Monday, December 26, 2011

Marinated Collard Greens

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite salads at Whole Foods hot/cold bar. Recently, I decided to start eating healthier and adding more unprocessed, whole foods into my diet. This is an amazing, delicious and pretty healthy raw salad. It is addictive :-)

Marinated Collard Greens

1 bunch of collard greens (about 8 large leaves), tough stems removed
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Tamari sauce
salt and black pepper to taste

Cut collard greens into 1 inch thick, long strips. Place into a large bowl. Add red bell pepper and onion, and mix well.
In a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, Tamari sauce, and minced garlic. Pour over the collard greens and veggies. Using your hands massage the dressing into the veggies well.
Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, or overnight.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Soyummi vegan puddings review and giveaway

Soyummi Foods contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I would be interested in doing a review of their vegan puddings and a giveaway on my blog. I was happy to try their products and even happier to do a giveaway that will have 3 winners :-) Each winner will receive two coupons for free Soyummi puddings. I redeemed my coupons for dark Chocolate Pudding and Rice pudding which were the only two options that my local Whole Foods offered. Soyummi offers other flavors, such as Tapioca pudding, Cherry pudding and Lime pudding. Each box of Soyummi puddings contains 4 individual pudding cups.
Soyummi puddings are minimally processed. They are made with all natural and organic ingredients. They are GMO free, Vegan, Gluten free, low in fat, and they contain natural prebiotics and fiber. They are sweetened with beet syrup.
Pretty healthy snack or an afternoon treat :-)

The Dark Chocolate Pudding was very fluffy and tasted like a rich dark chocolate dessert.

The Rice pudding was my favorite! Creamy, thick pudding with nice pieces of yummy rice. The taste was beautiful, strong vanilla with a slight hint of lemon. I will be buying this pudding very soon.

I added some fresh pomegranate seeds to one cup of Rice pudding for a nice after dinner dessert.

Do you want to win some delicious, vegan puddings? Soyummi has generously offered to give 2 free coupons to 3 giveaway winners. This giveaway is only open to USA addresses only.

You have several ways to enter this giveaway. I will pick 3 random comments on January 6th 2012, Friday evening. If you want extra entries, you have to leave a comment for each entry option to count, if you leave one big comment with everything in it, it will only count as one entry. The more comments, the better the chances are to win.

Mandatory entry:

# Leave a comment telling me which Soyummi pudding would you like to try the most.

Extra entries:

# Become a follower (member) of this blog and leave a comment that you did or that you already were a follower

# Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Follow Soyummi on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment that you did (1 tweet per day is allowed). Include @CzechVegan and @Soyummi in the tweets.

# Like Soyummi on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# Mention this giveaway, with the link, in a blog post, and leave a link to the post in a comment

# For extra 5 entries-make any recipe from Czech Vegan blog, and blog about it. Leave 5 separate comments for the entries.

Good luck!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I am crazy about tea!

Tea, tea, tea! As you can see from these pictures, I am a tea fanatic :-) This is the majority of my tea collection. As most of my readers know, I don't do well with caffeine (you can read my story here), therefore I mostly have fruit, herbal, Rooibos or decaf tea varieties.
I love buying tea, exchanging tea with friends and getting tea as presents. I prefer tea bags since they are so much easier to deal with and more portable, but any good loose tea makes me happy, too. I drink hot tea all year long. I drink my black decaf and black decaf Earl Grey tea with a splash of almond milk. I also love my Pero and Teeccino coffee alternatives.
When I lived in Prague I used to hang out in Tea Rooms and Tea shops several times a week. Unfortunately in Atlanta I had to create my own Tea Room at home because there are no tea rooms around here.
Some of my favorite tea flavors that I have in tea bags are: Teekanne "Magic Moments" (fruit tea with rum-grape and orange taste), Teekanne "Raspberry Vanilla", Teekanne "Turkish Apple" (apple and fig tea), Teekanne "Peach and Passionfruit", Pickwick "Plum, cinnamon and vanilla", Teekanne "Granny's Finest" (eldeberry, vanilla and plum), Celestial Seasoning "Roastaroma" and "True Blueberry", Teekanne "Black Currant with lemon", Teekanne "Sweet Cherry", Loyd Tea "Mulled Wine", Twinings "English Breakfast Tea" and Earl Grey-both decaffeinated.

