Category Archives: review

The Vegg: Vegan Egg Yolk so Realistic I Was All Whoa

I never thought I would get a chance to try this incredibly realistic and tasty vegan egg yolk called the Vegg. But Rocky, the creator of the Vegg, graciously sent it (and a free Vegg cookbook) out to any vegan bloggers who asked during Vegan MoFo.

The Vegg is a completely vegan egg yolk made of fortified nutritional yeast, sodium alginate, black salt and beta carotene. For a complete list of ingredients, visit their website.

Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies - Luminous Vegans

Upon opening the package, it just looks like straight-up nutritional yeast. But when blended with water, this stuff magically turns into a vegan egg yolk that smells and looks so realistic that after blending it I was like —whoa — Joey Lawrence style. Then I ran to show Neal. Then I dipped a spoon into the “yolk” and licked it. Repeatedly. (Note: I went vegan for the animals, not because I didn’t like the taste of eggs, meat or cheese. I’m all for replicating these tastes in my mouth as long as it’s done compassionately.)

I wanted to make the fried egg from the cookbook but it required some odd ingredients (calcium chloride) and a spherification cooking technique. Huh? So I made a lazy version of fried vegan eggs with what we had on hand. For the white part of the egg, I thinly sliced firm silken tofu and fried it with oil, black salt and pepper on a pan with a terrible non-stick coating. Do you see where this is going? Holy fried egg mess, batman!Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies - Luminous Vegans

They came out kinda broken and stuck to the pan and I had to scrape a bunch of crispy bits off. BUT. After I drizzled the Vegg yolk on it, it totally reminded me of fried egg after the yolk is pierced and the egg yolk is running all over. And with the black salt and Vegg going on, it really tasted like a delicious fried egg to me. We had it atop roasted potatoes, tomatoes and green beans.

Lazy Girl Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies

  • 3 red potatoes, roughly chopped
  • half a yellow onion sliced
  • 3/4 pound green beans, stems removed
  • 4 large slices of tomato, halved
  • oil (I used olive)
  • salt and pepper

Fried Vegan Egg

  • one box of silken tofu (Learn from me. Use extra-firm, maybe not silken tofu and a GOOD non-stick pan)
  • oil (I used canola)
  • black salt (Kala Namak)
  • pepper
  • 2-3 Vegg yolks (2 tsp Vegg powder blended with 1/2 cup of water. It has to be blended with a machine to get this stuff to “eggify”. I used my magic bullet since it was such a small amount).

Directions

Coat the potatoes and onions with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast them in the oven at 425F. Let them roast for about an hour but ~30 minutes in, stir in the beans adding more salt/pepper/oil as needed. 50 minutes in, place the tomato slices on top. After ~60 minutes, the tomatoes had broken down. I stirred it so everything was slightly coated in a roasty tomatoe-y flavor.

While that was roasting I fried thin (sometimes broken) slices of tofu in oil on medium heat. I fried them about 3-5 minutes on each side. Each side of tofu also got a generous dose of black salt and pepper.

Then I just piled the tofu on the roasted veggies and poured the Vegg yolk (warmed in the microwave) all over!

Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies -Luminous Vegans

I really like the Vegg so far. We used it here in french toast and I still have several uses in my little packet. The Vegg website shows where you can buy this both at brick and mortar stores and online. I’m considering buying a full jar because it seems like a decent deal at about $12 for a container that makes over 99 egg yolks. I could see it lasting me a long time since I wouldn’t be cooking with it all the time.

Have you tried the Vegg? What do you think of it? How have you used it?

My Favorite Cruelty Free Vanilla Perfumes

“Something smells like a cherry pop tart.”

This has actually been said around about me before. I was wearing a vanilla perfume oil at the time. I didn’t own up to my foody smelling self. And I’m still not sure if this remark was said in disgust or with pleasant surprise. But I was secretly pleased. You see, I’ve always had an affinity for smelling like a cherry pop tart…ok, maybe not a pop tart. But something sweet. Something that evokes comfort, snuggling and cozy sweaters and hoodies. Something vanilla.

cruelty free vanilla perfumes

Lush’s 25:43

I have a 0.3 oz atomizer spray of this stuff. From the website, it’s described as a citrusy perfume with notes of tonka, lime, lemongrass, vanilla, ylang-ylang and listsea (?). It’s all lemongrass-vanilla to me. It makes me think of slightly spiced lemon cookies. 25:43 is supposedly how long it took the creator took to make this yummy scent.

