Sunday, September 14, 2014

So Delicious Coco Whip!

I've been anticipating Vegan whipped cream in a tub for as long as I've been Vegan. I grew up in a household where Cool Whip was always around. Half the time there was no actual dessert to put the Cool Whip on, so you would just sneak a scoop or two. Thankfully, Vegan dessert powerhouse So Delicious has created their own version of the modern classic. It's called Coco Whip! I realize there have been other Vegan whipped creams on the market, but the fact that Coco Whip comes in a tub is a sentimental plus. It also doesn't hurt that the packaging is super cute and reusable. So Delicious has been kind enough to send some samples for me to review!

As you can see from the picture, it's fluffy and decadent, just as whipped cream should be. There's a normal Coco Whip and a Light Coco Whip. The Light has 50% less fat and is just as amazing. It's less dense then the regular, which can be a plus depending on what you are putting it on.

But do they taste good? Heck yes it does! Sweet and coconutty goodness. The only caveat is since Coco Whip is made from coconuts, I guess you have to like coconuts. I know there's some coconut fatigue out there, so if coconut isn't your thing, I guess you'll have to stick with Soyatoo for now. Hopefully So Delicious considers an alternative main ingredient in the future. And all you carrageenan haters will be happy to know both Coco Whips are carrageenan-free.

So the hardest part of this blog post was what I would test the Coco Whip on. I thought about hot cocoa, but that didn't seem very photogenic. As some of you know, Isa Chandra Moskowitz just opened up a Vegan restaurant here in Omaha, Nebraska called Modern Love and they have amazing pie and cheesecakes. So I thought, "Why not test the Coco Whip on one of the Modern Love desserts?" Enter the Modern Love Blueberry Cheesecake! Normally it comes with homemade whipped cream, but for this one and only time, it has been Coco Whipped.

It tasted amazing! I used the regular Coco Whip and the texture was spot on. The perfect enhancer to any dessert. I also tested the Coco Whip by the spoonful, which I can also recommend. Unless you have an aversion to coconuts, this is the whip you've been waiting for!
 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hilary's Eat Well Salad Dressings

New from Hilary's Eat Well is their line of Vegan Salad Dressings. I've been eating more salads lately, so I'm excited to try something new. The tasty line-up includes Ranch Chia, Apple Fennel, Balsamic Thyme and Creamy Remoulade. The Ranch and Remoulade are even suggested as dips, so get your veggies ready! Hilary's Eat Well was nice enough to send me all four flavors, but you can also find them at Whole Foods or Vegan Essentials.

Out of the four, I have to say Ranch Chia is my favorite. It's probably because I have always loved ranch. While it's not the most traditional Vegan ranch I've ever tasted, it definitely has some great zing. I could see it being a pretty good dip. Apple Fennel was my second favorite. Very comparable to a vinaigrette, I really enjoyed the sweetness of the apple. My next favorite, Balsamic Thyme, activated my love of balsamic vinegar. Tangy and good. Last but not least, the Creamy Remoulade. It was definitely creamy, but the lemon flavor didn't do too much for me.

All in all, it's nice to have four new Vegan dressing out there in the marketplace. If you eat a lot of salad, give Hilary's Eat Well Dressings a shot!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sophie's Kitchen Sea Salt Vegan Toona

I'm always excited to see another Vegan Tuna on the market! I loved real tuna back in the day and I've been hopeful that there would a perfect Vegan analog. Sea Salt Vegan Toona from Sophie's Kitchen is the newbie and I scooped up a can from Vegan Essentials asap. I wish I could stop this review right now and tell you Vegan Toona is awesome and you should buy it. Unfortunately, I cannot...

My first red flag was the smell. It had a beefy aroma which was off-putting to me. But you know, once you mix it with Vegan mayo it should be fine, right? No, not really. Still smelled. The Toona looks like cat food, dark and unappetizing. The taste was kinda' indescribable. Sulfur-like with a beefy taste. I'd like to believe I got a bad can, but I don't think so. Maybe Sophie's Kitchen has a different idea of what canned tuna tastes like? I took one bite and had to throw it all away. I'm a cheap bastard and never toss stuff, but I had to do it.

In closing, if you've had Vegan Toona and you love it, please make your voice heard. I hated it, but maybe I'm in the minority. This review has been harsh, but I stand by my opinion. What makes it hard is Sophie's received another negative review from me over their Vegan Breaded Shrimp. I have no problem with Sophie's Kitchen, in fact, I wish I could support their all-Vegan line of seafood analogs. I hope the next thing I try from them is a home run.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Magic Vegan Bacon Grease with Coconut French Toast

I've had this jar of Magic Vegan Bacon Grease for a couple months now. I've been waiting for the right place to use it. First of all, a lot of people have poo-poo'ed Magic Vegan Bacon Grease as gross. Well, it's coconut oil, people. Sure, there's some Vegan Bacon bits in there and some flavor, but you are cooking with coconut oil. Not so crazy, huh? People have said to cook the grease with green beans or some other veggie. That sounds delicious, but I knew I had to try something different. Enter Coconut French Toast from Isa Does It!

