Meatless Monday: Indian Tacos

Indian-TacosYears ago one of my closest friends, Elisa, spent Fourth of July with my extended family. We were in the middle of nowhere so each night one of us cooked dinner for the group. Elisa made delicious Chana Masala style tacos. Recently I decided to create my own version, inspired by her original. I made these Indian Tacos with a creamy coconut curry featuring chickpeas and kale. I served them in warmed corn tortillas with homemade mango chutney and vegan raita. These are delicious for a Meatless Monday dinner and the leftovers make a tasty, filling lunch.

Indian Tacos-3

For the greens I used a bag of baby kale that I bought at the Farmers Market. Any green will work here, but do slice the greens thin so they cook completely in the 10 minute timeframe.

 

For the raita I used the homemade yogurt I have been making every week. This worked much better than raitas I have tried in the past using store bought vegan yogurt. I think the key is to add white wine vinegar – that really seems to diminish the aftertaste some vegan yogurts can have. This was a cool, creamy topping for the spicy tacos. If you don’t want to make raita you can also use vegan sour cream.

Indian-Tacos-Chutney

For the chutney I followed my favorite recipe from Curtis Stone. I used Mangos in this version. I have used peaches and nectarines in the past. This recipe is very versatile and is the perfect mix of sweet fruit, spicy red peppers and tangy vinegar. The only change I made to the original recipe is that I used a hand blender to puree the chutney since I like mine to have a smoother texture.

Indian Tacos-7

Give these Indian Tacos a try the next time you are in the mood for a flavorful, satisfying weeknight dinner.

Meatless Monday: Indian Tacos
 
Spicy and satisfying Indian Tacos. Creamy coconut curried chickpeas and greens topped with tangy chutney and cooling vegan raita in a warmed corn tortilla.
Ingredients
  • TACOS:
  • 2 teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard Seed
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 small Tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 bunch Kale, remove stem and slice thin
  • 2 cups Chickpeas, cooked
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 8 Corn Tortillas, warmed
  • RAITA:
  • 1 small Cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup Vegan Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Mint, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 small clove Garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
Instructions
  1. TACOS: Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add in Coconut Oil. Once it has melted add mustard seeds. Cook for about 60 seconds until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in onions. Saute for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add in garlic and ginger. Saute for another 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in curry powder, cumin, red pepper, garam masala and salt. Add in tomatoes to deglaze pan. Stir in coconut milk and let mixture cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale and chickpeas. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until kale is wilted. Stir in lime juice (start with 1 Tablespoon) and taste for salt.
  4. Serve in warmed corn tortillas with chutney and vegan raita.
  5. RAITA: Grate the cucumber into a large bowl. Add remaining raita ingredients, stir to combine. Taste for salt. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

In the Kitchen

Today I thought I would share what’s been going on in our kitchen lately. The past few weeks I have been trying new products, cooking from favorite cookbooks and trying new recipes I found online.

In the Kitchen

I made another batch of the homemade vegan butter I wrote about previously. This stuff is so good I have not bought Earth Balance since!

In the Kitchen

Trey recently asked to try vegan bacon at Whole Foods. He loved this variety from Sweet Earth Foods. He has never been big on meat alternatives, but he has been asking for this every week. He eats it in sandwiches or just by itself.

In-the-Kitchen

I let Trey pick what we would have for dinner one night when Harrison wasn’t home. He saw a picture in Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families of this baked tofu in a wrap with cucumbers and carrots. I was happy to make this for him with a little homemade ranch dressing added in. He has even been taking these wraps to camp with him this week. I’ll definitely be adding these wraps to his school lunch rotation.

In the Kitchen

Protein Power Balls also from Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families. These were not a hit with Trey. I think it was because I used sprouted Watermelon seeds instead of pumpkin seeds. Next time I’m going to try mostly sunflower seeds since Trey doesn’t actually like pumpkin seeds either!

In the Kitchen

The final dish from Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families was Spinach Artichoke Dip. This was so delicious served on small baguette slices. I didn’t read the directions carefully and accidentally blended all of the ingredients smooth. No matter – it was awesome topped with breadcrumbs. Next time I will follow the recipe so there is more texture.

