Relish Tray: Daiya’s Havarti-Style “Cheese” Wedge

relishverb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.

daiya havarti

My name is Michelle & I am a Havarti-aholic. It all started several months ago when, upon release of Daiya’s wedge-style flavors, my friend Diva LaVida recommended that I try their Havarti flavor immediately because it was just that good. However, I rarely purchase vegan cheeses anymore. With so many great vegan restaurants in Chicago, I find that I can get my fill of cheesy flavors without adding it to my grocery list. Cut to last week when I decided to pick up a cheddar wedge as a gift for a recently dairy-free client. As I stood in the aisle at Whole Foods, cheddar in one hand, Daiya coupon in the the other, I decided now was as good of time as any to try this Havarti flavor for myself.

With no gluten-free crackers suitable for cheese at home, I opted to try my wedge on apple slices…and proceeded to devour half of the package in one sitting. Thankfully, my consumption has slowed down slightly [and I’ve learned to pre-arrange my slices on a plate to prevent mindless grazing from the package], but I still should buy stock in Daiya with as often as I’m purchasing this wedge. It’s amazing, guys! And for the most part, it’s pretty neutral on the nutrition scale. With a tapioca flour, palm oil & coconut base, it’s soy-free, gluten-free, & of course, dairy-free without too many unnecessary ingredients or preservatives. Overall, I feel okay about getting my apple a day with a side of this stuff…it’ll still keep the doctor away.

Want to go dairy-free, but you’re not quite sure how? As your health coach, I can help.
click here button


Vlog: A Rawxies Review [aka my newest snack addiction] + a GIVEAWAY!

As a gluten-free vegan, I’m pretty easily excited by finding just about any store-bought item that fits into my dietary requirements. Depending on the location & circumstance I can find excitement in anything from a rice cake to a well-made, allergy-free cupcake. It’s kind of all relative.

That being said, it’s not often that a pre-packaged gluten-free/vegan food item also excites the health coach in me. Packaging usually means preservatives, additives, & cheap sweeteners which makes my inner health nut crinkle her neti-cleansed nose. That’s why I’m so excited about the product in today’s video review: Rawxies. They’re just pure, wholesome goodness that happen to also be delicious.

Check out what I have to say about these yummy little cookies:

To Enter to Win the Rawxies Sample Pack + “Stop Eating Crap” Sticker:


First, if you haven’t already, “Like” Michelle Shea Walker [the blog] on Facebook. This is where the winner will initially be announced so it’s important that you’re on the list of fans to see the news.

Second, post the following tweet on Twitter showing your support for the Rawxies brand & this blog:

“I can’t wait to try @michelleshea ‘s new #healthy snack addiction from @rawxies #raw #glutenfree #vegan”

[Click here to Tweet.]

That’s it! On Friday, July 12th the winner will be selected at random & contacted for their shipping information to receive their prize*. Please be sure to check this blog’s Facebook feed as well as your twitter messages on the day of the announcement to see if you’ve won.

*The winner will have until Friday, July 19th to claim their prize. After that, if no response has been issued, an alternate winner will be selected.


Full Disclosure: I was not paid for this review. I just think these cookies are awesome.

Relish Tray: So Delicious Cookie Dough Frozen Dessert

Back in the days B.V. [before vegan], a typical girl’s night in would include chick flicks, face masks, & an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream. Part cookie dough, part brownie in a choco-vanilla swirl of creaminess, the single girl’s two favorite men perfectly satisfied any sugary craving I might be experiencing.

Nowadays, I feel my best when I’m consuming less sugar & more veggies [hello, choco-green smoothie!], but if I’m feeling a little naughty, I’d rather indulge myself with a vegan treat that’s also gluten-free & soy-free to balance out the sugar consumption [too many no-no ingredients at once makes my body very angry]. That’s why I was ecstatic to discover a gluten-free, soy-free combination in So Delicious’ Cookie Dough frozen dessert:

I may or may not have eaten the entire container in less than 24 hours…

Between this coconut dream & Luna & Larry’s Chocolate Walnut Brownie flavor, I can now satisfy my Half Baked urges sans dairy, soy, or gluten.

Relish Tray: Food for Life’s Gluten Free Multi Seed English Muffins

relishverb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.

 It all started a The Veggie sandwich order at Delicious Cafe…

small, but mighty.

I ordered my delicious veggie/hummus sandwich on gluten free bread, but they only had one slice left. Would I like it on a gluten free english muffin instead? Um, OF COURSE! That’s even better! Since going gluten free, I’d almost forgotten the wonders of the english muffin, but with that one tasty reminder I was a girl on a mission: find a pack of gluten free, vegan english muffins and make them my own.

A quick confession: I often crave the hearty flavor of whole grain bread. Brown rice  bread is fine when you’re just looking for something to put sandwich ingredients between, but when it comes to flavor…it can leave you wanting. That’s why I was ecstatic to find not just gluten free english muffins that were vegan [most have egg as a binder], but that also contain a variety of seeds for that little extra something.

Introducing my new love: Food for Life’s Gluten Free Multi Seed English Muffins

can’t. stop. toasting.

Top it with avocado. Spread on some jelly. I don’t care how you do it, just try it & Enjoy.

