Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trader Joe's Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds (plus John's Laziest Pizza)

Trader Joe's has a new Vegan cheese and it's not Daiya! Trader Joes's Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds are basically Galaxy Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds, which I've never had before. Since it's Mozzarella, I thought I would put it to the true test and try it on a pizza. Lazy pizza anyone???  

I keep my pizzas pretty simple. First, I procured some Whole Foods pre-made dough and marinara sauce. Both are super tasty and obviously very easy to work with. For toppings, I grabbed Tofurky Pepperoni Slices and some black olives. The Tofurky Pepperoni Slices are great if you miss that old pepperoni flavor. I normally would do green pepper with the olives but I totally forgot. Now let's see how the cheese and pizza turned out!

The Trader Joe's Mozzarella was really interesting. If you eat it raw, it honestly doesn't taste very good. But when I melted it all over the pizza, I found it to be quite good! When it melts (and it does melt), the mozzarella gets a bit gloopy almost like a glaze. It's definitely a different beast than Daiya. So if love Daiya and think it has no faults whatsoever, this probably isn't the cheese for you. I like Daiya too, but I find it to be too rich in large quantities, the flavor taking over whatever you put it on. It's just nice to have another option out there. This cheese is pretty mild and didn't overwhelm the other flavors. The pizza itself was great and I really love those Tofurky Pepperonis.

In closing, I'm always happy to see new Vegan products, especially cheese. I thought the Trader Joe's Mozzarella tasted great when melted and had a nice neutral flavor. It is almost an anti-Daiya cheese, which I feel the world needs.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rudi's Organic Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I picked up a loaf of Rudi's Organic Cinnamon Raisin Bread to check the ingredients, fully expecting it to have dairy. It's true that Rudi's is very Vegan friendly and they even label it as such, but I seriously had my doubts. Well, I was excited to be wrong and thus the loaf went right from my hand straight to the grocery cart. When was the last time you saw Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Bread at the store? Um, never!

I'm not sure how you eat your Cinnamon Raisin Bread, but mine goes in the toaster. Lightly toasted with some Earth Balance Coconut Spread. Delicious! Just the right amount of cinnamon and raisins make this the perfect sweet snack. And I can't emphasize enough how much the Coconut Spread enhances the experience. If I were you, I'd leave the loaf in the freezer to keep it fresh, and just take out and toast what you need. Shout out to Rudi's for make some amazing Vegan bread that fills a void!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegan Cuts Snack Box

Vegan Cuts is a Vegan deal site that sells a wide array of products. One of their new programs is the Vegan Cuts Snack Box. Every month for $19, you get 5 to 8 Vegan products that can range from edibles to household products. As you can see, I recieved a wide variety of food stuffs that varied from candy to savory treats (plus I got a mini laundry detergent, but I didn't put it in the picture because you'll blame me when you accidentally eat it.) A couple of the items I've eaten before, like Surf Sweets Sour Berry Bears, Wayfare Pig Out and The Simple Bar. New to me were Seasnax, Betty Lou's Cashew Pecan Nut Butter Balls, Delights Brownie, Veggie-Go's Mountain Berry Spinach Bar and New Tree Chocolates.

The appeal is that for $19, you can get a bunch of Vegan products you've never tried before delivered right to your door. Now is it $19 worth of products? It's debatable, but you have to remember the cost of shipping, too. In my eyes you are paying for the convenience of having new products sent to you every month like clockwork. I think folks who don't live near a Whole Foods or people in the middle of nowhere will get the most out of this program.

So, overall I'm pretty pleased with the Vegan Cuts Snack Box. As long as they introduce new products every month, I think the premium price is more than worth it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Go Max Go Thumbs Up Candy Bar

Every year there are a couple Vegan products that I eagerly anticipate. Obviously, candy is going to be high on my list of must-haves. Because if you can have excellent Vegan candy, it's just a matter of time before the world turns Vegan. Last year I went gaga over the Go Max Go Foods Cleo's and Snap! Bars, which are the Vegan versions of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Nestle Crunch. And earlier this year I heard rumblings of a Vegan Butterfinger and I've kept my eyes peeled ever since. Well, just the other day, Vegan Essentials finally put them up for sale and I bought 100 (not really). So, what do I think?  

