the awesome snackiness of the vegan cuts snack box.

Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Instagram shot of my Vegan Cuts Snack Box (follow me @madcapcupcake)

Behold the awesome snackiness of my Vegan Cuts Snack Box, of which I was the fortunate recipient for review. The Snack Box is available as a monthly subscription ($19.95 in the USA, $27.95 in Canada, shipping included) from the good folks at Vegan Cuts—a fab company that offers many more innovative cruelty-free products for sale, from food to clothing, make-up and accessories.

If you subscribe to a Snack Box, each month you will be presented with a selection of 7-10 vegan snacks and samples, often gluten-free, from an array of well chosen cruelty-free companies. My Snack Box consisted of the following treats:

  • Meow Meow Tweet’s Moisturizing Lip Balm, which glides on smooth, without any sticky, waxy residue. Mine was cocoa flavoured. I’m a devoted lip balm fan. Very nice.
  • Oloves, deli-style, snackable olives with only 50 calories per bag and no preservatives. I enjoyed my package of Lemony Lover Oloves at the airport during a recent trip and they were the perfect snack on the go, as well as a welcome departure from the regular snacking carb-fest.
  • Milas Food’s Savoury Bruschetta Blend. I made bruschetta of course, enjoying mine on a thick slab of crusty sourdough bread. Delicious.
  • 22 Days Protein Powder, which is non-GMO, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free, and perfect for a quick breakfast when you’re short on time and great for traveling. Mine was chocolate. Good stuff.
  • Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips, a delicious baked twist on sweet potato chips. They were gone in a flash. I felt like I was enjoying chips without being bad.
  • Teeccino, herbal coffee in a tea bag. Awesome idea, no? Full-bodied and robust. I’m a big Teeccino fan. Love them.
  • Skinny Pop, guilt-free, incredibly tasty all natural, fibre-rich popcorn with zero trans fat. I saved mine for the plane and savoured every last bite.
  • Chicago Vegan Foods Teese, a stretchable, meltable line of non-dairy cheeses free from GMOs, soy, gluten, and palm oil. I received the nacho cheese sauce, which is the best Teese I’ve tried yet. These are the same folks behind Dandies vegan marshmallows. Love them.
  • Beyond Meat coupons, thanks—I’ll be on the lookout for some! So curious.
  • Parmela Parmesan Style Aged Nut Cheese. The perfect way to top off to a steaming bowl of pasta, and I did. Excellent. Seriously though—how do they do that? It’s so much like Parmesan I did a double-take.

If you like tasty snacks, trying new products and getting packages in the mail, this sweet setup is right up your alley. Very fun. Many of the companies I received samples from weren’t even on my vegan radar, so discovering them was awesome. A big ‘thank you’ to the generous folks at Vegan Cuts for sending me a Snack Box of my very own to try out.

Highly recommended. Check them out and get snackified. Enjoy.

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nanaimo bars and graham wafers.

It’s Daring Baker challenge reveal day and this month it’s all about Nanaimo Bars and Graham Wafers.

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

As per usual – I used alternative recipes in order to make my bars and wafers vegan. For the Nanaimo bars I used my go-to recipe, which you can find in my original post here. For the graham wafers, I used this fabulous Vegan Yum Yum recipe. I opted to use wheat because that’s what I had on hand, but I hope to try Lauren’s gluten-free version soon as it looks wonderful. Neither my bars nor my wafers are gluten-free.

One thing I have learned after making this recipe countless times since that original Nanaimo post – use a good sharp knife to cut your squares.

Even so, I still managed to crack the chocolate top.

Check out what all the other Daring Bakers are doing by clicking on the logo below – you will be inspired.

best chocolate-chip cookies, ever.

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It’s Vegan MoFo III, the Vegan Month of Food, Day 30.

Will you look at the crumb of that cookie?

Chocolate chip cookies are a very personal thing I find. Some like them crispy, others like them soft. Some like them huge, others prefer them to be more dainty. Some like them loaded up with chocolate, others prefer restraint in that area. You get the picture. Truth be told, I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like. I’m a cookie monster and I’m not afraid to admit it.

What is it about chocolate-chip cookies that brings out the perfectionist in bakers? I’ll admit, I’ve made my fair share of them in an attempt to attain that elusive perfect cookie. I’ve never been completely satisfied with what I’ve made so far. There was always something not quite perfect – the texture, the sweetness, the crumb.

So when I whipped up these delicious cookie specimens from Hello Veggie blog a while back, I knew I was close – oh so close. In fact, those cookies are amazing, and it was quite by accident that I altered the recipe.

I was low on all-purpose flour and so I lessened that and increased the whole wheat pastry flour component. I also used golden sugar in place of dark brown, and reduced the amount. I did not have almond butter on hand (as with my previous attempt) but I did have almonds, so I processed a cup in the food processor until they stuck together when pressed. The almond definitely did not turn into butter but rather a very fine, moist powder. As I discovered later (when I re-made the cookies using almond butter) this makes a significant difference to the crumb of the finished cookie. It adds a lightness that I love and a truly perfect crumb.

This cookie is heavenly.

While the almond paste appears to be the magic ingredient in achieving the awesome texture of this cookie, it does not impart an almond taste – so, to keep the flavour neutral I ran with that idea and made another change: I omitted the almond extract that the original recipe calls for. I chose unsweetened almond milk as my non-dairy milk of choice.

Best Chocolate-Chip Cookies

(recipe adapted from Hello Veggie)

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached organic
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached organic
  • 1 cup almonds (whole raw, with skin on)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy margarine
  • 3 Tbsp almond milk , unsweetened (or soy or oat milk)
  • 1/2 cup golden sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF

Add almonds to food processor and process to a very fine grind – stop just short of allowing the almonds to turn into butter. You should get a very fine paste that sticks together when pressed but that will still crumble apart if disturbed. It might take upwards of 5-10 minutes depending on your processor. Be sure to stop the processor occasionally to stir the paste up from the bottom and get the drier top bits down there.

In a medium bowl, cream together almond paste, almond milk, vanilla, and non-dairy margarine until smooth.

In a larger bowl, add both flours, baking powder and salt. Whisk lightly to ensure dry ingredients are combined – do not over beat.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Once dough is combined, fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon dough onto ungreased baking sheets. I used a modest-sized ice-cream scoop to measure the dough (I got 22 cookies one time and 24 the next).

Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies should just slightly turn golden at some edges or rough corners that might be poking up, otherwise they should stay fairly white. Do not over bake.

Allow cookies to remain on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes 22 to 24 cookies depending on how big you make them.

Try not to eat them all in one go. It’s not easy.

Click here to be transported to a whole list of Vegan MoFoers.

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