Saturday, May 30, 2009

No Longer a Silky Drink

Has anyone noticed the changes from Silk Soy milk?

This article outlines the "secret" changes that Dean Foods has made to Silk Soy milk. Apparently, most of their products are just "natural" and the soybeans may be coming from China. Very shocking to hear that Dean Foods has changed the Silk brand so much.

So what are you drinking instead?

We love to drink Rice Dream Enriched Rice Milk, Pearl Soy Milk, So Nice Soy Milk, Quality Chek'd Soy Milk (store Brand), Eden Foods Soy Milks, Pacific Foods Oat Milk, and Living Harvest Vanilla Hemp Milk.

And, has anyone tried So Delicious Coconut Milks? Are they really coconuty, or are they a good substitute to soy that's mild enough for baking or breakfast cereals? Just wondering!

Any really good non-dairy milks that you all like?

Have a great rest of the weekend,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hiking Fuel

Perfect for Memorial Day Weekend, we enjoyed a vigorous 1.5 hour hike at Silver Falls State Park, with our Dad. The park was packed - so many people enjoying the sunny weather and the gorgeous forested park!

We had a nice picnic in the sun - brought carrot sticks, oranges, pistachios, crackers, banana, and potato chips. Just various foods that are easy to transport and don't necessarily require refrigeration.

For fuel after or during the hike, we enjoyed homemade oatmeal banana bars and kamut muffins. We adapted this recipe for oatmeal snack bars and used dried bananas! For the kamut muffins, we followed the Triticale Breakfast Muffin recipe on the back of Bob's Red Mill's Triticale Cereal/Meal. Used all kamut flour and kamut cereal/meal, and it turned out excellent! A new favorite muffin that's not too sweet, to be eaten for breakfast or for snacks! Kamut gives a buttery-corny flavor, and in a biscuit kamut flour makes it taste buttery, and in this muffin recipe with the kamut meal, it tasted a little like cornbread muffins!

Kamut Muffins

1 cup Kamut cereal/meal
1 cup kamut flour
2 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp salt
>1 Tb baking powder
1 Tb flaxmeal
1 cup non-dairy milk (we used 1/2 rice, 1/2 soy)

Mix dry ingredients, then add liquid and mix until combined. Pour into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes for mini-muffins, or 15-20 for larger ones. We made 12 mini muffins.

Other hiking foods we like to have include:

rice cakes
dried fruit
Just Tomatoes freeze-dried peas
Heart Thrives
bananas, apples

What are your favorite picnic foods and hiking snacks that are easy to transport and eat, and provide great fuel? There are alot of energy bars out there, but so many of them are full of junky ingredients, and we personally prefer homemade wholesome snacks.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Kamut on Foodista

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Where would we be without chocolate?

Without chocolate, all pleasure is drained! :)
..............."A little too much chocolate is just about right."
..............."Too much of a good thing is simply wonderful!" - Deborah Fox-Rothschild
..............."All you need is love. But a little bit of chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt."
..............."Chocolate is the Answer, who cares what the Question is?"
..............."Woman have many moods, CHOCOLATE satisfies them all"

Chocolate is nutritious!

..............."Chocolate is a Vegetable: chocolate is derived from cocoa beans. Bean = vegetable. Sugar is derived from either sugar cane or sugar beets. Both are plants, which places them in the vegetable category. Thus, chocolate is a vegetable." (Actually cocoa beans are fruit from the cacao tree)
..............."I do recommend a piece of good-quality dark chocolate as a healthy snack . . . It is a source of polyphenols, the same type of antioxidants found in red wine, and the fat it contains is stearic acid, which doesn't affect cholesterol levels. The latest good news for chocolate lovers comes from a study indicating that flavonoids in chocolate are good for your heart. These compounds reduce the stickiness of platelets, cells that play an important role in blood clotting." - Andrew Weil, M.D.
..............."According to an Italian study, a small square (20 g) of dark (bittersweet) chocolate every three days is the ideal dose for cardiovascular benefits. Eating more does not provide additional benefits." -

What are your favorite dark chocolates?

We love to try different chocolates (different companies and different flavors) and taste-test. Our favorites are the darker chocolates (~70-75% chocolate). In order to get a better sense of the flavors in each chocolate bar, we like to take little bites of one chocolate brand/flavor and make note of its taste, then take a little bite of a different chocolate brand/flavor. This is a great way to see that although they may all be "dark" they hold different flavor profiles. Some may have a heavier, richer, roasted flavor, while others may have a nutty, brighter flavor with hints of fruit, etc.

Here is our list (not in any particular order) of delicious melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolates!

Endangered Species Dark chocolate - Supreme Dark 72% and Deep Forest Mint are both delicious. The mint one is nice, because it isn't too strong in mint. The Dark chocolate with Cacao Nibs we have yet to try, and their new organic line, with unique flavors such as dark chocolate with goji berries.

Green & Black Dark Chocolate - Dark 70% is one of our favorites. An all around good dark chocolate, with a nice decadent flavor.

Equal Exchange Chocolate - 67% Mint Chocolate Crunch, 68% Dark Chocolate with Pure Cocoa Nibs, and 71% Very Dark Chocolate are all melt-in-your-mouth good!

Divine Fair Trade Chocolate - The mint dark chocolate and 70% dark chocolate are divine!Theo Fair Trade Chocolate - Their "origin" bars are awesome to taste-test and pick out different flavors, such as hints of banana and flowers. The mint Theo bar is unique, in that it has a refreshing, summery spearmint taste. Would love to try the vegan dark chocolate truffles that they list online!

Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolate - another fair trade company with dark chocolate cacao nibs and mint.

