Tag Archives: trader joe's

Package Swap

I was lucky enough not only to get in on a vegan care package swap this year, but to be paired up with the orchestrator herself, the wonderful Lindsay from Cooking for a Vegan Lover!

For a look at the package I sent Lindsay, click here!
Here’s what I received:

I know, I know, Lindsay’s awesome! In the back we have some Road’s End Organics Golden Gravy Mix–I can already see a nice dorm room dinner with that in my near future–and (also organic!) Pacific Natural Foods Simply Tea in Green Tea Tangerine flavor!

Lindsay’s from Vermont, so she also sent me some VT specialties:

Liz Lovely Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies (Did you know Liz Lovely was Vermont-based?), and of course, real Vermont Pure Maple Syrup from Kingdom Mountain family farm!

The package also included a mother load of PranaBars, which I’ve never had before, but am really excited about because the flavors are so exotic and healthy! These superfood bars are all organic, gluten-free, vegan, and mostly raw.

Yeha, that’s apricot pumpkin. Can you believe it? There’s also coconut acaí, pear ginseng, cashew almond, apricot goji, and apple pie. These will be perfect pre-run snacks when, come winter break, I start training for the January half marathon I’m doing!

The package also included two packs of Heart Thrive bars, cranberry and chocolate, which I’ve seen before, but never tried (and isn’t that the point of these exchanges? to try things that you might not normally buy because they’re a luxury or you don’t know what they’re like?). I really, really like that they’re heart-shaped. I think eating them will be that much more fun.

Also, as you can see, Trader Joe’s Instant Vanilla Pudding! I’ve seen it in stores, but never realized it was vegan–all you have to do is add non-dairy milk instead of cow’s milk. Sweet. :)

The remainder of the package was lots of fun little trinkets, like milled flaxseed, green tea mints, gummy bears, a JamFrakas bar, and hot sauce.

Thanks so much, Lindsay. This was a great first swap experience, and I’ll definitely be doing more in the future because I had so much fun. Opening the package was like vegan Christmas.

Also–ugh–this is one of those posts where almost every single paragraph ends with an extra word that wouldn’t fit on the line above it. I could try to fix it, but it’s kind of funny. I’m sure all bloggers get annoyed about little things like that, so I’ll leave it as a tribute!

Finally, Maggie at My Breakfast Blog tagged me for “Truth Week,” so here’s my little piece of kind of embarrassing truth: Sometimes when I’m snacking on a jar of peanut butter straight with a spoon (not a plain jar, but fancy, semi-expensive ones like PB & Co. flavors), I’ll make myself put it in the freezer to make sure I save it for more exciting uses than eating it plain, like oatmeal, baking, and fun sandwiches. I’m all for eating PB plain–God knows I do it enough–but when you pay so much for nice nut butters that aren’t always easy to find in the first place, it can kind of suck to go through it so quickly. It’s sad that I have to freeze it, but I just love PB that much. Truth!

Edited to add: HAHA, even my note about my paragraphs ended up with an extra word on another line! FML. I bet it will happen to this one too.

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Baked Sweet Tater Breakfast!

Nothing special here, folks. Just a deliciously simple breakfast that anyone could–and should–make! A baked sweet potato slathered in almond butter.

My secret: when I bought my recent jar of Trader Joe’s Raw Almond Butter, I made my own special flavor blend by mixing in coconut oil, ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt! Tastes like snickerdoodle cookie batter, and goes perfectly with sweet potatoes, if I don’t say so myself! It would be even better with a touch of maple syrup or maple sugar (or even some raisins!), but I’m off sugar for a little bit for health reasons. YOU, however, should add it. :)

Gluten-Free Sunrise

Two gluten-free sunrises, actually! I’m sure most of you are familiar with Nature’s Path. Not only are they an exclusively organic company, but, as far as I’m concerned, they have yet to make a bad cereal – well, I’ve only tried the vegan ones, but I’d guess that 90% of their cereals are vegan anyways, the main non-vegan offender being the occasional inclusion of honey. I lurrrve their Peanut Butter Granola and my family adores their Flax Plus, especially my dad. He has a bowl of Flax Plus with raisins and bananas every single morning of his life unless I happen to be whipping up some pancakes or muffins, in which case he can usually be prevailed on to leave the Flax Plus in the pantry. He even uses 1/2 soy milk in it! Someday I’ll get him to 100% soy milk – funny story: when I was little, my dad had read that soy is especially beneficial for young girls in early stages of development, so he started diluting my cow’s milk with soy milk, gradually upping the concentration until my little five-year-old self eventually caught on and called him out on it!

Anyways, Nature’s Path makes an insane amount of gluten-free cereals. I tried my first one – Mesa Sunrise – this summer when, with my stomach problems, I was afraid I might have a gluten-sensitivity. It turned out not to be a gluten-allergy (I still don’t know what it was!), but the “scare” got me more interested in gluten-free, or at least wheat-free, alternatives because I, like most of you, eat a lot of wheat, and too much of anything isn’t a good thing. A large percentage of wheat is genetically-modified too. Finally, even if wheat isn’t unhealthy per se, it’s not as nutrient-packed as other grains like quinoa.

So, you can imagine how excited I was when, at work at the Weil Lifestyle office this summer, one of my coworkers announced a shipment of Nature’s Path cereal samples had arrived. The chance to sample unreleased cereal from one of my favorite health food companies in the world? And gluten-free cereal? And one of them is MAPLE flavored? Um, hello!

