Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vegan Hot Cocoa, "Cheez," and More New Vegan Finds!

I'm a big fan of trying new things. Especially new vegan foods. Usually, it's new fruits, veggies, and grains that make it into my basket (in addition to my favorite staples, of course!) But every now and then there are certain products I just have to try too. So I thought I'd share a few vegan food items I've found and tried recently!
First, I was wicked excited to find these little hot cocoa packets. I've tried out one or two homemade hot cocoas, made with coca powder, and just didn't like 'em. Maybe I didn't add enough cocoa powder, or sugar, or maybe I didn't use a great recipe, or maybe, just maybe, I am too used to those overly fake Swiss Miss and Nestle packets - kind of like when I was a kid and actually preferred Aunt Jemima syrup to pure maple syrup- gasp! I know! Eeek. Vermont be praised, luckily now I have changed my ways- and tastes- and do prefer real maple syrup. Anyway- back to cocoa.

I have to say, these little NibMor brand "traditional" hot chocolate packets are deeelish. (And of course, vegan, yay!) I did not like the "6 spice" flavor- too spicy, and oddly so, for me. But the hot chocolate was just as I wanted it- rich, sweet, and smooth. The packets unfortunately aren't cheap- I think I paid about $1.20 per packet at Whole Foods, so they aren't something I'll be buying a lot of regularly. But, I did use 1/2 a packet per cup, which helps a bit, so I'm glad to have found these for the occasional hot cocoa indulgence.

Next, I'm not usually a sucker for vegan "cheeses," but I have been to so many good restaurants over the past few months that have used cashew-based cheeses that were amazing, that I was just too curious not to try this when I saw it:

Looking at the ingredients- which are pretty simple (cashes, seasame seeds, lemon juice, herbs, salt)- I was fairly certain I could just easily whip this up myself at home. But, I was feeling lazy, and curious, so I bought it. And I like it! It's a good spread- not mind-blowingly good, but yummy nonetheless. I made my husband try it too, and he paused for a second after eating it, and then said, with some hesitancy: "It's good. I wouldn't use it instead of cheese, but it would be good on a sandwich or something." So there you have it. My cheese-head hubby (sort-of) approves of the cashew "cheez." Unlike vegan "hard cheeses" though, I do think this tastes good with crackers - again, it's different from cheese, but a tasty spread.

Speaking of crackers, obviously this category isn't something that needs to be specially categorized as vegan, since many crackers are just already vegan, but I do like trying out different healthier, "seedy" crackers, and recently bought these:
It was the spelt that sold me. I've been enjoying using spelt flour in a bunch of my baked goods recently- it's one of those healthy "ancient grains," rich in nutrients and higher in protein that most other flours, so I was curious to try these crackers. They're nice and thin and crispy, and I like the texture the seeds give them. They taste light, with just the right amount of flavor, and go very well with the "cheez" spread above, or of course hummus! Another healthier-than-your-average cracker I like are the Suzie's Ancient Grains crackers.

I also recently tried something called "Flackers" - flax seed crackers. This time, it was the flax that sold me- I like whole flax seeds, and their nutty flavor, so I thought the crackers would be great. Not so- they tasted fishy! Blech. Had to throw out the box, didn't even snap a photo. Blech, shudder, ick.

And finally, one more product I've tried recently: a "New York style" vegan frozen pizza. A little while ago I did a post on a few other vegan frozen pizzas, so when I saw this one in the freezer at my store I new I had to round out my game a bit and try it:

The fact that it comes in a box as if you're taking home leftovers, and said "New York style" on it sold me. This was a sauce, mushroom, and spinach pizza (no cheeze) on a plain crust, and I liked how it was packaged, with four slices in a plastic zip-lock bag for easy re-freezing. The crust was good, but I think calling it "New York style" is a bit of an oversell. The taste didn't blow me away- it was fine (obviously better once I topped it with a ton of fresh arugula and some balsamic), but actually, I prefer Amy's vegan pizza, or most of all - my vegan "salad pizza" creations using my favorite- the frozen farro crust.

And- I usually keep it to recipes and food here, but thought I'd share a few vegan non-food products, just for fun! I've been needing/wanting a new big purse, and love the looks of some of these Namaste brand purses, like this one:
Namaste Harlow purse, in Caribbean Blue

Need to go check it out at a local shop.

I've also been lusting over the uber-cute coats at Vaute Couture. I can't say I need a new coat at this point, so it's more of a window-shopping fascination, but for anyone on the market for a new coat, they have some great styles! 

I like the asymmetrical zipper on this one, and it reminds me of my Boston days, when I needed a big warm "sleeping bag" coat like this:

Ahhh, distractions, how you get in the way of my resolutions to get work done ;-)

Anyone else have great new vegan finds -food or otherwise? Share below!

1 comment:

  1. I need to look for those crackers! I love the ones that are made with seeds and different grains.


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