Vegan Cuts Snack Box review: February 2013

Vegan Cuts Snack Box Feb 2013Who’s vegan and loves snacks? This gal! When I saw that Vegan Cuts was looking for bloggers to review their new monthly Snack Box subscriptions, I jumped at the chance, and was quickly emailed back saying that a box would be on its way to me shortly. Next, I pumped a fist.

I was already am a big fan of Vegan Cuts’ daily deal-type site where you can buy new vegan products at a discount and support an all-vegan company. I first heard of the website at Vida Vegan Con 2011 before the site was up, so now I look forward to their daily emails announcing cool new products that I can check out via their well-designed site.

The Snack Box idea just takes things to a new level, though.

I love to try new things, and am always grabbing new brands of kale chips, dark chocolate, weird chia seed drinks, etc. at the grocery store, so this kind of service was tailor-made for me. Having it come to your doorstep every month is another way to try new vegan items every month and to find new go-to snack staples with absolutely zero effort all for $19.95 (shipping included). The American dream, right?

Vegan Cuts Snack Box contents Feb 2013Without further ado, here’s my review of the February 2013 Vegan Cuts Snack Box:

Simply7 Lentil chips – Sea Salt flavor: There were the first thing I tried out the box, and I deemed them delicious. Slightly salty, very crunchy, and a good quick snack, these lentil-based chips are intriguing. I’ve had lentil and bean chips before and loved them, but these were a little odd in terms of texture. I would compare it to air-puffed Pirate’s Booty, and I enjoyed these.

Sjaak’s Heart of Cherry: I. love. Sjaak’s. chocolates. Every time I stop at Vegan Haven or Food Fight in Portland, I have to grab a handful of their perfect, bite-size chocolates, (generally the peanut butter or hazelnut butter bites). They’re seriously a glorious gift to vegans. Initially this Valentine’s Day-themed chocolate confused me and I thought it was a vegan cherry cordial, but thankfully it wasn’t. Instead it was a chocolate filled with creamy cherry truffle, and the combo worked smoothly.

Surf Sweets Fruity Hearts: Yum! I was a big gummy candy fan pre-veganism, so these were a welcome sight. The boyfriend and I dug into them quickly after I devoured the lentil chips, and both enjoyed these. Sugary sweet, I could see these being a great late night study session companion.

Merry Hempsters Lip Balm in Spearmint: There are so many vegan lip balm brands out there that I still haven’t tried them all, and Merry Hempsters was among one of those brands. This balm is classic spearmint, went on smooth and kept my lips chap-free all day. I love this practical, everyday addition to the box.

Righteously Raw Chocolate – Low Glycemic Antioxidant Rich 82% Raw Cacao, Divine Mint flavor: My taste buds didn’t react well to these, likely because I’m used to full-on dark chocolate, sugar and all. If you’re on a mission to eat less sugar or try and curb it out of your diet I would suggest this as a great option, but if that’s not the case, I wouldn’t automatically reach for these.

Dang

Dang Foods Coconut Chips: Soooo dang good! As I mentioned via Instagram, I am not a huge coconut fan (I use coconut milk and eat coconut milk ice cream, but straight coconut and flakes are too much for me), but I love certain coconutty things, and these chips were the bomb. I actually still have some left that I’ve been squirreling away to top on just the right snack. I keep eating them by the handful, but I think they’d be perfect on top of ice cream, yogurt, in granola/dry cereal or on oatmeal. I think these are officially my favorite out of the entire box.

Budi Bar, Star Chai flavor: I couldn’t eat this to try because I’m not a star anise fan. So this is my boyfriend’s review: “Very nutty. There’s bits of dark chocolate, so if you like very dark chocolate you’d enjoy this. It left me with a smoky aftertaste.” His overall impression was that he wouldn’t grab this given the choice, but I would be all over trying out other flavors of these bars because I liked the not too moist, not too dry consistency of them.

PureFit Nutrition Bars – Peanut Butter Toffee Crunch flavor: I was also not a fan of the texture of this bar and could tell that it was heavily processed by looking at it. It reminded me of the protein bars I ate pre-veganism, but I liked it. I didn’t taste the toffee crunch flavor, but this peanut butter loving lady was into it post gym-session. Lots of protein and it makes a good hearty snack if you’re on the go.

