Thursday, April 20, 2017

Que Pasa Tortilla Chips

Que Pasa has been making tortilla chips for a long time, but they weren't on my radar until they came out with their three most recent flavors. They've taken three typically non-vegan flavors and made them vegan. Oh-la-la!


Honestly, I was excited, but my clean-eating taste buds no longer like a lot of additives and fillers. So, when I first tried the Sweet and Spicy Ranch chips, I didn't love them. I'm not sure what is in the "vegan buttermilk flavor," but it made them taste very artificial.


The Jalapeno & Lime chips were better as the flavor was nice, but, again, I couldn't get past the maltodextrin -- I think I'm hypersensitive to this additive.


So, by the time I got to the Nacho flavor, I was expecting to not like it. Boy, was I wrong. These chips made with chia, quinoa, and jalapeno were as cheesy as could be without the cheese!

The nacho seasoning is made with rice flour, cane sugar, sea salt, onion powder, tomato powder, yeast extract, garlic powder, paprika powder, vegan cheddar cheese flavor (I have no idea what this is), spices, jalapeno pepper powder, red bell pepper powder, green bell pepper powder, annatto extract, lactic acid, and citric acid. No maltodextrin!  Please pass the queso!


What I do like about these three flavors is that they are all certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and gluten free. That's pretty awesome.

So don't take my word for it--try them for yourself! The new flavors should be hitting the shelves soon!

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Canyon Crest, Twin Falls, ID

In the city of Twin Falls, Idaho, everyone knows there are two prominent restaurants that serve as the best restaurants in the area. I've been to one, Elevation 486, many, many times. But, this time, my friend convinced me to try the other one: Canyon Crest.


Located above Idaho's beautiful Snake River Canyon, is a gorgeous stone restaurant. We had called earlier and they confirmed that they could prepare some vegan dishes. When we arrived around 7 p.m. on this Monday night, they were ready for us. They sat us in one of the big dining rooms overlooking the canyon. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see, but it was still a beautiful room with big booths, a plush red sofa, a fireplace, and a full bar.


I started with a classic negroni, which the bartender was excited to make!


The server kindly told us what could be made vegan, but also said there were special items that could be made off-menu. The Sous Chef, Adam Casel, came out to describe what he could prepare for us. We started with an incredible oven-roasted tomato filled with muffuletta olives and other good stuff, served with delicious marinara and basil sauces. It was loaded with great flavor.


For our entree, we decided to split a Ratatouille and were pleasantly surprised when they brought it out already plated for two (separately). How classy. This dish was so good! Over rice noodles, was a delicious ratatouille made with broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, and squash covered in a red sauce and topped with fresh basil.


On the side, we had some sauteed spinach.


And, for dessert, he cooked us a carrot cake served with strawberries and raspberries.


Afterwards, the chef came out to see if we liked and we were all but hugging him. Just like that, I found a new favorite restaurant in Twin Falls. If you are seeking an awesome location, great view, comfortable dining room, excellent service, and appropriate prices for dinner, look no further. Highly recommended.

Canyon Crest
330 Canyon Crest Drive
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
(208) 733-9392

Canyon Crest Dining and Event Center Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sen.se - ThermoPeanut

As a wine connoisseur, I keep close tabs on the temperature in my wine cellar. But, sometimes I worry if the sun is raising the temperature of my unit while I'm away. Sen.se has developed an innovative product called the ThermoPeanut that lets you monitor temperature via your SmartPhone and I love having access to this data any time I need it.


It's pretty simple, you can just take the tiny ThermoPeanut and mount it with the putty provided anywhere in your home. It also comes with multiple accessories so you can mount it as you please. You can mount multiple ones in different rooms to monitor temperature differences and adjust the temperature remotely using compatible thermostats.


I mounted mine in my cellar and compared the temperature showing on my SmartPhone to the temperature showing in the cellar. It wasn't precise for sure. Once my cellar was showing the temp as 55.9-degrees while the ThermoPeanut showed it as 57-degrees--not a big difference. But, on another occasion, the temperature was reading as 54.6-degrees in the cellar while the ThermoPeanut was showing 57.3-degrees, so about 3-degrees difference. The question is really--which one is accurate? That I do not know, but it is likely my cellar is the one that is accurate.

The app is pretty cool though in that you can view the history of the temperature wherever you place it. You can even set it up to alert you when the temperature is too high or too low based on your settings.

All in all, it's a great idea and a useful tool. I like having the data available everywhere I go. But, I can't attest to its accuracy. You can find the ThermoPeanut at BestBuy or online at Amazon here for just $29.99


Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Java, Twin Falls, ID

After half a day of jumping off of a bridge, we were hungry. In all the times I've been to Twin Falls, at least one person recommends that we eat at Java and I always say, "no," because there are no items that appear to be vegan on their online menu. So, I reluctantly headed over to see what could be made vegan.

When we got there, there was a long line. This is really a cafe that serves caffeine-addicted coffee drinkers. (You can tell I don't drink coffee.) When I asked about vegan options, they said there were a few things that could be made vegan, so I was happy. We placed our orders and sat down.


