Unless you are just checking out my blog for the first time ever, you probably already know that I am pregnant. Actually, 8 months along at this point. And some people already know that most pregnant women aren’t suppose to have coffee- or rather they are only suppose to have so much caffeine. I am pretty sporadic about my coffee intake, but because I don’t have it all the time, I can accidentally guzzled too much in one day. And top it off, pregnant women have a harder time getting caffeine out of their system. I had a day or two where I accidentally drink too much caffeine and was rather jittery.
But I know many people like to drink less coffee, or can’t have any caffeine in their diet for medical reason. Because of these reasons, I was really happy to try out some coffee like products on the market. I tried to have the products in various styles to try and fill everyone’s coffee desires.
Two Quick Notes! I bought all these products on my own. So these are all my own opinions, though I never give my input about if the cost is worth it. Truthfully I like buying expensive coffee so I say all are worth the price. But if you are looking for cheap- go for the teeccino. My second note is that I don’t think caffeine is evil. I think out of most plant based stimulants caffeine is pretty awesome and safe (when in a natural state of coarse, you can overdose on the purified powdered stuff.) I am reviewing low caffeine or caffeine free products so no tea and yerba mate reviews. I also wanted the flavor to be in the same ball park but still be fairly easy to find in stores.
What is it?: I’ve heard about this drink for awhile and have wanted to try it ever since I’ve heard of it. Pretty much the cacao bean is roasted in the same style as the coffee bean
Positives: It isn’t 100% caffeine free, which to me is a good thing. I like having a little bit of a caffeine kick, and it also provides a little bit of bitterness. It also never claims to taste like coffee so you can drink it with an open mind. But the cacao is easy to mix with coffee beans if you are trying to help wean yourself off of coffee grounds. Mixing the two also give a really awesome and unique flavor (think mocha)
Negatives: It is a little watery and pre-ground. The drink is thinner than normal brewed coffee, and I think it would help if the grinds were a little smaller. But you can’t do that since they are pre-ground.
How to Brew: I’ve tried this in many ways, pulled an espresso shot, french press, and drip. I have found the only way to drink this is by using a french press. The espresso was a watery mess, and the drip was alright but tended to have trouble filtering. The French Press will give the best full body flavor.
What it tastes like?: It tastes like a watered down mocha latte- kind-of. There is a distinct chocolate/cacao flavor going on, but you have some rich notes that give a subtle notes similar to coffee. This clearly doesn’t taste like coffee, it has a totally different flavor profile, but can fill the void of full body, bitter, hot beverages.
What is it?: A blend of various plants and herbs. The main ingredients being used are carob, chicory root, nuts, barley, dandelion root, and some nuts and dried fruit. There are many blends available in different packaging. There are some that are gluten free (without the barley), tea bags, loose for drip, and lots of accessories.
Positives: This is 100% caffeine free for anyone who wants it. The drink also comes in various different methods so you can either brew it at home, or have tea bags for on the go. There also many flavors which works well for anyone who might be a picky eater. This brand is also probably the most widely available coffee substitute as I found it at Whole Foods, Wegmans, and small mom-and-pop health food stores.
Negatives: It is easy to mess up the brewing process. There have been times where I over brewed and had horrible tasting teeccino. Because of this, it isn’t so easy to mix the teeccino with coffee grounds if you are trying to get rid of caffein from your diet. The brew time is less than regular coffee, and you need much less grinds as well. I am also not a huge fan of their push for a caffeine lifestyle as they use very questionable spokes people sometimes.
How to Brew: I’ve tried many methods, and found my favorite is the tea bags and pulling espresso shots. The tea bags make it so you don’t add too much tea to the brew, and you want to use less than the average cup of coffee. Because of this strong flavor, it works perfectly for an espresso machine. I pulled a shot, added it to iced soy milk, and had a yummy latte, though it highlighted the flavors that aren’t as coffee-like.
What it tastes like?: This tastes the most like a cup of coffee. It doesn’t quite taste the same, but if you ever had a coffee-chicory root drink than you have a better idea what this stuff tastes like. It uses various grains and such that give a similar bitter flavor, but they use coffee flavorings which really give it that authentic flavor. Overall if I am craving coffee but don’t want the caffeine, this stuff is pretty satisfying. It is full bodied, full of flavor, and in some ways better than just drinking decaf coffee. Crazy? Maybe.
What is it?: These are blends of maca root that have been roasted to give a more coffee like flavor. Their original blend uses maca, cocoa, nutmeg, mesquite, and cinnamon, but they have two other blends. Their black reserve uses black, red, and yellow maca root along with beet powder. Their mint has a little dried peppermint leaf.
Positives: Super portable and quick to make. If you like instant coffee (ugh, so bad tasting) this is the coffee replacement for you. Just add hot water, stir, and add any creamers and sugar. Because of the powder form, it makes it easy to make other coffee flavored snacks like lattes, smoothies, and desserts. I also like how this brand promotes the use of other vegan products when making.
Negatives: It is a little gritty overall. I find that towards the end of the cup it gets a little too thick, which could be remedied by adding more hot water. Even when I make my macaccino latte, it still gets a little thick at the bottom.
How to Brew: There is pretty much only one way to “brew” and that is to dissolve the powder. You can use hot water or add mostly soy milk like I do. You can sub any recipe that uses espresso powder with this.
What it tastes like?: Just like the Crio Bru there is something very coffee like that comes from roasting the maca. But you most definitely can taste the maca flavor coming through. There is no way you could just sub the macaccino powder with just maca. As mentioned before, since it is a powder that is mixed with hot water, it does have some off the pitfalls as instant coffee does. But I would think more on par with Starbucks super finely ground instant coffee.
Oh boy this week has been crazy. I FINALLY updated all 400 posts to make sure all the images are working and optimized. Finally. The pictures should get bigger whenever I update the layout… if I ever do that. XD Last weekend Jon and I had our baby shower, and it was a lot of fun. We got lots of stuff and our nights have been putting together some of the gifts, and washing every single thing. Yup, I think I did a load of laundry every day of the week except for maybe one night. Yikes! We don’t do a several loads in one day since we air dry our laundry, but that probably won’t happen as often once the baby is born.
