back roads and mason jars

live country. eat plants. be happy.



Fall is coming…

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I wait and wait all year for it to get here with its tell-tale signs – my news feed is flooded with families sporting their football team’s logos on their front stoops, the leaves begin to change, and the air turns cool.  One of my family’s favorite things to do is take road trips into the mountains to see the leaves from the sky.  It looks so surreal – almost like a painting.  What’s the first thing you think of when you hear road trip?  Personally, our top items are music and snacks!  This week, I’m going to review a few new snacks I found to see if they are road trip worthy snacks!

Hippeas – Vegan White Cheddar Flavor

These little chickpea puffs are reminiscent of a cheese doodle from childhood.  They come in a variety of flavors – White Cheddar, Far Out Fajita, Sriracha Sunshine, Maple Haze, Pepper Power, and Happenin’ Hickory.  All of the varieties are organic, non-gmo, gluten free, full of fiber and VEGAN!  I picked up this pack on, but you can order them at places like Amazon (I mean really – what don’t they have in stock?), Albertsons, Wegmans, Starbucks, and Whole Foods.  These are a lot heartier than the traditional counterpart with a more subtle flavor.  I really had to eat a few of them to really taste any “cheese” flavor.

Ominvore Rating: 5/10  ~  Wannabe Vegan Rating: 6/10

Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips – Nacho Flavor

This is the answer for the Doritos lovers out there.  These chips come in multiple varieties like Nacho, Sea Salt, Pico de Gallo, Jalapeno Nacho, White Bean, Black Bean, and Barbecue.  All of Beanfields chips are vegan and gluten free as well as non-gmo and kosher.  This is the perfect road food treat to pack in your car.  The texture of these chips is so good – light and airy with a hint of beans!  We have to confess that we have tried them before, but in a different flavor – Pico de Gallo.  We both agreed that the Pico de Gallo won us over while the Nacho didn’t quite hit the spot for us, but it won’t stop us from finishing the bag!

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

I Heart Keenwah – Dark Chocolate Puff with Himalayan Pink Salt

Finally, now that the cooler air is coming in, we can have chocolate on road trips without fear of coming back to melted chocolate  covered seats!  This is a great snack to pop in your mouth while on a road trip.  This company provides a variety of quinoa products like these puffs, toasted quinoa, hot cereal, quinoa clusters and even tote bags to promote your quinoa pride.  This variety came to me in a previous month’s Vegan Cuts box.  If you don’t get these snack boxes, I highly recommend you check them out here!   It’s well worth the money and you will get to try a lot of new snacks that you may not have found or purchased otherwise.  This was the winner of the day!  Dark chocolate and sea salt is my favorite dessert combination no matter what form it is presented so it was love at first bite for me.  My husband, who hates this combination, couldn’t rate it quick enough though!  This is a MUST HAVE for any road trip!  It may have just become a pantry staple in our household!

Omnivore Rating: 10/10  ~  Wannabe Vegan Rating: 10/10

Bye y’all!

a very pumpkin october

I love everything about the month of October.  The sight of the leaves changing, driving down a back road up the mountains to get apples, celebrating my wedding anniversary and all things pumpkin flavored!  I feel like pumpkin or pumpkin spice treats have a love/hate relationship.  I personally love pumpkin spice, but my husband is a full on hater.  At my most recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I found several new-to-me pumpkin items that I had to try.  Here are my reviews of all the pumpkin things!

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bagels

Bagels are a popular vegan breakfast since almost all brands are naturally vegan.  I love to bagel-watermark
toast my bagel and add toppings with a side of fruit.  Some toppings that I commonly use are
vegan Smart Balance Butter or plain cream cheese topped with jelly or a flavored cream cheese like Strawberry Daiya Cream Cheese.  For this review, I chose to top my bagel with plain cream cheese.  I felt like this was the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful fall day.  There are bursts of pumpkin spice in every bite!

