Before getting started, I’ll take a moment to thank you all for your considerate and thoughtful responses to my new year’s post. I forgot to mention it in recent posts. I didn’t get to responding to every comment, so wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your sentiments. I’m going into my 11th year of blogging, and sometimes I can feel disconnected with you all with repeated recipe posts. When I turn to more personal posts, I’m reminded of how many of you are reading from different parts of the world. Your kindness and connection is very meaningful.
Now, on to the goodies!
Raw Cashew Butter
For some reason, it’s been particularly hard to score macadamia nut butter. Years back, the Nuts To You brand had macadamia butter, and it was available in our local stores. In recent years, it’s disappeared! The brand still exists, but not the mac butter. In fact, it’s been hard to find macadamia nuts as well. I have always loved macadamia nut butter, and it’s dreamy in whole foods plant-based desserts. The creamy, rich texture and buttery flavor is almost unmatched. Almost. Coming very close is raw cashew butter! I’ve been using the Artisana brand recently. Raw cashew butter is thicker than macadamia butter, but the flavor is similarly mild and buttery. As mentioned, this nut butter is beautiful in for desserts, but also comes in handy for quick sauces and blends where you might use soaked cashews. The cashews aren’t soaked in this nut butter, but they are raw. Plus, since they are pureed into a thick butter, it can allow you to skip a step of blending in some dishes. Just add a spoonful or two (or more) for texture, flavor, creaminess. Divine! As many of you know, I’m also a huge fan of coconut butter, and Artisana is one of my favorite brands.
Breville Smart Oven Pro
Many years ago I stopped using a microwave. It wasn’t this big health declaration or anything. I never quite liked how it cooked (or heated) food, and I was mostly using it to thaw ice cream! One day I realized that this machine was taking up a lot of my kitchen space just for my vegan ice cream. 🙂 We moved it out, and I found another way to thaw ice cream – patience. Before long, I started using my toaster oven for other reheating needs. like leftover sauces, casseroles, etc. The difference was minor. Instead of say 1 minute to reheat a sauce, it took maybe 10 minutes in the toaster oven. Then, I started to rely on my toaster oven more and more, for roasting and grilling small batches of veggies like green beans and asparagus, baking marinated tofu, heating leftover soups for lunch, and more. My toaster oven became a kitchen essential for me, much like my food processor and Blendtec.
Last year, Breville released their new Smart Oven Pro and generously sent a model for me to experiment with. This is far more than a toaster oven. It’s a digital mini-convection-oven-wonder!. It looks sleek in the kitchen, and performs a dream. At first I thought I might be a bit overwhelmed by the digital display and functions. Sometimes I prefer the “less is more” with appliances. But the Smart Oven is an exception to that rule. With this oven, I can not only reheat leftovers, and do the same roasting and baking as I did before, but it’s large enough – and capable enough – to perfectly cook pizzas, bake cookies, and more. If I didn’t have this machine now, I’d go out and buy it. So, if you’re in the market for a toaster oven, definitely consider the Smart Oven Pro.
Lululemon Vinyasa Rulu Scarf
This was a Christmas gift from hubby. I got a text from him on December 23rd, reading like this:
Santa is shopping! So what do you want? …
Okaaaay then. Well-planned, luv! Poor guy, he is not a shopper. He knows that gifts from Lulu usually score with me, but he hadn’t even started there. About a week earlier, I was eyeing this scarf online. Quite pricey for a scarf, so I passed on picking it up. Until, that is, hubby hit “desperate-shopping mode”. I showed him some mercy and sent the link. And I’m glad I did! love the scarf, and wear it a few times a week. It’s not heavy or hot, so it’s an item that works through early fall through to late spring. The color I have (pictured) is the ‘space dye camo berry’, if you’re shopping! There’s also a new aquamarine that looks gorgeous. Maybe for Mother’s Day. 😉 (p.s. I did find a few other rulu scarves on amazon if you like them.)
Vega Sport Performance Protein
I’ve mentioned before that I love Vega products. They recently released a new Sport Performance powder, and yep, I’m a fan again. This blend is unique with tart cherry, turmeric and probiotics, and of course is non-gmo, vegan, and free of gluten, soy, artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. Also, for those sensitive to the taste of stevia in protein powders, I don’t find it as noticeable in this Sport powder. Vanilla is my favorite, but they are all very good! If you aren’t sure about buying a full tub, the single-serve packets are often available in stores. (Plus, you guys get a chance to win some today!)
Anti-Fatigue Cooking Mat
Last week I picked up an anti-fatigue cooking mat at HomeSense. For the past year or so I’m noticing my feet, calves, and low back are feeling the effects of long hours in the kitchen recipe testing, and daily cooking for the family (they eat so much now)! I’ve had my eye on a GelPro mat for a while, but just forgot to order one. So, when I spotted a similar Imprint mat at HomeSense, I snapped it up! I’m loving it. It’s so cushy and comfy. I always wear something on my feet on the floors, like my skechers or cooking clogs. But, that support is not enough on the hardwood after many hours. This mat is now essential, and I can’t believe I cooked so long without it.
That wraps it up for this feature! I hope you’re enjoying this series, feel free to share any of your great finds in the comments – might be something I can showcase in another post.
And, before I sign off, you have a chance to win a tub of the new, fabulous Vega Sport Performance Protein powder, PLUS a copy of Brendan Brazier’s newly released Thrive, 2nd edition! This new edition includes a foreword by Venus Williams, all new photos, a new functional fitness workout plan.
Enter to win this Vega prize below!