In the Kitchen

Fresh Pomodoro Sauce from Giada in Italy. I watched this show recently and was intrigued with the fresh pasta sauce. Giada grates the tomatoes into the sauce and lightly cooks them with garlic and basil. I made this for lunch one afternoon, eliminating the cheese and adding in an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of cashew cream (2 TB of raw cashews blended with 1/2 cup water) to finish the sauce. Everyone in our house enjoyed this light, very flavorful dish.

In the Kitchen

I followed this online tutorial to make my own coconut butter. I’m planning to make Trey snack bars for school this year and since his school is nut free coconut butter is going to be my binder/healthy fat of choice.

In the Kitchen

S’mores Cookies – I was in the mood to bake one evening and had both the marshmallows and Cat cookies on hand. These were gobbled up quickly.

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Meatless Monday: Vegan Falafel Wraps

Falafel WrapWhen I first became a vegetarian many moons ago I came up with these vegan falafel wraps. They are easy, flavorful and satisfying. As I read about veganism I remember saying to Harrison “I could never be vegan, the only vegan thing I make is those falafel wraps!”. Times have obviously changed, but I still love these falafel wraps. These are a fantastic Meatless Monday option if you are cooking for meat eaters wary of having a meal without meat. The falafel and hummus are familiar flavors and make a hearty meal.

Falafel Wrap

For the falafel I used to make my own. I like the falafel recipe from Appetite for Reduction in particular. These days I typically buy pre-made falafels from Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market. Buying falafels makes this an incredibly quick meal. I tried these frozen falafels available at Whole Foods from Falafelim. They were just ok and I don’t think I would use them again. I much prefer the ones I can buy fresh at the Farmers Market.

The hummus is the same as the falafel. Feel free to make your own. This is my favorite homemade recipe from Dreena Burton. Typically I use Haig’s hummus since I always have it on hand.

Falafel Wrap

For the vegetables, or what we call the medley, I stir the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

I put our wraps in Lavash bread. Lavash is available at both Whole Foods and Trader Joes. You can also use pita bread, but I much prefer lavash wraps. I like that the lavash can crisp up and doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.

Falafel Wrap

Assemble the wraps:

  • Put 2 Tablespoons hummus on the left hand side of the lavash
  • Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable medley on top of the hummus
  • Add 2-3 falafels – smashed a bit -next to the medley
  • Add a dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Roll the bottom of the lavash up 1 inch.
  • Roll entire wrap from left to right
  • Place in a hot pan to crisp up each side
  • Serve!

Falafel Wrap

Keep these ingredients on hand and you will always be ready for a last minute dinner or lunch.

Saturday Shares 8.22.2015

Saturday Shares HeaderI’m starting to get excited for back-to-school. I love summer, but having a routine again is going to be nice. If only there wasn’t homework to monitor!

EasyLunchboxes

EasyLunchboxes – I am pleasantly surprised with these lunch boxes. I thought they were going to be just like standard Ziploc containers (light, bendable etc). Happily these are quite sturdy and have ample space. Trey used them a few days this week for camp and he liked them. He sometimes thinks these bento-style lunch boxes are too “babyish”, but these he was into. The price is great…only $13.95 for a set of 4.

Smashed Indian Potatoes – As a girl with a lot of Irish blood I LOVE potatoes. This version of Indian Mashed Potatoes from Vegan Richa looks heavenly. I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any leftovers at my house, but Richa’s idea to form leftovers in to patties and pan fry them is brilliant.

Thrive Market

Thrive Market – Thrive Market is an online store offering the natural and organic products at wholesale prices. I’m just starting my trial and I’m really impressed with all of the products they have available and the wholesale prices. You get 15% off your first order and that starts your 30 day trial. After 30 days you can sign for an annual membership which costs $59.95. I love that you can sort products by Vegan only if you like. The prices are definitely better than what I see at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

Vegan Starter Kit

photo credit: Vegan Cuts

Vegan Starter Kit – If you are new to veganism or if you have a friend interested in veganism this Starter Kit from Vegan Cuts looks awesome. A whole array of vegan foods and coupons ready to help a new vegan.

