REVIEW: Dang Onion Chips

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I was recently given the opportunity to try out a relatively new snacking product on the scene – Dang Onion Chips. I am not a total newbie to Dang – I have tried their coconut chips, which come in a variety of flavours (chili lime FTW!), and given my love of savoury snacks I was super keen to check these out.

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They come in four flavours – Sea Salt, Salt-n-Pepper, Chipotle Garlic and Applewood BBQ. Y’all know I had my eye on Chipotle Garlic FROM THE GET GO. They are also labelled as vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. Unfortunately, it was not until after I had eaten these (in fact, not until I was cropping the photo!) did I actually read the ingredients list on them, and found that the Applewood BBQ flavour contain honey granules. As honey is not vegan, the labeling on the package is misleading. This is unfortunate, as I’m sure many people like myself see the ‘vegan’ symbol on a product and assume it’s all systems go. Also unfortunate is that the Applewood BBQ with its strong smokiness was one of my preferred flavours. Anyway, the review must go on…!

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The chips themselves are quite unusual – they are whole slices of caramelised onion, coated in the various seasonings. The light, crispy and almost puffy slices are totally moreish, and I could easily down a bowl of them without a second thought.

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That being said, I do need to comment on the strong aftertaste these bad boys leave behind. Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering they are, well, slices of onion. As a beer snack, this is fine as a good beer takes care of that aftertaste pretty fast, but you are still left with some pretty serious onion-breath. If this doesn’t bother you (it doesn’t me – onion and garlic breath for life!) that’s fine, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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The package recommends trying these on soups, salads and sandwiches. When topping on soup or other hot meals, I found that they became soggy very quickly, after which the were not particularly pleasing. They did however work well sprinkled sparingly on salads, as they provided some extra texture and flavour like crispy little onion croutons. I haven’t attempted these on sandwiches, so y’all are going to have to try that one for yourselves. The Dang Foods website also have some recipes up which provide some other ideas about how you might use them.

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Dang Onion Chips are something a little different from your regular savoury snack. Overall they can be a little intense and overpowering in large quantities, though they work well in salads or as an intermittent beer snack. If I had to pick a favourite flavour, I’d probably go with Salt-n-Pepper, though if Chipotle Garlic was a bit smokier and spicier I’d give it my votes.

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FULL DISCLOSURE: These Dang Onion Chips were provided to me free of charge from iHerb in exchange for my honest review. All opinions within this post are my own. If you’d like to give Dang Onion Chips or any other iHerb product a try, click here to use my rewards code JNN776 and get $5USD off your first order, with no minimum purchase. When you make a purchase with my code, I also receive a small referral fee, which I will undoubtedly spend on more snacks.

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Almost Raw Lamington Balls

So much for “I’m back!” It’s only taken me another two and a half months to back it up with another post. Ahhh well. Rather than give you a big spiel, I’m going to give you a recipe. Hallelujah!

The Bear and I have never much celebrated Valentines day – perhaps we would have a picnic if it fell on a weekend but there was no going out of our way to make the day particularly special. That was until a few years ago, when we dubbed the day ‘Lamingtons Day’. On this day – February 14th – we make lamingtons in one form or another. Over the years we’ve had lamington cupcakes, a whole lamington cake, lamington ice-cream and of course your stock standard lamingtons. The Bear has one rule – it’s not a real lamington unless it has jam.

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This year Lamingtons day kinda snuck up on us, and I had little inspiration for building epic lamington glory. When I say glory, I’m referring to the likes of the Bear’s two (or was it three?) tiered cake that instead of icing, he covered  with three blocks of melted dark chocolate. After it had set, the shell was so thick we had to hack away at it with our biggest kitchen knife to get a piece.

On the auspicious day itself I was also in the process of preparing some food for the working week. I often make variations of bliss balls to take with as a morning/afternoon snack, so with that in mind, I threw together these dudes and I have to say, was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Before I give you the recipe, I just want to give a shout out to fellow Australian vegan blogger Kyra at Vie de la Vegan. I was doing a quick image search before the photo shoot to get an idea of how I might present the balls (how hard is it to make balls look good?! Eeeep!) In the process, I came across her very own recipe for Raw Lamington Balls as well. Slightly different, but I’m sure equally as delicious. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!

