Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mission to Paris: Pt. 2

I was in Paris for 6 days, 4 of which were spent looking for Speculoos. My Vegan entourage had their lasers set for this sweet, cookie tasting spread. Honestly I've never heard of the stuff and I didn't understand why it was such a priority. Well after consuming a decent amount of Speculoos I can tell you that, a. It's worth the hype b. The taste is unreal c. You may have Speculoos cravings days later. To me, the taste is a cross between a vanilla cookie and peanut butter. That description still doesn't do it justice. Maybe someday we can get this sweet treat over on this side of the Atlantic.

Before we found the Speculoos, this chocolate spread from Lotus was the go-to sweet spread. Not a whole lot of mystery with this one, it's chocolaty! This was reserved for the Vegan croissants we found.

Speaking of Vegan croissants, here they are in all their glory! Pop them in the oven and cover them in chocolate or Speculoos and boom, you have breakfast.

For the extra lazy Vegan we got some croissants with chocolate already in them! Can't beat that.

These bad boys were purchased at the Loving Hut in Paris. They were comparable to the bars I reviewed earlier this month. I might even give the edge to this version of white chocolate, but not by much. Notice the bar even got caught in the Paris rain!

Look familar? Yeah I just reviewed it but this time it's the Cheddareese flavor. So you ask, what did we do with this stuff? It ended up in some mashed potatoes! Thanks to the kitchen at The Gentle Gourmet B&B we were able to do a little cooking. As for the potatoes, they had a nice cheesy flavor that reminded me of Chreesy. Of course they were way better because they were homemade.

This was my going away plane treat. I've never seen pistachios shell-less in a bag before and I may never again.

Merci Beaucoup!

...and this concludes Vegan MoFo 2010! I had a blast and I will definitely participate next year. The most fun for me was seeing other blogs and all the yummy stuff they fixed up. You MoFo'ers almost made me want to cook, damn you!!! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mission to Paris: Pt. 1

So after a total off three flights and 13 hours I'm back from Paris. It was an exciting time! I met a lot of new friends and now have a better idea of how global Veganism is. Besides frequenting most of Paris's Vegan friendly restaurants I also got a chance to sample some pre-packaged Vegan treats. Seeing how I don't speak or read a lick of French, it was quite interesting. With all the help of my friends I was able to decipher the labels. If you see Végétal on the packaging it means the item is Vegan.

Hand model: Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute

So this is what everyone went NUTS over. It's hard cheese from Vegusto. I'm not a hard cheese fan because it made me sick as a child and I've never had any desire for it. According to everyone that came into contact with this cheese, it is AMAZING. Apparently it has a rich aged cheese taste, so if you love hard cheese seek this out at all costs. The Loving Hut in Paris carries it.

You know if there is falafel to be had, I'll be there. I ate it cold and it was great so I imagine they are the bomb if you to heat them up.

Ok, this was some good hummus. On top of some fresh French bread it really hit the spot. Part of our Vegan entourage felt this was the best hummus she ever ate. I respectfully disagree, how is this trumping homemade hummus? Oh well, it's all good.

Some Vegan margarine for that baguette? Sure why not! Creamy and not salty.

With bread at every street corner (yes they really do eat and walk around with baguettes) you best believe we had every Vegan spread we could get our hands on. This was some kind of fermented tofu spread. Tasty stuff, kind of hummusy.

I didn't get a chance to taste this yogurt but I was told it was excellent. Non GMO goodness!

I did eat one of these puppies and it was delish! This Caramel pudding was so creamy and rich I had to double check the label to make sure it was Vegan. Import these please!

I was thinking the Caramel was the pinnacle of French puddings but these Vanilla pudding cups from Sojasun really won me over. Yummy!

Whew, I've only hit the surface of my Paris Vegan spree...part Two tomorrow!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Amy's Organic Cakes & My Trip to Paris

I remember the first time I bought one of Amy's Cakes, I couldn't believe you didn't have to bake them or heat them up. All you do it take the cake out of the freezer and let it set in the fridge for an hour. It's the perfect lazy dessert!

The orange is my favorite. Its flavor is orangy without being overwhelming. It could sub for vanilla cake in almost any situation. I can imagine strawberries and soy whip on top of this puppy! As for the chocolate, it's chocolaty! I like it, don't get me wrong, but I'm just not a chocolate person. With a side of Vanilla Soy Delicious I'd totally pig out on it. So the moral of the story is- if you like like cake and you're lazy, Amy's Organic Cakes were made for you!