VegNews Awards

2015 VegNews Awards – Vote for your favorite vegan foods, blogs and authors in the annual VegNews Awards. Completing the survey enters you in a drawing for amazing prizes including a VitaMix!

* THIS PAGE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. IF YOU PURCHASE A PRODUCT THROUGH AN AFFILIATE LINK YOUR COST WILL REMAIN THE SAME, BUT VEGAN GRETCHEN WILL AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION. YOUR SUPPORT IS APPRECIATED.

Vegan Lemon Bundt Cake

Vegan Lemon Bundt CakeA few weeks ago I successfully made homemade unsweetened vegan soy yogurt. It is the perfect combination of creamy and tart and I have been enjoying it almost daily for breakfast. What I didn’t mention is that my second attempt was successful, but my first attempt was not. The first attempt had the same delicious flavor, but it did not set up at all. Because it still tasted good I kept the 5 cups of liquid yogurt in the frig and looked for any recipe that required yogurt. This homemade frozen yogurt (using agave instead of honey) was a great treat, but I still had a ton left. I decided to make a vegan lemon bundt cake with the yogurt and it was a great decision. The cake is moist and rich like a pound cake, but with a light lemon flavor. Enjoy this cake with your coffee, at brunch, or as a lighter dessert.

Vegan Lemon Bundt Cake

I decided to bake the cake in my new bundt pan. I love the texture the bundt pan created, with the more crisp edges. You can definitely use a loaf pan, or even an 8×8 pan if that is what you have. You will need to adjust the baking time accordingly. An 8×8 pan may only take 30 minutes and a loaf pan more like 40-45 minutes. Just be sure to check your cake so it doesn’t overcook.

I used lemon extract in this cake because I like the boost of lemon flavor it adds without having to juice a ton of lemons. I only had a few lemons on hand and I didn’t want to use them all for this cake.

Vegan Lemon Bundt Cake

The glaze is beautiful and adds an additional layer of sweet lemon flavor to the cake. If you are short on time, or don’t like glazes you can always just sprinkle powdered sugar liberally over the top of the cake.

 

I was traveling to visit my parents the next day so I used my portable cake server. I feel like my great-aunts when I use that thing. They were our resident family bakers and always showed up to holidays and picnics with their cake carrier full of a family favorite cake. I also used a doily here since I was going to my parents house. My Mom would not approve of a bundt cake with no doily!

Vegan Lemon Bundt Cake

I hope you try and enjoy this cake…doily optional!

* THIS PAGE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. IF YOU PURCHASE A PRODUCT THROUGH AN AFFILIATE LINK YOUR COST WILL REMAIN THE SAME, BUT VEGAN GRETCHEN WILL AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION. YOUR SUPPORT IS APPRECIATED.
3.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan Lemon Bundt Cake
 
A moist, rich vegan lemon bundt cake that has a delicate lemon flavor with a tangy lemon glaze.
Ingredients
  • CAKE:
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
  • ½ cup Vegan Butter (such as Earth Balance), softened
  • 1⅓ cups Sugar
  • ⅔ cup Almond or Soy Milk, unsweetened
  • 1½ teaspoons Lemon Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cup Vegan Yogurt, unsweetened if possible
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8-10 cup bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Stir until combined and set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl beat together the vegan butter and sugar until well combined. Stir in almond milk, extracts and yogurt.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to flour mixture. Thoroughly combine.
  5. Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cake cool for 20 minutes. Remove cake from bundt pan and let is cool completely.
  7. Once cake is completely cooled prepare the glaze. Stir lemon juice into powdered sugar. Once it forms a pourable glaze pour over the middle of the cake. The glaze should run down each side of the cake. Cut & Serve!

Pacifica Beauty Review

Pacifica Review

One of my new favorite beauty brands is Pacifica. I have been using their lotions for years and I am thrilled that they have been rolling out a complete makeup and body care line. I love that they emphasis that their products are all vegan. All vegan brands make shopping much easier…no need to pour over every ingredient wondering if this one particular product is vegan.