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Almost Raw Lamington Balls
(can’t remember how many this makes, eep, will edit after making them again….amateur!)

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
3 Tbsp rice bran syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
80g raw chocolate (I used Loving Earth choc-raspberry block)
3/4 cup dessicated coconut

Jam:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp rice bran syrup
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Firstly make the jam – place raspberries and rice bran syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the berries to cook down slowly, gently stirring and squashing them with the back of a spoon every now and then. Cook until berries have broken down, about 5-10 minutes. Take off heat and stir in chia seeds. Set aside.

Place cashews and shredded coconut in a food processor and process until it resembles crumbs. Add rice bran syrup, vanilla and milk and process until mixture comes together and gets a bit sticky. Transfer to a bowl and add chia jam, stir until it is swirled through. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls.

Prepare a tray by lining it with baking paper. Using a double boiler, heat raw chocolate until melted. Pour dessicated coconut out onto a plate. One by one, cover each ball in chocolate before rolling in coconut and setting on the tray to dry. Store in the fridge.

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Simple Hummus

I don’t think I’ve ever posted just a plain old hummus recipe, so here you go. I shouldn’t say ‘plain old’, the humble hummus is a friend of many, loyal and reliable, delicious and nutritious, saving vegans from hunger at parties since forever. Let’s hear it for hummus!

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I’m sure you all know the drill with old mate hummus – flavours can be altered with the interchanging of spices and the addition of other tasties like roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes and herbs. But this here is what I’d call my standard hummus.

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Simple Hummus

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
2 Tbsp unhulled tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
Salt (optional)

Making hummus isn’t rocket science – you can just chuck all the ingredients together and blend them up. But I do have an order of preference – I start with the lemon juice, garlic and oil and blend until smooth. Next add the tahini and blend again until combined. Then add spices and chickpeas and blend until smooth. If mix is too thick, try adding a little more oil or some of the juice from the chickpeas (or water). Taste for seasoning, and serve with some olive oil and fresh parsley.

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See you in a few days, MoFo’s!

Fruity Leathers

Since my parents invested in a dehydrator, whenever I’m going on a camping trip I like to pop around and make up some goodies (only to have to return a day later to retrieve them). I usually do a couple of variations of crackers, a few variations of fruit leathers and some fruit or veggie crisps – it’s a great way to pack nutritious snacks that are easy to transport and keep well, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to making up different flavour combinations.

fleather1These are my latest three fruit leather blends. Instructions are very straight forward and apply to whatever combination you go with. I’m still working out some things with different fruits producing different textures – when I’ve used apples the mix tends to separate a bit and crack, others produce a stickier mix – regardless, all I’ve done have been tasty.

Cherry Vanilla Fruit Leather
(makes 1 sheet)

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chia seeds

fleather2Apple, Pear and Cinnamon Fruit Leather
(makes 1 sheet)

2 pears, chopped and cores removed
1 apple, chopped and core removed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon juice

fleather3Banana Berry Mint Fruit Leather
(makes 1 sheet)

2 x bananas
250g strawberrys, hulled
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh mint

fleather4Instructions:

Chuck all your ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth and of spreadable consistency. If it is too runny, try adding some chia seeds, and likewise if too thick add some liquid – either citrus juice or a spash of water. Pour mixture onto a teflex sheet on a dehydrator tray and spread evenly, to about half a centimetre or just a little more in thickness. Dehydrate at 60C for 1 hour, then reduce to 40C and continue to dehydrate for about 8 – 12 hours. The time will vary depending on the fruit, thickness, etc, so just check in every now and then to see if it’s ready.

I have seen some people instruct to peel and flip the leather part way through – I have not tried this method yet, but can verify that it seems to work just fine leaving on the one side.

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Raw Cheese and Onion Cauliflower Popcorn

Listen up! I’ve got a new favourite raw snack thanks to Veganopolous, who gave me this great idea in her post last week.

I was already planning to get the dehydrator going on the weekend to make some more crackers, but I needed some ideas on what to fill the other trays with. Her post was very timely! As soon as I saw her picture, I knew I had to try this stuff. CAULIFLOWER POPCORN.

I decided to flavour it cheese and onion style, because it’s been forever since I’ve had that flavouring. I swear, this took me back to eating cheese and onion crinkle cut chips. They feel really junk foody, but minus the junk! Best thing is, they are so simple to prepare.