With that said, this is my last MoFo post for a week. I'm going to New York and then to France for Thanksgiving and Paris Vegan Day. It's my first time to Europe so I'm pretty excited! All I can think about is National Lampoon's European Vacation and getting a beret that says Rusty. When I get back I'll finish up MoFo with a couple posts about the Vegan loot I find in the city of lights. I would also like to say thanks to everyone who has been checking out my blog since Vegan Mofo started 20 days ago. It's been fun and I think I've learned how to be a more productive blogger. Have a great Vegan Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan Essentials Rocks!

As I've said before, I'm kind of a Vega fiend. About once a month I order a couple jugs of Vega from Vegan Essentials. This month I also tacked on some food items for my MoFo posts. Guess what one of the things I ordered was? You guessed it, Liz Lovely cookies. I've never eaten a Liz Lovely cookie in my life so I wanted to order some and do a blog post about it. Well, as it turns out 3 out of the 5 cookies I ordered were recalled for non-Vegan chocolate. Luckily I hadn't received them in the mail yet or I might have already ate 'em. I contacted Vegan Essentials right away and they promptly refunded me for the 3 cookies, no questions asked. Thank you Vegan Essentials! Also thank you to Liz Lovely for doing the voluntary recall. When the cookies I ordered are back in stock, I will definitely review them. Ok, on to the other items I purchased!

This Cinnamon Roll from Heart Bodies is a decent Vegan version of the beloved pastry. It doesn't compare to a fresh roll by any means but it's definitely worth trying. It's moist with a great cinnamon flavor. A minor gripe is that I wish it had a bit more frosting. Still, I'd get one again!

You don't see Vegan Graham Crackers everyday, so I jumped at the chance to eat some Grateful Grahams. They taste delish! Honestly, they are closer to being a cookie than a cracker but don't let that dissuade you. The cracker/cookie is super moist and chewy, topped with organic cinnamon and turbinado sugar. Get some if you so desire!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thai Kitchen Rice Noodle Soup Bowl

When I was a kid, my favorite soup was Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle Soup. I loved the little broth ball and the tiny noodles. Sometimes I would even add more squiggly noodles and cook two boxes at once. These days I can't mess with Mrs. Grass but the Thai Kitchen Spring Onion Soup is a wonderful replacement. I have to say the one of the reasons I keep coming back to this soup is because it says Vegan on the back. Hopefully more companies start labeling products Vegan (when they are Vegan of course) because in the long run it will create customer loyalty.

Spring Onion is my backup meal at work when I unexpectedly have to stay late. I can leave it in my lunch box for weeks at a time and it will never go bad. Now isn't that convenient! The flavor of the soup is very herby with hints of onion and spice. I really love the taste! The rice noodles are tiny and delicious. Make sure to cook the soup long enough or you will end up with hard noodles (it sucks, trust me). And remember to let it cool before you eat it or you risk burning your face off. So if you need a little soup on the go or you are a lazy bum at home, give Thai Kitchen soup bowls a shot. Drink up!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rising Moon Organics Ravioli

Back to my O.G. collection, Rising Moon's Ravioli caught my attention back in the day because of the big ol' V on the packaging. At the time there weren't many products that so proudly displayed their Vegan status. On the basis on that alone I purchased a couple and tried them out. They are super easy to make! Can you boil water? If not, go here.

So basically you boil the ravioli in water and then coat them in olive oil, voila! I find the ravioli to be soft but firm. Out of the three Vegan flavors I like the Mediterranean Garlic & Herb the best. I usually eat them plain but you can throw 'em in with some red sauce or what not. Vegan ravioli, bless you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie

Amy's Non-Dairy Vegetable Pot Pie makes me look forward to cold weather. I don't buy it much during the warmer months so I don't have to run the oven. But when it gets chilly and windy I love running the oven all the time. A word of warning...the non Vegan Pot Pie looks very similar the the Vegan so be careful! I've purchased it before and had to pass it off to a family member.

I used the "quick cook" instructions by microwaving the pot pie for 3 minutes before placing in the oven. It comes out of the oven with a crisp outside and a creamy inside. I guess some people think a Vegan pot pie wouldn't be hearty, but it really is! You've got potatoes, tofu, carrots and peas all up in there. My side dish with the pot pie is usually French fries or frozen corn. I'm so sophisticated!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New York Slices

I saw this New York Slices pizza in the frozen section of my Whole Foods yesterday and I had to give it a try. New York Slices in located in Highland Park, Il (huh?) and is sold through out the Midwest. I love pizza and I thought it was cute that it is sold in a carryout pizza box. This pizza is a 16" Vegan cheeseless pizza with Spinach and Mushrooms.