We also finished painting the baby’s room, and now we can really start to settle into that space. We are making sure everything is working (like having a closet door that fully closes) and organized. We ordered a new mattress for baby, all the cloth diapers, and I just found out about Once Upon a Child and got a bunch of newborn onesies for cheap. Thank god for second hand kids shops.
Annoyingly tonight I need to drop off my car to the car repair shop. For like the past year (or two) we’ve had a leak and therefore a bucket in the car. Well, a week ago the gas station attendant didn’t twist on the gas cap all they way, making the check engine light go off. We tightened it and it eventually went away, but made an appointment already. I wanted to cancel the appointment, but Jon wants to get the leak fixed. 9__9 I kind-of like my weird janky bucket. I always like the idea that it makes it less likely that the car will be stolen XD
I love reading about how complex animals are. To me it really re-enforces many aspects of veganism, particularly conserving the environment. There is also something very humbling that most of the things we think of as being “human” aren’t exclusive to just us. Well, this article pretty much points out that most cods can have issues with breeding with other cod fish that live far away. This gives bigger incentive to classify cod fish as a non-sustainable fish.
I loved the timing of this post. The blog The Only Living Girl in NY is similar to The Dainty Squid- lots of photos of random destinations ranging from nature to kitchy tourist traps. Which is why I kind-of love that she took photos of Trump’s Taj Mahal. It was technically opened when she visited but it might as well been closed. When I mentioned the irony to my boss, he was telling a story about how he took a friend to Atlantic City to check out all the casinos. What he found very odd about the Taj Mahal, which was their last stop, was how hard it was to actually FIND the slot machines. If anyone has been to Las Vegas, they know that the slot machines are the FIRST thing you see in the main entrances. It seems pretty obvious why the place was a flop.
I have a confession- I am not a huge donut fan. I know, I’m in the minority. I also don’t really like bacon, even in the pre-vegan days. But I always CRAVE donuts because they always look so gosh darn pretty! Especially these new trendy cosmic donuts. I can’t even comprehend how people make them! Both recipes are vegan, but I recommend checking out the “salad cakes” from Vegan Doll House, since she sneaks a few veggies in there. I like cakier donuts anyways.
Exercise has slowed down quite a lot. I think in general I am more active than most people since I stand all day at work. But on weekends I try to get in some extra walking from doing errands and going to my CSA. Plus that is when I try and fit a longer workout in, whether it is lifting some weights, a barre workout, or a run. Well, sort of. I have to officially retire my running. I think I might be having Braxton Hicks contractions while running, and I read that isn’t the greatest. So it is official- running is done until probably the end of the year.
I am going to try and fit in a 30 minute walk everyday, since that seems to be what most doctors recommend anyways. Problem is that I kind-of hate my neighborhood for just walking, so I will try and figure out how to budget my time to drive into parks or towns that I find more relaxing. *crosses fingers* Hopefully that works out.
Doing well. Occasionally my back hurts at the end of the day, and I’m a little slow at sitting up when watching TV. But otherwise I can’t complain. I ended up getting my flu shot last Monday, and that was the first time doing that since… goodness… I don’t know. High school or earlier? Yes, I know I am a bad adult, especially since I have insurance to cover it. I need to go back again and get my Whooping Cough shot as well.
The other day I did get a migraine. It sucked away an entire day. Which stinks because I thought- sure, I will get some random stuff for the baby done if I’ll be home all day. Nope. At one point I fell asleep for 2 hours, thinking I would be fine without my complicated pillow set up. Nope. Hips really hurt afterwards. It is the weirdest thing to me about any pregnancy symptom.
There are two very aquatic animals this week- the platypus and small-clawed otter. They are kind-of weird choices, mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a platypus. Like never at a zoo when I was little. It is one of those animals that most people know of, but I guess most people never see. So I have no clue how big they actually are. I mean, how common are they in Australia? Like do most Australians see them swimming around in ponds and such?
As for the small-clawed otter? I’ve remember them from the Jungle World exhibit from the Bronx Zoo. Actually they seem to be in a lot of zoos, so they either must be pretty happy in captivity, or just very abundant in Asia. If they are pretty common in Asia, I would love to spend a few trips just searching for them by the water, since zoos don’t benefit animals.
Oh wait! I have to do stuff!
Jon and I are hitting that “oh yeah, we should probably get some stuff done soon” sort of moment. I mean, we aren’t acting late in the game, just sort of slightly freaking out since it FEELS like we have been putting these things off forever… which I mean we kind-of have. We need to do all that boring stuff like get shots (one down, two more to go), pre-register at the hospital, pick a pediatrician, get a breast pump, figure out more health insurance stuff, and you know, all that sort of jazz PLUS thinking about holiday stuff. I already asked Alexa to start planning when she will help up decorate our Christmas tree, to get it done before the baby might come. Because I know my arms aren’t going to reach as far as they use to.
It’s All Downhill
I feel like the past two week flew right by. I have a hunch the next 8 weeks will fly right by as well. I will be busy buying Christmas gifts, planning things, and blogging for Vegan MOFO (at least that is the plan XD) I have a feeling the last four pregnancy posts will be very short. Or maybe not. I guess we will have to just wait and see.
Let me first point out- today is such a nicer healthier collection of foods than the past few days. Yeah, I’ve been scarfing down lots and lots of sugar. Hello pumpkin spice oreos and birthday cake flavored target-os. Oh a cookies and cream filled doughnut, the broken smarties from halloween candy, you know, anything I can get my hands on really. It is so easy to eat carbs and sugars since they are shelf stable and quick to make. Bagel and cream cheese? Easy and satisfying. Vegan boxed mac and cheese? Pretty filling. My acid reflux has been AWFUL the past few days, which I think has made me reach for the super junky foods. It also might be making leftovers filled with veggies less appealing. Part of me wonders if the things I am craving with the reflux (read: sugary snacks) are what is causing it.
But let’s start with my shake. I just wasn’t feeling spirulina this morning. I wanted to taste more of the chocolate so I took out the spirulina and blended up a small beet from my CSA. I love how it makes the shake turn a deep shade of pink. I pretty much made the same shake I always do- soy milk, banana, cocoa powder, stevia, brown rice protein, kale greens, and chia seeds. Super tasty and yummy.
