As August comes to a close, the heat and humidity are rampant in North Carolina. It is hard to be outside for extended amounts of time during the heat of the day. Morning or late evening is best, but the humidity is still present. Being a coffee drinker, this presents a challenge for me as I adore a good cup of coffee, but also cannot drink hot coffee in the middle of a hot summer day. Luckily, the makers of Quokka Brew contacted me and asked me to try their new oat milk latte for an honest* review. Their lattes combine cold brew and oat milk with a blend of organic amino acids and nootropics eliminates the jitters, anxiety, and crash from caffeine. The creators share that Quokka Brew is also proven to improve focus, cognition, and mental clarity.
I was excited to put this product to the test. I often want a cup of coffee in early to mid-afternoon, but do not want to make a hot cup during summer days. I also tend to get a bit hyper when I have coffee later in the day. One of my coworkers used to beg me not to drink afternoon coffee because I would always get overly ambitious with our work goals. Morning coffee does not do this to me, but afternoon coffee gives me hyper energy. It does not always lead to productivity, it sometimes leads to just being hyper.
I had inquired with the company to make sure the oat milk used was gluten free and was told it was, so all lights were go for this product. I waited until afternoon to try the samples to see what happened. This product did not disappoint. It did for me what morning coffee does. I was able to focus, stay awake, and be alert. I did not feel any hyper energy and I felt focused on my work.
The coffee was sweet, which is different than how I generally drink coffee. However, I enjoyed it for a treat. With only 3 grams of sugar and 90 calories it was a decent afternoon snack. I enjoyed the flavor of the vanilla and oat milk together. I could see myself buying this for hot summer days and afternoons when the weather is cooler too. Quokka Brew currently has an indigogo campaign to buy this new flavor, but they also have a link in their shop as well. Be sure to head to both places and check it out. Happy sipping!
* Do you have a product that you would like me to review? I am happy to accept samples of your vegan product for an honest review. Please visit here to read more
It is almost Halloween and that means C-A-N-D-Y! Even vegans need candy. Each year I search for vegan candy that will allow my son to participate in the fun of Halloween. This often includes a purchase from No Whey Chocolate. They sell candy online and in select retailers across the country. Their products are vegan and free of most common allergens. This year, I was excited to see the new Fear Not Candy bags. I ordered one for us, along with a few other treats. This bag did not disappoint.
Product: Fear Not- Spook Free Treats by No Whey Chocolate
Overall Grade: A
- Vegan milk chocolate! There are not too many companies that make, or make well, milk chocolate that is vegan.
- They have imitations of Reeses, Snickers, and Hershey’s without the cruelty. It has been a decade since I have had any of these brand names, but I think this chocolate tastes better! And I don’t feel any guilt.
- They taste delicious! I felt like I was a kid again tasting these with my son.
- They are vegan, gluten free, tree nut free, soy free, and peanut free. They are also Kosher.
- They are small and individually wrapped like other popular candies.
- This company does a good job creating candy for each season. Halloween, Easter, Christmas, etc. They are a regular stop for me before any major holiday.
- I can only find these online making them less environmentally friendly.
- They are $8.95 for a pack of 10, which is not bad, but when you calculate the shipping, it is much more. I also had to buy a cold pack as I was concerned that the chocolate would melt.
- They are not ideal to hand out for Halloween as they only come in packs of 10. I wish there was an option for a larger pack.
Recently, we were contacted by the owner of Love Bar to ask us to provide an honest review of their bars.* I was excited about this review as I have enjoyed their bars for years. I eagerly said yes! They sent me one of each of the flavors to try. I am a creature of habit and have usually purchased the same two flavors, so this was a real treat to get to try the third flavor. They quickly arrived and I got to work sampling. The kiddo tried them as well and was also a huge fan. I will remember this for when we are out and need a quick and healthy snack.
Product: Love Bar- Ginger Spice, Cashew Brownie, and Goji Cocao
Overall Grade: A
- The bars are absolutely delicious! I cannot even pick a favorite between the three. They managed to use the tastiest combination of ingredients in each bar. I am a sucker for brownies, ginger, and goji berries!
- Each bar only has a handful of ingredients that work well together and are common ingredients. You won’t find anything processed or fake in these bars. They are real food. They do not contain any processed fillers or additives.
- Their nutritional content is important to me. It offers protein, fiber, healthy fat, and iron.