Serengeti Ticolino Tea: Full disclosure, I have yet to try these, but I can’t wait to! They seem like a really neat idea. They’re tea sticks which eliminate the need to squeeze a bag when tea has steeped long enough and also allow for easy stirring. Nifty, clean and convenient, these would be perfect for work or travel. I got Jasmine (my fave!), Earl Grey and Chamomile, so I’m eager to give them a whirl.

The last item in the box that I also have yet to try is a free online Vegan Cooking School Course, valued at $97. This expires in May of this year though, so I’ll be trying it out soon and reviewing it here.

Overall some hits and some misses, but the hits swung it out of the park and were true homers. I loved seeing this box at my door at the end of a work day and digging into all the new vegan treasures. And now I have some mainstays that I’ll include in my snacking rep. I didn’t mind that not all the contents of the box were literal snacks, but so long as those stay to a minimum, I’m up for trying new lifestyle products too.

PS: I totally subscribed after receiving this box, and am already excited to see what April brings!

Winner of the Vida Vegan Tech Seminar Series giveaway

After consulting my trusty giveaway friend random.org, the winner of a ticket to the Vida Vegan Con Tech Seminar Series is…

Commenter #1, Roxanne!

Number 1 came up on the generator, so congrats lady!

Roxanne, I will be emailing you later today with more information about your ticket, the event, etc.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and maybe I’ll still see some of you at the seminar!

Vegan fragrance reviews: Sweet Petula, Herbal Alchemy, and Sweet Anthem

I started this blog last year with the intent of it not only being about vegan food, but also about vegan lifestyle. I haven’t covered a lot of ground in that arena yet and that’s where this post and future posts come in, and hopefully you all enjoy the change of pace/content!

As a woman who’s worn perfume all of her life, finding a “signature scent” is something I’ve struggled with for years. Becoming vegan didn’t exactly make this effort more challenging, but it’s a tad harder to find animal-friendly scents in mainstream stores than it is the traditional, alcohol-based scents found in most department stores.

I recently switched to using pure essential oils as my “perfume,”  but I quickly became bored with just using one very specific single scent everyday, (most notably, lavender). After running out of my most recent supply, I took to Etsy to research vegan, handmade perfumes to see if I could find a new, cruelty-free scent to call my own. Thankfully, I found three companies that seemed to offer a great deal of options and two of the companies are local, (Seattle-based) as well.

Sweet Petula – No. 4 Vintage Peony

Sweet Petula’s company mantra is “simple luxuries for bath & body” and that is exactly what I’ve found them to be, cheesy as it sounds. The Seattle company started selling at local farmers markets and craft fairs and has seen great success since. After perusing Cordelia’s page filled with lotions, balms, and many perfume scents, I  picked No. 4 Vintage Peony in a solid, as it was described as a modern, classic scent that is “laced with violet and honeysuckle and warmed with seductive amber and soft musk.” These sounded like an intriguing combo, and I wasn’t disappointed. The light fragrance notes really worked together and it seemed to last a while, though I’d been warned through other perfume reviews that natural/handmade scents fade quickly and need to reapplied. Feminine is probably the one word I’d use to describe this scent, and I’m not sure exactly what peonies in their physical form smell like. If it’s even remotely close to this, they’re hands down my new favorite flower.

Note: I purchased this perfume over a month ago, and since I’ve checked back it looks like they aren’t selling perfumes on the page anymore, which is a bummer. They do however still sell bath bombs, lotions, candles and soaps. Be sure to check the ingredients or message before purchasing, as not all their products are vegan. Visit the Sweet Petula Etsy page for current product information.

(Photo courtesy Herbal Alchemy)

Herbal Alchemy Apothecary – Tourmaline

Brooklyn-based Herbal Alchemy appealed to me for a few reasons, one being the cool names the store’s owner Julianne gave to her products: cocktails, waters and medicinals, to name a few. The company seems to have earned its Apothecary title, and the proprietor grew up drying flowers from her grandmother’s garden before she went on to become an herbalist/aromatherapist/perfumist.

I had trouble choosing just one sample to purchase as many sounded alluring, but I went with Tourmaline, which was inspired by a song of the same name and is composed of notes of tobacco, bitter orange, honey and fern. Classified as a musky floral, it’s quite different than anything I’ve ever purchased or worn as a perfume. It also was intriguing in the sense that it smelled different in the bottle than it did on my skin, which wasn’t a bad thing at all – both smelled earthy and sweet. I really enjoy Tourmaline and am now definitely considering trying out a few more scents from Herbal Alchemy when my current stash is depleted.

Tourmaline is available at HerbalAlchemy.net or the Herbal Alchemy Etsy page in a sample size for $5 or in a 20 ml bottle for $45.

