Thursday, October 30, 2008

Warm up your tootsies with vegan winter boots!

It's getting colder here in Washington. We've only dipped into the low 30s a couple of times so far, but colder days will arrive soon, which means it's time to break out the winter clothes and boots.

Since I spent last winter in the South (North Carolina, to be exact) my wardrobe is not exactly up to Pacific Northwest winter standards, which calls for some serious scouring to find the best deals on vegan winter wear - especially warm winter boots to keep my always-freezing feet warm.

Since I'm searching for some cozy vegan winter boots, I figure other vegans are likely doing the same thing. So, I thought I would share a couple of the vegan winter boot options I have found so far...

If you loved Uggs before you went vegan, you might like this next style better. These vegan boots are made by Soda and also have a vegan fleece liner.

(Since this is an old post, the other items that were listed here are no longer available. So...I deleted those to clean up the post and just left this one pair of vegan winter boots up for now. I will make a note to write an updated post with some more vegan boots options. Thanks!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pass the Tings, Please!

Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks are one of my favorite vegan, gluten-free snacks and just might be my all time favorite snack food ever. They are so absolutely, mouth-wateringly delectable that I'm sure you will find them just as addictive as my partner and I do. Tings are light and puffy and have that perfect amount of crunchiness that satisfies snack food cravings. I absolutely love Tings and just can't get enough of them.

Tings are one of many vegan and vegetarian snacks made by Robert's American Gourmet and - for less than $3 a bag - Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks are a great vegan, natural snack to add to your pantry. As an added bonus, you can indulge in them on a regular basis - and feed them to your kids - without guilt!

Click here to read my full article about this great vegan snack food!

Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza: Vegan, Gluten-Free Product Information and Review

Amy's Kitchen makes a variety of vegan and vegetarian foods that can be found in the freezer section of your local natural or health foods market.

Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza is gluten-free, non-dairy and vegan and is made with organic ingredients. There are no GMOs (bioengineered ingredients), preservatives or trans fats.

Each Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza is large enough for three servings and each serving has 350 calories, 20 grams of fat (including 2 grams of saturated fat), 580mg of sodium, 37 carbs, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 25% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A, 8% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, 6% of the daily recommended amount of calcium and 8% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

As you can easily see, Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza is not the healthiest entrée on the market and is certainly not a low carb, low sodium or low fat food. However, it is vegan and gluten-free, which are two things you typically don't find when shopping for pre-made frozen pizzas. Because of this, it is a good option for folks who follow a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or flexitarian diet who would like pizza as an occasional treat, but don't have time to make their own homemade vegan, gluten-free pizza.

My partner and I tried this new vegan frozen pizza option the other night and, while it isn't our favorite pre-fab vegan entree, we will definitely have it again.

Read my full review of Amy's Vegan Spinach Rice Crust Pizza here.

Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie: Vegan Product Information and Review

Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie is made with organic vegetables and tofu and has 30% less fat than their original Vegetable Pot Pie. There are no GMOs (bioengineered ingredients), no cholesterol and no trans fats.

Each package contains one serving (one non-dairy vegetable pot pie) which has 360 calories, 13 grams of fat (including 1.5 grams of saturated fat), 640mg of sodium, 50 carbs, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, 15% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, 6% of the recommended daily amount of calcium and 15% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

Overall, Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie is a delicious occasional addition to a healthy eating plan.

Not all of Amy's Kitchen's products are vegan and the packaging for the regular Vegetable Pot Pie (with dairy) and the Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie are almost identical, so be sure to check for the text "Non-Dairy" above the name and the vegan logo in the lower left-hand corner of the box.

Find out more about Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pies and read my full vegan product review here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lightlife Smart Bacon: Vegan Product Information and Review

I have tried Lightlife Smart Bacon on a number of occasions and have tried cooking them on the stove with a little oil, a lot of oil and no oil. I have also tried cooking this vegan bacon alternative in the oven to see if I would achieve different results. There may be a trick that I am not aware of, but each time I have cooked them they have come out hard, dry and brittle.