- They are certified vegan and gluten free!
- They are organic!
- They are made in North Carolina. I live in NC, so I can feel confident in supporting a local, vegan business.
- I can easily find these bars locally. Do not worry if you are not located in North Carolina, you can check out their store locator and online shop.
- They have free shipping, if you buy online. That is a great deal!
- They are about $3.49 a bar, online. That is a bit on the pricey side, but they are worth it because of the pure, unprocessed ingredients.
*Please note that we are happy to try vegan products for an honest review. If you are interested, please contact us.
I used to watch my mom drink Bailey’s with family and sneak a sip here and there. When I was old enough to drink, I indulged in the original Baileys a couple of times on its own or in coffee drinks. I only drink a couple of times a year, so it was an occasional treat with friends. Then I went vegan and Baileys was off the table. I had forgotten about it until I read stirrings on the internet of a vegan version of Baileys called Almande. To see that it was also labeled gluten free made my heart do a happy dance. As soon as it was available at my local ABC store, I bought a bottle. I am still on my first bottle, but it has been enjoyed in hot chocolate, coffee, and plain. I imagine this bottle will last a while, but I like having it around for an occasional treat by myself, with family, or friends.
Product: Baileys Almonde, Almondmilk Liqueur
Overall Grade: A
- It is vegan and gluten free. It says so on the bottle!
- It is becoming more widely available where alcohol is sold.
- The flavor is sweet and smooth like the original.
- The bottle looks very different from the original, making it easy to determine if you are drinking the vegan version.
- The price seemed in line with other specialty liqueurs.
- Having this option allows for vegans to have more specialty drink options.
- The bottle does not have a “use by” or “best by” date. I have had my bottle for a while and put it in the refrigerator, but I do not know how long I can continue to enjoy it.
- It would be helpful if they put the ingredients on the bottle. Some of us like to know what we are consuming. I read every label, so this was hard for me to trust that the ingredients were fine for me to consume. The only information the bottle gives is that it contains almond and soy ingredients.
It feels a little strange to write a post about an ice cream treat in November. It has been in the 50’s and 60’s where I live and that is not exactly ice cream weather. I think true ice cream lovers do not care about the temperature to enjoy a cold treat though. A hot beverage afterward or a blanket can help warm up. As the holidays approach your family might enjoy ice cream with dessert and I wanted to share a favorite in my household. We find cashewmilk to be both rich and decadent and double chocolate bars do not disappoint. I tend to only buy them on sale as a treat, but they are a favorite!
Product: Cashewmilk Double Chocolate Delight by So Delicious Dairy Free
Overall Grade: A+
- Delicious!! As I said above, this bar is both rich and decadent with the chocolate coating and chocolate ice cream inside.
- I find So Delicious cashewmilk to be very creamy and similar to what I remember of diary milk ice cream.
- These beauties are easy to find in regular and health food grocery stores near me.
- I trust this brand as I have been buying the products for years. They clearly label allergens and most, if not all, of their products are good gluten free.
- This product is free of dairy, gluten, peanut, and soy.
- They have several delicious flavors. Including one that has vegan caramel!!! That is also a favorite in our home.
- They are pricy, unless on sale. I have generally seen them for $5.99 for a box of 4. That is about $1.50 a bar. These are only a treat for us, not a staple.
- With only 4 in a box, they are expensive to share. With a family of three, only one of us can have two!
October usually has me obsessing over Halloween candy. Some of us have kids and want to provide a vegan alternative and some of us are still kids at heart and want to eat Halloween candy. I fall into both camps. My inner kid misses gummy bears something fierce. As a vegetarian teenager, I felt the loss of them in my life. As a vegan adult, I still feel that loss. There is a void of gummy candy in my life that I am usually looking to fill.
I was recently at Home Goods and I saw Halloween gummy bears by YumEarth. I looked over the package and they seemed vegan. Their website confirms them as being vegan. However, the website indicates that the company only makes the gummy bears vegan at Halloween. I guess they think that vegans and vegetarians only want gummy bears in October? This company doesn’t know us at all!
Product: YumEarth Halloween Gummy Bears
Overall Grade: A
- They come in individual packets to be handed out for Halloween or to consume in small amounts.
- They are delicious! My son had never had a gummy bear and he loved them.
- They are free of the top allergens.