Just a short 7 minutes at 450 F and your pizza is done! The 8 slices are conveniently cut so you can bake one slice or all 8. I thought the taste was great for a frozen pizza. The sauce, spinach and mushrooms were all flavorful (add Parmazano for an extra kick!) The crust is standard NY crispy thin crust. The only negative I could find is the pizza cannot be folded in half when eating. If you see this in your Whole Foods, pick it up!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Trader Joe's in Omaha!

It's been a long time coming and it is finally here! Trader Joe's opened this Friday and I picked up a couple of goodies to try. For non Nebraskans, AK-SAR-BEN is Nebraska spelled backwards but it also used to be a race track/sports and concert venue. Nirvana played there! Now it is considered a part of town.

Maple Leaf Cookies
These were quite the surprise! I like maple but I didn't expect to enjoy the cookies as much as I did. Super maple taste in a cute maple leaf cookie sandwich. Win!

Vanilla Joe-Joe's
A vanilla cookie with vanilla bean filling? Nothing groundbreaking but damn good. Count me in.

Dark Chocolate After Dinner Mint Thins
Fancy mints! Eat two or three of these and you are good for the night. Great mint taste with rich chocolate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Virgil's Cream Soda Laziest Vegans Taste Test!

We had so much fun with the Silk Nog taste test that I decided to hold court once again. This time we are taking on Virgil's Cream Sodas plus Root Beer. Joining me in this joyous exercise is Mr. Laserton, Princess Lasertron, Pookie Pie and Jenny K (self-proclaimed Izze fan).

Orange Cream Soda:
Mr. Lasertron- Notes of clementine and tangerine. Didn't taste any vanilla but it was decent.
Princess Lasertron- *Due to my selfeshness, Princess Lasertron did not get to taste the Orange Cream Soda*
Pookie Pie- Tastes likes melted orange candy. DO NOT LIKE.
Jenny K- (Shakes head no) Can I pour this out?
Me- I loved the strong & sweet orange popsicle flavor. It's not an everyday drink but I do love it.

Black Cherry Cream Soda:
Mr. Lasertron- Distinct Wild Cherry flavor, I enjoyed it.
Princess Lasertron- Just tastes like Cherry.
Pookie Pie- Tastes like Dr. Browns Cherry Soda. I can't taste the cream and that's good. Makes me want a Kosher Hot Dog with Sour Kraut (Vegan of course). Going back for seconds!
Jenny K- It doesn't have a strong flavor but the flavor it does have is good.
Me- Kinda surprised by the cherry flavor. It reminded me of cherry cough drops (the good ones). I'd totally buy it again.

Cream Soda:
Mr. Lasertron- Wow that's really good!
Princess Lasertron- Tastes like Root Beer Float with the fanciest vanilla ice dream.
Pookie Pie- This the business. They really captured the essence of creaminess.
Jenny K- Tastes like fake vanilla.
Me- One of the best sodas I've ever had. Tastes like creamy heaven. Also, Amy loves Virgil's Cream Soda!

Root Beer:
Mr. Lasertron- It tastes like Root Beer.
Princess Lasertron- I can taste the anise and wintergreen.
Pookie Pie- It's my favorite Root Beer
Jenny K- I'm not a huge Root Bear fan but it's not too bad. Better than other Root beers.
Me- A good Root Beer but it was the least of the four for me.

Mr. Lasertron: Cream Soda
Princess Lasertron: Cream Soda
Pookie Pie: Cream Soda
Jenny K: Black Cherry
Me: Cream Soda

So by a landslide, Cream Soda is crowned champion! Thanks to everyone who participated in the taste test. See you next time!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Amy's Answers The Proof of Purchase Dilemma!

**Update 9/1/11** Amy's has changed the program a bit. You now get to pick what item you want in exchange for your UPCs. http://www.amys.com/community/proof-of-purchase

I just got word from Katie @Amy's Kitchen that there is a reason to save the Proofs of Purchase from Amy's products! If you collect 25 Amy's Proofs of Purchase, you can mail them in and Amy's will send you a goodie bag with Amy's stuff and coupons!!!

