Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tutti Frutti Soybean Yogurt: Vegan Fro Yo!

Last weekend we were in Charleston, SC for our anniversary.  There's a Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant right outside of Charleston so we decided to go to dinner there for the salad bar.  As we were pulling into the parking lot, we noticed a sign for Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt that said, "Now serving soybean frozen yogurt."  I didn't get too excited at first because I was afraid that it would be similar to sorbet which isn't really exciting to me.  But we decided to check it out after dinner to see what it was all about.  When we went in, they had 3 soybean flavors:  vanilla, peanut butter, and Oreo....yes, I did say Oreo!  They have it set up where you can sample all of the flavors so we were able to try all of them.  (Here's the link to the Mount Pleasant Tutti Frutti if you live near here!)  I was definitely most excited about the Oreo flavor because I knew they would have Oreos on the toppings bar.  All of the flavors were very creamy and delicious!  As a vegan, I get really excited about the ice cream machines that you can pull down the lever and it makes swirly ice cream/frozen yogurt.  That was always my favorite kind of ice cream before I became vegan.  So whenever I find a place that has it, I always get excited....too excited!  The toppings bar also had lots of vegan options:  fruit, nuts, Oreos, Reeses peanut butter sauce, and Ghiradelli dark chocolate sauce (both of the sauces were vegan).  Right now you might be wondering about the nutritional info of all of this vegan frozen yogurt craziness and I will be honest with you, I didn't do this healthy at all!  The first day (yes, we went back) I had the Oreo frozen yogurt with Oreos on top.  Pretty simple and basic and totally NOT healthy.  However, it was delicious and super exciting as a vegan.  The next day, I got a little bit of all 3 flavors with Oreos, peanut butter sauce and chocolate sauce....yes, even unhealthier than day one.  I let the excitement of it all get to me.  Sometimes I go into "vegan survival mode" or "vegan excitement over a rare vegan find" mode.  It gets the best of me sometimes.

Even though I did this very unhealthy, I looked up the nutritional information online and it doesn't have to be unhealthy.  It could actually be a fairly healthy treat occassionally.  The peanut butter flavor was listed as having 34 calories per one ounce.  No one eats one ounce of ice cream....that's ridiculous.  But if you ate 1/2 cup (4 ounces) that would be 136 calories of the peanut butter flavor.  Vanilla wasn't listed but I bet it is even less calories.  If you ate one cup, that would be 272 calories.  The only issue is that you would have to eyeball it since you serve yourself or I guess you could ask them to weigh out your frozen yogurt before you put toppings on it (if you put toppings on it at all).  I feel like the toppings are the "danger zone."  With things like Oreos, nuts, peanut butter and chocolate sauce (all vegan) that's too temping.  I think I would really have to have a game plan next time I go to a Tutti Frutti that has the soybean flavors.  If I did get Oreos, I would just get a few and not get the chocolate and peanut butter sauce.  Or I might just get the vanilla and eat it with some fruit.  You really could have this be a relatively healthy treat if you did it right.  It's just so hard to do it right when they have Oreos and peanut butter!  :)

Another cool thing about the vegan soybean frozen yogurt is that it supports an initiative to fight hunger.  They donate a portion of the proceeds of the soybean frozen yogurt to help fight hunger.  Very cool. 

Here's the catch:  not all Tutti Frutti locations sell the vegan soybean frozen yogurt.  Some of them just have sorbet.  Asheville has two Tutti Frutti locations and neither one of them have the soybean yogurt.....yet.  Hopefully (or maybe not) they will get it soon.  Before you get too excited, I would call your local Tutti Frutti shop (if you have one in your city) and see if they have it.  If they do, check it out!  It's totally worth it! 

Check out the website link for Tutti Frutti listed above.....they advertise the soybean frozen yogurt on the main page of the website!  How cool is that?!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Food Reviews and What I've Been Eating

I've been taking some pictures lately of different products I've tried and also some of the foods I've been making and I thought I would just do a post on that.  Some of the products are hits and some are misses. 

Protein Plus Peanut Flour-As far as convenience goes, you can't beat this product!  For me, I use peanut flour just like I would peanut butter.  I mix up about 30 grams of it (roughly 1/4 of a cup) with 1 packet of stevia, a pinch of salt and small amounts of water until I get the right consistency.  Peanut flour is high in protein, low in fat and pretty filling.  I will usually put it in a tortilla with a banana once I have mixed it up.  It also travels well.  You can take it on a plane in your carry on luggage whereas you can't take regular peanut butter.  I love this stuff.....a little too much.  That's going to lead me into the cons of this product.  Once I start to use this product, I use it too much.  I have it several times a day and my portions start getting bigger and bigger.  Basically I start to abuse it just like I would regular peanut butter.  Then I have to back off of it and not order it for awhile until I feel like I am "in control." Haha....Then the cycle continues. 

