Sweet Snacks for an Herbivore

Trying to get healthier, but have a sweet tooth calling your name? The SO Delicious Dark Chocolate Truffle ice cream might try to break you, but there are some other yummy snacks that can satisfy a sweet tooth without the after-affects of bowls on bowls of sugar!

  • Little Secrets: These faux M&M’s just hit my local Kroger’s, and I’m a fan! Dark chocolate, sea salt and peanuts make a combination that’s nearly impossible to beat! And it’s no secret that their ingredients are all natural and ethical, with fair trade chocolate and coatings colored with turmeric and spirulina. Just watch out for the Peanut Butter flavor, as it is the only flavor that has whey. They’re additionally good to quiet cravings, just pop in a few and your sweet tooth is set!

vegancan

  • Larabars: Larabars are snack bars based of nuts and dates, so they can be great to have in the pantry as a sweet and healthy treat on the go. Different flavors include Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Pie, and Lemon Bar.

vegancand

  • Justin’s products: Justin’s has a plethora of sweet products ranging from dark chocolate peanut butter cups (Reese’s has nothing on these!) to chocolatey, nutty spreads. They do have palm oil though!

vegancandy

  • Enjoy Life Chocolate: Chocolate chips and chunks make any bowl of fruit a little more tempting! Especially when scary dairy is the least of your concerns! You can also make homemade trail mix, blend with avocados for a healthy chocolate mousse, or add a few into your PB&J!

vegancandyy

  • Hail Merry Tarts & Macaroons: These raw vegan products have been spotted in health stores such as Whole Foods and Rainbow Blossom. Within the last few weeks, I’ve frequently seen them on sale around town! All products of theirs are certified vegan and use mostly organic, familiar products such as cashews, coconut sugar and coconut oil. I’ve tried the Persian Lime Tart and the Almond Butter Chocolate Cup! Both were delicious and left my sweet tooth satisfied without feeling sluggish!

vegancandyyy

Try these products out next time you’re on the hunt for a healthier, sweet alternative!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Satisfy a Cruelty-Free Sweet-tooth!

Valentine’s Day tomorrow means sweets out the wahzoo! We’ve dug deep into the vegan sweets around town, enough to know what chocolatey, sugary finds are making their way in stores!

  • Flora: Flora’s treats have made their way across town! You can find cake donuts, toaster tarts, cookies and macaroons in Quills and/or Sunergos Coffee. They’re consistently delicious, and always have the right amount of sweetness without being cloying, which I love!

img_2499

  • Half Peach: Half Peach is filled with shelves of vegan baked goods! Selections range from cakes (oil-free and not), amazing chocolate chip cookies, turnovers, and more!
  • Annie May’s: Annie May’s is the spot every allergen-battler has been dreaming of. Everything in the shop is gluten-free, and several items are additionally vegan. Their case features pop-tarts, donuts, cookies, cupcakes and other sweet finds!
  • Highland Coffee: Highland Coffee might be an unexpected place to find as many vegan options as they have, but thank goodness they aren’t skimping on the cruelty-free treats! This lovely little shop will have cakes, cupcakes, scones, chocolate-covered espresso beans, chocolate cashew date bars and more on hand at all times! Sometimes, they even make yummy pies or have homemade vegan butter! Okay, so butter might not be a dessert, but it can get there 😉
  • Whole Foods: Whole Foods is always stocked on sugary vegan deliciousness! They have a range of eclectic vegan cupcakes, as well as cookies, oatmeal cream pies, buckeye bars and sweet muffins. Yum!

img_2500

  • Sweet Surrender: Sweet Surrender is located in the center of a street of delicious, vegan-friendly restaurants, making it the perfect stop after dinner to end the night on a sweet note! This bakery will usually have a couple vegan cakes on hand, and usually a vegan cupcake flavor as well!
  • Ramsi’s: Ramsi’s is known for their brunch and dinner plates, but it’s always nice when a sit-down restaurant has some vegan desserts on hand as well! Ramsi’s has a vegan trifle that will make you double-check with your waiter if it’s vegan, as well as cashew butter stuffed dates and sweet plantains with maple syrup. Get dinner and dessert all in one stop!
  • Mayan Cafe: Another dinner spot with a great vegan dessert option is Mayan Cafe! I haven’t had their chocolate cake, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it! If you’re looking for a classy, cruelty-free night out, this is the place!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Cruelty-Free Fried Chicken Joint

img_9954

The world just got another fried chicken restaurant…

Oh wait, except this one is entirely cruelty-free! Temple of Seitan is taking on the inevitable first all vegan fried chicken joint!  That’s right KFC, be very afraid!  This new spot makes their vegan chicken out of seitan, a gluten-based alternative. Temple of Seitan will be putting their chicken in everything from subs to mac and cheese, and serving their plant-based chicken popcorn style and family style! The only bad news? This fried vegan chicken is calling our names all the way from across the pond! London was lucky enough to get the first vegan chicken joint, but hopefully America will get the memo and be next for a store-front of this juicy, breaded, fried deliciousness! I might just have to book a flight to London soon if not!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Surprising Store Finds for the Vegan Junk Food Enthusiast

