The title says it all.

Last week, I was contacted by the lovely folks over at Enjoy Life Foods asking if I was interested in sampling and reviewing their new and improved cookies. Um, vegan and gluten free cookies FO FREE? You know this girl ain’t gonna turn that down.

I can’t lie… playing with those packing peanuts was pretty darn fun.

On to the crux of the matter….the goods.

I received 3 boxes of cookies – 1 Snickerdoodle, 1 Lively lemon, and 1 Double Chocolate Brownie.

Before I go on, I have a confession to make: I wasn’t too sure I would like these cookies. You see, I bought Enjoy Life’s cookies before and was disappointed. I found the texture and taste to just be, well…off. You know when you give someone a vegan cookie and they can tell it’s a vegan cookie without you saying it? Yeah – that’s how they used to be. So when I heard that the recipe was new and improved I wondered if that meant they’d be less obviously vegan.

My thought process went like this: how can a cookie that is free of 12 allergens and also vegan and gluten free be delicious? There’s no:

-wheat

-dairy

-peanuts

-tree nuts

-egg

-soy

-shellfish

-fish

-potatoes

-sesame

-sulfites

or

-casein

Plus there’s no trans fats, GMOs, or artificial ingredients.

So…is it any good?

First I sampled the double chocolate brownie cookies. Would  you ever expect any different from me?

Upon ripping open the plastic wrapper I could smell the cocoa powder and I didn’t even bother to get a plate. That’s juts a formality, anyway right? When Enjoy Life says new and improved, they really mean it. My doubts were gone and my world was full of butterflies, rainbows, and unicorns because I had delicious chocolate cookies in my life…finally. These cookies were even Roomie tested and Roomie approved. I do believe her word were along the lines of, “This is vegan?”

Once the sugar coma wore off (what’s a serving size again?!) I decided to sample a snickerdoodle. Hey, it’s a tough job but I have to get my review out there. ūüėČ

Two words: holy cow.

How on earth had I gone my entire life without eating a snickerdoodle before today!? Maybe it’s the cinnamon that scares me away (ever since attempting the cinnamon challenge, I’ve shied away from the stuff). I hesitantly took a small nibble of a snickerdoodle before promptly inhaling the rest. Good grief, Charlie Brown – these are delicious.

Another great thing I noticed about these cookies was the fact that they stayed so soft and moist, even after being opened. I forgot to put them in a ziploc baggie, but when I tried one the day after opening, they were still as soft as ever.

Oh, it’s love.

Finally, I tried the Lively Lemon flavor. I’m not the biggest fan of lemony desserts. Lemon bars and lemonade are too tart for me. My dad is a fan of anything lemon, so clearly, I didn’t get that trait from him.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say I loved these cookies, too. There were flecks of lemon throughout, but there was a nice balance of sweet and tart; the lemony flavor wasn’t overpowering at all. It was more like a hint of lemon. Or, as the name suggests, a lively lemon flavor.

It’s safe to say that I’m addicted to the snickerdoodles and once I’m all out, I’ll get my butt to the nearest Earth Fare and buy ten a few boxes. My only dislike was the size of these cookies. They’re kind of small, maybe three or four inches in diameter.

The verdict? Two thumbs up.

Thanks again to Enjoy Life Foods – check them out! They have a full line of allergy and gluten free products, everything from [delicious] chocolate chips to cookies to granolas and bagels.

Note: I was not compensated or paid in any way to write this review – I simply received the cookies in the mail and gave my honest opinion!

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

Go buy these. Now.

 

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Defining Delicious

November 8, 2010

de·li·cious

[dih-lish-uhs]
‚Äďadjective
1. highly pleasing to the senses, esp. to taste or smell: adelicious dinner; a delicious aroma.
2. very pleasing; delightful: a delicious sense of humor.
Used in a sentence: “Holy crap, that was a delicious pancake.”
Example of deliciousness: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter!
There is a LOT of passion in this picture.
I’ll do anything to save money. I’ll avoid using the air conditioning in my car to save money on gas, I’ll bum laundry soap off Roomie until I cave and buy my own, and I’ll only buy organic when I absolutely have to. But I have no problem shelling out $10.99 for a jar of this magic:

The reason I have two jobs.

Now that boyfriend’s outta the picture (his loss anyway), Justin can have my heart. Actually, he stole it long ago. Back when I experienced Whole Foods for the first time I spotted a squeezie pack of this “Nutella knockoff” and nabbed it. I saved the little pouch of chocolate-y goodness until it was perfect weather: a rainy night in need of some chocolate. It was love at first bite.

