Vegan Cuts Snack Box Review

snack-box-july

By now most of you have heard about Vegan Cuts, and if you haven’t, I’m here to tell y’all about it.  Vegan Cuts is a monthly subscription box full of vegan and natural food products and snacks. They offer two monthly boxes – The Vegan Snack Box and the Vegan Beauty Box. I was lucky enough to try out my sample for review and I absolutely love this concept. You get to sample many products that you normally might not find in your local supermarket. A lot of the products were unfamiliar to me, so I was really excited to try them out.

This is what I received in my Sample Snack Box:

IMG_0791

Mostly every product that I received was new to me except The Good Bean and The Chia Drink. I immediately ate The Good Bean because even though I had seen this product before I hadn’t tried it. I love roasting my own chickpeas at home for a snack, but it’s nice to see these being packaged. I loved this product and look forward to ordering some to keep in my pantry. It’s a great snack to have on hand for the family!

I’ve seen a lot of Hemp Hearts out there, but hadn’t gotten around to buying them and was so excited that these were in my snack box. I sprinkled them over salad and loved this product. The gluten-free Mary’s Gone Crackers and the Bumble Bar were really tasty. The Salted Caramel Peanut Butter from The 3 Nuts was heavenly and dangerous – I’m glad there was only a small sample of this because who knows what might of happened. I spread it on some dark chocolate and oh boy! YUM! It was nice to get some Mighty Leaf tea samples because I always love to try new flavors. The Green Tea Tropical and Organic African Nectar teas were truly delicious. The Skratch Labs Hydration Drink the tastiest sports drink I have tried yet. However, I never drink these types of drinks, so it’s not something I will probably buy, but still good if you like sports drinks.

Lastly, the Mario Camacho Olive Snack Pack was SO GOOD. I am an olive addict and I am definitely going to have to order these to have with my salads everyday.

I really love that Vegan Cuts’ Snack Boxes are getting vegan products out to more people. There are so many wonderful companies popping up with great products and most of them are not available at stores yet. I love the idea of being introduced to healthy, quick and on-the-go treats that I haven’t had before. We all need more of those! The monthly subscription for Vegan Cuts is $19.95 which is a fair price when I think of all the times I’ve purchased a product that I didn’t like and had spent hard-earned money to just throw it away. With this you can sample a few products and figure out what you like for future purchases.

Have you tried Vegan Cuts before? If not, is it something you would try? I definitely want to sign up to receive a monthly snack box and I’m really interested in their Beauty Box too!

snack-box-june

XOXO,

Jen

Vegan Slow Cooker for Beginners Cookbook Giveaway

slowcooker

Vegan Slow Cooker for Beginners (Rockbridge Press) will take the time and frustration out of cooking vegan at home. This cookbook has 150 easy and delcious vegan slow cooker meals perfect for the busy vegan.

This is a great starter book for creating hearty vegan slow cooker meals. There are recipes for breakfast, snacks, sides, appetizers, soups, stews/chilies, beans/grains and vegetables.

Vegan crowd-pleasers, such as Black Bean Breakfast Burritos, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake – this cookbook has it all!

I had to offer up this wonderful chili recipe for the giveaway today. It is Superbowl weekend – if you didn’t know – and who isn’t looking for a chili recipe to serve at a party? I know I am!

This is a super easy chili to make, it took no time at all to throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker and hit the timer. It’s cooking now and it smells delicious! So, make it today for Superbowl because chili is ALWAYS better the next day.

Black Bean and Chipotle Pepper Chili

blackbeanchili (1 of 1)

Black Bean and Chipotle Pepper Stew/Chili
 
Chipotle Peppers are ripe red jalapeno peppers that have been smoked and dried. Chipotle literally means "smoked chili." The vast majority of these peppers come from Chihuahua, a state in northern Mexico
Author:
Recipe type: Stew/Chili
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 or 2 chipotle peppers
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Diced avocado, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine the beans, tomatoes with their juices, vegetable stock, quinoa, onion, green and red bell peppers, garlic, and chipotle peppers in the slow cooker.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, coriander, cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  4. Removed the chipotle peppers
  5. Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with the fresh cilantro, and serve hot with diced avocado, if desired.
Notes
I diced the chipotle peppers and did not remove them. I also cooked the quinoa separate. Reheat the quinoa when ready to serve the stew/chili and stirred it into each serving.

***** This Giveaway is now closed ******

And now for the GIVEAWAY and Good Luck!

To enter the contest, leave a comment sharing some of your favorite Superbowl recipe.

Don’t forget to leave your contact information so I can let you know if you win. =)

BONUS ENTRIES

You MUST leave each entry as a SEPARATE comment or only one comment will count.