After going vegan, you might start to realize that grass and greens can be the least of a vegan’s concerns! With so many sweet and salty, animal-approved temptations out there, the “Potato Chip Vegan” even began circling around the vegan world for the herbivores dedicated to animal ethics who don’t mind indulging on some cruelty-free treats. If only kale tasted as good as chocolate frosting! Here are some surprising store finds to satisfy the Potato Chip Vegan in you!

  • Lay’s Classic Potato Chips
  • Lay’s Regular (unbaked) BBQ Chips
  • Kettle Brand Maple Bacon Potato Chips
  • Betty Crocker Baco’s & McCormick Bac’n pieces (and some other vegan bacon bit brands)

bacn

  • Oreos
  • Popcorn at Regal Movie Theaters and sometimes AMC Movie Theaters
  • Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
  • Junior Mints
  • Bugles
  • Airheads
  • Swedish Fish
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Skittles
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Krispy Kreme’s Glazed Cherry Pies
  • Duncan’s Chocolate Frosting
  • Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

bacnss

  • Unfrosted Strawberry Poptarts
  • Xtra Tangy Buffalo Wing Pringles
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Nutter Butters
  • Thomas Blueberry Bagels
  • Smucker’s Marshmallow Topping
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Burger King’s French Toast Sticks

ftoast

  • Earth Balance Cheddar Squares (vegan Cheez-Its)
  • Auntie Anne’s pretzels (with no butter)
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Reese’s Puffs
  • Cap’n Crunch
  • Original flavored Pretzel Crisps
  • Dark Chocolate Pretzel BarkThins

If you’re feeling like indulging, save the grass for our cow friends 😉 and show omnivores what they’ve been eating vegan all along!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Thanksgiving Veganized

What better way to give thanks than celebrating lives instead of eating them? With so many vegan substitutes, it gets easier and easier every year to veganize Thanksgiving! You can even have V-Grits cater your Thanksgiving spread with vegan Turkey Pot Pie, a healthy bean & oat based Thanksgiving loaf, Mac and Cheese topped with breadcrumbs, Beans & Collard Greens, Orange Walnut Quinoa Salad, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, homemade Bourbon Balls and 6 packs of Elixir’s Harvest Cider Kombucha! Did your stomach just growl, too? You can even make some yummy side dishes and appetizers with our cheese line! Add spinach, artichokes, garlic powder and italian seasonings to our Mozzarella sauce for a yummy spinach and artichoke dip! Or try our Mild Cheddar sauce over broccoli or in a potato casserole! Don’t want to fuss over appetizers? Put out a bowl of our Pimento spread with veggies or crusty bread for dipping and you’re good to go!

For even more Thanksgiving options, though, there’s a whole grocery world of holiday vegan spins waiting to be explored! You can replace the dairy in homemade mashed potatoes with creamy coconut milk! Since just about every Thanksgiving side pretty much requires butter, Earth Balance always seems to do the job! Kite Hill also makes amazing vegan cream cheese and yogurt, if a recipe you want to try calls for it! Green Beans and yams can easily be made vegan, too. There are also some good lookin’ vegan turkeys out in stores! Tofurky (no, they are not made of tofu 😉 ), Gardein (featured below) and Field Roast vegan turkeys are some of the most popular out there! There are even versions that are pastry dough wrapped or filled with stuffing! Even Trader Joes has a Turkey-less Stuffed Roast! I haven’t experimented with any vegan Turkey’s personally, but they have all been reviewed to be pretty gnarly! For dessert, luckily the typical (double check allergens just to be safe!) pastry dough is vegan! Top some apple filling with a sheet of pastry dough as a crust and bam! You’ve got apple pie! In Lucky’s Market, neighbors to our line of V-Grits Cheese Sauces are rice milk and soy milk based vegan whipped cream! I haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, but I cannot wait to drench my holiday sweets in mountains of that stuff! We hope this makes your veganized holidays a little bit easier! Happy cruelty-free eatin,’ folks!

