Friday Finds

As you may have guessed already, Nick and I love to go grocery shopping, and we love looking for new finds. I always get so excited when I see a new product on Instagram or Facebook because then it’s like a treasure hunt to find it! Over the last several weeks we’ve scored some really awesome finds, and I wanted to share them with you!

Square Bars:
Friday Finds
I’m usually not a big fan of protein bars, but these are awesome! They taste more like a candy bar, which makes me really happy! They do have some sugar in them, but I love that they are non-gmo, organic, and are a good source of protein. They are great when I need a snack, and they’re great before, or after, a workout. I haven’t gotten my hands on the peanut butter one yet, but so far the chocolate covered coconut is my favorite.

Glutiny Beer from New Belgium Brewing:
Friday Finds
I’m definitely not a beer drinker, but it’s great to have some tasty beer on hand for baking, or for a good beer batter. While this beer is not certified gluten free, it’s crafted in such a way to remove the gluten. There is a similar beer, daura, that we’ve used in the past, and this is a lot like that. Nick is a fan of New Belgium, and he liked it a lot. I will admit, I tasted it, and it wasn’t awful. (remember, I said I’m not a beer drinker) I can’t wait to make beer battered buffalo cauliflower!

Millet & Chia gluten free/vegan bread from Little Northern Bakehouse:
Friday Finds
I got a heads up on this product on Instagram from Melissa at It’s Got Vegan in It. While I’m not a celiac, I like to cut my gluten intake because I like to try different flours, and different grains. When I found out that they sold this bread at MOM’s, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I grabbed a loaf of the millet & chia bread to try. I made it as toast, and topped it with cashew butter and raspberry jam. Delicious! It has great texture, and flavor. And it doesn’t have a gluten free free flavor. I was worried it might be really dense, and gummy, but it’s light, and wonderful! I can’t wait to try their other flavors, too!

Wegman’s Organic Cashew Butter:
Friday Finds
I like nut butters just as much as the next person, but I usually just stick to peanut or almond butter. But while at Wegman’s last week I happened to see this jar of cashew butter and I was intrigued. Cashews are a vegan staple, so I was excited to try them as a butter. This stuff is SO good! Now, I’m sure that there are other brands of cashew butter that are available, but this is just what I happened to grab. (I’ve heard Trader Joe’s makes a good one) It’s super thick and creamy, and it’s great on toast. I definitely reach for this when I head to the pantry!

Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers:
Friday Finds
We heard about these on Instagram through VegNews. Nick LOVES Swedish Fish, and so he was excited to find something similar without all of the artificial colors. These things are crazy good, and crazy addictive. They’re super soft, and they have great fruit-like flavor. I think the bag was only $2.99. What a steal! So, so good.

Lily’s Stevia-Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips:
Friday Finds
Now to be honest, we haven’t tried these yet, but we can’t wait to try them! They are a favorite of Somer McCowan who wrote “The Abundance Diet”. She suggested them (or Enjoy Life) for several recipes, so we were excited to get our hands on these. Can’t wait to bake something delicious with them! And they’re fair trade! Yay!

Amy’s Candy Bars:
Friday Finds
I’ve always looked at Amy’s candy bars in the past, and they were never vegan, so I always walked away sad. BUT! I happened to look at them again while at MOM’s (all of the bars were on sale), and TWO of them were vegan! Say what?! Needless to say, I bought them both. I think the Dreamy is going to be like a 3 Musketeers or a Buccaneer bar. The Sunny bar is a lot like an Almond Joy. There are two bars in each package, so they’re great for sharing!

Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy ice cream:
Friday Finds
I might, or might have not, squealed out loud when we found these. I would have grabbed all 4 flavors, but we didn’t have room in our freezer, but believe me, I’ll be making room for them! We tried them when we got home, and they are AMAZING! They’re creamy, delicious, and full of all kinds of yummy chunks of stuff. I also love that they’re fair trade! There are some arguments out there that we (the vegan community) shouldn’t buy these because they support a company that’s a part of the dairy business. My hope is that they will out-sell the dairy flavors and we’ll send a huge message to them! I’ve heard they’ll be rolling out nationwide in the next 3-6 weeks. We found these at Wegman’s, too. They weren’t with the non-dairy ice creams, but with the regular Ben & Jerry’s display. And you know what? The non-dairy flavors had been ransacked! Yay for non-dairy!

I love finding new things to try, and sometimes you have to look where you might in a crazy spot, but it’s always worth it in the end! What great vegan finds have you found recently?

