product review

Isn’t Basil sweet? In this photo, he was watching the side door for Jason to come walking through it.

Basil is a rescue pup, we adopted him a few years ago, when he was 5. He has a few nervous quirks left over from a life not so happy. One is a heart-wrenching separation anxiety.

Much like you swaddle a newborn for that calming sense of security (or like Temple Grandin’s squeezer!), there is a product especially for dogs that helps calm them – Thundershirt! It is a high quality thick knit with a few velcro closures, you wrap tightly around your pup and it hugs them. It is supposed to help with all kinds of anxiety, like dogs who freak out during thunder or fireworks.

It does have a calming effect on Basil.

He chose the one with rugby stripes…

I promise this is not a sponsored post – Thundershirt does not know who I am (or sadly, who Basil is), and I happily paid for this myself. I know I have many readers who have dogs (many of them dachshunds!) and whenever I talk about this, nobody has heard of it.

If you don’t have a dog, just enjoy the photos of a cute dachshund.

Do you have a dog?

Have you seen the (awesome) film about Temple Grandin? 

 

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Happy November!

Yesterday was World Vegan Day, and an appropriate vegan surprise landed on my doorstep!

Lollihop is a monthly subscription to nutritious, organic and delicious snacks. They have just launched a limited edition vegan holiday box, and I think it is pretty exclusive right now because they may not be available anymore.

But they sent me one. and they’ve offered me one to give away!

The giveaway is for a single month vegan holiday box. They will be available for subscription after the new year. After receiving this one, I cannot wait!

I will leave some things as a surprise for the lucky recipient, but I did want to share a few of the goodies – every one vegan and many gluten free! You think you can see everything in that top photo? Trust me, there are more hidden gems!

These! This was my first time trying Pop Corners, and oh, my are they amazing! The kettle corn flavor is a perfect and light sweet salty flavor. The chip is a light crispy crunchy, and did I already say the flavor is awesome? I am definitely buying these. They have other flavors too, but from this bag I developed a kettle obsession.

I was excited about this one too – I have been wanting to try MacroBar for a while, not only because the flavors sound great but because they are based on a macrobiotic diet made from dynamic organic ingredients. The company also has a mission to be sustainable and to heal the planet. Sounds good to me!

I just started buying the Glutino pretzels for dipping into my current obsession, garlic hummus. I bought them more than once, meaning we like them, so this was a welcome addition to the lollihop!

There were three bags of chips, four tasty looking bars, and many other goodies I want to keep under wraps for a surprise.

 

Five ways to enter, please leave a comment for each:

1) have you tried any of the goodies I shared in this post? what is your favorite vegan / gluten free healthy snack?

2) follow lollihop on twitter

3) follow spabettie on twitter

and tweet this: 

win a limited edition vegan lollihop box – giveaway from @spabettie –>  http://www.spabettie.com/?p=8727 

4) like lollihop on facebook

5) like spabettie on facebook

Enter through midnight Sunday. Winner emailed Monday.

 

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I needed an appetizer idea to bring to an event the other day, and was planning on making my date dip paired with all the apples of the season.

Then I saw Maryea’s sweet white bean dip.

oh, Mama.

Snacky McSnackerton, indeed. This is one tasty dip!

Maryea says she prefers it cold, and that is how I served it. Protein packed and naturally sweetened, this creamy dip is very easy and quick to make.

I paired it with some sliced apples, dried apricots and trail mix – perfect snack and I had empty plates to bring home!

Enjoy Life recently sent me their newest products, nut free trail mixes in fantastic flavors – they were very well liked by everyone, and were a perfect addition to this healthy dip and fruit.

Beach Bash is sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried pineapple, apricots and cranberries. Bright and sweetly tart, I loved it. Mountain Mambo includes sunflower and pumpkin seeds, fruit and chocolate chips, and it may be my favorite. Both are gluten free and vegan (dairy, egg and casein free), nut and tree-nut free, soy free.

You all know by now that I am a fan of beans, and I like to use them in what some say unconventional ways.

Have you tried a bean recipe before, and what did you think?

 

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Welcome to week three of Vegan Mofo! There have been so many fantastic posts this year, have you checked them out?

I figured what better way to kick off a Monday than with a dessert, right?

