Tag Archives: snacks

Goodness Graze-ness

It’s 4pm as I type this and I just snuck a cookie into my mouth. A delicious, dark chocolate-covered cookie. Aren’t snacks the greatest?! I love snacks. They can be sweet or savory, crispy or gooey, eaten with a spoon or your fingers.


Now you can call me the laziest person ever, but I’m a snack subscriber. Literally. A friend gave me a hard time about this (HI, SARAH!), but I have to say that I have been loving my experience with graze, which is a service that sends snacks right to your mailbox weekly, every other week, or monthly.

Calm down – this isn’t a sponsored post. I just like graze that much and it would be unfair for me to talk about snacks without mentioning them! And if you’re curious, then click on any of the graze links in this post to get your 1st and 5th box free. No commitment required at all so you can cancel after you get your 1st box.

I love graze because I get four different snacks in every box, each is the perfect portion, and you can specify dietary restrictions, including vegan (which I haven’t opted into just yet… let’s be real… but I do declare myself a vegetarian). I have found that it’s different from other snack subscription services because each snack is the perfect portion for one sitting and they travel well – which is a huge plus for me since I’m often jetting off somewhere and pack snacks as if I will end up on a deserted island with zero food.


Here’s my latest box. Three out of the four snacks are 100% vegan. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the package itself is smaller than a sheet of paper (approx 6 1/2 x 9 inches) and about one inch thick. It fits right into most mailboxes or PO boxes and can easily be mistaken for non-food.

This box’s snacks were:

  • Smoky chipotle dip with rosemary breadsticks – interesting
  • Berries and cream gelato – yum! but not vegan
  • Lightly salted popcorn – who doesn’t love popcorn?
  • Salt & vinegar nut selection – perfect right before that time of the month, ya hear me, ladies?

So, okay. Popcorn and nuts are things I can easily buy and that in the long run cost me less than getting this box. But I’m the type of person who has no self control when it comes to delicious snacks, so I need the measured-out portions. I can also be very fickle so I end up with half a bag of uneaten nuts that I end up throwing away. I also can’t say enough about the variety. This is my 4th or 5th box and I haven’t had any duplicate snacks. Things like the dippers and fruity mixes are always really fresh and not necessarily easy to get in your local grocery store. I love graze for these reasons.

I did recently switch my subscription from every other week to monthly. I have found myself doing a better job of buying “fresh” snacks like hummus and raw fruits and veggies and not-so-healthy-but-yummy cookies so monthly seems more reasonable. It’s great to have the option to change the timing. You can also choose 8-snack variety boxes or opt to get only savory or only sweet. Top it all off with being able to rate your snacks and graze is a great user-friendly service!

Other things worth mentioning:

  • nutrition facts and full ingredient list is included with every box
  • a fun little tip sheet is also included
  • the web site itself is easy to use and mobile-friendly, but I wish they had an app. Get on that, graze!



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Made in Nature Review & Giveaway!

Welcome to the relaunch of Turning Veganese! We are celebrating by trying out fantastic products from Made in Nature that will please both vegans and non-vegans. My discovery of Made in Nature came at a perfect time: I’ve been working really hard to eat more cleanly along with exercising regularly. One of my favorite snacks is dried apricots, and Made in Nature has these and much, much more for anyone who wants a healthy and natural snack.

Made in Nature selects the freshest, finest organic fruit, picks them at their culinary peek, and dries them to pure perfection to capture all of the flavor you crave. How do we do it? We work with the most dedicated family of farmers to grow the best tasting, organic fruit on the planet to guarantee true ‘taste of place.’

Made in Nature

Made in Nature has products from dried fruit to pizza to fresh produce. We were lucky to have the chance to try out their dried bananas, pineapples and apricots (my favorite!) as well as two products from their new line of healthy snacks! So, how are they different from anyone else? Here’s a list:

  • All their products are organic
  • NO sugar added
  • NO sulfur-dioxide
  • NO artificial color or additives
  • NO artificial fertilizers or pesticides
  • NO gluten or nuts
  • NO GMOs

I had my best taste testers assist me. I’ll admit that I was worried: these kids love their sweets. But they also love fruit and were game to try everything!


Juliana was most interested in trying out the bananas. Now, I’ll admit that we was a little shocked when I opened the bag to find dark, dried banana pieces. I was expecting something that looked more like a banana chip but these were dark brown and chewy. Juju immediately put a whole piece in her mouth. “Interesting… mmmm, this is delicious!” I agree with my niece’s assessment. For any Filipinos out there, the taste and smell of this reminds me of turón!

Made in Nature

Jocelyn is a girl after my own heart, so she wanted to try the apricots. Again, these are much darker than a conventional dried apricot, but she did not hesitate at all in trying a piece (or 3). “These are really good!” I agree and can guarantee that the rest of the bag will go quick.