(Photo courtesy Sweet Anthem)

Sweet Anthem – Annabelle, Emily, and Tara

Sweet Anthem was the only shop of the three that I purchased samples from that I’d heard about before starting my research. Friend/fellow Washington vegan blogger Anika of Vegan Score had tweeted about it the week before I purchased, so timely! Based in West Seattle, Sweet Anthem is a micro-perfumery owned by Meredith Smith, who left her graphic design job to make perfume full-time, (pretty rad, right?). Selling vegan-friendly scents in solid, oil and eau de parfum forms, she creates 100% of the fragrance combos in her shop, making them completely unique and one of a kind.

I purchased a sample set that allowed you to choose three fragrances in different forms, so I chose: Annabelle in oil, Emily in solid and Tara in oil. Annabelle was the scent I was most excited about, as it contained white amber, jasmine, osmanthus, and sea salt. Jasmine’s been a favorite scent for years and it was classified as “marine,” which brings back memories of warm beaches back home. It did not disappoint, and actually was my favorite of the three that I’ve been wearing almost everyday. It’s light, airy, romantic and clean. Emily was in the “gourmand” category, and sounded delicious as it’s composed of: almond, coconut, oatmeal, sandalwood, vanilla, yuzu and more. Every time I put it on, I feel like I’m in a bakery or like I just baked something, as a warm, inviting and richly edible scent emanates from it. I don’t think I could wear this everyday (it makes me hungry!), but I would recommend it to anyone who loves smelling of delicious treats.

Lastly, Tara was a traditional floral in the “citrus” subcategory with hints of black tea, damascus rose, red currant, rosewood, saffron, and thyme, which sounded as though it’d give a spicy/sweet result. The black tea and currant seem really prominent to me as I put this on, and it feels exotic without smelling too strong or off-putting. I enjoyed it and seems perfect for warm spring evenings – whenever those decide to show here in the PNW!

All three scents are available in either oil, solid or eau de parfum forms on the Sweet Anthem Etsy page or SweetAnthem.com. If you’re local, you can also come in to Sweet Anthem for a Perfume Making 101 class or just pick out your favorite notes to have Meredith create a custom perfume for you.

- – -

I highly recommend checking out all three of these great, vegan-friendly perfume/bath and body products stores, especially if you’re trying to veganize/green your personal care routine, or if you know of a friend who’d love a handmade, personalized gift. While I’m reveling in the samples I’ve purchased, I’m still eager for them to run out so I can buy a few more samples and eventually land on my signature scent.

PS: This was my first time ever reviewing perfumes, and it honestly felt a little like reviewing wines.

Corina Bakery, all shiny and new

If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, I’m fairly confident that you’re aware of how fond my household is of neighborhood mainstay, (and uber vegan-friendly to boot) Corina Bakery & Bistro. If you follow local news and/or my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I think you are also aware that on Feb. 23, the bakery moved from its original location on 6th Ave., kitty corner from Infinite Soups to directly next to indie theater the Grand Cinema at the corner of S. Fawcett Ave. and S. 7th St. in the Merlino Arts Center.

The new spot boasts many great features including: much more space, brighter lighting, beautiful windows, and a long table in the back room for group meetings and gatherings. Additionally, later hours have been implemented to accommodate weekenders and filmgoers and the bakery’s made mention of an expanded menu and the addition of beer and wine in the near future. While there’s no official word on what the new food options will be, I’m holding out hope that they will continue their trend of offering up wonderful vegan options and that they will add some heartier, more meal-like options at the cafe.

We stopped by on opening day to snap some photos of the new space.

The new Corina includes a black-and-white tiled (sorry no photo, but check it out – it’s awesome) show room for consultations of cakes/baked goods, and the room includes a view into where the magic happens.

This is what things looked like after the crowds calmed a little closer to closing time. Each of these tables were filled when we first arrived! Outlets are perfect for working individuals/students.

New double front doors, crimson curtains and big screen TV. At first I was a little perplexed at the sight of it, but it is muted, (thankfully!).

Beautiful large new displays for maximum baked good viewing at all times.

Really loving the wrought iron details and bright clean decor and lighting.

View of 6th Ave. from the espresso station.

Eager customers awaiting their drinks and bakery items.

My spoils from a visit last week: the ever-present, always moist and tasty pumpkin loaf and soy latte.

Corina Bakery is now located at 602 S. Fawcett, right next to the Grand Cinema.

