JustPea Protein Powder

The kind folks at JustPea contacted us recently and asked if we would review their product. I personally am not a fan of most protein powders because I don’t like the taste of stevia. When I realized this product did not contain stevia, I was immediately interested in trying it. It is made from a single ingredient (peas) and contains no GMO’s. Overall this product has proven to be a winner in my book.

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Product: JustPea Pea Protein Powder 

Overall GradeA

Pros:

  • I didn’t even notice it was in my smoothie. Really. The first time I used it, I only used half a scoop because I was worried it might make my smoothie taste bad. It didn’t. The next time I used it, I used the full scoop and we still didn’t even notice it was in there. It really let the flavors that I put in my smoothies shine.
  • There are 20 grams of protein in one scoop. That’s a lot of protein!
  • The bag is a large one. There are 30 scoops in a bag. I personally don’t feel the need for 20 grams of protein in my smoothie, so I will continue to use half a scoop to get 10 grams of protein and make it last longer.
  • NO STEVIA in this product!!!
  • Vegan, gluten-free, and fully sourced in the US.
  • It’s priced on par with comparable protein powders.

Cons:

  • The only suggestion I have to possibly improve the product in the future is to make it fully organic. It IS already non-GMO, so that is a great start. If you’re looking for a protein boost for your smoothies that won’t affect the taste, go ahead and give this a try.

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Brad’s Plant Based Crunchy Fruit Kale Chips

When I plan to review a product, it is usually one that I have had several times (or bites) and feel that it is worthy of a blog post. I often come across mediocre food and move on from it forgetting to do a review. Every so often, I come across something so terrible that I feel like I cannot let a single person waste their hard earned money to buy said product. That is where we are today. I am a kale chip fan, even of this brand, but the product at hand today was so disgusting. I plan to come back and review one of their delicious flavors, but you must be informed of this particular flavor and to stay away. Both Julie and I gagged at the smell and taste of this product. We asked two other people to try it who also felt the same way. Then we asked my toddler to give it a try. He actually ate a few and then said he was done. I think he wanted to like them, but just could not. The compost pile is currently eating this snack. You are probably wondering how kale chips could be this bad. Please read on for more information.

kale chip bagProduct: Brad’s Plant Based Crunchy Fruit Kale Chips

Overall Grade: F

Pros:

  • They are healthy. Sure, they taste horrible, but at least they are good for you. And they are gluten free. Maybe this is why people think vegan, gluten free is not palatable.
  • They are a brand I trust, in general, so I will continue to buy their other flavors.kale chipsCons:
  • They smelled putrid. The smell was something like a fruity, earthy, death. I accidentally got a whiff before I took a bite. Big mistake.
  • The taste is…indescribable. I like beets and I like strawberries and I’ve eaten these things together and liked them. I don’t understand why they tasted so bad in this kale chip.
  • They have oats. Normally, that would not be such a bad thing, but I think that contributed to the rank flavor.
  • Whatever price was paid, was too much. Julie, purchased these and I know she thinks that they were not money well spent.
  • These are being sold with other kale chips. These give kale chips a bad name. If I had never had, or made, kale chips and picked these up I would have thought all kale chips were bad.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake and Meal Replacement

The makers of Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake and Meal Replacement contacted us recently and asked if we would try their product.*  Smoothies are a regular occurrence in my household and we go through the protein shake mixes monthly. I happily accepted as I am always on the search for affordable vegan protein powders. The containers arrived quickly and I was pleasantly surprised by the design. It is different from other commercial shake containers with a picture of a cartoon cow and a black background. It stood out to me immediately that I it was a vegan product and that always makes me smile. I would be drawn to this product in stores. For now it is sold online through Amazon, but I would love to see this product in stores soon. Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake containerProduct: Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake and Meal Replacement, Vanilla and Chocolate flavors

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • Great packaging design with an adorable cow. I like that the company advertises boldly that it is a vegan protein shake.
  • They have an offering of two common flavors: vanilla and chocolate. Nothing too weird or fancy.
  • The products both have a delicious smell that is decedent and inciting.
  • They list a good amino acid profile on the container. Many of the other vegan shakes/meal replacements either don’t contain amino acids or haven’t taken the time to label them on the containers. This is important to some people. The more nutritional information, the better.
  • The serving amount is one scoop, whereas many other vegan shakes require two or more scoops.
  • I have not compared pricing very closely between all other protein powders, but this seems to be on par (or a little cheaper) with the price of other vegan brands. Currently, it is listed for $25 on Amazon.