For vegans (and anyone else looking for healthier meatless bacon alternatives) I would recommend Lightlife Fakin' Bacon Organic Smokey Tempeh Strips instead. While I'm not a big fan of Lightlife Smart Bacon, their Fakin' Bacon is superb on BLTs, along side a healthy breakfast or for a great snack.

However, Lightlife Smart Bacon is still a great low fat protein source for vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians or others looking for non-meat protein to add to their diet. The flavor and texture leave something to be desired, but each serving of Lighlife Smart Bacon (2 slices) contains 45 calories, 2 grams of fat, 340mg of sodium, 95mg of potassium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2% of the daily recommended amount of calcium and 4% of the daily recommended amount of iron.

Read the full product information and review of Lightlife Smart Bacon here.

Tofurkey Italian Sausage: Vegan Product Information, Review & Cooking Tips

Tofurkey Italian Sausage has a great, robust flavor - in part from the sun-dried tomatoes and basil, I'm sure - and is really a great addition to a number of meals. I have used this tasty meat alternative many, many times in a variety of dishes and have never been disappointed.

Here are my favorite ways to serve this tasty Italian sausage:
# Serve this tasty meatless sausage sandwich style - Cook on stovetop with a small amount of oil and serve on a bun with sautéed onions and green peppers.

# Add tons of flavor and heartiness to pasta - Cut into rounds (like coins) and cook on the stove with a bit of oil, stir into marinara and serve over your choice of pasta. (for an even heartier sauce I sometimes will also mix in vegan ground crumbles along with the Tofurkey Italian Sausage)

# Serve meatless sausage at your next BBQ - Tofurkey Italian Sausage is amazing when cooked on the grill. For added flavor and ease of grilling you can lightly oil the vegan sausage link before placing it on the grill, or just put it on there as is.

# Serve it like a hot dog - For a spicy, vegan alternative to hot dogs, cook Tofurkey Italian Sausage on the stove or the grill and serve in a bun with your favorite hot dog fixings.

# Serve it in a single-bowl meal - When I'm in a rush or just don't feel like spending hours cooking up a vegan feast, my partner and I enjoy eating Tofurkey Italian Sausage mixed with rice and veggies in a bowl. Cut up the Tofurkey Italian Sausage into rounds, cook on the stove with some oil and mix it in with brown rice and steamed vegetables for a quick, filling meal.

To read my full product review and cooking tips for Tofurkey Italian Sausge, click here.

Shells & Chreese - yes, please!

Road's End Organics is famous for their Chreese vegan cheese alternative and the many delightful and easy to prepare Chreese meals they offer. Their vegan Shells & Chreese are just one of their many organic, vegan products that come in 100% recycled paperboard packaging and offer soy-, nut- and meat-free alternatives to some of the favorite meals we grew up with.

Road's End Organics Shells & Chreese is organic, soy-free, nut-free, vegan, trans fat-free and cholesterol free. This macaroni and cheese-type dish is also high in fiber, vitamin B12, iron and folate.

As for taste, well, let me put it this way - my partner and I bought two boxes so that we could give it a try. We split a box between us last night and have decided to buy 10 boxes next time we go grocery shopping. It really is that good.

Read more about Shells & Chreese here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping: Make Every Trip to the Market a Healthy Success!

If you are vegan or vegetarian - or are just trying to improve your healthy eating habits - shopping for healthy foods doesn't have to be a challenge. At first, it might take you a few extra minutes to check for an organic version or to read a list of ingredients, but finding the healthiest foods for your family's health and wellness is well worth the effort.

Click here for seven tips to make sure you are getting the healthy foods you and your family need the next time you go food shopping.

Vegan Gifts: What to Watch For and Where to Shop

Shopping for vegan and vegetarian gifts can sometimes be a challenge - especially if you aren't vegan or vegetarian and are not sure what is and is not okay to buy.

