Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Visit to Vegan Treats!

Ever since I became Vegan, I've had a list of holy grails I wanted to visit. Chicago Diner, Candle 79 and the Vegan Mini-Mall all got checked off a while ago. But the one place that has been eluding me is Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I've always wanted to go to Philly to run up the Rocky Steps so I knew Vegan Treats would happen eventually. You'll even remember I got the owner, Danielle Konya, to take The Laziest Vegans Top Ten.

But one thing you have to realize is that Bethlehem is 60 miles away from Philly and you are going to need a car. Or at the very least, have a good bus route. Luckily my buddy Louzilla picked me up at the airport and took me right to Vegan Treats.

Vegan Treats isn't a huge place, but the selection is! Tons of mini-cakes, cookies, donuts, rolls, cannoli, ice cream, etc. It's super overwhelming! I'm sure the employees see wide-eyed stares day in, day out.

 When I went, Halloween was just around the corner. Some really amazing mini-cakes. Works of art!



The one thing I had been craving is their ice cream. Today their flavor was Chocolate and Cake. Such an amazing combo!

I've had their cannoli before from mail order and OMG, life changing! Delicious donuts too.

I had to say bye to Vegan Treats fairly quickly, but I bought a bunch of cookies to bring back to home for Omaha Vegan Drinks. Everyone loved them! Duh...

The amount of joy Vegan Treats brings to people is unreal. The fact that so many different kinds of dessert can be made Vegan is reassuring. I'm happy to finally say I've stepped through those doors. Make sure you make a point to visit soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Field Roast Vegan Chao Cheese Slices

Chao is the new Vegan cheese from Field Roast. It was announced out of the blue a couple months ago and I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival. One of the cool things about Chao is that they are pre-sliced and sandwich ready. The three flavors are Creamy Original, Tomato Cayenne and Coconut Herb. The cheese is called Chao because that is the name of the fermented tofu used in the making of the cheese. So now that I have all three flavors of Chao in my possession, it's time to chow!

I really enjoyed all three cheeses, but I think Creamy Original was my favorite. It's the string cheese of the bunch. You can nibble on this stuff all day. A nice mellow flavor that has a butteriness to it. You just eat it. And eat it.

Tomato Cayenne is similar to a cheddar with some kick that would spice up any sandwich. Nice little bits of red and cayenne pepper inside the cheese.  Of course my thoughts turn to dicing the cheese up and putting it on nachos, but that's just me. It melts, just like the other two cheeses but be careful not to overdo it. Melting takes only a couple seconds.

Coconut Herb is an interesting mix -- coconut flavor infused with herbs and black pepper. I feel like yellow mustard would be a good accompaniment on a sandwich. Definitely the weirdo of the three, but in a good way.

Field Roast is pretty ingenious in general and Chao Slices are no exception. Artisan Vegan food continues! Go seek it out and as always, let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vegan Coupon Giveaway!

Howdy! I haven't had much time to blog, but that doesn't mean I don't have time for a giveaway. I have free product coupons from So Delicious, Tofurky, Hilary's Eat Well, Coconut Bliss, EatPastry, Tofutti and Zen Soy. To win one of the coupons, just tell me which coupon you would like and what product you would get with it down in the user comments. Please leave an email account so I can reach you!

I have multiples of everything so there will be about 15 winners. Giveaway ends Tuesday, November 4th at 10pm Central time. Good Luck!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

EatPastry Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

Everyone knows EatPastry from their delicious tubs of Cookie Dough, but now they've branched out and created three new Gluten-Free Baking Mixes! EatPastry knows I'm all about easy-to-make food, so they sent me all three mixes to try out: Buttermilk Biscuit, Chocolate Chip Muffin and Chocolate Cake. The only ingredients required are non-dairy milk, oil and, for the Buttermilk Biscuit, margarine. But there are helpful add-ons and other suggestions on how to use the mixes. Total Lazy Vegan food!

I started off with the Chocolate Chip Muffins. Like I said above, you only have to add two ingredients, do a bit of mixing and then bake. Soooo simple. The end result was some scrumptious tasting muffins! I don't go out of my way to buy gluten-free products, but these were great. If you didn't tell me they were gluten-free I probably wouldn't have known any better. I also don't usually think about chocolate chips in muffins, but they work great.

Next was the Chocolate Cake. I went rogue and followed the back instructions for brownies instead. This included adding chocolate chips and walnuts. Whoa, was it was good! A very tasty brownie and a piece of cake (heehee) to make. Being gluten-free presented no problems. Easily, my favorite of the three. I'm sure the basic cake is great too, but I'd say to go for the brownies.

