The most common snacks to pack when you are on the go, whether it’s flying across the country, taking your kids to a game, or simply running some errands across town, are fresh fruit, any type of nut like almonds or walnuts. But what to do when you want to switch it up every now and then. Fruit and nuts can get a little boring sometimes. Well, thankfully with more people now choosing a vegan lifestyle than ever before, there are more vegan snack options in the market then just fruit and nuts. The prime example of this being vegan jerky!

At Portland’s Food Fight grocery store I had the chance to purchase a variety of vegan goods including a variety of different jerky brands and flavors to try.

  1. Mushroom Jerky: Salt & Pepper flavor

This jerky could almost be it’s own category. Since this jerky is made of mushroom as oppose to soy protein like the rest, it has a completely different texture and flavor from the rest of the group. Dark in color with a light texture and a flavor that matches the main ingredient-mushroom.

  1. Noble Jerky: Teriyaki flavor

By far the tastiest of the bunch! This ginger and garlic marinated and seasoned teriyaki flavor has the right amount of sweetness and the perfect amount of texture. It’s everything you would want jerky to be. Containing just a few ingredients with plenty of protein. This was the star of the bunch.

  1. Roasted Vegan Jerky: BBQ flavor

True to real Jerky form, this vegan jerky has all the qualities that make jerky-well jerky. Perhaps not the prettiest in the bunch, this jerky is flat and compact and looks very dry in texture. Out of all the ones I tried this one was the closest in appearance to true jerky. The soy protein was packaged in large pieces that could be pulled apart into smaller pieces with a small amount of force and the BBQ flavor on the jerky was delicious.

  1. Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. – Paulette’s Maple Bacon

The final vegan jerky I tried was Louisville’s maple bacon flavored jerky. This home-cooked breakfast inspired flavor use high quality maple syrup, gluten-free and cholesterol free, and comes with 7 grams of protein per serving at 80 calories. The texture of this jerky was the chewiest of the bunch and definitely had the most body, whereas the rest were more flat.

Jerky is great because it’s extremely portable, has a good amount of protein, and not something you have to prep or sort out when you’re in a hurry. So next time you are grocery shopping with your family remember to have fun exploring and tasting different vegan snack options you find and maybe you might just spot some vegan jerky options too!

 

Food should be nourishing and delicious. It sounds simple, right? While it might seem an oxymoron to build a ‘cheese’ board without any actual dairy in sight, vegan cheeses have made strides over the last few years and deserve to be shown off. My best friend Amber is the person who brought these amazing vegan cheese to my attention. She is also the one who created this beautiful “cheese” board I am sharing with you today!

Most health food stores will have a large refrigerated section in their produce area that features vegetarian and vegan products. There, you should be able to find several options for your vegan cheese boards. Choose cheeses that are made for eating as-is, avoid any non-dairy products that tout phrases like ‘melts easily’ or ‘really stretches’, since those will be made specifically for warm dishes like pasta or pizza.

In this particular cheese board we had four different kind of vegan cheeses. We add some strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and apples. Then added some fresh mint and nutty crackers. To top it off we had yummy spreads and candied nuts.

 

Now with all of this amazing goodness and to top off the perfect vegan cheese platter we opened a bottle of non- alcoholic wine!

Did you know cashews are not actually nuts but the seeds of a cashew tree? Did you also know that at 13 grams of total fat per ounce, cashews and pistachios are tied for the lowest fat levels in this food group? According SF Gate’s healthy eating, regular consumption of moderate amounts of tree nuts, including cashews, appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, this is based on a study from Louisiana State University.

This vegan sour cream, made with a tofu and cashew base, is a great for drizzling on top of nachos/haystacks, tacos, or as a dip for your favorite veggies. It’s incredibly easy to make and easy to clean up.

 

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup of water divided in half in separate bowls

1 package of extra firm tofu

1 cup of raw cashews

2 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of onion powder

 

Directions:

Pour 1/2 cup of water into the blender with the cashews and blend together for about 3 minutes.

Then throw in the tofu, salt, lemon juice and powders. Blend well. Done!

If you prefer a runnier consistency slowly add in the water from the remaining ½ cup of water until you get the desired consistency.

Drizzle on top of your favorite dish or have it as a sauce for your favorite side.

 

Link to source:

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-cashews-4407.html

Tocaya Organica needs to be on your list of places to eat! Before I even sat down I knew I would be returning. They are known for their take on modern organic Mexican cuisine. The menu consists of beverages, tacos, salads, bowls, Keto bowls (seasonal), and burritos. They were originally founded in Venice, CA in 2016 with a mission to inspire better eating. Amen to that! I would like to point out that this is not an entire vegan restaurant but everything can be made vegan.  Tocaya caters to a variety of dietary preferences including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free… And the best part is that they use locally-sources organic ingredients.

 

There are currently 12 restaurants open and two on the way. You can find the list of locations here: https://www.tocayaorganica.com/locations/

When you first walk into any Tocaya you will instantly get a beach city vibe. Looking at the designs and features inside each of the different locations is reason enough to visit. Then looking at the menu you can see the overwhelming menu. Not because it is a huge menu but because of the quality of food that is on the menu. The menu is full of hearty and delicious meals. To see the list of of amazing food check out there menu here: https://www.tocayaorganica.com/menus/. If you’re feeling extra indulgent, they also have a lineup of desserts made with vegan ice cream, like the Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich for which  vegan vanilla ice cream is stuffed between two churro waffles and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Overall, This is a wonderful place where you can bring your family and friends or just escape and have a self care day! If you guys have experienced Tocaya Organica let us know and leave a comment!

 

 

Happy Sunday everyone! Today is a very happy Sunday for me because I got to visit a farmers market!

I love scoping out all of the local and homegrown items. Before I did a lot of my own gardening I used to try and get all my week’s shopping of my fruit and veggies from local businesses. Not to mention they are usually at a lower price. This also allows you to pick seasonally and get the freshest items during whatever time of year you shop! Eating seasonally ensures that the food you buy didn’t have to be grown in greenhouses (which takes more energy than outdoor farms) or had to be transported over long distances. It is always good to try find out which food’s are in season in your area and try stick to those.

There are so many choices of delicious greens, organic fruits and veggies at farmers markets. You can speak to the food producers directly, and find your favorite stalls and prices. Then you can also check out all venders who can or pickle. This last visit I found this lady who created a company called Gunnar & Jake’s Gourmet Foods, LLC. This company has a beautiful story. I highly suggest you check it out here (https://gunnar-jakes-llc.myshopify.com/).

When it comes down to it the main reason I love checking out local farmers markets is because of the inspiration. A quick sprint down the aisle of your local farmers market can yield such inspiration to fire up your cooking all week long. So many ideas go on in my head thinking of what I can cook with certain items. Is like a kid in a candy store!

So I encourage all of you to look for local farmers markets and check them out! Eat Fresh, Eat Healthy!

 

Marcie