Thursday, July 24, 2014

Food Review: Gardein Golden Fishless Filets

Gardein's Fishless Filets

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

Do you remember how I (and so many others) raved about Gardein’s new Golden Fishless Filets when they debuted at Expo West (if not, here is a refresher!)? Well, I have been anxiously awaiting these golden nuggets of goodness to turn up in stores, and at the beginning of July Fresh and Easy started carrying them! I had already stocked up on Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Tartar Sauce (it was already anxiously awaiting the arrival of the filets at home), so I was all ready to have these little pieces of heaven back in my mouth again…I just hoped that they tasted as good as I remember them tasting.

Vegan Fish and Chips

I first tried them a la “fish and chips” style – I baked them in the oven along with some tots, spritzed the filets with lemon, and tried them with vegan tartar sauce. OH MY! They were just as good as I remembered, even though I just baked them and didn’t have a deep fryer (they were served deep fried at the Expo). The flavor was weirdly close to what I remember fish tasting like – so close in fact that if you didn’t like fish in your pre-vegan days then you probably won’t like this cruelty-free version! I even tried a filet plain, and it was pretty darn good.

Vegan fish(less) tacos with Gardein's Fishless Filets

I also prepared them by making fish(less) tacos. I took some corn tortillas, spread them with tartar sauce, nestled the filets in, then topped them with cabbage and fresh mango salsa. Again, so good! I used to love fish tacos back in my pre-vegan days, so being able to have fish(less) tacos that taste, look and feel like them AND are cruelty-free is really incredible!

I adored these Golden Fishless Filets, and could probably eat them at every meal, but I wanted to also get an outside opinion from an omnivore. Cue Mister Spooky! I had him try the filets both plain and prepared, and he loved them! I mean like REALLY loved them to the point where he was bragging about their tastiness to his omni friends (can we say SWOON!!). He said they tasted just like fish and while he thought they were missing that flaky flesh (ew) texture, they actually came pretty close. He was excited that he could buy these now and not buy actual fish (yay!).

I have only seen these Fishless Filets at Fresh and Easy, but I expect that they will soon be available at Whole Foods (if they aren’t already) or local health food stores. Gardein has a handy store locator on their site, so check it out to see which stores might be carrying this product in your area.

Then swim, don’t walk, to the store to pick up this delicious vegan product! It is definitely still one of my favorite vegan products from this year and I know I’ll be enjoying it for many years to come.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Healthy Junk Hosts Vegan Faire in Orange County this Weekend

Healthy Junk, an all-vegan restaurant located on the Center Street Promenade in Anaheim, California, is hosting their first ever Vegan Faire, this Saturday, July 26th from noon to 6 PM!

Vegan Faire will feature a variety of booths, workshops, live music, demos and vegan food for attendees. Healthy Junk has announced some of the companies who will be showcasing their products/services/food, including The Yoga Mat, lululemon, The Donuttery, Hubert's Lemonade, Sambazon, Sea Shepard, plus workshops on henna body art, yoga, and more!

Check out the flyer below for more info:

Beauty Review: Desert Essence Coconut Hair Defrizzer and Heat Protector

My hair takes a lot of abuse - I dye it every month, not to mention I blow dry it several times a week and then use a straightening iron on it pretty much every day. My hair is thick, coarse and frizzy, so it takes a lot to tame it. And all that taming damages my hair.

I normally don’t use a heat protector on my hair prior to blow-drying or straightening, but after reading an article stressing the importance of using one, I figured I better start, especially since my hair was becoming really damaged and unmanageable.

I happened upon Desert Essence’s Coconut Hair Defrizzer and Heat Protector while browsing the aisles at Sprouts Market. It was on sale, so that got my attention first, and I already love Desert Essence’s products, so that made me pick it up to check the ingredients. It was labeled vegan and a quick scan of the ingredients verified that (or, I could have just used the handy “Is it Vegan?” app on my phone). Also, I love coconut, so into my basket it went!

I’ve used the spray for about three weeks now, and I’ll never know how I went so long without it! I spray it into my damp hair after getting out of the shower, comb through, then blow dry and straighten. I can also use it on dry hair for when I need to use my straightening iron for touch ups (which is basically every morning since I tend to wake up with serious bedhead).

I love that this spray doesn’t gunk up my hair or make it hard to blow dry or straighten. It leaves my hair much more manageable (it even acts as a detangler), smoother (it gets rid of the frizz!), softer and just feeling much more healthy. It is brilliant at getting rid of my frizz and making my hair much less “fluffy”. It also revives my second day hair and give it life for another day so I can skip of day of showering. I love the light scent of coconut and it is never overpowering. This light spray is perfect for everyday use and I feel it is keeping my hair healthier, stronger and sleeker.

I highly recommend Desert Essence’s Coconut Hair Defrizzer and Heat Protector as this lightweight spray seems to do it all! It detangles,  it defrizzes, it smooths, it smells nice, and makes my hair feel healthier, all without weighing my hair down or making it feel like there is product in it. This has definitely become an essential tool in my hair care routine!

Buy it on Amazon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Food Review: Earth Balance Vegan Mac n Cheese

The vegan holy grail! Mac n cheese!

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

By now, most of you know that the wonderful Earth Balance has begun making vegan mac n cheese, sold in boxes just like the Kraft stuff most of us were familiar with in our pre-vegan days! I don’t know about you, but those boxes of mac n cheese hold so many nostalgic memories for me, so in my opinion I think it is fantastic that this comfort food has finally been veganized!