Do you like tea? What is your favorite?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Manna Organics Bread giveaway winner

Manna Organics Bread giveaway winner was comment number 7 :-) Congratulations to Marissa Rath! Thank you everyone who entered the giveaway. Stay tuned for vegan puddings giveaway soon! Marissa, please, email me you address so I can forward it to Manna Organics and they will ship your prize. Enjoy the bread! czech.vegan (at) I used to pick the winning comment number.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter Bulgur and Vegetable Medley

This is an easy, healthy and comforting winter dinner that I sometimes make.

Winter Bulgur and Vegetable Medley

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6-8 large kale leaves, stems removed and leaves torn into small pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large bell pepper (red looks pretty in this recipe), top removed, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bulgur, uncooked
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp paprika
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium hight heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, kale, paprika, bulgur and broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium low heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rishi Tea Review

Since I cannot have caffeine I often enjoy fruit, herbal, Rooibos or decaf black teas.
I have been a Rishi Tea lover for years so I was very excited and grateful when I received a package with samples of their organic, caffeine free tea blends.

Their botanical and Rooibos teas are beautiful, delicious and aromatic. From my personal experience many of these botanical tea blends are great for digestion (especially as a heartburn and nausea relief), relaxation, or as a refreshing energizing coffee alternative. I like the addition of natural essential oils in some of their teas. The essential oils give the tea very strong aroma and flavor.

The intoxicating, lemony aroma hit me as soon as I opened the sample bag. It made my mouth water. The aroma almost reminded me of fancy, citrusy bath salts that I love. This tea has a spicy, full-bodied flavor with pungent ginger, zesty lemon and sweet licorice notes. I love the addition of turmeric which is a great anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory herb. This tea woke up all my taste buds and gave me a burst of energy.

This tea is full of pretty chamomile flowers, just like the ones that I used to gather and dry back in the Czech Republic. This is very calming, lemon and honey-like tea with a gentle touch of spearmint. A wonderful evening, relaxing tea blend.

Wow! This tea is heavenly! This is how I imagine a fairy tale garden to smell like. Very sweet, aromatic, plum tea with a beautiful touch of succulent currants, warm cinnamon and a hint of rum. I wish I could capture the essence of this tea and bottle it into a perfume. This is a perfect autumn tea!

When I opened the bag, the strong minty aroma woke up my senses. While brewing this tea I noticed a strong, pleasant aroma from the essential oils of bergamot and peppermint. This tea was very minty, even thought the bergamot mellowed down the peppermint a bit. Very refreshing blend that made my mouth tingle with peppermint sensation.

Smooth, mahogany infusion with sweet, nutty and honey-like notes.

This is a lovely combination of lemony, minty flavors, warm and pungent ginger, beautiful cardamon, sweet licorice and a a hint of spicy black pepper. This tea has a wonderful lemony aroma with peppery notes.

The candy-like aroma of this tea is amazing! Sweet, juicy berries with smooth Rooibos. I love the addition of real wild blueberries and schizandra berries. This luscious tea had a lovely blueberry aftertaste that stayed in my mouth for a while.

Very strong, pungent aroma with lovely tangerine notes. This beautiful red brew was sweet, tart, and spicy, bursting with tangerine and orange flavors, and warm, pungent ginger.

What a beautiful symphony of flavors! Pleasantly sweet basil and licorice root, with refreshing peppermint notes and a lovely touch of cardamon and clove.
I loved the mint, basil and clove aroma while brewing this tea.

