Before having little Wolfie, I probably made more raw desserts for myself. Why not? Nuts and dried fruit, it was like trail mix in one easy to eat bite. I’ve been a fan of This Rawsome Vegan Life for awhile, seeing how Emily has evolved over the years. So does this book hold up to the authors new perspectives on healthy eating and body image?
I feel like it has been awhile that I’ve felt like the photos have been 100% that aren’t a major publication of a tried and true writer. (IE Isa Does It, Salad Samurai and the like) Emily’s photos are beautiful. I love her natural light, but the desserts never come off as too fancy, or difficult. It is amazing the Emily was able to make, photograph, and eat all these desserts. I mean let’s be real, that’s a lot of dates, and a lot of nuts.
Emily gives a VERY brief introduction and “where to find” chapters. She divides her chapters into five groups, Cakes & Cupcakes; Bites, Bars, and Cookies; Pies and Tarts; Puddings and Ice Cream; and Basic Recipes. Some recipes seemed a little like it could of be swapped around, but then again nothing is actually cooked so there is little different from many of the recipes other than assembly.
This is where Emily shines. I love her writing, so simple and positive. It is a little interesting reading the book and knowing about her eating disorder. I am sure some some wording would of changed if she was writing the book today, but overall I didn’t feel like it was too triggering with words like “clean” or “healthy” etc. I also love how simple the recipes and descriptions can be.
This book is REALLY easy. There is nothing in the book where I felt intimidated to make it. Perhaps some of the recipes that use fresh coconut meat turned me off, but there aren’t too many. No crazy soaking, sprouting, dehydrating, etc etc which can be off putting in raw cooking. The main reason why I haven’t cooked much from here is because of the use of dates. It is so expensive! But she does offer some subs, like raisins and dried pineapples.
My only other critique, which happens often with raw food books, is that you can easily shape and mold one recipe into something totally different with little changes. One recipe below was suppose to be a cold fridge dessert but could easily be changed to an ice cream sandwich. One dessert is a “cake” but it is pretty much just ice cream. It is all a little relative.
If you are looking for some sweets to make during the summer months, I would strongly recommend this book! The recipes are simple, non-intimidating, and everything has been yummy. She even gives weights which I find helpful to dates, which I always use too much or too little. Naturally though, the recipes can be pricey to use date and nuts for the desserts, so be warned for your wallets.
As always I try and post as many reviews of specific recipes. I try my best to do one recipe per section, but I pretty much missed Basic Recipes. If there are any recipes approved by the publisher online I left a link. Why not? Try a recipe before buying book!
Mochi ice cream is really becoming popular these days, but I remember in my college years buying them only in Asian food markets. But when I went whole hog vegan my options pretty much vanished. Now they are on trend and Trader Joe’s REALLY stepped up their game. They have been making some mochi over the years, but now they have a whooping 5 different vegan mochi to choose from when I was last there. I think this is the largest selection I’ve seen to date. I felt that everyone needed to know which was the best, so I reviewed these mochi from worst to best (but like they were all really good)
And a quick note about eating! Everyone says to not let the mochi thaw, it is good to go right out of the freezer. I beg to differ. Just take them out and let them sit for at least 2-5 minutes. Not much time is needed. But shoving it right into your face right away is a bad idea. It is too cold to really taste the flavors.
Buono Green Tea Mochi Ice Dessert
This isn’t a Trader Joe brand of mochi ice cream, though I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the company producing the Trader Joe mochi. Although I LOVE green tea, so I was a little surprised when I decided to bump this down to my least favorite flavor. I think the green tea is a little too grassy, and overall unimpressive. Texture was alright, but the overall green tea flavor way bleh. I mean, if this was the only mochi ice cream I would still buy it again, but when I bought the second box for this review it felt boring.
Mango Mini Mochi
Awhile ago Trader Joe’s had a mango mochi product, but it was big and had a sugary mango core. This one I was pretty excited to eat because of previous one. These little soft jewels are awesome, but clearly are mango sorbet, not mango ice cream. It was a little ice-y as a result, but I am happily eating them. Plus I really like the small bite size that I can grab and eat when I feel like a need a tiny snack.
