Food, Yarn, & Stuff

Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

This is one of my new favorites!  I was upset to read that my favorite “non-dairy” creamer isn’t vegan (and is actually quite the chemical cocktail really.)  While I’ll probably keep it on hand for coffee emergencies (and travel when I can’t keep a refrigerator with me).  If someone who reads this knows of a powdered creamer (preferably French Vanilla flavor) that is vegan – please comment or contact me and let me know!

So Delicious Creamer - French Vanilla (image from So Delicious website)

I tried this once at the ‘very beginning’ of my vegan journey.  I have a hard time with liquid creamers in my coffee.  I feel like I usually need to use far more than the suggested serving in order to get the flavor that I get from a serving of the powdered stuff that I was used to.  That’s not really the case with the So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer.  I’ll admit that I haven’t tried the original flavor, but I think that’s because I like my coffee sweet.  So, I enjoy having a flavored creamer.  The French Vanilla is definitely at the top of my favorites list.  It has a nice vanilla flavor, and it’s sweet without being too sweet.

I just bought the Hazelnut flavor to try – and I’ll try it (and post a review) in a few days once my vanilla is all gone.  I also bought their Original Flavor Coconut Milk to try when I’m done with the 1/2 gallon of Almond Milk that’s in my fridge right now.

I think So Delicious is a brand that is doing an amazing job at making non-dairy items to replace those that most omnivores are used to.  So, whether you’re vegan or have a dairy allergy or just would rather avoid dairy – give these a try!  They’re widely available, and Whole Foods has a good selection of products in both dairy and frozen, a bit more limited at “traditional” grocery stores.

I give this creamer an A+!

Advertisements

Thanks to the folks at Galaxy Foods – I got to try their Chive & Garlic Dairy Free Cream Cheese.  And, while the kids are still fans of the plain version (if they put anything at all on a bagel).  The husband and I have found a new love!

Galaxy Foods Dairy Free Chive & Garlic Cream Cheese

This cream cheese is just awesome!  It’s got a nice garlic flavor with little pieces of chive – but it’s not overwhelming at all!  It’s smooth and creamy just like the plain version but with the nice savory flavor.  I’m going to look up some recipes that usually call for regular cream cheese and try these as an alternative!  (I’ll be sure to post the results!)

This is definitely an A+ in my book!  Now, I just wish they made a larger tub!

image is from the Upton's Naturals site

Upton’s Naturals is one of the first vegan meat replacements that I had come across, a couple of years ago actually.  We went to Green Fest in Chicago in 2010 (unfortunately, we missed it this year – boo!)  All of the food there is vegetarian and vegan.  I found a delightful looking ‘pizza pocket’ from the Upton’s Naturals’ booth.  Sounded delish!  I (used to) love Italian sausage on my pizza, and at the time the only meat the husband wouldn’t eat was pork.  So I was excited to try something that might fill the sausage void and not be a pork product.

Now, this is a ‘must buy’ for me!  I LOVE this stuff!  It has all the nice flavor of Italian sausage (with just the right amount of fennel for my taste) without the pork or turkey! It’s crumbled and sort of mashed up back together.  So, I broke it into sausage pieces on top of a pizza the other night, super good!  (*mental note – post no-rise pizza dough recipe… yum!) Then I had some prepared polenta that I wanted to use, and I had no better ideas.  So I made my own, no recipe required, spaghetti dinner!

This was for 2 adults and 2 kids.

Thin spaghetti, I used a whole-wheat variety

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 package Upton’s Naturals Italian Seitan (I had used the other half on the pizza).

1/2 jar of organic vegan marinara sauce (it doesn’t have to be organic, but I’ve found that the only vegan ones I can find are organic, and it just tastes better!)

1-2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast.

1 ‘tube’ prepared polenta (probably should really be 1/2 a tube, but we liked it, so we ate all of it!)

1) Cook spaghetti per package directions.

2) Drizzle olive oil into a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Crumble in seitan and break into little crumbles, or leave in big chunks… it’s up to you!  I was going for a ‘meat sauce’ as opposed to spaghetti with Italian sausage. Sautee for a few minutes to heat through and get a little brown on the seitan.

3) Add marinara sauce and nutritional yeast and stir.  Lower to a simmer, cover, and let warm while cooking the polenta and spaghetti.  (On a side note – I had heard that nutritional yeast was a good ‘replacement’ for parmesan cheese in cases like this.  I would most definitely agree!  It made it a little ‘creamy’ and added that salty bite that parmesan would.)

