Kauai-Vegan Style

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My husband and I have wanted to go to Kauai for many years. But life always seemed to get in the way. Last year, we decided that we were finally going to make our dream happen. So, for my birthday, we headed to The Garden Isle. But before we left, I did plenty of research to find vegan friendly places all over the island. The upshot was that our condo had a full kitchen so if we had to, we could cook at the condo. But who wants to cook on vacation!? We found some suggestions and also stumbled onto other places that we hadn’t heard of in our research. This is my attempt to create a comprehensive list of the places that we enjoyed so that you can enjoy them on your visit to Kauai, too.

After a long morning of travel, we finally landed in Lihue around 2:00pm. We picked up our rental car and headed south to our condo in Poipu. We checked in, dropped off our luggage and headed down to the beach. After a while, we were quite hungry but tired so we headed to Plantation Gardens, which was on the property. We were surprised that we had quite a few vegan options here! After ordering drinks (I had the Sweet Li Hing Mui Margarita and he had the Lavender Pina Colada-both were delicious!), we ordered the Tofu Inari appetizer. It was so good. The outer tofu wrap was fried so it was really airy and slightly crunchy. The texture and weight was similar to mexican chiccharones. The veggies inside were perfectly cooked and complimented the tofu wrap. The hoisin sauce was well balanced between sweet and salty. On to the main course! We ordered two dishes to share: Yamaimo Soba Noodle salad and the Vegetable Quinoa Bowl (without the parmesan cheese). Everything was delicious. We enjoyed mango sorbet for dessert. This dinner was a great way to start our vacation!

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Tofu Inari appetizer from Plantation Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation resort.

The next day, we headed out to find something for breakfast. As a vegan, this is always the trickiest meal for eating out. Usually relegated to bagels or oatmeal, we were determined to find something yummy! We stumbled onto The Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company. Since the choices were few, we ordered their Veggie Tofu Wrap (specify no cheese and no sour cream). It was so good and very filling-perfect for our day trip to Waimea Canyon. This wrap was stuffed with tofu squares and perfectly cooked veggies. Served with salsa and your choice of potatoes, this breakfast has all your favorites in one dish! Their coffee was also very good. Be sure to ask for almond or soy milk, which is kept behind the counter.

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Veggie Tofu Wrap from The Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company. Be sure to order without cheese and sour cream! Salsa in a separate dish would also not be a bad idea.

On our way back to Poipu after day tripping to Waimea Canyon, we stopped off in Waimea town to enjoy shave ice from JoJo’s Clubhouse. Apparently, there a two locations named JoJo’s clubhouse but we stopped at the shady looking one across from the high school in town. Supposedly, this is the original location run by new owners. We ordered two shave ices-no ice cream or whipped cream. It was so refreshing on a warm day! The ice reminded me of a snow cone but much softer. No big chunks of ice, just smooth, cold ice.  The flavor that my husband ordered reminded us a of a Big Stick popsicle and I chose a pina colada flavor. Both were great!

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Shave ice from JoJo’s Clubhouse which may or may not be the original location run by new owners. This was a perfect treat!

We also stopped by The Kauai Coffee Company plantation on the way back to Poipu because we are coffee lovers. You can take the self-guided tour through the plantation (takes about 15 minutes) and learn about the coffee crops and how they harvest the coffee. After the tour, you can taste their different coffee roasts and pick some up to go from the gift shop. If you enjoy coffee and are in the area, this is a fun little stop. We picked up their Estate Reserve Peaberry roast to bring home with us.

After a long morning out, we wanted to pick a quick lunch to take back to the condo with us. We stopped by Da Crack, since it was less than 5 minutes from our resort. This was the oddest little place. It literally is a walk up window between two store fronts. It’s a little sketchy but oh my, the food was delicious. We both ordered veggie burritos. Stuffed with beans, rice, veggies, guacamole and jalapenos (opt for no jalapenos or ask for them on the side. You can’t say I didn’t warn you!), this was a great meal to enjoy on our lanai with some ice cold beer. Oh, and their chips are addicting. They don’t make the typical corn tortilla chips. The use flour tortillas for their chips. And they’re crazy good.

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Da Crack is a bit hard to find because it’s literally a walk up window between two store fronts. Pictured is the veggie burrito. Pick up some beer at the grocery store next door and head to the beach!