They also offer black, green, Chai, Oolong, Pu-erh, white and Yerba Mate teas, along with more options of Rooibos and botanical tea blends. I used to enjoy their Yerba Mate, black and green teas before I had to eliminate caffeine from my life.
Follow Rishi Tea on Twitter.
Like Rishi Tea on Facebook.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Earth Burger

The Earth Burger (makes about 8-10 burger patties)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 medium red beet, peeled and grated (about 2 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium onion, peeled and grated or finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, shelled
3 cups hot water
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup natural BBQ sauce
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp chili powder
salt and black pepper to taste

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients, except for the oats and hot water. In a medium bowl mix oats and hot water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Place wet oats in a blender and blend into a thick paste. Stir the oat paste into the vegetable mixture. If you use your hands the mixture will blend together much better. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Let sit at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a large baking sheet with oil or spray it with cooking spray.
Form round burger patties with wet hands. Place patties on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake 15 more minutes. Flip again and bake 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite burger toppings. Enjoy!

Note: Spray your spatula with cooking spray before flipping burgers, it will prevent the burgers from sticking to your spatula.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Manna Organics Bread Review and Giveaway

Picture source

Manna Organics company contacted me a few weeks ago because they wanted to do a giveaway on my blog. They kindly sent me 4 loaves of their artisan, all natural bread to try. I was quite impressed with their tasty, moist, dense and sweet sprouted breads and their pleasantly sour, dense Bavarian sourdough bread.

From left: Cinnamon Date, Fig Fennel Flax, and Carrot Raisin

All of these beautiful sprouted Manna Breads were super moist, dense, rich, sweet and delicious. The dried fruits made these breads quite sweet without added sugars. I would never guess that these breads were made without added sugar, salt, yeast or oil, since they tasted pretty much like sweet cakes. I served them as a breakfast treat and after dinner dessert. The Fig, Fennel and Flax bread had a slight hint of licorice and a pretty, crunchy seeds topping. I liked the addition of poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for extra health benefits. The Carrot Raisin bread tasted almost like a carrot cake, minus the icing.

There are 9 flavors of sprouted Manna Breads: Banana Walnut Hemp, Carrot Raisin, Cinnamon Date, Fig Fennel Flax, Fruit & Nut, Millet Rice, Multigrain, Sunseeed, Whole Rye – and 3 flavors of Bavarian Sourdough Breads: Bavarian Whole Rye Sourdough, Sunny Sourdough and Multigrain Flax Sourdough.
Frozen Manna Organics breads are sold in most Whole Foods Markets and quality independent health food stores nationwide and in Canada. They are also available online on Manna Organics website.

I enjoyed the Bavarian Style Sourdough very much! That was probably my favorite of all (that and the Carrot Raisin). It reminded me of German Rye bread that I buy at Whole Foods often. The slices are thin, but the density and great taste is just perfect. It only has a few ingredients: Whole rye flour, filtered water, sea salt, caraway seeds, fennel seeds and coriander seeds. Despite the fennel seeds, this bread does not taste like licorice at all which is a big plus.

I made an after Thanksgiving sandwich with this bread, leftover Tofurky roast and cranberry sauce. Yummy!

I enjoyed it toasted with vegan butter and Marmite.

And I enjoyed it with vegan butter and red currant jam.

Do you want to try 4 Manna Organics breads for free? Manna Organics has generously offered to give 4 loaves of bread to one giveaway winner. The winner can pick the flavors :-) They will ship 4 loaves directly to the winner. This giveaway is only open to continental USA addresses only.

You have several ways to enter this giveaway. I will pick one random comment on December 9th, Friday evening. If you want extra entries, you have to leave a comment for each entry option to count, if you leave one big comment with everything in it, it will only count as one entry. The more comments, the better the chances are to win.

