This weekend in addition to celebrating another birthday, I will also be celebrating my 11th Veggieversary (Vegetarian Anniversary).  As a Veggieversary Party of sorts, I am excited to be offering my first-ever give-away.  The prize package is an assortment of some of my favorite products – some sweet, some savory – and all made without eggs, dairy, or gluten (though some may ‘contain trace amounts’ due to shared machinery…) 

And now, a brief glimpse at my life 11 years ago, and my vegetarian journey:

I officially became a vegetarian just a couple weeks into my first semester of college.   For a couple years prior to then, I had gradually become ‘pickier and pickier’ (or so it seemed to my parents), as I one-by-one cut out meat products that too closely resembled their source.  

When I went away to school, I no longer had the temptation of my Mom’s home cooking, and I was only eating meat in the form of processed-beyond-recognition fast food, which I knew I’d be better off without.  Additionally, I had worked at Whole Foods Market during High School (pictured below), so I knew there were countless meat-alternative products that would help to make the transition easier.  My roommate took me out for a birthday dinner (I ordered a chicken-finger salad), my final meal as an omnivore, and the next day I quit ‘cold turkey’.

 

For me, giving up meat was really easy – aside from the first week or two, I never craved or ‘missed’ meat.  However, there are many things that I wish I learned much earlier on – that cheese is not a replacement for meat, that beans really ‘do a body good’, and that just because I’m a vegetarian, it doesn’t mean that I am automatically getting enough fruits and vegetables.  I also am on a quest to cook flavorful tofu from scratch, which I still haven’t mastered after over a decade of attempts.

In addition to the animal-welfare, environmental, and health benefits of being a vegetarian, one other surprise for me was that being a vegetarian increased my enjoyment of food.  Since Vegetarian & Vegan meals aren’t centered around meat, I see so much more creativity in vegetarian cookbooks and restaurant menus, and much more global influence.  

Give-Away Prize Package

From sweet to savory, there are so many wonderful foods and flavors to be enjoyed, and the lucky winner of my giveaway will receive this yummy assortment:

Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce – This sweet and spicy Indian Curry sauce makes our favorite quick week-night dinner. Sautee an onion, some frozen veggies, and a can of chickpeas with a jar of this sauce and some water.  Serve over brown rice and enjoy the masala of flavors including ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves!

 

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce – I’d long been hearing about the wonders of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but I only recently tried them for myself.  Use this with caution though as it packs a powerful punch!  Just a teaspoon of this sauce can add quite a kick and a deliciously smoky flavor to any dish.  Take a bowl of black beans & rice from drab to fab with just a splash.

Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing – The first time I tried this tahini-based dressing, I created the best salad I ever made.  It’s quite likely that the first salad anyone makes with this dressing will be the best salad they’ve ever made.  

 

LARABARs – So that I have a healthy, vegetarian snack handy wherever I go, I almost always have a LARABAR in my purse. Purely fruit, nuts, and spices; there’s a full serving of fruit in every bar, and no ingredients that I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen. You’ll get two of my favorite flavors – Tropical Fruit Tart (with essences of pineapple, coconut, and orange) and a perfectly tart Cherry Pie.

Tazo Passion Tea – I just might be addicted to this bright, tart, fruity tea of hibiscus and lemongrass.  Whenever an afternoon slump hits me at the office, I add one of these caffeine-free herbal tea bags to my glass to wake-up my water.  I’ve found that these even steep for me in COLD water.

 

Trader Joe’s All Natural Fruit Jellies – These yummy gummies are made with pectin not gelatin. I’ve been known to put a handful of these in a ziplock bag and sneak them into the movies (shh!).

 

 

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Rocky Road Square – No round-up of my favorite products could leave out dark chocolate! I recently tried these for my first time and have been enjoying the bite-size pieces and light-texture achieved from blending gelatin-free ‘marshmallows’ into the chocolate. Dry Roasted Peanuts and Crisp Rice complete the treat.

 

Give-away Rules:

  • One winner selected at random will win each of the prizes shown above.
  • Sorry! This giveaway is only open to US residents ages 18 and up.
  • You can earn up to 3 chances to win, 1 for each item below that you complete and enter as a separate comment in this blog post telling me that you did so.  The raffle winner will be selected from the comments below, so if you do all 3, be sure you have left 3 comments!
      • Leave a comment – any comment – on this blog post.
      • Tweet about this giveaway: “I just entered @VeggieNextDoor’s Veggieversary Party Giveaway http://www.veggienextdoor.com/11-veggieversary/”          (and tell me in a comment)
      • ‘Like’ VeggieNextDoor on Facebook (and tell me in a comment)
  • Please note that for the sake of fairness, I will delete any duplicate or false entries.
  • This giveaway will remain open until 11:59pm CST on Monday, September 5th
  • If the winner does not respond within 72-hours of notification, another winner will be selected.
Thanks for coming to my Veggieversary Party!
 
 
 -Diana