No Whey! Truffles

Those who know me well, know that I am a no presents type of gal for holidays. Every holiday, I remind my husband that I do not want anything. He loves to get me gifts, but I generally return them to the store. He usually bugs me for something that he can get me and I usually have the same answer- nothing. Before Mother’s Day, I knew he was itching to get me something so I sent him an email with information about a sale from No Whey. Sure enough, on Mother’s Day I received a big box of truffles. I rationed them to one per day and had a nice sweet treat for several weeks, until the box was gone. I even offered to share with him, but he said they were mine. I gave him one and enjoyed the rest. If he is reading this, I hope he gets from it that I would accept truffles, or any sweet treat, from No Whey for any holiday!

truffle box

Product: Signature Truffle Collection, No Whey! Foods

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • They are made using a vegan milk chocolate and are the closest to dairy milk chocolate that I have had.
  • The truffle flavors were fun. My box came with the following: “milk” fudge, coffee, grand marnier, raspberry, and salted caramel truffles.
  • The truffles were delicious! I enjoyed getting a box with a variety of flavors. I am not usually a fan of white chocolate, but I liked the grand marnier one that was covered in white chocolate.
  • The company is vegan!
  • All of the products are 100% Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Soy Free! Free of the common eight allergens.
  • No Artificial Colors and Flavors Free of the common eight allergens!
  • The company is Kosher.
  • If you sign up for the email list, you are notified of sales and holiday candy.
  • They have a great selection of candy for each holiday. This is helpful when trying to find candy for Easter and Halloween.
  • The pricing for the truffles seems in line with other high-quality truffles.

 salted caramel truffle

Cons:

  • The truffles have to be ordered online. I am able to find one product in a local store (No No’s), but all others need to be ordered online. I have a vegan son and I would like to be able to go out and buy this candy locally for holidays or for an occasional treat.
  • While the truffle price seems to be reasonable, some of the other candies are a bit pricy- especially with shipping. I don’t mind this for special occasions, but I really wish vegan candy was not so expensive. I would like to buy this for my family for all holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Chocolate Holiday Treat!

Do you remember those popular chocolate hazelnut truffles? They aren’t vegan. Pretty disappointing, I know. I’ve been longing for a vegan version and finally Sjaak’s has come through.

truffles-seal

Product: Sjaak’s Melk Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • These are incredible. They have a smooth milky-chocolate hazelnut taste just like I remember.
  • Organic
  • Gluten free
  • Soy free

Cons:

  • I don’t know if this is a true con, but they don’t have the delicate crunchy shell that I remember the non-vegan version had.
  • Slightly pricey ay 11.99 for a box of 9, but you get what you pay for. These are definitely worth it for a gourmet, nostalgic holiday treat!
  • I wish they were more widely available. I purchased from VeganEssentials.com but I would love to see them in Whole Foods some day!

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Dandies Marshmallows, Vegan MoFo Day 24

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving to those of you who live in the United States. I’m thankful for many things today, one of them being all of you! I really only love this holiday for one reason, it means that I can start decorating for Christmas at the end of day! I love Christmas decorations, carols, music, lights, and holiday inspired food. When it gets chilly, I start craving a nightly cup of homemade hot chocolate. You are in for a treat today because I’ll be sharing a recipe of mine along with a product review. It’s a holiday gift from me to you! As I decorate the tree tonight with my husband as my son is nestled in bed (no one wants a toddler’s help decorating), I’ll have a mug of piping hot chocolate in my hand adorned with a white fluffy vegan marshmallow or two….or three!

marshmallow bag with seal

Please enjoy this recipe that I’ve adapted from my mostly abandoned personal blog from a Vegan MoFo post from 2012.

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

  • 1 cup of almond, soy, rice or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter (my tablespoons were not rounded, so feel free to go over this amount)
  • 2 or more of Dandies vegan marshmallows

Place all of the ingredients into aVitamix, or high powered blender and blend for 4 minutes or until steam comes out of the top of the lid. Check for desired heat level and blend more or pour into a mug and enjoy! You can also make this on the stove, but you will need to whisk like crazy to break up the peanut butter and incorporate into the hot chocolate.

Product: Dandies all natural vegan vanilla marshmallows

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • This tastes exactly like I remember marshmallows tasting. I want to make a bonfire and make s’mores and sing camp songs!
  • They are fluffy and delicious.
  • They can be eaten straight out of the bag or in your favorite warm beverage.
  • They are made will all natural ingredients. All things that you can pronounce and no corn sryup: Tapioca Syrup, Cane Sugar, Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Protein, Natural Vanilla Flavor. (See cons regarding one of the ingredients).
  • They are gelatin free!
  • They are gluten free!
  • They are free from most of the common allergens: peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, wheat, fish, shellfish, and corn.
  • They are sold as large and small marshmallows.