Send your 25 Proofs of Purchase to-

Amy's Kitchen, Inc.
PO Box 4759
Petaluma, Ca 94955-4759

Thank you to Katie and Amy's Kitchen for allowing me to sleep at night again.

**Update 1/24/11** I got my gift box! Look here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nutrilicious Donut Holes

There is nothing like eating a fresh donut...everything seems right with the world. I've been lucky enough to visit VooDoo Doughnut in Portland and Ronald's Donuts in Las Vegas. Fresh Vegan donuts are a little hard to come by in these neck of the woods (as I'm sure they are in most places). Donut Holes by Nutrilicious do a decent job of giving you a Vegan donut (well, hole) to cure your Homer Simpsonish cravings.

Seasonal Donut Holes are new this year. I think it's a pretty cute idea! The Pumpkin Holes' taste is pretty spot on, I'd say they were my second favorite. I feel the Gingerbread Holes' flavor was a little weak. I was hoping they would be a little bit more spicy with less of an aftertaste.

The Carrot Cake Holes are true to their name and have little carrot pieces in them. They are my favorite and unsurprisingly I ate them after I took these pictures. I wanted to hate the Chocolate because it is carob glazed (I despise carob) but I couldn't do it. Despite a little aftertaste I enjoyed snacking on them. They tasted sweet and chocolaty and not gross like I feared (past carob trauma).

So If these Donut Holes pop up at a store near you, give 'em a shot! No, they are not a fresh out of the oven Grape Donut (I Love You) but they are pretty darn good.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nature's Path Granola Bars

Sometimes revamping and changing a product is for the best...and sometimes it's not. One of my standby snacks for the last 5 years has been Nature's Path Granola Bars. Anytime I would fly or take a road trip I would have a couple of bars with me in case I get the hungries. Not that long ago Nature's Path decided to reformulate the the bars, make the bars smaller and totally change the packaging.

My three favorites are Sunny Hemp (oooh, I'm eating weed!), Peanut Choco and Pumpkin-N-Spice. Sunny Hemp is a sweet bar with raisins and hemp. Peanut Choco is super chocolaty with bits of peanuts. Pumpkin-N-Spice is sweet and spicy (shocker) with pumpkin seeds.

Taste-wise they are still pretty similar, maybe even a little too sweet. I'd take the old bars in a heartbeat but that's not likely to happen anytime soon. I notice they are moister then the old bars, which is great unless you can't wash your hands right away (air travel). Size-wise I think the bars are at least a 1/3rd smaller then the old ones. I assume they shrunk the size of the bars to keep the price competitive. Nature's Path does use all organic ingredients so I'm sure they can't be cheap to produce. That said, I guess I'm one of the rare customers that would pay a little extra for larger bar. I guess it's no big deal, just buy more boxes right?

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Can't Say It's Cheese

Another order from Vegan Essentials, this time I got a couple of cheese alternatives. Yeah we all know about Daiya, Teese and Follow Your Heart but do you know about Parmazano and We Can't Say It's Cheese? Both of these are hard to get in Omaha as of now but so were Daiya and Teese. It's just a matter of time...

I've had the Hickory Smoked Cheddar flavor of We Can't Say It's Cheese from Wayfare before in Portland and it was pretty damn good. The texture is creamy and spreadable. The neat thing is that it's made from oats but you would never guess that. Honestly it tastes like it shouldn't be Vegan, almost bacony. It's great on crackers and even veggie burgers!

This is Parmazano, which was imported from the U.K. This is some good stuff! In the last couple days I've had it on pizza and lasagna. Someone mentioned it tastes real aged cheese and I have to agree. If you miss your old green shaker parmesan cheese give Parmazano a try.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Some random trivia about me: I take my lunch to work everyday and I always have chips. Ever since I can remember I've been around chips. Growing up I loved Fritos, Bugles and Cheetos and as a teenager I worshiped Funyuns and Chili Cheese Fritos. Nowadays I try to buy natural and (obviously) Vegan snacks. I complied a little list of my favorites, I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you like!

Pirate Brands: Tings
I remember Whoa Wren told be about Tings. I've been waiting for a Vegan Cheeto for the longest time and this is the closet I've seen.

Food Should Taste Good: The Works
In the last year I've been tearing these things up! The Olive flavor was my first love but The Works is the new lick. I think of them as half cracker/half chip and all good!