That night, we were off to dinner at Roy’s before our luau at Luau Kalamaku (Side note: You can buy show only tickets here. And you get stage side reserved seating. This luau is wonderful!) This was the only meal on Kauai in which I had reached out to the chef before our trip. I swapped several emails with Executive Chef Melanie, who was more than happy to put together an entirely vegan menu for us. She asked for our likes and dislikes but other than that, she took total control of our menu and we had no idea what to expect.

Two pina coladas, please!

Two pina coladas, please!

We checked in for our reservation and were seated by the windows that were a perfect birdwatching spot. Our menu was laid out on the table for us and as we read over it, our mouths started to water. Our waiter came over to take our drink order and we both ordered pina coladas. We enjoyed our drinks as we perused our menu.  Our appetizer was Poipu Style Granny Smith Apple and Sweet Potato “Poke”. This was so good! The apple and purple sweet potatoes were layered with smoked onions, avocado and Himalayan salt. Our second course was a Watermelon Carpaccio salad with hearts of palm, mac nuts and ginger dressing. The watermelon was shaved thin and was nice and refreshing. This was definitely a nice, light second course. Our main course was up next: Crispy Rice Cracker Seared Tofu. Now, I don’t know what to say about this other than you should book your trip to Kauai, if only to eat this dish at Roy’s. The tofu had a wonderfully crispy layer on top and sat in this amazing ginger soy sauce. There was also bok choy, tomato and jasmine rice on the side. We nearly cried tears of joy while eating this dish. It was hands down, the best dish we’ve ever eaten. Our final course was dessert. This was Poached Pears with Tropical Fruit Streusel and Ginger Caramel Cookie ice cream. Again, Chef Melanie was a genius. This dish was delicious but we were so full, that we barely made a dent! Very pleased with our dinner, we asked if we could meet Melanie. She came to our table a few minutes later to chat with us for a bit. She was sweet as could be and was so happy to have planned our menu for us. She told us that it was a nice change of pace and it really pushed her to think out of the box. She asked for our critique and the only thing we could think of was that there so much food! She said that she was afraid that we would leave hungry! It was quite funny. But we enjoyed her dishes so much that we asked her if she would do another menu for us again. She said absolutely and so we made reservations for dinner on my birthday. P.S. That dinner did not disappoint either! She made an entirely new menu and our dessert, the Maple Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Bun, is now a regular menu item!

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Granny Smith Apple and Sweet Potato “Poke”

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Watermelon “Carpaccio” Salad

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Crispy Rice Cracker Seared Tofu

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Poached Pears with Tropical Streusel

 

The next morning was our awesome catamaran tour up the Na’Pali Coast. The day trip we scheduled through Captain Andy’s  was the Northern Star which included a BBQ lunch. There seems to be some confusion about the veggie burger that they offer so we were told we could bring our own food and snacks, which was awesome. (Note: They’ve updated their website with vegan and gluten free options!) So, we skipped breakfast (which turned out to be a horrible idea for me) this morning since check in was early!

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The Na’Pali Coast from the Northern Star. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

After a long day of snorkeling and cruising, we opted for a quick dinner. My hubby went over to Puka Dog since it was right across the street. We each had a veggie dog (which is vegan) but with different toppings (skip the secret sauce-it’s not vegan). He opted for the old fashioned ketchup dog and I tried to the lilikoi mustard and coconut relish combination. I don’t even know where to start with this. The veggie dog itself was great. They don’t overcook or undercook them, which is easy to do. The lilikoi mustard was a little sweet and a little spicy but very good. The coconut relish was delicious. It reminded me of soft gel and it had bits of shredded coconut throughout. If you like coconut, get this. But can we talk about the bun!? The bun is served hot, like fresh out of the oven hot. And it’s so soft but it doesn’t collapse under the weight of the veggie dog and condiments. And, it completely envelopes the veggie dog so you get bun in every bite. These veggie dogs were so good and great for a quick meal! Also, check out Papalani Gelato next door for a great dessert! They have quite the selection of dairy free gelatos. We picked up the dark chocolate and pineapple gelatos.

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Veggie dog (minus secret sauce) with lilikoi mustard and coconut relish from Puka Dog. So good!