I thought living as a vegan meant I’d never be able to drizzle Nutella on my pancakes or enjoy it straight up. Of course, I also thought it’d mean I would have to give up Bailey’s, but I didn’t…. Anyway, back to the point, Justin is a genius. A true hero. And if it means I have to go without gas for a week, then so be it. ūüėČ

Is there a certain food that you’ll “splurge” on when you buy groceries?

One of Those Days

October 17, 2010

Sometimes, you wake up and it’s one of those mornings. Whether it’s because you had a long night at work, pulled an all nighter in the library, or because you had one too many glasses of passion fruit rum/apple schnapps/vodka/OJ. Not that I did that.

Either way, there’s a great solution to a crappy morning. And it involves chocolate. Seriously, could life get any better? A lot of people that I know turn to junk foods when they’ve got a hangover..maybe now I can convert them. I rely on green monsters to get me through rough mornings, but sometimes a girl just ¬†needs herself some chocolate.

The Ultimate Hangover Cure: Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Serves two hungry, lazy, hungover friends

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup chocolate flavored non-dairy milk (I used almond)

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract

2 T maple syrup or agave nectar

1 t baking powder

cocoa or carob powder to taste

1 banana, sliced

a handful (or two or three!) of chocolate chips

 

Slice up your banana while you heat up a non-stick griddle or skillet. Put it at about medium.

The batter is insanely easy. Just mix everything together (sans bananas and chocolate chips) and then pour it onto your griddle. Once you’ve done that, press in your bananas and chocolate chips. They’ll get all melty and delish as they heat through. Cook the pancakes for five minutes on each side, or until the bottoms are cooked.

Top with more chocolate chips and maybe a dollop of fantasticness.

Just don’t put any vodka in the batter and you’ll be set.

What’s your favorite drinkie and what’s your go-to hangover meal?

Break Away

October 12, 2010

Oh, how I love five day weekends. It’s the last 24 hours of fall break. This means it’s the last 24 hours of me procrastinating on studying for four, yes four, midterms that I have this week. I spent a good chunk of my weekend in Chapel Hill getting speeding tickets (those cops are sneaky as hell), being forced to watch Twilight (I hatehatehate those movies and books), stuffing my face with Mellow Mushroom pizza (hello, Daiya!) and last but certainly not least, going to Whole Foods for the first time in my life. Actually, I had a [rich] foodie’s dream day. I went to Earth Fare, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s all in the same day.

Sad speeding ticket face:

Yay for court dates.

I don’t even want to know how much this is going to cost me, between needing an attorney (I can’t make it as my court date is during a final exam) and the fact that I was going…well… let’s just say I was going a lot over the limit. But it will be okay in the end I know, so I’ve decided that I’m not going to let this affect me. After tweeting my speeding ticket anger away, Happy Whole Foods face ensued. But I’m a bad blogger and didn’t capture it. I realized as I walked into the store that I had forgotten my camera. Trust me, there was madness. I don’t know how I only spent $17, hot bar included. Oh God..the hot bar. Don’t even get me started. I had some of the banginest (that’s a word) tofu EVER. I am sad and happy that I don’t have a WH store back home. Happy because I’d never have any money, but sad because it’s Whole Foods, man.

I hope Heaven has a Whole Foods.

Other treats include Sweet and Sara marshmallows, a squeezie pack of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butta (!!!), Daiya, and a sh!t ton of chocolate. I also purchased something I’ve had my eyes on for a while…

I’ve only heard praise for this stuff. With the nutritionals, it was no surprise. Lotsa protein and fiber and goodies inside. I’ve been using Trader Joe’s chalktastic soy protein powder for my green monsters, so it goes without saying that a change was welcome. I’ve also been avoiding cafeteria food like the plague, so a smoothie for lunch sounded delicious the other day.

Post-gym lunch.

Into the blender went 2 very ripe bananas, a dash of vanilla almond milk, ice ice baby, and Vega’s Vanilla Chai optimzer.

Faaaavorite mug!

Yum. Green.

I really wish I could say I loved this. I want to say that it was an explosion of vanilla-y, banana-y goodness. All my favorite flavors were there, but something was off. I took about four sips before having to pour the rest down the sink. It was just so chalky! Maybe I did something wrong? I’ll give Vega another chance sometime, but not for a while. I’ve lost my faith in protein powders.

And cops.

Have you ever had a run-in with the cops? When I was 16, I got pulled over for the first time for running a stop sign. I turned on the water works and got away with a warning.¬†ÔĽŅAlso, what’s your favorite brand of protein powder?

And Many Mooooore

August 1, 2010

Birthdays are fun. Especially when they involve raw vegan restaurants, chocolate, and cupcakes.

This will be a post of few words but of many pictures..mostly because I’m exhausted as I type this…and I know y’all just want the food porn.

Did not disappoint!

