REVIEW: April Favorites

Happy May 1st!! It feels like April flew by faster than any other month – I’ve been busy trying to keep up with my independent, high-energy three-year old all while working on some major projects. With the weather warming up, we also spent most of our days outside hiking, rockhounding, exploring and pretty much just soaking up the warmth of the sun. Crazy to think that soon summer will be upon us! I’ve got a few new favorites to share with you, along with some pretty fantastic recipes I’ve fallen in love with!

APRIL FAVORITES:

Steve’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream >> Mint Cacao Chip >> I browse the non-dairy ice cream section pretty frequently – I like to see if any new products have arrived and to my surprise, this was on the shelf AND on sale! This line of ice cream is not exclusively vegan, but there are a few flavors available that are non-dairy. I immediately grabbed a pint of the Mint Cacao Chip and we opened it later that evening. Each bite was like a dream and it took me back to my childhood days of eating mint chip…the green, artificial, sugary junk – you know what I’m talking about. I could not get over the creaminess of this ice cream that I kept rereading the label to make sure I didn’t miss an ingredient. This is HANDS DOWN THE BEST ice cream I’ve ever had. Even though this is made from organic coconut cream, I did not taste it. While I enjoy the other brands that are coconut based, they tend to be overwhelming in coconut flavor. Another thing I loved about this ice cream – no weird aftertaste – just pure, fresh, minty goodness. I went back the following week and bought a pint of the Cold-brewed Cinnamon Coffee ice cream…wow! I love coffee, I love cinnamon and I LOVE the two combined. This was just as amazing as the mint. I’ve heard that there are other non-dairy flavors, but I haven’t seen them in a store near us.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

JEM >> Organic Cashew Cardamom Spread >> We have been HUGE fans of JEM – not only because they’re local to us here in Bend, OR, but also because they make the BEST raw nut butter spreads I’ve ever had. I was first drawn to their ingredient lists – simple, organic, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free. Each jar is incredibly creamy and smooth, thanks to the use of stone grinders. We can’t buy these spreads too often because they’re gone in a flash – mostly because Willow will devour it by the spoonful! My mom recently gave us a little jar of the Cashew Cardamom (their newest flavor) and I was able to sneak a little taste before Willow spotted me and stole the rest! This reminded me very much of a delicious chai latte. I plan to buy a bigger jar very soon! Here is the ingredient list for this jar: Almonds, Cashews, Coconut Sugar, Lucuma, Vanilla, Cardamom.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

RAW POWER! >> Vanilla Protein Powder >> I was gifted this protein powder and I have to say, it might be my favorite.

Our Raw Power! Protein Superfood Blend was born out of our wishing such a product existed for our own use. We would talk about how it would be great if there were a 100% organic, 100% raw, 100% vegan, 100% HEALTHY protein powder out there — with no fillers and no average ingredients — strictly the best ingredients planet Earth has to offer.

I was excited to see such a short, yet impressive, ingredient list and was also happy to see that it was unsweetened:

Ingredients: Hemp protein powder (seed), Brazil nut protein powder, Maca powder (root), Goji berry powder (lycium fruit), Mesquite powder (pod), Maca powder (root extract), Vanilla powder (bean).

All ingredients are raw, vegan and certified organic.

NO pesticides
NO cholesterol
NO GMOs
NO added sugar
NO trans fats
NO hydrogenated oil
NO dairy
NO wheat/gluten
NO soy
NO preservatives
NO artificial colors, flavors or ingredients
NO animal residues
NO dyes
NO hormones
NO irradiation

We’ve been using this in smoothies and my homemade Protein Explosion Bites. I like that I can control the sweetness level, but I really enjoy how this is not overly gritty – like most hemp protein powders I’ve tried. The smell is wonderfully intoxicating, thanks to the mesquite (one of my all time favorite ingredients to use) and vanilla bean. Seeing this ingredient list makes me want to try making my own protein powder now…especially since we always have those ingredients on hand!

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Eating Evolved >> Dark Chocolate Mint Crème Coconut Butter Cups >> I ran into Whole Foods the other day and was craving chocolate (surprise, surprise) and spotted these coconut butter cups! They were on sale 2/$4, so of course I grabbed two with the expectation that they would be delicious. They did not disappoint! Melt in your mouth, rich, but not sweet like most chocolate cups I’ve had. Could I make these on my own? Yes, but they’re a great convenient choice AND I’m a fan of supporting products like this – organic, soy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan – my hope is by supporting this, more products like this one will become available and those sugary, overly processed, dairy loaded treats will become less of a demand.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

 

RECIPES I TRIED AND LOVED:

Black Bean Soup {Yum Universe Cookbook} >> If you follow me on Instagram, you already heard me rave about this soup. Hands down the best black bean soup I’ve tried as of yet. Packed with flavor, but so simple to make – the recipe only calls for a tablespoon of coconut oil (which you can omit), but I have found that sometimes a bit of oil can really enhance the flavors. This will definitely be a staple during the cold months.

