Published on May 15th, 2017 | by Andrea Bertoli0
Favorites List: Spring 2017
I love sharing these little favorites lists for a few reasons. One, because I like to support brands that are making my life more delicious, but also because I feel like so many friends trust me when it comes to food recommendations (an honor I hold very dear). I also enjoy making these lists because some of my favorite bloggers do this and I love what they write, so hopefully you’ll like what I write too.
I shared a Favorites List almost six months ago, and that list included a bunch of delicious things that I still use in my (almost) daily life: cacao nibs for adding to my chia seed pudding each morning, the Bright Earth Raw Chocolate bars (for that special afternoon sweet treat), my favorite vegan mayo (even though I hate mayo), and a warming winter bulletproof coffee made vegan. I also included my favorite vegan cheese on that list, but I got the flu last weekend and barfed up a lot of vegan cheese, so I’m off that for awhile. Anyway, my NEW favorites are below!
Jasmine Green Tea Lattes
This whole winter I was pretty obsessed with these vegan green tea lattes that my friend Blair got me started on. I use my favorite jasmine green tea from Frontier as the base, brewed as usual. Then I blend it with some coconut cream and some vanilla coconut milk, adding a few drops of honey for sweetness. This is an excellent way to enjoy tea (black, green, oolong, and herbal – especially rooibos or chamomile), and just like vegan bulletproof coffee, the little bit of fat might even help your body process the caffeine a bit slower, leading to a more gentle buzz. Mostly, I just think it tastes like heaven. Would be excellent iced too, for those of you in warmer climes.
Napa Valley Naturals ‘Grand Reserve’ Balsamic Vinegar
Like most food finds, this was an accident. The boyfriend went shopping, came home with this balsamic, and when I tried his salad I was blown away with how amazingly sweet and delicious it was. This vinegar is the secret, and we’ve been adding it to everything since. It brings an amazing, complex sweetness to salads and sauces. The company calls it “dark, syrupy, sweet, yet lightly acidic.” Apparently this magic condiment is a “centuries old Italian aging process” and “its complex flavors and intense aroma evolve from wine grape must, concentrated, fermented and matured in a series of cherry wood cask.” So if you need to up your salad game (just in time for summer, I might add), this is your new condiment of choice.
The Vita-Clay MultiCooker
This is a new kitchen tool that has since become indispensable. I use if for making homemade vegan yogurt, homemade veggie broth, and all manner of beans, soups, and stews. Read my full review of this cooker here and then buy it on Amazon. [Editor’s Note: I still used this appliance all the time and am still in love with it almost two years later!]
Macaccino + Better Half Califa
These products are not from the same company but they are inextricably linked in my mind because I first tried both Macaccino and Better Half in combination at the Green Festival in San Francisco. I instantly fell in love with this drink, and was so thankful the Macaccino team was across the aisle from us. I’m sure they got tired of me walking over every hour for a ‘sample,’ but they were super sweet and now I’m a lifelong customer.
I was a big fan of maca already (read more about why maca is my favorite supplement here, including the health benefits and how to use it), but Macaccino takes it to the next level. Their maca is roasted and paired with a bit of cacao and cinnamon for an insanely yummy drink that really does give you a boost. My favorite is the Original Maca, which is rich and creamy as is, but I find it’s best with a bit of creamer. After trying a few brands, my favorite is the Better Half creamer by Califia, which is what they recommend for their brew, too. The Better Half is half almond, half coconut, and has an incredible silky texture that goes with coffee and tea. Generally I prefer things unsweetened, but both of these creamers are great, and the ‘original’ has just enough sweetness to improve the taste of the Macaccino and everything else.
Balsamic Berry Sauce for Everything
It’s berry season here in California, which means I want to eat berries all.day.long. Their light, bright flavor just feels like the perfect food for the exceptionally sunny spring we’re having. I’ve found that I crave lighter foods like berries during this seasonal shift, but this berry sauce is good all year.
I find it actually works best with frozen berries, which have a mashy texture and blend into this simple sauce really well. My favorite is strawberries in combo with raspberries or blackberries, but note that those have some seeds that might not appeal to everyone. I use this as a less-sweet alternative to jam on toast, on my daily chia seed pudding, and on my favorite vegan ice cream. And the most tasty option is to pair Coconut Bliss Naked Coconut or Dark Chocolate + this berry sauce. Get the recipe here or find it in my new cookbook, Gettin’ Saucy.