Almond Dream Bites

Almond Dream Bites

Forget Valentine’s Day candy. How about little bite-sized morsels of ice cream covered in chocolaty goodness? You know I’ve always had a thing for mini food. Almond Dream Bites are basically a non-dairy, gluten-free version of a bon bon with no trans fat or highly refined sugars.

Spot-on and so very good – the almond milk ice cream has a smooth and creamy texture. The taste is just like vanilla ice cream with a hint of almond flavor. The chocolate covering is rich with a really nice crunch. It’s everything you would expect in a frozen novelty treat.

Almond Dream Bites

One serving is 15 pieces for 230 calories; about three servings in a container. That’s a lot of bites. I usually only eat about five of them at any one time, as that’s more than enough for me. So if I did my math correctly, that’s only about 77 calories, not too bad on the waistline.

Currently on sale at my local Whole Foods for $3.49 until February 15th, regular price is $4.29. There’s also a $1.00 off any two Dream beverage or frozen products coupon on their website. I’ll definitely be stocking up.

Related Links
Cherry Jubilee Ice Cream From The Vegan Scoop
Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream Review
So Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches

What’s A Pomelo?

What's A Pomelo?

When I was little, I remember these humgunous grapefruit-looking things just sitting around the house at this time of year. I’m not fond of grapefruits. Their sour taste lands them one step below the much dreaded bell pepper which I dislike even more.

I don’t recall how or why, but I must have given pomelos a try at some point, because I sure like them now. They don’t have the bitterness of a grapefruit, they’re way sweeter. I can totally eat them – it’s like a sweet, very mild version of grapefruit.

What's A Pomelo?

Largest of the citrus fruits, pomelos are about the size of a small watermelon. Called boo look in Cantonese, they’re also known as Chinese grapefruit and are popular for Chinese New Year as it symbolizes abundance.

In season from mid-January to mid-February, I’ve spotted pomelos at farmer markets, Costco, Whole Foods and Asian supermarkets, about two fifty to three bucks for one. The color is a light green and turns yellow as it ripens. You know it’s ready to eat when you can smell its floral scent from a mile away.

What's A Pomelo?

To eat, cut off a bit of the top and then make vertical cuts going into the extra thick skin with a sharp knife (be careful not to actually cut into the flesh). I find it easier turning the pomelo upside-down and going from the bottom to the top. Pull the sliced peel away from the flesh.

Pull the fruit in half to make it easier to handle. The membrane and pith is very thick and very bitter. Do not eat any of that, just pull it all off to reveal the coral pink fruit segment. I like to eat mine cold so after peeling off the outer skin, I stick it in the fridge to chill for a refreshing, sweet treat. Just in time for the Lunar New Year, which is tomorrow, February 3rd.

Best wishes for health, wealth and happiness in the Year of the Rabbit.
Happy Chinese New Year!

Related Links
Chinese New Year Feast
Buddhists Delight

Cantonese Style Curry

Cantonese Style Curry

Chinese cuisine is not generally known for its curry. Arriving in China via India way back when, it’s mostly popular in Southern China. I grew up eating a kind of curry version of “meat-n-potatoes” which I’ve veganized using seitan.

Unlike some other curries, this one is not hot at all, but mildly spicy with a nice curry flavor. I used Penzey’s Sweet Curry Powder which includes turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, fenugreek, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom, cloves, Tellicherry black pepper and cayenne red pepper. It’s a good starter curry for those unfamiliar with the flavor.

Cantonese Style Curry
Serves 2-4

2 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped
8 ounces seitan chunks
3 medium red potatoes
1 medium carrot
1 medium zucchini
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 green onion stalk, chopped

Peel and slice the carrot at a diagonal, peel and cut the potatoes and zucchini into 1″ chunks using a roll cut.

Heat a wok until it’s hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the seitan and brown for a couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables and give it a few quick tosses then add the curry, sugar and salt to taste and mix to combine. Add water to just barely covering. Cover and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the vegetables are tender. To thicken the liquid to make more of a sauce, smash a few of the potatoes.

Garnish with the chopped green onions and serve on top of steamed rice.

Seitan In A Blanket

Seitan In A Blanket

Having been intimidated long enough, I finally gave the whole make-it-yourself seitan thing a try. I started out with a easy and delicious recipe for breakfast sausage from one of my favorite blogs, VeganDad (who I must say, is like the master seitan maker).

Then I saw Chorizo Seitan Sausages in Viva Vegan! and decided to combine elements of the two recipes to make mini “hot dogs” for a seitan version of pigs in a blanket.

Since I was going for a hot doggy sort of seitan, I use tomato paste and paprika for the color and chickpea flour for a smoother texture. Of course, it doesn’t actually taste like a commercial hot dog, but it’s still good. And it’s fun to be able to customize the flavor and spices. It’s a little “wheaty” tasting right out of the steamer, less so after sitting in the fridge overnight and the flavors develop a bit more.

For the blanket, I used the dough from a pigs in a blanket recipe on VegWeb. I love it because there’s no scary yeast to deal with and no waiting either. Just mix, roll and go.