Made in Nature Dried Fruits

I tried a taste of the pineapple. Like the others, I really enjoyed the pineapple and especially enjoyed how much healthier it is than dried pineapple you’ll find anywhere else.

Finally, we all tried out the Fruit Fusion snacks. We sampled the Antioxidant Fusion and the Tropical Fusion.


The Antioxidant Fusion consists of cherries, blueberries, cranberries, raisins, goji berries and pepitas. Yum!!! It’s hard to believe that there is no sugar added to this mix. Same goes for the Tropical Fusion: bananas, pineapples, mangoes, coconuts, ginger and cacao nibs. I’ll state right now that cacao has definitely been an acquired taste for me, but this mix is tasty and beautiful. Both snacks hit the spot in terms of satisfying that mid-afternoon craving. The best part is that I don’t feel one bit guilty about it!


Do you want to try Made in Nature products? Duh. Of course you do! And thanks to the generosity of Made in Nature, you have the chance to win Made in Nature prizes. Be sure to read the rules of this giveaway carefully:

  1. Follow us on Twitter @turningvegan or on Instagram @turningveganese.
  2. To enter on Twitter, tweet about your healthy favorite snack and mention @turningvegan and @madeinnature and include #vegantvsnack.
  3. To enter on Instagram, post a photo of your favorite healthy vegan snack and mention @turningveganese and @madeinnature and include #vegantvsnack.

You MUST include both mentions and the hash tag in order to be eligible. You can enter on both sites to double your chances! The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 27 at 11:59pm Central Time and winners will be announced on Monday, July 28. P.S. By mentioning us, you are giving us permission to retweet or regram your photos. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

I hope you like the new (and improved, in my opinion) Turning Veganese! –Melissa

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Food Should Taste Good

Hello, Veganesers! It’s been quite some time since we have posted anything and, for that, we apologize. The good news is that life is happening! The bad news (for me, anyway) is that vegan relapses happen. I haven’t gone completely to the dark side — I’ve kept away from meat — but cheese and seafood had lured their way back into my mouth. Damn you, dairy cheese!!!

I could give a whole list of reasons for why I’ve not kept up so well with my vegan diet lately, but they really all boil down to two things: I’ve been lazy and I’ve been greedy about what I eat. What I need to do is remember why I ever decided to be vegan in the first place. And one of those reasons is that some of my favorite “junk” foods are vegan!


Food Should Taste Good makes awesome snacks. They have nearly 20 different varieties of tortilla chips with flavors like Harvest Pumpkin and Jalapeno. They also make kettle chips and crackers. My current favorite is their Olive tortilla chip which has kalamata olives baked right into the chip. It’s such good stuff! And it’s easily accessible since the cafe at work carries it. Best part: it’s vegan. And here’s more info from their site:

Are your chips certified vegan?

Most of our products are certified vegan by Vegan Action, with the exception of: Cheddar, White Cheddar, Chocolate and Jalapeño with Cheddar Tortilla Chips.

I’m hoping to have a lot more to share with you guys in the coming weeks. Along with talking about getting back on the vegan horse, I plan to blog about more products I love, adventures in dining out, weird vegan stuff I picked up at the Vietnamese market (vegan smoked tuna!), and, of course, new recipes. Stay tuned!

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May-king a Comeback!

Hi, Veganesers! It’s me, Melissa, coming back from… well, I never really left. But I haven’t been keeping up with the blog. Sadface. I have excuses — some are even valid — but this isn’t a confessional. It’s a blog about turning vegan.

Can you guys believe that it’s already May? I’m glad April is over. May 2012 brought a lot of great surprises and I’m hopeful that May 2013 will be the same. What I’m most excited about is that it finally feels like spring in Chicago. Outdoor Farmers Markets! Dining al fresco! Sunshine! Fresh garden veggies on the horizon! All that said, I still spend most of my time cooped up in the office. Luckily, I have provisions.

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Here are just some of the snacks I currently have at my desk:

The CLIF bar that’s hiding back there is my emergency snack, in case I don’t have time to get lunch or am about to hulk out from being so hungry.

The soy milk was given to me by my co-worker Joelen, who has her own food blog (it’s not vegan, but it’s wickedly awesome and she’s an awesome person so check it out). I’ll be opening it soon and using it for my morning cereal and afternoon coffee.

Last but not least are some dried mangoes that my Mom brought back from the Philippines. These are in every Asian market in Chicagoland, so you don’t need to fly to the Philippines to get them. Truth time (even though I did say that this isn’t a confessional): I used to hate these. In fact, when my Mom asked if she should bring some back, I replied, “Nah.” But I found myself craving these, so I brought a bag to work. They were so freaking delicious. Great alternative to gummy bears for anyone who is jonesing for one of those. Furthermore, my co-workers who hadn’t tried them before really liked them. I feel like they’re different enough from real mangoes to stand on their own as a vegan treat.