I was once again one of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers selected to receive Godiva Coffee - one of the flavors I received this time was caramel pecan bark. As a cup of coffee, caramel pecan bark is a medium roast that is just the perfect amount of sweet (not too sweet) from chocolate and toasted pecan flavors.

Like the vanilla coffee fudge bars that came before them, these coffees were destined for more than a cup of coffee – I wanted a decadent dessert.

I love pecans.

Don’t you?

To accentuate the pecan flavored coffee, I wanted to use pecans. Ask me what my favorite dessert is, most often my immediate answer will be cheesecake. Pecans, cheesecake and coffee – decadence in the making.

These bars are rich in flavor and smooth in feel – fluffy creamy and caramely sweet. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a cheesecake style dessert.

pecan coffee cheesecake bars

vegan, gluten free, dairy free

makes 9-12 bars / slices

crust:

1 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup graham crumbs
1/2 cup pecans

Process 1 cup pecans until pecan butter forms (this takes only a couple minutes). Add water and continue processing to a thinner consistency. Add graham crumbs, almost immediately a dough will form. Press into 9 inch springform or 9×9 inch baking dish. Top with a single layer of pecans (about 1/2 cup).

filling:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked
1-2 tablespoons cashew soaking water
1/4 cup agave
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons cream cheese (Tofutti)
1 1/2 tablespoons coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons chia
3 tablespoons warm water

Combine coffee, chia and warm water, set aside. Process cashews and water to a semi creamy consistency. Add agave, lemon juice and cream cheese, blend. Add coffee/chia, blend. Pour / spoon onto crust / pecan layer. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Are you a flavored coffee fan or do you prefer plain coffee flavors? Do you add anything to your coffee, or drink it black?

 

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This is the first time I have used Indian flavors to fill a Vietnamese style fresh salad roll. It will not be my last – we loved these!

I was recently asked to develop a quick recipe, using one Stonehouse 27 sauce, one Lundberg Heat and Eat Brown Rice Bowl and up to three other ingredients.

The Stonehouse 27 sauce I chose was their Tamarind & Garlic, and the Lundberg rice bowl I paired with it was the Short Grain Brown. I came up with several ideas, so I will be trying some of the other flavors as well – Dates & Tamarind and of course Spicy Cashews & Cream.

I have seen these sauces before, and several of the flavors are appealing. They are a quick alternative to scratch made while bringing all natural, gluten free and vegan flavors to a dish. I have been a long time fan of Lundberg Family Farms, and although I generally prefer making my own, I can definitely see how these rice bowls are convenient. Each bowl (marked as one serving) is a lot of rice, and when mixed with beans, goes a long way!

tamarind & garlic spring rolls

vegan, gluten free, low sodium, no refined sugar

makes 12 rolls

1 jar Stonehouse 27 Tamarind & Garlic sauce
1 bowl Lundberg Heat & Eat Brown Rice
12 round rice paper wrappers

1 cup cooked beans (I used pinto)
kale leaves

Prep ingredients for easy assembly – have a large round plate to roll on. Combine rice bowl with beans. Tear or chop kale leaves into workable pieces, removing tough ribs.

To make spring roll: dip rice paper in warm water for *5 seconds. Place on plate, line kale leaves down middle, leaving one inch on each end and 2-3 inches on each side. Layer 2 tablespoons rice and beans over kale leaves, followed by 2 tablespoons sauce. Fold the one inch ends over and press down, so the rice paper sticks to itself. Turn to one long end and begin rolling tightly, folding over and rolling completely closed.

*After 5 seconds the rice paper will still feel firm – this is normal, don’t soak longer. It continues to soften and is easy to work with if only soaked 5 seconds. Longer soaking may result in holes or tears in the rice paper.

Fresh and flavorful, and definitely a unique spin on a spring roll. The rice bowls are gluten free, vegan and convenient. These sauces are authentic in flavor and exotically spiced, and incredibly tasty.

Want to try them yourself?

I am giving away five sets of the sauce + rice combinations – one jar of Stonehouse 27 sauce and one Lundberg rice bowl to five of my readers.

five ways to enter, five winners! Please leave a comment for each entry:

1) what ingredients would you pair with this sauce and rice?