Here is how Pacifica describes their own products:

Pacifica is known as one of the most innovative and sustainable makeup lines on the market today. At Pacifica, we are elevating the experience of natural beauty products and overcoming the common perception that naturals don’t deliver great results.  We make natural products that work as well or better than any non-natural line.  Our mission is complete when we have delivered the best performing products, using the safest ingredients, in recyclable packaging and components to the largest possible audience of beauty consumers. All Pacifica products are gluten-free, 100% vegan, and cruelty-free.

What I love about Pacifica

  • All Vegan – enough said
  • Available at Whole Foods and Target – 2 of my favorite, most frequented stores
  • Non-irritating to my sensitive skin
  • Scents that I actually like and aren’t overpowering

Pacifica Review

Favorite Products

  • Nail Polish – great color selection, excellent wear and 7 Free (Made without parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde, resin, and animals.)
  • Concealer – Creamy under-eye concealer that does a great job covering up and brightening without sinking into my wrinkles 🙂
  • Lip Gloss – Non-sticky lip gloss that is hydrating and looks very natural
  • Waterproof Mascara – Love the brush in this mascara…absolutely no clumping
  • Ultra CC Cream – A perfect everyday, lightweight foundation with SPF 17
  • Indian Coconut Nectar Body Butter – Nice, thick lotion that smells like heaven
  • Indian Coconut Nectar Soap – Same great smell as the Body Butter and very moisturizing
  • Solid Perfume – I’m not a perfume person but I love this Spanish Amber scent. I also like the solid perfume for keeping in my gym bag or purse.

Pacifica Review

I’ve tried and enjoyed their eye shadow and blushes as well. The blush is a cream blush and I prefer a powder blush so I don’t use it as often as some of their other products.

I’m looking forward to watching the Pacifica line expand. They have a new foundation coming out that I’m anxious to try. I do hope they add more colors for their face makeup. They seem targeted only for people with pale skin and since vegans come in all shades I hope they expand their color selection as they grow!

Pacifica Review

If you like Pacifica I highly recommend subscribing to their list on their website. They send out information with lots of deals – available directly from their site.

Have you tried Pacifica brand makeup or body products? What are your favorites?

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I purchased all of these products on my own*

Meatless Monday: Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

Vegan Teriyaki BowlsTrey has been attending a camp this summer that offers lunch each day. Initially I was packing his lunch, assuming that the vegan options would be limited. Each day though there seemed to be plenty of vegan options that Trey was excited to eat. In particular he loved the Teriyaki they offered him. It was rice, tofu and snap peas in teriyaki sauce. Since he enjoyed it so much I decided to create Vegan Teriyaki bowls at home. In our teriyaki bowls I used a base of white rice, snap peas and broccoli and marinated tofu – all topped with teriyaki sauce. These bowls are a great Meatless Monday meal since many of the flavors are familiar and it can be ready to serve your family in 30 minutes or less.

For this particular recipe I used pre-made teriyaki sauce because I wanted this to be a quick meal. You can definitely make your own teriyaki sauce – it is not difficult and there are tons of great recipes available. I used a Teriyaki sauce from Organicville. I like that it doesn’t have any strange ingredients and flavor wise it isn’t overly sweet. I often find bottled teriyaki can be sickenly sweet. In this case it is the perfect balance of sweet, savory and spicy.

Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

To cook the tofu I used one of my favorite, low touch methods – broiling. I marinate the tofu for a bit and then broil it in the oven. I love the texture of broiled tofu. It is especially good for people who are new to tofu. It is not mushy at all and has a crisp outer layer. Be sure to use a super firm tofu, preferably one that is not packaged in a tub of water. I like the Trader Joe’s brand and Wildwood Organics. If you haven’t used your broiler before here is an easy how-to.

Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

The key for a good bowl is to make sure each component tastes delicious on it’s own. If you add one flavorless component, say plain steamed broccoli, it waters down the flavor of the whole dish. I saute the broccoli and snap peas with garlic and chili flakes. I also add rice wine vinegar to the rice to add a bit of flavor.