Cons:

  • I wasn’t a fan of this product on its own (mixed with water only). Not many, if any, protein shakes taste good on their own. They all seem to have to be mixed with a vegan milk and other ingredients like fruits, vegetables, nuts and/or seeds.

 

*Please note that we are happy to try vegan products for an honest review. If you are interested, please contact us.

 

 

 

 

Go Veggie Grated Parmesan Style Topping

We took a little hiatus from writing reviews. During that time, we sampled a lot of products! We have quite a few products that we would like to share with you, so stay tuned!

When I think of Italian food, I remember back to my childhood and the shaker of fresh grated Parmesan that sat on the table for every meal. My mom and grandma used to grate it in the food processor and put it out at almost every meal. It was like ketchup, we put it on everything.  Since going vegan, I have been on the search for a vegan grated Parmesan that tastes like the dairy version from my childhood. The product from Go Veggie, is not this product. I was sorely disappointed. We believe in honest reviews here, so I am not holding back in my critique of this product.Go Veggie Container

Product: Go Veggie Grated Parmesan Style Topping

Overall Grade: D

Pros:

  • It is a vegan cheese product.
  • Unlike other vegan cheese products, this has protein and calcium. While most vegans know we don’t need the extra protein and calcium, having them in products helps win over omnivores.

Cons:

  • This product tastes gross! I could barely stomach the taste. It doesn’t come close to the fresh Parmesan taste or from what I remember from the store bought shaker container.
  • This product smelled like rotten feet. One sniff made me gag. I had to plug my nose when I sprinkled it on my food. This product is getting a D for this con alone. Food should not make me gag by the smell.
  • This is not something I’d keep at my table or serve to anyone. No one in my family liked it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baileys Almande, Almondmilk Liqueur

I used to watch my mom drink Bailey’s with family and sneak a sip here and there. When I was old enough to drink, I indulged in the original Baileys a couple of times on its own or in coffee drinks. I only drink a couple of times a year, so it was an occasional treat with friends. Then I went vegan and Baileys was off the table. I had forgotten about it until I read stirrings on the internet of a vegan version of Baileys called Almande. To see that it was also labeled gluten free made my heart do a happy dance. As soon as it was available at my local ABC store, I bought a bottle.  I am still on my first bottle, but it has been enjoyed in hot chocolate, coffee, and plain.  I imagine this bottle will last a while, but I like having it around for an occasional treat by myself, with family, or friends.

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Product: Baileys Almonde, Almondmilk Liqueur

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • It is vegan and gluten free. It says so on the bottle!
  • It is becoming more widely available where alcohol is sold.
  • The flavor is sweet and smooth like the original.
  • The bottle looks very different from the original, making it easy to determine if you are drinking the vegan version.
  • The price seemed in line with other specialty liqueurs.
  • Having this option allows for vegans to have more specialty drink options.

back of almonde bottleCons:

  • The bottle does not have a “use by” or “best by” date. I have had my bottle for a while and put it in the refrigerator, but I do not know how long I can continue to enjoy it.
  • It would be helpful if they put the ingredients on the bottle. Some of us like to know what we are consuming. I read every label, so this was hard for me to trust that the ingredients were fine for me to consume. The only information the bottle gives is that it contains almond and soy ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

Melty So Delicious Mozzarella

It still feels peculiar as a vegan to exclaim “I like cheese!”, but I do!  When I learn of a new vegan cheese, or new to me, I jump at the chance to give it a try. On Instagram, I started to see buzzing that So Delicious created a line of vegan shreds. Being a fan of their ice cream treats, I knew I wanted to give these shreds a try. After a couple of months of waiting for them to appear in my local stores, I finally found them at an area Whole Foods and grabbed one of the last two on the shelf. I am now able to get all three flavors regularly in my area.