Buono Strawberry Mochi Ice Dessert
Honestly speaking, I really like this strawberry mochi. I think they even added a little dye to the mochi wrapper to make it a little pink. So cute. But the strawberry is a little artificial tasting, and I can imagine totally putting some people off. The texture is just right and it makes me wish they carried the other flavors by this brand (mostly the black sesame)
Thai Tea Mini Mochi
I bought these Thai Tea Mini Mochi over the mango ones initially. I mostly was excited to get a flavor that wasn’t as common in vegan desserts. As with the mango ones, I love the ratio of wrapper to ice cream, and how they are quick little bits. The ice cream is yummy and creamy. At first I wasn’t a big fan, but they grew on me. Now I like them better than the green tea (which wasn’t the case at first)
As you can tell from the group mochi shots, these are the biggest of the batch. They are also my favorite. This deluxe mochi has been on the market since 2017, and feature a coffee ice cream with a chocolate-y coffee liquid core. Mochi ice cream purists will probably hate it. Even I first didn’t like it, but this year it has become my absolute favorite. I gobbled this box first after making this review. But since they are biggest than the other kinds, you get only 6 pieces (rather than 8 for strawberry/green tea, 15 for the minis) So if you are short on cash, you might want to splurge on the others first.
So what about you? Any vegan mochi ice cream that you love? Which Trader Joe flavor is your favorite?
Front Street Cafe
Front Street Cafe has been on my to eat list for awhile. A friend of mine kept on suggesting we go, but I kind-of stuck my nose up because it wasn’t vegan. Why would two vegans eat at a non vegan restaurant?! Although they don’t list what is vegan on their menu, they certainly list what ISN’T vegan. Confused? Everything on their menu is vegan except when you see an icon listing the non-vegan ingredients.
What’s even better? How versatile the restaurant is. The space is quite large, and they are open for long hours. So you can grab breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails, eat inside, outside, it is even large enough for parties. There are three floors, and a large patio for outdoor seating. This is pretty exciting since some places in Philly and pretty small, like Bar Bonbon or Charlie was a Sinner. This makes a great place for friend to grab a drink if there are more than 4 people, or maybe more comfortable for plus size dinners.
One of a my favorite things about this place is how vast the dining options are. They have a wide juice bar menu, giving lots of non-alcohol drinking options. They also have a selection of Dottie’s Donuts, if you are a low maintenance breakfast pal. They also have a yummy looking cocktail menu, but do take note some drinks do have honey. I also am going to assume not everything has been Barnivore approved, if that is a concern.
So let’s talk about the ACTUAL food. I will admit, I was not in peak blogging form when I got to the restaurant. I was celebrating my sister’s bachelorette party and we might have opened a bottle of champagne before hand. And I MIGHT of had a glass or two. Also, when you have a large group, you aren’t going to be so picky about the photos.
We didn’t get too much for starters. Sadly we tried to get the cinnamon pull apart loaf, but I think they were out of it. So we just shared the buffalo cauliflower wings. Everyone at the table loved it. Apparently though, I grabbed the least sauced piece, and I thought it was meh. But I eventually got a saucier piece, which was awesome.
I got the vegan scrapple, because you know, when in Rome. If you are unfamiliar with it, scrapple is a regional dish which is made with scrap pig parts, and mixed with grains and spices, then formed into a loaf. It is similar to panhas, for any German readers. The meal was really yummy, and the flavors in the “scrapple” were complex. But, I never ate scrapple, but I can say it wasn’t anything like I would of imagined it.
I really enjoyed myself and I would love to come again in the future. I love how it had some savory breakfast options that weren’t just tofu scramble. I am dying to try their “eggs” benedict! If you want to see more “food porn” check out their Instagram page or their Caviar page, where you can order food for take out.
Oh! And one last thing, it is worth checking out their social media feeds. They seem to do some fun events, including Drag Queen Brunch and Vegan Restaurant Week. I know we were a little bummed that we went to brunch on Saturday because that Sunday was the Drag Queen Brunch. Ugh.
If you don’t live in Philadelphia, just drive on in. The area shouldn’t be too insane to find parking, but you may need to park a few blocks away. If you are visiting Philly and are in Center City, you have a few options if you don’t have a car. Clearly simple ride share services or Indego bike rentals are totally doable.