I was feeling a little peckish before heading out to work so I quickly made a macaccino using some ripple chocolate milk. I really love the consistency of ripple, it is so thick and creamy and possibly a little gritty. Target keeps having sales for them so I keep snatching the small ones.
Around 12 I got too hungry and ate my lunch. I ate two very small golden delicious apples and a cluster fuck of leftovers. I made a red curry that was very thin. It made quite a lot so I kept trying to make the leftovers a little different each time. It kind-of morphed into a bland linguine dish that had some angel hair pasta as well. I pretty much just plugged 1 1/2 cups linguine, 1/4 cup white beans, 1/8 cauliflower, and 1/8 green beans into Cronometer. Seriously, no clue what the nutritional/calorie count would be for that. My bosses also opened a bag of corn chips, and I might of eaten a few handfuls of those.
So I clearly didn’t eat this- but I didn’t take photos of many things I ate (2 apples, corn chips, or raw cookies) so I figured I would share this interesting piece we just got in at my work. It is a fork from the Hinderburg! One of our clients said he was scoping out the field for work and his co-worker accidentally kicked it around. The backside of the fork has a lot more melting going on. It is hard to see in the photo, but on the burnt part there is a little logo (you can see a close up here.) For the record- I did NOT use this fork for my lunch.
Then I got hungry again around 3, and ate the rest of the Rawdical Raisin Cacao Cookies with Oats I made. I really didn’t like them much, which is weird since I really like a similar dish from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. I think it is the coconut oil that Emily adds to hers, it just is icky to me. Plus Ani puts hers in a dehydrator, which I think makes them a little more intense in flavor. I ate about 2.5-3 little cookies worth.
Then for dinner I made a recipe for the Vegan Mofo Blackest Dish challenge. Funny because I love this dish, it is very dark, but compared to the black rice, the stir-fry looks so brown. XD I thought the super metal dish matchy my spoopy shirt. So you guys get some tummy action. And you’ll just have to wait for the recipe for this. But it does use chunjang, a Korean black bean paste. I also used eggplant and broccoli from my CSA and a can of vegan abalone that I’ve had sitting around forever.
I might have a snack- thinking maybe half of a pumpkin mocha scone that I made from Protein Ninja. It’s the first time I made scones before, and I think I added too much flour to them. I wish she gave weights instead of cups for measurements. I plugged half a scone into Cronometer, just incase I decided to eat it before going to bed. As always, the numbers are off. The black rice and ripple didn’t have a full nutritional profile, nor did the canned abalone, I used miso instead of black bean paste, and so on. So I fell short, though I am sure I would of been off anyways.
As always, got all the calories I need- and hey I have 45 calories left! JK I had half of a broken package of smarties. I mean I can’t give it to trick or treaters right? Just got my fats requirements, all my carb, and pleanty of protein (160%, who says vegans don’t get protein?!) I am getting a lot of sugar though. I know I ate a banana and two apples, but there was a good amount of sugar in the ripple milk and in the raw cookies I ate which used agave. I am still short on a lot of various vitamins, but again, some food didn’t get fully registered, and it might of added to the totals.
Anyone else get their Halloween candy yet? And do you have a strong will to not eat the whole thing?
I know I’ve got the will to not eat the ones I can give out. XD
I’ve been sitting on this post forever. I did a package swap with Jenny from Herbivore’s Heaven, back in early spring when I just got pregnant. You can read her review of the package I sent. I was carefully trying to pace myself with all the food, she sent so much! But then after awhile it became a wait game. I kept putting off making the nut roast because it involved turning an oven on during the hottest summer we’ve ever had. Then it became a wait game for the chocolate pudding. Truthfully I’ve never made any instant pudding in myself and the instructions aren’t in English. I’m a little scared to mess it up, but my plan is to just make pudding pops. But… my freezer is full of leftovers that are just for when the baby is born.
So I finally decided to leave the pudding mix out of the review and just finally post this thing. So thanks Jenny for all the awesome foods! Hopefully we can do another package swap next year (the shipping to the Czech Republic is expensive unfortunately T__T) because this was tons of fun. I got to try some yummy new foods, and some I found is available in the USA. I love reading your blog (and getting this package) because it really shows how veganism is different in various parts of the world, showing that people aren’t loosing cultural identity by going vegan.
Now- to the reviews. It’s a LOOOOONG post.
Oh boy, this gives me all the feels that American can’t compete. My husband loves bears. It is really easy, find some shirt with a bear on it- boom birthday gift done. We have bear prints, a bear growler, a stuffed toy bear, we even got a beer called bare bear. So when I saw these pure fruit yoyos with a cute bear on it, I already knew I would love it- and would have to share with my husband. I found that the graphic design was a lot more sophisticated than most American brands but the snack was even better than what I was use to. They are very similar to fruit rolls up, only the snack is thicker but thinner in the width, making it more like a gummy snack. It is a little hard to unroll, and you kind-of need to poke the middle and then unravel from the inside in (maybe giving it more of that yoyo sort of name). The snack also came with collectable cards, which are a little silly as an adult, but fun for kids. I got the apple and raspberry flavors, and I think overall liked the raspberry best.
I may have been a little hungry when I started to sort through my box, since I opened this up first. I love the packaging, it made me feel like I was eating some raw Pringles. What I really liked about these are that they were very light compared to other raw foods. The main ingredients were nuts, no they were actually vegetables, pumpkin and sweet potato. I liked the intense paprika flavor, not too salty or sweet. I liked the specs on the snack- the container was a total of 125 calories, almost 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of fat (from flax seeds), and 4.5 grams of protein. The company is from the Czech Republic but the distribute in the UK, France, Netherland, and Belgium.
These are like fruit rolls ups but with flax seeds dehydrated right into it. I am not a big fan of these, like I am happily eating the whole box, but they remind me too much about why I don’t like animal crackers. See animal crackers are sweet, but too sweet to be crackers. But on the flip side they aren’t sweet enough to be a cookie. This in between state drive me nuts. That is how I feel about these flax rolls. The flax seeds really mellow out the sweetness, making wish this was more of a dessert. It is too bad they didn’t cut down on the flax seed and added more berries. But still overall tasty, and I would rather have these over the animal crackers.