As you can see, the Thumbs Up is round like a cigar (or a thumb!) It definitely has the "Butterfinger crunch" that you remember. You know, the peanut buttery part that gets stuck to your back teeth? It has been reproduced faithfully. What I noticed taste-wise was the strong peanut butter flavor and a resounding sweetness. I personally would have liked it a little less sweet. I never thought I would say this, but it seems the excessive sugar takes away from the chocolate. I also would have liked to see a thicker chocolate coating.

Overall I enjoyed the Thumbs Up Candy Bar. It seems a little too sweet for me but I love how crunchy it is and the rounded shape is cute. If you miss Butterfingers, you should definitely give it a try. Now do Go Max Go a favor and tell them in the comments what candy you would like to see them Veganize next! Vegan Kit Kat anyone?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nature's Path Organic Coconut Chia Granola

I remember the first time I saw Nature's Path Hemp Plus Granola cereal, my mind was blown. A.) How do you eat hemp? and B.) How do you make it taste good? Ultimately I discovered that it's an awesome cereal and really put Nature's Gate on the map for me. So you can say my eyes widened a bit when I saw this new Coconut Chia Granola the other day. Actual flakes of coconut in the cereal? Too cool! You know I gotta try that.

From the first spoonful, I was in love. It's like you're eating a rich coconut cookie. Amazing crunch and sweetness. Not low fat by any means, but it's good fat. A great source of Omega-3's and whole grains. And of course, it's Non-GMO and Organic. In fact, it's worth noting that Nature's Path is the only certified Non-GMO cereal brand on the market right now. So it's an all-around healthy and nutritious cereal that you can feel comfortable eating.

The best part of course is that it says VEGAN on the box. You make my job so easy, Nature's Path! I love it. So go out and get a box of Coconut Chai Granola and tell me what you think!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tofurky Vegetarian Feast

I've finally come to the end of my faux turkey/roast taste test. So far I've tried the Gardein Holiday Roast and the Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast. So that leaves the one and only legend: The Tofurky Vegetarian Feast. It's been around since 1995 (respect goes out to all you Vegans who were around back then) and almost everyone knows about Tofurky. 

So let's get down to brass tacks. The Tofurky roast is stout, compact and pleasantly plump, but big enough to feed six. One difference between the roasts is that the Tofurky Roast requires basting, which wasn't hard, but necessary.  The taste of the roast is good and smoky, reminiscent of Tofurky lunch slices. The middle part with the stuffing was also delicious. Unfortunately, I wasn't as enthusiastic about the texture. It was a little rubbery and should definitely be sliced thin. The gravy was smoky and flavorful, I can see why they sell it separate.    

As an added bonus, Tofurky put an Amy's Chocolate Cake in the package. It's simple to serve, all you have to do is thaw it out. I've reviewed it in the past and while I'm not "Mr. Chocolate Lover", it is a solid dessert.   

So you've already ate the Tofurky Roast and the Amy's Chocolate Cake, but there's still more! You get two Tofuky Wishstix (make a wish and eat), a nifty Tofurky Land postcard that you can send to your favorite meat eater and a coupon book full of your favorite veg companies.

In the end, Tofurky puts together one heck of a feast. A meal for six, dessert and extra treats/bonuses make this the package to beat. My only concern is the texture and elasticity of the roast, but overall if you've never had a Tofurky Roast you should definitely get one. It's been around for 17 years so they must be doing something right!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast

Next up on my faux turkey conquest, is the Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast. I've seen these in the store for the last couple years and I've been dying to try them. One thing that sets this roast apart from the others is the fact that there's no soy. Perfect for you soy sensitive people. Ok, I'm starving! Let's warm up the oven and make dinner.     