Cons:

  • They contain carrageenan. This doesn’t bother me, but some people wish to avoid this ingredient.
  • They are not soy free, for those of you who wish to avoid soy.
  • I’ve only seen them at Whole Foods and our Co-op locally. I hope they become more widely available. If you can’t find them in stores, you can buy them online.
  • They seem to range from $4.50-$5.50. This is a lot more than gelatin containing marshmallows.

 

 

 

Twilight Candy Bar, Vegan MoFo Day 20

I feel like I am always dreaming of candy. You’d think I eat candy every day, but I don’t. I only get it every once and a while. After the recent U.S. election I went FOUR WHOLE days without any sweets. I probably should have eaten some given the state of this country and my sad state of mind.* It is a very rare occasion that I have a candy bar, but when I do I want it to be a real treat. If I am going to throw away all of those calories and fat, I should indulge. Go Max Go has candy bars that make me want to indulge. The one I am highlighting today is the Twilight bar. It is an imitation of a candy bar that has a whipped chocolate center and rich caramel all covered in a milk chocolate. Go Max Go uses rice milk chocolate. It is better than what I remember of milk chocolate.

candy bar with seal

 

Product: Twilight Candy Bar by Go Max Go

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • The chocolate covering this candy bar tastes better than what I remember of milk chocolate.
  • This candy bar imitates the childhood candy bar that I remember perfectly.
  • Vegan Caramel!
  • This is a vegan candy bar. This should count for several pros.
  • It is gluten free and now has a GF symbol.
  • There are no hydrogenated oils/trans fat like diary candy bars.

 

Candy bar inside

Cons:

  • I wish this product were available at all stores! I’ve only been able to find it at Whole Foods and online.
  • As with most vegan products, the price is a bit high. I think the average price is about $2.50 a bar. This isn’t bad for a treat, but is pricey if you want candy bars on a regular basis.

 

*This political viewpoint is from Amanda and is not necessarily the viewpoint of all reviewers on this blog.

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Candies, MoFo Day 5

We all grew up on those candy coated milk chocolate pieces with the letters printed on the front. I’m not uttering the name, but you know the ones that I am referring too. I never really loved them, but the crunch made me keep coming back. It was so easy to pop a few in your mouth and crunch away. Before you knew it, you might have downed half a bag. I’ve been missing the convenience of those candies and their ability to only melt in my mouth and not on my fingertips. I then discovered the Classic Dark Chocolate Candies by a company called Little Secrets. After downing a bag eating them one by one, I realized they are better than I remember the milk based originals they imitate. I’ve tried several flavors and I enjoy them all.

Package

Product: Little Secrets Classic Dark Chocolate Candies, Raspberry

Overall Grade: A+ I’d give this product more pluses, if it didn’t seem childish!

Pros:

  • They taste better than the original candy that they imitate. I’d like to see you try not to eat a whole bag. Just try!
  • They don’t melt on your fingers.
  • They are relatively easy to locate for me locally as they are in Earth Fare and Whole Foods. They are also sold on Amazon.
  • The company has four flavors that do not contain milk. More if you count holiday flavors.
  • They are great for vegan kids!
  • Really, who am I kidding, they are great for adults too!
  • The products are made using fair trade chocolate.

Cons:

  • Your candy loving husband might try to pilfer the whole bag from you, not even savoring them-just shoving them all in his mouth. Yep, this happened! I was not pleased, these are meant to be savored!
  • Like most vegan products, they are not cheap. For me, this is an occasional “I deserve a treat” product. And seriously, when don’t I deserve a treat?
  • The company doesn’t label their products as vegan. I’m not sure that I understand the reasoning behind this (see below).  We all know that many other products are made in production facilities with dairy and most of us don’t mind as long as the product doesn’t contain milk.

Text from website

  • Their candy isn’t officially labeled as gluten free. I eat it only because I contacted the company, but the information on the website would make me suspicious about consuming if I had not contacted them. They explained to me that they use good segregation processes. Please contact them if you don’t feel comfortable consuming.

text from website

  • Their website FAQ contains information that is confusing, see the above two bullet points.

 

 

 

 

 

Square Bars

I love a good vegan snack bar. Bonus points for it being organic AND gluten free! Square Bars have definitely made it to my favorite list.

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Product: Squarebar
Overall Grade: A
Pros: 
  • Delicious! They taste like a less sweet version of a candy bar
  • Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • They have great flavors – the peanut butter and mint are the best
Cons: 
  • On the pricey side ($3 each at the store, however if you order a case on their website and use a coupon code, it can be less than $2 each depending on the sale or coupon code)
  • Not easy to find locally. The only store that I have seen them at is Whole Foods
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Chocolate Covered Fruit, A New Way to Meet Your Five Servings of Fruit

With Easter tomorrow, I’m in a candy mood. I’m an adult, hopefully you already guessed that, but I still need my candy fix every once and a while. I don’t get an Easter basket anymore nor do I want one, but I still occasionally want a special chocolate treat around this time. I didn’t order anything fancy like chocolate bunnies or caramel eggs. I happened to be walking around Costco and saw chocolate covered mango. I picked up the package thinking “surely, there will be milk in this”. To my surprise, the ingredients looked vegan. I had to take these beauties home to give them a try. After all, tomorrow is Easter and I need my candy too!