gardein_holiday_roast_570

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Sunrise Sanctuary

Last November I was headed to Akron, Ohio; and there was no way I was about to drive six hours without stopping at at least one new farm animal sanctuary along the way! Sanctuaries are more than vital to the vegan movement, saving innocent animals from brutal lives in horrendous animal agriculture conditions. Lucky me, I made it to Sunrise Sanctuary in Columbus, Ohio just in time for their “Thanksgiving for the Turkeys,” just as Thanksgiving should be! The rescued turkeys were fed yummy snacks like pumpkin and sweet potatoes, and the sanctuary visitors got to mingle with the furry residents and partake in a chili cook off! Cuddling with cows, stocking up on rad Sunrise Sanctuary apparel, drinking apple cider and eating chili is my kinda afternoon! The animals were free to roam at their leisure, ranging from horses and goats to gentle cows and sassy little piggies! The turkeys were waddling in between the line of people waiting to get chili, curious to see what shenanigans were happening. Visiting Sunrise was also my first experience meeting a cow, and I can’t think of an instance that melted my heart more. They are so large, soft and sweet! A cow named Baby Moo even knelt down so I could get a better reach to scratch  his ears! We couldn’t think of a better place to give a portion of V-Box meal kit and V-Card recipe envelope proceeds to this October. This year, their Thanksgiving for the Turkeys will be held on November 20th. If you’re going up north anytime soon, we would definitely recommend checking Sunrise Sanctuary out!

cowfrancowfrandcowpigcowturk

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Louisville

When I first visited Louisville, I was floored by the overwhelming number of vegan options in town! It seemed as if I could eat anywhere, without having to check twice, or call ahead in fear of the dreaded vegetable plate! If only everyone knew! Here are all the vegan-friendly places (or soon-to-be places, hint hint 😉 ) in the 502!

  1. V-Grits
  2. Half Peach Bakery & Cafe
  3. Lovafare
  4. Flora
  5. Ramsi’s
  6. Dragon King’s Daughter
  7. The Meridian Cafe
  8. Silver Dollar
  9. The North End Cafe
  10. The Mayan Cafe
  11. P.F Changs
  12. BoomBozz
  13. SnoWhat Snowballs
  14. Queen of Sheba
  15. Garage Bar
  16. Little Jerusalem
  17. Germantown Crafthouse
  18. Addis Grill
  19. Abyssinia
  20. Roots
  21. Heart and Soy
  22. Annie’s Cafe
  23. Cafe Mimosa
  24. El Camino
  25. Bean
  26. Steel City Pops
  27. Zoe’s Kitchen
  28. California Pizza Kitchen
  29. Please & Thank You
  30. Proof on Main
  31. Joy Luck
  32. Tom & Chee
  33. Simply Thai
  34. Time 4 Thai
  35. Heitzman’s Bakery and Cafe
  36. Havana Rumba
  37. Chipotle
  38. Wendy’s
  39. Seviche
  40. Varanese
  41. Qdoba
  42. Lydia House
  43. Slice
  44. Kentucky Taco Company
  45. RedTop Hotdogs
  46. The Fishery
  47. Dairy Kastle
  48. Dakshin
  49. Shalimar
  50. The Grape Leaf
  51. Chopshop
  52. Noodles & Company
  53. Taco Bell
  54. Pieology
  55. Wild Rita’s
  56. Shiraz
  57. Martini’s Italian Bistro
  58. Blaze Pizza
  59. Mellow Mushroom
  60. Quills
  61. Joella’s
  62. Royal’s
  63. Louivino
  64. Four Sisters
  65. Zen Garden
  66. Nam Nam Cafe
  67. Bluegrass Brewing Company
  68. Against the Grain
  69. Holy Grale
  70. Wiltshire
  71. The Hub
  72. Whole Foods
  73. Rainbow Blossom
  74. Annie May’s
  75. Sweet Surrender
  76. BarriCibo
  77. Heine Brothers
  78. Highland Coffee
  79. Vietnam Kitchen
  80. The Irish Rover
  81. Sapporo
  82. Wild Ginger
  83. Sake Blue
  84. Kansai
  85. Asahi
  86. Salsarita’s
  87. Panera
  88. Pita Pit
  89. The Falafel House
  90. The Three Amigos
  91. El Mundo
  92. Yang Kee Noodle
  93. Comfy Cow
  94. The Weekly Juicery
  95. Graeter’s
  96. Olive Garden
  97. Buca Di Beppo
  98. McQuixote Books & Coffee
  99. Feast
  100. Zad’s
  101. Mt Fuji
  102. ToGo Sushi
  103. Barcode 1758
  104. Corbette’s
  105. Arctic Scoop
  106. Oishiii
  107. Super Chefs
  108. Ginza
  109. Osaka
  110. Shogun
  111. Charim
  112. Fun Mi Cafe
  113. Olive Leaf Bistro
  114. Bunz Burgers
  115. Skyline
  116. La Bamba
  117. Spinelli’s
  118. Granville Inn
  119. Pizza Donisi’s

Happy cruelty-free eatin’ folks!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

V-Grits Heads to Chi-Town!