I had high expectations for these, probably because I saw Eat Your Kimchi’s video on stroopwafels. Unfortunately this stroopwafel wasn’t like you saw in the video. The caramel-like center wasn’t gooey, but more like a commercial caramel, soft but mostly hard. Even though that is the case, I found these pretty tasty regardless. I like the hazelnut filling, and the overall treat wasn’t too sweet which I really appreciated. Looking for these? Apparently the company translates them to syrup waffles or hazelnut waffles, so I found a few sellers on Amazon.
I ate this snack and thought “no big deal, just a date coconut roll.” Then when I looked online for the product apparently it is made from no date. Nope, just coconut, carob, a sugar syrup, and rice flour. I would never of guessed! It was pretty tasty and something I would probably eat again. Apparently the company does a whole range of different types of rolls made from nuts, grains, and dried fruit. Carob is often forgotten about or thought to just be a cheap chocolate substitute, but it can really shine when given the chance and this is a product where it shines.
Oh boy were these cookies an enigma. I took my first bite and thought “uck tastes like burnt sugar.” I blame some where pregnancy thing because I ate it again, and burnt sugar was still on my mind, but in a much more positive way. It tasted really complex and delicious. When looking up the cookies online I read the translated list of ingredients, and just couldn’t comprehend. It is made mostly just of flour, tamarind syrup, and raisins! WHAT?! I was thinking it was some burnt sugar gingerbread cookie. Never would of guessed. Definitely the tamarind syrup is the bulk of the flavor, making a really complex cookie.
I was a little nervous about baking this. I don’t use connivence foods often, nor do I make savory “loafs” or “roasts” often. Not much of a European foodie? Not sure. My but weird fear of easy food makes no sense, but one day I was craving a veggie dish and figured I probably needed something a little more to make it a meal, so busted out this baby. I recommend making it in fall or winter (not in 90°F weather. T__T) It was pretty easy to make, just boil water, sit, then pop in the oven for 45 minutes. The end result was a really yummy loaf that made me think of Thanksgiving and the holiday season. The mix comes from a small co-op in Manchester UK, so if you live there or are visiting, I would recommend grabbing this. It is shelf stable, and fairly hands off for a night where you have time, but don’t want to spend too much time in the actual kitchen.
Let me first state something, I live in New Jersey. I know you are all going “no shit Jen, like all the restaurants you review are in New Jersey.” But there are a lot of Italian bakeries in New Jersey (hello Cake Boss!) and I HATED them. I never like those nasty cookies that lacked flavor. I think it was my Czech and German blood screaming for gingerbread. What type of birthday cake do I want? GINGERBREAD! Favorite Christmas cookie? GINGERBREAD PEOPLE! So it comes as no surprise that I friggin LOVE these cookies. They are puffy gingerbread cookies that are covered in a thin glaze. There is a hint of mint, which gives an unusual twist to the normal gingerbread flavor. Best part? I CAN GET IT CHEAP OFF OF AMAZON! How I love you Poland for making these dreamy cookies!
I kind-of forgot that I still had these chips to eat, which is a bummer since I was going through a sugar overload at some point. I have to say these chips made me notice how much sugar is put into most American savory snacks. Or how little flavor our crackers or chips are when they have savory flavors added to them. These chips were kind-of a consistency between a cracker and a biscuit. I assume the chips are made from lentils (since the label has a picture of a chili pepper and lentils). My only complaint is that they weren’t chili peppery enough. Still, they were a nice savory snack.
I really enjoyed this bar. It made me think of Lara bars, only much better. I remember catching a bunch of workers complain that every single Lara bar tasted like cashews and dates, and they are kind-of right. They all taste similar since cashews and dates are the major ingredients. This bar really makes things different by using almond butter, giving a very specific almond butter flavor. The bar is a little sweeter than Lara bars since it has some brown rice syrup in it, and I am fine with that. I would totally eat this again.
I can’t quite remember what raw food I made awhile ago that tastes very similar to these but pizza flavored raw food isn’t anything new. Something about cashews, sun dried tomatoes, and lemon juice really make me think of pizza. I loved the crackers just by themselves, though a nut cheese on top would be equally great. I was so hungry that ate the whole package (354 calories, 16g carbs, 11g fiber, 11g protein) which was pretty satisfying. The best thing is that there is raw onions in the crackers but they don’t leave bad onion breath- a problem that I have with most raw foods.
These were interesting. I’ve had Japanese snack mixes in the past so I was thrown off by these. Usually they are made with both wheat and rice, and this I think was made mostly from wheat, which made the snack a little more dense than normal. Overall I thought they were too sweet and not enough soy and seaweed flavors for my liking. The snack was good, my husband ate them all, but it didn’t have enough of the flavors that make them “Japanese.”
I make granola at home for my husband’s breakfast. Yup, he puts granola on his oatmeal, and since oats on oats seems a little intense I try to make his granola very nut, fruit, and buckwheat groat heavy. So it is nice to have “normal” granola for myself. This has been great to sprinkle on my acai bowls, and on my vegan “nice cream” bowls. The granola has a very light flavor, letting the sweetness come from wheat syrup and the dried fruit. This is perfect for dessert, when granola can easily be too sweet.
Okay the flavor “sour fruit salad” might not be conjuring up the tastiest image. I mean I am thinking of some 50s canned fruit cocktail salad, but these were really tasty gummy snacks. Again, another dessert I haven’t had in a very long time. The snacks were pretty much perfect, they weren’t too sticky and didn’t get stuck in my teeth, and the flavor wasn’t nearly as sour as what I thought. It was more of a natural amount of sour, maybe the puckered cheeks level of sourness is an American sort of thing? It is actually really easy to find on amazon luckily.
I think out of all the fruit and nut bars in this package, this one is my favorite. It is a Polish brand, the same one that made the Urwis jabłkowy below, so I am not 100% sure on the ingredients, but I can make out/guess that there are figs and goji berries. I love figs in raw foods, but most people prefer dates. Dates are all fine and dandy, but there is a certain tart and sweetness that you get from figs, oh and those yummy little seeds are yummy as well! I think what I like about this bar was how tart it was, not too sweet, and enough nuts to keep it very filling. The bar was bigger than most, making it great for when you are fairly hungry. Too bad it doesn’t seem easily available internationally.
