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Valentine's Day Meal (from Food and Wine)

Valentine’s Day Meal (from Food and Wine)

No matter your Valentine’s Day plans– with family, friends, a significant other, or yourself, there is plenty of love for delicious food to go around.  There are plenty of rich main courses (duck!) or decadent (self-made!) desserts.  Chocolate. Is. Essential.  (Calorie-counting is not allowed.)  Enjoy a February 14th full of flavor!!

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(Vegan) Marshmallows

Dandies Marshmallows

Dandies (Vegan) Marshmallows (Photo from website)

I found these marshmallows not because I am a vegan, but rather, my wife needed to find an option to bring for a church gathering.  We also brought some of these to a party hosted by some of our friends, one of whom is a vegetarian.  My wife did some research online and looked for what was available, since we didn’t really have many ideas about what options were out there.  She looked into recipes (somewhat time consuming, and we didn’t really have the right materials/equipment) as well as options and this stood out as one of the few vegan-friendly options.  We were able to find some at Whole Foods, but weren’t able to find them at our local co-op.

In comparison to typical store-sold marshmallows, they are a little more firm (but not much), but most importantly, they are quite delicious!  My wife also thought they had a nicer (more vanilla) flavor, and they passed the S’mores test at the campfire.  They browned well, paired well with grahams and chocolate, and got melty, though they didn’t puff up quite as much.  Overall, they greatly exceeded what I thought a vegan marshmallow would be and were a welcome equivalent (my wife, I think, liked them even a bit better than ‘regular’ marshmallows!)   Our friends agreed that they were tasty also.   I would certainly get them again and recommend them to anyone looking for a vegan (or non-vegan) marshmallow!

Smoking mad

Candy cigarettes display

Candy cigarettes display

A soda shop in Minnesota got into possible trouble for selling candy cigarettes.  I remember our local family-owned grocery store in our small town used to carry boxes of candy cigarettes in the late 80s/early 90s for 10 cents a box (and I recall buying some).  I don’t smoke myself, but I can certainly understand how this is part of a larger concern over smoking.  On one hand, they’re just candy, but it’s possible that it could be perceived to be imitable (though I wouldn’t be the best example for this proposed chain of causality).

I wasn’t really aware that they were still being made or sold, though admittedly I wasn’t looking.  The grocery store back home stopped carrying them at some point in the 90s.  (The store was eventually sold, and they were open, closed, open, and now closed again.  Such are the realities of rural small town grocery stores.)

They have been banned in some places, but the U.S. is not one of them.  A misinterpreted article is still available online.  The FDA was actually referring to putting certain flavorings in real cigarettes.