Category Archives: gluten free

So Delicious Vegan Gluten Free Holiday Drinks

The very kind people at So Delicious sent me three Holiday drinks to review. I did not receive money for this, these are my real thoughts, and I think you’d know by now if I don’t like something I’m not going to bother with it.

That said, I am totally impressed considering I wasn’t sure what to make of them when I saw the flavours. What I received:

1. So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk
2. So Delicious Coconut Spice Milk
3. So Delicious Chocolate Mint Milk

 

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never had egg nog, so I really have nothing to compare this drink to. Even as a kid, I thought the idea of drinking an egg based beverage sounded rather unappealing. I had a few misconceptions of what this drink would taste like. I thought I’d have to plug my nose and drink it back fast like a shot. I am glad to say I was completely wrong.

The So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk was sweet, creamy, and the nutmeg shone as a feature ingredient. I could definitely see why people would want to drink this by the glass. There wasn’t a weird aftertaste just a smooth pleasing experience. If someone had this drink in a punchbowl at a party I don’t think I’d leave the table.

So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk Beverage Nutritional Facts

So Delicious Nog Coconut Milk Beverage Nutritional Facts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to the whole ‘pumpkin spice craze’, I am not a big fan, in fact I seriously dislike pumpkin anything (except roasted seeds; those are delicious). So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk has given me some hope for the category. The ingredients are rather vague just listing “spices” and not being clear which ones are present in the beverage. I wish I knew because whatever they are they’re magical. This drink is creamy, pleasant, and has a thicker consistency than the Nog. For some reason I didn’t expect that. The colour was also a deeper shade of beige leaning towards orange. I’m guessing this colour difference is because of the pumpkin ingredient. I would totally make both the Nog and this Pumpkin Spice drink into my own vegan version of Baileys. I could totally see how this could work. Imagine how that would make a holiday party that much more jolly.

So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Beverage Nutritional Facts

So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Beverage Nutritional Facts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a HUGE fan of anything chocolate mint to begin with. I can see why this drink should only come out during the holidays because otherwise people would be downing it in the streets and you’d get sick of it. Instead, it should be experienced with care as an enjoyable treat instead of a common flavour. There’s no weird aftertaste or gritty sensation as I’ve experienced with other chocolate mint drinks. Over all, the drink is perfectly balanced with mint and chocolate. If this was the 80’s I would have used this drink as my milk while eating Cookie Crisp cereal. This cereal was seriously ridiculous. I mean what marketing executive came up with the idea of giving children cookies for breakfast. Not only did it pass as a product, but people bought it? Oh man. Anyway, I suppose I could recreate my childhood memories with some Enjoy Life cookies that I like so much. That would do nicely. This drink goes down easy, as the consistency is thin like regular soy milk, and it doesn’t have the thick creamy aspect. If you’re wondering what Monk Fruit is, as I was when I read the nutrition facts, it’s a natural sweetener.

So Delicious Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk Nutrition Facts

So Delicious Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk Nutrition Facts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you So Delicious for bringing these drinks to my attention and giving me the chance to try them out. I never thought I’d say I like Nog or anything pumpkin. I cannot wait to get my hands on these products when they come to Canada. American friends – count your lucky stars you have immediate access to these items!

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Made Good Review

The lovely people at Made Good sent me their amazing products and I have to say I completely love them AND they’re organic. The Made Good company is from Toronto. What are these products?

Granola Minis
Granola Bars
Raw Bars

Granola Minis Apple Cinnamon

 

If you’re looking for a comfort snack that will give you a hug and remind you of fun times with Grandma the Apple Cinnamon Granola Minis are exactly that. As soon as I opened the bag the cinnamon aroma was enticing and it’s hard to stop eating these pint sized snacks. The size ratio is perfect for controlled snacking and the balance of flavours is excellent. Not one ingredient overpowered the overall taste.