While taking the roast out of the box, I noticed there was no gravy. It's not the biggest deal in the world but the other two brands of roasts do come with gravy. I popped the roast in the oven and went about my business. The cranberries, hazelnuts and whatever else in the roast made the kitchen smell good! A little over a hour in the oven and the roast is ready to eat.

My favorite aspect of the roast was the flaky crusty pastry outside (I guess that's what "en croute" means.) It reminded me a little bit of a pot pie. The meaty part was also a winner, typical Field Roast gourmet wheat meat with a hazelnut twist. The inside is a mix of cranberry, ginger, apple and sausage. Overall I enjoyed it, but after my second and third piece, I felt the cranberry flavor was a little too overpowering. Good news for you cranberry lovers, cause you will be in heaven. I guess I'm just not a huge cranberry fan.

For the most part I was happy with the Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast. Minor things like the lack of gravy (Tofurky does sell an individual gravy if you are as lazy as me) and the overpowering cranberry flavor couldn't hinder the fact that this roast is a high quality product and an excellent option in the wide world of Vegan holiday centerpieces.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Upton's Naturals Vegan BBQ Bowl

This is going to be another one of those posts that makes you upset that you don't live in the Midwest, so I'll apologize now. I'm sorry, so sorry! Since I do live in the Midwest, I was able to try Upton's Naturals newest ready-to-go offering, the Vegan BBQ Bowl. This is what you call a complete meal! Barbequed seitan, kale and mac & cheese - 16 ounces worth, in a ready-to-go microwavable bowl. Two minutes in the microwave and zap, dinner is served. 

The barbequed seitan is exactly what you've come to expect from Upton's- plump, juicy and plentiful. The sauce is sweet and tangy. The mac & cheese isn't as cheesy as some people would like, but I liked it just fine. I mixed it with the BBQ sauce and it was heavenly. And to my surprise, there was kale at the bottom of the bowl. Talk about a nice, well-rounded meal. If the Vegan BBQ Bowl isn't your style, there is also an Indian style Vegan Ashram Bowl and the Vegan Macro Bowl. Thank you (again) to Upton's for making some amazing Vegan food!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gardein Holiday Roast

As crazy as it sounds, I've never had a faux turkey. Thanksgiving is one of my least liked holidays, so I usually rock some tacos or something non-traditional that day. But while shopping yesterday, I came upon all three of the major faux turkeys: Tofurky, Field Roast and Gardein. So I decided right then and there that I was going to try all three in one season. My first attempt is with the most recent addition, the Gardein Holiday Roast!

Right out of the box, you get the faux turkey and a couple packs of gravy. I added some broccoli and roasted potatoes to round out the meal. To prepare, you roast it in a casserole, covered with tin foil, for an hour. The gravy is thawed and microwaved. It was pretty easy!

The Holiday Roast is a decent size, I'd say it could feed three or four very easily. The flavor of the "turkey" part of the roast was a bit bland, but some pepper livened it up. The inside of the roast was very flavorful, stuffing with cranberries tucked in the center. I enjoyed the gravy too, and it seems like they give you enough because I used a ton and still had some left over. Also to its credit, it was the cheapest of the three brands.

Without having the other two faux turkeys, it's hard for me to say how it compares. But I will say that if you like Gardein, you'll love this loaf. The blandness was kind of a bummer but is easily correctable with a little seasoning. The center is delicious, the gravy is plentiful and the price is right. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweet & Sara Halloween Marshmallows Treats

Happy Halloween everyone! Without a doubt, Halloween is my favorite holiday. Candy, costumes, scary movies and jack-o-lanterns...what's  not to love? Sweet & Sara Halloween Marshmallow Treats are quickly becoming a Vegan tradition. Marshmallow Spiders, Bats, Ghosts and Cats are the standard for decadent Halloween loving Vegans. And you can't forget about Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows, Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin, Marshmallow Pops or the Chocolate Dipped Rice Crispy Treats. I hope you got to try one or all of these treats this season. If not, there is still time! I mean, really it's never to late since everyday is Halloween as far as I'm concerned.