Gelato from Papalani's

Gelato from Papalani’s

The next day we headed to Kalaheo Cafe and Coffee company again for breakfast because it was just so good the first time. We spent the day checking out the sights along the East and North shores. We also checked out the Kilauea Lighthouse and decided to stop by Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza for lunch. The shopping center is super quaint with their resident bird, Daphne. Kilauea Bakery is towards the back and has a small patio with racks of books for your enjoyment. It’s beautifully landscaped and a great place to relax with some good food! We ordered the veggie deluxe pizza with soy cheese. The pizza had all the veggies and they didn’t overdo the cheese. The crust had a nice crunch to it and was really flavorful. It wasn’t just pizza toppings on cardboard which happens sometimes. It was pizza done right and it was delicious. And, we ordered dessert. We picked up the Lilikoi Coconut Cream cake. The cake was another winner. I have to say though, that I mostly tasted coconut, which I am not complaining about. I think the lilikoi is just super subtle and so the coconut overpowers it a bit. But I don’t think this is the fault of the bakery. And the cake was super moist. It reminded me of Tres Leches cake but without the excess liquid. It was definitely something I was hoping to get again before our vacation was over!

 

Lilikoi Coconut Cream cake from Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza.

Lilikoi Coconut Cream cake from Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza.

 

Veggie Deluxe with Soy Cheese pizza from Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza.

Veggie Deluxe with Soy Cheese pizza from Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza.

For my birthday, we spent the entire day beach bumming around the South Shore. We checked out Poipu Beach. It’s a great spot for snorkeling (aqua shoes are a great idea!) and sea turtle watching-we even saw a momma and her babies! This beach also has a grassy area that overlooks the beach so it’s a great spot to have lunch while taking in the sights. We also checked out Shipwreck Beach. The beach itself was beautiful since its lined with cliffs on one side but the waters and sand were a bit rough for my tastes. And, apparently, the cliffs are a favorite jumping spot for adventurous folks. That night, we had reservations at Roy’s again. Here is a picture of our menu that night. We didn’t think Melanie could outdo our first meal but she did!

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We spent the next couple of days enjoying the beaches, sights and revisiting some of our favorite places on the island. It was an amazing vacation and completely relaxing. And it was so easy to be vegan on the island! There are options out there, you just have to do some research. And don’t be afraid to ask! There are some other vegan friendly restaurants (Caffe Coco, Red Hot Mama’s, Banana Joe’s to name a few) that we didn’t make it to simply because we ran out of time. It’s funny, they say island time moves slow but it seemed like it was time to go back home the minute we got there. Our vacation was wonderful and we just cannot get back to the island soon enough. I hope this little vacation recap helps you plan your vacation. I enjoyed writing this post simply because I got to relive our vacation. I hope you enjoy yours too!

Overlooking the ocean at Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Preserve

Overlooking the ocean at Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Preserve

The grassy area above Poipu Beach. You can see the reef in the background which makes this an awesome snorkeling spot!

Poipu Beach

The grassy area above Poipu Beach. You can see the reef in the background which makes this an awesome snorkeling spot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gracias Madre

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My hubby and I live in Southern California but we are not fans of Los Angeles. It’s so crowded, traffic is a nightmare and it’s just much more commotion than either of us care to deal with. It sends my anxiety levels through the roof! So, it’s rare for us to venture out that way.

But we were looking for a place to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and wanted to go some where new for dinner. After some discussion, we settled on the fairly new Gracias Madre, a San Francisco restaurant that had recently opened a location in Los Angeles. So, we made a reservation and mentally prepared ourselves for a trip to Los Angeles. And, it was the best trip ever!

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We left super early because you never know if it will take you thirty minutes or an hour and thirty minutes to get to L.A. We arrived at Gracias Madre about fifteen minutes before our reservation time. When we walked in, we were suprised at the interior. It’s very open, bright and airy. It seems like all the new places have dark, wood decor so this was a nice surprise. There was a nice outside patio that we could see from the hostess area with very large, glass doors that lead to it. There were also big windows along that same wall which just added so much light and warmth to the space. The seating for the main restaurant was super cute. The tables had chairs on one side and couch like seating on the other. There were pillows in bright colors that served at your backrest if you were sitting on the bench side. I was already in love.

We checked in but told the hostess that we were going to seat ourselves at the bar while we waited for our table. She was very friendly and said that we could take our time and that our table would be waiting for us.

So, we took at seat at the bar and quickly reviewed the drink menu. I already knew what I was ordering but my hubby was unsure. The bartender recommended a beer for him so we placed our order: El Guey Aguanta for me, Uinta Wyld Extra Pale Ale beer for him. My hubby really loved his beer! It was very smooth and had a very light, clean feel to it. It is definitely something he would drink again. And my drink was pretty amazing too! It essentially was horchata spiked with Mezcal. Topped with cinnamon, mint and little lime rind curly pizzazz, this drink was amazing! I loved the horchata and they were not stingy with the Mezcal. We excitedly sipped on our drinks while we watched the wonderful looking food come out of the kitchen. After finishing our drinks, we closed out our bar tab and checked in with the hostess again who took us to our table.