 

Mozzarella PackageProduct: Mozzarella Flavored Shreds, by So Delicious

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • The shreds are gluten free, vegan, soy free and non-gmo verified.
  • The shreds melt well. They melted instantly in my microwave testing and quickly in the oven. I have tried them in mac n cheese, nachos, and a sandwich.
  • This cheese tastes good out straight of the package. Hold the presses! Yes, you read that right. I have tried the Mozzarella and Cheddar and they taste reminiscent of their dairy counterparts, as is. Watch yourself as you might eat the whole bag before it heads to food!
  • They are perfect for pizza! I haven’t yet tried them on pizza, but seeing how they worked on other foods convinced me that I have to buy another bag and make pizza.
  • This product would be a great one to share with your dairy eating friends to show them how delicious veganism alternatives can be!
  • They have three flavors: Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Cheddar Jack. I hope to try Cheddar Jack soon!mac n cheese

Cons:

  • If you are a reader of the blog, you can probably already anticipate the first con. Price. Like all other vegan brand name cheese options, the bag was pricey. I am pretty sure it was priced the same as Daiya at over $5 a bag! Vegans aren’t made of money!
  • An area where I feel that vegan cheese makers are failing is in the nutritional content. Many people who eat dairy cheese do so because it has calcium and protein. Yet very few, if any, of the vegan brands have protein and calcium. This brand has zero for both. While I don’t need to get these from vegan cheeses in my diet, I know this could be a impediment to others switching to vegan cheese.
  • It is fattening! It is made from coconut and has 7g of fat per serving. I looked up a brand of dairy mozzarella and it was only 3g of fat per serving.
  • It is not available as widely as other vegan brands. I hope it will be soon!

 

 

 

 

 

So Delicious Dairy Free Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert Bars

It feels a little strange to write a post about an ice cream treat in November. It has been in the 50’s and 60’s where I live and that is not exactly ice cream weather. I think true ice cream lovers do not care about the temperature to enjoy a cold treat though. A hot beverage afterward or a blanket can help warm up. As the holidays approach your family might enjoy ice cream with dessert and I wanted to share a favorite in my household. We find cashewmilk to be both rich and decadent and double chocolate bars do not disappoint. I tend to only buy them on sale as a treat, but they are a favorite!

box of 4 barsProduct: Cashewmilk Double Chocolate Delight by So Delicious Dairy Free

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • Delicious!! As I said above, this bar is both rich and decadent with the chocolate coating and chocolate ice cream inside.
  • I find So Delicious cashewmilk to be very creamy and similar to what I remember of diary milk ice cream.
  • These beauties are easy to find in regular and health food grocery stores near me.
  • I trust this brand as I have been buying the products for years. They clearly label allergens and most, if not all, of their products are good gluten free.
  • This product is free of dairy, gluten, peanut, and soy.
  • They have several delicious flavors. Including one that has vegan caramel!!! That is also a favorite in our home.

Cons:

  • They are pricy, unless on sale. I have generally seen them for $5.99 for a box of 4. That is about $1.50 a bar. These are only a treat for us, not a staple.
  • With only 4 in a box, they are expensive to share. With a family of three, only one of us can have two!

 

 

 

 

YumEarth Halloween Gummy Bears

October usually has me obsessing over Halloween candy. Some of us have kids and want to provide a vegan alternative and some of us are still kids at heart and want to eat Halloween candy. I fall into both camps. My inner kid misses gummy bears something fierce. As a vegetarian teenager, I felt the loss of them in my life. As a vegan adult, I still feel that loss. There is a void of gummy candy in my life that I am usually looking to fill.

I was recently at Home Goods and I saw Halloween gummy bears by YumEarth. I looked over the package and they seemed vegan. Their website confirms them as being vegan. However, the website indicates that the company only makes the gummy bears vegan at Halloween. I guess they think that vegans and vegetarians only want gummy bears in October? This company doesn’t know us at all!

YumEarth gummy bear package

Product: YumEarth Halloween Gummy Bears

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • They come in individual packets to be handed out for Halloween or to consume in small amounts.
  • They are delicious! My son had never had a gummy bear and he loved them.
  • They are free of the top allergens.
  • They are organic.
  • They are flavored and colored with fruit juice, instead of chemicals like traditional gummy bears.
  • These are gelatin free and therefore, there is no harm to animals. (See the cons, for more information).
  • The company makes other delicious candy that is allergen free, such as lollipops and licorice.
  • The price was very reasonable at $2.99 for the package of 10.