  • Like Virtually Vegan Mama on Facebook and leave a comment on my wall.
  • Subscribe to Virtually Vegan Mama
  • Follow Virtually Vegan Mama on Twitter
  • Follow Virtually Vegan Mama on Pinterest
  • Tweet about this giveaway and tell me that you tweeted in the comments section; “I just entered to win Vegan Slow Cooker for Beginners! @virtveganmama”
  • Share this giveaway on your Facebook Page and tell me that you did so in the comments section
  • Pin it

All entries must be completed no later than Saturday, February 8, 2014,  at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Winner will be announced on Sunday, February 9th, 2014, on my blog, and the winner will also be notified via the email address they provided in the comments section.

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents only. =)

Good Luck!

xoxo,

Jen

Can’t wait and you need this book now. Well, don’t fret, you can buy it here: Vegan Slow Cooker for Beginners

Neat Foods Review and a recipe for Polish Golabki (Stuffed Cabbage)

I was very excited when Neat Foods asked me if I wanted to sample/review their product. I had never heard of Neat before, but I loved the sound of it.

Neat is derived from nuts, beans, whole grain oats and other natural ingredients. This product is an easy-to-make, great tasting replacement for ground beef.It’s healthy, it’s quick to make, and it tastes awesome! It’s 100% VEGETARIAN — SOY FREE — GLUTEN FREE — GUILT FREE. I absolutely love this stuff and I’m so glad I was able to test it out and share it with you all. It’s definitely going to have a permanent home in my pantry.

Neat comes in three different flavors: Original, Italian and Mexican. We made these awesome stuffed cabbages below with the original mix.

 IMG_0059

 We also enjoyed these perfect tacos with the Mexican mix – SO GOOD!

IMG_0026

We made Neatballs with sauce with the Italian mix, but alas I didn’t get any pictures of that, but it was just as incredible as all the other recipes. I will however share with you our favorite recipe that my husband made for us. This was inspired by Food Network’s Diners and Drive-in’s and Dives that my hubby has been watching. He’s been loving this show lately and wanting to veganize everything he sees. Love that. =)

Enjoy this recipe and check out Neat Foods, you will not be disappointed with this product. YUM!

Polish Galabki (Stuffed Cabbage)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Polish
Serves: Makes 12 Polish Cabbage Rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 whole head cabbage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package Neat Original Mix
  • 1½ cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
Cashew Cream Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 1 (28) oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 15-20 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 12 leaves.
  3. While cabbage is cooking, prepare tomato sauce. Combine cashews, whole peeled tomatoes, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer sauce to medium-sized sauce pot and heat on medium until it simmers.
  4. When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.
  5. Chop the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a casserole dish.
  6. Add the chopped onion to a non-stick skillet. When onions start to stick, add 1 tbsp of vegetable stock or water and stir. Saute onions until translucent, adding small amounts of vegetable stock or water if onions start to stick. While onions are cooking, prepare Neat according to package directions. Add Neat Original Mix to a non-stick skillet and brown on medium, breaking it up as you would meat, for seven minutes or until browned.
  7. Mix onions with Neat, cooked brown rice, garlic, salt and black pepper until well combined.
  8. Place about ½ cup of filling on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the filling. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little roll.
  9. Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish. Pour vegetable stock over rolls, ladle tomato sauce on top and cover. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Serve cabbage rolls with pan juices and tomato sauce.
Notes
Neat Vegan Instructions:

1. Prepare EnerG according to the box to replace 2 eggs: 3 teaspoons EnerG,
4 T warm water

2. Prepare neat according to package: 2T water & Prepared EnerG

3. Then for the vegan prep only, add an additional 3-4T water so the mix becomes moist

4. Cook according to neat instructions: 7 min in a non stick skillet, breaking it up as you cook, as you would ground beef.

 

Adapted from Polish Golabki Recipe About.com – there are some nice step-by-step instructions there if you need some.

XOXO,

Jen

Apple Brandy Cranberry Sauce

IMG_0238

You really can’t beat this cranberry sauce. It’s unbelievably delicious and so easy to make. If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce, now is your chance. I have made several versions over the years, but this is by far my favorite. I served this over Thanksgivukkah and it’s making another appearance for Christmas.

Cranberry sauce is really good anytime of year and it’s perfect for canning and gifting. I really want to start a homemade gift basket of my favorite healthy recipes to start giving my loved ones over the holidays.  I have a laundry list of things I want to do, but sometimes I feel my day is a success if I get all three kids – including myself – showered, dressed and out of the house on time!