Their new hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, check out their website.

Local friends, have you been to Corina’s new space yet?

Sunday Brunchin’ V: Pumpkin French Toast + Sizzling Tempeh Bacon

Yesterday I woke up cranky, not quite sure what I wanted to eat for brunch. I felt like we’d tried some great new brunch items, and switched up some old standards, and yet I remained stumped. I knew I had the remnants of an opened can of pumpkin in my fridge, and well, since October’s almost over…that sealed the deal.

We’re a little low on ingredients (it’s grocery week), so we chose the Orange-Ginger Pumpkin French Toast and Sizzling Tempeh Bacon recipes from what’s quickly becoming a favorite in our apartment, Blissful Bites.

To say that I followed the French toast recipe to a T would be a blatant lie. I made some changes because we were out of things and I wanted to use what we had on hand. It kind of made the recipe a bit of a challenge, but I take full responsibility for that. Here are a few things I did differently/proof of me being difficult in the kitchen…

One unique aspect of this recipe is that it calls for baking the French toast prior to cooking it in the pan.

The recipe called for orange zest but we didn’t have any oranges on hand, so I left that out and added in almond extract instead, just because. It also called for a sturdy bread, but we didn’t have that either so we substituted with Ezekiel slices. I soon found out why Christy used a loaf-style bread instead!

The recipe uses a whole can of pumpkin but I used one minus a few tablespoons that I used for pumpkin oatmeal the morning before. Even though I used less than called for, I still felt like the ingredients yielded way more than enough for the 3-4 servings the recipe said it’d make. We made 4 servings and still had a ton of leftover pumpkin-French-toast-dip (?), so next time I will definitely halve the ingredients so I won’t have extra.

First batch on the pan. Another mistake I realized while these were cooking – next time, use a non-stick griddle! Though they did inevitably stick to the pan each round, I was able to flip them and they dried out enough while cooking. I had to scrape off the burned bits in between batches (with a plastic spatula), but it worked out. Some of the slices broke a part a bit while cooking, but that’s evidence of why you should use a thicker bread when making this recipe. Learn from my mistakes, people!

The tempeh bacon, on the other hand, were a breeze to make and I followed the recipe as indicated.

Hands down, this was the easiest and greatest tasting tempeh bacon recipe I’ve ever used. This is not hyperbole, friends. I’ve tried a few recipes that friends/other vegans have sworn by for years, but I don’t think they hold a candle to this one. Christy got the flavor just right, so right it was kind of disturbing. Very smoky, even without the requested liquid smoke, flavorful and because they were baked and not pan fried, they had a superb texture and color. If you have this book, make these for your next breakfast or brunch, I implore you! If you don’t have the book, this is one of many reasons why you should consider adding it to your vegan cookbook collection.

Despite my mishandling of the original French toast recipe, the end result was great. Slightly sweet, filled with autumnal spices and providing the perfect crunch you expect from this dish. With a little cinnamon on top, Earth Balance and maple syrup, the toast and tempeh bacon were a brunch match made in heaven.

This concludes my Vegan MoFo 2011 posts! This was my first year participating, but I’m so happy that I did because I truly tested myself – in terms of my creativity, ability to write five times a week in spite of life and responsibilities and in terms of overcoming a few cooking fears. I feel like I learned a ton and am so proud that I ended up writing everyday that I said I would. I’m also so proud to have been a part of this year’s amazing roster of vegan bloggers who also took up the challenge! I continued to be inspired and entertained everyday for the month of October, found so many new-to-me blogs that are wonderful, and have an arsenal of bookmarked posts filled with recipes that I want to make soon. Thanks everyone for your comments and for reading, and I am already pumped thinking about next year. For now, I have lots of catch up to do!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream + childhood nostalgia

While I was working on our acorn squash dinner last eve, the bf had already gotten to work on dessert. What was on the menu? Why, only an ice cream flavor that held the title of favorite for me for many years (pre-veganism): Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, from The Vegan Scoop. It’s slowly become our vegan ice cream bible. I should actually say it’s his bible, as he’s our ice cream master. I just do the testing.

And who can say no to cookie dough balls swimming in fragrant vanilla ice cream? Not I!

This looks weird, but is the beginnings of the cookie dough. This is agave and Earth Balance, getting ready for dry ingredients.

Starting to look more familiar?

Another that may throw you: this is the vanilla ice cream base. It looks very familiar to me because I always see it sitting in our fridge in between this cooking phase, and it being poured into our ice cream maker.

