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back roads and mason jars

live country. eat plants. be happy.

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brodie

trick or treat

I am for sure one of those crazy ladies that dresses up her dog for Halloween – every. single. year.  Our dog, Brodie, has lived out his wildest fantasies in past Halloweens as a bumble bee, shark, sheriff, and even a pumpkin.  This year he requested a new look that fit in more with his new house in the country.  We found the perfect fit – a Lumberjack!  Our whole family even got into the plaid this year in our support of his dreams.  Yes – that’s Brodie’s happy face in case you were wondering.

This year, we picked up a few vegan candy bars that we thought would be great alternatives to the traditional counterparts.  We actually purchased these at Whole Foods, but we have seen them at other stores like Kroger or Target.  Since my husband has the sweet tooth in our family, you’ll have to rely on his opinion more during this round.

Amy’s Dreamy Bar

I think most people reading this are very familiar with the Amy’s brand, but their more well known products in the frozen department.  I didn’t even know they made any other products until I stumbled upon this one day.  The store I was at sold a variety of chocolate bars, but this was the only one labeled vegan at that time.  The label describes the bar as a dark chocolate bar filled with nougat.  Traditional nougat is not vegan since it is made with egg whites.  Upon reading the label, the bar sounds most like a 3 Musketeers bar.  It is far from it though. The bar is way more dense than the counterpart and has a gritty texture in the filling.  This bar also boasts the highest sugar with 25 grams!

Wannabe Vegan: 2/10  ~  Omnivore:  6/10

Enjoy Life – Dark Chocolate

I was that weird kid that always collected the Hershey’s Special Dark pieces out of the mixed bag.  Most kids hated them and would fight over the Mr. Goodbars, but not me.  Dark chocolate is my personal favorite.  I keep several bars in my fridge ready to eat at all times.  I particularly like the 70% to 85% dark chocolate and bonus points if it has sea salt in it!  This bar didn’t quite live up to the hype in my head.  The texture is very chalky and didn’t have that melt in your mouth quality.  I will say that their cookie products are way better than this bar tasted.

Wannabe Vegan: 3/10  ~  Omnivore:  3/10

Enjoy Life – Rice Milk Chocolate

This bar is a rice milk alternative to a classic milk chocolate bar like Hershey’s for example.  Simple – just a bar of solid chocolate.  It certainly isn’t as dry as the other two Enjoy Life bars and did melt in our mouths a little bit more.  It didn’t have quite the same creaminess as traditional milk chocolate, but it isn’t gritty or chalky like the dark chocolate version.  It is a little too sweet for my taste personally.

Wannabe Vegan: 4/10  ~  Omnivore:  5/10

Enjoy Life – Rice Milk Crunch

Do you remember Nestle Crunch bars?  That’s exactly what I thought it tasted like.  I know it’s been awhile since I’ve eaten one, but I feel like it’s a really good copy cat product.  My husband, on the other hand, wasn’t as much of a fan.  He thought the chocolate still had a dry taste, but he did like the crunch of the rice to break up the flavor more.  I will also state that this product does contain honey in the rice crisps not the chocolate per the nutrition label.  Honey is a subject that many debate over its classification so use your own judgement there.

Wannabe Vegan: 7/10  ~  Omnivore:  4/10

Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Obviously, we all know what this product is made to mimic – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  I’m confident in saying that if you never liked Reese’s – you can’t be trusted.  It is a perfect match.  I had very high hopes for this product.  I already know I like the flavor combination and I particularly love dark chocolate the best.  This particular pack is filled with the mini size product, but I have seen them in trick-or-treat sized portions at stores like Target.  Have you ever tried a PB2 product?  That peanut butter that’s a powder form since the fat has been removed.  That’s what it tastes like inside the dark chocolate exterior.  It’s missing that melt in your mouth texture and the creaminess of the peanut butter isn’t there.  Not my favorite treat at all.

Wannabe Vegan: 4/10  ~  Omnivore:  4/10

Happy Halloween y’all!