The other con, and please note that it may be something completely unrelated to this product, is that I think it affects my menstrual cycle.  I really don't have any solid evidence to back this up, I am just going off of a couple of things.  Last year, I visited an accupuncturist and he was concerned about the amount of peanut flour I was eating.  He said he thought it could be affecting my lack of a menstrual cycle.  I didn't really listen to him though because I went to a chiropractor shortly after that and after visiting her just a couple of times, my period started back up and has been going ever since.....ever since a couple of months ago.  Recently I realized that my period had stopped again and I was eating a lot of the peanut flour again.  So when I ran out sometime at the beginning of last week, I decided not to buy anymore.  Here it is about 1 1/2 weeks later and my period started again.  Like I said, it could be a complete coincidence because I can't really find anything to back this up, but I am just going to pay attention to my body right now and avoid the peanut flour for awhile. 

(Pistachios for my morning snack!)

I just recently discovered that I love pistachios more than about any other nut.  It's the best nut to snack on because it's in a shell.  It takes longer to eat and it feels more satisfying to eat these than other nuts.  I typically don't eat nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc. for snacks because it doesn't feel like enough.  I always still feel hungry after I eat them.  However, pistachios are different.  They usually do a pretty good job of tiding me over til lunch time.  I love the roasted and salted kind.  Delicious! 

(Hummus with carrots)

I've been making a lot of hummus lately.  I will usually make a batch over the weekend and have it throughout the week.  I have been making it in my Montel blender and it comes out so perfect when I do that.  (The picture above was NOT made in the Montel blender).  The Montel blender is similar to the Vitamix in that it's super powerful and gets things extra smooth.  I will usually bring along some carrots, bell pepper strips and a tortilla to go along with my hummus

The first time I bought this product, I was so frustrated with it.  I opened it up and it looked like it had been frozen when it shouldn't have been.  It was a lot more like custard than yogurt.  When I tried to mix it up, it then just turned into the consistency of cottage cheese.  The texture was completely off putting and I thought I was just going to throw the whole container away.  Then R got the idea of putting it in the blender.  Brilliant.  We put all of the yogurt in the blender and got it smooth and then just put it back in the container.  Then it was perfect!  This is my favorite vegan yogurt on the market, unfortunately, it's just a pain in the ass to put every container into the blender first before I eat it.  What I usually do now is I buy four or five of the large containers and then do all of the blending at once.  Between R and me, we eat enough yogurt that it doesn't go bad this way.  I eat yogurt almost every day so I really want it to be a yogurt I am happy with. 

Also, I contacted Amande about this issue and they told me it was supposed to be like that.  (???)  I think maybe they are still working out some issues with the product....I don't really know.  However, they did send me a couple of coupons in the mail for 50 cents off.  Not a lot but since I continued to buy the product, I was able to use the coupons. 

I really could take or leave this product.  I definitely was not really excited about it by any means.  I was excited to try the vegan greek yogurt because I was already vegan when the greek yogurt craze hit a few years back.  So, I had never even tried greek yogurt.  I thought that one of the perks to greek yogurt was that it was supposed to be high in protein so I was thinking this would be a good filling snack option.  Not so much....the vegan greek yogurt only has 2 grams of protein per individual sized container.  I don't consider that very much.  The yogurt was very thick like I had imagined greek yogurt to be but it wasn't anything amazing.  R did really like it though.  I took a bite of it and then I just gave her the rest and she also ate the other container of it that I bought.  I will stick to the almond and soy yogurt. 

I've tried Teese cheese before but I guess when I tried it before, I didn't really focus on the nutritional information.  I found both the greek yogurt and the Teese cheese at our local "scratch and dent" health food discount store.  At 99 cents, it was a bargain and I couldn't pass it up.  So I bought 3 tubes of Teese without even thinking to look at the nutritional information.  When I got home, I decided to turn the tube over and glance at the back.  This is what I see.......

(Teese nutrition)

At first glance, it doesn't look that bad.  Then I looked again and realized that there are 10 servings in this little tube.  I quickly did the math and realized that 10 times 80 calories is 800 calories in one small tube of Teese cheese.  Yikes!  So I started thinking about ways to still be able to use it without breaking the caloric bank.  Then finally R made a gluten free macaroni and cheese with broccoli in it.  It turned out so-so but definitely not worth all of the calories.  We ended up throwing the mac and cheese away and the other two tubes of Teese.  I asked another vegan friend if she wanted it and she said she just didn't like the taste of Teese.  I guess we will just stick with Daiya. 

I think those are most of the new products I have tried lately and the things I am eating the most of right now.