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National Vegetarian Week 2019 – Veggie Foodie Treats for the Non-Veggie!

This week has been a wondrous taste sensation through the world of vegetarian food thanks to #NationalVegetarianWeek hosted by The Vegetarian Society UK. As a non-veggie and humble meat eater, I adore trying new ways to increase my veggie food intake and weeks like this make it easier to try new products and get involved with both new and established vegetarian food brands. I have tried and tested many products this week, those featured here are the ones that will be staying in my beloved kitchen as ‘regulars’. I don’t see them as ‘vegetarian alternatives’ I just see them now as ‘food I enjoy’. And, surely, that is half the hurdle conquered…

I am a nibbler. Yup, a total nibbler. I love a big plate of food as a meal but, I do love to nibble and what I often find is that nibbling can fill you up too much so by the time you get to your meal, you don’t actually want it. But when I had the chance to try these little nuggets of nuttiness, my nibbling habits changed. A Little Nutty, in their own words, “is all about providing grain free nut alternatives. A Little Nutty is carb conscious, free from preservatives and refined sugars.” – They are vegetarian low-carb nibbles that have a small amount of honey in to give a little sweetness but not enough to spike your blood glucose levels if, like me, you are diabetic. The also hugely clever thing is… they have a slight flapjack taste. Which is amazing seeing as they do not contain oats at all. And I miss flapjacks so much it is unreal as I love them but, sadly, oats spike my blood sugar through the roof, so they, for me, like many other diabetics are a complete no no now. But… these are amazing!

I tried 3 varieties of the bites and also the granola. All were lovely but the stand out product for me was the cranberry nutty bites. The perfect balance of sweetness, fruit, stickiness, firmness and of course, nuttiness. I sat and did the taste test and ate 2 of each variety. The next day, I confess, I finished off the packet of the cranberry nutty bites by myself (ssssh don’t tell anyone!) and when I realised, I went into a mild panic about my blood sugar levels. They were fine! I didn’t spike at all. Phew! A good testament to the balance of these nutty bites of nom nom nom!

And whilst we are talking about nibbling, let’s talk about these little balls. Well not strictly balls, but Bakes And Balls Frocolate Truffles. Yes that says ‘Frocolate’ and let me show you why… in Bakes And Balls own words: “Our unique truffles are a delicious combination of Dried fruit (dates, figs and prunes); Grand Cru de Sambirano Cocoa Powder and Cocoa Butter from Madagascar; Raw Fijian Coconut Oil and Baobab Powder.”

The little frocolate truffle balls are rich, delicious and luxurious. They are gluten free, nut free and dairy free. In fact, they are free of the top 14 allergens as well as having no added sugar. They are also high in fibre and have the added benefit of the natural vitamins and minerals in the cocoa and the fruit that is used to make them.

My whole house loved these, especially myself, as I really do not like commercial chocolate. I like something a little different; a little more ‘grown up’ and these are just perfect.

Lazy Vegan and their ‘Pulled Peaz’ are a staple in our home. A meat alternative made from pea protein and completely vegan. But what I love about Lazy Vegan is not just their awesome attitude to healthy eating but also the fact that it’s not just a meat alternative. 2 out of the 3 varieties are complete meals in a bag. Healthy vegan ready meals…in a bag. Perfect!

I personally love the original pulled peaz variety as it is exceptionally low in carbs. I use it as a base for various things such as curries, tacos, burritos, stews, pie, pasta bakes, fajitas etc. I made a veggie Butter ‘Chicken’ curry this week using Lazy Vegan Original Pulled Peaz, the result was below. It was delicious and filling, but what was even better, the whole family devoured it!

Today’s lunch consisted of fajitas (see photo below) using the Lazy Vegan Mexican Pulled Peaz, a little of my own fajita spice, mix, some extra peppers and a couple of onions. All dipped with Holy Moly Guacamole Dips and Mr Organic Red Chilli & Ginger Salsa. You may notice that this photo is a tad on the blurry side. I could tell you that my camera was not working properly or that I was shaking a little, but quite frankly, I was rushing to take the photo so I could eat it! How is that for honesty? 😉

In conclusion, if you haven’t already tried Lazy Vegan then pop down to your local Sainsbury’s and give it a go. It really is worth a try if you want to cut down on your meat eating or even if you don’t, but want to try something new.