And this brings us to the last day of Vegan MoFo 2012! Thank you to everyone who followed me this month while I blogged my little heart out. Between the posts I did here, I also blogged for Vegan MoFo and Vegan Omaha. Quite the busy month! I hope you had as much fun as I did. Enjoy the rest of your Halloween and watch the Magic

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Amy's Organic Beans & Rice Burrito

In the last three years, I feel like I've represented all of my favorite Vegan convenience foods. From Uncle Eddie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, to Upton's Seitan Tamales to So Delicious Almond Milk Ice Cream Minis, I feel like I've been covering my bases. Well, shockingly, there was one glaring omission. Amy's Organic Beans & Rice Burrito! For real, I eat that thing all the freakin' time. How have I not blogged it yet? Maybe I take it for granted? I have no idea, but I'm glad to finally show my love for one of the best Vegan convenience foods EVER.

So, there are many way to eat an Amy's Beans & Rice Burrito. My favorite way right now is to simply douse the burrito with Frank's Red Hot. I also love it with Food For Lover's Queso on top with lettuce and tomato. To those who have never had the pleasure of eating a Beans & Rice Burrito, it's got lots of flavorful refried pinto beans and yummy brown rice. Not spicy at all, which is great because you can dress it up how ever you want. On the nutritional tip, you are looking at 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. A pretty nice meal when you're in a jam. And don't forget to save those burrito wrappers for Amy's Points! Thank you to Amy's for creating one of my all time favorites.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

OCD Sweet Stix aka Vegan Twix

A couple of months ago, I was able to sample the amazing "Vegan Twix" from Obsessive Confection Disorder. They're called Sweet Stix and they're something I've been waiting a long time for! Twix was always one of my favorite candy bars, so I've been pretty bummed for the last 10 year or so. But thanks to Melodi, I can stuff my face with delicious Sweet Stix!

Rich and buttery caramel makes Sweet Stix light years better than your old boring Twix. Handmade with love, these Stix are wide and chubby, not the long and skinny bars of old. Also, I enjoy the high quality chocolate and assorted natural ingredients that make it so tasty. Four Sweet Stix come to a box but I guarantee you will inhale them right away. 

So if you've been longing for your Twix fix, the answer is finally here!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Koyo Tofu and Miso Ramen Noodle

Growing up in the 80's, I used to eat packages of supermarket ramen noodles like there was no tomorrow. Ramen was super cheap (like 10 cents when on sale) and super easy to make (an eight year old kid could make them). If there was nothing else to eat in the house, you always knew you had ramen. Fast forward 26 years...I still love ramen, but I'm not as impressed with supermarket ramen because of the gross ingredients. Fortunantly, Koyo Tofu and Miso Ramen Noodle fills that void.   

I know you're saying "John, supermarket ramen noodles are supposed to be a little gross." Yes, but I don't think it's too much to ask for decent ingredients with lots of Vegan choices. The Tofu and Miso Ramen tastes like a classier version of what you grew up with. Baked organic noodles, little tofus, and no additives, preservatives or msg. My only complaint is that the portion is kinda tiny and I inhaled it. You're probably going to need two packages for a meal. And the best part is the wealth of different flavors. You don't like miso? No problem, there is also Mushroom Ramen, Seaweed Ramen, Asian Vegetable Ramen, Lemongrass Ginger Ramen, Garlic Pepper Ramen and Soba Ramen.

So if you miss ramen noodles and want a ton of Vegan choices, I think you will appreciate the line of Koyo Ramen Noodles and especially the Tofu and Miso Noodle!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saffron Road Dates, Tamarind & Walnut Appetizers

Every once in awhile, I come upon something that doesn't fit into a particular category. The Dates, Tamarind & Walnuts Hors D'oeuvres from Saffron Road are kind of all over the map. It's a pastry that has sweet and savory features, which could be either an appetizer, main dish or dessert.  But no matter what you call them, for whatever occasion, I think you'll enjoy them.