The savory option of the three is the Buttermilk Biscuits. I don't know about you, but I still crave those biscuits from KFC. That was always my jam and I was hoping these would give me some faint memory of those. Shockingly, they did! Now I'm not saying they are identical or anything, but they taste damn good. Eat them while warm because they get a little crumbly when cold. A perfect addition to you winter stew or soup.

EatPastry said you should start seeing the Baking Mixes pop up in the Southwest region of Whole Foods and also on their website in a couple days. I enjoyed each of the mixes and I hope you get to try them soon!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

So Delicious Candy Corn & Pumpkin Spice Frozen Desserts

Along with the Coco Whip, So Delicious sent these awesome Halloween treats! Candy Corn & Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk Frozen Desserts. Halloween-specific treats are always going to catch my attention. These just scream fun and I couldn't wait to try them out. I found them at my local Whole Foods the other day, so be on the lookout in your area!    

The Candy Corn pop was the most elaborate and my favorite of the two. The tip is dipped in chocolate followed by vanilla then orange flavored ice cream. It was dreamy! This honestly should be sold year-round, but maybe I'll appreciate it more (like the nog) if they take it away after Halloween. A Vegan work of art.

The Pumpkin Spice pop was excellent as well, but very simple. The flavor is definitely pumpkin (shockingly) but it's a pumped up pumpkin. Sure, a little chocolate dip would have been nice, but pumpkin lovers will go gaga. The cute shape is appreciated.

Thank you again to So Delicious for sending me all of these seasonal goodies (including the nog, which is in non-refrigerated packaging this year.) The key to Veganism is to make it fun and inviting and I can't think of a better way that Halloween treats. Keep up the good work, I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

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.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. Gluten Free Jerky

You may remember a couple years ago when I reviewed some outstanding Vegan Jerky from Morels. It was easily the best jerky I've ever had. Well, Morels has become Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. and they have some new flavors! It's still the best jerky I've ever had. The consistency is soft but chewy and the flavors are rich and mouth watering. And since they use soy protein, all of the flavors are gluten-free. LVJC was kind enough to send me some samples to try out and review. So right now there are three flavors, but you can participate in the Indiegogo and get their fourth flavor before everyone else does! But first, let's talk about these three.  

Out of the three flavors, Bourbon Smoked Black Pepper was my favorite. Sweet but with a tiny bit of pepper kick, I'm totally addicted! It goes down so smooth, next thing you know, the bag is empty. Yum City. My next favorite was the Sriracha Maple Jerky. I'm not a huge Sriracha fan, but mixed with maple, it's heavenly. Not very spicy, but it has a hint of warmth. And last of the jerkies was the Bourbon Smoked Spicy Chipotle Jerky. Now this one is spicy! Not too much, but you'll definitely taste those chipotles. I'm not a spice person, but these are still high on my nom factor.

So that brings us to their new flavor, Sesame Teriyaki! The only way to get it is to purchase it through their Indiegogo. There are different price levels, but I would advise getting all four flavors. LVJC is seriously the best jerky I've ever had and I hope you get to snarf it down like I did!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares

One of this years most anticipated Vegan products has finally landed at my local Whole Foods. Yes, Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares are out and about in the world. The Vegan version of Cheez-its has Vegans losing their minds. Earth Balance has been on a streak lately, releasing anticipated products like Sour Cream and Onion Kettle ChipsCheddar Puffs and P.B. Popps. I've been excited to try the Cheddar Squares from a blogging perspective, but growing up I was definitely more of a Ritz cracker person. So, do the Vegan Cheddar Squares warrant the hype?

The answer is absolutely yes! These are the real deal. The flavor is everything you could want from a Cheez-it type cracker. Strong "cheddar" flavor in a little bite size cracker. And these really are bite sized! No dipping them in your homemade Vegan dips but they would be great to crush up over your salad. My only complaint is that there is a bit of an aftertaste, but it's not unpleasant, just noticeable. So go get a box and let me know what you think (some of you already have on Facebook.) Find them at your local Whole Foods or online at Rabbit Food Grocery and Vegan Essentials.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Natural Products Expo West 2014

I finally decided to stop being jealous of Quarrygirl's Natural Products Expo West blog posts and go visit the mecca for myself. Safe to say, I was blown away by the size and the quality of the Expo. I got to see some great products, meet tons of awesome people and, of course, get my name printed up on a press pass. The Expo is held in Anaheim, which is nice because it's right next to Disneyland, so you can really make a vacation out of it. Also, you're still close to LA (just don't drive there on a Friday night) so you can check out all the Vegan eats and catch a concert.