Mango Fruit Bar
Man I can’t find ANYTHING about this bar. I think it is made by the British company Mark and Spencer. Though it kind of stinks that the English ingredients are covered by the Czech translation (oh well, it happens) but it appears to be made almost completely made out of fruit! Not 100% mango, but I think that might be a good thing. I tossed it in my purse to eat after getting my blood drawn, and it was great for making my wooziness go away (I don’t like the idea of getting my blood drawn…. the more I think about it, the more likely I will pass out XD) But I was not ready for how soft the bar ended up being since I am use to there being some nuts of something in the bar. Still yummy, but sweeter than I am use to.
I have been living on bars on the go. The flavor is pretty yummy, but a little too sweet for my personal taste. It is like most raw bars for flavor and texture. It is made mostly of hazelnuts and dates, which give it a flavor very different from say, Lara Bars. There is also some rice protein powder in there to boost the protein to fat ratio that you get from the nuts. My only complaint is that the nutritional guides for Czech Republic always gives the nutritional information for 100grams, making it really hard to figure how much protein and fats are in a bar. I normally don’t harp over these things, but I tend to like to know what is in my pre-portioned foods. Makes you appreciate how America does their nutritional guides. Although the Czech way does give you an idea of nutritional density, helping you pick more nutritious foods overall.
Let me first say I am sad by the name of this, why pie? There is no crust, no circle, nothing that makes me think of pie. It’s okay to call yourself a chocolate bar- really. So that is what I will call it in my review. Now that’s out of the way, this bar is amazing! I followed the instructions and placed it in the fridge before eating. It was alright, but pretty tasty. I ate about half, and saved it for later. When I went for the second time I let the bar warm up a little bit and it was amazing. The trick is to let get warm and more a melt in your mouth feel without it melting in your hands. I love the chunks of salt and crunchy almond bits. I also adored the perfect little hint of lacuma powder in there. Next time I am in England (lol yeah like that will be anytime soon) I want to try all the different flavors.
Jenny sent a few envelopes of these Twinings Buttermint Tea since it’s one of her favorite. It was perfect timing since it had a simple ingredients list- mint leaves. Although Twinings is a pretty famous tea brand that is found all around the world, it is a flavor that has a limited release and I have certainly never seen it in the US before. I drank it all, and now will keep my eyes peeled just incase they ship this flavor into the states.
Oh boy, Polish… a little harder to find information on since it has a few letters that aren’t part of the English alphabet. Haha. I am not sure fully what this is other than an apple flavored snack bar. It was really sweet, yummy, and I would totally eat it again. It was a little hard to open, which is only a problem if you get the bad case of the hangries. The bar is pretty low calorie- I think about 145 calories.
I think this is a German brand, but I remember seeing this on blogs based in England. I was pretty excited about this since it has been so long since I have had a good white chocolate bar. I am not a HUGE white chocolate fan, but it is rare to find it vegan, so I enjoy it when I get my hands on it. The bar was so super smooth and had so many flavors going on, which is great because an all white chocolate bar would fall flat. My only complaint is that I wish the bar wasn’t so sweet, this is a complaint I tend to have with almost all European chocolate bars though. Aside from that I would totally get his bar over and over again.
Today is the day of reading and painting. Again, hubs and I are feeling that mad rush to get things done for the baby. Our shower is coming up next weekend and I got it in my head that we should finish painting the nursery before we lug a bunch of stuff in there. You know, so we can start actually setting things up. And then my husband really pointed out that I should start thinking and talking to my bosses about a post-delivery plan. So I have been reading all the chapters about post-delivery so I have a little bit more realistic expectation of what to expect when the baby comes. I have to think about these things since a lot of the things my husband was hoping for from is work isn’t working out. It is making us very frustrating for various reason we won’t go into.
But here is a collection of different articles and such for you guys to check out and read. Enjoy!
I am not kidding when I say I love a good latte. In fact, I’ve been going through some old posts updating images and stuff from the server transfer and it seems every time this year I post a bunch of latte recipes in the Sunday Reads. I would LOVE to try these two, but realistically, I probably won’t since I am obsessed with how easy my macaccino is. But these are high up on my list of recipes to try. Maybe I should start a new recipe roundup of coffee-free lattes?
I think most people will find this idea weird, or counter intuitive. Surely if I kids acts poorly they should be punished. But I think sometimes there is core differences on how people view things. You can either punish bad behavior, or your can try and fix it. This school is try to fix the problem by giving kids an outlet to channel their frustrations. I think people underestimate how much kids can do.
I’ve been a fan of Lacy Davis from her blog Super Strength Health. Then her podcast Rise and Resist, and even her podcast Adult Crash. She is now working towards starting a body positive gym. I think there needs to be more gyms focusing on this. Yes, I’ve been places where the coaches are not talking about flattening those tummies, or sculpting arms for the summer. But rarely are these attributes being advertised, leaving people who are afraid of judgement from stepping into a gym. Lacy’s gym will be based in Portland, soo…. I’ll probably never make… at least for awhile. But if you are in the Portland area, I recommend supporting this rad lady.
I am not a huge make up person. But oddly I really like seeing when people put on some crazy make up. Green lips? Yeah. Pink Hair? Rainbow Eyeshadow? Yes and yes. But I try and keep things vegan, even when supporting instagram accounts. Which is why I kind-of lurk on Doe Deere and Sugarpill/Shrinkle (not vegan people, but vegan/cruelty free brands.) Doe Deere owns the company Lime Crime and I’ve always wondered why so many people hated the company with a passion. It was hard to sift through all the general hate with legitimate complaints. This article does a good job summarizing the major controversies of the brand. I think it is important since it is now an all vegan brand, and I love their now discontinued nail polishes. Sadly though, their make up is getting a little too crazy for my personal use but it is worth a read if you are thinking about buying their gold lipstick. The whole thing makes me think about the Stuff Mom Never Told You episode about Lisa Frank. Both so colorful, both full of so much drama.