Holy Moly it’s Holy Moly Guacamole, and when I got this little package through the post, I was hugely excited to try them. We are big #GuacFans in the house. As soon as it arrived, I immediately arranged to have a chilli and tacos evening meal just so I had an excuse to use them as well as the taste test.

These guacamole tubs are not the average guac you can buy from your local supermarket. They are fresh tasting, and enhance the flavours of the food you are eating them with rather than completely overpowering it. This is because the flavour tastes natural rather than pumped full of artificial flavourings and a bucket load of salt which some of the more commercial brands contain.

I want to try a few more ideas with Holy Moly Dips, as, whilst I was tasting them, I realised that because of the fresh taste these would be perfect in a few picnic recipes in the summer, so watch out for a full review in a few weeks. In the meantime you can, of course, scroll up and see the dips in action with my Lazy Vegan fajitas!

In The Buff sauces are not your standard ketchups. As In The Buff say themselves, “In The Buff is a tasty ketchup with an added boost of plant-based protein to help refresh your food and recharge your body.

Try it on your favourite meals and snacks for a protein hit that gets you looking and feeling your best (especially in the buff).”

I always like to try a sauce, salsa or other dip by itself or with a tortilla chip or bread before adding it to food just so I can give a real review on the taste. The sweet paprika protein ketchup is exactly that, it’s sweet, it tastes of paprika and has a ketchup consistency, but more than that, it could be used is so many other ways. It could be easily added to pasta to create a little pasta sauce, to be drizzled over a veggie Lazy Vegan fajita (see above), I even added a little squirt to my BBQ bean stew!

Now, when the lovely Suzy from Bace Foods chatted with me on Twitter, she said something that made me smile, and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing a little of our conversation…

I meant what I said: the best type of vegan food is the one that everyone can and wants to eat. Bace Foods certainly provide that but not only that. They care, even down to their packaging. A box lined with WoolCool arrived, chilled to perfection, containing 3 pots of peas and beans. Popping peas with perks, baked beans with benefits and aromatic beans with perks.

Cooked in just 4 minutes in the microwave, these pots of delight are a revelation! We all tried them and we all had our favourites. Although I thoroughly enjoyed them all, and I think I ate the most (gasp!), I have to say the popping peas were outstanding. They tasted like a very upmarket, incredibly well seasoned mushy peas but with a delicious twist. I was suddenly thinking about making a veggie pie, with homemade spiced potato wedges with popping peas on the side. A real posh pea! Fab!

Each variety had an excellent flavour and very good texture. Not too mushy but not so firm that you had to crunch your way through peas and beans like many healthy options tend to.

Suzy, you have a new #BaceFanGirl! 😉

Chocolate! Well not quite… welcome to the world of Supertreats. The Supertreats carob bars are a healthy alternative to chocolate. They’re sweetened with natural coconut sugar, instead of refined sugar, and are caffeine free and theobromine free – unlike milk, dark or raw chocolate. They’re made from 100% natural, organic ingredients and are packed with good stuff. And whilst they don’t taste exactly like chocolate, if you are a child of the 80’s like myself and remember the old Caramac bars, they have a similar taste to this. So you get that sweet but slight caramel taste to the velvety and milky carob bar.

Certainly a healthier version of a standard commercial chocolate and these smaller bars are handy to keep in for when you get that chocolate craving 😉

LÄRABAR, my new favourite snack bars! Silky, chewy, delectable bars of tasty yumminess and what is even better? They are gluten free, no added sugar and no added flavouring. Full of flavour, texture and goodness, these bars now always have a place not only in my kitchen cupboard but also in my handbag. Great for ‘on the go’ snacking when you fancy something sweet and need to stop the hunger pangs.

The bars are not baked or cooked but simply have the few ingredients pressed together. They also neither freeze nor melt which means you can safely carry them with you in your bag in the winter or summer.

Whilst I love all 3 flavours currently available in the UK, the Apple Cinnamon is my favourite. It tastes fresh, spicy and comforting. Simply delicious!

So as a self-proclaimed and happy meat eater, thanks to some new discoveries this week, I now have more of a veggie food store cupboard than ever before and long may that continue!

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