Cons:

  • They are only available for a few special occasions during the year. The gelatin gummy bears are always available. I do not understand this line of thinking. I think the company is a bit confused about vegans, we don’t just eat candy at Halloween.
  • They are hard to find. I have seen other vegan gummy products by them at stores in the area, but I have only seen the gummy bears at Home Goods on ONE occasion. I went back the following week and could not find them.
  • There are 10 small packs in a package. There really should be an option for more, especially to hand out to trick-or-treaters.

 

 

 

GreenBeat Veggie Burger Press

We were recently contacted by Greenbeat and asked to review a three-in-one veggie burger press and the corresponding eBook.* We can only review and endorse the veggie burger press as the recipe eBook is not vegan.** The product comes with two different size presses, large and small, and wax paper sheets. There is also an attachment that pops off to for an option to make a large stuffed veggie burger.

greanbeat burger press box with seal Greenbeat system

The veggie burger press arrived quickly and I decided a plan of attack by finding, and changing, a veggie burger recipe that I wanted to make. I also bought Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger because I was excited to have stuffed veggie burgers with vegan cheese. The Beyond Meat burgers are too greasy to use in the press for small or stuffed burgers. Even with the wax paper, they did not work very well and ended up falling apart. The homemade veggie burger worked well with or without the wax paper. I tried the homemade burger as a large and small patty.

veggie burger in press  veggie burger on bun

Product: Greenbeat Veggie Burger Press

Overall Grade: A-

Pros:

  • This system allows for easy veggie burger forming, while keeping your hands mostly clean.
  • The system is compact. The pieces all fit inside each other, allowing for the system to take up only a small space in a drawer or cabinet.
  • Using the press allows for uniform sized, professional looking veggie burgers.
  • The product is easy to purchase through Amazon.
  • The cost is a little under $16 and should make homemade veggie burgers cheaper than buying packaged ones in the store on a regular basis.
  • Helps reduce the consumption of processed veggie burgers. Especially if you use fresh and non-processed ingredients.
  • It is a great way to be accountable to yourself by knowing what is in the food you consume.

Cons:

  • Even though we are not reviewing the eBook, we found it to be a con since most of the recipes contain dairy and egg. They can be substituted with vegan items, but the dairy and egg industries are full of torture, pain, and death and we cannot promote that. We hope that the company will consider making more, if not all of its eBook cruelty-free.
  • The attachment to make the stuffed veggie burger was very difficult to remove. I had to wash and dry off the press, and make sure my hands were dry, and I still struggled to open it. I only made two stuffed burgers, but making large amounts would have been frustrating.

  

* We will gladly accept vegan products for an honest review.

** If you purchase the veggie burger press, please note that the recipe eBook that you will get a link for is not vegan. Many of the recipes include dairy and egg and therefore, we do not endorse the eBook. We recommend using your own recipes.

 

 

Kite Hill Jalapeño Cream Cheese

I have been vegan for quite some time, but still enjoy bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I try not to eat it every day, but I will admit that it makes a regular appearance on the breakfast table. Some mornings I switch it up for oatmeal (or a half of an English Muffin), to be a little healthy.  Kite Hill has always been a delicious brand, but it is a bit too expensive to have every week. However, the jalapeño flavor makes me want to buy it weekly. cream cheese tubProduct: Jalapeño Cream Cheese By Kite Hill

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • It is vegan cream cheese!!
  • It has a delicious creamy flavor with a hint of spice.
  • It is mildly spicy. I would prefer it a bit spicier, but it is good for most taste buds.
  • The package lists less than 10 ingredients!
  • It is almond based, unlike other popular cream cheese alternatives made of soy.
  • It is a cultured cheese product and therefore has a more in-depth flavor. Kite Hill cream cheeses are the closest flavor to dairy cream cheese that I have tried.
  • It is gluten free and soy free.

cream cheese on a english muffin

Cons:

  • The cream cheese is quite pricey. I have seen it for about $7 a tub. At this price, it will only make an appearance on my table for special occasions.
  • I can only find it in health food stores. I hope to see it in more mainstream grocery stores.