Have you been reading and cooking voraciously throughout the pandemic? I’ll be the first to admit it: Finding comfort in researching products and recipes, going out shopping for ingredients from time to time, then coming home and (re)creating beloved food and newly recommended dishes has been both therapeutic and cathartic. It has truly been a blessing. Now more than ever before, I have highly appreciated the effort made by companies that have contacted me to review their products – products I strongly believe in and support. From reading about plant-based fundamentals to exercising self-care with natural supplements, there is a little bit for everyone below, in my opinion. Read on for some delightful product recommendations 🙂
- America’s Test Kitchen The Complete Plant Based Cookbook
As the number of vegetarians and of Americans who desire to cut meat consumption grows, plant-based interest is at an all-time high across the country – and America’s Test Kitchen latest publication, The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook, could not have come at a better time. This cookbook, which “makes plant-based eating easier and realistic,” features 570+ foolproof recipes that are good for you and our planet. All of the recipes are vegan, but are created with the flexibility to make substitutions and to incorporate dairy-based products and eggs. Introductory resources include tips and tricks for storing ingredients, an in-depth look at plant-based dairy and meat products, and a list of must-have pantry items to boost flavor in your dishes (mushrooms, fermented black beans, seaweed etc.).
America’s Test Kitchen has made it easy for readers to find more than 100 quick-cooking recipes throughout the book with their “fast” symbol noted on the recipe pages. For cooks who are worried about how to assemble a plant-based meal, they have provided a list of their favorite recipe pairings and serving suggestions for inspiration. There are plenty of hands-free recipes (for pressure-cooker or slow-cooker) as well as informative sidebars featuring more info on the ingredients, the science behind the recipes, and step-by-step instructions for any needed techniques.
Having tested this cookbook extensively for the past 2 months, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. As always, I am amazed and impressed by America’s Test Kitchen analytical, fact-based approach – a hallmark of its longstanding commitment to precision and objectivity. I have a lot of organic farro in my pantry, so I had to start with the farro recipes in this cookbook, lol Here’s a picture of the farro salad I made with asparagus, snap peas & tomatoes.
This salad was delicious! The instructions for preparing the farro and the veggies were quick to follow, and the citrusy dressing was simply spectacular! I intend to continue to make this salad as well as the other recipes I have tried from this cookbook for the foreseeable future, since plant-based has become such a strong calling for me on my culinary journey.
What an amazing cookbook!
Have you ever thought of brewing coffee the way you brew tea? If you have, then you will be very excited to discover that a company has taken on this task of re-imagining coffee, with impressive results. Steeped was born out of its CEO and founder Josh Wilbur’s concern for creating the perfect cup of home brewed coffee with very minimal ecological impact. Steeped, Inc. based in Santa Cruz, California, is a Certified B Corp and Benefit Corporation focused on every detail from farm-to-cup and beyond, to bring people the most convenient, high quality, ethically sourced, and sustainably packaged products available.
Steeped is brewed similar to tea and doesn’t require a machine, grinder, or special equipment to prepare premium coffee. Each pack contains hand-roasted ground coffee that is nitro sealed for freshness in fully compostable packaging.
Indeed, every detail matters to Steeped. For example, Direct Trade coffee allows them to ethically source each bean through growing relationships and buying practices that far exceed Fair Trade minimums. Moreover, Steeped bags are made using a renewable, plant-based, non-GMO, certified commercially compostable material, which includes the filter, string, and tab, and the Steeped retail cartons are recyclable and made using 100% recycled materials with a minimum of 85% being from post-consumer materials or recycled fiber.
I couldn’t wait to sample this brand, and its coffee vastly surpassed my expectations. This coffee truly is a game changer! Deeply layered, seductively complex and exquisitely aromatic, it is a work of wonder that deserves wider recognition. Not only does Steeped make a robustly fresh and rich cup of coffee (thank you, nitro-sealing!) but they also develop their products with a holistic approach towards people and nature in mind which I absolutely love. You steep the bags in hot water for 5 minutes, and what you get is amazingly convenient coffee without sacrificing quality and/or eco-friendliness!