Beware, some chocolates that seem to be dairy-free do in fact have milk in them, such as Mint Dark Chocolate Green & Black and New Moon Dagoba chocolate (the website doesn't list milk, but the ingredient list on the bar itself shows milk!). We used to love Dagoba, but hadn't had any in a while. The one bar we get at the store happened to suprisingly have milk in it, so we aren't sure if the rest of Dagoba's "dark" chocolates have milk in them too.

**Update: We can in fact enjoy the New Moon dark chocolate bar! Dagoba's dark chocolate line does not have added milk, they just put milk in their ingredient list ("milk (less than 0.1%)" ) to be safe for those with severe milk allergies. We personally think this is a wrong end on their part, because it might confuse people and prevent vegans or people who avoid dairy to try their dark chocolates. Most companies just state a disclaimer below the nutrition/ingredient label that they manufacture on the same equipment that processes milk, instead of actually putting milk in the ingredient list. Here is an explanation of which bars are vegan: "All of our dark bars, Chocodrops, hot chocolates, cocoa powder, syrup are not made with milk or milk by-products, though our facility does handle products made with milk...While we thoroughly clean between runs, there is the possibility that traces of milk protein may be present in the dark bars."**

These are just a few of the delicious organic and/or fair-trade chocolates we have enjoyed. Please let us know other chocolate brands that you all have discovered; we are always on the lookout for new chocolates to try.

Remember, life is short, so we must sweeten life with some divine-tasting vegan dark chocolate!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vive! - Chomp on These!

Chomp on Vive Lle Vegan's Cookies and Bars! Vive le Vegan cookbook by Dreena Burton is now apart of our ever-growing cookbook stash, and we love baking and cooking up her recipes. Of course we started with baking dessert.

Peanut "Better" Cookies are definetely "better" - great flavor and more healthy than any original peanut butter cookie (all the more reason to chomp on just one more:)

We used Bob's Red Mill 10 grain flour and used apricot kernel butter (from Better Than Roasted). Turned out great, and we are eager to make these again with Better Than Roasted Pistachio Butter or Pecan Butter!

Double Chocolate Cookies are a chocolate lover's treat! Would be equally good to make into bars instead of cookies.

We used Green and Black's 72% baking chocolate, chopped into chunks - yum! Used some oat flour and raw cane sugar, which we think we will omit next time because the flour made it more crumbly and the sugar didn't dissolve, so it was still coarse/gritty. And we will underbake for more fudginess. But overall a great cookie. Good with homemade ice cream!

Our favorite recipe in Vive le Vegan thus far is the Pineapple Lemon Bars.

When we were young we would always make lemon bars, but those had egg, LOTS of powdered sugar, and no fiber. This recipe is top noch! No powdered sugar - just 2 1/2 tsp agave; fiber from the oats and whole grain flour (we used oat flakes and triticale flakes and oat flour); and fruit as the main filling instead of the powdered sugar and egg. Pineapple pairs well with lemon!

Overall it was very easy and quick. The crust held well together (which was nice, because sometimes when we make bars, the crusts crumble). We will definetely try this recipe again, but make modifications. How about a strawberry pineapple lemon bar? Or blueberry lemon bar? ...

What recipes in Vive le Vegan have you guys tried that you highly recommend??!

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fresh Meals for an Active Day

It's already May, and we love that it's warmer outside with beautiful colorful flowers. Spring and especially summer always makes us feel so refreshed and eager to be active outside and also to eat healthy. We love fresh light healthy meals on a warmer sunny day. Here's some recent nutritious fresh meals that we have enjoyed!

Super-powered berry breakfast:
Soaked barley flakes with soy milk, raw flaxmeal, and antioxidant-rich sundried white mullberries and freeze-dried pomegranates. And, a creamy berry smoothie with frozen blueberries, bananas, and more soy milk.

Tart, fruity, and nutritious to rejuvenate us for the day!
Mullberries are very nutritious, full of antioxidants, iron and vitamin C. They taste like flowery dates, with hints of coconut and raisins.

Pomegranates are also nature's superfood, with high levels of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants.

What unique berry have you tried, and how do you incorporate more antioxidant-rich fruit in your diet?

Salsa Tofu Scramble:
With black beans, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, and spices. When served with tortilla chips, steamed broccoli, and fresh tomato wedges, and eaten on the patio in the warm Oregon spring weather, this meal makes for a nice fiesta dinner!

Tofu is a great meat-alternative, filled with healthy soy protein, isoflavones, calcium, and iron.

Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables, high in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, fiber, folate, and other nutrients. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it is powerful in flavonoids, especially anti-cancer phytonutrient sulforaphane and phytonutrient lutein.

What's your favorite dish to eat broccoli and tofu? What's a unique recipe you use that has soy/tofu?

Whole Grain Millet Bowl:
This tasty and nutritious meal was easy to make - cooked millet mixed with olives, tomatoes, chives, and extra virgin olive oil.

As a gluten-free whole grain, millet has a great nutty, buttery flavor with a texture between rice and couscous. It is a great way to incorporate more fiber and heart-healthy whole grains in one's diet, and is a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and other nutrients.

Olives (and olive oil) is a great way to consume more healthy mono-unsaturated fats and polyphenols.

Which gluten-free grains do you enjoy, and how do you prepare them? What's your favorite brand of olive oil with the best flavor? We love trying different extra virgin olive oils to detect the various aromatic flavors.

Yay for May flowers and fresh eats!
P.S. For delectable eats, Ricki Heller has written Sweet Freedom, a cookbook of delicious vegan desserts. Check out her giveaway post for more information - you can have a chance to win a free copy of her new cookbook!

Pomegranate on FoodistaTofu on FoodistaBroccoli on Foodista