Rating: 8/10

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Almond Beverage

I love a pumpkin spice latte (a vegan one, of course!) so I was quick to grab up this almond beverage.  I didn’t even check the ingredients until I got home – good thing it actually was almond-bev-watermarkvegan!  Since I didn’t check the ingredients and it was such an impulse purchase, I was very surprised when I tasted this product.  It didn’t have any coffee in it!  I was not a fan of this since I was anticipating a coffee beverage – maybe it would be better if it was added to your favorite cup of coffee and treated as a coffee creamer alternative.  It reminded me a lot of a holiday egg nog flavored with pumpkin spice instead of the traditional egg nog seasonings.

Rating: 6/10

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls

rolls-watermarkPumpkin rolls – ummmm, yes please!  These were the BEST treat that I purchased in this haul!  I felt they were just as good as any baked cinnamon roll just tweaked with pumpkin style.  They were super easy to bake as well – just open the can, place in a cast iron skillet and in 20 minutes you have a delicious pumpkin treat!  The pumpkin spice icing really makes the rolls pop with pumpkin flavor.  I will definitely be getting more of these before they are gone for the year!

Rating: 10/10

Bye y’all!

not your basic pumpkin spice latte

octoberFall is my absolute favorite time of year.  October is especially important to me since I married my husband in October.  This year we will celebrate 5 years of marriage and 14 years together.  During this month, my little family gets to enjoy our favorite time of year and cram activities into every day possible.

I am that crazy, fall obsessed friend.  I love everything about fall – the crisp in the air as the weather changes and summer leaves us, the rainbow of colors that can be seen in the trees, having a bonfire with close friends wrapped in hoodies and blankets, celebrating Halloween with more skulls than you thought one person could own and all things pumpkin and apple.  We already have our annual trip planned to our favorite mountain orchard.  I will be cramming so many apple recipes into our menu plan very soon!

The farm where my husband and I were married in October of 2011.
Family pumpkins that I carved for Halloween 2014. From Left to Right – A photo of my dog (Brodie), a sugar skull and a merge of the Hank Williams Jr. hawk and the Waylon Jennings logo.

One of the best things about fall in the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.  Once I started this vegan journey, I learned that this seasonal, delicious treat didn’t meet my requirements anymore.  Last week, I found the answer for me!  Califia Farms has created a large line of non-dairy vegan beverages like coffee blends, non-dairy milks, coffee creamers, juices and seasonal favorites like the Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Holiday Nog.  My favorite product by Califia Farms before today is their Salted Caramel Cold Brew Coffee with almond milk.  YUM!  It is seriously drool worthy.


Below I have created a chart comparing the nutrition and ingredients list of the Starbucks and Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte.  To compare apples to apples, I used the standard setting on the Starbucks latte as using 2% milk and having whipped cream on top of a Tall (8 oz.) order.

Pumpkin Spice Latte


Califia Farms

OZ Size






Total Fat

8 g

3 g

Saturated Fat

5 g

0 g

Trans Fat

0 g

0 g


35 mg

0 mg


120 mg

170 mg

Total Carbohydrate

27 g

15 g

Dietary Fiber

0 g

1 g


26 g

12 g


7 g

1 g


Califia Farms

Ingredients: Milk, Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso, Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Milk, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Pumpkin Spice Topping [Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfiting Agents]. Coffee (Water, Coffee Extract), Almondmilk (Water, Almonds), Pure Cane Sugar, Pumpkin Puree, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Ginger, Nutmeg, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum.

*All information was compiled from the Starbucks and Califia Farms websites.

It should also be noted that Califia Farms uses non-genetically altered almonds in their products.  I have been paying more and more attention to this as the labeling on all products has recently been updated to show this fact.  If you have noticed, it seems like pretty much every product in my pantry carries this label now.  Just look at the difference in the number of ingredients of this one drink!  I would much prefer to keep my processed ingredients to a minimum.  The Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte wins in pretty much every nutrition label category including taste!  I can’t wait to enjoy this for the remainder of the season!

Wannabe Vegan Rating: 9/10

Omnivore Rating: 2/10 – He wanted you to know that he really doesn’t like pumpkin spice!

Bye y’all!

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