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that I've been cooking a lot. There are many reasons why, but one is the challenge. I'm not a natural cook, so I count on the cookbook to be clear and precise. Isa Does It has been great in that regard. So, what I did was replace the refined coconut oil with the Magic Vegan Bacon Grease, alchemy!

As you can imagine, the Coconut French Toast turned out delicious. An already decadent breakfast was made more so. The hint of bacon with the explosion of coconut was heaven. Vegans finally get everything they want minus the cruelty! So, If you have something that you would normally cook in coconut oil, Magic Vegan Bacon Grease will add a fun smoky kick that you will enjoy.  


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Earth Balance Vegan Mac & Cheese

I'm sure most of you grew up on Kraft Mac & Cheese or the generic equivalent. It was super easy to make. Boil the noodles, add butter, milk and the packet of "cheese." It was definitely one of my favorite summer meals when my parents were at work. Well good news! Earth Balance just released two brand new boxed mac & cheeses, Vegan Cheddar Mac & Cheese and Vegan White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. The hype is real and Vegans are EXCITED. I got a couple boxes and I made them with the quickness. Here are the results!

First was the Cheddar. You make it essentially the same way as the Kraft Mac & Cheese. Water to boil the noodles, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, your favorite non-dairy milk and the "cheese" packet. Quick to make and super tasty, I was impressed! The cheddar flavor was amazing. Creamy, zesty, tangy and quite honestly, pretty similar to Kraft. A total home run!

The White Cheddar was similar in the taste department, maybe with less tanginess. Some people have complained that they hate one flavor or the other, but I'm pretty happy with both. I may give the Cheddar a slight edge, but very slight. So all in all, I think Earth Balance has produced an amazing product that a majority of Vegans will enjoy.

My only complaint is that the nutritional info is misleading. It doesn't include the fat or calorie content from the Earth Balance Buttery Spread or the non-dairy milk. Without that data, the Mac & Cheese looks low fat, which is misleading. Hopefully Earth Balance adjusts the data so it makes a fair representative of the fat content. Besides that, it's great!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Saffron Road New Vegan Frozen Entrees

Saffron Road contacted me about their new line of Vegan frozen entrees and offered to send me a few to sample. Uh, heck yeah, send them all! They sent Bibimbop with Tofu & Brown Rice, Thai Basil Chili Tofu with Basmati Rice and Manchurian Dumplings with Basmati Rice. Let's microwave these bad boys and chow.



Bibimbop with Tofu was easily my favorite of the three. The tofu is some of the best I've had in a frozen dinner. The sweet and sour flavor is perfect, not too far one way or the other. I would have liked to have more food in the bowl, but that's a good thing. I'll buy two. If you've never had bibimbob and can't get to a Korean restaurant, this would be a good introduction.



The Thai Basil Chili Tofu was a nice stir-fry meal. Nothing too amazing but it's a solid meal. Love the little baby corns. One thing I'd like to point out is how spicy it is. Or I should really say I'm not a spice fan. If you like a little kick with you food, then this meal is PERFECT.



Manchurian Dumplings was probably my least favorite of the meals. I wasn't really feeling the consistency and taste of the dumplings. A little too mushy and the flavor (ginger?) just wasn't my cup of tea. Hope you have better luck than me.

All in all I'm happy to see these new frozen dinners on the market. The Tofu Bibimbop is a must, the other two are so-so depending on your personal preference. Hope to see them in the store soon!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Gardein Golden Fishless Filet

The first time I had a Gardein Golden Fishless Filet was at Expo West in Anaheim over the Spring. It was my favorite product of the show, and I've been eagerly waiting its arrival in Omaha. Well it's finally here! I found it at my local Natural Grocers of all places. I was delightfully surprised and super excited to relive the delicious experience. So the question is, were they as good as the ones I had at Expo West? The answer is YES, YES, YES!

To me, the filets taste like Long John Silver's fish filets. Tons of batter, a little greasy and very filling. I've had food like this in a Vegan restaurant, but never from the frozen food aisle at the grocery store. It's really game-changing (to me anyway) that you can have a frozen Vegan fish filet that is decadent and better that the real thing. I have a feeling that meat eaters (or fish eaters, whatever) will really take to what Gardein has done here. The filets are not revamped Crispy Tenders, they really look and taste like battered fish!

The batter is divine, nice and crispy. The toaster oven or regular oven is recommended for cooking and I totally agree. Don't even mess with the microwave on this one. The inside is juicy and tangy, it will really take you back. How they got the texture and flavors down, I have no idea, but I'm happy they did!

As you can see, I made up my little version of Vegan Long John Silver's. It's got balsamic vinegar, ketchup, fries and the filets. I died! It was soooo good. Now let's be honest, this isn't low fat food. It's greasy, but that's what makes it so wonderful. Sometimes I wanna' splurge and this is the perfect food to do so.

Gardein has become the king of Veganizing food experiences from my non-Vegan past. Chicken Fingers? Check. Beef Cutlet? Check. Chicken Patties? Check. So far, this is my favorite new product of the year and I don't know what could possible top it, but I'd sure love to see someone try.
   

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