Friday, April 27, 2012

Vegan Food Swap for April with Product Reviews

I recently joined forces with some other vegan bloggers to hold a monthly food swap. If you'd like information on it or to join up, visit The Verdant Life. My box was from Carol, who's blog I unfortunately don't have a link to, due to my inability to read it on the note she sent me. As soon as I hear back from her I'll post a link in the comments.

It included the following treats: Stacy's Pita Chips in Garden Veggie Medley, Fearless Chocolate Super Seeds Bar, Sleepytime Extra Tea, Maesri Green Thai Curry Paste, Justin's Maple Almond Butter, and Sea Snax Spicy Chipotle Flavor Nori.

Product Reviews

Stacy's Pita Chips

I buy and love the Simply Naked version of these pita chips on a regular basis to go along with hummus and other dips. This was my introduction to the Garden Veggie Medley flavor, and I have to say they are awesome! It just so happened that the day I received my food swap box, we were having friends over for game night. Carl and I were planning Falafal stuffed pita bread with veggies, vegan sour cream, and hummus for dinner anyway, and these were the perfect dipper to go along with it. I give these 4 V's out of 5.

Fearless Chocolate

It's usually about 50 degrees here in April. This year has been a record setting year for heat already. Who knew it would be nearly 90 degrees on the day my food swap box would arrive?! My chocolate bar arrived as a puddle. Luckily it was sealed well enough that we could pop it in the freezer and restore it to a bar. This was by far my favorite food swap item. Even though it arrived melted, the flavor of this chocolate is amazing! I'm serious about my chocolate, and this bar did not let me down. The flax, chia, and hemp seeds added a crunchy texture to the bar that I really enjoyed. I give this 5 V's out of 5.

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra

I'm well versed in the world of tea, so I was happy to receive tea from Carol. I do tend to be a bit of a tea snob and favor whole leaf teas over bagged. I will say though that Sleepytime Extra is true to its name. The herbs involved work to calm the system and allow for some serious relaxation. The flavor is that of mint with a hint of citrus, which I find appealing. I give this 3 V's out of 5.

Maesri Green Curry Paste

This is the one thing in the box that I haven't tried yet. I'll review it once I get the chance. I'm a huge fan of Thai Curry, and can't wait to give this product a shot. I'm planning a veggie and tofu dish to be served with rice for dinner next week that this should go amazing with.

Justin's Nut Butter

Our grocery stores only seem to carry Justin's Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Cups, so I was excited to see a packet of their Maple Almond Butter included in my box. It was amazing! I spread it on whole wheat toast for breakfast, and enjoyed it so much I'm going to order more online. I give this 4 V's out of 5.

Sea Snax

I was really excited to see these in my food box, because I had heard great things. But, I have to say even after trying them a third time, I'm unimpressed. These sheets of flavored nori are like eating air and left me wanting to snack on something else to fill me up and get the weird aftertaste out of my mouth . I'm considering using what I have left to make veggie sushi, in hopes of finding a way to enjoy them. I give these 1 V out of 5.

I look forward to what May's Vegan Food Swap might bring. I'm so glad Cat over at The Verdant Life had the idea to set this up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jon Gorman's Green Beans & Carrots

I announced not too long ago that my friend, Jon Gorman, would be a featured writer here at SoTV. Jon is a non-vegan, who is trying to cook more vegan and vegetarian dishes for health reasons and to reduce his household's dependency on animal products. He tries to stay away from meat substitutes and specializes in creating dishes that are great as sides or can be scaled up for a main course.  Here is Jon's first post, we hope you enjoy.

"I've been bringing this recipe for Green Beans and Carrots to various parties lately and gotten positive responses and questions on how to make it.

It's based off a recipe in "The Spice Merchant's Daughter", which is a bit of a fun read and has some interesting spice blends. The recipe itself is fairly amendable to substitutions and experimentation.

You'll want to do the veggie prep ahead of time, unless you're really quick in the kitchen."

Green Beans & Carrots

1 tsp Black Mustard Seed

1 tsp Cumin Seed
2-3 Dried Chile de Arbol (whole, unless you want the burn, then feel free to let those seeds loose. May want to start out w/ just one or two chiles till you know the heat of your bag o' peppers.)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Shallots, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Medium Carrots, julienned
1 1/2 cups Fresh Green Beans
Kosher Salt to taste

Place the mustard seed, cumin seed, and chile de arbol in a small bowl. Heat the olive oil in a wok to medium. Put in the spice mix and cook until fragrant and the seeds begin to pop. This takes roughly 30 seconds. Add the shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the carrots and beans and another pinch of salt. Cook until the carrots and beans are tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Cooking Class Schedule and Booking Information

It's been a very busy last week here at Season of The Vegan. Last Thursday night I taught a private cooking class in Spearfish, SD. It was a wonderful night filled with delicious food and great people. I love doing these classes as they incorporate two of my favorite things, sharing knowledge and feeding people. For anyone interested in hosting a class, here are the details:

Tofu 101
Learn the basics of cooking with tofu. We'll do an appetizer, main dish, and a dessert that all have tofu as their core ingredient. We'll also go over the different types of tofu and its nutritional value. Students will get to enjoy all the items prepared and receive a copy of the recipes. Cost is $15 per person.

Vegan Baking
Learn how to bake without animal products and never miss what's missing. We'll go over substitutions and how to make baked goods that everyone will enjoy. This class will have an assortment of recipes ranging from Cupcakes, to Breads, to Cheesecake, and from Savory to Sweet. Students will get to enjoy all the items prepared and receive a copy of the recipes. Cost is $20 per person.

Party Food
Learn tricks for perfect party food. We'll go over both hot and cold appetizers as well as quick and easy desserts. Students will get to enjoy all the items prepared and receive a copy of the recipes. Cost is $15 per person.

Meal Planning 101
In a rut with your meal plan? In this class we'll go over the basics of designing a vegan meal plan that incorporates variety and how to eat great on a budget. We'll make an appetizer, salad, main dish, side dish, and a dessert. Students will get to enjoy all the items prepared and receive a copy of the recipes. Cost is $25 per person.

Classes run 2 to 3 hours. Class size is normally 5 to 10 people depending on the size of the host's kitchen. Host is responsible for half of the grocery cost which averages $30 to $50 depending on the class. This cost ensures that I am able to cover all my costs and still make a small profit from teaching the class. Students often split this cost and add it to the per student fee.

Feel free to email me at for additional information. I can currently be booked to teach in the Black Hills region of South Dakota until the end of August. I will be available to teach in Central and Southern Illinois for the month of September.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Product Review: What A Jerky!! by Morels The Vegan Butcher

A few weeks back I won a bag of Yoko's Teriyaki Jerky from Morels The Vegan Butcher. It arrived in my mail box last Thursday. That night I was teaching a cooking class at a private home, so I thought, "Why not take this along and let everyone try it?". Though the little pieces aren't what I was expecting of "jerky", I can honestly say this is the first vegan jerky that I've liked. The flavor is amazing and the texture is good and chewy. The teriyaki flavor was just right, not too sweet and not too savory. If you're ever in Louiseville, KY be sure to search out the Morels Food Truck and try some of their other great vegan treats. They're launching a website later this Spring at, and have plans for an online store. I can't wait to be able to order this tasty treat and all their others via the web. I give Yoko's Teriyaki Jerky: 4 V's out of 5

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Facebook Button...

We're working to fix an issue with our FB "like" button. The html that FB has posted to use doesn't seem to be working properly. We should have it back on the page and linking correctly soon. Thanks to, Jon how figured out the issue!