4) Slice polenta into approximately 1/4″ slices.  Lightly oil a large flat skillet.  Cook the polenta slices 3-5 minutes per side, or until slightly brown.

5) Divide spaghetti into your serving bowls, top with seitan sauce, and a few slices of polenta and ENJOY!

I wish I would have taken a picture of the finished product.  It looked quite appealing!

So, as my ‘reviews’ always have a grade – I give Upton’s Naturals Italian-Style Seitan an A+.  Now, if I could just buy it in bulk!

Today, the husband worked late – after his disk golfing trip with work friends.  So, it was just the kids and me again for dinner.  One wanted tacos the other wanted mac and cheese – so I found a compromise… pizza!  I had a few personal frozen pizzas in the freezer.

First Amy’s (this was the kid’s pizza).

Amy's non-dairy Cheeze Pizza w/ Rice Crust (and the smallest slice ever in the box picture! This is a 'personal' size pizza!)

Cooked

The pizza got a little dark around the edges from the broiler.  Both pizzas baked at 425 degrees (F) for about 10 minutes.  But then this one said to broil for a few minutes to melt the cheeze.  That’s a definite ‘must follow’ instruction!  The cheeze doesn’t take a melted appearance otherwise.  The boy loved it… but put this in the category as nuggets… if it remotely resembles cheese pizza he’ll eat it without a second thought!  The girl, not so much!  She pointed to the cheeze and asked “what’s this white stuff?”  I said “cheese”.  She responded “it doesn’t taste very good.”  I took a bite to try it – eh.  Not my favorite.  But that could be the rice crust.  It’s a little crumbly, kind of like the dried out Pizza Hut crust, and the sauce is a little strongly seasoned.  But, it’s not horrible.

I’d give it a B-, not a favorite, but if it’s the only option I’d eat it.

Now the Whole Foods 365 Vegan Roasted Veggie with Whole Wheat Crust…

Whole Foods 365 Vegan Roasted Vegetable Pizza w/ Whole Wheat Crust

Cooked with Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Now this one… YUM!  I wasn’t quite ready to go down the cheese-less pizza route, and I had bought some Daiya mozzarella style shreds, so I added my own ‘cheese’ to this pizza and broiled it along with the other one to get it melted.    But, it honestly doesn’t need it!  This pizza is really tasty!  The crust was just the right level of crispy, and the sauce has a nice flavor but isn’t over powering, and the roasted veggies were tasty, they weren’t mushy like one might think.  I have another one that is a different crust… rice I think.  We’ll see how that compares to the Amy’s pizza.  I’ll have to make it some time this week (partly to use the cheese that I opened!)

I will definitely buy this pizza again!  I wish they made a ‘full size’ version of this pizza (maybe they do, and I just didn’t see it.)

I give this one an A+!!

Cream Cheese Alternative… yum?  I tried the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and I have to admit, I’m not really a fan of that one (taste or consistency).  So, when I was shopping at my local Jewel (which I have another post about my disappointment with my local Jewel later) I saw this cream cheese ‘replacement’ in the produce department with the other ‘plant based’ food replacements.

Galaxy Nutritional Foods Veggie Cream Cheese

Now, when I found the link for Galaxy Nutritional Foods I noticed that they have “Vegan Classic Plain Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Alternative”.  Now, I read the ingredients on this Veggie one and didn’t see anything that wasn’t vegan… maybe it’s a ‘hidden’ non-vegan ingredient.  But, I bought it – I’m gonna use it!  And, use it I will!  This is a delicious cream cheese alternative!  Once this one is used up I’ll have to try to find the “Vegan” version and hopefully it will live up to this one.

While the color in the container is a little off-putting, it’s slightly on the gray side, once it’s spread on a bagel (Thomas’ Whole Wheat is vegan) it looks just like traditional cream cheese.  It’s nice and creamy, and spreads easily!  The taste is amazing!  While the Tofutti has a slightly ‘different’ flavor that you might expect from cream cheese – this one really tastes 99% like standard dairy cream cheese!

The husband tried it first – and gave that “oh no” when he first took it out of the fridge.  But then he said it was surprisingly good.  So, the next morning I tried it on a bagel – I was also pleasantly surprised!  As I mentioned above, I’m going to try to find the “Vegan” variety next time I shop – but if I can’t, this will definitely be my ‘cream cheese’ of choice!