This past Saturday, the V-Grits crew had a rad time selling our vegan cheeses at Chicago Veganmania! We came, we ate (a lot), we sold, we left. Here are some highlights from our trip (mostly food, of course).

  • Rocket 88: Out first stop was in Indy! We needed some donut/coffee power to get us to Chicago, so a stop at a local coffee shop with a lovely selection of vegan options was definitely needed! Some veg-friendly menu items included Apple Pie Donuts (delish!) and savory Tempeh Waffles. If you’re in the neighborhood, I would definitely check it out!
  • Chicago Diner: I ordered a Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip Milkshake with whipped cream Saturday night. How’s that for plant-based? 😉 Chicago Diner is doing it right, with their awesome slogan “Meat free since ’83!” Meat free is how we like to roll! Of course, no diner is complete without country fried steak, spicy chicken sandwiches, and Reubens, right? This spot had it all, and was packed from wall to wall when we visited! We love to see vegetarian spots thriving, and this one kept our bellies full (for a couple of days) and our taste buds content!
  • Pick Me Up Cafe: Another vegan-friendly diner we ate at was Pick Me Up! This diner had everything from vegan jalapeño poppers, to french toast, to steak pizza grinders! The portions will not disappoint! Not to mention, a killer tea selection! I opted for a dark orange cinnamon clove tea, and regret not asking for another tea bag!
  • Chicago Veganmania: We had such a blast at this event! While selling cheese out the wahzoo, we met some inspiring folks, including Jasmin Singer, co-host of podcast “Our Hen House” and Senior Editor of Vegnews, cookbook author and YouTube star the Vegan Black Metal Chef, and NFL vegan David Carter, aka the 300 pound vegan! Talk about starstruck! The day was completed with some amazing food (mango lassis, ribs, typical vegan stuff), educational seminars and cute vegan apparel! It was a great day all around, we can’t wait until the next one!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

The Buzz About Honey!

It might come as a surprise to many that along with not consuming animal meat and animal products, honey is also not a contributor to a vegan’s diet. Why not? Mostly because these tiny, intelligent, pretty little insects want to keep their food! Beyond being against cruelty to animals, veganism is also built on the belief of not exploiting animals for human benefit, or taking what is not ours to take. In common commercial cases of bee farms, Queen Bees are artificially inseminated, and honey the bees use as food is taken from them and replaced with High Fructose Corn Syrup. I think it’s safe to say that stuff can’t be good for anyone! Many times, the bees are even smoked away to make the honey from the hive easier to access.

More than just ethical problems with honey, there are environmental problems with honey as well. The environment needs bees to keep thriving, and the continuation of honey farms are forcing bees to die at an alarming rate. Without bees, we couldn’t have apples, mangos, kiwi, cotton, plums, peaches, onions, avocados, cocoa, cashews, strawberries and more! I don’t know about you, but a world without avocados and V-Grits cashew cheeses sounds like a modern-day nightmare!

Almost as alarming as ethical and environmental issues with honey, there’s also the fact that honey is actually bee puke! Yikes! Here are some much more tempting alternatives that are guaranteed to keep your sweet tooth satisfied!

  • Bee-Free Honee: Yep, you heard right! Everything can be made vegan! Apples make this sweet sticky treat so easy to replace honey for our buzzing bee friends to thrive, and it can be found at Whole Foods!

sweet

  • Maple Syrup: Natural maple syrup tastes good poured on nearly anything (and by that, we really mean anything)! It’s rich and yummy and comes from trees!

sweetss

  • Coconut Nectar: Coconut Nectar is a super healthy alternative sweetener to honey or even refined sugar! It will add a little sweetness without feeling like you’re indulging!

sweetsss

  • Agave Nectar: Agave Nectar is one of the most popular vegan sweeteners, and comes from the same plant Tequila is made out of! 😉

sweets

We hope you give these modern, bee-friendly sweeteners a try! Let us know what your favorite alternative sweetener is!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi