Thursday, April 3, 2014

Read This If You Have a Baby!

If you have a baby, they will teethe, it is inevitable. Teething can be no picnic, but luckily there are products out there that make this whole nightmare milestone more tolerable.

Tommee Tippee is one of my absolute favorite baby brands. They make a lot of natural baby products which are safe and effective. Two of their products in particular, have been favorites of Baby's, the Chewther and the Milk Feeding Bib.

The Chewther is one neat little teether. All of Tommee Tippee's BPA-free Chewthers feature a cool surface that is soothing to Little One's mouth and gums. They offer Chewthers for each stage of teething, which is helpful for targeting the areas that are causing the discomfort, at the stage that they are experiencing it. Pictured, is the Stage 2 Dual Ended Chewther in pink/ purple and is intended for baby's 4 months plus. What is unique about this teether is that it is designed to also aid with the baby's oral development in preparation for speech and feeding. It does this by supporting the lip seal, jaw development, and muscle coordination.

As you can see, this Chewther is the perfect size and shape for Baby to hold, allowing her to self soothe. The texture is flexible and soft, so this teether is safe for those fragile little teeth. And we all know that some teethers can be extremely hard and just aren't right for Baby. I love the thoughtful design and engineering behind the Chewther. It not only soothes your fussy little teething baby, but also prepares her for speech and eating thicker foods by strengthening the jaw. I haven't seen a teether like this before!

Here is a closeup of the Tommee Tippee Chewther!

Another must-have Tommee Tippee product is their Closer to Nature, Milk Feeding Bib. This bib grows with Baby very nicely. It can be used from birth and up until the child outgrows the bib. The cool thing is, the soft closure in back of the bib has a great range for adjust-ability. Some other bibs only have that closure in one spot, making them either too big or too small at some point. The Milk Feeding Bib adjusts to your child's neck size. And it is super soft (as you can probably see in the picture)! This bib has a soft plush dribble catcher that prevents milk, juice, or drool from getting under the chin and causing irritation or rash. That is why I adore this bib for teething! With teething comes lots drool! This is the absolute perfect bib for breastfeeding, spit-up, when baby begins to use a sippy cup, teething, and drooling. It really is the softest bib that will protect Baby's skin from irritation. The Closer to Nature, Milk Feeding Bib is super cute and comes in colors like cream and pink, cream and blue, and cream and beige. You don't just get one bib either, they are sold in a pack of two! This is also a wonderful baby shower gift as any new parent would love to receive this for their baby. I'm a huge fan of this bib and so is my little angel. You can tell how comfy she is wearing it since it is one of the only bibs that she doesn't try to pull or take off.

You can find these and other fabulous Tommee Tippee baby products at retailers like Babies-R-Us, Target, and Maijer. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Googoo, gaga!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Vegan Easter Basket

Anyone who is vegan understands that their Easter basket will not be the same as it may have been before becoming vegan. No dyed eggs. And let's face it, most stores are lacking in the vegan candies department. Luckily, these products make it all better. Here are some ideas for your vegan Easter basket.

You can get most of your candy from A Real Treat candy boutique in Los Angeles, California. They are an all natural candy store that literally has the largest selection of vegan, organic, kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, and allergen-free sweets around! Think candy store, huge selection, picking different sweet treats and putting them in your candy bag... yeah that is A Real Treat. And if you're not in the Los Angeles area, no problem. Check out their website for online ordering. Here are some delicious vegan candies that I sampled from A Real Treat. Also, a little birdy told me that they are carrying vegan cream eggs for Easter. All you Californians better head on over. No, run on over. I'm pretty sure a treat like this is very hard to come by!

 In the pictures you will notice a plethora of Easter basket candy. A Real Treat has everything from gummies galore to vegan starburst-type candies (which taste like real fruit, melt in your mouth candies) to vegan milk chocolate covered and filled candies (that tasted absolutely heavenly). All of the candies that I tried tasted divine. The best part? These cruelty-free candies are also free of corn syrup and dyes. I, like many people, have a sensitivity to certain dyes and artificial ingredients. This candy boutique is out-of-this-world! This is something just so unique and clever. I totally want to move to California just so I can park my vegan butt in front of A Real Treat candy store and basically eat their delicious candy all day long. I've already started manipulating Hubby... West Coast here I come!