Pacifica Island Vanilla 

I have this in both the 1oz spray and the 8oz body lotion. It’s described as a blend of Tahitian vanilla absolute with honey-jasmine notes, a touch of fruitiness, and a base of tea. This is a vanilla with a lighter, airy-ier feel about it. To me, it’s like a creamy vanilla tea with the teensiest hint of floral. While I tend to wear vanilla mostly in cooler weather, I wear this year round.

Lush’s Vanillary (solid version)

I’ve had this ever since Lush introduced the solid version in little metal tins. I like this tube version because I can just push up a little and swipe it directly where I want it. Though it’s a tad awkward to have to push it back down with my fingers to get the lid on. Since it’s a soft wax, it will melt if left in the heat. This is a total foody scent and makes me think of a rich sweet vanilla toffee or decadent vanilla custard. I usually wear this at night before bed. It makes me feel like I’m sleeping in a sea of vanilla cupcakes.

 Lavanila Pure Vanilla Roller Ball

This is the most simple of the bunch. It has notes of Madagascar vanilla, freesia and heliotrope (florals). To me it is just a nice, clean vanilla bean scent. It’s not a desserty vanilla and it’s not a perfume-y vanilla (none of these are perfume-y in the traditional sense to me). It’s just a lovely vanilla. Pure and simple.

 

What I love about all of these vanilla perfumes is that they are not in yo face vanilla. They are subtle and more natural feeling than highly synthetic perfumes which make my nose itch and give me a headache. They fade with time on me but all of them linger nicely, close to the skin. Which is good because I don’t want people to smell me when I walk in a room because I wear scents mostly for myself and not other people.

Do you wear fragrance? What are your favorite cruelty-free fragrances?

A Review of Tasty Bite Meal Packets

I have a secret. I sometimes get sick of cooking. It’s not that my meals are super elaborate, over the top, or full of multi-step craziness either. I just sometimes get sick of the chopping and the washing and always having wet hands. I’m lucky that I have Neal to pick up the slack when I get like this. But sometimes both of us feel slack.  Or worse, Neal’s not around when I’m in a cooking rut. That’s when eating black beans straight from the can will actually happen.

So I was stoked when Tasty Bite * sent me some of their nuke ’em in-about-a-minute meals right around when Neal was going away on business for a week. This brand is touted as all-natural and they have a bunch of dishes from Asia and India.  Though not an all-vegan company, they carry many vegan products.

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The first I tried was the Channa Massala. I love Indian food, so having a quick and easy way to eat it at home is great. The sauce was really delicious. I thought the chickpeas were a little dry in the middle, but that’s a personal pref. I had it with rice and it filled me up quite nicely.

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Next is Kung Pao Noodles.  I’m not sure if this was authentic Kung Pao flavor or not, but I enjoyed the slightly spicy flavor and appreciated that the noodles were completely coated in flavor. The noodles were like if spaghetti noodles and lo mein noodles had a baby.

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The packets that I didn’t think I would like were the rice packets because rice….bor-ing. But I ended up liking them a lot. The Ginger Lentil Rice was really flavorful and makes me want to experiment with flavoring rice. I had this with tofu (not pictured).tastybite-9975-1

The Thai Lime Rice was also really good stuff! It had a dominant taste of lime and lemongrass. Both of the rice dishes cooked up nice and fluffy and they weren’t clumpy. I definitely could have just enjoyed the rice by itself, but I used it in a burrito with some Beyond Meat to make it a meal.

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Finally, my favorite was the Punjab Eggplant. This stuff was the “ugliest” of the bunch but it was the best one! It was oh so creamy, flavorful and delicious! Each bite was bursting with flavor.  We ate it with rice and it was so good that I wanted seconds.

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Tasty Bite is around $3.29 for Asian noodles and entrees and $2.49 for rices at most grocery stores.  These would be nice for lazy days as you can just slit open the packs and stick ’em in the microwave. They can also be boiled in the pouch on a stove so they would be great for camping. The packages are BPA free, so no worries there.

They can feed two people if they are served with something else like rice or tofu, though servings will be on the small side. At least for us. We eat a lot. The noodle dishes are a one serving deal to me. If I catch a sale on these, I’ll definitely nab a few of the creamy Indian dishes to keep on hand. I think the Indian dishes are where it’s at with this company.  And they most definitely beat black beans out of a can…like by a lot.