Do you have a favorite brand of teriyaki sauce or homemade teriyaki recipe that you love?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Meatless Monday: Vegan Teriyaki Bowls
 
Savory, flavorful bowl filled with vegetables, tofu and rice. An easy weeknight meal for busy families.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Tofu
  • Teriyaki Sauce, either homemade or store-bought
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 3 cups Broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 3 cups White Rice, cooked
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • TOPPINGS
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Scallions, sliced
  • Cilantro, minced
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl or flat dish stir together 1 cup of Teriyaki sauce and ½ cup of water. Omit the water if your teriyaki sauce is already fairly thin. Slice tofu in ½ inch slabs. Place the slabs in the teriyaki mixture. Let tofu marinate for 5 minutes. You can marinate the tofu for up to 12 hours if you like. Move the oven rack to the highest possible position (about 3-4 inches from the heating element). Turn your oven on broil.
  2. While the tofu marinates, heat a large pan to Medium on the stove with olive oil. Add in garlic and chili flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Toss in broccoli and snap peas and stir until the vegetables are coated in the garlic and chilis. Add in ¼ cup of water and cover pan. Let vegetables cook for 5 minutes, covered. After 5 minutes the water should be absorbed and the vegetables will be crisp cooked. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil.
  3. Go back to tofu while vegetables cook. Place slabs of tofu on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn tofu over and broil for an additional 5 minutes. Watch this carefully as every oven is different - check to make sure you don't burn the tofu. Once the tofu is cooked you can cut the slabs of tofu into cubes or serve the tofu in slabs.
  4. Toss cooked white rice with Rice Wine Vinegar. Start with 1 Tablespoon and add additional Tablespoon to taste.
  5. Assemble: In each bowl place rice, diced tofu, and vegetables. Drizzle teriyaki sauce over each bowl. Top with Sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro. Serve warm.

 

Saturday Shares 8.8.2015

Saturday Shares Header

Happy Saturday! Here are a few things I found interesting this week…

Goat

photo credit: Mercy for Animals

Award Winning Goat Cheese Farmer Goes Vegan – I loved learning about Julian and Carol Pearce. They are a married couple who have been producing award winning goat cheeses for the past 20 years. They recently have decided to turn their farm into a sanctuary and make 100% plant based cheeses. This article from Mercy For Animals highlights their transformation. My favorite quote comes from Carol: “The reason we have become vegan is being around our animals, knowing they have feelings; they love, have friends and family… how can you eat them?” I look forward to trying their vegan cheese when it becomes available.

Dinner with Dan Buettner – Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones Solution, a book that explores 5 places in the world where people experience incredible longevity. This New York Times article is very humorous, but it also addresses the real fears people have about eating healthier foods. The good news is that coffee, wine, plant based foods and eating with good friends are all parts of what Dan Buettner says contributes to a long life.

green-fv-community-logo-long

Finding Vegan Community – Finding Vegan is a great resource for vegan recipes. Bloggers share photos of their vegan creations with links back to the recipe. Recently Finding Vegan started a community where anyone can join in and “discuss all things vegan”. The discussion topics are wide ranging and include things like: vegans in the news, traveling as a vegan, vegan fashion, and questions from non-vegans.

Vegan French Onion Dip – I am starting to get excited for football season (despite the fact that things are looking worse each day for my 49ers). We love to spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons on the couch watching football. I am always on the lookout for new snacks we can enjoy during the game. This French Onion dip from Oh My Veggies looks so creamy and flavorful. I’m fairly certain I haven’t had onion dip in the last 10 years so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

photo credit: Wild Mint Shop

photo credit: Wild Mint Shop

Wild Mint – Lisa Leake at 100 days of Real Food offers great advice about moving away from processed food. Her blog is not vegan, but I particularly enjoy her ideas for packing lunches. This week she introduced readers to Wild Mint. Wild Mint is a website filled with non-toxic and eco-friendly products. Trey needs a few new lunchbox containers for school this year and Wild Mint has tons of options all in one place. 100 Days of Real Food is offering a giveaway (through August 12) where you can enter to win a $50 gift card for Wild Mint.

