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.

 

 

 

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Little Bakehouse With a Big Flavor

I feel like I have been living in a vegan, gluten free bread desert. The available options on the market have been less than desirable, unless you enjoy munching on cardboard. Some of the major gluten free bread makers refuse to make a bread that is also vegan. Besides a few specialty products, I’ve been skipping sliced bread. Then one day I was introduced to a loaf of bread that gave me hope. This bread was soft, fluffy, and tasted great even without toasting. Let me repeat EVEN WITHOUT TOASTING. Straight out of the bag. If you are doing a little happy dance, I’m right there with you. I was finally able to have a delicious slice of cinnamon toast, grilled cheeze, tempeh ruebans, the possibilities where endless. My desert was turning into a tropical oasis. Only one problem, I had a hard time finding the bread. Then slowly, it started creeping into a few markets somewhat nearby. It still needs to get into more shelves, but in the meantime I’ll keep driving to the locations so I can have bread. If you see this bread, do your little happy dance and then buy as many as you can carry!

LNB Bag
I forgot to take a picture before we devoured most of the bread.

Product: Millet and Chia Loaf by Little Northern Bakehouse

Overall Grade: A++

Pros:

  • This bread is delicious out of the bag. Even if it is frozen, when it thaws it can be eaten as is. Most GF bread has to be toasted to be semi-edible.
  • It doesn’t taste like cardboard. It is fluffy, soft, and flavorful.
  • It comes in three flavors, plus rolls. I have loved all four products.
  • All of the ingredients are things you have heard of! There isn’t anything obscure in the ingredient lists.
  • The bread is non-GMO and certified vegan.
  • They use a certified gluten free facility.
  • The facility that they use is also peanut and tree-nut free.
  • They are soy free as well!

LNB Sandwich

Cons:

  • They need to be in every grocery store! They are not in Whole Foods yet locally, but I am still able to find them.
  • They are priced like other gluten free products. You will most likely pay over $5 a loaf.

 

 

 

 

 

O’Doughs Flatbread – Too Good to be True – MoFo Day 18

I love O’Doughs. Ever since I tried their bagel thins, I was a fan. Then their sandwich thins. Now I’ve found their flatbread.
This review is about the flatbread. The delicious, gluten free, vegan, non-cardboard flatbread! Finally!!!
flatbread_original-1
Overall Grade: A+
We made pizzas using this flatbread and let me tell you, it was incredible!
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It was nice and thick and didn’t fall apart. Look how fluffy and dough-y it is.
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Pros: 
  • Soft and fluffy but held all the toppings
  • Makes a quick, easy meal. Just top with whatever you’re craving and then bake.
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
Cons: 
  • I don’t have any cons for this product, but I DO have one con for O’Doughs in general. While I was perusing their website, I realized that they had a LOT more products than i have seen in stores. From reading their home page, i got the impression that all of their products were vegan. When I looked at the ingredients for their muffins and cakes, I realized that those products contain egg. Break my heart! Guess i’ll have to settle for their bread-type products and keep baking cakes and muffins myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tofurky Ham & Cheese Style Pockets- Vegan MoFo Day 14

Ahoy, mateys.  Veganswashbuckler, the piratical bane of the shores of all carcass devourers, is on extended leave from a plundering, and I’m at yer service with another Vegan chow review.  Today, I get in touch with me inner bachelor, and review an item perfect for any gentleman with a heart o gold who’s too inept or lazy to cook a fine cruelty free meal for himself.

tofurky-pocket-seal.

Tofurky Ham & Cheese Style Pocket overall grade: A-

I gave me chef the day off on this one, as any rank amateur can handle prepping one of these fine repasts.  He’d better bring me ship back the way I left it, or I just might leave him on a deserted island next time we’re in the neighborhood.  But I digress.  I prepared me pocket the way it was meant to be, in the microwave, and it cooked up nicely.  A fine chef am I.  Here is what you get when you do it right:

tofurkypocket2

Looks mighty tempting, I’d say.  But hands off!  Tis for me.  The cheese and briny haminess were a gourmet complement to one another, and it sure reminded me of those very hot pockets I ate in the distant past, the ones that were done in two minutes and would burn a hole in yer mouth if ye lacked the requisite patience.  I’d say the overall product is very tasty, though they be a bit stingy on the filling, methinks.  But if yer expecting authentic ham and cheese taste, Tofurky has delivered.  The convenience is mighty enticing, and the cleanup is much easier than swabbing the deck.

On the negative side, I did not count the ingredients, but I’d estimate them at around 30, so it may not be the healthiest treat.  And one pocket cost me $2.99, so I’d need to do a lot more raiding and plundering if I made a regular habit of these delectables.  But hey, if yer at home hangin around in yer skivvies and you’ve knocked back a bit too much of the ole grog, these pockets just may hit the spot!

