Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Reviews: Artisana Nut Butters & Kaia Foods AND How They Make Quick Raw Vegan Snacks

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

Over the past many months I’ve received a variety of samples from some wonderful companies. The brilliant thing about these items is that they can be used to make a fast raw vegan snack or they are already a ready-to-eat raw vegan snack. Gotta love those! Sure, for some of these, I could make my own homemade versions, and I often do, but it’s nice to have these available online (and in some health food stores) for those times that I run out, I’m traveling, or I just plain want to be lazy and pay someone else to do it. 

I’ve said many times… one of the keys to staying raw vegan with ease is having things that you can turn to quickly for snacking and eating. The following items are great for that! Some are perfect for snacks, travel, keeping in your desk drawer at work, making simple recipes, or having on hand when you’re stuck in line at the DMV. ;)

What I find especially exciting is that for the past year or so I’ve noticed there are many companies who are making amazing raw vegan products. It seems like every time I go to Whole Foods, there is something new. Gone are the days of limited choice. Today, we not only have a plethora of options, but these companies are making some butt-kicking products!

Artisana Nut Butters and Spreads

I love having nut butters in my refrigerator, so when Artisana sent me some of their products to sample, I was elated. For starters, I love enjoying nut butters right off the spoon – thick, rich, and satisfying. Artisana’s products fit that bill perfectly. They’re creamy and fresh – taste just like nuts (or seeds) should taste as if I were eating a handful of them. Sometimes a spoonful of nut butter is just what I need to hold me over until dinner (or until my next snack – lol). 

But, that’s not all. I use these nut butters to make 1-minute raw vegan nut milks (blend a tablespoon of nut butter with a cup of water). I also use them to add a creamy element to dressings (especially the cashew butter – you’re going to love one of the new recipes I came up with using their Raw Cashew Butter). The beauty of raw nut butters is you don’t need to soak nuts for certain recipes like raw vegan milks, dressings, certain desserts, etc. You just scoop it out of the jar and add to your recipe. Easy peasy! For example, I used their raw tahini in this video and I used their Cacao Bliss in the smoothie written about here. I also used their almond butter, tahini, cashew butter, and coconut oil for some raw chocolate truffle recipes.

Kaia Foods

This is a new company for me. Kaia Foods sent me a number of their products to sample and I’m so happy they did. The first thing I tore into was the bag of sprouted sunflower seeds (garlic and salt). Yummm…. I could smell the garlic upon opening the bag. Later that day, I made a batch of cooked organic quinoa and tossed some of these on top. I was really impressed with how much flavor they added to the dish. As I write this, we have them in a little cup on our counter alongside dishes of goji berries and raisins for awesome power snacking!
They also sent other flavors: Sweet Curry was AWESOME! If you’re a curry fan, these will not disappoint. Cocoa Mole was EXCELLENT (with a little cayenne kick that comes into play)! Teriyaki was SUPERB and I enjoyed these while I watched American Idol last week! The flavors of their seeds are exactly as described by their titles. You know what you’re getting when you bite into it. Kaia Foods makes the best flavored sprouted seeds. I like that I can eat them by themselves for a truly satisfying snack or I can add them to plain jane recipes, which will totally kick them up many notches in excitement. I’m officially a loyal fan! Great job, Kaia Foods!

Next, I tried their Spiced Apple Fruit Leather - wow – that was a super treat. Each bite the flavor was like, POW POW! The texture is as you’d expect with a fruit leather… chewy, a bit tough, and takes a bit of time to get through the whole thing. I LOVED it, and I plan on stocking up on these. I also loved the Vanilla Pear.

They have a variety of raw granolas from which to choose as well. Right now, I’m munching on a bowl of the Cocoa Bliss and it’s really good (I made 1-Minute Almond Milk by blending 1 tablespoon of Artisana’s raw organic almond butter with 1 cup of water). I especially enjoy the texture of the Cocoa Bliss – not too heavy and not too light. (I think the granola from Two Mom’s in the Raw is a bit too heavy and sticky for my preference, while the granola that I usually eat from Go Raw is very light. Kaia Foods’ Cocoa Bliss granola is somewhere in between, and I like it). It’s not overly sweet either, but the cocoa comes through nicely. I want a second bowl. Only a 1/2 cup for a serving? Really? Well, I think I need two servings then… one for me and one for Monkey. ;) That rationale works for me.

I’m partial to raw granola because it can be a quick snack on the run by itself, or a fast meal at home with a raw nut milk. I also tried the Dates & Spice granola which had a good flavor, but the texture of this one was a little too much for me. My bag had a lot of big junks of dehydrated dates with some buckwheat, and the dates were too hard, chewy, and big to eat (for me). Next, I tried the Raisin Cinnamon… ahh… a nice texture. It had a subtle flavor, but still good. If I were shopping for these, I’d probably end up buying the Cocoa Bliss on a regular basis, although the Raisin Cinnamon would probably end up in my cart from time to time as well.

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