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting (which also used Hot Fudge Sauce and Salted Caramel Sauce) {Yum Universe Cookbook} >> Willow requested cupcakes for her birthday and since we have had so much luck with recipes from Yum Universe, I decided to use this recipe to make cupcakes! WHOA. It is safe to say that these were the best gluten-free, soy-free, vegan cupcakes we’ve ever had. They were incredibly moist, didn’t fall apart (and weren’t rock solid) and without the frosting and/or caramel, these were just the right amount of sweetness. I piped a little of the caramel sauce into the center of a few of them, but ended up just drizzling the rest on top. The chocolate frosting was to die for – a chocolate lovers dream – rich, sweet and smooth. Adding the frosting and caramel sauce put it over the top and did make it sweet, but it was the perfect treat. Willow was in heaven.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers {One Ingredient Chef} >> Hubby whipped these up last week while Willow and I played. We used gluten-free oats and coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. These were amazing! Simple ingredient list (only nine ingredients – including spices) and oil-free. Dinner isn’t our strong suit with Willow as she’s usually not hungry, but she did manage to take a couple of bites and enjoyed it. I loved how they held together, unlike a lot of gluten-free burgers.

REVIEW: April Favorites // Be Sol-Ful

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Burger with red cabbage, romaine, caramelized onions, sautéed kale, red bell peppers and Peanut Butter & Vegan’s homemade mayo!

Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise {Peanut Butter & Vegan} >> We’ve made a few vegan mayos in the past, but they’ve always contained cashews. I love my cashews, but they can get mighty pricey – so I was excited when I saw that Hunter created a soy-free and nut-free option! We’ve been using this on veggie burgers, in chickpea mash and much more! I did, however, reduce the salt that was called for and since the mustard powder created a bit of a spice (heat), have learned to use less to keep it Willow friendly. I have since shared this recipe with friends and family – everyone enjoys it!

Easy Vegan Chickpea Patties {Woman in Real Life} >> On my quest to find higher protein meal ideas for Willow, I stumbled upon this gem. Eight ingredients (spices included), using things we always have on hand – I knew we had to try this ASAP. Since we typically don’t purchase canned beans (we love buying dried), we used some chickpeas that we had cooked up a few days prior and just added water to the mix. Sadly, I now see why canned would work better – that “brine” acts like an egg – holding the patties together! We’ve made a mental note for the next time. Despite only having a handful of ingredients, this did not lack in flavor whatsoever. In fact, it blew me away! I cooked some of them on a cast iron skillet and baked a few of them, just to see if I could make them without any oil. The ones in the skillet turned out much better and held together a bit more.

Dark Chocolate & Almond Overnight Oats {Something Swanky} >> I’m a sucker for all things chocolate…especially super dark chocolate. This literally felt like I was having dessert for breakfast! I used a bit of a chopped up 85% dark chocolate Theo bar and the recipe also calls for chocolate milk – so I used fresh homemade chocolate almond milk….wow. This recipe only calls for four ingredients – LOVE those simple recipes! I have had this both cold and gently warmed on the stove; both were delicious!

Raw Probiotic Cashew Yoghurt  {Wallflower Girl} >> I have tried to make my own yogurt a few times with zero success. We even purchased a yogurt maker a few years ago and failed. Talk about being discouraged and frustrated! I recently found a recipe for raw cashew yogurt that required nothing but a blender and 24 hours of patience….SUCCESS!!! The end result was creamy, tangy, slightly sweet and delicious! Willow loved it, which is a huge win. Six ingredients (including water) makes this a keeper recipe!

As always, I would LOVE to hear about any of your favorites!

Thanks for stopping by!

3 thoughts on “REVIEW: April Favorites

  1. I love these posts where you share your favorites Mandy!! I absolutely agree with you on Steve’s Ice cream!! Omg it’s soooo amazing and creamy and absolutely NO coconut taste. It’s magic! I hate coconut taste in ice cream, but theirs is just perfect and such a clean ingredient list. I had the cinnamon coffee one and it was to die for! Great post girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww! Thank you so much!!! When I saw the cinnamon coffee one, I immediately thought of you and your love for cinnamon! Isn’t it amazing?! I could not get over how you didn’t taste the coconut! That is my problem with the other coconut based ice creams on the market – the coconut flavor is too overpowering that you can’t enjoy the flavor intended. You NEED to try the mint one! xo

      Like

  2. Umm…those Dark Chocolate Mint Cream Coconut Butter Cups…I need that right now! I loved thin mints growing up, and of course they have egg so I could never have them, and now since I’m vegan, I’ve tried a few mint chocolate chip replacements with no luck. I’m definitely looking for this next time I’m in whole foods! Thanks Mandy!

    Like

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