IMG_0248

 The addition of apple brandy really makes the flavors of this cranberry sauce pop. It’s not overpowering at all, but adds some warmth and spirit to it. It has 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup which is just the right amount of “sweet” for me. Can I be in love with a recipe? Yep! Am I super corny when I write about food? That too!

Apple Brandy Cranberry Sauce
 
Cook time
Total time
 
This cranberry sauce is the perfect addition to your holiday table or enjoyed anytime of year.
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Ingredients
  • 1 (12) oz. bag cranberries, washed
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ½ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp Apple Brandy
  • ¼ tsp fresh clementine or orange zest
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add cranberries, apple juice, maple syrup, apple brandy, orange zest and cinnamon to medium saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juice is thick. Remove from heat and cool. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

 

If you need some inspiration for some last-minute homemade gifts, check out Richa’s awesome Vegan Christmas Cookies & Jar Gifts. I am absolutely in love with these, so easy and so cute.

I was running out of ideas for the Elf on the Shelf and she saved me with these. If you are plagued with these somewhat creepy elves over the holidays, you know how easy it is to run out of ideas. Nevertheless, the kids love these little guys and they absolutely loved Cookies in a Jar!

 *crappy iphone pic alert*

IMG_0180

Does anyone make homemade/handmade gifts over the holidays?

Don’t be shy and share your thoughts, it’s more fun that way!

Happy Holidays!!

xoxo,

Jennifer

Pomegranate & Pistachio Chocolate Fudge

fudgefg (1 of 1)

When RedEnvelope came to me and asked if I would feature my favorite, go-to holiday recipe on my blog and complement it with a gift from their Unique Anniversary Gifts, I couldn’t resist the challenge. Some of my favorite holiday recipes are non-vegan ones that I still want to veganize and recreate a healthier version. Since my creativity level is at an all-time high again, my mind quickly created this recipe – dessert perfection. Pomegranate & Pistachio Chocolate Fudge seemed like a very festive and delicious place to start!

fudge1 (1 of 1)

Fudge is one of the most iconic sweet treats to indulge in during the holiday season and is perfect for gifting. Traditional fudge recipes require a lot of time to perfect a smooth, velvety fudge, but not this recipe. It’s so easy to make and I went through several trials to make sure I brought you the perfect holiday fudge recipe.

Pomegranate arils, pistachios, chocolate, peanut butter and a hint of orange make for an unbelievable flavor combination, perfectly complementing each other. When you bite into this fudge, the juice from pomegranate arils burst open with their natural sweetness, enhancing the flavors of the other ingredients. Seriously, prepare to have this fudge rock your world.

I know you are curious to see what gift I chose to compliment this fabulous fudge. So, before you go running off into the kitchen to make this recipe here it is.

Monogram keepsake box + champagne toasting flutes

redenvelope

I have personally gone to RedEnvelope in the past for unique gifts to give my mother and father, my in-laws, or that someone who has everything. I love gifting from RedEnvelope because I know I am going to find something that they wouldn’t normally buy themselves and/or don’t have already. I also love the ability to personalize an item and make it special.

What a perfect pairing this holiday fudge makes with these beautiful champagne flutes. It warms my heart to think of my loved ones sitting by the fire – insert carpet picnic – drinking out of these champagne flutes and indulging on this decadent dessert.

Pomegranate & Pistachio Chocolate Fudge (vegan, gluten-free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This decadent dessert is the perfect gift, treat or ending to your holiday meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup coconut butter, packed at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ⅔ cup whole pistachios, shelled
  • ⅔ cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • 2 tsp fresh clementine zest
Instructions
  1. Line a 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper, overlapping on all four sides.
  2. Combine maple syrup, peanut butter, coconut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt in a high-powered blender or food processor and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized bowl and stir in pistachios, pomegranate arils, and clementine zest. Stir to combine.
  3. Transfer to pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Use your finger to even it out and make swirls on top. Place in refrigerator for a few hours or until firm. Slice into small squares.
  4. Store fudge in an air-tight container or freeze until ready to use. If storing in freezer, defrost for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.
Notes
Recipe makes 24 1" x 1" squares
I used Artisana Coconut Butter.
You can also use any nut butter of choice, but the peanut butter was really yummy in this recipe.
When spreading the fudge in the pan, push the pomegranate arils down with your finger into the fudge.
Make it raw by using raw peanut butter, raw pistachios and raw cacao powder.

 

What are some of your favorite desserts to gift over the holidays? Don’t be shy and share your thoughts, comments make my day!

Happy Holidays,

Jennifer

This post is part of the RedEnvelope Holiday Recipe Round-Up but the content and ideas expressed are my own.