You could also use SEPTAs 15 Trolley Rail. It should have a stop at Front Street and Girard. It looks like this rail line goes east and west, which might not be too helpful if you are coming from Center City. There also appears to be lots of bus lines that come in that area but truth be told- I find buses TOTALLY CONFUSING! And scary, but that has nothing to do with SEPTA, just buses. Anyways, you can try checking out the website for SEPTA and Google Maps has an easier to read view of where the actual bus stops are.
It has been about a year since I’ve done these updates. I kind-of miss having these generic posts of fun stuff. There is more to my life than just food (I mean KIND-OF lol) And I’ve been kind-of busy posting clothes on Poshmark to make some extra cash that I’ve been ignoring posts on here. So I thought this would be a nice little break.
Reading: I’ve been reading Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea. I am becoming more and more interested in the idea of secular witchcraft, and more interested in the history, ritual, and all the emotional wellness. I am really enjoying Modern Tarot but I am not sure if it is a practice that I am really clicking with. Maybe it would help if I got a beautiful deck that I loved, but for now I shelled out the $20 for a classic. If anyone has any deck suggestions I am game.
I also have been watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Netflix, and thought wouldn’t it be fun to read The Book Of Lies by Aleister Crowley? lol jk Just alone turning the page and seeing the full title made my skin crawl from the pretentiousness. In case you are wondering the full title is Which is also Falsely Called BREAKS. The Wanderings or Falsifications of the One Thought of Frater Perdurabo, which Thought is itself Untrue. Liber CCCXXXIII [Book 333]). I am actually enjoying the poetry, though I think the book my library has might of mess up the spacing and such, so the overall effect is a little distorted. I think I am more excited to read the angry reviews on Goodreads when I am done. lol
Crafting: I am starting to feel a crafting bug again. I FINALLY finished my gift to my friend’s baby Thorin. It is a beautiful cross stitch of Flatus Maximus from the band Gwar. You might of seen it in my Sept 17 post, but now it is framed and I finally shipped it out. The parents loved it, and now I am finally trying to work on other crossstitch projects for Wolfie, including his Christmas stocking that I haven’t been able to finish two years in a row.
Eating: I’ve been trying to cook from the Superior Burger Cookbook, but having some hard time. There are so many great looking recipes, but it uses fresh produce that I’d rather wait for my CSA to open back up for. It really is a book I’d like for my shelves. But my biggest complaint is the recipes instructions, at the very least it really reflects similar thoughts to this article (The Case for Very Long Recipes). There is a lot of personality in how the recipes are written, and sometimes it throws me off. In the blogging world recipes are kind-of suppose to be quick and easy and most of the personality is found in the blog post, right?
Watching: We just finished the most recent season of the Great British Bake Off. It was a great season and I fell a little in love with Kim Joy. I started to follow her on Instagram and she is getting me inspired to put a little decoration into my bakes. But don’t get me wrong, I really loved Rahul.
Otherwise Jon and I have been watching an episode or two of Adventure Time right before bed. He really likes the continuing stories, but they are sprinkled throughout the series. I told him he kind-of just had to watch the whole show to get the full plot lines. So that’s what we are doing.
Also, Sabrina as mentioned above.
Wolfie: Oh boy is this kid growing up fast. He is on the edge of mastering talking. Every time I read him a book he repeats the last word I said back, sometimes remembering words to books. He even managed a full sentence the other day! I was so impressed. He asked to “Eat apples at Kyle’s House”, I felt a little bad that he couldn’t lol
He is also becoming a daredevil pro at climbing ladders. I have a feeling I will be hitting a point soon where I can let him loose at the park and I can leaf through a magazine or book while he plays. Which would be awesome.
He is also taking HUGE leaps. We switched him from a crib to a bed. We have been avoiding it because of the fear he will never stay in bed, but when we asked if he wanted a bad he was so excited. We switched his crib to the bed setting and he was just so excited to sleep in the bed he rushed through his bath (unheard of) It took awhile to really get use to it, he woke up in the middle of the night often but finally assimilated. Now we are working on potty training. We are on day two, but he loves it. So we will see how that goes.
