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vegan halloween

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!

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
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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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