My first bite is telling me, "This is dessert!" The warm sweet dates, cinnamon, walnuts and phyllo pastry all melted in my mouth. I particularly loved the phyllo, because it's something you don't see in a lot of Vegan frozen foods. Once I had a couple more, the tamarind taste became more apparent, and now I felt it was a proper savory appetizer. I ate them on their own, which you can do, but I'd love to see what other people eat with the Saffron Road Hors D'oeuvres. Either way, I think you will enjoy this complex and refined appetizer!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rescue Chocolate Peanut Butter Pit Bull & Foster-iffic Peppermint Chocolate Bars

There is nothing better than eating something you enjoy and being able to help a cause. Well, every time you purchase a Rescue Chocolate chocolate bar, 100% of the net proceeds go to animal rescue groups. As someone who went Vegan for my cat, I really appreciate businesses that support animal groups. And as if that wasn't enough, the candy bars are slammin'!

This bar literally melted in my mouth. It was really soft with just a hint of crunch. A peanut butter center with chocolate on the outside. My only complaint is that it's so good that I need more than one! A pb lover's dream.

A yummy dark chocolate bar with peppermint notes. I would have liked a bit more peppermint flavor but it's a minor quibble. I like that you can break this bar into squares very easily. Although you're just going to eat the bar all by yourself, right? So, next time you are jonesing for chocolate and or candy bars, check out Rescue Chocolate!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread

When I was at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival this year, one of the samples I got to try was the Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread. I've seen it in the store before, but I'm not a huge Earth Balance/ Margarine person. The sample I had in Toronto really blew me away! When I got back to Omaha I bought a tub because I was so impressed. 

As you can see, the spread is white as snow. The flavor is obviously heavy on the coconut, which is good as long as you like coconut. It melts in your mouth!

You can use the Coconut Spread for many things, but my personal favorite has been on toast. Eventually I'd like to use it on something sweet. Cornbread, pancakes, banana bread? I think the sweetness plus the coconut flavor would be divine. I makes you wonder what new coconut product will they come up with next? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vegan Chocolate: Raisins, M&M's and Gummi Bears

Every year, I get ready for Vegan MoFo by buying a ton of stuff ahead of time. That way, I have some time to review everything, take pictures and of course, eat! I try to buy things I haven't eaten before, because it keeps things fresh and interesting. These three chocolate treats have been on my radar for awhile, but MoFo gave me a little incentive to buy them all. 

Vegan Chocovered Raisins from Fabulous Freefrom Factory. Talk about the holy grail! I can't tell you the last time I've had chocolate raisins, but they are as delicious as you remember. Soft, melt in your mouth chocolate, coating plump raisins. Why didn't I buy two packages? 

Holy Cow Vegan Dark Chocolate Beans. Miss M&M's? Well here you go! They're not as soft as M&M, but that's a minor complaint. I ate these like there was no tomorrow. Now I await the day when I can buy Vegan Reese's Pieces so I can do my E.T. impression.

Organic Chocolate Covered Gummi Bears from Chocolate Decadence. I had no idea that chocolate covered gummi bears was a "thing." I figured it was just Vegans being crazy. But no, chocolate covered gummi bears are the rage, and thankfully we are not left out. These were great! My only complaint was that the gummi bears were stuck together and I has to break them out of the chocolate. But hey, we live in a world with Vegan gummi bears covered in chocolate, and it's great!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nature's Path Organic Corn Flakes

It seems the older I get, the more conservative I get...with my cereal. Don't get me wrong, If someone finally came up with a crazy Vegan marshmallow cereal (a la Lucky Charms) I'd be the first in line. But for the most part, I've been avoiding super sweet cereals. Enter Nature's Path Organic Fruit Juice Sweetened Corn Flakes. A great basic cereal that is lightly sweetened and has uncomplicated ingredients. Corn meal and/or yellow corn flour, grape and/or pear juice concentrate, sea salt. That's it. All while being Organic and Gluten Free.  