Oh and he got his first haircut. His curls were going wild and we had a family wedding coming up. So I thought it was time to get a cut. He seemed pretty upset by it so I might wait next time till he wants a cut, but he suddenly looks so much more adult. It is a little crazy. When did he grow up all the sudden?
Garden: My garden is practically back to square one. I could cry. It was always pretty sad to begin with so I can’t complain TOO much. You see I live in a row home in a private development. Which means I own everything inside house walls and the windows. I technically don’t own the land outside of it, and I pay dues to help with the up keep of the grounds. In semi-good news, the landscapers took out a bunch of ugly bushes, the bad news is that they took out plants that I did NOT want them to take, including a lilac bush and two blueberry bushes. I am mainly ticked about the blueberries though.
There are a few glimmers of hope. The one blueburry bush KIND-OF survived and so did the hops vine I bought. Barely hanging on. There is a balloon flower still kicking. The cilantro seeds are doing well, as always. Also there were some Easter plants for Wolfie of poppies and strawberries. They are growing inside and will be transplanted soon.
Other Shares: If anyone is interested, please check out my Mother’s new blog about baking with whole grains. She is pretty new to the food blogging game, but I think some readers from here would find her page interesting.
There was an interesting article shared by The Full Helping about the historic hippie vegetarian restaurants in NYC. I love seeing the evolution of vegan food, and sometimes there are old trends that should resurface. All the descriptions of seaweed made me drool. lol I never good sea greens nearly as much as I should.
What’s your highlight this month?
When Wolfie doesn’t immediately run to the children’s section of the library, I try and browse the new releases. I love to see what new cookbooks catch my eyes, and which ones appear to be vegan. This beautiful cover caught my attention, and when sneaking a peak inside I was sold on all the gorgeous photos. But I knew there was the word “reset” in the title, and I was wary about the content. Would it be super orthorexic? Would it be super problematic? I checked it out to find out.
Wow, the publisher went above and beyond with the photos and graphics. I can safely say I get excited each an every time I open this book. There are photos for EVERYTHING! Photos of meal prep, photos of each day, each meal, and I think there might not be a photo for all the recipes in the back, but I could be wrong.
There are also a lot of text to the book, talking about veganism and helpful information for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Even in these sections there is a lot of thoughtful graphic placement to keep the interest of the readers. Even if I am just flipping through the book, I find myself stopping at the text to read it. So I can easily give 10 out of 10 for the graphics and photos in this book.
There is a lot to read in this book. Most cookbooks are designed to have the text separate from the recipes, and let’s be real, not many people are actually READING the books. Not the case for this. There is lots and lots of information, and it is easy to digest. That’s perfect for new vegans, and overall I have to say I agree with Hansen’s tone and message.
Buuuuuuuttt….. there are some red flags. There is some talk of detoxing, and that makes me feel icky. I have to say she gives a good answer to most of the problematic views on juice cleanses, but I think she gives too much credit to the idea. So close, yet so far away. Also Hansen quote Tony Robbins. Ugh. Why?! She actually quotes a lot of self-help people, which is fine, but they also give me icky feeling since, well, I feel most self-help people have their own fucked up issues and take advantage of vulnerable people. The last issue I found was talk about weight loss and gain. Overall pretty okay. It might be the authors way of addressing that most people picking up this book will be looking to loose weight.
Somewhere in my cookbook review this section disappeared, and that may not be a bad thing since almost all vegan cookbooks have the same set up. But it’s making a comeback since this book is so different from other cookbooks. This books has four major chapters, Getting Started, The 28-Day Program, Continuing with a Vegan Lifestyle, and Additional Recipes.
Getting Started focuses on shopping and kitchen tips. Hansen explains how to save money while shopping, lays down some ground work to follow the 4 week recipe line up. This is probably helpful to anyone who goes shopping just picking random things, or buying whatever is on sale. The 28-Day Program is laid out in order, she gives a list of things to prep, then has each day listed with what to make and eat. Each day has calorie counts of each meal, and has a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one snack.
Then the second half of the book is Beyond Reset. Here there is a whole chapter on how to go vegan, talking about why to go vegan, what is plant based, how veganism is more than just food, etc. Then she has tons of recipes in the back, including staples like nut milks, smoothies, scrambles, and other meals. There are no calorie counts for these meals, which I think is Julie’s way of saying calorie counting isn’t the best way to design your meals, at least in the long run.
