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Food Haul Friday!

In lieu of the usual “Freakin’ Out Friday” post I put together another video!

My wife and I made a quick trip up to Target, which is in Wareham (MA) and is a 45 minute hike for us. It’s not everyday we get there so I was hoping to stock up on some goodies. I’m a huge fan of the Hampton Creek salad dressings. I’ve tried a bunch of other vegan companies dressings and they aren’t in the same stratosphere as what HC is doing with their product. The rest of the trip was a bust but the video was fun to make…

Freakin’ Out Friday 10.7.16

justranchToday was a “two-fer” so I haven’t had too much time to settle in and get this post done. It was super gorgeous outside and I’ve been dying to get out on the trails again. With all the training leading up to Ragnar, it’s been quite a bit of time since I’ve been in the woods. So I did that and then a few hours later got in a decent workout in my ever-expanding home gym.

Mid-day I was reminded of something I’ve been freakin’ on for a couple of weeks now. I filled a bowl full of carrots and poured out a little ranch. You see, that’s the sh*t; the ranch! VEGAN ranch!

I’ve tried some other companies ranch dressings and no one has hit it yet; NO ONE! One company was a little too thick and was more like cream cheese than ranch. Another was like water and it was like dipping a salad into soup. Neither of those had a flavor that resembled ranch at all. One of them, a leading brand in vegan dairy items, tasted super synthetic and I honestly tossed the bottle after trying it one time. It was nasty!

During one of our breaks at Ragnar ADK we stopped at a Target in hopes of finding Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough. We had a major success on that front and most of us bought a jar. Since I do not have a Target close to my house, I figured it was an opportunity to see what other Hampton Creek products they had. They had a few of the salad dressings, including ranch!

When I got home after the weekend and was unpacking all of my stuff I cracked open the ranch and tried it.

It was delectable!

It was heavenly!

It was absolutely, marvelously, extraordinary!

It was ranch!

The texture was there. The flavor was there. The thickness was spot on.

Blessed be, ranch is back in my life!! Thank you yet again Hampton Creek for absolutely hitting a product on the mark. I can’t wait to try more!

ps. I also grabbed the Just Thousand Island and it was glorious too!!!

Freakin’ Out Friday 9.16.16

healingveganwayThere’s much to freak out about this week! I’ve had a few different new items that I’ve tasted and have used some great products which are all worthy of a FOF post of their own. That said, what I’ve really been enjoying over the past few weeks is the new book by Vegan Fusions Mark Reinfeld; Healing The Vegan Way.

I’ve made a few of the meals from the book so far and the biggest hit in my house has been the Jamaican Patties, which the published and Mark have agreed to let me share. You can find the recipe at the end. Jamaican patties used to be one of my favorite foods. Similar to an empanada, Jamaican patties are a dough filled pocket of sorts with savory contents. With the addition of turmeric and cumin these had more of an Indian vibe to me, and I’ve been really enjoying those flavors lately (maybe I haven’t had a ton of Jamaican foods?). On to the rest of the book though…

There’s a vegan book out there for everyone, we all have our favorites. Whether it’s a simple recipe you are looking for, or something with a little more zing; most recipe books just tell you how to cook it yet leave out the benefits of each ingredient. “Healing The Vegan Way” is not only a cook book but is a prescription for achieving whole health through smart use of ingredients and flavors.

I’m no Mark Reinfeld, but I know my way around a kitchen just enough to be dangerous. So one thing I really like is the template recipes. What he does with these is list the basic components of a recipe. For instance to make a hummus you only really need three base components; bean, seasoning and and ethic component based on the flavor profile you are looking for. With these templates, even the most fearful cook can gain the confidence to try something new in the kitchen and maybe create a new dish they’ve never tried.

Besides dishes, there are a plethora of sauces, spice mixes and more. As I mentioned above, I’ve been wicked into Indian flavors so I made the spice mix Mark recommends and it’s amazing to use in curry. I have plans to make the dressings for salads too. I’ve tried some decent, and I stress the decent on the lower end of decent, pre-made vegan salad dressings from some well known companies. I have a feeling making my own, per Marks masterful instruction, will provide for much better salad enjoyment.

Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or a seasoned pro, I absolutely recommend Healing The Vegan Way to you. Like I mentioned, it’s more than just a cookbook. Nowhere does the book insinuate that food can substitute for doctors orders, but at the same time, as the saying goes; you are what you eat. This book will provide all the necessary building blocks to not only eat cruelty free, but also to provide you with optimal health.

Now onto the recipe…

Jamaican Patties

Yield: 6 patties | Prep time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 40 minutes,

Total time: 70 minutes, Serving size: 1 patty,

Number of servings: 6

Jamaican patties are traditionally a filled crust thought to be a cross between Jamaican cuisine and the British pastry, created when the British arrived in Jamaica. With a nutritionally balanced trio of bean, grain, and carb in the form of lentil or pigeon peas, potato, and spinach, experience the taste of Jamaica straight from your own oven.

Filling:
2 small Yukon gold or red bliss potatoes, chopped small
½ cup finely chopped spinach or arugula
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup cooked lentils or pigeon peas or garden peas
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Dough:
2 cups white spelt flour or Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Pinch of sea salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons to ½ cup water

1. Prepare the filling: Preheat the oven to 350°f. Prepare the filling. Place a pot with a steamer basket and 1 inch of water over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, cover, and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mash well. Measure out 1 cups for this recipe. Add the remaining filling ingredients, and mix well.

2. Prepare the dough: Place the flour, salt, and turmeric in a bowl and whisk well. Add the coconut oil and water and knead into a ball. The dough should hold together and be slightly moist.

3. Roll out the dough into a log and divide into six equal-size pieces. Roll out each piece into a 5-inch- diameter circle. Place about 3 ounces (just under ¼ cup) of filling on the center of each circle. Fold the circle in half, and pinch the edges together to form your patties.

4. Place on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. You can optionally baste each patty with additional coconut oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Freakin’ Out Friday 9.2.16

Sometimes the content just provides itself…

I had nothing planned for today’s post, and was sad that it was looking like I had nothing. I am sitting on something to post, but am waiting on permission for use of the recipe I’d like to share from a book I am flippin’ out for. Seems the intern that sent it is maybe not working at the publisher anymore and now the main contact is dragging butt? Not sure, but I hope they get back to me soon.

Today was back to school haircut day, and I was feeling like a bit of a hippy myself, so the boys and I headed off to our favorite cut place; Karma & Company in Harwich, MA. I’ve written about them before and I really love this place. It’s local and the people there give a damn, which is important. The fact that the products they use are all plant-based is huge.

chandrikaSo, while waiting for my youngest son to get his hair cut, I looked at around at some of the products they were selling. I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s soap for a bit now after running the Vegan Power 25/50k and it being in our giftbag. I like it, but I’ve wanted to buy more and it’s über expensive stuff. Hey, I’m all for paying extra for quality, but it’s beyond my range for bar soap. Any ways… I saw some soap-bars and read the ingredients. I picked up some Chandrika Sandal and for the price, I had to grab 2 bars!

When I got home I did a bit of research on Chandrika and found out this:

Founded in 1940, called ‘Chandrika Ayurvedic Soap’ when it was not a fashion to call products ‘Ayurvedic.’ ‘Chandrika Soap’ is made with pure vegetable oils such as purified Coconut oil, Sandalwood oil, and Patchouli oil; it does not use any animal fat or products. ‘Chandrika Soap’ is not tested on animals.

I love that they have the guts to say they were doing it before it was cool, how ya likin’ that shade you fad following f*ckers? What I really like is this, “Using the income from the business Sri. Kesavan Vaidyar set up a number of institutions so that people who were not as fortunate as he was could benefit from his good fortune.”

I love the smell of sandalwood and while I sit here typing, it’s all I can smell after trying this out during my shower. Yeah it kinda has that hippie stank to it, but it’s sure as heck better than patchouli (sorry my patchouli wearing friends, not sorry). As long as Diane at K&C can keep this in stock, I found my new soap!

Freakin’ Out Friday 8.19.16

Wow, it’s been a while since I did one of these. I’ve been trying all sorts of new stuff and while some are good, some just aren’t “freak out” worthy.

Until now!