The goodies from A Real Treat are perfect for filling plastic eggs with for baskets or for Easter Egg Hunts. When you are filling your plastic eggs with these candies, every egg is like finding the GOLDEN EGG!

Definitely check them out; you won't be disappointed. I loved them!

And when you need the convenience of finding your vegan candy at virtually any store, you can always rely on America's Favorite Candy for 64 years, vegan Smarties. Smarties are easy to just pop in your mouth and munch on, as well as being the perfect plastic egg filler. The folks at Smarties even have a section of their FAQ dedicated to vegan-love, stating, "All Smarties® products are vegetarian and vegan. Feel free to refer to our Product page for the nutritional information and ingredients in each product, and our Vegan Candy page for more information about our vegan sweets.". How sweet is that? Smarties are awesome!

And last but certainly not least, I would like to introduce you to a product called Eggnots. These extremely realistic eggs are made of ceramic and you treat them exactly how you would an Easter Egg. You can dye them, write on them, paint them, stain them, or keep them "as is". They are fantastic and best of all... you can keep them forever! We will be dying these Eggnots for Easter with Baby and signing them with the date. What a wonderful keepsake for Baby's First Easter! 

Eggnots arrive in an egg carton complete with instructions and an egg dye recipe.

My mother thought that these were real eggs. I handed it to her and after she held it, she still thought it was an egg. These are so cool for us vegan folk who have since resorted to dying tofu, painting rocks, and other creative things at Easter. Eggnots take the guesswork out of things.

What an amazing egg to dye for Easter. They can go right in the Easter basket as soon as they're dry, they won't spoil, they are vegan-friendly, and great for people with egg allergies as well. I can definitely see this becoming a beautiful tradition in many homes, year after year. Your family can see how your works of art evolve over the years and you can create such pretty memories. These are not just for Easter; think other holidays and craft ideas all year long. You can even surprise your honey by writing a romantic message or proposal and hiding it in your love's Easter basket. Or how about a fun Easter scavenger hunt with the kids; just write the clues on the eggs and hide them! For just $15.95 per dozen, the possibilities are endless! There are 20 days until Easter, so get your orders in fast to ensure that you can receive your Eggnots in time! 

 So there you have it, vegans can still partake in Easter traditions and festivities. No animals harmed in the process. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Hoppity, hop!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Welcome to CrazyVille, Population: Lots.

I've been blogging since 2010. During this time as a writer, I have apparently touched some lives. I get lots of feedback from readers, whether they are emails, tweets, or meeting people at events (or even just out and about at places like Whole Foods!). I have gotten heart-warming emails from people telling me that I have encouraged them to go vegan, to change their lives, gave them courage to tell their doctors or their children's doctors (and "stick to their guns") about their vegan lifestyle, armed them with information that gives them strength to live a different lifestyle than their friends, family, and co-workers, helped their family lives by sharing recipes that they make and enjoy as a family, inspired them with my words, and so many other beautiful things that make my blogging such a special act for me to take part in. Whenever I receive this touching feedback, it is truly surreal and flattering, because I still think that I'm a capacious bore and I'm still surprised that ya'll like to read what I have to say. Thank you for that. And if you have stuck with me since 2010, you'll know how much I love the old saying, "the sweet ain't as sweet without the sour". With that being said, I have to share some of the zany feedback that I get too. I get a lot of crazy-town stuff, but here are a few standouts that are pretty amusing...

  • I have had people ask why I care so much about animals but don't care about the vegetables's feelings.
  • I was sampling out my vegan baked good once and a woman walked up to my table. I said, "these baked goods have no animal products, no GMOs, no artificial ingredients, etc.", and she said to me, "and they also have no taste".
  • When I was pregnant someone once told me that my daughter is going to be mad at me for not feeding her cheeseburgers.
  • People have told me that tofu is a gross alternative to meat.
  • I like to post about vegan options that I find at restaurants. Someone once said that I had to have eaten non-vegan food because they know that restaurants do not serve vegan food.
  • I hear this one a lot, "I used to be vegan, but I got sick and had to go back to eating meat". If these people were eating a healthy vegan diet, chances are they were detoxing all of the toxins out of their bodies from years of unhealthy eating. That could be why they felt sick, if they were even sick to begin with.
  • Someone told me that soy beans are poison.
  • I'll get random emails and tweets from people telling me that they just ate meat and that it was so delicious (gag!).
  • Or people telling me that I don't get enough protein.