 El Guey Aguanta and Pale Ale

Our server was great! He was super friendly, gave us some great suggestions and seemed genuinely happy to be there and to have us there. We chatted for a moment and placed our appetizer order: Guacamole and Papas al Horno. The guacamole was really good and it was served with warm handmade tortillas instead of chips, which was a nice change of pace. The serving of guacamole was on the small side but it was tasty and it was the perfect amount for the tortillas. The papas were definitely the highlight here. These tiny potatoes were perfectly roasted, seasoned and then drizzled with a spicy cashew cheese sauce. Just describing them makes me hungry for them again! These were insanely delicious and we tried to very casually stuff our faces with all of the potatoes. Here’s a little tip: Make yourself a taco with some guacamole and a few potatoes. You’re welcome.

papas

 

After some small talk and important decision making, we ordered another round of drinks. My hubby ordered another beer and I went with the seasonal sangria (which was delicious!) because if I had another adult horchata, it was going to be a long ride home. Our drinks came and we ordered our entrees. My hubby ordered the chilaquiles and I ordered the flautas. Neither dish disappointed us. The chilaquiles were perfectly spicy and topped with cashew cream, cilantro and avocado to cool the spiciness. The flautas were stuffed with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions. They were also topped with cashew nacho cheese, pico de gallo salsa and guacamole. They were absolutely delicious! A little sweet and a little spicy and loads of flavor! Both entrees were served with refried black beans that were perfectly seasoned and tasty!

chilaquiles flautas sangria and beer

 

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Frosting and housemade vanilla coconut ice crean

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Frosting and housemade vanilla coconut ice crean

And obviously, we couldn’t not get dessert, right? So, we ordered their Pumpkin cake with Maple Cream Frosting and housemade vanilla coconut ice cream. It was absolutely amazing. The cake was a bit denser than a regular cake since it was a bundt style cake. The frosting wasn’t overly sweet but really contrasted the spiciness in the cake. The ice cream was super creamy and had a little hint of vanilla that complemented the cake and cream very well. As a side note: you can order their Mexican Wedding Cookies to go. And we did. And they were delish.

Overall, our experience at Gracias Madre WeHo was one of the best dining experiences we’ve had in a while. Everything that we were served was absolutely perfect. The flavors on the plate were balanced and the seasonings were well done. And everything tasted fresh. I highly recommend the trip out to Los Angeles to treat yourself! Oh, and while you’re out there, you can do some shopping at Viva La Vegan Express, which is about 10 minutes away.

Category: Restaurants

WTFriday-Coconut Cream

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I’m a dessert person above all else. One of my favorite desserty things is whipped cream. I’m talking fresh whipped cream; none of that tub stuff. I love whipped cream on ALL the things-strawberries, bananas, pineapple, pie, waffles. I can’t think of one thing that doesn’t taste even better when doused in whipped cream.

When we first gave up dairy, I thought I would never get to enjoy one of the sweetest little treats that I loved (when you are new to veganism, you always think this!). Enter my friend, coconut cream.

Coconut cream is NOT the same thing as coconut milk. Some people make that mistake and wind up very sad. Coconut cream is much more dense than coconut milk. It is actually the byproduct of coconut milk making. It’s the thicker, almost paste like “cream” that is left after coconut milk is made. It has a mild flavor to it and isn’t very sweet which makes it perfect for smoothies (even those adult kind!), fudge (oh yeah!) and of course, whipped cream. It sold in cans and generally can be found in Asian/International aisle of your local grocer.

The next time you’re looking for a luscious dessert, check out this recipe or this one (note: this recipe says coconut milk but use coconut cream instead since it’s becoming easier to find. And keep a can in the fridge at all times!)

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Look at that creamy topping! Homemade coconut whipped cream on top of pumpkin spice lattes. Take that, Starbucks!

 

WTFriday!?-Tamari

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I keep a well stocked cabinet with several bottles of this on hand at any given moment. I think this is one of the most used items in my kitchen. But what is it!?

Tamari is very similar to soy sauce. It is made from fermented soy beans, just like regular soy sauce, but it contains very little to no wheat. This produces a darker, slightly thicker sauce. I find the flavor to be much less salty that regular soy sauce. And, because of this, it is very versatile in cooking-I even have a challah bread recipe that calls for tamari!