Not pictured but also currently at my desk are nuts, chips (sigh… chips… I can’t quit you), Biscoff spread, and granola bars. If I ever complain about being hungry at work, you have permission to slap me.

What snacks do you have at your desk or office? Let me know! It’s good to be back!!! –Melissa

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New Favorites!

I’ve been making more of an effort to bring food from home to work not only to save myself from eating junk but also to save some money. 2013 is no financial joke, you guys! Thankfully, I’ve added a few new items to my list of favorite portable foods.



Okay. So. Stonyfield O’Soy yogurt is not vegan. I realized that their cultures are milk-based after buying it. Ugh. Kind of a buzzkill, but O’Soy yogurt is still a decent alternative to other yogurts (is it just me or does everyone else in the world eat Chobani yogurt?) and definitely more nutritious than donuts or cookies that I find myself eating when I’m starving for a snack. For an actual vegan yogurt that is super delicious, try Amande! Christie uses Amande in a breakfast parfait which you can read about here. I usually add some flax meal and/or granola to my yogurt.

Speaking of granola, our friends at Cascadian Farm sent us a box of their new Berry Cobbler Granola. I love Cascadian Farm granola and go through it really quickly. I usually eat it as a cereal with some soy or almond milk and flax meal. It’s great with bananas or blueberries, too! Now, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new Berry Cobbler flavor. How would it be different from other granola with cranberries or blueberries in it? I don’t know how they did it, but Cascadian Farm concocted granola that actually tastes very much like berry cobbler!! So good and decadent that I find myself saving it for special days.

Finally, I bought a jar of Biscoff Spread when I saw it for $3.99 at Fresh Farms. I find that it pops up in a lot of my Internet searches for Vegan treats or snacks, but I always felt that it was too expensive to even try, so I snagged it when I saw it for under $5. The spread is made with Biscoff cookies. Right on the jar, they call it out as an alternative to peanut butter. (I personally see it as a non-chocolate vegan alternative to Nutella.) It looks very much like peanut butter, has the same texture and is packaged like peanut butter, but it’s got that unmistakable Biscoff cookie taste. It’s so good on toast! It’s on the sweet side. I wouldn’t recommend eating it with jam or even eating it with fruit. My perspective has definitely changed on the cost: it’s no more expensive than almond butter or “fancy” peanut butter. If I’m feeling adventurous enough, I might try making Biscoff donuts. DELICIOUS!

So, there you have it! These are some of my new favorite products. They’re delicious AND cost-effective and (mostly) vegan. –Melissa

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Brent and I like to play video games together. Nothing says “gamer” like junk food so that’s where this is headed. All you really need is tortilla chips and Daiya but crumbled seasoned tofu, olives, chopped jalapeño, diced tomato or onions, salsa, Tofutti sour cream and a lot of other things can help bring your nachos up a notch.

We baked ours in the oven to melt the Daiya after adding seasoned crumbled tofu, salsa, jalapeño, onion and salsa. A little fresh cilantro would have made this unstoppable but its absence didn’t stop us from devouring it.

I le recommend, especially if you’ve got a football game or a video game in your future.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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The Lazy Vegan: Samosas!

I love frozen prepared Indian foods. Treats like samosas make a perfect snack or appetizer, and I’m usually very lucky to find products that are as close to a freshly prepared product as I can get. I found these particular samosas in a neighborhood grocery store, made by Bombay Bites.

It came with a pack of chutney, which I usually don’t see offered with other brands. The cooking instructions are limited to deep frying or microwaving, but I went rogue and heated them in a toaster oven (350 degrees for 10 minutes followed by 375 for 3-5 minutes). The chutney came in a small plastic packet which needed heating up in a microwave for just a few minutes. The chutney was also very comparable from what I would get if I bought it freshly prepared.

I like Bombay Bites because their samosas are actually samosa shaped. I have bought other frozen samosas that were phyllo-wrapped triangles which, even if they tasted great, weren’t the same. The filling is very tasty and perfectly spicy (hot without being too hot), and the chutney was a nice accompaniment.

For non-vegans, Bombay Bites has a wide variety of samosas including Jalapeno & Cheese and Pizza flavors. Very intriguing, however, I’m very content with the traditional version. –Melissa

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Cooking Challenge: Buffalo (Chicken) Dip

I must confess that:

  • I was never a fan of Buffalo anything.
  • I never tried Buffalo Chicken Dip until last New Year’s weekend aka My Weekend of Debauchery.
  • I kind of forced my sister to take part in this cooking challenge and now we have a crapload of leftover Buffalo Chicken Dip.
  • there is no more vegan Buffalo (Chicken) Dip left. I ate it all. /burp
  • my loneliness is killing me now don’t you know I still believe that you will be here and give me a sign… hit me baby one more time.