Mandatory entry:

# Leave a comment telling me which Manna Organics bread would you like to try the most.

Extra entries:

# Become a follower (member) of this blog and leave a comment that you did or that you already were a follower

# Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Follow Manna Organics on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment that you did (1 tweet per day is allowed). Include @CzechVegan and @MannaOrganics in the tweets.

# Like Manna Organics on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# Mention this giveaway, with the link, in a blog post, and leave a link to the post in a comment

# For extra 5 entries-make any recipe from Czech Vegan blog, and blog about it. Leave 5 separate comments for the entries.

Good luck!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sophie's Kitchen Vegan Seafood Giveaway winner

Sophie's Kitchen Vegan Seafood Giveaway winner is a comment number 25 (via Congratulations to Tammy with the comment "I Follow Sophie's Kitchen on Twitter babymasongrant"
Tammy, you won 2 coupons for Sophie's Vegan Seafood of your choice. I will contact you via Twitter to get your address.
Thank you everyone who entered my giveaway. Stay tuned for a new giveaway next week.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you all had a wonderful day and that you ate some amazing cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner. I had a Tofurky Roast, homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and peas. What did you have?

My sweet Shelly in her Thanksgiving bandana.

Vegan pumpkin pie (I cheated this year and bought one already made from Whole Foods). I made homemade coconut whipped topping that was better than any soy whipped cream :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The All American Vegan Review

Several weeks ago my friend Seth showed me his video featuring Nathan Winograd, one of the creators of the All American Vegan cookbook, speaking at World Vegetarian Festival 2011. Nathan's speech was very interesting and I got curious about the whole All American Vegan project and their new cookbook. Nathan and Jennifer Winograd have been vegan for over 20 years (That's pretty impressive!). They both work in the animal rights movement, promoting the No Kill philosophy not only when it comes to farm animals, but also cats and dogs. They try very hard to end the systematic killing of animals in the American shelters. Thanks to Nathan, Tompkins County in New York became the first No Kill community in the U.S. history, saving not only healthy animals but all treatable sick and injured animals as well. That is wonderful! I have been volunteering at various cat and dog shelters for years and I care very much about the No Kill Movement. Nathan and Jennifer believe that if we end the killing of dogs and cats, the animals that are closest to us, we can get people to care equally about the welfare of other animals as well. I was very happy to receive a copy of their cookbook for a review.
The All American Vegan cookbook is not just a cookbook, it is so much more. It is a wonderful book full of awesome recipes, vegan substitutions to meat, eggs, and dairy, helpful baking and cooking tips, and other useful and fun information (such as important moments in vegan history, trivia, list of animal-derived ingredients, the No Kill Movement in dog and cat shelters, new vegan menu planner, and things vegans should never say when discussing veganism with non-vegans).
This book is written in a fun, informative, and easy to read way. I can see this book becoming the new vegan resource book for newbie vegans. I have been vegan for over 5 years and still learned a lot of new stuff while reading the All American Vegan.
The main mission of this cookbook is to make vegan versions of the most popular foods that Americans like. By veganizing traditional American comfort foods (such as tuna melt, lasagna, hamburger, pizza), fast foods, desserts and everything that people used to like growing up in the USA, they eliminate the biggest barrier preventing people from giving up the consumption of meat, diary and eggs-not wanting to sacrifice taste. Food is closely tied to family traditions and one of the issues that many new vegans have is that they feel alienated when celebrating holidays with their family or having weekend dinners together. Food is tied to memories and many people like comfort foods because it can wake up some of their memories and traditions that they used to love. Take that away from them and they can become bitter and sad. By veganizing their favorite foods they don't have to give up their favorite, familiar foods and will be more likely to stick to a vegan diet.
Let's face it, not everyone who wants to go vegan is a vegetable, seeds, quinoa, and other health foods lover. Yes, there are many people who become vegan for health reasons first and eat a balanced, plant based diet that is mostly raw or has minimum processed mock meats, fried foods, sugar, white flour and other ingredients that I used in most comfort foods. But many new vegans want to eat the same way they used to, minus the cruelty of animal products. I am personally in between. I love comfort foods, especially veganized versions of traditional Czech and American dishes and sweet baked goods, but I also love "healthy" foods such as kale, quinoa, fresh vegetable juices, seeds, nuts, legumes, beans and most fruits and veggies. I was not always like this though. I had to slowly build my desire and taste buds for "healthy", unfamiliar foods. I wish I had this cookbook when I first became vegan, it would make my life much easier when I cooked for my American non-vegan family. A lot of the recipes from this cookbook are something that I made in one way or another over the years. Some things are new to me and I was happy to try them and I am planning on making many more soon.