Shopping for gifts for vegans and vegetarians may seem like an arduous task, but with the right information and some tips on what to avoid, you will soon be shopping for vegan and vegetarian gifts like a pro. The following lists of ingredients and products to avoid might seem a bit lengthy, but the reality is that there are a lot of products out there that have either been tested on animals or contain animal-derived ingredients.

This guide to what to avoid when shopping for vegan and vegetarian gifts and where to find vegan- and vegetarian-friendly gifts will hopefully point you in the right direction and give you some helpful information for your next shopping trip.

From jewelry to cosmetics to textiles to candy, this is an informative article about ingredients and materials that are commonly found in consumer products.

Read the whole article here: Buying Gifts for Vegans, Vegetarians: Ingredients and Materials to Avoid when Shopping for Vegan Gifts

Vegan, Eco-Friendly Gifts for New Parents and New Babies

Just about everyone is going green these days - particularly new parents who are concerned not only about the planet their children will inherit, but also the health of their new baby and how they can limit the chemicals their new baby is exposed to. From the talc in baby powder to the dioxin in disposable diapers, new parents have plenty to be concerned about when it comes to harmful substances coming in contact with their new baby.

Vegan, eco-friendly, natural baby products can be expensive, particularly for new parents who may already be worrying about their budget now that they have a new addition to the family. With this in mind, giving vegan, eco-friendly, natural baby products to new parents as gifts - whether for a baby shower, Christmas or just because you care - can help ease the strain on their new baby budget while providing lasting, healthier options for caring for their baby.

Click here for vegan, eco-friendly baby gift ideas!

Vegan, Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap and Gift Bags

Exchanging gifts during the holiday season is a long-held tradition. Giving Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Winter Solstice gifts is a way to show the people in our lives that we care and think about them. Now you can make your gifts even more thoughtful and meaningful by using vegan, eco-friendly gift wrap options that the recipient can reuse.

Get creative with your holiday gift wrapping and give gifts that keep on giving (to the planet and to the recipient!) with reusable shopping bags, kitchen towels and more!

Click here for tips and suggestions for vegan, eco-friendly holiday gift wrap ideas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tofurkey Deli Slices Update - Italian Deli Style Slices

As promised, I have returned with an update on my most recent Tofurkey Deli Slices find. After finally getting over to PCC Natural Market, I now have the Italian Deli flavor, as well as the Cranberry and Stuffing flavor of Tofurkey Deli Slices.

We just tried the Italian Deli flavor yesterday (and I made sandwiches with this for my partner's lunch today) and they are fab-u-lous. These Tofurkey Italian Deli Slices are quite tasty and have sun-dried tomatoes and basil - yum! To me, they taste almost identical to the Tofurkey Italian Sausages (which also have sun-dried tomatoes and basil, so that might be why), so if you like Tofurkey's Italian Sausages, you are going to love their Italian Deli Slices.

We haven't tried the Cranberry and Stuffing ones yet, but I will report back as soon as we do!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lightlife Smart Dogs Product Information and Review

Lightlife Smart Dogs Vegan Protein Links are definitely my favorite meatless hot dog substitute. If you are looking for a great vegan hot dog alternative for your next picnic or BBQ, I highly recommend that you give these a try.

Get product information and my full review here:
Lightlife Smart Dogs Vegan Protein Links.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tofurkey Deli Slices - Product Information and Review

I love any excuse to make a huge Tofurkey roast feast - complete with gravy, potatoes, stuffing and the works! But, for those days when I don't have 3+ hours to spend cooking this up, Tofurkey has kindly provided some quicker options for enjoying their tasty vegan meat alternatives. In particular, Tofurkey Deli Slices (in a variety of flavors) make quick, easy lunches and snacks. Tofurkey Peppered Deli Slices are my favorite -- to learn more about Tofurkey's Peppered Deli Slices and the other flavors available, click here.