 

 

Ingredients:

Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, brown rice syrup*, raisins*, apples*, coconut oil*, sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, agave inulin*, cinnamon*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract*. *Organic

 

Granola Mini Chocolate Banana

Made Good Mini Granola Chocolate BananaMade Good Mini Granola Chocolate Banana close up

These little bad boys are just like taking a bite of tasty banana bread with not too sweet chocolate chips. This snack is totally perfect for a ‘bad craving’. I can see how I’d want to reach for these. Don’t be put off by the vegetable powders, they aren’t prominent and are a sneaky benefit to this snack. The smell of banana was rather authentic and not the gross brown spotted banana smell that comes with overripe bananas. I would totally warm them up in the toaster oven for a minute to get that same banana bread smell.
Ingredients:

Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, brown rice syrup*, bananas*, chocolate chips* (cocoa liquor*, cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, cocoa powder*), sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, coconut*, agave inulin*, coconut oil*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), vanilla flavour*, natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract*. *Organic

 

Granola Mini Strawberry

 

Made Good Mini Granola Strawberry frontMade Good Mini Granola Strawberry close up

From the first whiff you can certainly smell the strawberry pieces. I find it the vegetable powders unrecognizable. I tried very hard to taste the other ingredients to no avail. I suppose that’s a good thing, but I was hoping for hints of the cherry juice. What I enjoy the most is the strawberry pieces and it’s not that weird fake strawberry that some companies tend to use. All of it feels real and it’s not a surprise when you see the ingredients. I can’t feel guilty for something so tasty when it’s rather healthy!

 

 

 

Ingredients:
Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, strawberry pieces* (apple juice concentrate*, apple puree concentrate*, strawberry puree*, cherry juice concentrate*, apple pectin, natural flavour*), apricots*, brown rice syrup*, apples*, sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, coconut oil*, agave inulin*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), strawberry flavour*, natural mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract*. *Organic

Made Good Mixed Berry Organic Granola Bar

Made Good Mixed Berry Organic Granola Bar

I’m not usually a fan of mix berry as a whole, I never reach for it as my number one pick, but it grew on me. Not too sweet, not too tart, the cranberries were delicate and the raisin taste dominated along with and underlining hint of blueberry/raspberry. I felt like I searching for notes to detect with each bite as I tried to decipher the mix. Right at the end the coconut bit really struck me. What an interesting combination. For you berry lovers this is certainly a hit.

 

 

 

Ingredients:
Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, brown rice syrup*, raisins*, coconut*, sunflower oil*, cranberries*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, agave inulin*, molasses*, blueberries*, raspberries*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), raspberry flavour*, apple juice concentrate*. *Organic

Made Good Chocolate Chip Organic Granola Bar

Made Good Chocolate Chip Organic Granola Bar

 

Forget the traditional chocolate chip granola bar. I grew up with the Quaker Oats bar and Made Good has completely gone above and refined the bar with a healthier version. This bar doesn’t need marshmallows or corn syrup to please. The bar is chewy and overall not too sweet for what it is. Sure to please any chocolate lover.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Rolled oats*, agave nectar*, chocolate chips* (cocoa liquor*, cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, cocoa powder*), brown rice syrup*, sunflower oil*, whole grain crisp brown rice*, agave inulin*, coconut*, molasses*, vegetable powder (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), vanilla flavour*. *Organic.

 

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw in package

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw

Made Good Brazil Nut Orange Fruit & Nut Bar Organic No Sugar Added Raw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop whatever you are doing and find this bar. Go on, I’ll wait. This is unlike any raw bar I’ve usually had. Most of the time it’s a mishmash of ingredients in a paste formed into a bar and or pressed ingredients that are just unpleasant. This bar is not only pleasant but incredibly delicious. I could not stop pecking at this bar while I was typing. Do be mindful when eating this bar, the pieces will flake and it’s not as solid as it could be. I don’t really care as the taste is worth it. The brazil nuts and orange combination – I could cry. Do yourself a huge favour and try it for yourself.

Ingredients:
Raisins*, almonds*, Brazil nuts*, cranberries* (cranberries*, apple juice concentrate*, sunflower oil*), coconut*, tapioca flour*, sea salt, orange oil*. *Organic. May contain sesame.

When I asked the company why the bars and mini balls don’t have the gluten free icon, this was the response, “We can’t say gluten free in Canada unfortunately, we have to say: MadeGood granola minis and bars are made with clean, pure oats (no contamination from wheat fields).”

The raw bars are labeled gluten free.

Overall, I am incredibly happy that Made Good contacted me. I know I will be searching them out at my local health store. Click here to order online.

Please note: I am not being paid to say this. I’ve not received compensation. This is my honest opinion.

Happy eating!

