Happy Summer, Friends!
Last month, I participated in my 3rd “Power to the Veg” Food Swap and had so much fun. June’s theme was “Summer Lovin” so I got to recieve & pick out some fantastic Vegan Summer treats.
What I Sent
I was assigned to send a box to the lovely Kathy K. of San Diego, California. She told me that she loves ethnic food, spicy food, and Green Tea. She also follows a low-fat vegan diet and has a pet lovebird named Grayce Kelly. Here’s what I picked out for them:
- LaCroix flavored sparkling water – This stuff is my latest obsession. It’s hard to think of something more refreshing than a briskly bubbly, bright & fruity sparkling water. I sent Kathy one can each of Grapefruit & Coconut, though in retrospect Orange & Coconut are my current favorite flavors. I still haven’t tried Peach-Pear, Cherry-Lime or their new seasonal flavors (PASSIONFRUIT!!!!) so my favorites may be changing soon.
- TraderJoe’s Dried Baby Sweet Pineapple & Organic Dried Mango – Both of these snacks are one-ingredient real-food treats. The dried mangoes have long been one of Mike’s favorite snacks. The Dried Baby Sweet Pineapples are a new discovery of ours and I cannot recommend these enough. This is the softest, moistest, sweetest dried pineapple I have ever had, and there is nothing in the bag besides pineapple. No Sugar, No Stevia, No Nothing.
- Bandar Monkey Foods’ Mint Cilantro Chili Sauce – I haven’t tried this product myself yet, but whenever I eat Indian food, I can never get enough of the green chutney on the table. Since Kathy is a lover of Indian food as well, I thought this would be the perfect summery sauce to send her.
- Organic India Tulsi Green Tea – Tulsi (BASIL) Tea is something I often include in Swap Boxes, ever since I discovered my love for it while in India. Since Kathy loves Green Tea AND Indian Food, I felt I had to include this.
- THEO Pili Pili Chili Bar – I’ll admit it – the sunny, summery label on this Chocolate Bar is what originally caught my eye. The fact that Kathy loves Dark Chocolate & Spicy foods, and that a portion of the proceeds go to help the Democratic Republic of Congo emerge from poverty and violence is what made this chocolate bar leap into my shopping cart.
- Alaffia Coconut Pineapple Lip Balm – I picked this up because the flavor sounded amazing and because I swear by Alaffia’s EveryDay Coconut and EveryDay Shea shampoos, conditioners, and lotions.
- Trader Joe’s Pineapple Salsa – the epitome of summer, whether used for dipping chips or topping tacos and quinoa bowls
- Mesquite Lime Primal Strips – could there ever be a more summery flavor?
- SunBurst Fruits & Veggies Bird Treats – Last, but not least, I threw these in for Grayce Kelly. I have to admit, I’m a little jealous. With ingredients like Sesame Seed, Papaya, Coconut, Raspberries, and Apricot, this looked like something I might even want to dig into!
What I Received
Like always, while I was very proud of the package I put together, I was even more blown away by what I received. Laura Y. from the San Francisco Area (or more specifically, San Jose, which she says is to San Francisco what Jersey City is to New York) was assigned to pick out my package.
What she sent me was nothing short of AMAZING. It was obvious from the selections that my sender was a true foodie. It all made sense when I finally realized that Laura isn’t just another vegan food lover, she’s a major personality on the Vegan Food Scene!
Here’s what Laura sent me – all of which is incredibly luscious & gourmet – and also super ‘clean’ at my request:
- Lydia’s Organics Green Crackers – This box was emptied the same night we received it. While these crackers may look unappealing, they were actually super tasty. The tomato & basil flavors really shone through and Mike and I devoured these crackers without wanting any dippers or toppings.
- Laughing Giraffe Organics Snakaroons – These Vanilla & Lemon Coconut Macaroons were the next product to go. Mike and I loved both flavors, though he preferred the Lemon and I preferred the Vanilla.
- TCHO 99% Dark Chocolate Critters – I had the most fun with these. As a lover of super dark chocolate, I was surprised to find that 99% Dark Chocolate was even on the market… and even more surprised that it’s so smooth and creamy, with an incredibly rich, almost cheese-like after taste. Most fun of all, I brought these into work as a challenge for my coworkers to try. I offered these to about 15 people. 3 of us were super-fans of these pieces, another 3 or 4 wouldn’t even try them, and the rest merely tolerated them. These are snackage for only die-hard dark chocolate lovers, though I think most people would enjoy these when used in baking.
- JEM Hazelnut Raw Cacao Spread – This was my most delicious discovery. If you like nutella, then you absolutely need to try it’s artisinal cousin that has even more flavor with none of the Nutella’s palm oil, dairy, and emulsifiers.
- PARMA Vegan Parmesan – I had been curious about this product for a long while. I’ve made homemade Vegan Parmesans before, and I have to say this is almost exactly like one I would make myself, but with 0 labor involved. Compared to most “fake cheeses” I love how simple these ingredients are – walnuts, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds & salt. It went great over a delicious lemon-garlic-cream pasta that I was testing for Annie.
- Superfood Kale Chips – These Superfood Kale Krunch chips were some of the Krunchiest Kale Chips I’ve ever had, with generous amounts of cashews & chia seeds encrusted over the Kale. Don’t let the Spirulina and Maca ingredients scare you – these tasted like Classic Kale Chips.
And there’s still so much more… that I haven’t even had a chance to try it all yet!
- I cannot wait to try this Instant PHO from Happy Pho!
- And lastly, this Eucalyptus, Rosemary & Mint Bath Bomb smells so incredibly refreshing and invigorating!
Laura, I cannot thank you enough for your unbelievable generosity!!!
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you discovered any amazing new-to-you products lately?
What’s your favorite % of Chocolate?