Earth Balance has made two flavors – the classic orange-colored cheddar flavor, plus a white cheddar flavor. Both flavors should be on store shelves this month (some are already hitting the shelves of local health food stores and Whole Foods), but I got impatient and just ordered mine online from the fine folks at Rabbit Food Grocery.

Earth Balance Cheddar Mac and Cheese topped with Parmela, 
Bacony Bits and served with a side of purple kale

I tried the cheddar flavor first. Making it was exactly like making the Kraft kind – boil water, add the macaroni noodles, drain, then add in the (vegan) cheese powder, non-dairy milk (I used rice milk) and butter (of course I used Earth Balance)!  Mix it all up, let it sit to solidify for five minutes, season with salt and pepper and dig in! For extra cheesiness, I added some Parmela Vegan Parmesan crumbles and for some added smokiness I sprinkled some Wayfare Pig Out Bacony Bits on top!

After taking the first bite, I was amazed at how close it resembled the Kraft  mac n cheese from my pre-vegan days. At first, it was a little watery, but like I mentioned above if you let it sit in the pot after cooking it solidifies nicely. I also felt it had a slightly sweet taste, but I couldn't tell if that was just my tastebuds being weird or the flavor itself, though it seemed to go away after I seasoned it with salt, pepper and topped it with the Parmela and Bacony Bits.

Earth Balance White Cheddar Mac and Cheese topped
with Louisville Vegan Jerky Company jerky

I also tried the white cheddar, and though I had assumed I wouldn't like it as much as the cheddar flavor, I was surprised to find I loved this flavor! It is prepared the exact same way the cheddar flavor is, and I seasoned it with salt, pepper and topped it with Louisville Vegan Jerky Company Bourbon Smoked Spicy Chipotle jerky. The flavor was pure cheesy goodness...I just couldn't stop eating it!

I was really pleased with how both these flavors tasted…sometimes you just need comfort foods from childhood and it is so awesome that a decent vegan option for mac n cheese in a box now exists! The only previous experience I had with vegan mac n cheese in a box didn't go as well – it was when I first went vegan 6+ years ago and tried some Chreese. I didn't care for it much and didn't taste anything like the Kraft mac n cheese! Earth Balance has come to the rescue and finally successfully veganized a childhood favorite! I feel like a broken record, but they have done it AGAIN! Kudos to Earth Balance and hurrah for vegan junk food!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Celebrate Vegan Pizza Day with a Pizza Cake!

The infamous pizza cake (non-vegan version in this photo, obvs), which was actually
 just an ad for some pizza chain (source)

Vegan Pizza Day is this Saturday, June 28th and I found the perfect way to celebrate the deliciousness of vegan pizza - by building an epic vegan pizza CAKE!! Yup, that's right, that is a savory "cake" that is built out of multiple layers of pizza and wrapped up in a crispy crust.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Day at the Los Angeles Vegan Beer and Food Festival 2014

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

I attended my very first LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival this past weekend! I was so happy I was finally able to go and so excited to eat and drink my way through a Saturday afternoon. This was the event's 5th year, and it just keeps growing! This year the fest sold out in record time and hosted about 2,500+ people. The event attracts vegans and the veg-curious from near and far, and with good reason - vegan beer and food, all day long! I had a really great time, as did all who attended, but I wanted to walk you through my day there, let you know some of few annoyances I encountered, and offer tips and tricks to maximize your time at the fest should you attend next year (which I hope you do!).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Help "Change the World One Bite at a Time" with Bikini Bites' Fundraiser

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

Bikini Bites embodies the DIY punk spirit, as its creator Betty Mankiller is a one-woman vegan catering rock star specializing in tantalizing on-the-go food! She regularly serves up her all-vegan noms at various concerts, record release parties, and other special events around Orange County and LA. Besides running her own catering business, she recently created the all-vegan menu for the Black Rose Tavern in Los Angeles, regularly hosts fundraisers for animal rescues, and donates a portion of her profits to animal welfare causes.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Pre-Sale Tickets Available for Veggie Prom West 2014

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

Dust off your dancing shoes, brush off your tuxedo suit and get gussied up in a gorgeous gown because Veggie Prom is coming to SoCal and you are cordially invited!

This is SoCal’s first Veggie Prom event and it will be held at the Animal Advocacy Museum in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 28th.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pre-order Phoney Baloney's Four NEW Coconut Bacon Flavors (Hurry, Limited Time Offer!)

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

A few months ago I attended the Natural Products Expo West, and one of the very first booths I visited was Phoney Baloney's! I was so stoked to try their four NEW coconut bacon flavors, which they unveiled at Expo and certainly didn't disappoint! They even made my list of top 10 products at the Expo!

The new Phoney Baloney's coconut bacon flavors include Apple Fennel, Chipotle BBQ, Candied, and a soy-free, reduced sodium product! I tried them all at Expo and can attest to their supreme tastiness!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Beauty Review: Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash

Written by Sarah E. Jahier

I am always on the hunt for a face wash that can multi-task. I need something that not only removes my makeup (including lots of dark eyeliner) and cleanses, but is also gentle on my face and tones and moisturizes. I've never seen a cleanser than can handle all these tasks, and I generally end up using different cleansers for different tasks – I use makeup-removing wipes to get rid of makeup, then a cleanser to wash my face, then toner and/or moisturizer.

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