Well, if you didn’t know from my new years post, or me reviewing a dieting book, I am trying to loose weight. I did take a “week off” since I was starting to get crazy hungry, so I did try to follow week 3’s meal plan. The meal prep she sets up is just SOOOO much work, like more work than it is worth. She makes you do two days a week of meal prep a week; one huge day, and one smaller day. Some of the meal prep just seems pointless, like making rice or beans. But cooking rice one night doesn’t seem too much to ask. I guess I understand if you are working 9 to 5 and you want to just dump a whole bunch of stuff together and just eat. I also understand that you want quick meals for lunches so your morning is free. It also seems like some meals just seem lacking. Like there are tacos that are just sautéed veggies with chickpeas. And from reading some reviews online, many people who have tried the meal plan agreed.
That being said, I like how hearty she is with the calorie counts. Each day has about 2,000 calories. Some meals are 700 calories, and I smiled that her oat breakfasts were Susan sized, with a whopping 3/4 cup of raw oats. Some foods seemed like a lot of calories for what you are getting. Like 500-600 calories for a soup? It better be delicious!
Overall, I love the style of the book, and I love the idea. But I feel like some of the planning isn’t the best. For starters the meal plan is clearly for just one person. Sure you can just double the recipes, but that might not work so well. For example I was cooking dinner for me, my husband, and Wolfie, but the lunches and breakfasts were just for me. So doubling meal prep usually meant I had extras. And although she gives tips for saving money, I just can’t imagine it being a cheap grocery visit. Especially since all the ingredients will never be in season all at once. But I get it, you can’t please everyone unless you are making a custom menu.
But for most readers of the blog I think this book is a solid pass. The meal plan doesn’t seem tasty enough to justify going on the scheduled menu plan. The recipes in the back aren’t plentiful enough to justify the price, and there are lots of standard recipes that are great for new vegans, but I don’t need another recipe for oat milk. But did I recommend this book? YES! I actually recommended it to my Mother who is trying to eat more healthfully. This would give he a blue print to work with, and she largely eats separately from my Father.
Since this is set up as a meal prep book, the food is set up for an entire week. I did some of week 3, but I can safely say I did my fair share of meal swapping, last minute changes and the like. One thing I did notice was that I consistently ate less calories than listed in the book mostly because the serving was either too big, or because I didn’t have any avocados. I also found that since I had more calories to eat, I would eat extra snacks, or swap out the meals for something slightly different, like a burrito wrap instead of corn tortilla.
V Marks the Shop
I have talked on this blog about a bunch of restaurants, but kind-of shyed away from talking about vegan shops. There are two reasons- one was that some shops aren’t 100% vegan, and it felt a little bit like I would just be featuring a bunch of health food stores. The second reason was that there weren’t many shops to feature, they simply weren’t around me. But fast forward to now, and I think there are enough shops opening to make this a feature on the blog. So these are any shop that are vegan, whether it be food, shoes, clothes, bath products, or a salon.
I start this with V Marks the Shop. The store is owned by Carlo and Carmella who have been working on the shop for years. They started with a crowd sourcing campaign and fell short of the target goal. But they kept working at it, working on many many popup vegan events. They often had events centering around holidays, fundraising, or spotlighting vegan POC business owners. They sold vegan products on their website, focusing on local deliveries. But they have finally been able to open a brick and mortar store.
Right now, they are JUST starting out. We went after they have been open from about a month or two, but it looks like they are still feeling out more solid hours. I strongly suggest checking out their instagram or facebook to make sure they are open. They also seemed a little empty, but I have yet to go to a brand spanking new store and it not feel a little bare. Not to mention, I think they are selling out pretty fast with a lot of their products. When I visited they had mostly just food, but they will soon be adding books and clothing.
Even if you are just visiting Philly I suggest you check this place out. There are tons of fun products that are local or just a little harder to get, even at your local vegan market. I also would follow their social media platforms to keep up with any future pop-up events, as they love working with other vegan companies.