The point of this post is to remind you not to let antagonistic stuff get you down. Without the negative, the positive stuff wouldn't seem as wonderful. Simply, the sweet wouldn't be as sweet without the sour. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Have a happy day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

You've NEVER Seen Vegan Cheese Like This Before!

I am so excited to share this post with you. I recently received delicious vegan and raw cheeses from Tree Nut Cheese, Dr. Cow and let me tell you, they have completely changed the way I feel about vegan cheese. Thanks Dr. Cow, for ruining vegan cheese for me because I can no longer look at processed vegan "cheeses" the same way after enjoying your real cheese! I did a taste test with another vegan cheese, and there was no comparison after experiencing Dr. Cow's aged nut cheeses. What the other vegan cheese companies are going for, Dr. Cow actually did it; they nailed it. They achieved real vegan cheese that would fool anyone and it is mighty tasty! It is also healthy! There are just three or four ingredients in each of their products, and they are quality ingredients at that. Did I mention they are fancy shmancy?! Well they are fancy shmancy. Finally, a vegan cheese that you can put out at parties that will actually impress snobby cheese connoisseurs. Take that! Now let's look at this delicious cheese.

My cheese arrived perfectly packaged and in beautiful form. Little bundles of art. Tree Nut Cheese Dr. Cow's cheese is like a work of art. These are the aged cheeses.

This is the Cream Cashew Nut Cheese similar to cream cheese or a cheese spread but like the Upper East Side version. I actually felt weird spreading this on my bagel. Like it was too good for my crap bagel. Well, because it is. I'm not kidding this is fancy, good-quality stuff.

I enlisted the help of my husband on eating these cheeses. What we did was try a slice of each cheese by itself, then on a cracker, and eventually on other things. The cheeses have a sort of rind (which we ate and it was delicious!) but are smooth and creamy in the middle, without being overly soft. They also slice incredibly easily. Each cheese is a little different however, so I'll tell you about the ones that we tried and the different ways that they were enjoyed in our household.

The Aged Cashew Nut Cheese was one of our favorites! It is mild, scarily tasted like dairy cheese, and had a classic or original flavor. It is aged for 3 months, which is pretty darn cool. This is a sort of hard cheese but can be spreadable also (especially if you leave it out of the refrigerator for a few minutes). This cheese was great by itself. Serve this to guests to impress!

This Aged Cashew and Dulse Cheese was also aged for 3 months. The sea algae dulse gives this cheese a light ocean flavor. This cheese is perfect for cheese and crackers, or even to enjoy over a baked potato as it pairs well with vegetables. It is creamy and we really enjoyed the flavor.

The Aged Cashew and Hemp Seeds Cheese was awesome! The hemp seeds add such a rich and delicious flavor to this cheese. It is sharp like cheddar, also aged for 3 months, has a creamy yet firm texture, and has some omegas in there. This cheese can stand up to any dairy cheese and win. And where else can you find a cheese with omegas in it?

The Aged Cashew and Blue Green Algae has a fun appearance and interesting flavor. Also aged for 3 months, it is mellow but has a tangy aftertaste. And algae has such wonderful health benefits. I can't think of a better way to get your nutrition-on than by eating cheese and crackers, can you?

The Aged Cashew and Kale Cheese has a bold kale flavor. If you love kale as much as I do, you will enjoy this cheese. This cheese has also been aged for 3 months. With the strong taste combination of cheese and kale, along with it's health benefits, I really enjoyed this cheese.

Upon handling the Aged Macadamia Cheese I thought for sure it would be my favorite. It is much softer than the other aged cheeses and the appearance is rather pretty. This is very high-end, very spreadable cheese, but came along with a very strong macadamia nut flavor. But hey, it is made with macadamias. With that being said, we began to really enjoy the flavor the more we ate it. It is a fun cheese for sure that probably pairs great with wine. Another impressive cheese.

