This list is certainly not complete, but it includes some of recent finds and faves that I've been wanting to share with you, so here we go.
(1) First, and most importantly, ice cream. I cannot tell you the delight I experienced when I saw Good Karma ice cream in our local health food store (Choices Market, for any BC'ers out there). Now, I had heard much raving about the 'Carrot Cake' flavor before trying any of the flavors. So, I picked up one of each flavor available in our store - Carrot Cake, Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Swirl, Coconut Mango, and Mocha Mudd Pie. We still don't have the Banana Fudge or Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (bring 'em in Choices!). I had to try the Carrot Cake flavor first, though it wasn't my favorite. It was creamy and tasty, but I guess I was expecting more after the buzz, just like some of you no doubt experience with recipe hype! I still buy the carrot cake flavor occasionally, but my very favorites are the Vanilla and Coconut Mango. The Vanilla is the creamiest, most authentic vanilla flavor I have yet to try in a non-dairy ice cream. And, it isn't sickly or heavy as some ice creams can be. The Coconut Mango is creamy and refreshing, with a swirl of fruity mango through the frozen dessert. The Mocha Mudd Pie is also incredible, but I don't like the caffeine later in the day (though, I've been known to enjoy a morning ice cream treat, and this Mocha Mudd Pie is my first pick when the sun rises!) Overall, this is seriously excellent ice cream, and is also soy-free for those of you with soy allergies. You know, you folks in the US are lucky. You have the full offerings of this Good Karma brand, and also Temptation non-dairy ice cream, and Wheeler's brand, and others. (Sadly, I haven't tried either Temptation or Wheeler's brand, which is almost criminal given my deep affection for ice cream. For those of you that watch the Food Network, if you've ever heard Bobby Flay mention that ice cream is his favorite dessert - I'm entirely in agreement - I eat some ice cream every day). Let's move on from ice cream. I realize it doesn't excite some of you quite the same. (??!)
(2) Next up is Salba Tortilla Chips. Now, these are great tasting, crunchy tortilla chips that have Salba seed added to the corn in the chip! You don't know the salba seeds are there... you just munch and enjoy awesome tortilla chips. Now, let's face it, we're probably not getting a huge nutritional benefit from the Salba in a handful of chips... but, let's also face it, some of us eat much more than a handful! So, you may as well get some nutritional powerhouse Salba seeds into us while indulging!
(3) Parma 'vegan parmesan'. I love this stuff. There was a time I didn't like nutritional yeast. But I think any of you that want an introduction to nutritional yeast should first try Parma. It's the combination of raw walnuts and salt (and 'love') with the nutritional yeast that makes this product much more than nutritional yeast. And the whole is more than the sum of the parts (again, must be that 'love' in the mix that makes the difference). For some reason, this cheesy topping is tastier than you think it should be, the ingredients are so simple. One caution: I don't think it tastes like parmesan, for those of you thinking it will. It's not like dairy parmesan. (thank goodness) For me, it's something better, and cleaner tasting... and altogether addictive. I seriously can't get enough of this stuff! I order mine through cosmos or vegan essentials, and yes, I'm willing to pay the ridiculous shipping and sometimes custom charges to keep a regular stock of Parma. We use it daily - on salads, soups, sandwiches - and our girls love it mixed with Goddess Dressing for 'dipping'.
(4) Living Nutz seasoned raw nuts. These I also ordered from vegan essentials (again, maybe Cosmos might also carry them soon). One of our daughters is crazy about the Vegan Cheezy Almonds, pictured right. They really do taste 'cheezy', but don't include any nutritional yeast! They are such a healthful snack, and again, worth ordering online (at least to me). I also love the sweeter varieties of the Banana Bread Walnuts, and Cinna-Pecan-Bun - all three varieties are being regularly stocked in our house!
(5) Theo Chocolate Fig, Fennel, and Almond Bar. This bar isn't available in our area, I was lucky enough to try a sample. I am a huge fan of both fig and fennel, and so this bar hit my sweet spot. In fact, I would have enjoyed it without the almonds and with even more fig and fennel... but that's just me and how much I appreciate the fig and fennel flavor marriage... and the almonds certainly do provide a nutty balance to the fig and fennel flavor points. Theo chocolate is fair trade and certified organic. Not all varieties are vegan, but this flavor is. So, if you see this Fig, Fennel and Almond bar in your area - pick one up to try... it's a winner!
(6) Artisana Raw Cashew Butter. For a long time now, I've been searching high and low for a raw cashew butter. Not to eat 'raw', but for the taste of raw cashews in a nut butter. Regular cashew butter is tan in color, and has a distinctive roasted cashew taste. Not raw cashew butter. It is creamy white in color, and has a delicate buttery creamy taste - just like raw cashews. You'll see me playing with this in upcoming recipes. As a side note, Artisana also carries raw pecan and walnut butters (also fantastic), and raw coconut butter products, like their "Cocoa Bliss"... which when lightly melted (even in a warm room) is rich and cocoa-y... I've enjoyed it straight off the spoon! You can buy them online at vegan essentials (maybe cosmos will carry them soon as well). I also recently found them at our local Choices Market - but note that the label may be a little different than the one pictured.
(7) Simple Foods Soy Nut Butter. This is an organic roasted soy nut spread, and there are several flavor varieties. Two that I have tried and really like are the Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate. Why I like this spread is that with all the peanut/nut allergies present with today's kids and the food restrictions in schools, this gives us parents an easy option for a 'pb&j' sandwich without the 'pb'. I recently found it, and it expanded my options from using hemp nut butter (with cinnamon/agave nectar) or sunflower butter (with jam) in our daughter's lunches. Now that we have just finished the school year, you may not use this too much, but when the school year starts again in September keep this product in mind. You can use it on sandwiches, or sandwiches in crackers for recess, or spread on celery in place of pb for the classic 'ants on a log'. Plus, if you use the chocolate spread, your kids think they are getting a special chocolate treat!
(8) Finally as I begin with ice cream, I must end with ice cream. With this ice cream, however, I'm unable to say I love it. Only because it's not yet available in Canada, and I haven't yet sampled it. I simply anticipate that I will dearly love this ice cream. Made without dairy, and without soy... made with coconut milk! And I had wondered why Turtle Mountain changed their line of ice creams from the 'Soy Delicious' branding to the current 'So Delicious'. Now I'm suspecting that this name change was part of their strategy for expansion into soy-free ice cream novelties. I'm not sure if that's the case, just my suspicion. Really, it doesn't matter to me. Turtle Mountain has been producing wonderful soy ice creams for years now, and I think this is a very exciting development in their product line. I can't wait to get my hands on this line of coconut ice cream - between the Good Karma line of rice ice creams, and Turtle Mountain's new coconut milk ice creams, I may never eat soy ice creams again. (but don't hold me to that) :)