Relish Tray: Luna & Larry’s chocolate walnut brownie frozen dessert

My obsession & not-so-guilty pleasure:

20120424-195609.jpg width=

I love this brand for being organic, agave-sweetened, vegan, soy-free, & gluten-free.

I love this flavor for imitating my old favorite Ben & Jerry’s chocolate fudge brownie with the added benefit of omega-3 heavy walnuts.

Enjoy it in moderation, but definitely ENJOY!

Relish Tray: Native Foods’ Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl

relish: verb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.

I want you in my belly.

How is it that I have not blogged about the Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl yet?

My newest favorite, this Native Foods dish is the perfect combination of “how did they do this?!?” faux meat & healthy home kitchen ingredients. The dish is more sweet than savory thanks to some fruity currants & the Native “chicken” [made from a combination of soy, wheat, & pea protein] is UNREAL!!! Meanwhile, the filling quinoa & healthy grilled veggies make my inner health coach proud.

Go. Try it.
Then maybe reward yourself with one of their amazing carrot cupcakes:

Relish Tray: The Chicago Diner’s Tipsy Turtle Shake

relish: verb. to delight in something that satisfies one’s tastes, inclinations, or desires.

you need this in your mouth.

Currently on Chicago Diner’s specialty menu & so delicious I could die: The Tipsy Turtle!

Vegan vanilla ice cream [we chose chocolate instead] blended with Jameson® Whiskey,
chocolate chip cookie chunks, & topped with whipped cream & chopped pecans.

Hurry, as part of their Valentine’s week menu, it may not last much longer!

Relish Tray: Chicago Diner’s Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a special brunch treat:


I suggest you grab your love and hurry to Chicago Diner for this special menu item [and if you’re unattached, this dish can be your boyfriend.] 😉

The new strawberry stuffed french toast may only be available this week and it is AMAZING! The cream cheese filling and strawberry topping even made the too thick vegan bacon better. Add on the side hash browns & fruit and you’ll leave full & happy. What are you waiting for? Go now, go!

Raw Tools: What I’m Using

Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet and Lifestyle Revolution at Home

Judita Wignall: saving me from salad & smoothie overload

This book arrived just in time yesterday. After a little over a week of salads & smoothies, I was feeling a bit discouraged at my ability to stick to this lifestyle for the remainder of the month.  I needed variety, I needed a challenge, I NEEDED this book to finally arrive from Amazon.  Then, just like that, it did! I love Judita’s approach to the raw lifestyle.  With a background in nutrition, she sometimes uses non-raw ingredients [like maple syrup & wild rice] for their health benefits and flavor rather than avoid highly nutritious ingredients simply because they are not raw.  Because of this, some of the month’s 100% Raw recipes may not in fact be 100% raw, but they will be 100% nutritious.

Cooks 5-in-1 Power Blender

solo size: perfect for when the Omnivore doesn't want my smoothie breakfast.

I’ve had this little wonder for years, boxed up at the top of my kitchen cabinet.  Who would have thought that the gadget I’d been saving for some distant blender party would one day be used daily [and not for alcohol]?  With multiple attachments, strainers, and lids, this thing is a Raw lifesaver. Thanks, cousin Cori! 2008’s Christmas gift is getting more use than you could ever imagine.

Soon to be Used: Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor 

juice: breakfast of champions

Another neglected Christmas gift, this juicer from my sister has been boxed up above my cabinet ever since I burnt myself out doing a 3-day juice fast in early 2009. Perhaps it’s time to break it back out for a few Raw breakfasts?

Make Something Monday: Strawberry Madness

Despite the fact that today is day 1 of 100% Raw, I have a 2 not-so-raw recipes I just have to share with you:

Not So Raw Recipe #1: Strawberry/Banana Pancakes

why haven't i tried this before?!? delicious.

Remember my banana pancakes recipe? Well this is even better! I simply added fresh strawberries, both slightly mashed in the batter and sliced on top, to the original banana batter.  The one drawback: the moisture from the fruit does make it a bit harder to tell when the pancakes are cooked through, but even if you make them a bit too brown [like mine], they’re still delicious!

Not So Raw Recipe #2: Strawberry/Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

why whole, frozen strawberries should not be used for baking...

This weekend, with 100% raw Monday looming over my head, I decided to indulge in one last baking adventure: my first ever oatmeal muffins!  Based loosely on this recipe from It Ain’t Meat, Babe, I added frozen blueberries and strawberries to my version.  Too lazy to thaw and cut the whole frozen strawberries, I simply poured them into the batter and hoped for the best.  Helpful Hint: don’t do this!  Either use pre-cut frozen or cut your own fresh strawberries. Whole fruit compromises the integrity of the muffin, causing a strawberry landslide before you’ve even stuck your fork in [see above].  Then again, it all tastes the same once it hits your tongue, right?


1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of So Delicious coconut milk “soured” with 1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup spelt flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of olive oil [this was from the original recipe and seemed like a bit much, next time I’ll use half]
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen whole strawberries  learn from my mistake, use sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine oats & soured coconut milk, let sit.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, & salt into a second bowl.
Add the oil, sugar, applesauce, & vanilla extract to the oatmeal mixture.
Stir wet ingredients into dry, using a wooden spoon.
Fold in strawberries & blueberries, but do not overmix.
Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for some Raw recipes later on this week!