 

 

 

 

Simple Mills Baking Mixes – Vegan MoFo Day 7

The first Simple Mills product that i tried was the Artisan bread mix. It was on sale so i decided to give it a try. It immediately turned me into a fan and I have purchased it several times since!
 simple-mills-bread-sealsimple-mills-cake-seal
Products:
Overall Grade: A
Pros: 
  • Both of these mixes were absolutely delicious! They has a nice soft texture and didn’t taste ‘gluten-free’ at all.
  • Super easy to make. You only need one bowl, the mix, and 2 or 3 other ingredients. I used flax to replace the egg. 1 egg = 1 tbsp ground flax and 2 tbsp warm water.
  • Each mix gives you multiple recipes, depending on what you want to make. The bread mix gives you the option to make flat bread or rolls. The chocolate cake mix gives you options for cupcakes or muffins.
  • Simple Mills has a variety of other mixes, as well. I’m hopeful that their other mixes are just as great as these were.
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free, Soy-free
Cons: 
  • On the expensive side at $6 – $8

 

 

 

 

 

Tofurky BBQ Chick’n Pizza

Those days roll around when you need to do something quick for a meal. When those days hit, I like to have a frozen pizza on hand. I try not to rely on that often, but when I do I want a good pizza waiting for me to pop in the oven.  I don’t like to feel like I am eating junk food, so I serve it with a salad full of veggies, and sometimes fruit. While I enjoy many of the vegan gluten free classics, I sometimes crave new flavors. I was delighted when I heard that Tofurky came out with a line. I was even more delighted when I learned that I could find one of those locally.

Product: Tofurky Barbecue Chik’n pizza with roasted corn

pizza bos

bbq chickn pizza

Overall Grade: A. I really liked the combination of BBQ sauce, chick’n, onions, cilantro and corn. I would buy this again and hope to try the other flavors listed on the website.

Pros

  • The flavor combination is non-traditional is nice to stray from the norm of pizza flavors
  • It is nice to have a vegan protein on pizza every so often.
  • Tofurky was NOT skimpy on the toppings, like I’ve seen on other frozen pizzas. I like a lot of toppings on my pizza!
  • The crust was good. I have to comment on the crust since this is a gluten free pizza. Not all gluten free crusts are created equal.

Cons:

  • The BBQ sauce was a little too sweet for me. I prefer more of a tangy sauce.
  • This pizza is too small to feed 2.5 people. I’ve noticed this with all vegan pizzas. Maybe they think we eat small portions?
  • The pizza is expensive. I don’t remember the exact price, but it is at least, if not pushing, $10. In my opinion, that is entirely too much money for the size of the pizza.

 

 

 

 

North Carolina – Indian Fusion

I am a North Carolinian through and through.  I wasn’t born here, but I’ve lived here for most of my life.  I’ve got the accent which gets worse (read: better) when I’m tired.  I’m ok with the hot summers.  I like staying home for the one good snow we might get in the relatively mild winters.  And, there’s nothing quite like southern food.

Smoky, sweet, spicy…it all works. So, for today’s post, I’ve decided to mix a little North Carolina in with a coconut milk curry.  And what’s more southern to soak up some of the liquid than a a little fresh-baked cornbread?

First off, let me tell you a little something about black-eyed peas and collards.  They are the essence of NC cooking and I never liked them growing up.  The real truth is I never ate them.  Although I grew up here, my parents didn’t, so we never had them at home, and I guess I was afraid of them at all the reunions and church potlucks.

In the last couple years, I’ve learned to love the black-eyed pea, but still had a little fear of collards. Until now.  I loved this dish so much that it, and variations of it, will be in my regular rotation from now on.

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I didn’t really measure anything to make this dish because who wants to work that hard for curry? But, I can tell you what I did to give it that NC spin.

First cook some diced red onion in a little oil in a large skillet.  When they are translucent and start to brown, add in some of your favorite mild curry powder  (I used this one) and stir to coat the onions.  It’s better to err on the side of too little curry powder as you can add more later. After about a minute, add the black eyed peas, some small florets of cauliflower and about a cup of water.  Add in a golden broth cube (I used Not Chick’n) and use a fork to break it down into the water.  Once the broth cube is dissolved, add in a can of coconut milk.  And, here’s that little bit of sweet…add in about 1/2 can of pumpkin puree and stir it in with the coconut milk.  Taste the broth to see whether it needs more curry powder or salt and add to taste.  If you need salt, I highly recommend smoked salt.  It adds a little extra something.  But, if you don’t have it, regular salt will work just fine.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and let it simmer until there’s little liquid left (it took mine about 15 minutes).  Add a bunch of collards, chiffonaded and about 1/2 cup of water to thin out the curry and cook the collards.  Use more if you like it thinner.   Serve topped with toasted pecans (more NC), and finely chopped red onions.  Sprinkle on more curry powder/smoked salt as needed.