Luna’s Living Kitchen was previously a pure vegetarian restaurant. I was devastated when they shut down a few months ago – so when I found out that they re-opened you KNOW I had to pay them a visit. Very much improved – everything on the menu was vegan and raw!

Raw zucchini spaghetti with mushrooms and pesto.

Sissy and Mum got the sprouted quinoa and kamut burger.

At one point, my carnivorous counterpart said “OHEMGEE this is SO good. It’s amazing!” Yep. Future vegan.

Go ahead and drool.

Or do what I did, and try to lick up all the drippy parts. So worth it.

El Luchador: banana, peanut, hemp milk, hemp protein, raw cacao, agave. Oh yeah, and bliss.

Next up: vegan cupcakes.

After reading about these babies on Caitlin’s blog, I knew I just had to find ’em.

This display was beautiful!

Vanilla cupcakes with raspberry and chocolate frosting.

Eh. I wasn’t crazy about this cupcake. For $2.75, it wasn’t super expensive but it wasn’t a fantastic deal either. The Boston cupcake (AKA best in da world) was $3.50 but double the size and less oily.

This vanilla cupcake sure was moist, but that was because I’m betting there was a ton’o vegetable oil in there. I know cuppycakes aren’t supposed to be healthy and all, but I don’t like when they’re just plain old greasy. The frosting was a bit of a¬†disappointed, too. Upon first tasting it, I didn’t think it tasted like much at all. It was kind of bland. And then I noticed the texture. It was chewy, mushy, almost like eating jam? I can’t really describe it – it made me wonder if there was gelatin in it, though.

I’ll give it a C+ but an A for effort. After all, being able to get vegan cupcakes in the dirty dirty is pretty freakin awesome.

All in all, today was purdy darn good. Food, gifties, and family time.

Oh yeah… and chocolate.

What’s the best birthday you’ve ever had?

One Sexy Fruit

July 24, 2010

Looking for my giveaway?

No, I’m not talking about Neil Patrick Harris.

But isn’t he lovely?

I’m actually talkin’ bout a certain berry.

Look at that baby.

Strawberries are oh so healthy. Here’s a short list of some of the goodies packed inside these plump, juicy cuties.

-Vitamin C

-Potassium

-Folate

-Flavanoids and antioxidants

-Iodine

-Fiber

-Zinc (which is why Gillain McKeith calls them a “sexy” fruit *cough*)

-Amazing taste!

I love summer because of strawberry season. It comes and goes rather quickly, but while it’s here, I love it. There’s a strawberry farm just about a half mile away from my house… so what could be better?

Erm… chocolate, actually.

I’ll tell you something: this girl‘s got it right. Life is so much better the chocolate way. In my humble opinion, there’s absolutely nothing better than drizzling chocolate on something, especially fresh strawberries. Besides, I can say it’s good for me if I use dark chocolate. ūüėČ

Okay, not exactly dark. But I couldn’t find anything better in the store. ūüė¶

A few weeks ago, when I discovered a rather ghetto panini press in my kitchen,¬†this happened. I became obsessed with making warm, crisp sandwiches with gooey, comforting insides like bananas and peanut butter or pesto, tofu, and avocado. Mmm, creamy. That’s what inspired tonight’s panini.

Kahlua Soaked Strawberry and Chocolate Panini

Got your attention with the name, didn’t I? This sandwich is great for a “splurge” while still being pretty darn healthy. This would be perfect to give your date and it would probably make you look like a master chef. It’s decadent, warm, melty and chocolatey….and so much better than any panini Giada de Laurentiis might make (even if she does use pound cake instead of bread).

You’re gonna need:

1 cup of strawberries, sliced

2 tablespoons Kahlua or instant coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 serving (or more!) of good dark chocolate

2 slices of whole wheat bread (I use Ezekiel bread)

First, get to work on soaking your strawberries. Just combine the sliced berries in a small bowl with kahlua and vanilla. Let it chill out in the fridge and absorb, mix, and mingle.

Don’t feel you have to use kahlua or any kind of alcohol in here – I think if they were just vanilla-soaked these devils would still be to live for. I rarely cook with alcohol, so this was a one-off splurge for me and I wasn’t even sure if it would work, to be honest. But it did. It soooo did.

It’s five o’clock somewhere.

I let it soak for about a half hour. Just be careful, ’cause you don’t want soggy strawberries!

Chop your chocolate into chunks and lay it on one slice of your bread. If it helps it stick, put a teeny amount of Earth Balance or vegan margarine on the bread. Then layer on your strawberries, a little more chocolate on top (just for good measure, right?) and pop it into a panini press.

Be patient…trust me, it might be tough, but wait it out and you shall get this:

Ooey gooey goodness.

Lemme say this: Best. Dinner. Ever.

