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back roads and mason jars

live country. eat plants. be happy.

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halloween

spooky thirsty thursday

Halloween means different things to different people.  Whether you are going to a bar, a costume party or frantically getting your kid dressed up in their costume to walk the neighborhood all night, we all want one thing – to have a great time!

In my Halloween pasts especially in college, we used any party as an excuse to make Jello shots with Vodka.  Jello was also a favorite low calorie snack (I ate the sugar free kind) that I ate with lunch.  When I went vegetarian, I knew this had to be removed from my diet since it contains gelatin and there went my favorite party treat.  When I was in my small town Wal-Mart a few weeks ago, I came across a product that was totally new to me.  There it was – Bakol Jel Dessert – right next to the standard Jello.  I grabbed one of each flavor available – Cherry and Strawberry.  When I checked online, I was excited to see that there were a few more options too like orange, raspberry, lemon and unflavored.  The box boasts the vegan label as well as non-gmo, 100% natural and no preservatives.

Bakol Jel Dessert meant Vegan Jel Shots.  Yeah, that’ll work for me!  Here is my recipe to make my Spooky Strawberry Vegan Jel Shots.

jel-shots-watermark1. Boil 8 oz of water.  Once boiling, add the water to a vessel with a spout.

2. Add the 3 oz Jel pack and stir until it is completely dissolved.

3. Add in 3 oz of cold water and 5 oz of vodka.

4. Place in a mold or cups and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  I used a silicone sugar skull mold for some of mine in the photo.  The Jel worked very well with the silicone and were super easy to remove.  This product is not as firm as its traditional counterpart.

 

skull-water-watermarkIs Jel not your thing?  A lot of people have a texture issue with Jel or Jello.  Don’t worry – I have a treat for you too!  First, grab a spooky glass like my skull mason jar!  Add a shot of vodka to the glass, pour in your favorite La Croix water (cranberry pictured) and add in any fruit you like.  There you have a very tasty, low calorie spooky treat!

My husband and I are planning on enjoying our Spooky Jel Shots this weekend while we cheer on the Chicago Cubs!  Hope y’all have a safe and fun Halloween!

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!

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

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!

wedding-venue
The farm where my husband and I were married in October of 2011.
halloween-2014-watermark
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.

pumpkin-spice-latte-watermark

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

Starbucks

Califia Farms

OZ Size

8

8

Calories

210

90

Total Fat

8 g

3 g

Saturated Fat

5 g

0 g

Trans Fat

0 g

0 g

Cholesterol

35 mg

0 mg

Sodium

120 mg

170 mg

Total Carbohydrate

27 g

15 g

Dietary Fiber

0 g

1 g

Sugars

26 g

12 g

Protein

7 g

1 g

Starbucks

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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