Gluten Free Tamari is readily available and is a great soy sauce substitute for people that must avoid gluten. My favorite brand of tamari is San-J which I buy at my local Sprouts Farmers Market.

tamari

So, swap out regular soy sauce for tamari sauce in your next recipe! It might just be your new favorite find!

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WTFriday-ACV

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Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of the products that I always have on hand. It can be used in so many ways! I always use Bragg’s Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother. The Mother is where all of the beneficial enzymes are.

Apple cider vinegar is a sweeter, fruity vinegar. It is used in a lot of recipes from dressings to marinades. It isn’t as harsh as white vinegar and helps create a lighter, tender texture which makes it great for baking. Once added to batter, it has no vinegar-y taste. I use apple cider vinegar to curdle almond milk that I use in place of buttermilk in my recipes. Simply add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of your non-dairy milk (I use almond milk). Allow the mixture to sit for at least 5 minutes. You may see some curdling or separation on the surface but don’t panic if you don’t. It doesn’t look like  curdled dairy milk that you are used to. Add the curdled milk your mixture and proceed with your recipe.

Apple cider vinegar also makes an amazing facial toner! I use it everyday in my skin care regimen. To make your facial toner, mix water and ACV in a resealable jar. I store mine in a glass mason jar. I use a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part ACV but use whatever feels comfortable for you. When I started using this toner, I used 4 parts water and 1 part ACV and slowly decreased the amount of water. You can also use witch hazel in place of water or add your favorite oil  When you’re ready to use your toner, dip a cotton ball in your jar and then gently swipe over your face. Allow to dry and then follow with your moisturizer, etc.  I have noticed that my complexion is more evenly balanced, my skin is more hydrated and my skin is brighter. *A quick note about using this for the first time: keep it away from your eyes or any open scratches, pimples or sores. It will burn!

There are so many other uses for apple cider vinegar around the house, too! Use it to sanitize your bathroom, clean fruits and veggies, sanitize your countertops and cutting boards and as a deodorizer. Really, the list goes on and on. And it’s completely cruelty free and so inexpensive!

What’s your favorite way to use ACV? I’d love to hear it!

 

Category: WTFriday!?

Nacheez

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My hubby’s favorite food group is nachos. Wherever we go, he always has to order them. And, why not? They are the perfect food, a whole meal in a chip!

While there are many vegan cheese options, I was afraid that cheesy nachos were going to be a thing of the past. Until I found Nacheez! Nacheez is a soy free, gluten free nacho cheese miracle. Nacheez is an amazing sauce made of raw cashews and spices. It’s smooth and has just the right amount of spice, just like nacho cheese should. Nacheez comes in mild, medium and spicy.

Nacheez is based out of Sacramento, CA; however, it can be ordered online and found in Mother’s Markets in Southern California.

Delicious nachos with beans, vegan beef crumbles, Nacheez, jalapenos and guacamole!

Delicious nachos with beans, vegan beef crumbles, Nacheez, jalapenos and guacamole!

 

WTFriday!?-Chia Seeds

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Everyone has heard of chia pets. Those plants that grow in funny shapes and are usually found in the “As Seen On TV” sections of stores.

But here’s something you didn’t know: those seeds that grow those silly little plants are healthy and nutritional! The seeds, from the Salvia Hispanica plant, are completely edible and good for you! Chia seeds are high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which help reduce inflammation in your body, support proper brain function and may even help lower cholesterol. Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber. Fiber not only keeps you regular, it is also thought to help reduce your risk of colon cancer since it keeps things moving along. And, it’s loaded with essential minerals and antioxidants.

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Chia seeds are small, dark seeds (much like seeds on a strawberry) but they form a small gel bubble around them when they are added to liquids. The “gel” that forms is said to help keep you full longer and may be beneficial to weight loss. You can incorporate chia seeds into your diet in a number of ways. My favorite way to use chia seeds is in overnight oats. You can also add chia seeds into your morning juices or smoothies. Try sprinkling some on your salads for an extra crunch.

Chia can also be used in recipes as an egg replacer. Simply grind up a tablespoon of chia seeds (or use chia powder, if you have it) and combine with three tablespoons of water. Stir and allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. If using chia as an egg replacer, try to use white chia seeds instead of black. There is no taste to the seeds but if you use black ones in baking, such as Sunday morning breakfast, it will look like you have pepper in your pancakes.

Have fun with them and figure out your favorite way to enjoy them!