What are your favorite pre-packaged lazy meals?

*These meal packets were kindly sent to me by Tasty Bite. My review is my straight up honest opinion on the product (i.e. they ain’t payin’ me for this).

Whole Foods for a Well Vegan

I am testing out this 14-day free trial of Well Vegan, a week by week vegan menu planner, that I read about on Glue and Glitter. Though I’m not a vegan for health reasons, my gut is telling me (pun intended) that I need to start eating more whole foods.

We have made the following so far:

Almond Quinoa Muffin

almond_quinoa_muffinsI have never made a muffin that has quinoa in it! We used dried apricots as our fruit.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

brocollipesto N made this and he thought I wouldn’t like it because it was “lemon-y”. That’s actually why I love this dish! It’s a unique take on pesto.

Tofu Scramble and Hash Browns

IMG_2987 _Snapseed This meal pulls from the ppk tofu scramble (we added in nearly all the suggested add-in veggies). We cut prep time even more for this meal by using our food processor to slice up the potatoes and onions for the hash browns.

Using Well Vegan has been a wonderful time saver! I just have to hit print and I get the weekly shopping list, meal plan and recipes all in one. The shopping list is simple, already having most of the items in our pantry, and the meals are straightforward and realistic for busy people.

Helllloooo to a healthier me! Gym, here I come!! Cookie, I can eat you because I ate my fruits and veggies earlier.

The Pasta Wench

Recently, I was sent a free sample of organic gourmet fettucine from Andrea the Pasta Wench. Andrea makes 10 varieties of vegan fettucine using ingredients local to my home state, North Carolina. Andrea kindly sent me the tomato and basil flavor fettucine. It came packaged nicely with no breakage in the fettucine.

I wanted the taste of the fettucine to stand out so I simply made it with a simple basil-pesto sauce (store-bought). The fettucine was really easy to make and it made about 4 servings. It was delicious and I am now curious about her vegan ravioli (garlic and artichoke!). It is possible that Andrea’s products might make its way to small shops in Atlanta so I’ll be keeping an eye out.

Meet your sweets

Meet your sweets installment one + an extra special bonus sweet.

The Righteously Raw Goji chocolate bar is by far one of the best chocolate bars I’ve tasted. It’s raw and fair trade.

This is what it looks like on the inside. The filling, composed of figs, goji berries and raisins, is soft, fruity and sweet. The filling makes me think of fig newtons with berries mixed in and it combines perfectly with the outer dark chocolate which is smooth, creamy and just the right amount of sweet.

The packaging on this Madecasse bar is what caught my eye at the Fresh Market (that, and it was on sale).

This bar has a “melt in your mouth” super smooth taste.  The cinnamon and pepper flavoring hits at the end and is subtle, but noticeable. There is also a slight fruity undertone in this bar even though there is no fruit in it. I like this bar because it is unique tasting.

Finally, this bar by Alter Ego is probably a close second to the Righteously Raw bar in this roundup.

Like the others, it has a smooth and creamy texture. It also has little crunchy mint pieces in it that give the bar a nice mellow minty-ness that doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate, which is something that turns me off from some mint chocolate things. The whole thing actually reminds me of those mint Andes chocolates I used to eat pre-vegan days.

And now for the extra special sweetie…..

That’s Miles, our rescued greyhound companion. He is a goofball and a love bug and he makes it hard for me to go to work sometimes. Keep an eye out for his other half Nikko in future posts…though her cute little booty did make it in this shot :-).

Rub a dub dub, what’s in your vegan tub?

I remember when I was a teenager (pre-vegan days) tubs of Noxema, bars of Irish Spring and Pert Plus would be the all stars in my bathroom.  Today, I thought I’d share with you my new cruelty-free all stars.

My nightly shower routine is pretty simple.  Wash hair, wash face, wash body, shave, slather  jojoba oil on face.  (From left to right) I change up my body washes whenever we run out.  N doesn’t really care what we use, so the bathroom is my territory.  Right now I am really liking the 100% Pure bath and body stuff (can be found at Whole Foods).  I’m using the “Mangosteen Hydrating Body Wash” which smells amazing and makes me want to eat lychees every time I’m in the shower.   I’m also using, in the same line,  the “Skin Brightening Facial Cleanser” which is just meh.  My face is real sensitive to stuff, and this doesn’t irritate it, but doesn’t really seem to do anything above and beyond just cleansing my face which would be fine if the product line wasn’t so pricey.

