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?

Sunday Sips: Botswain Douple IPA Twin Screw Steamer

Hey guys,

Its been another good week. I feel like I’ve got a lot accomplished and been really busy. I got to see my parents yesterday and we had a great time out on the Mississippi. We were bumming around Dubuque Iowa. Now today we’ve had a somewhat lazy day after church. I say somewhat because its been really busy, but in a relaxed manner. I smoked some tofu and made homemade mac and cheese to go along with grilled zucchini for lunch. Pretty amazing and gave me that BBQ flavor I’ve been craving. As for the rest of the day I spent a lot of time trying to find movie clips to use as my intros to Men’s Fraternity. Its a group that I’m part of at church that really uses the bible to talk about what it really means to be a man. We’ve got a lot of guys that don’t really know or have never been taught in the world today so its a ministry I’m super behind.

All that leads me to now, I was like its mega hot outside, I could go for a cold one so I cracked open this bottle of the Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer courtesy of Trader Joes. This was their own label, so I know that someone else made it for them and it got repackaged.

Boatswain Double IPA

Nice big bottle of the bubbly stuff (which it had nice carbonation). It poured a really dark amber which seemed inviting. Not a lot of head, fairly light in color, maybe closer to a light straw mixed with a bit of white, that is kind of hard to get out of the picture against our yellow table. Anyway, the lacing was good, it was a full bodied beer and a bit on the heavier side at 8.4% ABV. It took its namesake of being a double IPA and was loaded with hops weighing in at 75 IBUs. This was not a light beer. But where to go from here. Lets start with the nose… The nose was completely unremarkable, I mean like there was hardly anything there, I thought it almost smelled metallic (possibly a sign of a beer that sat too long?) And the taste was definitely bitter, but more like a burnt bitter, no crispness from the hops. Just a poorly rounded beer, though the mouth feel was pretty nice. I’ll be honest with you all, I didn’t finish it, I just didn’t feel like wasting my time on a drink I didn’t love. I’m giving this a 1.5 out of 5. Steer clear or be happy to tell me that I just got a skunky old beer. I don’t know, but I didn’t care for it at all.

Now onto better things, Jacks made some chocolate chip donuts… YUM!

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan & gluten free)

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to bake very much as of late. I KNOW, RIGHT?! But! I had a few spare hours on Thursday and decided to bake some cookies. I had a ripe avocado on hand and so I decided to make some avocado chocolate chip cookies. I know, it sounds weird. I was skeptical, too. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE avocados – but I wasn’t sure about them in a cookie. I mean, avocados and sugar? That just sounds gross. But these cookies rock. They’re super chocolately, rich, fluffy and no where near dry and crumbly (my pet peeve with chocolate chip cookies). SUPER good. And even the dough is tasty! Bonus.

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan and gluten free)

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies
(recipe adapted via Eat, Live, Run)
1 avocado, ripened
1 stick (8 T) Earth Balance, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
egg replacer equal to 2 eggs (I used Ener-G)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Trader Joe’s blend)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 3/4 cups vegan chocolate chips

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the avocado flesh, stick of Earth Balance and brown sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer, mix, and add the vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder and mix to combine. Add chocolate chips and oats. Mix, but be careful not to overmix. Place dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat. After the dough has chilled, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet. Press dough slightly. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (if you can wait that long!)

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan and gluten free)

(This recipe made 3 1/2 dozen cookies for me.)

Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan and gluten free)

Enjoy!

High Five for Friday

What a week! My 8 year anniversary was on Tuesday and my birthday was yesterday! (a lady never reveals her age ;)) It’s been a great week – full and very busy, but great. Just like always, I’m linking up with Lauren.

1. Nick and I went to Des Moines on Sunday to make a Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/Penzey’s run. It was a perfect day! We got into town earlier than planned, and so we were able to stock up before everything got crazy busy! It’s great to have a fully stocked vegan pantry again.
Vegan pantry

2. While at Whole Foods, Nick and I ate lunch. We had a slice of Vegan Sausage pizza, and a plate of deliciousness from the salad bar. YUM!
Whole Foods tastiness

3. I found some tasty dried fruit at Trader Joe’s. Can’t get enough of these babies!
Mandarins

4. I made a killer salad the other day for lunch using Beyond Meat. That stuff is super tasty! It was delicious. And the Guava Goddess kombucha is my favorite flavor so far.
Lunch

5. Yesterday was my birthday and I had a great day. Mel came over in the morning (with Starbuck’s in hand, yay!) and B came over with lunch in tow. I’m a spoiled girl. After all of that, Basil was TUCKERED out. What a sweetie.
Somebody is so tired

Have a great weekend, y’all! Big plans for your Cinco de Mayo?