My wife was shopping at Trader Joe’s this week and spied something new. She always keeps an eye out for products we haven’t tried yet that sound good. She know’s how I have been on a super Indian flavor kick right now so when she say the Bollywood Popcorn she knew it would be up my alley. I’ve made tikka masala for lunch on tons of occasion, so the bonus here is the popcorn is tikka masala flavor.

I came home from work a little early and the plan was to pack up my truck and head up to the Wellfleet Drive-In. We try to get up there a couple of times every summer and this was our second trip. The first trip we saw Secret Life Of Pets and Tarzan, which were both great. Anywho… we packed up all of our treats, drinks, chairs and we headed off to watch Pete’s Dragon and The BFG.

I had literally been salivating to try the popcorn and couldn’t wait for the nostalgic intro to signal that the movie was ready to start. I rustled around and tried to find the bag, tore it open and was hit with the most glorious of scents.

Bagged popcorn is never quite as crunchy as freshly popped popcorn but this stuff wasn’t bad. I have a feeling some of the seasonings might have helped in softening it up. Texture aside, the flavors were absolutely amazing. I swear as the sky darkened from the night the starts shone brighter as I devoured with reckless abandon and was transported to spicy heaven.

One thing a friend on instagram had said (Jess Bodamer) is that the amount of turmeric in the popcorn would cause some discoloration. Yeah, that happened. The flavor was quite a bit spicy as well, I’d never had spicy popcorn. But what also happened was that I was able to add another amazing flavor of popcorn to my repertoire. This stuff won’t last long at Trader Joe’s once people start trying it, so you might need to go now to make sure you procure yourself a bag, or five.

Freakin’ Out Friday 6.3.16

karmaco2Veering off course from the usual FOF this week to make you aware of a service rather than a product. I don’t know about you, but a fresh haircut can make all the difference to your overall felling of happiness and wellness. For years I didn’t give a care at all about hairstyles or cuts. I would shave it myself and that was that. Easy to do and easy to deal with. But, then I started to care a bit more.

While in Nashville I had a great cut at an awesome joint called Reds Classic Barber Shop; a side-parted pompadour. I don’t actually style it as often as I should but the cut is there if I need to get dapper-ed up for a date with my wife. When I moved back to the Cape it was really hard to find a place that could keep up with trendy cuts. The barber shops around here are traditional in the sense that they are great for older men, those 60 or above.

I remembered that when my wife and I were married I had received a decent cut at a place called Salon 2000. So, I drove past to see if it was there and it was, but with a new name; Karma & Company.

Diana, the salon owner, was very welcoming and confident that she could give me the cut I was looking for. She absolutely nailed it and won me over right there, I knew where I’d be going for my cuts.

karmacoI was there this week, it had been quite a bit of time since my last visit. I was quite shaggy and with the summer heat coming on I nearly shaved my head. Alas, I went to Karma and Diana got me back to where I needed to be and shared in some great conversation. We not only talked politics and whatever but she also told me more about what K & C was all about.

Seems I was maybe drawn to this place for more than just a cut. All the products they use are cruelty free and vegan! WHAT?! Yup! They are also one of the only salons on Cape Cod that are green certified and recycle nearly everything in the salon.

I’m proud to say Karma & Co are my hairstylists and am excited that they just celebrated their first years in business. I wish nothing but the best for them, even if that is a selfish wish so I can get my cuts!

Website: http://www.karmaandcompanysalon.com/

 

Freakin’ Out Friday 5.27.16 (delayed)

chickps2So ya, I’m a day late on this post. Normally I have Friday’s off but being Memorial Day weekend here on ole Cape Cod, and the fact I was on call, I worked the whole day.

Today’s “freak out” satisfies a whole bunch of cravings and even satisfies the “bruh” inside with protein, because us vegans don’t get enough right!?! YAAH PROTEIN!!!

As previously mentioned in recipes and other freaks out, I love spicy anything. I’d put hot sauce on a flip flop and eat it. Not literally, that’d be kind of gross with all that foam and stuff. We think azodicarbonamide is bad in bread, imagine eating a flip flop!?

To your right you see an image of an empty bag of Biena Foods Habanero spiced Chickpea Snack! Key word; empty! These are such a great snack, and the habanero flavored one’s provide a nice kick. Like anything habanero, make sure to wash you hands before you touch ANYTHING! Just sayin…

These cute little chickpeas are packed nutritionally.

