Archive for July 18th, 2011

July 18, 2011

From Local Markets to Your Grocer’s Freezer: Moo Moo’s Vegetarian (and Vegan!) Cuisine

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Moo Moo’s has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2005. Owner Michele Rastelli, a devout vegetarian since her teens, dreamed up Moo Moo’s long before it became a real brand, first wanting a vegetarian restaurant and then beginning as a small brand selling to local markets out of a café kitchen. Moo Moo’s is now touted by some of the world’s largest news outlets, namely FOX and CNN. And for good reason, the meals are imaginative, tasty and made with fresh ingredients. All meals are vegetarian and many are gluten-free and vegan, as well.

 

I tried the Poblano Chickpea Patties frozen meal, which happens to be both vegan and gluten-free. The meal comes with two patties, similar to a crabcake in density and texture, atop a mixture of corn and peppers. My first impression was that it was one of the most delicious appearing frozen meals I’ve seen in a very long time, even just out of the box and still frozen. Once heated, the warm colors were comforting, reminding me of a home-cooked meal. I loved the sprinkling of paprika over the patties, giving a smoky flavor and great color.

As some of our readers may know, I eat a lot of frozen vegan and vegetarian meals. While I cannot say that any frozen meal can hold up against something freshly prepared, this Moo Moo’s concoction very successfully competes with homemade cuisine. A homerun in my book for sure.

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July 18, 2011

Samai “Breath of the Rainforest” – Exotic Brand with Wholesome Values

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I spend a lot of time in Publix’s produce section: wandering the aisles, checking different labels to see where something was grown and looking for inspiration for my next culinary endeavor. While I’m doing all of this, my fiancé is normally either in a different part of the store or standing there playing with his iPhone, bored. But this time he found a treasure for me, something that he originally planned on eating himself until I snatched it away from him once we came home. Samai, a brand that I’d never heard of before this weekend, is now one of my favorite snack brands. Their name enough captivates me, meaning “Breath of the Rainforest” in Quechua (a native language of Ecuador). But it was their values that really caught my attention. They procure all of their produce from independent farms, dedicated to maintaining the rainforest and therefore never cultivating from protected areas. I’ve never been to Ecuador, but I have been around other areas of Latin America and I know that a brand like this, which cultivates solely from small farmers, is a god-send. They also return their produce waste, i.e. plantain peels, to the farmers to use as fertilizer. That is truly thinking full circle.

The great part is that not only do they have an awesome business model, but their product really tastes great. There are many eco-friendly, locally procured and otherwise “greener” companies out there that fail to actually produce a product people want to eat. But Samai’s plantain chips are absolutely delicious. Even my totally omnivore, un-eco-conscientious fiancé picked them up off the shelf, just because he thought they looked tasty! I was nice and I shared the goodies with him. We both thought they were crunchy and had great flavor. He devoured the garlic ones, while I preferred the pacific sea-salt.

I’ve noticed on their website that they also carry other varieties and flavors, including banana and yucca chips. Their products are also 100% vegan and kosher. I applaud Samai for creating such a conscientious company without sacrificing flavor. They are truly one of a kind and I look forward to trying their other varieties.

Visit their site at http://www.theexoticblends.com/

July 18, 2011

Starbucks’ New Vegan Meal Bistro Box

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

Last week I was at Starbucks (where I stay a good portion of my weekends for studying purposes) and saw that they now have a vegan meal option in their refrigerated section.  Finally!  An option besides sugar and cheese.

Again last night I found myself at Starbucks late into the evening and decided to try this new phenomenon.  After speaking with the staff, I found they were divided on whether the sesame noodles would be good cold or hot (it comes cold) but I decided to try it as it comes.  The barrista even bought me a soy Cinamon Dolce Latte for trying this new dish!

Here is the lowdown: It was interesting, filling, not bad.  I do agree this could have been better hot but it’s ok cold as well, almost like a salad.  In this meal you get: sesame covered peanuts that are delightful but a little hard – most likely because they are in the refrigerated section, a small cucumber salad side dish which is good, a square of dark chocolate, a few cubes of tofu that you can add to the sesame noodles, and some lettuce underneath it all.

I would eat it again although it’s not a destination meal, I would not go to Starbucks specifically to eat it but I’m grateful to have an option that differs from the tomato mozzarella sandwich that I love but know is not the best for me.

Incredibly, this full box only has 350 calories including the square of chocolate; and it was filling.

I give Starbucks four carrots for offering a vegan option and three for taste.

For more information on this Bistro box, go to http://www.starbucks.com/menu/food/bistro-boxes/sesame-noodles-bistro-box?foodZone=9999

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