I am like a kid sometimes when it comes to books and cookbooks. I love pictures, not just photographs but illustrations, too. The inner child in me jumped for joy after opening this cookbook because it is full of beautiful, cute and funny illustrations. And the recipes are great! Imagine a vegan diner style recipes in a fun package :-)

Some of the recipes that you will not want to miss: Cinnamon Rolls (page 70), Danishes (page 72), Glazed Donuts (page 74), Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (page 86), Corndogs (page 95). Matzo Ball Soup (page 104), Parmesan (page 126), Coconut Cream Pie (page 131), Golden Cream Filled Spongecakes-aka vegan "Twinkies" (page 136), Thanksgiving Menu featuring Stuffed Not A Turkey with maple Glazed Root Vegetables (pages 152-159) and the recipes that I tried bellow.

This is a lovely Banana Cream Pie (page 130) with Chocolate Sauce (page 146). This no-bake pie was amazing! Creamy, silky banana with smooth and decadent chocolate sauce. It was not overly sweet or heavy and it was made pretty quickly with no baking required.
I made Coconut Whipped Topping (page 148) but unfortunately I experience a major kitchen fail with the topping. Not because of the recipe, but the quality of my coconut milk. I usually buy one brand and make coconut whipped topping with great results, but this time I wanted to save a dollar and bought a cheaper brand that was full fat, same as the other brand, but for some reason the fat did not solidify in the fridge. That resulted in liquid topping instead of nice and fluffy whipped cream. Lesson learned there-stick to what you know that works, saving a few pennies on an ingredients that will ruin your recipe is not worth it. I did not throw the liquid coconut topping away, I made an ice cream out of it. I added orange flavoring and froze it. That created a nice orange-coconut ice cream.

Let's have breakfast! Blueberry Muffins (page 71) and a cup of hot tea, that is all I need to have a good breakfast. These muffins were very good. I used fresh blueberries. The recipe calls for maple syrup and I used mixture of half maple syrup and half agave nectar to cut down on the cost and they turned out great! Moist, sweet and dense. I will be making these again soon.

These Peanut Butter Cups (page 140) are a perfect vegan alternative to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I could not wait to try this recipe. The recipe calls for sturdy paper candy cups but I wanted more authentic look so I splurged on peanut butter cups candy mold and candy brushes. It was much more work but the results were worth it! And the taste was very close to the non-vegan peanut butter cups. Very good!

Fried No Chicken (page 96) was way better than the KFC chicken that I remembered from when I was a teenager. It was almost scary how realistic my seitan "chicken" tasted. The spices and herbs made this crispy fried no chicken a very flavorful experience. I wish I made some mashed potatoes and gravy at the same time, that would be perfect!

I love creamy soups so I made Cream of Mushroom Soup (page 103). Mmmmmm. Creamy, buttery and silky mushroom soup with a nice touch of thyme. I served it sprinkled with more thyme and a handful of croutons and it was awesome!