To keep the NC flavors going, I tested out the Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix.

cornbreadMix

The mix calls for eggs, but I tested it out using “chia-eggs”  (1 Tbsp ground chia to 3 Tbsp water)   I used white chia to affect the color as little as possible.  It has a mild, slightly sweet corn taste, but I like the corn to “jump” out at me a little more.  The flavor was better against the curry (seemed sweeter and more corn flavor) than it was on its own.  It’s a little on the dense side (a lot on the dense side if you like the muffin-y almost cake-like cornbread that you get from some mixes).  Although I typically like room temperature baked goods, this is better warmed up.

Noting that it may be different using actual eggs (which we don’t do here at Veggie Product Reviews), my review is that it’s decent, but nothing to write home about.  I’d rather have my homemade, but it will work when I’m in a hurry.

Until next time, Julie, Amanda and I would like to thank you for spending time with us this Vegan MoFo. We look forward to hearing from you as we review products  throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

Day 14 – Sharing vegan cream cheese with a non-vegan

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Whenever my mom comes to visit, I make sure that she tries all of my favorite new vegan products. The hands-down winner of her most recent visit was Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese Style Spread. She wanted to take some home with her, but you know how difficult the airlines make things. 
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This proves that vegans and non-vegans can agree – this stuff is amazing! It’s exactly what I remember cream cheese tasting like – creamy, salty and a little sweet. The chives in this one are an added bonus. Mom thought it was even better than regular cream cheese. 
 
We enjoyed the cream cheese on bagels, but I’ve also used it on breakfast burritos, on top of a tofu scramble, on top of pancakes or breakfast quiche. It’s good on crackers, too. Here are a couple of pics showing it spread on some homemade vegan, gluten free bread. Along with my soy latte (made with awesome Larry’s Beans El Salvador Dali coffee), it made quite a delightful breakfast!
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The Best Sandwich Ever – Day 5

Sometimes what makes a meal good isn’t really about how fancy it is.  It’s not even all about what it tastes like. Sometimes it’s about how it makes you feel.  Before the days of thermal bags and ice packs going on to the school bus each morning, we had to have things that wouldn’t spoil before the lunch bell.  For most of us that meant a good ol’ pb&j.

I understand that, for you, 30+ years later, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich may be completely pedestrian.  But, for me, it brings back sweet memories of the many, possibly hundreds, of pb&j sandwiches that my mom packed in my Holly Hobbie lunchbox.   Even though Mom prefers creamy peanut butter, she almost always used extra crunchy because that’s the way I like it. Those sandwiches were most often accompanied by a red delicious apple and a thermos full of milk. They were always packed with a lot of love.

I found a picture of a lunchbox like mine on greatestcollectibles.com

The key to a good pb&j is soft, squishy white bread.  Don’t toast that stuff.  It makes my peanut butter melt, and I hate that.  Being vegan, gluten free and soy free (both because of allergies)  for the past 8 years means that I haven’t had a “real” pb&j in 8 years.  The only bread I’ve found that I could have is really only edible when toasted.  I would give almost anything for soft, untoasted bread.

Enter Our House bread mix.  I found it at a local IGA (thanks, Carlie C’s), but I hear the brand is available at other places too.

Our House Gluten Free Bread Mix
Our House Gluten Free Bread Mix

 

The directions called for a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  I don’t have that, but I decided to test it out with what I do have – a handheld mixer with mini dough hooks.
All went as the directions said it should.  I let it rise for about 60 minutes and then baked about 50 minutes. I don’t have a thermometer to check internal temperature – which I thought was weird in directions for bread, but I’m not much of a baker so maybe it’s common.  But, it was done.

It was sooooo hard to wait to cut into that loaf.  It smelled sooooo good.  It was worth the wait.

The bread had a lightly sweet yeast bread flavor.  My only complaint was that it was a little dense because it didn’t rise enough to be soft and squishy.  Once I put the pb&j on it though, the denseness wasn’t as noticeable. The only real problem I had in recreating my elementary school lunch. was what was really a “whole” sandwich, looked like a half sandwich.

So, my review is this.  If you’re vegan and gluten free and have a hard time finding soft bread, this is definitely worth your time.  If you’re not gluten free and have access to a soft, white bread, it’s a toss up.  It’s yummy, but you might like the texture of yours better.

 

I've changed to a fuji apple and non-dairy milk. But other than that, this is super close to what mom used to make.
I’ve changed to a fuji apple and non-dairy milk. But other than that, this is super close to what mom used to make.

 

After 8 years of waiting, Our House bread mix helped me to get a pretty darn good recreation of the best sandwich ever.  Thanks, Our House, for making an appearance at my house.