We had some bites. I honestly just had one – for the first time in at least a decade and change. I had a really bad traumatic aversion to raw cookie dough develop after I snuck way too much from my grandma’s fridge one summer growing up. Ever since, just looking at cookie dough (or the thought of tasting it) makes me feel sick to my stomach. But I love cookies when they’re in baked form! And yes, I never taste the dough when I’m baking. I just hope I got all my ingredients right and taste when they’re baked!

Final step!

The business.

The finished product came out great, but the boy said that he might let the cookie dough balls freeze a little longer next time, as they kind of came apart and just became one with the vanilla ice cream. I think it was great, and reminded me of 100 degree summers (oh how I miss them), and going to Thrifty’s for ice cream with my family in So Cal. I might need to get some cones soon to have the full nostalgic effect.

Curried Scrambled Tofu with Wilted Arugula

I’m starting to realize that Mondays are becoming my cray cray (that’s Dawnspeak for crazy) days. Work and meetings right after and not a lot of breaks means there’s a lot less time to get creative in terms of putting dinner on the table. Thankfully, we are the proud owners of a large vegan cookbook collection, many of which have recipes that come together quickly. The oft-used and appreciated Appetite For Reduction is one such cookbook.

Having prepped brown rice ahead of time, I knew I needed to make some type of bean/tofu/protein side to make a meal with it. The Curried Scrambled Tofu with Wilted Arugula got my eye, and thankfully we had all the ingredients on hand to get it going even quicker, (we were starving by this point).

Tofu, curry powder and cumin all getting to know each other.

Add in the arugula, (or the mixed baby greens which also contained arugula, in our case!).

And finished! The spices gave a great color and the arugula added some needed green to the meal.

Add a grain, and you’ve got a super quick, spicy, healthful dinner on your plate in less than a half an hour. We added the max amount of curry recommended in this dish, and we both loved the flavor that it delivered. And though we served this dinner style, this scramble would be a great way to put a spin on your traditional breakfast/brunch scramble.

Do you have Appetite For Reduction? What are some of your favorite recipes to make from it?

 

Sunday Brunchin’ IV: The Highline

Hello, and welcome to the fourth Sunday Brunchin’! One more week to go of brunch and other weekday food adventures captured for VeganMoFo!

On Saturday morning we headed up to Seattle for a friend’s birthday and to run some errands, so naturally we decided to do lunch/brunch in the city. Thus, this week’s Sunday Brunchin’ is technically Saturday Brunchin’. I bent the rules, it’s okay. Now, let me tell you a story about one of the best vegan brunch joints that Seattle ever had.

The Squid & Ink stood in the Georgetown neighborhood, south of Seattle. I loved the Squid & Ink. The boy and I would stop there anytime we were looking for a weekend brunch – generally relying on a few dishes for brunch (the scramble for me) – and many sandwiches, soups and salads for other meals. We returned often, I brought many friends there, vegan and not, (especially visiting friends that I picked up from the airport) and all agreed that it was killer food. I have fond memories of meals at the Squid & Ink, particularly when the bf and I went there before adopting our two kittens at nearby Kitty Harbor. The photo of me eating scramble that you see on this blog was taken at the Squid & Ink, too. The space was fairly small and the ambiance was slightly lacking, but none of that mattered to me as we always enjoyed excellent food, coffee and service. It was also conveniently located near some of our favorite places in the ‘hood: Fantagraphics, Georgetown Records and All City Coffee.

Eventually we heard the news that the Squid & Ink was closing, and our little hearts sank. We weren’t sure what we’d do when it came to future Seattle bound brunching, (at the time our scope was a little more limited and we hadn’t been to the infamous Georgetown Liquor Company). Thankfully, they didn’t sink too low as we soon heard news that the previous owners were working on a new restaurant project in the Capitol Hill neighborhood -  one that would also have a full bar.

Logo via highlineseattle.com

Thus, the Highline was born.

While the Highline differs a bit from the Squid & Ink, (much larger, on a second floor, later hours, has space for shows/events, did I mention the full bar?), thankfully the owners retained a great deal of the same menu items that we came to know and love. And they kept their brunch available on the weekends.

Since the Highline opened back in May of 2010, I hadn’t made it in to try their reincarnated from my former favorite brunch obsession, as I had always just missed it and came for lunch or dinner. Ridiculous, right?! I changed that this past weekend. And I made up for lost time by starting with this…

It’s okay, you can drool. I am looking at this and remembering how absolutely divine it was, (especially with the spicy, pepper vodka they used to make it). I highly, highly recommend enjoying this beverage.

