Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SnackLets kale chips review

Forget unhealthy, fried potato chips and dive into awesome raw (rawesome) kale chips from SnackLets
SnackLets was founded by friends who believe that when it’s time to eat, it should be time to eat something good. Really good. Like eat the whole bag good. They have been mixing and crafting their own healthy snacks for years and now they would love to share them with the rest of the world. 
I love kale and I was thrilled when SnackLets sent me their raw kale chips to try. 

                                                       "Giddy up! BBQ" 
Wow! This flavor rocks! It starts of sweet (due to the dates and sun dried tomatoes) and then it gets hot and smokey, with a hint of cheese. This is a perfectly balanced combination of sweet, spicy and smokey flavors. The the right amount of heat and sweetness with a lovely smokey, cheesy touch.
I ate most of these chips straight out of the bag and sprinkled some on a baked potato and over a salad. Yummy! 

                                                     "Spicy Chili-lata"

I was absolutely blown away by the aroma and flavor of the "Spicy Chili-lata" ! The heat from dried habanero chili pepper was mellowed down by the amazing creaminess of cashew nuts and brewer's yeast. It was very cheesy, I would compare the taste to a parmesan cheese or cream cheese in a way. I ate all the larger pieces and sprinkled the leftover crumbs over my brown rice pasta for a vegan parmesan experience and extra nutrients. I could not get enough of this flavor and I will be buying it soon. 

"Double O Cheesy" 
This is a lovely cheesy flavor. It is mild and a little smokey without being spicy so I can see this as a great choice for kids and people who don't like spicy foods. Miso and tahini contribute to the delectable flavor of these kale chips.  I ate these alone and then sprinkled some over a salad. 

SnackLets is dedicated to creating healthy, whole snacks that, simply put, taste good. There’s nothing artificial, nothing fake and nothing you can’t pronounce into their treats. They put only the highest quality of ingredients in their snacks (with a whole lot of TLC) to give you the tastiest snacking moment of your day. Whether you’re rockin’ it out, or rockin’ in it, nourish your body with only the best.

A portion of their proceeds are donated to the Lets foundation; for more information, please visit www.lets.org 

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East meets West Creations cooking class

I attended a fun cooking class with my friend Melissa last Sunday. The class took place at vegan Loving Hut Restaurant (Norcross location). Two hours of fun cooking and food tasting for only $5 a person. I have been on a diet so this was an indulgence afternoon for me. It was a lot of delicious food prepared by chefs Tien and Hoang. Here is a list of what they were creating: 

  "Awesome Aulac Sandwich" 
Similar to the well-known Vietnamese/Aulac Sandwich at Loving Hut, with a specially prepared TVP filling as well as carrots, avocados, cilantro and onions.

  "Grilled Mushroom Panini Sandwich"
An Italian-American favorite made with sauteed mushrooms, jalapenos, tomatoes, smoked vegan salami and vegan cheese.
  "Summer Skewers"
Time to break out the barbecue
, this dish includes marinated vegan meatballs with bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions.

The summer skewers were amazing! I liked that the veggies were raw and not grilled, it was very fresh and satisfying. When I will make these meatballs at home, I will bake them instead of frying them in tons of oil. The meatballs had tons of flavor even without the sauce. 

This Aulac sandwich was very good. The lemongrass aroma and flavor gave this sandwich a unique touch. 

This grilled panini sandwich was very tasty. I loved the ooey-gooey cheese between grilled slices of bread. 

I could not resist and ordered my favorite chocolate raspberry mousse cake to share with Melissa before we left the cooking class. 

Morning Glory Smoothie

Morning Glory Smoothie

1/2 cup old fashioned oats (gluten-free certified if you prefer)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk 
1 Tbs raw unsweetened almond butter 
3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup water

Blend in a blender until perfectly smooth. (365 calories, 12 grams protein and 15.5 grams fiber) 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zesty Lentil Salad

Zesty Lentil Salad

2 cups green lentils (uncooked)
2 bay leaves
zest from 1 lemon
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 red bell pepper, core, top and seeds removed, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
salt to taste
Optional topping : roughly chopped raw almonds

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add lentils and bay leaves, bring back to a boil. Lower heat and gently simmer with a lid tilted for 25 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, discard bay leaves. 
In a large bowl combine cold lentils, red bell pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill and garlic.  Season with salt to taste. Mix well preferably using your hands. Serve on a bed of greens (I used spring salad mix), topped with chopped almonds. if desired. 

This salad is very filling, refreshing and healthy. If you do not use almonds, this salad is low fat. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Šopský salát (Shopskee Salad)

I love salads that have twenty different veggies, nuts, seeds and fruits. However, my absolute favorite salad is still the one I used to love as a kid. Šopský salad is very simple, flavorful, refreshing salad that reminds me of spring and summer in Czech Republic. It is a bit labor consuming (lots of dicing) and it is not originally vegan because the topping is crumbled feta cheese (Balkan cheese). 
You can get this salad at most Czech restaurants. It is originally a Bulgarian salad but it has been very popular in Czech Republic for decades. I veganized mine by using Almond feta cheese instead of dairy feta cheese. I added more salt to make it more authentic. It was almost as good as I remembered from Europe.  I like to serve mine in a glass bowl for a better visual effect. The vinegar should be a white vinegar but since white vinegar is not very healthy, you can use apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar or red wine vinegar. Don't use balsamic though. 

Šopský salát (Shopskee Salad)

2 large cucumbers, peeled
1 red bell pepper, top cut off and seeds removed
1 green bell pepper, top cut off and seeds removed
4-5 large tomatoes
1/2 onion (white or yellow), peeled
1 Tbs olive oil (or more to taste)
1 Tbs vinegar (or more to taste) 
salt to taste
vegan feta cheese topping of your choice (as much as you like)

Finely dice all vegetables and place them into a large bowl. Don't drain the vegetables since the juices will make a great addition to the dressing. Pour vinegar and olive oil over vegetables and stir until well combined. Season with salt to taste. You can add more vinegar or olive oil until you reach desired taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. 
Serve in bowls topped with crumbled vegan feta cheese. 

If you add some cooked Israeli couscous you will have a tasty, light and refreshing dinner.