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Filed under celiac, gluten free, Healthy Snacks, raw, vegan

Product Review: Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap

Who doesn’t love soap? I’ve bought many varieties of soap and I delight in feeling that tiny girly feeling for all of two minutes. Of all the soaps I’ve tried I must say the Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap has the most fragrant smell. It really does smell like walking into a field full of lilac trees. The soap is expensive, around $5/bar, but dang, it’s rather large for natural soap at 6oz (177ml).   Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap The texture is only speckled on one side. I wonder why they didn’t do the whole bar, but perhaps it’s about aesthetics? Pacifica French Lilac Natural Soap If this is how the French live, I think we should consider moving there, and creating a vegan commune.  Either way, I completely am in love with this soap and I’d highly suggest it if you’re feeling rather lavish and wish to transport yourself mentally to a far away land called France.

If you’re over a certain age, you’re going to remember this commercial for Calgon, some days I wonder about the logistics of sitting in a bath tub all day. I mean really, who could do that for so long, but it always looks so luxurious, right?

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Filed under gluten free, Hair Care & Beauty, vegan

Vegan Gluten Free Lentil Potato Stew

The other day I felt like having a hearty soup and I figured I could do things the easy way and use my slow cooker. Really, a slow cooker is a complete blessing because it’s just a matter of putting a whole bunch of ingredients together and walking away.

Super easy to make! I found THIS recipe and varied it a little.

 

Ingredients:

6 cups veggie broth (I used 3 bouillon cubes)
2 cups dry brown lentils (rinse and drain)
2 medium red potatoes cubed
1 medium carrots chopped
2 large celery stalks, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
black pepper and sea salt, to taste
1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance, optional.

Apparently it gives the soup a richer flavour, but I used it, so I can’t tell you otherwise.
Instructions:

Clean and prepare the veggies before hand. To make the veggie broth, I boiled 3 cups of water and then mashed the cubes with a spoon in a bowl. I really rinsed the heck out of the lentils. I would highly recommend doing so. I put in all the ingredients and the water in to the crock pot and let everything alone for six hours on the first level.

lentil potato stew

 

The result was the kitchen smelling lovely and fragrant. This recipe was incredibly satisfying with a 1/4 cup of Daiya on it. I had this every day for lunch for a week, so needless to say it makes five servings.

 

Happy eating!

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Whimzees Vegan Gluten Free Dog Treats

If you’ve been in a Pet Valu you’ll notice there’s a display of Whimzees treats by the register. What are these dog treats?

Apparently they are vegan and gluten free. Now, upon reading the ingredients I did notice there was malt extract, so I did the logical thing and contacted Whimzees.

Here’s what they said:

Dear Lidia,
The malt comes from a vegetable source, but it is not corn or barley. Be assured, the malt we use are certified free of gluten.

Kind regards,

Lion Houkes

Marketing Manager
Paragon Pet Products Europe B.V.
P.O. Box 229
9640 AE  VEENDAM
The Netherlands
Fax: +31 598 319599
Email: info@whimzees.com
Website: www.paragonproducts.nl
So what are these things made of? Rather simple ingredients really. Mardi really enjoys them, we use the stick ones, medium size for her.

whimzees_ingredients

 

Screenshot 2014-06-15 22.05.33

 

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Screenshot 2014-06-15 22.04.46

all whimzees treats

We’re so glad to have found an actual vegan gluten free treat that doesn’t require shipping and can be purchased at a local store. If you’ve come across a vegan gluten free dog treat I’d love to hear about it.

One thing I must say is please do NOT feed your dog anything from China. There have been too many recalls and the results of these treats are deadly. Up until two weeks ago we had been using VitaLife sweet potato treats. These treats were causing Mardi to be lethargic, slow, and not interested in very much. This is the opposite of our lively happy dog. Mat’s parent’s dog apparently had very poor kidney health as a result of these treats. If you have them STOP immediately.

Always, always, always check if your treats have been recalled. For some stupid reason these are still being sold in stores. Hope this doesn’t affect your sweet pet.

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Product Review: ZenBev

Mat and I are often in natural stores buying health products etc., and we came upon something new called ZenBev. What is this items? It’s a sleep aid that’s natural, non-habit forming, and of course vegan/gluten free.