Seitan In A Blanket

Seitan Dogs
Makes about 12
1 1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 cup water
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Fresh ground black pepper

It’s best to make the seitan dogs the night before so the flavors have a chance to develop.

Set up a steamer and cut out 12 pieces of tin foil.

In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix together. Knead the dough a little bit to develop the gluten. Divide the dough into twelve pieces. Roll each piece into a mini hot dog shape and wrap in the foil. Twist the ends together to secure, but don’t wrap too tightly otherwise it might bust out of its wrapper during steaming.

Place the seitan dogs in the steamer and steam for about 20-25 minutes, flipping over about halfway through. Remove from the steamer and let cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.

Blanket Dough
Makes enough dough for 6-8 pieces depending on the thickness of the blankets
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the water, in a bowl and mix until it looks like coarse meal. Add a little bit of water at a time, mixing until the dough comes together in a ball (I added less than a 1/4 cup of water).

Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the work surface and rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick and roll out the ball of dough into a long thin strip. Cut into approximately 2″ high strips and wrap a section around the middle of a seitan dog. Gently press the seam to make it stay. Place seam side down on a well-oiled baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, flipping them over halfway through. Serve with your choice of condiments.

Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon link, I get a few coins tossed my way if you click on the link and make a purchase of anything.

Rhythm Kale Chips Zesty Nacho Flavor

Rhythm Kale Chips Zesty Nacho Flavor

For some reason I always seemed to consume more snacky types of food when I’m on holiday. It must be the season. My newest snacky snack is the raw flavored kale chips from Rhythm Chips.

The kale chips are air crisped at a low temperature so they’re nice and crunchy. Vegan and gluten-free too. Basically, it’s just kale flavored with a blend of fresh veggies, nuts, juices, herbs and spices.

I haven’t had nacho flavored chips in a long time, but the taste is very similar and it’s so much healthier. It’s amazing to have the nacho taste without the scary long list of chemical sounding ingredients and artificial flavors.

Rhythm Kale Chips Zesty Nacho Flavor

Unlike the extra long kale chips that are baked in an oven, these are much smaller as they have to fit in a bag. There’s some big chunks, pictured above, but at the bottom there’s also all the smaller broken-off pieces (good for sprinkling on other foods).

Besides the Zesty Nacho, there’s also Bombay Curry and Kool Ranch, neither which I’ve tried yet. Two servings in a 2 oz. bag, at 106 calories per serving. The sodium isn’t too bad, about 187mg per serving.

Available at Whole Foods, they retail for about $5.99. Kinda pricey, but there’s also a $2.00 off sticker right on the package which can be used immediately, bringing the price down to $3.99.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Hurtling towards the holidays and the end of the year, I’ve barely had time lately to stop and smell the gingerbread cookies. Before it all passes me by in a big, hazy blur, I plopped down in front of my remote controlled fireplace with a cup of peppermint hot chocolate. Now, it’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Makes about 8 ounces

3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup soy milk creamer
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 ounce peppermint stick candy or a few drops of peppermint extract
Couple drops of vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
Vegan marshmallows for garnish

Crush the peppermint stick if using. In a saucepan, heat the milk and creamer to a simmer over medium heat. Do not allow to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and whisk in the sugar, cocoa and peppermint, stir until dissolved.

Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon, stir to combine. Serve immediately with marshmallows.

Black and Blue Cookie From Eclair Bakery

Black and Blue Cookie From Eclair Bakery

Ever heard of a black and blue cookie? Me neither.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I got one when I was down south visiting family. It’s from Eclair Bakery, a cute little place in the downtown village of Arroyo Grande (a small Central Coast town about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles).

I stopped in to see what they had in way of vegan treats and on that day it was a cupcake (I don’t remember the flavor) or a black and blue cookie. Deciding between the two, the cookie sounded much more interesting than the cupcake. The black part is a chocolate chocolate chip cookie; the blue part is blueberries. Together, it’s a black and blue cookie (I love the name).

I enjoyed every last crumb of it. The edges were a little on the crisp side but soft in the center. I’ve always liked the combo of blueberry and chocolate. It reminds me of my blueberry brownies but in a yummy cookie form.

It’s so nice to know I can pop in for a vegan treat whenever I’m in town visiting. If you ever find yourself cruising up or down the Central Coast, it’s an easy exit off of the 101. And if you give them advance notice, they can whip up other vegan treats too. I can’t wait to be back later this month.

Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y

Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y

It seems like every year there’s something new out for Thanksgiving, this year I dined on Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y. I got it on sale at Whole Foods for $5.99, 2 cutlets in a package. If you like their other stuffed cutlet type of products, you’ll probably like this latest one.

After cooking in the oven for 30 minutes, the bread crumb crust is crisp and flavorful. The cutlet itself has a subtle turkey-like kinda taste and was stuffed with bread crumbs, onions, celery and cranberries. It comes with quite a bit of gravy too, enough for the two cutlets plus extra for whatever else happens to be on the plate.

Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y

It’s similar to what Whole Foods had offered in their prepared vegan Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago. Back then, I liked the cutlet but the sides that came with were only so-so. I had wished I could have gotten just the cutlets by themselves, now it appears I can.

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