Some of my favorite quotes from All American Vegan:
"If it is edible, it can be made vegan."
"Some people may be uncaring, but most people are concerned about animals and will support efforts to improve their lives. make it easy for people to do the right thing, and they will."
"Quite simply, we can more effectively persuade people to be vegan if vegan food becomes as familiar, widespread, and appealing as the competition."
"Veganism can accommodate your palate and your appetite too."
"Had animal products not been available, our ancestors would have experimented with other sources that served the same purpose and end they were seeking and today those ingredients would be in widespread use instead."

Friday, November 18, 2011

17 Bean and Barley Soup

Look at this beautiful assortment of beans! I love all the different shapes, beautiful colors and textures of this "17 Bean & Barley Mix" by Trader Joe's. It is a bag full of beans and barley, great for making stews or soups. There is no seasoning so I added vegetable broth, bay leaves, extra barley, carrots, leeks, garlic and spices and made a very healthy, comforting soup. It was the perfect dinner for this cold autumn evening.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smokey White Bean Chili

Smokey White Bean Chili

1 Tbs olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 15-oz cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 28-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes in juice (or regular)
1 cup vegetable broth
1-2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Mash 1 can of beans in a bowl with a fork, set aside.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir chili powder, garlic and optional cayenne pepper into the onions, cook 1 minute stirring. Add broth and simmer 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, whole and mashed beans and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in liquid smoke. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with bread, vegan sour cream and fresh cilantro if desired.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dirty Vegan Foods

Few days ago I received a wonderful package from a cool vegan bakery "Dirty Vegan Foods" that was founded by two animal lovers with a goal to veganize all the snacky junky food that you loved as a kid. They make freshly baked "naughty Food with none of the Guilt!". I am very thankful for their sweet samples :-)

Do you miss Twinkies from your pre-vegan days? Now you can get a vegan version that is, in my opinion, much tastier and healthier than the popular American Twinkie. This sweet vegan miracle is called Winkie (Vegan Marshmallow Creme filled Canoe). The Winkie was born February 1st 2010. I wanted to compare the ingredients with Twinkies and I was horrified to find out that there are 37 ingredients in a Twinkie!
That is crazy! And most of the ingredients are horrible! Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Reduced Iron, B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Whole Eggs, Dextrose. Contains 2% or Less of: Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sweet Dairy Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Yellow 5, Red 40. (source Fooducate)

Bleached Flour? High Fructose Corn Syrup? Partially Hydrogenated Animal Shortening-Beef Fat? Eggs, Whey, chemicals and artificial flavors and colors? GROSS! As you can see, Twinkies are not vegan or even vegetarian.

On the other hand, Dirty Vegan Foods Winkies have only few ingredients: Unbleached flour, water, sugar, canola oil, corn syrup, non-hydrogenated shortening, tapioca starch, powdered soy, potato starch, barley malt, vanilla, baking soda, sea salt, natural flavors and gums.

None of these ingredients scare me or disgust me.

I loved Winkies! Super moist, dense, sweet canoe shaped cake that was generously filled with creamy marshmallow filling. I caught myself smile as I was eating these bad boys. I wish I had a whole big cake made into a giant Winkie!

Rocky Cookies Bites (photo source)

Oooooh, buttery chocolate chip cookies! A dozen of perfect little cookies with a generous amount of chocolate chips. I loved the balanced sweetness with a touch of salt that brought out the chocolate flavor. I put some in the microwave and heated them for a few seconds (20-30 seconds) and they came out almost like freshly baked out of the oven. They disappeared shortly after the Winkies.

Blizzard Balls (photo source)

This beautiful dessert was delicious! A dense chocolate cake (almost like a brownie), was filled with creamy vanilla filling, that was nice and fluffy, and frosted with marshmallow cream frosting and covered in coconut. I LOVE chocolate and coconut combo! Anytime, anywhere and in any form and shape. Blizzard Balls rock!