The cereal by itself does have a slight sweetness, but nothing that's going to blow you away and make you say "this was sweetened by a pear!" I tried the cereal by itself with unsweetened almond milk and it was tatsy. If you like a bit more sweetness, try some banana or strawberries to liven things up. Either way, it's a great way to start your morning!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk

No bones about it, So Delicious is one of my favorite brands. From ice cream, to yogurts and almond milk, So Delicious lives up to their brand name. They recently asked if I was interested in trying their new Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk. Uhh, yeah!!! It's totally the perfect time of year to be drinking this stuff. I wasn't in the Halloween mood till I had a swig of the Pumpkin Spice. Now I'm decorating the house and everything!

In fact, ghosts will be fighting off other ghosts just to get a sip of the new Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk! My first impression was that I was drinking pumpkin pie, no lie. A spicy pumpkin pie that was pureed with coconut milk and put in a carton. Decadent liquid dessert! Unless you absolutely hate pumpkin, you're going to want to buy it by the case. 

So Delicious also sent their other holiday Coconut Milks: Nog and Mint Chocolate! I reviewed them last year and I LOVE them. So if for some reason you don't like pumpkin, Nog or Mint Chocolate will be right up your alley. Thanks again to So Delicious for making the lives of Vegans so very delicious!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vega Cocoa Kissed Savi Seeds

You know that Vega makes some of the most kick-ass supplements out there, but how about snacks? I was a little surprised to see these Cocoa Kissed Savi Seeds, because to me, they look like dessert! And they are, but after learning what Savi Seeds are and the health benefits, I can see why Vega makes them. Savi Seeds are rich in protein, omega 3's, tryptophan and fiber. So you get have your cake and eat it to, so to speak. I know, I know, you wonder if they taste good...

Hell yeah, they taste good! The chocolate is rich and the Savi Seeds are tasty, kind of like an almond. If you need a post work-out replenishment, these are some monsters. Now are they chocolate candy? Not exactly, but you will be more than satisfied nutritionally and it will most definitely cure your sweet tooth. If you are not a chocolate fiend, they also have Natural and Caramelized flavors. Hats off to Vega again for another innovative product that creates it's own niche. Can't wait to see what they come up with next!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fair Trade Month!

October is Fair Trade Month and I'm happy to be reviewing a ton of socially responsible products. Katie from Fair Trade USA went out her way to send me some of the best Fair Trade products that are also Vegan. For those of you who aren't familiar with concept of Fair Trade, it's basically a movement to alleviate poverty in developing nations, while ensuring consumers quality products that improve lives and protect the environment. So when you see a product with the Fair Trade Logo, you can be assured that the product is a good one!  

Kopali Organic Chocolate Covered Banana. These are nom city! I ate the whole package right away. Well, after I took the picture anyway. They are little banana bits, which are easier to eat when compare to large banana slices. They taste wonderful and I hope to see them in the store soon!

Alter Ego Dark Quinoa Dark Chocolate. Who knew? Quinoa and chocolate are AMAZING! The quinoa gives the chocolate the perfect crispness. Sort of like a Crunch bar, but totally Fair Trade chocolate. Buy it ASAP.

Madhava Organic Raw Agave Nectar. Agave is a great sweetener that is usually on the counter at my house. I personally don't use it, but my coffee/tea drinking girlfriend swears by it.   

Sweet Riot Chocolate Kickin' Coconut Bar. Another amazing Organic chocolate bar, but this time it's got coconut! Oodles of sweet delicious coconut covered in dark chocolate. Another ASAP buy! 

Rishi Organic Pu-Ern Ginger Tea. A spicy, potent, gingery tea. Great for Sunday morning breakfast!

Honest Tea Black Forest Tea. A delightfully berry tinged non-caffeinated iced tea. Great when you don't want anything overpowering sweet.

And if that wasn't enough, Coconut Bliss was kind enough to include a free coupon for giveaway! (**Updated 10/16** Fair Trade USA will also send you an above product of your choice plus a Fair Trade Tote Bag!) All you have to do is comment down below which of these products you are most excited to try. I will randomly pick a winner, Wednesday at 4pm CST. Also, look for a Vegan MoFo Fair Trade giveaway soon! Thank you to Fair Trade USA for promoting these wonderful products. Remember to look for the Fair Trade label!


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