This was a pretty interesting study, which found that stress really can override many benefits of eating healthfully. It is worth noting that the way the study was set up all participants were given high fat diets, just one got one full of more healthful fats. So it isn’t something that you should look at stress as something to would completely override all your healthful eating.
An American Warewolf in London
Directed by: John Landis
Spooky Type: Werewolf/Comedy
Watch: YouTube Trailer
Plot: Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he commit suicide to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths. –IMDB
Review: Ugh. I hate when sexism ruins a film. This film is a classic since it mixes humor with horror, and it has some great special effects. Since humor is involved the gore and spooks are never taken too seriously. Nor does the film rely on them to push the story forwards. I could keep praising the film for the star qualities, but that is well documented. It is the reason why this movie is a classic.
BUUUUUTT….. the humor is totally dated. Yes, you can tell a white cis-gender man wrote this script. The main character David has a frat boy attitude. He talks to his travel companion only about having sex with women, is rude to the police and hospital staff, and tries to insult the Queen and Prince by calling them queer. Sure it was insult at the time, but hard to swallow when there is so many other problematic bits of the film.
The love interest, Nurse Alex is a total bimbo and has no personality. I feel bad for Jenny Agutter to have to play such a dull role. The whole time she is just there to build sexual tension with David. Actually it is more like David sexually harasses her during her job, and she reacts in the way that men fantasize about (aka the lady actually likes it.) Then as we moves the story forwards, David starts to believe he is a werewolf, and still Alex still finds David attractive. It is so unbelievable.
Which then makes me hate what could of been a very funny premise- the werewolf showdown in a porno. There were jokes poking fun at the superficial plots of a pornographic films. But by the time this comes into play I was over all the sexist crap. The whole film became a boys only club, assuming that only men love horror films. Yes, horror films were targeted for boys, and yes, I’ve seen probably much more sexist films that are much closer to softcore porn (usually made in the 70s.) But over the years some of these films have gotten a female following, probably because the horror featured in the film are based on the awful treatment to women, and perhaps most women find that relatable and genuinely horrific. As the horror genre evolves, there is a growing number of women who openly say they love the genre. This movie has little to offer a female audience.
Overall: Boo sexism. Yey humor and special effects.
The Amityville Horror
Plot: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. –IMDB
Review: I remember when this movie was being remade in 2005. I didn’t care about the movie, but I remember basic cable channels were flooded with specials all about the movie. The story is suppose to be based off of the book The Amityville Horror, which is suppose to be based off of true events. I’ve always find real life haunting stories interesting and much more chilling than movies. Do I believe they actually happened? No, but they still freak me out. This story always caught my interest more than normal because this house is in the town that my Grandmother lives in. I’ve actually talked about this before on the blog.
Since the story takes place in a town that’s I’ve been to I had a harder time to let my imagination go wild. As I was watching I kept feeling like it didn’t LOOK like Long Island, and I knew very well that the house wasn’t the original. Turns out the movie was filmed in Tom’s River New Jersey. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal, except for the water is drastically different set up, and the property in the movie is HUGE! I joked with my husband that the price of the house in the movie was a steal, and joked they could just divide up the property and pay for the house that way (the real Amityville House sold recently for almost one million dollars FYI)
Oh, and mild spoiler alert- there is something terribly humorous that the portal to hell is on Long Island. Anyone who had to drive into Long Island probably felt like they were driving further and further into hell.
So I haven’t actually talked about the movie much. I have to say it wasn’t bad, but it was a little underwhelming. Since the movie is suppose to be based off of a real event, the flow of the story isn’t the greatest. The movie ends kind-of anti-climatically. And being a little bit of a ghost/occult movie fan, something didn’t make sense. Why is everything oozing? Why the flies? There is no reason why George Lutz (the new homeowner) would look like serial killer Ronald DeFeo (the murderer of the previous owners) either. I think the odd pacing is probably because the movie wanted to keep with the series of events from the book. The movie even keeps a countdown of what day it is since the family moved in.
Historically this movie is pretty important to the horror genre. It is another case of a low budget horror film that became wildly popular. There is no doubt that Poltergeist‘s popularity was set up by this film. Since there are so many similarities between Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror, it adds to the underwhelming nature of the film. Compared to The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist is in hyperdrive. Overall, it wasn’t a bad movie, but it is fairly slow moving and a long movie (117 minutes- almost 2 hours.)
Overall: Recommended to old school horror fans
Plot: Amelia, who lost her husband in a car crash on the way to give birth to Samuel, their only child, struggles to cope with her fate as a single mom. Samuel’s constant fear of monsters and violent reaction to overcome the fear doesn’t help her cause either, which makes her friends become distant. When things can not get any worse, they read a strange book in their house about the ‘Babadook’ monster that hides in the dark areas of their house. Even Amelia seems to feel the effect of Babadook and desperately tries in vain to destroy the book. The nightmarish experiences the two encounter form the rest of the story. –IMDB
Review: Funny thing is that people chuckle when Jon and I watched Rosemary’s Baby during the pregnancy. I’ve seen many reviews and such talking about how it is the horror that makes them want to never have a baby. But I would argue that The Babadook is much more horrifying for parents. Let’s start off with Samuel. He is a little boy who’s activity levels are through the roof. “Horrible little shit” is an accurate title for him, and this instantly let’s the audience sympathizes with Amelia, the overworked single mother. Samuel’s behavioral problems stem from the families grief for their father who died in a car accident while driving Amelia to the hospital to deliver Samuel.
The movie is rich with metaphors and is filmed excellently. This is probably why the movie is loved by all critics. A quick search of “babadook reviews” will end up with many glowing reviews talking about the story and it’s great portrayal of grief with adults and children by using the metaphor of a monster destroying their lives.
What really strikes me about this film is that it falls into many tropes of the horror genre, the color scheme, skittery sounds, jump cuts, etc used in other horror films. But there is so many unique aspects of the film. For starters it is directed by a female director, which isn’t common for the film industry. It isn’t a normal monster story- in fact the monster is sort of blended with a ghost in it’s supernatural abilities. The end result is a truly haunting film that I would recommend to anyone who thinks that horror genre is dead.