Between me and my husband the goodies were gone in two days............. I am still in a sugar coma now, a few days later :-)

If you want to find out more about this company and their delicious baked goodies, or want to order some freshly baked vegan junk food:

"Like" Dirty Vegan Foods on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter and visit their online store

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sophie's Kitchen Vegan Seafood Review and Giveaway

Breaded Vegan Fish Fillets with boiled potatoes, caraway seeds and fresh parsley

Vegan Prawns with cocktail sauce and lemon

Vegan Calamari with homemade vegan tartar sauce

When I first saw the selection of vegan seafood on Sophie's Kitchen website, I was thinking "No, way! This "seafood" looks way too real for it to be vegan......"
I grew up in a country that is so far away from the sea that we never have any fresh seafood. Seafood in Czech Republic is something foreign and we only serve it at fancy restaurants, or you can buy it frozen at specialty grocery stores. I had many opportunities to try seafood when I traveled around Europe as a child and as a teenager, but I never dared to eat any "creepy ocean crawlers".
I accidentally ate some fried Calamari when I was in Spain. I was about 11 years old and thought that they were fried onion rings or some kind of french fries.......But I liked it :-)
I had always wanted to overcome my fear of eating seafood, but by the time I got to the USA where seafood is plentiful I no longer ate meat and did not want to start eating meat. I make my mock tuna salad with chickpeas, but it does not taste or look like tuna salad. I never thought that there would ever be vegan seafood that would look or taste just like the real stuff. Well, recently, a miracle happened and Sophie's Kitchen revolutionary vegan seafood was born! Thanks to their little daughter Sophie who loves seafood, but unfortunately is allergic to it! Sophie's parents developed a line of delicious vegan seafood for her daughter and for the rest of us who are vegan, allergic to seafood or care about the ocean's resources and the environment (or all of the above). Sophie's Kitchen has the cutest website :-) By the way, they won the Best New Vegan Product award by VegNews magazine at Expo West 2011 :-)
Their line includes: Vegan Calamari, Vegan Shrimp, Vegan Breaded Fish Fillets, Vegan Squid Rings, Vegan Prawns, and Breaded Vegan Shrimp.
I was very fortunate to receive some coupons from Sophie's Kitchen for their awesome vegan seafood. I redeemed the coupons for Vegan Calamari, Breaded Vegan Fish Fillets and Vegan Prawns.
I liked the Breaded Vegan Fish Fillets a lot. I baked half of them at first, but the breading was not as crispy so I fried the other half and it was awesome! I served them with boiled potatoes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Yummy!
The Vegan Prawns had a bit rubbery texture, but a very interesting taste that I could not compare to anything that I ever had. I enjoyed them warm in my Vegan Paella recipe and cold with a cocktail sauce. I love how realistic the prawns look. I even fooled my family with them when I posted pictures of the Paella with vegan prawns on my Facebook wall.
I fried the Vegan Calamari and served them with my homemade vegan tartar sauce. Very good!

Vegan Prawns in my Paella Recipe

I know that you want to try this new vegan phenomenon so Sophie's Kitchen generously offered 2 coupons for their vegan seafood to one lucky reader. Yay!!!

So, who wants to win some cool vegan seafood? You have several ways to enter this giveaway. I will pick one random comment on November 25th, Friday evening. You have to leave a comment for each entry option to count, if you leave one big comment with everything in it, it will only count as one entry. The more comments, the better the chances are to win.

Mandatory entry:

# Leave a comment telling me what would you like to try from Sophie's Kitchen

Extra entries:

# Become a follower (member) of this blog and leave a comment that you did or that you already were a follower

# Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Follow Sophie's Kitchen on Twitter and leave a comment that you did with your Twitter name

# Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment that you did (1 tweet per day is allowed). Include @CzechVegan and @VeganSeafood in the tweets.

# Like Sophie's Kitchen on Facebook and leave a comment that you did

# Mention this giveaway, with the link, in a blog post, and leave a link to the post in a comment

# For extra 5 entries-make any recipe from Czech Vegan blog, and blog about it. Leave 5 separate comments for the entries.

Good luck!