So, day one of the Expo, I really lucked out and caught Sarah from The Spooky Vegan in the press line. This was the first time at the Expo for both of us, so it really worked out because we didn't know what the hell we were doing. Sarah is the best Expo buddy you could ask for!

Ever since I've been back everyone is like "what was your favorite product???" I had a few that I loved, but the Gardein Golden Fishless Filet was my top pick. I still haven't seen it in Omaha yet, but I can't wait to get reacquainted.

So what else did I love? Well, Amy's Tofu Breakfast Sandwich was killer. Mr. Dewie's Cashew Milk Ice Cream was off the hook amazing. The Field Roast Hand-Formed Burgers (and Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages) were delish. And Phoney Baloney's new Coconut Bacon flavors (especially Apple Fennel) were mouth-watering good!

My favorite moment from the Expo is when I spotted Amy Berliner serving food at the Amy's Kitchen booth. I told Isa "look it's Amy!" and Isa was like "what are you talking about?" and I was like "look, It's AMY!" Isa finalllly got it and we were able to snag a pic. I'm happy to report that Amy is super nice and down to earth. And I finally got to tell her I put her through college. Life complete! Shout out to Allie Drew for making it happen.

And my second favorite moment from the Expo was getting Vega formulator Brendan Brazier and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness creator Robert Cheeke together for a pic. Two cool dudes doing good things in the Vegan community.

So many awesome booths with great food! The Chicago Vegan Foods peeps brought the nacho cheese pump, so you know this expo is official. Follow Your Heart had yummy grilled cheese sandwiches right off the grill. Team Phoney Baloney was ready to greet the Vegans and all the people who ask "how can coconut be bacon?" One of the Qrunch team members was from Nebraska, gotta love my home state folk!

Sarah and I LOVED the Beyond Meat "Taco Beyond" booth. Their tacos were AMAZING. Cobra Corn is a product you need to try, headquartered in Chicago. The Bombay Seasoning Cobra Corn is worth getting shipped from Vegan Essentials. Daiya had a MASSIVE booth with tons of "Daiya Girls" walking around, giving samples. Mr. Dewie's had some really great ice cream and they entertained the heck out of us bloggers. Cybele from Cybele's Free to Eat told me she appreciated my putting up a pic of her cookies on Facebook. I thought that was pretty cool! And it took all three days of the expo, but I finally caught up with Jackie from Vegan Yack Attack. She's always the life of the party!

Nature's Path had some cool new things to sample and their rep was cracking us up. Dr. McDougall's had some new soups I hope to see soon. Vegetarian Plus had tons of stuff I've never seen before and I got to sample it. Sweet Earth had a sweet new Hickory and Sage Seitan Bacon that I can't wait to try again. Morinaga had a pamphlet with Terry Hope Romero on it, so we had to chat it up with them. And the Hail Merry ladies were super nice and gave us a heads up that Costco carries them now!

Always a treat to see Dan and Nicole from Upton's Naturals. Their Bacon Seitan is in my fridge 24/7. Happy to see the Liz Lovely booth, but they broke my heart by getting rid of the chocolate dipped cookies and pretzels. Wildwood got harassed by Isa about their creamer, I'm sorry. Vega had this nifty dispenser for Vega One. Oddly I didn't take any because it wasn't 6:20 am and I wasn't driving to work. Tofurky had a new gluten-free pizza I'd like to try again. I had a sample, but I need a whole pizza of that stuff. And Peanut Butter & Co. was in the house as they should be.

Sjaak's was very sweet and gave us bloggers a metric ton of candy to split amongst ourselves. I love their chocolates so much! JJ Sweet's Cocomels out of Boulder, Colorado was representing with their amazing caramels. Bee Free Honee gave a taste of everything. The honee is made out of apples, it's really good stuff! Endangered Species Chocolate had this amazing Raspberry Orange Creme Filled Dark Chocolate Bar that was to die for. I can't wait to find it here in Omaha.

So that was Natural Products Expo West 2014 in a nutshell! I didn't post half of what I actually saw, it really is a lot of stimuli. Lots of food, people and more people. Thank you to everyone who hung out with me and made my trip so special. I look forward to 2015!


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