Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween in Wellington. My friends in New York say that it's snowing there - which is odd. Here it is a muggy overcast day, which is pretty uninspiring.

Each year the Wellington City Council put on a big Halloween event in the city centre. There are usually inflatable castles and slides, entertainment and a scary haunted house for the brave kids to go through. I really like it because it saves us a bit from trick or treating, which I'm not that fond on. I'm like the Grinch that stole Halloween.

I thought that today would be a perfect day to do a post on Vegan junk food. I have had some really kind comments about how we eat as a family and, well, I am pretty sure I have made myself out to be better than I am. Which may be the purpose of a blog like this. Toki eats HEAPS of junk food. She has a very sweet tooth and I have definitely been guilty of using candy to bribe and coerce her, often away from non-Vegan food which would probably be 'healthier'. Toki, has already had one filling, which shows just how erm, sugary our lives are.

Now, I also need to come clean on me and junk food. I have a super salty-tooth, if there is such a thing. My favourite thing in the world is potato chips and corn chips and bhuja mix and slated peanuts and salted cashew nuts and crackers and salty dips. As far as sugar goes, I don't really eat it. Chocolate gives me wicked migraines and sugar plays havoc with my as far as the spike/drop thing goes. I think I've said before here that I am really trying to break my salt-thang and that goes pretty well most of the time, but put a plate of potato chips in front of me and boyo, I will probably eat all of them. So yeah, all the salty stuff comes via me and all the sugary stuff comes via B & T and what they like. I guess the other thing is, after all my high-faluting notions of fair-trade, I'm not really sure how many of these products have ethical practices also, a lot of them are vegan because they are so un-natural. Yeah, erm, anyway, here's a list of some of our go-to junk food options:

Chupa Chups: The name for these comes from the Spanish word 'chupar' which means to suck. They are Vegan and great for in the handbag bribes baha. My mother was a dental nurse and she says they are pretty bad for kid's teeth because they sit them in one position and suck and suck and they stay there for ages. Toki's decay was exactly where she sits her Chupa Chup baha.

Mentos: These come in a couple of different flavours. The packets seem way to big for me, so we normally make them last a week or so.

Skittles: Again, a good go-to candy. I have no idea what is in the colouring - I suspect it's not vegan. These are really good for decorating cakes and cupcakes.

I've already mentioned Whittaker's so I won't do that again but yum!

RJs Natural Soft Licorice: RJ's do single logs of licorice which are great and they also do packets which are also good. They are great for decorating cakes (cat's whiskers, spider's legs that sort of thing). When this licorice first came out the labelling didn't specify whether the gelatin was plant or animal based. Quite a few vegans I know wrote to RJs and they changed the label of all their products so you can tell which are the vegan products. We have pretty lazy labelling laws in New Zealand so they didn't need to do that. But they did which was nice.

So Good Soy Ice Cream: I've always thought there is a movie to be made about Sanitarium. I often joke about how much vegans owe to the growing prevalence of lactose-intolerance, the 1980's BSE outbreak and many religions. All these factors have given greater exposure to being vegan or vegetarian and they have given rise to some amazing products. Sanitarium has some amazing vegetarian convenience products and this ice cream is great!

Lite Licks Soy Ice Cream: I just want to put in a bit of a plug for another vegan ice cream which is Lite Licks. There is another great advocacy story associated with them. Lite Licks brought out a hokey pokey flavoured ice cream about six or seven years ago - which was pretty exciting - but the hokey pokey used an animal-based gelatin in it, so it wasn't vegan. Several vegans write to the company and they changed the recipe so it is now vegan. I really like remembering that something when you do something things change.

Vegan Jelly: Okay, I couldn't find a link to any of the products we buy but we get agar-agar jelly from our local Asian Supermarket Yans - we sometimes but it in powder form and mix it up with sugar and colour it with beetroot juice or turmeric (I know, hippy sweets). We also buy these little tubs of jelly which you can eat like candy. Yum.

Okay, now onto the salt! I really don't know where to start and I could go on all day. But I will just give you my top five:

Indian Snacks: Baha. See what I did there? I am a sucker for all things asafoetida and salty. I love bhuja I love bhaji I love poppadoms! Here is a list from Wikipedia. I have no idea if they are all vegan but I have found heaps of vegan snacks at Indian suppliers.

Corn Chips: Again, any kind virtually. My all time favourite is a Signature Range Chili and Lime flavour. Oh boy!

Potato chips: Here in New Zealand we have a milk mountain and milk powder is put into pretty much everything. It is used heaps in flavoured chips for 'mouth texture' which I think means, it holds the flavouring to the chip. So up until recently we had mainly eaten imported flavoured chips but recently local companies have been missing out the milk powder on some of their flavours. I am positive this has nothing to do with veganism and everything to do with lactose intolerance. But yes, we can now eat Bluebird Salt and Vinegar chips - and we do baha.

Crackers: Another thing I really like is crackers. I really like Griffins Sesameal - they are very old-school and have poppy seeds and salt. I love them with baba ganoush and sundried tomatoes.

Bagel crisps: I really like these and look Abe's are having a promotion where you can win six-months supply!

Okay, that is me. I feel a bit sick after writing about all that stuff. I guess it really is only sometimes food.

Have fun.

Tomorrow is World Vegan Day!

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