Lundburg Bean & Rice Chips: Pico de Gallo
Normally I would stay away from chips like this because I just assume they aren't Vegan. BUT they say Vegan right on the back! Pretty awesome. These are some spicy tangy chips...I'm making my mouth water!

Popchips: Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato
These are pretty new on my radar. I love the vinegar ones and the salt and pepper ones.

Newman's Own Organic: Pretzels
A lot of Newman's stuff is Vegan which is great because you can find the stuff at normal grocery stores. I think the pretzels are great and I'll give my Aunt Julie credit for buying them like 15 years ago. Ahead of her time!

Kettle Baked Potato Chips: Salt & Pepper
A long time fan of the Salt & Pepper Chips, I'm giving the Baked Salt & Pepper the spotlight since they are 65% less fat and my girlfriend likes them.

Garden of Eden: Blue Chips
I always talk about O.G. stuff and these blue chip are definitely one of the first things I ever bought at Wild Oats. I was intrigued by a "blue" chip and overnight they became my replacement for the normal yellow supermarket nacho chip.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Amy's Proof of Purchase

Probably the greatest question of our time is what the heck do you use the Amy's Proof of Purchase for? I wake up in the middle of the night and think about it, then I go back to sleep. Do Amy's parents know what anguish they cause me? Probably not. Anyways, if you are calling into Amy's customer service about a product wouldn't you use the product codes, expiration date and UPC to identify your product? Why the need for a Proof of Purchase?

Are you going to save 10 Proofs of Purchase and send them in to Youngstown, Ohio with $1.50 to get an Amy action figure? Can you save a hundred of them to get a ten dollar gift card? Just think how many Amy's Points I could have by now...a thousand? I think so. Would that put me into the Amy's Hall of Fame? Hopefully. Perhaps we will never know what the the Proof of Purchase is for, but I will always love Amy's.

*UPDATE (11/11/10) Amy's answers back!*

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Organica Vegan Chocolate Bars

I know it's crazy but I'm not the biggest chocolate fan. I've always been a vanilla fan as boring as that may be. For the sake of chocolate fans everywhere, I ordered these bars from Vegan Essentials to test them out. Right off the bat I love that they say that they are Vegan and have the Vegan logo right on the front. Nice touch!

I opened both of them up and went right for the White Bar. I have to tell you that this is the best white chocolate I've ever had, Vegan or not. At first the white chocolate is hard but once it gets in your mouth it melts.

Next was the Chocolate Couverture Bar. Honestly, since I love vanilla so much I can't help but feel a little let down by the Chocolate Couverture Bar. I enjoyed it and there was nothing wrong with it but I'm in love with the White Bar. They are a tad pricey so they would be an occasional treat but if you are Vegan and love chocolate you should at least try them once!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Silk Nog Laziest Vegans Taste Test!

Which of the three of Silk Holiday Soymilks is the best? Nog? Pumpkin Spice? The new and wildly anticipated Mint Chocolate? Joining me is an esteemed panel of colleagues consisting of Princess Lasertron, Mr. Lasertron, Pookie Pie and Whoa Wren. We will determine which Silk Holiday Soymilk is right for you.

Original Nog:
Princess Lasertron- I want that with Baileys.
Mr. Lasertron- Not as thick as regular egg nog, like the taste, the texture is a let down.
Me- I love this stuff. Hook me up to an IV of it.
Pookie Pie- Good nog, I'd drink it straight from the carton. Nice nutmeg taste.

Chocolate Mint:
Princess Lasertron- York Peppermint Patty.
Me- Decent, but I probably wouldn't buy it again. Although I will come to your house and drink it.
Whoa Wren- Somewhere between the [now gone] Vitasoy and WestSoy. I like it.
Pookie Pie- Not enough peppermint.

Pumpkin Spice:
Mr. Lasertron- Nothing original. I mean, I like it, but..., most likely to drink warm.
Princess Lasertron- Subtle with a nice aftertaste, want to use to make milkshakes, it would taste like a muffin.
Me- I'm not really feeling this one.
Pookie Pie- It tastes like pumpkin pie in a cup.

The winners are:
Whoa Wren: Chocolate Mint
Princess Lasertron: Chocolate Mint
Mr. Lasertron: Pumpkin Spice
Me: Original Nog
Pookie Pie: Pumpkin Spice

So Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Mint tied but the overall consensus is that everyone likes the idea of different seasonal soy milk flavors. Thank you to everyone that participated in the taste test!


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