Our meals came out pretty quickly. We both ordered the Kale and Quinoa Salad (sans feta) made with diced up kale, quinoa, craisins, walnuts, and a lemon dijon dressing. It was good, but nothing to write home about. And, for $9, it was a bit pricey considering how small it was.


I might come back sometime to try the Veggie Hummus sandwich without the cheese, but something about how almost nothing is vegan on the menu without modifications bothers me. I mean, really, who puts cheese on a hummus sandwich?  Sigh.

Java
228 Blue Lakes Boulevard N
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 733-9555

Java Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fawen - Drinkable Soup

Drinkable soup seems to have become a thing! I've tried a few brands now and although I thought I wouldn't like drinking soup, I actually do! It's a great way to have a meal on-the go. Fawen is the latest brand to jump into this space with their drinkable soups. I was able to drink one of these while running an errand at lunch and another after an intense workout--it's just so easy!


The first one I tried was the Sweet Potato and Red Lentil. It had a really nice flavor and like all the others, was thick because it's made with coconut milk. It is made with all-natural ingredients including sweet potatoes, onions, red lentils, ginger root, and turmeric. I did feel like I wanted more spice or salt or something, but, overall, was a nice meal.

The next one I tried was the Broccoli and Cauliflower. This one is naturally high in vitamins C and K and a good source of potassium, fiber, and folate. It's made with broccoli, cauliflower, shallots, onions, and turmeric. Again, I felt like it needed a little more flavor.

Lastly, I tried the Beet and Purple Cabbage. This one was my favorite. This one was also high in vitamins C and K because of all the good stuff inside including beets, purple cabbage, onions, swiss chard, and spices! You can really taste the Turkish cumin!

What I love about these is that they are certified organic, gluten-free, Kosher, and vegan. There are no preservatives, sweeteners, or additives. And they are packed with vitamins and nutrients.


Look for them in a store near you or buy them online here for $6.99 each for 16 fluid ounces.

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Four Seasons - Seasons Restaurant

I have some very exciting news. Seasons Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in DC has partnered with  LA-based best-selling author and blogger, Tess Masters of The Blender Girl, to give their new Seasons menu some healthy additions that are free from gluten, dairy, and refined sugar!


I was invited to a special event at the Four Seasons to hear Tess talk about her vision, hear the chefs talk about how they executed on that vision, and try some of the new menu items. The event started with samples of two smoothies they'll be offering. The Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale Smoothie was definitely my favorite. Made with kale, bananas, dates, ginger, and cashews, it was fantastic. We also got to try the Mystical Mango Smoothie.

Tess began by telling us a little bit about her history and her books, then discussed how she designs the perfect smoothies. She provided us all with her Build Your Own Smoothie guide, which guarantees the perfect smoothie using liquids, a base, cream, greens, boosters, and magic. Magic is my favorite part!


We were then seated in the restaurant for a lunch sampling. The Avocado Avenger "salad" was excellent. Topped with chimichurri sauce, watermelon seeds, and finely diced tomatoes atop a bed of shaved English cucumber, this salad was the perfect start to the meal.


Next, I tried a grilled portabella mushroom dish made with mushroom broth, steamed bok choy, and roasted oyster mushrooms that was fantastic. On the side, was a delicious gluten-free and vegan bread made with corn flour.


And to finish it off was a flourless triple-pecan mousse pie, which was also vegan and gluten free.


All new items reviewed here will be available beginning on Saturday, April 8. The new menu will have its official publicized launch on June 10, which is Global Wellness Day.  So make your way over to Four Seasons for some fantastic vegan offerings. Kudos to Four Seasons for serving their vegan patrons. 

Seasons Restaurant
Four Seasons Hotel
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 342-0444

Full Disclosure: Although the meal was provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.
 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

K'ul Chocolate Bars

Looking for amazing chocolate? Look no further. K'ul Chocolate has created functional chocolates with high quality ingredients that are amazingly delicious. Upon first bite into every last sample that they sent me, I thought I died and went to heaven.


Take the Electrobar for example. You get bananas, evaporated coconut water, toasted coconut and cypres sea salt all loaded in high quality dark chocolate.


The Stamina is sweet and crunchy with cranberries, cherries, pomegranate, raspberries, and maca root.


The Power is super crunchy and loaded with peanuts and currents. This bar packs 8 grams of protein.


Another protein-filled bar is the Endurance made with toasted pepitas, cranberries and guarana. OMG so good.


Lastly, I tried one of their Farm-To-Bar varieties, teh Vanilla 70% Dark Chocolate, and it was just as good as the others. Deliciously smooth with a touch of vanilla and no bitterness whatsoever.


Dark chocolate is already healthy, but when you pair it with superfoods or other healthy ingredients, it raises the bar even more! I love that all the bars are vegan and gluten free. They also state that their cacao is purchased directly from farms or co-ops and that they pay above fair trade price minimum so they are conscious as well.


Honestly, these are some of the best chocolate bars I've ever had. You can find a 4-pack on Amazon here for under $12. Highly recommended.

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.