The strawberries were warmed through and the vanilla flavor permeated throughout. That flavor was only improved by the flavor of hot, liquid crack. I mean…chocolate. And then I got to the crunchy, toasted crust that was laced with strawberry juices and extra chocolate and I think I passed out.

Because I didn’t want all of this mouth partying to end, I was inspired to have more chocolate and strawberries in my breakfast a la Katie. Hello, chocolate covered sundae for breakfast. ¬†Um, it’s still healthy, right? ūüėČ

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Sundae…for Breakfast

I’ve been waiting for a chance for more strawberry banana smoothie oatmeal. You see, my precious blender that I bought over winter break didn’t even last a whole semester. The little baby was my precious green monster maker, but it sadly died in the line of duty. Being home for the summer means I have access to my mother’s fancy schmancy blender, which equals happiness.

And let’s face it, nothing is better than chocolate covered strawberries.

Git yo self:

1 frozen banana (that makes it creamy like ice cream! Trust.)

1 cup kahlua soaked strawberries (if you have leftovers…or regular old strawbz, if you aren’t feeling the ever so slight taste of alcohol at breakfast time, but who wouldn’t be? ūüėČ )

1/2 cup of almond milk

splash of vanilla

ice

dollop of dark chocolate PB

1/3 cup raw oatmeal

Toss everything but your chocolate and oatmeal into a blender that you wish was yours but it’s actually your mother’s ¬†(hence the need for a magic bullet, hint hint ūüėČ ) and proess until smooth.

Pour over your oats and stir. Or pour into a bowl and top with oats. Or eat straight outta the blender.

Now the magic happens…. drizzle on just a smidge more dark chocolate ¬†or peanut butter. Or both! My poison of choice? A teaspoon of this:

Magical.

You know, you could use One Lucky Duck’s raw chocolate truffle butter if you were to win my giveaway. Yay for plugs! Shame? What’s that?! ūüôā

The end result was almost too pretty to eat. Almost being the key word.

What’s better than a healthy, filling, AND chocolatey breakfast?

Now I just have to figure out how to afford to incorporate chocolate into every meal for the rest of my life and I’ll be set. ūüôā

What’s your favorite treat?

A Sweet Discovery

July 23, 2010

Okay, so I thought I should let you guys know that I’m back in the dirty dirty. I didn’t blog and wasn’t really supa active in the blogosphere while I was gone, so I apologize for the lack of life. Anyways, onwards and upwards we go.

New Yawk was amazing. Bawston was immense. Posts from here will be about the trip for a while, cause I have a lot to say, mmmkay? I promise I won’t be boring. ūüôā

Goodbye, New York! Hello, Boston!

Such pretty architecture,

I will own this one day.

Great views,

and a crap ton of cute shops.

(This reminded me of you, Mama Pea!)

And amongst all our shopping and dropping, Roomie and I made an amazing, fabulous, epic, and very sweet discovery today, nestled among rows and rows of fancy and uber expensive boutiques… a cupcake store! But not just any old cupcake store.

This brand new and oh so adorable little cupcake shop was called Sweet. You’re gonna see this word so many times it’s going to stop making sense… don’t you hate when that happens? Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet…..

Everything was pink and there was a large chandelier over our table. How cute is this place?! It was as if it came out of a fairy tale or a dream. Everything was sleek, modern, and PINK!

Adorbs.

The menu was pretty extensive, and the selection in the case was even bigger.

Of course, I instantly saw the bestest cuppycake flavor within a few moments of being behind the counter. My cupcake senses were tingling.

CHOCOLATE.

I feel like the decision to buy this little gem had been made even before I walked into the store. It was fate. Destiny. Whatever you want to call it, me and that little cupcake were meant to be together forever.

Happy cupcake face!

Adorable Roomie and her red velvet cupcake.

I can’t remember the last time I had a good cupcake. And by good, I don’t mean the crappy Betty Crocker kind or the one that comes in a box from the grocery store. I mean a made-from-scratch-with-oodles-of-love-inside kind of cupcake. The ones that make your heart sing and your¬†taste buds¬†dance. To be honest, I can’t remember much of this cupcake, but only because it BLEW my freaking mind.

Roomie tested, Roomie approved.

This is the part that I’m supposed to show you pictures of the inside and how moist (ew, I hate that word), soft, and chocolate-y this sucker was. But I was too busy having multiple parties in my mouth to remember to take pictures. Just imagine the best cupcake your grandmother/mommy/lover/private chef could ever bake for you and then make it even better. That’s how good this was.

That’s why I have a sad-last-bite face.

Now I just wish we had a vegan cupcakery in the dirty dirty. Until we do, I’ll be singing.

Have you ever made an epic, tasty, fantastic discovery?

PS – don’t forget to enter my giveaway!