Habanero_NutritionLabel

So instead of chips and all that greasy crap, which can be fun and tasty sometimes, Biena’s chickpeas are a much more healthy option and give you just as much flavor. The sea salt one’s are my second favorite. I sweat a ton at work so my body craves salt, these are a great to satisfy that!

The only complaint I’ve heard, or read, from people is the price point. Yes, they are on the pricey side but I think it’s all relative to what your health goals are. You can enjoy that bag of Lays potato chips for under a dollar, but you get a dollars worth of nutrition (or lack thereof). My wife and I believe in the pay now instead of later approach. So I don’t mind the price as long as I know these are good for me and the ingredients are legit.

Check out Biena at: http://bienafoods.com/

 

Freakin’ Out Friday 5.20.16

beefreelogo

Many apologies for not getting an F.O.F. post up last week, I was busy running Ragnar and have one more post on that before wrapping that up and getting onto a regular posting schedule again. This weeks post will make up for the last week though as it handily elicited the largest freak out so far. So here we go…

honeyLiving a cruelty free lifestyle comes with tons of challenges, especially for those that are new to it. It’s easy to give up eating animals; there are alternatives galore such as Gardein, Beyond Meat, Boca, etc. You can give up dairy with ease as well since there are almond milks, soy milks, cashew milk and all sorts of cheese alternatives like Daiya, Kite Hill, Go Veggie and more. But one of the biggest ingredients, honey, is hard to mimic and is in tons of different foods. Until now, there was no plant-based/ vegan honey on the market.

Honey is a nit-pick item for some. A while back I was catching up on some Vegan Bros videos and saw there’s on honey, “The 1 Reason Honey IS Vegan.” It’s a compelling argument as some consider the whole honey issue to be a bit tedious when it comes to promoting veganism and a cruelty free lifestyle. Here’s a quote from the videos page.

If you’re vegan you may be thinking “those stupid Vegan Bro motherfuckers. That’s blasphemy! Honey is NOT vegan!

But if you’re not vegan, you’re probably thinking, “wait, do vegans not eat honey either? Holy shit! I knew they were fuckin crazy!”

They make a solid argument, for some it’s not easy to make the leap right away. I mean, if we can get people to stop eating animals and stop stealing their offspring’s milk than that’s a huge step right? But why not stop stealing the food that bees produce to sustain them through the winter? I get it, some people might consider it weird and a tad over the top, especially right out of the gate when making the vegan change and we should tip toe through the tulips with them. But, if you’ve been a vegan for any amount of time, cutting out honey is necessary and is kind of hypocritical if you don’t. Sorry Vegan Bros! It’s not an all or nothing thing, it’s a doing the right f*cking THING thing.

But enough of that, let me introduce a product that has been gaining a ton of attention. On Shark Tanks Episode 17 of season 7 the viewers, and sharks, are introduced to Bee Free Honee. Check out this minute long clip from the episode, just try not to pay attention to the moronic whale comment at the end from the self-proclaimed “Mr. Wonderful.”

Bee Free Honee started years back, before Shark Tank, as an accident of sorts. Katie Sanchez, one of the founders of Bee Free Honee, was trying to make some jelly and it never set. What she got was something similar to what we now know as Bee Free Honee. Fast forward to a trade show she was working and she met her business partner Melissa Elms. Bee Free Honee may very well be one of the best accidents to ever have happened.

But, how does it taste? AMAZING! For someone who loved honey before going vegan I am in absolute heaven. The things I loved to have before can now come back in waves into my life. Homemade granola? Yup! Adding it to my oatmeal in the morning? Yup! Baking with it? Hell to the yes! Just having a spoonful when my throat is sore? Yeah, I’m doing that again!

IMG_0226You’d think it would have a much more abundant apple flavor, but it is so damn close to honey you may not know the difference. The only thing I can say is it’s a bit more tart, which is absolutely no issue for me. I have been putting this stuff on everything lately. I ran out of oatmeal the other day and came up with a great Apple Pie Quinoa recipe which highlighted Bee Free Honee in an amazing light! I’ve had it on toast in the morning.