Overall: Greatest modern horror film I’ve seen
Plot: Horrifying and darkly comic, Rosemary’s Baby was Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut. This wildly entertaining nightmare, faithfully adapted from Ira Levin’s best seller, stars a revelatory Mia Farrow as a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her overfriendly elderly neighbors (played by Sidney Blackmer and an Oscar-winning Ruth Gordon) and self-involved husband (John Cassavetes) are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby. In the decades of occult cinema that Polanski’s ungodly masterpiece has spawned, it has never been outdone for sheer psychological terror. –Criterion Collection
Review: Okay, I am cheating just a little. I watched this over the summer, but I really love this film. I think it is one of the best prochoice films out there. Rosemary want to start a family and become a mother. But ever since she finds out that she is pregnant it seems everyone is controlling her decisions. She doesn’t take vitamins like everyone else, she takes special juices that her neighbor makes. Her doctor advises her to not read up on pregnancy- it would only worry her. She is quickly recommended to go a specific doctor. She is only a vessel to create this baby, and everyone makes sure everything is going according to plan.
I started to read the novel and it is scary how close Polanski keeps the script to the novel. Much of the dialogue is pulled from the novel. I dare say you could watch the movie and just skip reading the book, or vise-versa. That doesn’t mean Polanski doesn’t take a lot thought in how the film is shot. I love how he doesn’t pull many cheap editing techniques that make the viewer jump in their seats (IE abrupt cuts, going from low to loud sounds, etc) He lets the conspiracy unfold.
What makes this movie so scary is how relevant it still is with all the anti-abortion laws in the United States. White males are still telling women what they can and can not do with their bodies. Rape culture is still very prevalent, which probably contributes to many of the insane and ignorant reproductive laws. Nothing irks me more than John Cassavetes’ portrayal of Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s husband. World biggest scumbag. Funny thing is that I think John Cassavetes only plays skeezy guys.
Overall: One of the best horror films out there
Since becoming pregnant I’ve been scoping the scene for caffeine free coffee alternatives. Yes, you can have some caffeine while pregnant, and yes, it is probably the safest stimulant to consume during pregnancy. But I drink coffee for flavor, never to wake myself up. This results in some days of me drinking 3 cups of a coffee, and none the next three days. And certain times of the year I really just crave a warm and bitter drink.
One coffee substitute I found was Macaccino. They are pretty new on the market, and is a blend of roasted maca root with some cinnamon, cocoa, mesquite powder, and nutmeg. I can safely say the taste is unique and isn’t something I could easily whip up on my own. The cool thing is that there is some nice nutritional perks of the blend. One serving has one gram of protein, 2% of the standard calcium recommendations, and 4% of the standard iron recommendations. They even have a super serious breakdown on their website (the number cruncher in me loves all the details!) BTW no hate on coffee- it does have a lot of B2 and B5 vitamins, so isn’t totally helpless.
When I first got macaccino I follow their directions- suggesting to put a tablespoon in 10 ounces of water, and add creamer and sugar. I didn’t like it so much served like a black coffee. It was a little too gritty for my taste. But I liked the flavors and how it was so easy to make. So it hit me that I should drink it more like a latte! It isn’t the first time I used maca in a latte, but roasting the maca really alters the flavor.
Since it is fall aka pumpkin spice season, I thought I would break out the pumpkin spice syrup recipe I made a few years ago. Just keep in mind, the syrup proportions are suggested with the homemade pumpkin spice syrup listed below. I have found that the best pumpkin spice lattes are from homemade syrups or coffee shops where they make their own. If you are buying a premade syrup (note clear ones are usually the vegan ones) you may want less. I also used an unsweetened milk because otherwise I find it will get way too sweet.
I am not huge on featuring a recipe that uses a specific product. I bought Macaccino on my own and really like to drink it this way. This is not a sponsored post, and these are just my honest opinions. I would love to give some alternative options, but as far as I know, there isn’t any equivalent to this yet. I used the original mocha, but they also have a mint and black reserve.
I randomly took a photo of this outfit I wore to work and posted it on Instagram. I don’t always dress up, but I was feeling it that day. I thought it looked so cute, that I should probably take a proper photo for the blog. Why? I said I would post some fashion posts with the new baby bump, but uh… really haven’t. I don’t think there isn’t enough “alternative” pregnancy fashion posts out there, so here you guys go.
If the shirt looks familiar it is because I took a photo of it during my Swap.com vs Thred Up review. And I was so tiny back them in comparison. But then again I guess that was over a month ago. The baby was more axolotl/weasel sized and now is bunny/platypus sized! And I have to admit probably my main reason for not posting these outfit posts has a lot to do with body image. You wouldn’t think it would be so taxing on self image, but it really is.
I joked with Jon that getting pregnant is like hitting puberty again, and in many ways it is. Everything shifts. Boobs get bigger, and not just bigger, but shape and density differs. I get adult acne more often than I use to. Your stomach is starting swell, and although I knew that I wouldn’t have a big basketball of fat on my stomach, it is weird. Normally if your tummy gets bigger it is from a nice thick layer of fat, but a baby bump is hard lump. I am always trying to put my socks and shoes on while standing, forgetting that my baby doesn’t fold over like fat. I am constantly walking around in narrow passages, forgetting that my tummy can’t quite clear the table or that chair. Heck I even moved some boxes around at work because I kept bumping into them.
Sure there are pages in pregnancy books about coping with the physical changes, but almost all offer the solution of “Just think of the baby!” I can’t help but imagine everyone saying it in the same tone as “Elaine you gotta have a baby!” And I think it just dismisses a lot of the complicated feelings women have with body image. Truthfully, I think if we lived in a perfect world where all shapes and sizes were embraced, people would still find the changes of pregnancy difficult. You only have a few months to deal with these changes and after giving birth your tummy won’t shrink down magically.
Somedays I feel like I am in the wrong body. The normal curves you see every single day suddenly go away and become new ones. And it isn’t everyday that I feel weird and out of place. Some days I can look in the mirror and smile at my big tummy. I mean I clearly thought I was cute enough to share an outfit I was wearing, right? And even on days when I feel completely uncomfortable with my body, I still enjoy feeling the baby kicks.