For my meal I ordered the Bomber, which consisted of: sausage patties covered in vegan Mozzarella, onions, peppers on a whole wheat roll and what was advertised as roasted root vegetables. When I read that on the menu I thought “yes! I am so in a fall, root vegetable mood!” Yet when it came it only consisted of carrots and red potatoes. Womp, womp. Even a sweet potato or one squash might’ve livened this side up a bit, yet they were still tasty. The sandwich also was hearty and perfectly married all the elements making it up.

The bf opted for sweet with the Buckwheat Blueberry Pancake after being stumped on a few choices. Earthy, spongy and slightly sweet, this giant flapjack was a good call.

As the Bomber was huge and filling when paired with more carbs and a tall BM, I had leftovers Sunday. I served it with some steamed kale topped with a quickly whipped up tahini sauce. And it was still just as awesome the next day.

The Highline
210 Broadway E
(between John St & Olive Way)
Seattle, WA 98102
(206) 328-7837
Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Regular hours: Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m to 2 a.m.

Falafel Friday

Technically, this post lies, as we made the falafel on Wednesday, but I’m sharing it with you all now, and that’s the truth! It’d been a while since we last made some, and the boy kept bringing it up. So finally, after we went grocery shopping/got ingredients, we sated our Mediterranean desires.

I’ve never made falafel truly from scratch (always from a box or bulk bin mix, like this time), but it always turns out well and tasty. I will make it from scratch one day, though, and I’ve got the recipes dogeared to prove it.

In the meantime, here’s my falafel-making process:

Mix falafel mix with water and let set.

Make delicious tahini dressing in the meanwhile, (I use the one in Vegan With A Vengeance).

Chop up your necessary veggies.

Roll that dough into ball shapes…

and fry, baby, fry!

Place in a bowl lined with paper towels to drain oil.

And scarf!

I usually have a hard time pinpointing my exact favorite foods, but I think falafel has earned a spot in my top five over the years. It’s well earned.

Homemade Tempeh Chili Tales + My Sweet Vegan Giveaway Winner

Do you guys also get an idea for a meal stuck in your head for days that just doesn’t seem to go away until you make and devour it? If not, maybe I’m just strange. But this weekend I got the idea in my head that I HAD to make some homemade chili.

See, chili’s something I usually make from a can, (cue Trader Joe’s stellar vegetarian canned chili – a lazy dinner staple of mine since college). I’m generally fine with that, but for some reason I was craving a rich, thick and chunky-style chili that cans just can’t provide. So I started researching.

I’ve never really found a great chili recipe, which could probably explain why I’ve only made one homemade batch of (vegan) chili in my life. And it wasn’t that great. So I took to the Internet and asked on the VM FB page about any great recipes people knew of. My friend Roxanne told me that she had a great tempeh chili recipe that she wanted to send me, and though there were some great ideas posted (that I will try in the future!) I knew right away that it was going to be the winner. I’ve been on a major tempeh kick since we made the scramble this weekend, and since I’ve seen a lot of other creative/enticing looking uses for it on the blogs this week.

Roxanne informed me that the recipe came out of the book David’s Pure Vegetarian Kitchen. David appears to be from Portland, but I know he’s taught cooking classes here in Tacoma in the past. I think it’s awesome that I made a chili from a friendly-looking NW vegan dude. And guess what? My friend wasn’t kidding around – the chili was fantastic! I was skeptical of a few things (adding salsa into a recipe for anything other than chips and salsa always makes me wary), but the spice level was kicking and the depth of flavor and various textures that came from the tempeh, two kinds of beans, carrots and tomatoes were exactly what I was looking for.We served it over brown rice and I added some Mozzarella Daiya and some crumbled tortilla chips on top. We have lots of leftovers.

I can’t say I’m a complete convert, because I will still rely on the ease and convenience that is my beloved canned chili (when strapped for time or getting home after a long day’s work/workout/meetings/etc.), but I will say that I am going to stretch myself more in the future and try new chili recipes more often than once every four years. That’s a claim I can back.

And now for the winner of the My Sweet Vegan cookbook giveaway!

The randomly generated winner is: Melody! Melody’s choice of baked goods to give to her non-vegan friends?

“I love vegan chocolate chip cookies :)

Me too, girl! They win over the hearts of omnis every time. Congrats! Check your email soon.

Thanks everyone for entering, and be on the lookout for another giveaway in the near future!