Seriously folks, you cannot tell the difference. You need to try it, you will be so happy to have some sweetness back in your life. Yes, I know… AGAVE! I don’t like that though and am so grateful for Bee Free Honee and the doors it has opened back up for me and my family. With the range of honee flavors to choose from, you don’t have to just use one. The ancho chili one if my favorite. If you know anything from being a reader of this blog you know I like spice and heat. While the flavor is mild here, it is still here and is sooooo good!

Check out their website at – https://www.beefreehonee.com/

ps. No bees were harmed in the making of this blog post, or in the making of Bee Free Honee!

 

Freakin’ Out Friday 5.6.16

beyondchiknI’ve been searching for what seems like months for today’s “Freak out!” I’ve ranted and raved about Beyond Meat before, you can read that HERE if you want, I will be honest and say it’s nothing but positive. As this post certainly will be as well.

I like anything spicy, especially anything with buffalo sauce flavor. You could put that shit on a flip-flop and I’d likely eat it. I will confess that it’s one of the flavors I miss the most; I used to love wings. Since going vegan I’ve had buffalo cauliflower, buffalo tofu, etc. So when I heard that Beyond Meat was making a buffalo popper the search was on.

Up until now, Whole Foods in Hyannis was really the only place that carried anything from Beyond Meat. I have a few products there such as the crumbles, beast burgers and chik’n strips. I obviously shot right to WF when I heard about the poppers. To my chagrin, WF did not have them and did not know if they intended to have them at all. HMMPH!!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was in Organic Market in Dennisport to grab some nooch and bulk oats. I always check out the shelves, coolers and freezers to see if they have caught onto any new products. Low and behold, there it was in the freezer section; Beyond Chicken Feisty Buffalo Poppers! SCORE!!!

I’m a huge Beyond Meat fan and these poppers are nothing short of genius. They have the flavor and, like mentioned in my positive rant bout BM, it has the texture. I ate them plain, I ate them in rice with beans; minus a flip-flop, I’ve had them any which way you can. I love these things. They could have a bit more kick to them, but that’s what hot sauce is for! Yeah, I’m def freakin’ out this Friday about Beyond Chicken Fiesty Buffalo Poppers!

 

 

Freakin’ Out Friday 4.29.16

hailmerryI nearly came up empty for this weeks F.O.F., but at the last minute an amazing product came through for me. Yesterday I stepped into Annye’s Whole Food Store on Amelie Dr in Nantucket and was in heaven. They had a bunch of different products I haven’t seen anywhere yet. One of them I didn’t have the opportunity to grab but I went back for it today.

I’m a huge user of Instagram, I think it’s one of the best social media tools available. Not only can you share some of the more intimate, and inspiring moments of your life, but you get exposed to companies and products you may not have heard about. Ever since joining, I’ve been following a variety of vegan companies; Hail Merry being one of them.

I’ve been to their website at http://www.hailmerry.com/ and appreciate their backstory / mission statement. “At Hail Merry, we believe that nature got it right the first time! Eating foods as close to their natural state as possible is not only more beneficial to the body, but also tastes better!” “No animal ingredients or animal by-products are used in the manufacturing process. And, using pure ingredients which are NON-GMO Verified, Fair Trade Certified and mostly organic, is of the utmost importance to us, especially as mothers.”

I was super craving something sweet but didn’t want to just eat some crap, so I grabbed a package of the Dark Chocolate Merry Bites™. My first reaction as I popped a macaroon in my mouth was a solid WOW! It satiated the craving but also made my mouth water for another. Minus vegan ice cream from time to time, I don’t want many treats yet I can see myself getting into some trouble with these. They are amazingly flavorful and are not as dry as I thought they would be when I first looked at and touched one.

Whats astounding is the ingredient list, which is short and pronounceable.

INGREDIENTS: organic maple syrup, organic shredded coconut, dark cocoa, organic virgin coconut oil, organic Madagascar vanilla, water, sea salt

My only gripe is the price. But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I’m of the belief that paying now is going to be cheaper in the long wrong than all the shit that can catch up to you if you eat junk for the rest of your life. Whether that’s a hospital stay or a dirt nap, what we put in our bodies matters. The thing is, I still want to enjoy treats that are flavorful and taste good. With companies like Hail Merry surging forth, I can indulge but also feel good about the food decisions I am making.