Maybe I focus so much on my body since I’ve been having a pretty easy pregnancy. I don’t have stretch marks (yet…), no weird darkened skin, varicose veins, digestion issues, or other aches and pains most people associate with pregnancy. So I could be possibly have more attention being focused on what is most obviously changing.
But I can now see why so many books and pregnant women tend to dislike hearing any input about their appearance. I was told that I looked so “small” and healthy early on in the pregnancy. It bothered me since it just made me think too much about how society associates thinness with health. It also felt like I was trying hide my bump, but I was mostly just trying to wear what fit and was comfortable for the hot weather. But I would hear people joke, and not in a mean spirited way, about how I wasn’t as trim as I use to be.
And there is learning how to dress all over again. We all know women’s clothing is all over the place, but now I have to learn even more new sizes. I can safely say- don’t size up. I was afraid of things being too small, and ended up with a few articles of clothing that I am swimming in. I am also getting a reminder that more money doesn’t equal better quality. The A Pea in a Pod shirt I am wearing has nice fabric, but the sleeves I think were cut properly on the bias as they twist oddly. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t have some cute buttons at the cuff that never stay in place.
Some items you can get away with wearing into pregnancy, but I totally recommend investing in some maternity tights. When I wore some black tights with my tent dress, it became clear that normal tights will cut into your tummy and be very uncomfortable. I was able to get these awesome tights on sale for $5 from Target, which it is hard to find maternity tights for less than $15. They can be much more if you are looking for the compression styled tights.
I also wanted to quickly talk about the pin I am wearing. I got it in a surprise pack from Kate Gabrielle. I’ve always loved her fashion blog since she has a cute style, but also she loves vintage movies. She has her own shop and had a this “Be Kind to Animals” pin, but has since discontinued it. So sad right? But she has other cute things, like a BFF heart necklace for you and your cat. And one of my favorites- a pin commemorating Oprah’s (or your) love of bread.
It’s officially October! I already busted out my Halloween gear and thinking about where to hang all my vintage paper decorations. I cleaned my witch glasses, so I might think of an alcohol free cocktail that is a little spooky to serve with them. I’ve been thinking, but falling a little short. Hard decisions. This year we got invited to a Halloween party, so I might even get dressed up. We’ve even already watched one horror film, so I will probably do my film reviews for the month again. I hope people like them because I at least enjoy making them. XD
Aside from Halloween I’ve been brainstorming some ideas for posts for Vegan Mofo 2016. I am hoping to post each day of the month, though I will obviously not keep to each prompt. Especially with the pregnancy. And I will be crossing my fingers there will be no early delivery that would cut my blogging short. If any readers have already signed up leave a comment! I will make sure I add you to my feedly log so we can all interact.
I saw this recipe and thought it might be a good thing to make. Our local orchard is starting to get some good produce in (AMAZING Asian peas BTW) after a horrible season. I asked my husband if he wanted to make this… and he gave a very weird “uh… I don’t know.” Usually he get pretty excited about recipes with apples. Maybe it is because it isn’t a pie. *rolls eyes* But I thought she had a cool technique with cutting the apples to make them look pretty.
And the cake recipe made me interested in trying to find information on one of the ingredients- the tonka bean. This article was really interesting since it explains why it is illegal in the United States, and REALLY makes me want to try it. Apparently according to the article, there are some blackmarkets that sell the bean, so maybe I can get lucky trying to find a source but probably better not the break the law. XD
I love lattes, or rather warm milk based drinks. I have a bunch on the blog and I am always interested in making new ones. Heck I will hopefully have a new one posted this week even! So I might give this guy a try when I roast another pumpkin. I think the turmeric can help balance out the sweetness that most people get from Pumpkin Spice Syrups.
There are lots of vegan toothpastes on the market, but many are very er… hippie dippie. I have been SLOWLY trying to move our toiletries to all vegan, but my husband is a loyalist to certain brands. He loves his soap that sucks out all the moisture in his body, mouth numbing toothpastes, and gelled shaving creams. But some of the brands that he liked made it on this list. No, this isn’t a list of vegan toothpastes- just natural ones.
Vegan Brands in Review: Desert Essence Natural Toothpaste, Earthpaste, Jason NutriSmile Toothpaste, Nature’s Gate Natural Toothpaste, The Honest Co. Toothpaste, Kiss My Face Gel Toothpaste
Unknown for Animal Testing: Himalaya Neem and Pomegranate Toothpaste, Spry Toothpaste, Weleda Natural Salt Toothpaste
Kristi from Keeping It Kind wrote a post recently about her issues with trying to come up with her three fictional character that characterize her. I had a similar experience where I had hard time picking out the third character then regretting it almost immediately. I ended up thinking about it, and the third character still represents me, but I only to a certain degree. So who did I pick? Susan from Bringing Up Baby. She has a great sense of fashion, a love of animals, and doesn’t take much very seriously. I also love how direct she was with men, which I think I was fairly direct with boys in high school.
I then picked Daria because I think she was my idol in high school. I wore boots with a pleated skirt and a quirky t-shirt almost every single day. I kept my hair largely un-styled. I also had the same attitude of making jokes, even if the people I knew didn’t get them. I think I still would have that attitude, but it seems that I am surrounded by more educated people. Maybe? I do think I am a little less cynical now than I was in high school though.
My third person was originally Elaine Bennett from Seinfeld because I think deep down inside I have a lot of similar qualities as her. Mostly the I’m secretly a terrible person part. XD I have a few issues with how Seinfeld presents Elaine (the cool girl who is a guy’s type of girl- essentially not REALLY a woman) but ignoring that, she is such a fabulous character. And at the time it was very different representation of females.
But I then I then remembered I am totally Linda Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. My husband always jokes how I am really Linda. I sing made up songs, I love a good drink, I’m loud, tacky, and secretly I think I am the cool mom (or will be.) Is it a little odd that I picked all character that are brunettes? And three of them wear glasses (or occasionally in Elaine’s case)? I think all are pretty educated (except Linda) but are constantly making an ass of themselves. Yup, sounds like me.