Product: Dark Chocolate Covered Mangoes by Kirkland

Dark Chocolate Covered Mangoes Package

Piece of candy

Overall Grade: A+. I could barely wait to get home to open the package. I ripped into them and tasted my first ever chocolate covered mango. One bite did not prove to be enough, I needed more. A lot more! I tried to limit myself to only a few. This combination really works together. It is sweet, but not too sweet. There is a chewiness from the mango that helps you not to gobble it up in one bite.

Pros:

  • The flavor! Dark chocolate and mango both have wonderful flavors and work so well together.
  • They are chewy and melty. The chocolate melts in your mouth and the mango gives you a little to chew.
  • The bag is over a pound. (And still these will probably only last a few days)
  • They are sold at Costco, which is a national chain in the U.S. I’m not sure if all Costco’s have these, but if they don’t…ASK FOR THEM!
  • They were reasonably priced. I don’t remember the exact price, but they were around $8 or 9 for over a 1 pound bag.
  • The pieces were large enough that you get a few bites per candy.
  • They are labeled gluten free.
  • You get a serving of fruit when you eat them. Well, not really. I’m just saying that so I can justify eating more.

Cons:

  • I currently can’t think of many. The only con would be if you don’t have a Costco where you live or if they don’t carry this product.
  • Maybe they they are too readily available to me because I know every trip to Costco now will include these candies.

 

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE!! Organic Dark Chocolate Belgian Thins

CHOCOLATE! Sometimes you just need a bite- or 10-of chocolate. I usually get the itch for a sweet treat in the evening. Maybe it is a habit, but I crave that sweet rich taste of cocoa. Often times a small square will quell this craving. Other times, I go a little overboard.

Product: Organic Dark Belgian Thins by Deavas purchased at my local Costco

Packaging

Belgian Thins
Overall Grade: A+, quite possibly A++! These thins are decedent with organic and fair trade chocolate sprinkled with quinoa, goji berries, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. They satisfy my daily need for chocolate. With these beauties in my kitchen, my daily need for chocolate seems to rise. I find myself sneaking into the pantry several times a day for a “taste”.

Pros:

  • They are delicious!!!
  • Every bite has crunch and different flavors with the variety of ingredients.
  • The dark chocolate is sweet, but not too sweet.
  • These thins have 30% of your daily need of iron. It kind of makes you feel like your eating something healthy….kind of.
  • They are addictive, it is hard to just eat one thin (wait! Is this a pro or a con?).
  • They are vegan.
  • They are organic.
  • They are made of fair trade chocolate.
  • They are gluten free.

Cons:

  • One serving packs a lot of fat–15 g!
  • They are only available at Costco in my area.
  • The package indicates that it is 12 ounces, but it does not seem like 12 ounces worth of chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

Cocomels -or- The Case of the Disappearing Coconut

A few months ago, I was out of town and came across Cocomels in a little natural foods store.  Unfortunately, they had them in a bulk jar and didn’t have the ingredients labeled.  I had to pass, but was intrigued by the dairy-free caramels that actually looked like caramel.

 

photo credit: JJ's Sweets
photo credit: JJ’s Sweets

 

Fast forward to this week: I was wandering through The Fresh Market and saw small packages of Cocomels. They were a dollar off…$2.99 for a package of 6 Cocomels.  Since I like salty+sweet so much, I went directly for the sea salt ones.

cocomel1

I found them a little hard to get out of the wrapper, which I guess is typical of soft caramel. The extra effort was not for nothing.  It tastes like…well, caramel.  It was every bit as creamy and chewy and perfectly sweet as I remember dairy caramel.  Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any coconut flavor at all. I thought they were pretty much perfect.

Oddly enough, I happened to be with some other folks that evening who were trying Cocomels for the first time.  Everybody agreed on the wonderful texture, but the findings on the flavor were mixed.  Those who like coconut didn’t taste it.  Those who don’t like coconut did.  Go figure.

The JJ’s sweets website says they also have chocolate covered caramels. I look forward to trying those next.  For you, of course.

 

Day 23 – Autumn Eats

It’s that time of year! I’ve finally found some autumn-y products to try! This is a review of 2 awesome vegan autumn eats/drinks… Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte and Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate in the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt flavor.

 

pumpkin1

 

First up is the Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte. I really love this one. It tastes more like pumpkin than coffee, so if you’re not a huge coffee fan, don’t let that scare you away. It’s spiced perfectly, too. I love that it’s sweetened with pure cane sugar, instead of stevia like many of the other seasonal non-dairy drinks. (I’m not a fan of stevia)

 

pumpkin2

Next is the Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate in the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt flavor. At first I thought the combination of chocolate and pumpkin seeds was strange, but I decided to buy it anyways. There were 3 taste testers and it was a big hit with all 3 of us. The chocolate was rich and dark and it worked perfectly with the pumpkin seeds.

 

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Happy MoFo’ing!