Yep, I still get an Easter basket. This year, my daddy asked me to pick out a few items from Vegan Essentials for my "basket." Here's what I picked.
There's Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Kettle Chips (they were out of the new sour cream 'n' onion ones!), Wayfare Pig Out Whole Grain Bacony Bits (these are the BEST bacon bits out there), Heritage Southwest Ranch Seasoning Mix (mix with Vegenaise or sour cream), Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese (lasagna time!), a Coconut-Lime Dillo from Cakewalk Baking Company (like a vegan Twinkie!), Smofu Tofu Jerky, Parmela Creamery Kalamata Creamy Treenut Cheese, a little Sjaak's "Milk" Chocolate Easter Bunny, Neat nut meat mix in Mexican and Original, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Bleu Cheese Dressing.
Whew! Daddy went all out this year! Here's what I've tried so far.
Of course, I already opened my little Sjaak's basket. It's teensy, which is perfect because my hips do not need a gigantic chocolate Easter bunny.
|The poor little bunny came in upside down!|
Inside, there's a little bunny and three vegan rice milk chocolate eggs. I'm actually eating the bunny as I type. It's so yummy. I guess I've really missed that creamy milk chocolate taste. Quality dark chocolate is great and all, but this tastes like the Easter bunnies of my childhood. Much better than fancy dark chocolate!
I opened the Smofu Tofy Jerky right away. This was different from other jerkies I've tried. The seitan-based jerkies tend to be soft and chewy. But this was more tough and chewy, like the homemade meat jerky my daddy used to make in our dehydrator when I was a kid. Good stuff.
I've been enjoying the Parmela Creamery Kalamata Creamy Treenut Cheese on Wasa crackers all week. This is a smooth and creamy cashew cheese with little flecks of olive. Very tasty, but I think they were a tad skimpy with the olives. I would have included three times as much if I made this at home. As for taste, it really tastes like fancy aged dairy cheese. And since it contains coconut milk, it's creamier than most cashew cheeses I've had.
The Coconut-Lime Dillo was the stuff dreams are made of — seriously. It was moist and light and it tasted like the tropics. It's the kind of thing you eat and immediately get sad because it's all gone. Vegan Essentials sells several flavors of these, and it will now be my mission to try them all.
I had a salad with the bleu cheese dressing and bacony bits, but I forgot to photograph it. I've never actually tried dairy bleu cheese dressing because the mold always freaked me out. So I've no idea how spot-on this vegan version is, but it's really delicious. I think of it as a cheesy ranch dressing. Also, those bacony bits are my fave! There were samples in our swag bags from Vida Vegan Con, and I've been dreaming about them ever since. They're actually made from whole grain cereal, so they're healthy!
Finally, I used the Neat Mexican burger mix this week to make nachos! I tried Neat at Seattle VegFest and just had to have some! It's a powdered mix made from ground pecans, garbanzo beans, oats, and spices. You mix with a vegan egg replacer (I used Vegg Baking Mix), and brown in a skillet. I made patties, and then broke those into crumbles for nachos.
Happy (Vegan) Chocolate Bunny Day!