Friday, December 28, 2012

Pinterest Friday

I haven't gotten fully back into the swing of things after Christmas.

So I apologize for not having but one post this week.

However I did want to make this post one that is idea filled since New Year's is next week.

Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed New Years.

Not because I got to stay up late, but because my parents always put out special snacks to enjoy.

This year I will be attending a party so I need to figure out something to bring...but have no fear Pinterest is here.

Here are some choices I am contemplating from Pinterest:

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Source: via <3 on Pinterest

So what do you think looks good?

I know it is leaning a little towards the sweets...but they are my weakness, and favorite thing to make.

Do you have any good suggestions for finger food to take to a party?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your New Years, but be sure to stay safe.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Kit's Organic Review

I was given the opportunity by the very nice people at Clif Bar to try their new Kit's Organic bars.

Named after the co-founder, Kit Crawford, Kit's is a simple organic bar.

They are gluten free, soy free, and dairy free as well as certified organic (they also take care to make sure everything is free from GMO's).

I was sent a sampling of their 4 flavors:

Berry Almond
Chocolate Almond Coconut
Peanut Butter

My favorite was the chocolate almond coconut, which was no surprise to me...I love chocolate.

A close second was berry almond.

Both of those were bursting with flavor.

The cashew and peanut butter were good, and filling, but the flavors were more mild.   The chocolate and berry were like having a party in my mouth.

The bars are chewy, not dry in the least, and full of flavor.  They are filling and perfect for when you are out and about or when you need a snack mid-morning/day.

Each bar has a simple list of ingredients (all of which I could pronounce) and to know that the ingredients were selected with as much care as I would put into my own creations made me feel good about eating it.

I am always excited to try bars.  I love the individual packaging and single serving so that I can't have the opportunity to over indulge.

But since they can be expensive I would only recommend ones I would want to spend my money on...Kit's is definitely one I would consider purchasing.

You can keep up with the gang at Clif by checking them out on Facebook and Twitter.

What are your favorite flavors for a snack bar?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Improv Challenge Review for December

It has been such a long time but I am back in the groove and participating in the Improv Challenge again, which is graciously hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.

The challenge this month was chocolate and marshmallows.

I knew instantly that I would have a s'mores theme to my recipe but I wanted it to be a little different.

I started out by making my own marshmallows.

They weren't photo worthy, but they were easy (when you follow Anna's instructions here).

From there I went on to make s'mores cheesecake...yes it is as good as it sounds.

Start by making your crust:

1 1/2 C crushed graham crackers (I used cinnamon but the choice is yours)
3 Tbsp Earth Balance melted

Combine the two in a bowl and then press into the bottom of a spring form pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-10  minutes.

Once your crust is out of the oven place a layer of marshmallow on top.

For the filling:

16 oz cream cheese (regular or vegan)
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ener-G egg replacers
3/4 C chocolate (I used semi-sweet squares chopped)

You will want your cream cheese to be at room temperature before you start working with it, it makes mixing much easier.

In a bowl combine your cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla (a stand mixer gets this job done quickly).  Once they are incorporated add your egg replacers.

With a spatula fold in your chocolate and then pour the mixture on your crust/marshmallow.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (or until the center of the cake is set).

Allow the cheesecake to cool and then refrigerate for 3-4 hours (it just tastes better this way).

Be sure to check out the other great tasty submissions, I think you will be impressed with how creative some bloggers can be.

Happy Thursday to you all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Plenty of Plentils

I was contacted by the nice people of Enjoy Life Foods and asked if I would like to try there new chips called Plentils.

I naturally said "Of Course."

I knew I couldn't turn down a chip made from lentils and one that was bound to be better for me than the traditional potato chip.

I was so very excited when I opened the box and saw these 4 beauties:

They sent all 4 of their new flavors (which I have already seen at Whole Foods):

Sea Salt
Margherita Pizza
Dill & Sour Cream
Garlic & Parmesan

I jumped in and started with the margherita pizza.

The chips are super crunchy and light.

Not to mention bursting with flavor.

I didn't feel overly full or weighed down and there were no greasy fingers.

What is really nice about Enjoy Life products (their mega chunks are my favorite!!!) is that they are gluten free and free of the eight major allergens:

tree nut

Would you like to know a little bonus about them?

They are also certified GMO free.

If you would like to pick up a bag, or two, be sure to use one of their coupons (found on their website).

Christmas is less than a week away...are you ready?

Be sure to come back tomorrow as it is big reveal for December's Improv challenge.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brownie Biscotti with Peppermint

Hopefully none of my kids teachers are reading this post...but I will just take the risk.

For teachers gifts this year I made brownie biscotti dipped in chocolate and peppermint, they were accompanied by a jar of homemade hot cocoa mix.

I know teacher's get tons of gifts and I always try to make the gifts something they will enjoy and something that will not clutter their houses.

The biscotti themselves are vegan, but I dipped half in white chocolate (which does contain milk) and then the other half in semi-sweet chocolate, which was free of it was vegan.


1 1/2 C all purpose unbleached flour
1 C spelt flour
1 1/3 C sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 Earth Balance, melted
3 ener-G egg replacers
3 Tbsp almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Place flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix together with a fork and set aside.

In a separate bowl mix together your Earth Balance, vanilla, almond milk, and egg replacers.

Gradually add in your dry mixture and beat until fully incorporated.

With damp hands form two loaves (12" x 3") from the dough and place on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

Allow the loaves to cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet.

Remove from the sheet and slice the loaves (you should get at least 12 slices from each loaf).

Place the sliced cookies back on the baking sheet, cut side up, and bake at 325 degrees for an additional 20 minutes.

Allow them to cool before dipping (or eat them as is...I promise they are delicious just like this).

The ones dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and candy cane tasted just like a thin mint cookie from the Girl Scouts.  I happen to like those cookies A LOT so it is fortunate I've given these away and they don't have to add any inches to my waist line.

I hope you all are ready for is only 7 days away (not that I want that to frighten you).

What sort of gifts do you give your children's teachers?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

Today is the big reveal for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2012.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

If you aren't familiar with the swap what happens is you get 3 names and then you send each of them a dozen cookies (same recipe).

You can specify if you have a dietary preference, and I selected vegan.

Chocolate chip ginger cookies from Sarah (funny thing she sent me cookies last year...I must have been on the nice list :)!

molasses crisps from Heather

orange pepper biscotti

So in turn I was given bloggers who wanted vegan cookies as well.

I was given JackieAshok, and Jacqueline

I sent them Vegan Gingerbread Biscotti.

I have never successfully made biscotti until this recipe so I was very excited for them to turn out (plus I was really hopeful that they would survive being shipping USPS).

1 C all purpose unbleached flour
1 C spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Ener-g egg replacer3
1 C sugar
6 Tbsp Earth Balance, softened
3 Tbsp black strap molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl put your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt.  Mix with a fork just to combine.

In a separate bowl mix your softened Earth Balance and sugar until it is mixed well.

Then add in your egg replacers, vanilla extract, and molasses, mix until thoroughly combined.

Add your wet and dry ingredients together and mix until everything is incorporated.

Grease a baking sheet and then with damp hands form 2 rectangular loaves (they should be 2 in x 9 in).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Allow the loaves to cool on the baking sheets and then transfer to a cutting board.

Cut the loaves into strips (about 12-15 is what you can get from each loaf) and then cut side down put them back on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes at 325 degrees.

I did have these taste tested and despite his appearance they weren't sooooo crispy that you had to work so hard for a bite.

I promise if you make these your house will smell like Christmas (as long as Christmas for you smells like gingerbread).

It really got me in the spirit while these were baking.

I hope that Jackie, Jacqueline, and Ashok enjoyed their biscotti.

Have you participated in any cookie swaps this year?  What is your favorite holiday cookie?

Be sure to head over and check out the other great cookies!

If you would like to be notified about next year's swap sign up here.

Also there is still one more day to enter my Conscious Box giveaway, enter here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Monday Giveaway

Today is Monday and in honor of it being the start of the work week I thought I would host a giveaway.

I know, super sweet of me and all :)

Really I am just trying to ensure that my name stays on the "Nice" list I would hate for Santa to bring me a lump of coal.

So far I think it is working!!!

Today I want to give you all an opportunity to win a December Conscious Box.

A perfect gift from me to you...or to a friend if you want this gifted to someone special.

So how do you win?

Simple fill in the Rafflecopter below.  I will announce the lucky winner on Thursday (December 13th).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A different kind of holiday

With the holiday season fast approaching I thought it appropriate to talk about a "different" type of holiday.

Ladies holiday that is.

Each month we women get a visitor, who stays about a week, and usually makes us crave chocolate and sometimes makes us a little cranky.

As a member of Mom's Meet I was given the opportunity to sample Softcup.

Now discussing menstrual cycles and what not is not really my thing, but I do want to say that the use of this product really impressed me.

I felt better protected and that I could participate in all activities (including swimming) and not feel self-conscious.

The cup can be left in for up to 12 hours and I think the coolest thing (although it is a bit of TMI) you don't have to remove it when you use the bathroom.

However I don't want you to just take my word that these are better than any other pad or tampon I would like to gift three readers with a box of 14.

What do you have to do to win?

Simply use the Rafflecopter below.  I will announce the three winners on Monday, December 10th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also check out Softcup on Facebook and Twitter.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Taste of Europe cookbook review

I was given the chance to review and write a post about Mark Reinfeld's new cookbook The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe.

I was pretty excited to take a peek at this.

I love European food but since giving up on meat and almost all dairy I wasn't sure what delicacies I would be able to eat.

Mark's book though is chock full of choices separated out by various countries, instead of chapters.

I went straight to France first, as I have been to Paris a few times and have always thought their food was amazing.

He has recipes for:

French Onion Soup
Kermit's Relief (faux frog's legs)
Seitan Bourguignon
Quiche Monet

However to please my family I went with Italy and Greece for our first recipes to try.

I chose a spanikopita filling and instead put it in ravioli (I used wonton wrappers as a short cut) and topped it with Mark's Italian sun dried tomato sauce.

The picture isn't very good as the pasta was warm, and steaming, but I did the best I could with my amateur skills.

Oh my goodness the filling was wonderful.

It had tofu in it and my kids ate it right idea that it was in there (to them that is a little bit of a "funny" ingredient).

The recipe was simple to follow and I never had a moment where I had to second guess the directions.

Mark puts variations for each recipe as well as a tips and trick section to make things a bit easier.

I found these sections answered any questions I had about the recipes I was reading.

This is a great cookbook for vegans, wannabe vegans, or vegan curious.

You will find tons of variety in the food choices and will surely find a meal that omnivores to vegans alike will enjoy.

Do you have any new cookbook that you have found?  Do you have any one your Christmas wish list?