Lots of local companies. Just to name a few featured at their store, Fat Badger (packaged cookies PA), Philly Bread Co (fresh baked goods, PA), Crust Bakery (bakery, PA), Batter and Crumbs (bakery, PA), Baba’s Bucha (kombucha, PA), Nutty Novelties (nut butters PA), Om Sweet Home (vegan butter NJ), Freakin Vegan (prepared foods NJ), Miss Rachel’s Pantry (prepared foods PA), Blackbird Pizza (seitan and pizza PA), and FINALLY Soy Cafe (prepared foods PA).
Comparable prices! I was a little afraid I was going to get there and not afford anything. The profit margin of grocery stores are small, so I figured they would be several extra dollars for products. Not the case, as more food items were the same price as big box stores or were only 50 cents extra.
Events! They are still keeping their business model of keeping engaged with the community over ad space. They appear to be still working frequently with Tattooed Mom. Plus every Saturday they feature Sumthin’ Saturday in the store. That means every Saturday they will be planning something, whether it be demos from another vegan company, micro pop-ups, games, crafts, or speakers.
A wide range of products, shelf stable, fresh, frozen, etc. As you can guess from the list of companies above, there are some fresh made bakery products at the shop. There are also pantry staples and frozen goods like fake meats. But more surprising is that they have fresh vegan meats from The Herbivorous Butcher which I need to go back for their pepperoni!
Not all chocolates are on the F.E.P list. It looks like almost ALL are from there, but there are a few stragglers, mostly just novelty stuff like Go Max Go and No Whey! If you must, they do carry Moo Free which is on the list, while still making some novelty chocolates.
How did I get this far in my cookbook reviews and not do this one? I first bought it not knowing it was a “dieting” book. I jumped head first into the recipes and about few recipes into it I realized it was a low-fat, low calorie cookbook. So here I am giving the long review, but the TL:DR; it is one of my most used cookbooks that I recommend to everyone.
Biggest pitfall of this book is the lack of photos. There are a few sandwiched in the middle, which I never found particularly inspiring. I usually don’t have a problem picking recipes that I want to make, they have great titles, that make it clear what to expect. But when I started to read through the book, reading each and every recipe description, I found myself making mental bookmarks of recipes I want to try when my CSA starts up. I wonder if there were photos if they would of caught my attention more. I doubt this would get a fancy reprint, but if they did, adding lots of photos I think would be AMAZING. I also noticed that there were a lot of recipes where I couldn’t remember if I made them or not, which I think wouldn’t of been such an issue IF there were photos.
This book has a little more writing than most books by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, at least her newer ones. She writes a lot about prepping food to be low calorie, lots of nutritional information, and great ideas for meals using the recipes in the book. For example she might suggest taking one dish and put on some pasta. Which is sad since many people would probably just gloss over these sections. As always, this book has all of Isa’s usual wit, cultural references, and makes cooking seem more… blue collar? Average? I don’t know what the right term is, but it definitely makes it feel like you don’t need to be some thin, white, rich cis-lady to be in the kitchen.
Oh, and since it IS a dieting cookbook, I will give heads up to any types of trigger warnings. Overall I think it is VERY body positive. There are no muffin top puns, or recipes for the lowest cal cookies. Just reasonable recipes for mostly lunch and dinner. But there are calorie counters on the side of every recipe. It has some basic nutritional information, which I know can be a trigger for some people. So be warned by that. I’ve almost always just ignored them, so it isn’t distracting if it isn’t something you care about. It won’t subtly discourage you from making a dish because it has too many calories (because that always happens to me when restaurants put their calorie counts on the menu)
I’ve read so many people say how much they love this cookbook. I think that is saying a lot since it is paperback, not as pretty as Isa’s other books, not many photos, and well, a dieting book. But over and over I’ve heard people say they love this regardless. So I tried looking on Goodreads, and surprisingly there are people out that there don’t like the book. Who knew? Why do they hate it, pretty much the recipes aren’t complicated enough.
This is probably the first stepping stone to Isa Does It. Simple, easy recipes for weeknights. Not every dish needs to be rich, decadent, and primo. They can be simple and heck, you can buy that bag of pre-shredded cabbage!