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Sunday Sips: Spring Blonde Ale by New Belgium Brewing

Ah, spring is in the air… Oh wait, its not.  Portland and Seattle are both getting snow effectively shutting down the cities, the east coast is having ice and snow storms and here in the midwest I have two words to describe the weather… freaking COLD.  I’m ready to move.  This winter has been one for the ages, its just been awful.  There is no break in any of the cold streaks.  I think that’s what’s made it so bad.  Well I’m going to keep trying to drink some different beers to bring on spring.  So this week I’ve got a Spring Blonde Ale by New Belgium.  This is one of those light cheery crisp beers that just makes you happy.  It brought a little bit of sunshine to our dreary days.
Spring Blonde

I can’t say that it was a beauty on the eyes. It was a straw colored golden beer. It almost bordered on looking like a cider. Definitely a filtered ale, there wasn’t any sense of things floating in this beer. I was disappointed by the head on this. It was nonexistent. But I pushed on. The nose was a bit like lemon, and a good sense of some breadiness to it. It has a really crisp mouthfeel, sweet, but not overly so it finished with a nice bit of bitterness to round things out. It had some definite notes of maltiness, but much more subtle malts that you’d find in Europe. Then the end was that bit of citrusy hops. I really enjoyed the beer, I’d give it a solid 3.5 out of 5. It would have got higher if it would have been more visually appealing. I could always blame this on the bottle perhaps having sat for awhile. In any case, don’t disparage, find this beer, crack it open and think of those lovely spring days.

Sunday Sips: Pumpkick by New Belgium Brewing

So last week I teased you all with talking about seasonals.  And while I’m not really ready for it to be the time of year that we’re into fall seasonals, I found myself drawn into the amazing artwork on this bottle of beer.  I think you have all probably noticed by now that generally I’m a fan of New Belgium Brewing.  They tend to do their beer the right way, without over doing it, trying to make things in a more eco-conscious way and really just making a great tasting product.  So what do we have here, we’ve got a pumpkin ale called Pumpkick.  And as for the artwork its this fantastic jackolantern getting kicked into the air.

 
Pump kick
 

Usually I’m not into pumpkin beers. They tend to be all spice, with no real pumpkin flavor to them. And after drinking this one, its more of the same. Sometimes I’m not sure why I try. All that being said, it was still good, just not for my palate. But lets get into the particulars about that. You’ve got a really nice deep rust color going on with the pour, with a little head that was an off white in color. There was more there but I was really getting hung up on trying to get good lighting to take the picture. The lacing was well pronounced though. This beer had a little bit of a bite to it. The ABV was a nice rounded 6%. The flavors were your traditional cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, you know, pumpkin pie in a bottle. There was just a hint of a fruitiness to it that the brewers claim is cranberry. I didn’t really get the cranberry, but I did find it to have a nice bright bite. The beer got better as it warmed up a little bit as the flavors were able to meld a little better. All that being said though I’m not going to end up going out and buying more. As I said earlier I have trouble with pumpkin beers so please don’t read too much into my thoughts on this one, if you like pumpkin ales I think you’ll enjoy it. As for me though I give it a 2 out of 5.

Catch you all next week.

Sunday Sips: Snow Day from New Belgium Brewery

Earlier this summer my team won a best ball golf tournament at work, as part of that we got a gift card to a local watering hole.  We still hadn’t used that, so Jackie and I decided to take her sister to the place and have a drink with some french fries.  (Look I never said vegan meant healthy.)

There were a lot of beer options available and I really wasn’t sure what to get, so I just decided to go with my old standby of New Belgium Brewery and hit up their seasonal.  Their winter seasonal is the Snow Day Ale.

Snow Day
Its a darker ale with a whole lot of hoppiness going on.  Its got some coffee flavors, also has a bit of a carmelness to it from the malts that makes it drinkable, and then the hops hit you.  The only part of the hops that I didn’t much care for in this beer was the grapefruit bitterness that it contributed.  You know how there are different types of bitterness?  Well this one gave me the distinct reminder of grapefruit.  Now, one thing I found a little different in this one was that I enjoyed it more as it warmed up.  Most of the time I like my beer cold, but its nice to have some that just get better as they sit there.  The beer wasn’t overly heavy on the flavors or the alcohol, it weighed in at 6.2% ABV, so its really rather drinkable.  If I was stuck inside on a snow day I wouldn’t turn it down.  All things being equal though it also wouldn’t be the first beer I’d grab for.  I’m going to give it a 3.5 out of 5.

Hope you all have a great day, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the posting a bit more.  I’ve got a 4 book, book review coming up one of these days, and Jackie and I have 3 more days of Chicago food fun to post about, and I’m a bit delinquent in food posts.  (It SUCKS when you don’t get all that wonderful CSA goodness in the winter.)  Food just starts to get kinda boring and ho hum.