I encourage you to check out Steeped Coffee’s website for more info on their mindful business, the Specialty Coffee Association award they won for packaging innovation, and their overall philosophy. As for me, I’m a big fan already – bring on the conscious, eco-friendly and delicious cup, I say 😀
- Mooala coffee creamer
If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I am a big Mooala fan. I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Mooala’s plant-based vanilla bean coffee creamer which is made from organic almonds, coconut cream and vanilla beans, and is free of dairy, soy, gluten and carrageenan. Remarkably, this creamer is also free of added sugar, a feature which has become very important to me in recent years. This product is shelf-stable and therefore great for pantry stocking opportunities, which can come in handy during a pandemic.
After using this creamer in coffee for awhile, I decided to go down a different path and made chia pudding.
I used 3/4 cup Mooala coffee creamer and 3 tbsp chia seeds, to which I added honey, raspberries, cinnamon, coconut, bee pollen, and some sun-dried mullberies to remind me of the simple flavors of my childhood. The gentle vanilla flavor from the creamer, the down-to-earth ingredients, and the overall smoothness of the pudding made for a delicious sweet treat – inspired by nature, and loved by the entire family.
Mooala Koala has an extensive range of plant-based products, which I highly recommend. I hope you give this creamer (and my chia pudding! lol) a try 🙂
Have you heard of Hilma? I recently came across this new(er) company in the field of natural supplements, and I was very impressed.
Hilma‘s founding epitomizes a passion for mindful change coupled with a belief in traditional remedies and their efficacy in a changing, fast-paced world. Nina, Lily, & Hilary, Hilma co-founders, were on a mission to adopt and to maintain healthy habits in their lives, but the options on the market didn’t appeal to them and didn’t deliver fully. After years of research, they launched Hilma under the slogan “Natural remedies, backed by science” – and the rest was history, as they say.
Hilma’s products are free of dyes and fillers, and have <1g of sugar. They are also scientifically backed and tested, which is why they call them “clinical herbals”. Hilma only use ingredients that have been clinically substantiated, and they also run their own clinical research on each product. As Hilma’s founders like to put it, “we use ingredients that have worked for thousands of years, but we formulate only when the science agrees.”
I tested Hilma’s Immune Support, which features zinc, vitamin C, turmeric and ginger – all powerful natural ingredients to fight cold and flu this season. I dissolved Hilma in sparkling water, but you can use regular water, hot or cold. I was so pleased with Hilma that I actually went ahead and made chia pudding with it, and added honey sweetened labneh and seasonal goodness (cranberries and pomegranate, to be precise) to the mix.
I’m very excited about this woman-owned small business on a mission to create clean supplements, which bring us closer to nature. No drugs, dyes or fillers in Hilma’s products – isn’t this awesome?
- Top Seedz
Are you looking for a snack that’s not only tasty but good for you? Top Seedz handmade crackers are the “chameleon of crackers” as they can be served with pretty much anything. Epitomizing founder Rebecca Brady‘s belief that good food equals good performance, Top Seedz are made from pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and flax seeds, and are gluten-free and vegan. You can choose from one of their 5 delicious flavors such as 6 Seed, Sea Salt, Rosemary, Cumin, or Magic Maple Roasted Seeds. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try their Cracker Mix and make your own Top Seedz crackers right from home!
According to Rebecca, good, natural ingredients make you feel good naturally. “Having made these crackers and roasted seeds for years, I thought why not share my snacks with the rest of the world – and that’s how Top Seedz was born. It took a life full of adventure and experience to create these delicious, energizing, better-for-you snacks and I hope they bring you the energy and satisfaction to perform to your best.” Sounds great!
TopSeedz’ 6 Seed crackers and Maple Magic Roasted Seeds mix were awarded prizes at this year’s Good Food Awards– a recognition of these products’ quality and mindfulness. Maple Magic captured my attention first since it features an exciting combination of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup and olive oil – all organic!
These seeds were the perfect addition to my breakfast bowl, which also featured Greek yogurt, an abundance of fresh and dried fruit (including my beloved organic coconut flakes) and buckwheat honey. The crunchy sweetness of the maple-flavored seeds made for an exciting and absolutely delicious start to my day. Big YES to Top Seedz from me! Happiness right there – or so I think, anyway 😀
Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments – and stay tuned for more delightful product discoveries!
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.