So who would I recommend this book to? Someone is simply trying to eat more veggies. There are tons of recipes that use lots of veggies, and doesn’t require super crazy vegan foods like nutritional yeast, fake cheese, etc. Sure you have some seitan and nooch but nothing overwhelming. I also recommend this to anyone who is trying to eat lighter, because there is one simple fact, veggies are naturally low calorie, and therefore you get to eat a lot more than on a standard american diet. I think the dishes are super yummy and are pretty easy. Plus there are plenty of ideas in the back of the book. What about someone who wants to dip their toe in vegan cooking? Well, I probably would recommend Isa Does It, over this one.
As always, I link any recipes that are free to read and make. I try and only post online recipes that have approval of the publisher but in this case, there doesn’t seem to be many. So I did post unofficial recipes, because you can easily google it yourself. I hope that seeing these recipes will inspire you to go out and BUY the book, because honestly, it is one of my favorites.
Oh and a quick note- the calorie counts in this book are pretty darn close. Some recipes I tracked for dieting reasons, and the number more or less matched the book. There was only one pasta dish that was off by 100 calories. I am not sure if it was a typo or what. But if that is a concern, there you go.
Before going having kids, I didn’t think much about if a kids book is “vegan” or not. It seemed like it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But it quickly became obvious that children’s books aren’t very vegan friendly. So many are centered around farms, zoos, and circuses. Then you have the problem of what the characters are eating. Guys it can be exhausting to say that the hungry caterpillar is eating a slice of daiya cheese.
So, I have a very small collection of books that I read and have a vegan/vegetarian message. I will keep on posting as I read books that I think fit the category, but for now I have a short list. Starting with Ruby Roth.
Go to any vegan parenting board and ask for a book suggestion and you will be flooded with recommendations for Ruby Roth. It is easy to see why, most vegan books just can’t compare. There are lots of self published books on the market, but they aren’t that great. Ruby really has a talent for writing easy to read text that has rhythm and flow, and the illustrations are beautiful. Roth has released more books, but this is the only one we currently own and is a great books for little ones as it helps teach the ABCs, and the text is pretty short for each page. We started reading this to Wolfie before he turned 1!
This is a book I saw at the library and knew I would have to check it out. It might not be the best first book, it has a fair amount of words, and a considerable amount of pages, but makes a great edition for toddlers who notice they are eating different food from other kids. T.Veg tells a story about a T.Rex who loves veggies, but all the other dinosaurs think he is weird. The story telling has some great rhythm and the illustrations are bright and colorful.
I love this story, though I don’t like some of the descriptions that I’ve read online. Many summaries put as a humorous tale, but it comes off much more heart warming. The story is about bear, who comes across a chicken who is frozen in the snow. He brings chicken back into his home and takes care of him. But when chicken wakes up, all he is worried about is being eaten by a big scary bear. It is cute and adorable, and I love the illustrations. Just like Ruby Roth, Jannie Ho has a great talent for both writing and creating art. And I would even say it is a great read for little kids, if they can sit down for a longer story.
There are more stories to share, and I will be sharing a list of great franchises that are vegan friendly as well. So take a look.
Do you have any favorite story that talks about compassion with animals?
This Christmas was a very food filled one. We did our normal stocking exchange with my family. My sister stepped up with some really interesting vegan treats, though it was mostly because she was in search of a special sauce that she ordered online. Since she had to pay for shipping she got a bunch of other yummy treats. So here we go, starting with the special sauce that started it all.
My sister explained that she went out of her way to get this special sauce. Her fiancé bought it for himself and couldn’t stop thinking about it when it ran out. So they naturally had to get the vegan sauce for the vegans that they knew.
This special sauce is a briney mayo. It really is great. It is paired perfectly with a very mild flavored sandwich/burger. Why mild? So you can taste the sauce of course! I only point that out since so many fake meats and burgers tend to power up flavors, which can over power the sauce. If I visit my sister anytime soon, I might try and take a trip out to the Pickle Shack, and buy another jar.
I think “Santa” put this in Jon’s stocking. I am also pretty sure “santa” is the same sister who got the special sauce. This is a pretty straight forward product, thinly sliced watermelon, dehydrated into jerky. The company has super cute packing and different flavors.
Once we opened the package, all the slices were stuck to each other. We had to chip them off or each other, eating them in small crumbles. This kind-of ruined the jerky effect sadly. My husband and I both agreed, there was something weird about watermelon jerky. I guess our favorite thing is the juiciness of watermelon?