I’ll share the quantities I used below, but obviously these are very adjustable according to your taste.

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Raw Cheese and Onion Cauliflower Popcorn

1 head of cauliflower
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 – 1tsp salt
A healthy dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces and place in a bowl.

Add oil and toss to coat.

Now add the rest of your seasonings – yeast, onion powder, salt and cayenne. Cover the bowl with a lid or plate and give it a good shake to coat all the pieces. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.

Pop the pieces onto a dehydrator rack with a teflex sheet on it and dehydrate at 45C for 8-12 hours, or until crispy.

This could also be adapted and cooked at a low temperature in your oven.

And voila! Delicious, crispy and ADDICTIVE popcorn bites. The main issue I noticed is that when storing them, they tend to lose a bit of their crispiness. However, this doesn’t have to be an issue – they are seriously so moreish you will have to fight not to eat them all straight out of the dehydrator.

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Choc-peanut ‘keep-you-going’ balls

I’ve made these balls a couple of times over the past two weeks or so, particularly since the big trip across to Darwin. When you’re driving for 6-8 hours a day in the heat, you need something to keep you going (aside from the bazillion litres of water) and give you a bit of a kick. These are great for stemming sugar and chocolate cravings too, as they have the sweetness and the chocolateyness plus nutrition, all rolled in one super duper little ball!

The first time I made these, we didn’t have access to power so I waited for the dates to get really soft, then mashed them with a fork. If you prefer, you could definitely whizz these in a blender or processor.

Also, it might be worth noting at this stage in my blog that I eye most of my measurements. We live in a small van as we travel, and I don’t have measuring cups or spoons. I use a mug for my cup, but mostly I just eyeball things – I think I have a pretty good eye by now. In saying this, some of my recipes may be a bit out of whack for you. This can normally be remedied by adding a bit more of this or a bit more of that. When I get home, I promise I’ll be more precise, but I’m afraid that’s how it is for the time being.

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Choc-peanut ‘keep-you-going’ balls

1 1/2 cups dates
3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup oats, pulsed a few times in the blender (or use already crushed/ground oats)
3 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp cacao powder
pinch of salt

Soak the dates for a few hours until soft, then mash with a fork (or process).

Add peanut butter, cacao and coconut oil and mix into a paste. Try to resist eating off spoon or spreading on toast.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. If mix is too moist, try adding some more oats or coconut or cocoa. Likewise, if the mix is too dry, add a little more oil or some water.

Roll into balls and refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Opposite day: International Foods

So y’know that risotto recipe I posted the other day? It got a mention on the Tofutti website!

I was just a wee bit excited when I found out, I felt a bit star-struck to tell you the truth – I couldn’t believe someone from Tofutti had been to my blog, hehe. You can see the post they did about it here. Thanks for sharing my blog Tofutti! I love you and your creamy treats!

There are also some super mouthwatering recipes to check out on their website, like apple cinnamon crème brulee cheesecake. Yeah I know, YUM.

Now, in terms of my MoFo theme, today is opposite day. Remember opposite day? When you would insult your sibling/friend/enemy only to get the reply “ha-ha it’s actually opposite day, so that means I’m really cool!” And then there was the confusion about whether opposite day applied to that statement, and if you are saying it’s opposite day on opposite day then maybe it isn’t opposite day after all…that’s when it kind of spirals out of control.

So I know my focus has been on locally sourced food, but I stumbled upon this Asian/Italian grocery in Mackay and I couldn’t help but walk out with a few things, and that’s why I proclaimed it opposite day.

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I grabbed some chickpea flour, black beans, Arborio rice, red curry paste, dried basil, asafoetida, barbecue chips and Bear got some coconut water. These chips were on clearance as apparently they weren’t selling which is a major bummer. They are made up of potato, sweet potato and taro and the flavour is great! The different textures are amazing, from a softer thinner crispy chip to a thick crunchy one. So good! We went back and bought a couple more packs on the way out of Mackay.

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Taro chips, yum.

I’m looking forward to busting out the black beans in some burritos or something soon, I haven’t had black beans in sooooo long. In Australia they are only really available in health food stores, international food stores or specialty shops – they aren’t on the shelf in the supermarket. So yay for getting some black beans! I’m sure you’ll see them featured on the blog some time soon.

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