2) tweet this :

I want to win @spabettie ‘s @stonehouse27 and @lundbergfarms giveaway – five winners! –> http://www.spabettie.com/?p=8567

3) like Stonehouse 27 on facebook

4) like Lundberg on facebook

5) what is your favorite quick and easy meal to prepare?

giveaway closes next Monday, 5 winners notified by email Tuesday.

 

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I recently received a copy of Stacy Adimando’s new book, The Cookiepedia, Mixing, Baking and Reinventing the Classics.

Bright and beautifully photographed, this charming cookie catalog has it all – classic recipes and inventive remakes of everything from amaretti and animal crackers to gingersnaps and rugelach.

With whimsical illustrations and helpful tips on nearly every page, The Cookiepedia features special sections of ideas and instructions, including The Cookie Baker’s Cheat Sheet, Kitchen Tools, and Fun with Decorating.

This practical primer is both durable and efficient in design – a wire comb binding allows the book to lie flat while you work! Genius:

Deciding on a recipe to make first was a challenge – with so many delicious choices I know what book I’ll be baking with this winter! I was narrowing my choices when I saw them. Butter cookies. Without question my favorite cookie growing up.

My mom had a baking book that we now concede was not a good book. Unless you baked all the time. The idea behind the book was a single recipe for a very large batch of basic, all purpose baking mix. In place of listing measurements of dry ingredients, each recipe simply stated an amount of this signature baking mix. My favorite cookies from that book were butter crescents.

yes, this cookie.

I knew I had to make them.

butter balls

makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add  the flour and salt and continue mixing until a dough forms. Gently stir in walnuts by hand.

Chill dough in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour. Roll into 1-inch balls, then place them on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 until just set but not yet browning, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Once the cookies cool, roll them in powdered sugar. Then bite into one and marvel at the delicious way it melts in your mouth.

This recipe was very easy to make vegan and gluten free – I simply subbed gluten free ap flour and Earth Balance soy free margarine.

I was immediately transported back to my childhood and my favorite cookie. My favorite cookie that I can now make with this simple recipe anytime I want.

Bliss.

What is your favorite childhood cookie, snack, food that instantly takes you back?

I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM THE PUBLISHER. RECIPE REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM QUIRK BOOKS.

 

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This morning’s juice:

berry beet breakfast

serves one

1 beet
3 handfuls blackberries
1 apple
3 carrots
1 inch piece ginger

This was a zinger! Sweet and spicy, it woke me up.

 

The juice fast that Jason and I recently completed? About a week in, we saw the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Incredibly inspiring and fun to watch, it was reinforcement that what we were doing was a great thing, and motivated us to continue.

I receive daily mail from readers motivated by my juice posts. Motivated to do a fast, to dust off their juicer for some daily juicing, or to buy a juicer to start juicing! I can’t tell you how awesome it is to hear that, and to be able to answer questions people have and share my experiences.

I am so very excited to be partnering with Reboot Your Life to offer one of my readers the “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” Bundle. The bundle includes the documentary on DVD, the book and the Reboot Nutrition Guide.

Some awesome resources for juicing.

several ways to enter, please leave a comment for each:

1) what vegetables are included in your favorite juice?

2) have you ever fasted? what kind was it?

3) follow Joe Cross on twitter

4) like Fat Sick and Nearly Dead on facebook

5) sign up for the newsletter

6) tweet this –> 

win a Fat Sick & Nearly Dead film and book and nutrition guide from @spabettie –> http://www.spabettie.com/?p=8212 

Giveaway ends next Thursday and winner emailed Friday.

 

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I received an awesome and unexpected package the other day from Larabar! I’m going to consider it a birthday gift, thank you Larabar!

Several bars of their newest flavor came all wrapped up in a cute bag, and Jason and I were already enjoying one as I took these photos.

Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte! That perfect pairing of tart cherries and sweet chocolate, I love this new flavor! As with all Larabars, my favorite thing is their short ingredient list – this new bar only has six!

dates, Fair Trade Certified chocolate chips, almonds, unsweetened cherries, cashews, sea salt.

Thank you again, Larabar, for this unexpected surprise!

Do you have a favorite Larabar flavor?

 

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