Here’s an explanation from the company website:

How does Zenbev help insomnia?
Zenbev provides the body with a natural food source of tryptophan, which is more readily assimilated by the body than synthetic sources. The tryptophan required by our bodies is provided in a way the brain recognizes. Combined with the proper ingredients, Zenbev’s unique formula facilitates optimal efficiency for treating insomnia. The tryptophan in the protein source metabolizes into serotonin, which then metabolizes into melatonin at night, serving to activate the brain’s sleep mechanism. As the brain produces the exact amount that it requires, Zenbev helps you achieve a deep, uninterrupted sleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

ZenBev is the brain child of a Toronto doctor named Craig Hudson. The product is available in two flavours: Chocolate and Lemon. It’s a powder that you mix into your favourite milk alternative or what have you.

How did it work for me?
I tried it using the recommended dose of 3 scoops and 300mL of plain soy milk. It dissolved rather easily, I used a whisk, but there were a few powder balls I had to break up with a fork. The taste wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t like candy, so not as sweet as I thought. I drank it down and felt rather sleepy shortly after. All three times I used it I enjoyed my sleep and felt rested. I enjoy that it’s not habit forming and doesn’t have an after taste or weird effects.

I used Valerian a few times and each time I felt like I was being pulled under a wave of sleepiness in a bad way.

I stopped using Valerian for a few reasons:
a) Felt like I was terrified
b) It stunk like wet dirty socks
c) It was expensive for the amount of drops/dosage

ZenBev is 250g or 8.8oz for $30. I’m guessing that’s at least 15 doses for that amount. Not too shabby.

 

Disclaimer: I did not get paid for this, I actually was curious and used my own money, these are my own thoughts.

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Vegan Gluten Free Spaghetti Lasagna

Sometimes when you have no idea what you’re going to make for dinner a quick look around the pantry works. I really had lasagna in mind, but I didn’t have the shells and so I figured spaghetti would do. I have to say of all the noodles in the world I love spaghetti. Ho Fun is my second favourite. Something about those flat noodles, the texture, oh I cannot even.

The ingredients are pretty simple:

– 1 package of cooked rice noodles
– 1 bottle of tomato sauce
– 1  can of beans, I used Azuki, but anything will do really
– 2 cups of mixed vegetables
– 1 package of Daiya Slices, I used cheddar
– 3 tbsp vegan pesto

For each layer of pasta I was using a pasta scoop amount. It’s not an exact science as it is with lasagna shells, but it’s the only measurement I can really describe.

 

Instructions: Pour sauce into the pan and coat the bottom, then take a scoop of pasta and begin layering the: sauce, veggies, beans, cheese and pesto. I used a small spoon with the pesto and spread it as evenly as possible. For consistency sake, I switched up the layering of cheese to cover evenly.

lasagna sauce in pot

base of spaghetti lasagna

beans for spaghetti lasagna

mixed vegetables

spaghetti lasagna layer

spaghetti lasgana cheese different pattern

spaghetti lasagna with cheese

spaghetti lasagna first layer

final spaghetti pasta

lasagna sauce in pot, vegan , gluten free, pasta Bake at 400F for 20 minutes and there you have it. Easy and delicious. Happy eating!

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Filed under gluten free, gluten free meals, Meals, vegan

Green Beaver Extra Gentle Castile Sunflower Lavender Bar Soap

We noticed Green Beaver came out with  a new soap and we decided to pick it up. I’m super glad that we did because this has become my newest favourite soap  EVAR!! Okay, it’s seriously very good. I am not paid to say this, I don’t work for Green Beaver, and if I did I’d have a heck of a lot more product at home. I don’t believe the soap is on the Green Beaver site yet, so your best bet is to find it at natural stores.

Here’s the marketing explanation about the soap:

“Green Beaver Extra Gentle Castile Sunflower Soap is made with cold-pressed, locally harvested organic sunflower seed oil. The oil is incredibly rich in antioxidants (vitamin E and carotenoids) and in skin moisturizing omegas. Blended with coconut oil for a gentle silky lather, this soap leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft, and ideal for the most sensitive skin.

 Green Beaver Extra Gentle Castile Sunflower Bar Soap
The owners and creators of Green Beaver have made it a priority to use Canadian-grown organic ingredients whenever available. They are proud to have purchased 40 acres of organic sunflowers from a family farm, located 65 km from The Green Beaver Company’s door.

Their philosophy is, the more organic farmers they can support, the more land they can help convert to organic practices, thereby reducing the amount of pesticides used right in our backyard.”