I present to you Crunchy Maple Sunrise and Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise, Nature’s Path’s two new gluten-free options. Maple Sunrise:

As you can see, it has a great texture. Although I enjoyed the Mesa Sunrise I tried over the summer, the flakes were a little monotonous. These new cereals have flakes and various sizes of puffs. Yummy, and keeps you on your toes!

Here’s the Vanilla Sunrise, served with Trader Joe’s new Whole Grain Milk (which is also really good – have any of you guys tried it?):

I really liked both cereals, but as I’m a bit of a maple fanatic, it was obviously my favorite of the two. And yes, they are sweeter than something like Flax Plus, but sometimes that’s okay! I’d say they’re on the sweeter side of healthy. That’s a nice way to put it, isn’t it?

According to this article, they should be on sale next week (September 13th!), so go get ’em!

Peanut Butter Pancakes and Lotsa Granola

So, I’m back at Pomona College to start my senior year! I’m nervous about the workload and senior thesis and, well, becoming a real person in 9 months time, but am also super excited to be back with my friends and settle in to this new schedule. I’m living with three of my best friends in an adorable suite, and life is good at the moment.

My last few days at home were full of some decadent treats because I knew I’d go back to eating a lot more Hugh Jass (in honor of Shelby!) salads once I was back at the dining hall. I’m not complaining; I do love salads, and there is some pretty decent vegan food here in Claremont – but still. I also knew I’d mostly be having cereal in my room for breakfast – so I wanted to pack in some variety pre-departure. Take, for example, these Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Syrup. I know, I know! The pancakes are from the PPK (but with chips added), and the syrup is Celine’s recipe!

I love this pancake recipe so much! It’s seriously just ground oats, peanut butter, banana, and soy milk (well, and baking powder, and I added chocolate chips and a pinch of salt – but still, super simple!) I liked making pancakes with oats instead of regular flour and the peanut butter-banana flavor was perfectly balanced. Topped with the syrup and fresh bananas, this was the perfect breakfast to have my last day at home. I may have even enjoyed these little love cakes alongside a glass of chocolate soy milk. ;)

A funny thing about the batter was that I had it two days in a row, so I kept it in the fridge overnight, and the next morning, it had turned into oatmeal. Peanut butter-banana oatmeal. The oats had absorbed all the liquid, and it had gotten really thick. It probably would have been delicious as it was actually (minus the baking powder!)

I also made two kinds of granola for my dear little sister, Olivia, who just began her second year at Colgate University in NY (she plays DI soccer there!). She’s a big granola fan, but has pretty high standards. Apparently, standards that Colgate cannot fulfill. So of course she called me! She requested an apple-cinnamon batch, so I made one of those, plus another for experiment’s sake. For the apple cinnamon, I used the recipe for Greg’s Granola in Vegan Lunch Box, but that seems too oddly personal of a name, so I’m going to call it Apple-Cinnamon-Almond Granola, okay?

I followed the recipe except for using all dried apples (instead of apples + raisins), and subbing the pecans with Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Almonds. It came out really well–a little sweet, but not over the top.

I also made Pecan-Cranberry Olive Oil Granola from the New York Times website (subbing the pecans and cranberries for the pistachios and apricots in the original recipe, and switching the cardamom for extra cinnamon). I personally would have made it with the given flavor combo, but Liv is a bit picky and I wanted to make sure she’d like it! I wish I could say I chose to make olive oil granola in honor of my sister’s name (I call her Olive sometimes), but honestly, it just looked really, really good.

Granola mountain!  This was my first time using olive oil in granola (although I have used it in blueberry muffins before and the result was delicious!), and I’d definitely do it again! It gave the granola a super rich, almost “buttery” taste that fat-free granola, or even granola made with canola oil, would certainly not have. This recipe had a bit more sugar (maybe to mask the olive-y taste?), but whatever. A crowd-pleaser for sure!

Be back soon with some more of my last-minute eats at home, including, oh, I don’t know, Teesey nachos and stuffed mochi? Oops. Gave that one away, didn’t I?

Falafels, Cumin-Roasted Vegetable Salad and Pumpkin Tofu Scramble

We needed lunch for our hike yesterday, so I made “Lightened-Up” Falafels from The Everyday Vegan. I’ve made these before, and I love them! They’re fat-free besides the tiny amount of oil you “fry” them in, and they’re chock-full of fresh herbs–parsley and coriander to be exact. I made the Tahini-Tamari Sauce to go with them, as Dreena suggests, and we had them in Trader Joe’s whole wheat pita with spinach and tomatoes while we lounged creekside!

I also made the Cumin-Roasted Vegetable Salad from The Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook, subbing eggplant for the fennel (EW FENNEL EW). It was such a simple recipe, but it really was delicious. Toasting your own cumin seeds makes all the difference.

My dad’s exact words were, “hiking lunches are a completely different experience with Nora…” :)

For dinner tonight, I was craving something exotic. I know this is random, but I wanted Celine’s Pumpkin Tofu Scramble!

Oh, I adore this dish so much. I added a pinch of cinnamon, some soy milk (for extra creaminess and to deglaze the pan), and a lot of vegetables–zucchini, bell pepper, and green bean–and served it over Trader Joe’s Sprouted Wheat Berry Toast with a tiny drizzle of maple syrup. It totally hit the spot! Seriously, guys, make this scramble if you want a nice change from your typical noochy one (although there is some nooch in here!)