Overall it WAS really yummy. I might consider getting this again if it wasn’t for the clumping. In the end though little Wolfie got his little hands on a piece and pretty much ate all of it. I feel like that is the story of my meals anymore.
Squish is an artisan gummy candy chain. They have a whole line of vegan candy, and there are so many flavors I would love to try, maple syrup, matcha, prosecco, cold brew, and a magical unicorn mix?! Too many options! I am sure my sister was overwhelmed in the store trying to pick out a flavor for me, but she went with the shark berries (blueberries, raspberry, and black currant.)
I forgot how much I love gummy snacks. These had just enough tooth and was bursting with flavors. Each gummy is fairly big, so you can savor the flavor for longer. Naturally it is pretty darn sweet, and this berry flavor balance it out with it’s tartness. Kind-of a good thing that the company is based in Canada, because otherwise I would go broke buying them.
This was from what I assume was my Mother, as a little gift from their trip to Maine. I cannot for the life of me find an online vendor for these mints, but they are produced by a company that makes novelty mints. They have a whole line of “poop mints.” These were tasty, and the tin was pretty clever. You press the middle and it pops open, though closing kind of sucked. It was just too cute not to share.
If you do find the package, I would say buy them! The flavor of the mint is chocolate mint which was a nice little twist. Like most mints it uses an artificial sweetener, so take what you want about it’s labeling of being vegan if you would get these.
Any fun new snacks you’d like to share?
I started to brew kombucha since I wanted to start a daily dose of probiotics. Buying kombucha can be expensive, so homebrew was the solution. Sadly I was brewing more than I could drink, and I started to look for ways to use it up without just drinking it.
This book is written by Stephen Lee. He previously owned Tazo Tea, and currently (or at least at the time of writing the book) owns Kombucha Wonder Drink. Sure there is some plugging of the company, but don’t worry, it none of the recipes call for specific products. They don’t even call for a scoby sold by the company, so that is reassuring.
There are quite a few photos in the book. The photos are beautiful and bright. Most photos are center around the recipes, though some are simply included for aesthetics. Glamor shots of a kombucha jar, over the head shots of vegetables on the chopping board, and production lines of a kombucha bottling factory. I would of loved to have a photo for most recipes since they are drastically different from each other, but I don’t think it is needed since most recipes are easy to imagine what they would look like.
I love the writing in this cookbook. It sounds silly to harp on writing in a cookbook, but this kind is particularly important since you are giving LONG INSTRUCTION for the brewing process. I knew how to make kombucha before the book, and I can hands down say the book made me feel less intimidated from brewing at home, and stepped up my overall kombucha game. It tasted so much better. I was a little shocked, how could it make that much of a difference? After reading blog after blog on how to make kombucha it made me appreciate this book even more.
This book caught my eye since it was more than just how-to manual for how to brew kombucha, it has recipes. When looking at the options this one, at the time, was the only one with recipes outside of drinks. It had recipes for soups, desserts, and cocktails. So did it live up to my expectations?
Yes and no. Overall, many of the recipes are not vegan, but are pretty friendly. Most recipes you could add a little this, take away that, etc. But the recipes themselves are very simple. For example there is a vinaigrette recipe that is no joke just oil, kombucha vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. I think this book lends well to people like me who like experiment in the kitchen, and aren’t afraid of doing some quick ingredient changes. Overall I haven’t MADE much from the book, but I am much more comfortable adding kombucha to a soup or salad.
I think the second biggest help has been how much the book helped my brew game. I haven’t done too many flavored kombuchas, but I have mastered a nice dry kombucha. I take breaks here and there from the weekly brewing grind, but it has been in my life for quite some time.
But that was a few years ago, and if I were to buy a book now I might pick a different one. The Big Book of Kombucha is much more extensive. So much so, I am thinking of adding it to my collection. Would I still recommend this book? Yes. Especially for people aren’t sure if they want to commit to brewing. It is a reasonably priced book, so it isn’t a huge investment.
This set up will be a little different from other reviews. The book spends a good bit of time with brewing kombucha, ways to alter your brew, then recipes. I will breakdown some basics about each chapter, coming to a conclusion about the recipes in the book AND focus on specific recipes as I see fit.