Is it seriously almost June?!

In 2016, my little family took a chance for a better life that we had been striving for in the city for so many years with no luck.  I left my job of over five years and we moved into a 600 square feet cabin that challenged us in many ways.  As our lease was coming up for renewal, we were struggling finding something affordable to rent with still one income.  After months of searching and interviewing, I was offered a job in my hometown that I started the day after our house closed.  All of our dreams were realized within a short 30 days.  With the help of our family, we were able to move into our dream home in March.
Since then, I have been focused on learning my new job and loving being back home only a few miles from my family’s farm where I was raised.  In addition to all those life changes, there have been holidays, birthdays, baseball games, concerts and home improvement projects that have kept us busier than ever!  With all that said, I am back to doing what I love – blogging!

Just to share a little bit of our lives with you, here’s what we’ve been up to so far in 2017.

Our forever home tucked down a back road
Almost front row at Jason Isbell in Charlottesville, VA      (I’ve lost count how many times we’ve attended his concerts)
My husband and I at Carolina Rebellion in Charlotte, NC.
Before: The original fire pit at the new house.
After: Brodie enjoying his new fire pit thanks to the help of my Grandpa! We completed this project on Memorial Day 2017.

Now, let’s talk about something I was so excited to learn recently.  Girl Scout cookies are vegan!  I know you’ve seen the troops sitting outside every Wal-Mart or local grocery store in your town.  There is a catch though – you have to check to make sure your local troops get their cookies from ABC Bakers.  The list includes my family’s favorites and more!

Pictured left to right are Peanut Butter Patties (non-vegan name is Tagalongs), Thanks-A-Lot (an exclusive ABC Bakers cookie),  Girl Scout S’mores (non-vegan version has the same name but it shaped like a sandwich cookie), Lemonades (non-vegan version is Savannah Smiles), and Thin Mints.  Thin Mints are actually the only Girl Scout cookie that is vegan when made by ABC Bakers or Little Brownie Bakers.  If your local troop is unsure what bakery supplies their product, you can always email their corporate office to find your closest troop.

Bye y’all!

a vegan halloween

momma
My Mom and Me – August 2001

Some of my favorite memories are around holidays.  Since my mother passed away when I was in high school, I cherish those memories.  My mother loved the holidays and any excuse to celebrate life.  Fall and Halloween was a favorite time in our household from carving pumpkins in a sad artsy attempt and decorating our house in skeletons and spider webs to getting dressed up to go trick or treating.  These days I spend my October following these traditions of attempting to carve a pumpkin, decorating my house and dressing up my fur baby in embarrassing costumes for adorable photos.

Just like growing up, I don’t live in an area that is ideal for children going door to door for Halloween’s favorite activity.  A busy trick or treating night would be one child stopping by our house.  We would drive 20 minutes into town to show off how proud we were in our costumes.  If you live in a busy trick or treating neighborhood, there are a ton of options of candy to hand out.  There are also lots of options that are naturally vegan that don’t cost a fortune to hand out to adorable kids dressed as robots, dinosaurs, baseball players or their favorite cartoon characters.

halloween-watermark

Here are just a few of my favorite vegan Halloween candies!  Laffy Taffy, Skittles, Dots, Now & Laters, Smartees, Mamba and Chic-o- Stick are all VEGAN!  Mamba and Chic-o-Stick are actually labeled as vegan on the back of their packaging.  Some other vegan options that are available are Airheads, Charms Blow Pops, Mary Jane’s, Pez and Sour Patch Kids.  Check out more options here.  All of these are great options to ensure that your kids or trick or treaters will have a cruelty-free sugar rush for days!

For your enjoyment and my love to dress up my dog, here are some pictures from past Halloweens with my fur baby in his adorable costumes.  Enjoy!

halloween-2014-watermark-2
Halloween 2014
halloween-2015-watermark
Halloween 2015
halloween-16-watermark
Halloween 2016

Bye y’all!

 

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