweet

Directions:

Steep the tea according to directions in the boiling water (usually 3-5 minutes). Add cold water, peaches, mint and agave.  Chill for several hours before serving.  Enjoy!

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Vegan MoFo 2013 is Upon Us!

Today marks the start of the annual Vegan MoFo (Vegan Month of Food). If you haven’t heard of it, it is basically the most epic vegan blogging event ever.  For the month of September, tons of bloggers commit to posting about vegan food as much as possible.  The goal is to post at least 20 times through the month.  Sadly, I am often unsuccessful.  I will still give it my best shot, though!

The event also has lots of spin-off things happening, like cookbook or food giveaways on different blogs, and vegan cooking combinations that challenge bloggers to create unique dishes with a set of key ingredients.

My goal this month will be to post as much as I possibly can.  I already have a couple of ideas.  Wish me luck and be sure to check out some of the awesome blogs in the blogroll!  My favourite way to find new blogs is to visit the Random MoFo, which will give you a randomly generated participating blog each time you hit refresh.

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Chili Peanut Ginger Soba Noodles

Tonight I was craving something comforting and flavourful.  The combination of spicy chili and ginger combined with the richness of peanut butter and the tartness of lime is one of my favourite combinations.  This dish satisfied my craving. : )DSC04602

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of tempeh (I used Henry’s Red Pepper Tempeh)
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 T Bragg’s (plus more to taste)
  • 2 t Sambel Oelek (chili paste, could use hot sauce if unavailable)
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (or 4 small)
  • 2 minced Thai chilies
  • 1 red pepper
  • handful of sliced king oysters
  • 1 T tamarind juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • 1/4 water
  • minced cilantro for garnish
  • handful of cashews, for garnish
  • chopped yellow tomato, for garnish
  • 1 package of black rice soba noodles, 250 grams (I used King Soba noodles, but an equal amount of other soba or rice noodles would work), prepared according to package.

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Directions:

Steam tempeh for 20 minutes.  After steaming, slice the tempeh into strips and marinate with 1 T sesame oil, 2 T Bragg’s and 2 t Sambel Oelek.  Avoid splashing the Sambel Oelek into your eyes from prying off the top seal (don’t ask how I know about that!).  While tempeh is marinating, prepare other ingredients.  For the sauce, mix together the tamarind juice, 1 T of Bragg’s, the lime juice and the peanut butter and set aside.  After 15 minutes of marinating, brown the tempeh in a pan on medium heat.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In same pan, cook ginger and garlic until starting to brown, then add the mushrooms, once slightly softened, add the red peppers and cook until peppers are warm (longer if you like softer peppers).  Add the sauce, prepared soba noodles and more Bragg’s and/or water to taste.  Mix until heated through and garnish with the cashews, tomato and cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges if you have any!

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