The jojoba oil I use is Dessert Essence (second to last bottle on the right) and I’ve been using this stuff for years on my skin, my nails, my eyelashes, to remove makeup, etc…it’s very versatile!  In the shower,  I just use a small drop and rub it on my wet face right before I get out which helps it absorb and voila…moisturized face.  The last bottle on the right end is just a spray bottle  that I filled with Bragg’s apple cider vinegar…yup, I use that on my face after I wash it to bring it to a good skin pH.

(From top to bottom).  My all time favorite shampoo is Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo.  My hair is on the grease ball side so I only use this and no conditioner.  It is cheap and lasts a long time and really is the only thing I like to use on my hair.  I think its the cheapo version of the Giovanni stuff.  I don’t normally have two shampoos, but that green bottle is Avalon organics (I think we ran out of shampoo and I didn’t have time to go to TJ’s, so I picked this up, its meh..not good for my hair).  The razor is by Preserve.  They are made in the US, are completely recycled and recyclable and most importantly they don’t test the razors on animals.  You can also see our shower poofs which aren’t great for the environment b/c they are plastic, but if you keep reading I’ll show you how I recycle them.

Okay, so I shower at night, so this next stuff isn’t necessarily used right after my shower, but I’d thought since we’re already in my bathroom I’d show you the other vegan products I use every day.  (Clockwise).  I use sunscreen from MyChelle cosmetics on my face every day under my makeup.  This is a company that is based in Colorado that I discovered when I was living in Boulder.  It’s a good basic non-chemical sunscreen that doesn’t break me out.  On my lips I use Karite lip balm…it’s the only stuff that keeps my lips moist since I started a job that requires me to talk most of the day.  I have like 6 tubes all over the house and at work.  If my skin is being really dry and flaky, I spray Rosewater (Vegetable) Glycerin on it after my my shower (after the jojoba oil) and no more flakes.  When my skin isn’t behaving (yes, pimples, I still get them), I rub a little Shea Terra Tamanu Oil on spots which is great for inflammations and cuts.  It’s a little on the stinky side, but the smell fades and it works!

When I’m feeling girly, I spritz my Pacifica perfume on…my favorite right now is the Island Vanilla.  All other perfumes give me headaches.  For my stinky pits, my all star favorite and only deodorant I will ever use now is Soapwalla’s.  This is an independent company run by a young lady who makes all this stuff in her kitchen.  Before I discovered her deodorant, I experimented with all sorts of vegan deodorants from the crystals to the powders and with all of them I ended up having horrific BO.  Soapwalla’s stuff works!! Go get some! Now.  And for my chompers, we usually just grab Tom’s at the store.   N picked up the cinnamon clove flavor.  Ick. I prefer mint, thank you.

My makeup routine is pretty minimal these days.  Mineral makeup is the only thing I can put on my face and the brands I use are Meow Cosmetics and Everyday Minerals…both are independent online companies.  I think they both sell products that are not vegan, but most of their stuff is vegan, you just have to check the ingredients before buying.  A lot of coloring in conventional makeups come from bugs, ick!   To apply the mineral makeup, you need a good poofy brush, the best I have found that doesn’t use animal hair is by ecotools (which can be found in most stores nowadays).  When I became vegan it was really tough to find good quality non-animal fiber makeup brushes, but these days they are a dime a dozen and range from cheap to expensive.

And finally, when my skin gets dry (which is often now due to the cold), I use either of these lotions which are my favorites right now.  I used to be a bit of a lotion whore, but I’ve whittled down my collection and these are my favorites.  On the left is the Key Lime lotion by 100% Pure for when I want something that is scented and on the right is a basic, no frills, non-scented lotion by Alba. Both work well, but if I need an extra dose of moisture, I add a drop of the aforementioned jojoba oil into the lotion and it amps up the moisture.

And if you’re still reading, remember that I was going to show you what I do with old shower poofs?  Well, I unravel them and use really large knitting needles to turn them into pot scrubbers! Wheeeee!

And since we’re by the kitchen sink, I’ll show you our hand wash….its also by 100% pure.   So there you have it.  This is how this vegan stays so fresh and so clean-clean!  Some of this stuff is definitely more pricey than your Proctor and Gamble (EVIL)  non-vegan products, but they last a long time and every purchase is my vote for more vegan cruelty-free products.  So, what’s in your vegan tub?