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.

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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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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.

 

 

 

Made Good Granola Minis, MoFo Day 8

Happy Election Day for those of us in the United States! This election season makes me want to snack! There are snackers and non-snackers (who are those weirdos? Oh yeah, I’m married to one!). Put me in the snacker column. I could probably snack all day and not eat a real meal. Luckily, I have a child and husband who need to eat structured meals and so I follow them. When I was a single gal, I sometimes ate snacks for dinner. Don’t judge, you know you do sometimes too. I like the convenience of small snack packs, but not too many are organic, vegan, somewhat healthy, and gluten free. When I found Made Good Granola Minis, I knew I hit the snacking jackpot. I love to give the mixed berry ones to my toddler. He LOVES them! I think he might be a snacker like me. The little mini balls are filled with oats, dried berries and they claim to have a serving of vegetables in them. Even better, they are safe for school lunches since they are free from the 8 common allergens.

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Product: Made Good Granola Minis, Chocolate Chip and Mixed Berry

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • These products are peanut and tree nut free! They are safe for school lunches!
  • They are free from the 8 common allergens. Free from: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat/gluten, dairy, egg, sesame, fish & shellfish.
  • They are also free of eggs and are certified vegan.
  • They are organic and certified non-GMO. I prefer to mostly give my son organic and non-GMO food where possible.
  • They contain 10g of grain per serving
  • One small pack has vitamin A, C, D, E, B6, Thiamin, and Iron.
  • A package contains the nutrients fond in one serving of vegetables. Hidden in the ingredients is spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and mushrooms.
  • They have a delicious flavor. The large package comes with two flavors: Mixed berry and Chocolate Chip. I give my son the berry and I sneak the chocolate chip bags.
  • They are convenient in that they are small .85 oz bags
  • A huge bag contains 20 snack packs.
  • They are about $10 for a bag with 20 snack packs, so the bags are about 50 cents a piece. I get them at Costco.

Cons:

  • They are a bit sweet. This could be a pro, if you don’t mind. I wish they had less sweetness to them. They have both sugar and agave nectar. A bag has 14g carbs and 5 or 6g of sugar. Since I feed these to my son, I wish they cut down on the sugar.
  • While the snack packs are convenient, they create a lot of waste. To offset this, I collect all of the bags and take them to a local Terracycle drop off bin.
  • They are a good snack size for a kid, but the adult in me wishes they packs were bigger. I think I like snacks too much.

 

 

 

 

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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Imitation S’mores

I have fond memories as a kid sitting in front of campfires eating s’mores as a girlscout, even despite the threat of bugs. Yeah, I’m terrified of bugs. Eating s’mores helped me not think about bugs. I was the kid who put blankets down on logs. Why? Because logs hide bugs.  Moving on….I still dream of s’mores. I recently found the Gramwich made by Van’s. It’s not exactly like a s’more as there is no marshmallow, but the chocolate is gooey in the center so I’ll consider it a contender.

Product: Gramwich Snack Bar by Van’s

Gramwich box

Overall Grade: B+. I probably would give this item an A if I wasn’t thinking of s’mores when I first tried the bar. The graham part was soft and chewy and the chocolate center was gooey. It is really delicious, but please don’t expect it to taste like a s’more because it is different. I’ve enjoyed throwing these in my bag for a snack.

gramwich

Pros:

  • They are individually wrapped so you are not tempted to eat more than one.
  • The chocolate in the center is delicious. It is in a melted state and is what I want on the taste of a graham-like cookie.
  • The cookie part of the gramwich isn’t like a graham cracker, but has a nice grainy and soft texture. Don’t expect a crunch.
  • it is exciting that there is a graham-like cookie with chocolate on the market that is vegan (and gluten free!).

Cons:

  • The bars are small, only a couple of inches long. While delicious, they are not filling. I recommend this for a very light snack.
  • There are only five bars per box. I sort of expect six bars per box.
  • They aren’t like a s’more. They are missing a vegan marshmallow and a crunchy cookie….oh and a campfire.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

What Cookie Monster Would Eat – Day 24

When I was in the third grade, I had this obsession with Sesame Street records.  Yes, third grade…stop judging. Our local public library had two of them.  You were allowed to check out one record at a time for a week.  So I alternated between the two of them.  I’m not sure how long this went on, but I’d guess about six months.  My parents probably felt like it was six years.

Of course, one of my favorite songs was the classic “C is for Cookie” by Cookie Monster.  Just in case you’ve been living under a rock since the 70s, you weren’t allowed to watch TV as a child, or you just want to reminisce with me for a few minutes, here’s the video.

Despite Sesame Street’s later attempts at giving Cookie Monster a little more self control, we know it’s all about the cookie for him.  So, if Cookie Monster were a (gluten-free) vegan, I think he’d be eating the Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunchy Cookie.

C is for Cookie (vegan, gluten-free ones!)
C is for Cookie (vegan, gluten-free ones, of course!)

I have this theory that the choice to have cookie monster eat regular chocolate chip cookies was purely a cinematic one*.  That blonde color shows up against his blue fur much better than a dark brown cookie would.  But in real life (no, I’m not completely crazy, I do kinda know he’s a puppet), I think he’d have been all about the double chocolate.

It’s no secret to people that have talked to me about vegan, gluten free products for more than 20 seconds that I’m not typically a fan of boxed vegan, gluten free cookies.  I waiver between thinking the companies don’t have taste testers and the taste testers have been without gluten for so long that they’ll eat anything round that has a little sugar in it.  My homemade ones are better any day.

I’m not a fan of the soft Enjoy Life cookies.  I was hesitant to try the crunchy ones.  But, the first time I saw them, it was a little 2-cookie pack at a discount store, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.  I’m sure glad I did.  YUMMY!

The double chocolate ones have a deep rich chocolate taste, just bordering on too sweet for me (but not for my sweet-toothed sister).  I can bake a soft cookie, but I’ve never gotten the crispy chocolate chip cookie down.  Enjoy Life has.  It’s crunchy without being dry and crumbly.

My sister even had the crazy idea to heat it up. I predicted either a disintegrated mess or a hockey puck.  I was wrong.  Wrapped in a damp paper towel and heated for 10 seconds, you get a softer cookie with ooey gooey chocolate chips (you lose a little bit of them to the paper towel).  I prefer room temperature or even cold baked goods, but if hot is how you roll, it’s not completely out of the question here.

Despite whatever issues you’ve had with prepackaged cookies in the past, try the Enjoy Life Crunchy cookies (be careful, some varieties have honey).  I predict you’ll be glad you did.

*Ok, in the interest of honesty, while I do have *a lot* of theories, this isn’t really one of them.  I just had to make up some reason that this was a double chocolate cookie since the store was out of the originals 😉

 

 

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!