- They are organic.
- They are flavored and colored with fruit juice, instead of chemicals like traditional gummy bears.
- These are gelatin free and therefore, there is no harm to animals. (See the cons, for more information).
- The company makes other delicious candy that is allergen free, such as lollipops and licorice.
- The price was very reasonable at $2.99 for the package of 10.
- They are only available for a few special occasions during the year. The gelatin gummy bears are always available. I do not understand this line of thinking. I think the company is a bit confused about vegans, we don’t just eat candy at Halloween.
- They are hard to find. I have seen other vegan gummy products by them at stores in the area, but I have only seen the gummy bears at Home Goods on ONE occasion. I went back the following week and could not find them.
- There are 10 small packs in a package. There really should be an option for more, especially to hand out to trick-or-treaters.
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!
Product: Signature Truffle Collection, No Whey! Foods
Overall Grade: A
- 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.
- 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.
I have a confession to make, I have a bit of an attachment to coffee. I have a hard time starting my day without it. There was a few years where I swapped a cup of coffee for a green smoothie, but sweet aroma of coffee called me back. When I see a vegan creamer, I try it out because I love knowing my options. I would prefer not to just have a vegan milk, but an actual creamer because it is thicker and creamier than a milk. When I saw that Coffee-mate was coming out with a line of non-dairy creamers, I was intrigued. I prefer my coffee without sugar or sweet creamers, but it is nice for a treat every so often. I have fond memories of drinking coffee-mate flavored creamers when visiting my sister-in-law. It was always a treat for me since we bought unsweetened creamers. Up until recently, the world of vegan creamers was mostly limited to unflavored soy. I was ok staying in that world, but so many options have been popping up that I have been venturing out.
Product: Natural Bliss Almond Milk Creamer by Coffee-Mate
Overall Grade: B+/A-*
- This tastes very similar to coffee-mate dairy creamers, from what I can remember.
- There are several flavor choices in non dairy: caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, sweet creme
- They are easy for me to find locally at Target and Kroger.
- They were comparable in price to other flavored vegan creamers.
- No gluten, soy, or GMOs.
- I did not taste an overwhelming almond flavor that I do in almond milk and creamers. I do not prefer an almond milk flavor in coffee, so this was a nice change.
- Usually almond creamer takes quite a bit of product to lighten my coffee. This creamer lightened it with about the size of a listed serving on the bottle.
- The creamers were $2.37 on sale at Target. They seemed in line with, if not a little cheaper than other vegan creamers.
- I tried the caramel one and it is very sweet. This could only make an appearance in my coffee on occasion. This could be a pro if you like your coffee extra sweet.
- I didn’t see a plain or unsweetened flavor in stores or on the website. I really wish they come out with that option as I would be more likely to buy it.
*I struggled with grading this creamer. If you are looking for it to taste like a sweet creamer, then this gets an A. The sweetness in this creamer was a bit much for me, but I enjoyed the flavor. My grade leans more toward a B for this reason.
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.
Product: Sjaak’s Melk Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Overall Grade: A+
- These are incredible. They have a smooth milky-chocolate hazelnut taste just like I remember.
- Gluten free
- Soy free
- 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!
Graham crackers are hard to find and vegan. Now say you need a vegan, gluten free graham crackers and you might have thought that feat was impossible. Not any more! I have recently stumbled upon Kinnikinnick Graham crackers and brought them home for a taste. They used to contain a non-vegan ingredient, but changed their recipe (beware they say “may contain egg” because of the production facility). These beauties made a mean vegan s’more. They have an awesome crunch and delicious graham flavor. They have brought s’mores back into my life. All I can say is “Thank you and YUM!”
Product: Kinnikinnick Smoreables Graham Style Crackers
Overall Grade: A+
- Delicious, delicious, delicious!
- They are crunchy, just like you’d like a graham cracker to be.
- They are thicker than a traditional graham cracker, but bit smaller.
- They make a wonderful vegan s’more. Just add your favorite vegan chocolate and marshmallow.
- They are relatively easy to find. They are sold online, whole foods, and I’ve even seen them at Food Lion.
- They are gluten free!!
- The box is a good size, but there are so few crackers in the box. I’m thinking you can get about 6 s’mores out of the box (around 12 crackers).
- They aren’t cheap for having so few crackers. I think they were close to $5.