I don’t know where my sudden craving for buffalo chicken dip came from. All I know is that I had to have it this past weekend. As a bonus, it would be a good vegan vs. traditional cooking challenge. I found a lot of vegan recipes online and liked spabettie’s the best (check out her blog for amazing recipes that I can’t wait to try). I didn’t have soy curls, which probably would have taken this to another level, so this is what I ended up using:

Vegan Buffalo Dip

1/2 cup Franks Buffalo Sauce
8 ounces Tofutti cream cheese
1/3 cup Tofutti sour cream
1 cup vegan cheddar, grated (use Daiya if you’ve got it)
5 stalks celery, diced

Combine all the ingredients in an oven-safe bowl or dish. I used two small bowls. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, covering with foil at the 20 minute mark. Serve with celery, tortilla chips, eat it with a spoon… whatever tickles your fancy. The dip might seem soupy but don’t worry: it’ll have a good dipping texture to it after it cools off a bit. I got so excited while making this and then stuffing my face with it that I didn’t get any good photos. I suppose I could make some more this weekend, but having “everything in moderation” still applies to vegan junk/snack foods.

This dip is totally potluck-worthy. I don’t think non-vegans would be able to tell the difference, but you should caution anyone you serve it to in case they have a soy allergy, which my sister has. This is something that should be shared and not completely devoured by oneself while in the midst of a stress/PMS-induced craving attack. Trust me: you might regret it, even though the dip is delicious.

Let me know if you try this out with soy curls. And be sure to check out spabettie.com! xoxo… Melissa

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Has everybody gone crackers?

I like to make juice. Like… serious health conscious vegetable juice. If that’s your bag, this post is for you.

Tonight I made some juice from 6 carrots, 1 apple, 1 peeled lemon, one beet and a generous chunk of fresh ginger. In the early days of enjoying my frosty beverages I was thinking of things to do with the leftover pulp.

What’s leftover after you juice the veggies and fruits is a lot of soluble and insoluble fiber and nutrients that didn’t get mooshed out in the juicing. I hate wasting things. It’s partly my inner hippie, my years of farm living, and some personal issues I can’t get into on the internet. Anyways, this is what I use to make my home-made crackers. As far as I know, pretty much any fruits and veggies will do except for cucumber, sorry. Just think about the combo and how it will taste when paired with hummus or whatever. This recipe is for carrot sesame crackers.

Take the pulp and pick out any large chunks. To the pulp, add the following (amounts don’t need to be exact)

1 heaping tbsp tahini (this is where the sesame comes from)

2 heaping tbsp flax meal

a few dashes of tamari or soy sauce (or just regular salt if you’re soy-free)

Moosh it with your hands until you can mold it into a ball that’s at least somewhat doughy. Spread it out into your food dehydrator on one of the plastic sheets intended for fruit leather and such and dry overnight. My dehydrator doesn’t have heat settings or a timer so I can’t be more specific than that. It works, that’s all I know. You can also spread it out on a wax paper lined baking sheet and covered in tin foil. Bake them at 200F/90C for 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dough. Check it frequently to be sure it doesn’t burn.

The rich color and sweetness comes from the carrots and beets, slightly savory from the soy and nutty from the tahini and flax. You might also get some bite from the ginger! They’re great with home-made hummus, soy or nut cheese, salsa, cheesy bean dip, spinach artichoke dip, guacamole or whatever it is that blows your skirt up.

Here are my finished crackers: low calorie, preservative free, low glycemic index due to no added sugar or processed flour, high flavor and incredibly filling (remember… lots of soluble and insoluble fiber.) You can also customize them adding whatever your heart desires. Pulp from spinach mango juice makes great spinach sun dried tomato crackers: it’s a favorite when mango comes into season here in Florida in the spring. I’ve also been known to make spinach pizza crust. They will keep in a plastic baggie in your fridge for 3-4 days.

This is Christie, signing off… to finish off last night’s hummus with my fresh crackers.

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The essential vegan: PB&J the ultra easy

If you’re vegan, your go-to sandwich should be peanut butter and jelly. Just because you’re eating the sandwich of your youth doesn’t mean it has to be unsophisticated. A recent favorite is the deconstructed white chocolate peanut butter and apricot jam sandwich.

I’m sorry I don’t have a few pictures of my dried cherry and chocolate almond butter sandwiches from the holiday season. They were AMAZING!

PB&J isn’t a tired ordinary dish if you don’t see it that way. If you’ve got access to good jam and dried fruits, try Peanut Butter and Company for their chocolate, cinnamon raisin and white chocolate peanut butter or Justin’s Nut Butter for organic hazelnut and almond butter (chocolate too!). Bottom line: fruit and nuts are delicious and rich in nutrients, together or apart. Nourish your body and senses with both.

This is Christie, signing off.

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