My rating A+!!

I bought this a few shopping trips ago, and finally made it with breakfast this morning.  Lightlife Smart Bacon Strips these are vegan (some of the other Lightlife products aren’t actually vegan because of egg or milk additives.)

Lightlife Smart Bacon Style Strips

I followed the package instructions, heated in a skillet over medium heat sprayed with cooking spray.  Mind didn’t exactly end up looking all nice and ‘wavy’ like the package…

Cooked Lightlife Smart Bacon

We’ve been a turkey bacon family forever.  The husband didn’t eat pork, and I just preferred turkey bacon – particularly Louis Rich (now Oscar Mayer) turkey bacon.  It’s also less messy to cook!  Anyway, that’s what my brain is comparing this to.  So, I snatched one off the plate just after it came out of the pan – pretty good!  Not really ‘crispy’ but a nice salty, smokey flavor – what you’d expect a ‘bacon’ product to taste like!  A serving size is technically 1… but there’s a comedian who did a bit about Fig Newtons and their serving size being just 1 cookie “Who are you kidding?  I eat them by the sleeve!” That skit popped into my head!  And, they’re only 20 calories a slice, so I had another while I was cooking the pancakes.  This one was OK, still on the ‘good’ side of OK though.  Then as I finished up the pancakes, I had another.  They had sat on the plate for a little while now, and were starting to cool.  This third taste, definitely only OK.  Then one last one with my pancakes – and by this time they were room temperature.  So, I’m not sure if 4 slices was just a couple too many or the fact that they were ‘cold’ – but definitely not a favorite by then!  The husband says they kind of taste like pepperoni (not that he really ate pepperoni before, since it’s pork, but they do have a similar taste to turkey pepperoni) – so I think they’re a little spicy in order to give them the flavor that they would otherwise be lacking, especially since they’re not super salty.

Overall, I’d give these a B-.  They’re pretty good hot out of the pan, but once they’re cold they’re not great.  They might be OK on a sandwich, or chopped and added to a salad (but I have Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon for that!)  I have a recipe for tempeh ‘bacon’ that I want to try before I decide on buying these again.

*This is purely my opinion – I purchased this product for my family.  It is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the company who makes this product*

Tonight the husband is working late, so it’s just the kids and me for dinner tonight.  We’re all tired from our day out, so I’m going with something easy for dinner tonight.  I found these on my last shopping trip – and was happy to see that they’re actually vegan!  Some of the other chicken-free nuggets or chick’n nuggets aren’t vegan because they use eggs or milk.  The husband also saw a story or YouTube video about what chicken nuggets are made out of, and has been pretty strongly voicing that we should not allow the kids to eat those any more! (Although, it’s hard to find something other than nuggets that the kids will eat at a fast food restaurant – but that’s another story!)

Health is Wealth Vegan Chicken-Free Nuggets

I cooked them in the oven.  They very much matched the texture and mouth-feel of store-bought processed chicken nuggets.  They’re a little on the soft side – but that could be because I baked them, and they sat for a little while to cool before we ate them.  There are directions for stove-top preparation using a small amount of oil to ‘fry’ them in a skillet.  This might make them a little more crunchy and possibly firmer in the middle.  They do have a little bit of a spicy kick to them.  The boy liked them – but again, he will eat anything shaped like a ‘nugget’ without too much trouble!  The girl ate them but said they were a little bit too spicy, so they weren’t her favorite.

I’d rate these a B.  Again, another great freezer back-up, especially for kids!  I’m finding that I’m having a really hard time getting them to like any vegan recipes I’ve tried to make, even from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating For Kids.

This company also makes a Chicken-Free Patty which I’m excited to try.  Chicken Patties just have an emotional tie for me – when we went on our honeymoon at Sandals – Ocho Rios, Jamaica we always seemed to nap through the regular dinner hours and we ate most of our meals at the “snack shop” which featured chicken patty sandwiches and “turkey” hot dogs.  Those turkey hot dogs were fluorescent pink on the inside – so I have NO IDEA where they got their turkey from but we stayed away from those! So, for the 10 days we were there we ate chicken patty sandwiches for our main meals quite a few times!  Occasionally I just get a taste for a ‘Sandals’ chicken sandwich – so a vegan option for these is great! 😉

*This is purely my opinion – I purchased this product for my family.  It is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the company who makes this product*


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 13 other followers

What do you want to read about?

Archives