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Hooray for Hurraw!

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One of my favorite things is lip balm. I always have at least 3 sticks in my purse at all times. And I even keep a couple at my desk at work. It might be a slight obsession, I admit. And,  I am very particular about my lip balm: it must be light weight, long lasting and absorb quickly. I hate feeling like my lips are suffocating under the weight of the balm.

But most lip balms are beeswax based and therefore not vegan (read about that here) so it was pretty tough finding vegan lip balm. After I had tried a few products, only to be disappointed, I asked a friend of mine what she used. She told me about Hurraw Lip Balm and even bought my first stick for me!

Hurraw is amazing! Hurraw is organic, vegan and cruelty free (you can read about that here). The base of these balms is sweet almond oil so it is light weight and absorbs quickly into your lips. It also glides on very smoothly-no tugging and no stickiness after applying it. Your lips immediately feel hydrated, smooth and refreshed. And Hurraw is available in many fun flavors including: Chai Spice, Chocolate, Root Beer and Earl Grey. Their Black Cherry balm is tinted and gives you the perfect amount of color. Hurraw can be found at American Apparel stores or you can shop online at http://www.hurrawbalm.com/hurraw.

Enjoy!

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Category: Product Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Vegan and Cruelty Free

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Have you ever noticed the pink bunny or leaping bunny logos on scores of products from toothpaste to household cleaners. What do those logos mean? If the products are cruelty free, then they must be vegan, right? Not necessarily.

Cruelty free simply indicates that the product has not been tested on animals. There are 2 main programs that are responsible for certifying that a product is cruelty free: PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program and The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetic’s Leaping Bunny program. Each website maintains a list of companies and indicate whether or not they are cruelty free certified. They work with companies to ensure that animals are not used in the testing of their products but this doesn’t mean that the product is free from animal derived ingredients. Some companies will offer vegan products within their line of products while still offering products that contain animal derived ingredients.

But, honestly, the only way to be sure that you are getting a vegan and cruelty free product is to look for both the certified vegan logo and the cruelty free logo. And, when in doubt, read the label or use one of the many smartphone apps available to help you determine if a product meets these specifications. One of my favorite iPhone apps is “Is it Vegan”. This app allows you to scan the barcode on the item right from your phone. It also allows you to search by ingredient, if you prefer. This app has come in handy many times! I would also encourage you to check your labels often-no matter how many times you’ve purchased that same product. Some manufacturers get sneaky and will change their ingredients over time. So be sure to check your labels to avoid any unwanted surprises.

And, many vegan and cruelty free brands are available at your local stores from Target to Costco. Shopping cruelty free couldn’t be any easier!

So, before you replenish your cosmetics or household items, be sure to check out some of the companies listed on the websites above. You can also check my reviews for some of my favorite products! And, then pick up a product or two on your next trip to the store!

Steve’s Ice Cream

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Ice cream. It’s one of my favorite desserts. Cold nights, hot days-it doesn’t matter. Ice cream is great any time!

I found out about Steve’s Ice Cream not too long ago and just had to get my hands on some. Luckily, I found Steve’s at my local Sprout’s Farmers Market! They had just a handful of flavors, with only 3 of them being vegan. The Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel was calling my name. How could it not!? Chocolate and caramel in one? Sign me up!

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I have tried many different vegan ice creams and this one is by far the best ice cream I have ever tasted.A few non-dairy ice creams that I have tried have a little bit of an icy, grainy texture to it. But Steve’s is so silky smooth mostly because Steve’s uses coconut cream as the base of their ice cream. It’s creamy texture is reminiscent of dairy ice cream.

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Steve’s uses Taza Chocolate for their ice cream. Taza Chocolate’s stone ground cacao is added to their ice cream base to create their chocolate flavor. The smooth ice cream and rich chocolate flavor created the perfect spoonful of happiness.

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And the caramel swirl took things to a whole new level. The caramel wasn’t overly sweet but had a nice thick consistency to it. It was slightly sticky so you knew it was caramel, not just caramel flavoring. And the caramel to ice cream ratio was perfectly balanced.

Steve’s offers 4 ice cream flavors that are vegan and gluten free: Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel, Mint Cacao Chip,Cinnamon Chocolate and Scotch Chocolate. Hopefully, they will continue to add to their non-dairy line up in the future. I would love to see a vegan version of their Southern Banana Pudding. But in the mean time, I suppose I can get by on Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel.

Look for Steve’s at your local grocery store. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!