The Cream Cashew Nuts Cheese is super fun! Use it as cream cheese, sour cream, spread, you name it! This is highly spreadable and tastes just like a cream cheese complete with the tang factor. It is a small container but a little goes a long way! We've tried this on everything and we still have some left. It just really seems to last. It has such a tasty yet strong cheesy flavor that you wouldn't want or need to pile this on a bagel or sandwich. Less is more. Absolutely wonderful cheese!

I've done so much with these cheeses! Including this taste comparison on fresh bakery bread. Here is the Cream Cashew Cheese and on the top left you can see another vegan cream cheese beside it. Really no competition; Dr. Cow wins hands down. I couldn't finish the portion with the other brand's cream cheese on it. It actually tasted very different in comparison and not quite something that I would want to eat right out of the container like I can with Dr. Cow. I will save this other brand's cheese for adding creaminess to recipes or for desserts, etc. Once you've gone Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheeses, you can't go back.

The Cream Cashew Cheese is also great on cucumber slices and other veggies!

Here I sliced the aged cheeses and put them in my sandwich. What a treat!

I also used the cheese grater to grate, slice, and even crumble the aged cheeses! That turned out awesome! You can do anything with this cheese. Gone are the days where vegans had to settle on whatever we can get. How refreshing is it to have vegan cheese that is soy-free? I love soy and all, but a girl does need her variety! The age of vegan cheese is here, and Dr. Cow's has changed the game. What a wonderful experience! 

And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Go get yourself some real vegan cheese and have a nice party, will ya'?!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm in the Vegan Jerky of the Month Club!

As promised in my post, I'm sharing the juicy meaty details of my Jerky of the Month Club package. I hurried to my mailbox and clutched the little brown box, stamped with the logo, with champion-football-player-like speed and dexterity, and rushed inside to tear it open. As I opened my precious package, I suddenly heard music from the heavens - just kidding. What I did notice was a box runneth over with vegan jerky; my taste buds began to water and my mind flooded with sweet childhood memories of eating jerky with my little brother. It is true; I thought it was just an urban myth. Vegan jerky indeed exists and you can get it in a neat little variety package every month from, as a Jerky of the Month club member. For just $15.00 per month, all of your jerky dreams can finally come true! Your package may just look something like this...

Ain't she a beauty?

The first jerky that I tried was Stonewall's Jerquee in Original Wild flavor. They looked like little nuggets of deliciousness. The first bite felt just a tad bit spongy, but then the wicked flavorful and spicy taste totally redeemed any textural concerns. I want this flavor in my life every single day. Enough said. Or is it? This 1.5 ounce serving is 14 grams of protein! What a delightful way to get your protein boost. Now, enough has been said. Love it.

The next jerky that I tried was by Vegan Dream in Teriyaki flavor. I wasn't crazy about the packaging, but the flavor was great and the texture was very much like the jerky that I remember. This is the jerky that you can take with you hiking, snack on during a sports game, munch on while sitting by a campfire, or any time that you have a few minutes to chew. This is not really an on-the-go jerky.You have to have time to chew and enjoy this. Also, not great for sharing unless you have a pair of culinary scissors with you. That is fine; more for me!

I'll tell you what is good for getting a protein fix when you're in a rush, Primal Strips. They are easy to eat, taste delicious, come in a lot of great flavors, and pack a big protein punch for a small amount of calories, 10 grams to be exact. I tried these in flavors Hot & Spicy and Texas BBQ. Hot & Spicy had a really great flavor but wasn't overly hot. It also had a Slim Jim quality to it, in texture and flavor. Texas BBQ was pleasantly smoky and reminded me of camping. The flavors were having a party in my mouth! These are great to take camping, hiking, to the office for an easy to scarf down snack, or pretty much to enjoy anywhere at anytime. These were great!

I saved the superstar for last. Louisville Vegan Jerky in Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper Jerky flavor. This jerky comes in a clever resealable package, has a complex and mighty-yummy flavor, and the texture was awesome. This is a cross between the Vegan Dream and the Hot & Spicy Primal Strip, in regards to texture. As far as flavor goes, it tasted like a typical jerky should taste. It was convenient to eat and share, came in a package that allows you to save some for later (yeah right, if you can resist eating the entire bag), and has a whopping 12- 15 grams of protein per bag! Yummy in my vegan tummy!