* THIS PAGE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. IF YOU PURCHASE A PRODUCT THROUGH AN AFFILIATE LINK YOUR COST WILL REMAIN THE SAME, BUT VEGAN GRETCHEN WILL AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION. YOUR SUPPORT IS APPRECIATED.

Petit Vour July – Review

Petit Vour July

Petit Vour is a company dedicated to cruelty-free, vegan beauty. They offer a monthly box for $15 (in the US). In it they include 4-5 samples of fantastic, luxury vegan beauty products. The products include makeup, haircare and skincare items. Here is a bit more about Petit Vour’s background from their website:

Petit Vour is the luxury vegan destination for the decidedly fashionable, inspired by the finer things and curated for the modern, ethical woman. With a deep love for animals, and a knack for seeking the finest, Petit Vour brings you the crème de la cruelty-free. In May 2013, we curated our very first beauty box, filled with little luxuries, offering a taste of cruelty-free to our small membership. We’ve since grown quite a bit, but our values remain the same. Our mission since the idea came to life was to bring two worlds together: luxury and progressive values.

I learned about Petit Vour from my favorite resource for vegan beauty tips, Vegan Beauty Review. Vegan Beauty Review’s curator, Sunny, highlights vegan beauty products from all different companies. She covers everything from high-end makeup to drugstore finds. If you haven’t checked out her site, be sure to do so.

I ordered the Petit Vour July box for the first time. Now that I have had some time to play with the products I thought I would share my review with you.

Petit Vour July

Aila Nail Polish: The polish color is a fun coral color called Doolish. It is perfect for a summer pedicure. I wore my pedicure for several weeks and was impressed with the polish’s staying power. I received tons of compliments on the color. Aila nail polish is free of Parabens, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Dibutyl phthalate (DBT), and Camphor.

Petit Vour July

Luxe de Mer Gentle Face CleanserI have incredibly sensitive skin and almost every cleanser I have tried over the last few years has irritated my skin. The one product I use all the time is a rosewater toner. I was thrilled with the results of this cleanser. It is very gentle and the rosewater is calming to my hyper-sensitive skin. I’m looking forward to trying some of Luxe de Mer’s additional vegan products. It looks like they have a great selection of high quality skincare products with minimal ingredients.

Petit Vour July

Routine De-Odor-Cream: This natural deodorant smells great and is made without any aluminum zirconium, aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, triclosan, or propylene glycol. I have been experimenting for years with natural deodorants with VERY mixed results. Recently I have been using JK Naturals (available at Whole Foods) and that has been working really well for me. I like the smell of the Routine Cream, which they call Sexy Sadie. It has a woodsy, vanilla type smell and it worked well. I will use the whole sample and consider ordering some in the future. I do hope they come out with a “stick” form, since I don’t love rubbing the deodorant in by hand.

Petit Vour July Nubian

photo credit: Nubian Heritage

Nubian Heritage Mango ButterI enjoyed all of the products in this month’s box, but this was the winner in my book. You may notice I don’t have my own picture of the body butter above and that is because Trey snatched this body butter as soon as he smelled it. The Mango Butter has a delicious orange scent that, according to Trey, “smells like orange ice cream”. The body butter contains a mixture of shea and cocoa butter and is incredibly moisturizing. I will be ordering more of the Mango Butter and a few of Nubian Heritage’s other body butters. The Frankincense & Myrrh Shea Butter sounds heavenly.

THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST. I PURCHASED THE PETIT VOUR SUBSCRIPTION BOX ON MY OWN.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Bars

Vegan Chocolate Chip Bars

As you have probably noticed I love a good cookie. I like mini cookies, loaded cookies and chocolate cookies. There are times, however, when I don’t feel like making the effort to create individual cookies. My solution is to make cookie bars. I make a quick cookie batter, add it to a greased pan and bake. You can relax or get busy on other kitchen tasks while your bars bake. The resulting vegan chocolate chip bars are delicious.

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