I’ve spoken with the owner of Green Beaver and I honestly think he’s just a terribly sweet man who is in the natural product business for the right reasons. He wants to make quality products that work. I am completely in love with his enthusiasm and excitement with having found such a local organic farmer down the street. I wish you all could hear the happiness in his voice when talking about his good luck.

True to the description, the soap has some serious softness to it. I feel like I’m bathing with soft oils that sooth and moisturize my skin. I often start my shower by washing my face first and I totally love the way the soap makes my skin feel. I imagine this is what Roman royalty felt like.

Unlike Kiss My Face olive oil based soaps, this Green Beaver Sunflower Soap is light, and doesn’t feel goopy. I totally hate the green slime/sludge that is left over whenever I’d put down the Kiss My Face bar. There’s no way I could use KMF for laundry and I could totally see the GB working very well with that.

Sometimes I find soap to be overwhelming with scent and this soap is perfectly balanced and not at all offensive.

I’d highly suggest this soap for anyone as they’re allergy friendly.

Highlights: Biodegradable. Vegan. GMO-Free. Not tested on animals.

Ingredients: Sodium Cocoate** (saponified organic coconut oil), Sodium Sunflowerate** (saponified organic sunflower oil), Sodium Castorate (saponified organic castor oil)**,  Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavander) Oil*, Lavandula hybrida Oil*, Beta-sitosterol, Squalene, Tocopherol

100% of the total ingredients are from natural origin
87.2% of the total ingredients are from organic farming

*Ingredients from organic farming
** Made using organic ingredients

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Filed under Biodegradable Cleaning products, Eco Friendly, gluten free, vegan

Restaurant Review: Bukhara Grill (Toronto)

Mat and I had the pleasure of going to Bukhara Grill in Toronto on Bloor. They have another location in Mississauga for anyone in the west end. The location we went to was downstairs and next to this health store called Peachtree. It’s somewhat easy to miss the entrance to Bukhara Grill as the sign doesn’t stick out as much as you’d think.

So downstairs we went to be greeted by a very courteous host who showed us to a lovely intimate section of the restaurant. We were the first ones in the door, afterwards it started to fill up nicely. They certainly have done a fantastic job making this space their own.

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From the decorations to the mint and tamarind sauce already waiting at each table I really felt they’re trying for an upscale client. By the way the two condiments I mentioned are insanely good. I hope they decide to sell them as a separate product as I would start stocking up. We had no problems ordering and receiving the food the way we asked. They understand vegan and gluten free. Just make sure to pass on the papadums if you’re gluten free as they are made in the same place the naan is. It’s too bad, but that’s what happens when things are done traditionally.

We usually stick to aloo golbi ($9.99) and chana masala ($9.99) as we know them to be naturally gluten free. For a change we ordered Saffron Rice ($3.99) instead of just plain basmati. 

To say we were impressed is an understatement. Everything was flavourful, delightfully spicy, and delicious. We plan on making this our go to place for the weekend. We have a habit now of ordering an additional meal of the same for take away as it makes Sunday afternoon lunch that much easier.

Do not miss out. I cannot say enough good things about this place.

Happy eating!

 

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Filed under gluten free, gluten free meals, Meals, vegan

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies with Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels

The lovely people at Enjoy Life sent me a bag of their dark chocolate Morsels. I have one word for them – DELICIOUS! I had to stop myself from eating the bag. Yes, they are fantastic just on their own. I love dark chocolate and these are just right.

I used a fantastic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from The Gluten Free Vegan. This recipe is supposed to make 20 cookies, I made 15 because I really packed those babies. I used my hands to form them into cookie patties. I usually use an ice cream scoop, but today I felt like using my hands for some reason.

I’ve made this recipe about five times now and things I’ve learnt:
1. Do not use coconut oil – it doesn’t soften the cookie whatsoever, it makes them dry and kinda not to great
2. Use more chocolate chips than recommended, it’s a personal preference
3. You can use home made apple sauce, works fine too
4. Do not use rice sweetener, for some reason maple syrup really works, the rice sweetener does not

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Oh, they are delicious! I love, love, love the texture and they’re not too crunchy. Excellent recipe that you can’t mess up. Unless you use coconut oil.

Happy eating!

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Filed under baked goods, gluten free, Healthy Snacks, vegan