I am super excited to receive next's month Jerky of the Month Club shipment from my friends at! I wonder what jerky variety I will get! I will be sure to share that with you when it arrives! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Vegan nom noms from this vegan Jerk!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SoDelicious: They Ain't Kiddin'!

I thought that I have tried all of the SoDelicious vegan products. From the beverages, creamers, frozen desserts, and other vegan dairy products, SoDelicious seems to always be coming out with something new. With that being said, there is always something new to try! Lucky for me, they sent me a couple coupons to try some of their new, or new to me, stuff. I perused Whole Foods and found a couple things that I hadn't tried before so that I can review them. Here it goes...

I decided to try SoDelicious Almond Milk Minis ice cream sandwiches in Vanilla. I have tried their other Minis sandwiches that are made with coconut milk and soy milk, so I was curious to try these. They were delicious but not as creamy as the coconut and soy ones. They tasted lighter than the others. If given the opportunity, I would definitely get them again, however if I had a choice, my favorite minis are their coconut milk ones. I'm a huge fan of their Coconut Milk Minis bars in Coconut Almond flavor. Aside from their Coconut Creamers that I use in my coffee and recipes, those minis are my favorite item in the line.

I then chose to try their soy ice cream in Chocolate Velvet flavor. I have had practically every ice cream of theirs whether it be soy, coconut, or almond, but haven't tried this flavor. I am a fan of their Chocolate Obsession and Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors, so I thought that this would be pretty similar. I thought wrong! Chocolate Velvet is hands down the best chocolate flavored vegan ice cream that I have ever tried. It is so smooth, creamy, and downright velvety! Even the look and texture is like frozen velvet, it is just beautiful! I had this by itself and also made milkshakes with it. Once I made a chocolate and vanilla shake and the next time I made a chocolate peanut butter shake. The peanut butter paired with this chocolate flavor was out of this world! This is my new addiction and definitely the only vegan chocolate ice cream that I will be buying.

SoDelicious has so many products out there that it is hard to keep up! I recently found out that their super new products are their Culinary Coconut Milk (I imagine would be great in Thai recipes), Mini Dessert Bars that are organic, Gluten Free ice creams, and Cashew Milk. All of which, I am extremely interested in trying! Hopefully I'll get my hands on those soon so that I can let you all know what I think of them.

On a side note, and a random one at that, I would love to see SoDelicious make a vegan cream cheese. I think that they would be great at that since they certainly have a way with vegan dairy.

And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Sweet velvety deliciousness to you my friends!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brad Showed Me His...

Catchy title, huh? Don't be a perve.

I am so lucky to have received some swag from Brad's Raw! They sent me their famous kale chips to try in two flavors, Naked and Vampire Killer.

Brad's Raw Crunchy Kale is vegan, raw, kosher, organic, gluten-free, and packed with healthy benefits like the intact enzymes that help you digest and are not destroyed due to Brad's light dehydration process (below 115 degrees).

Besides being completely and utterly yummy, in each container you get .3- .5 ounces more than their competitors. Speaking of the container, I prefer this container to the bags that other kale chip companies use. I say that because as you may know if you have ever eaten kale chips, things can get messy. If you plan on eating the entire 2.5 ounce container (as I intend to do each and every single time), you can simply eat your chips right over the container and it catches the fallout, leaving your clothing kale-crumb free! Now let's talk about these flavors.

The Naked flavor is made up of crunchy kale generously coated with a cheesy sunflower seed, cashew, and vegan cheese concoction. These are deliciously tangy and pleasant. I thought that Naked flavor was rather flavorful for being "naked", until I tried...

BAM! GarlicVille!

Vampire Killer consists of kale with a flavor-burst of sunflower seeds, cashews, garlic, and vegan cheese. The garlic really adds an amazing flavor and it just delights your taste buds. I love garlic, so this flavor was definitely my favorite. To be fair, you will need a mint after eating these, I am not even going to lie. However, it is so worth it!

Brad's Raw Foods makes others kale chips in flavors like Nacho, Nasty Hot, and even Pina Kale-Ada flavor! How clever! They also make other snacks like raw chips, onion rings and even snacks for your doggies! I'm definitely looking forward to trying their other flavors and products. If they are anything like the kale chips I tried, I know I will be hooked!

And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. I hope you have a crunchy, garlic-breathe-in-yo-face kind of day! Smell ya' later.