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.

baileysalmande

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

Hilary’s Ranch Chia Dressing

The longer I am vegan, the more I see items popping up to mimic my old nonvegan favorites. It is a great time to be vegan! I am a fan of Hilary’s products and was excited to try this product. It was so thick, that it would not come out of the bottle. I had to take a knife to it to get it out of the bottle. With a skinny neck, it was hard to get to the contents that were down below where my knife could reach. I had to thin the product out with plant based milk. I was conflicted in rating this product. My husband and I did not like it, but my son did. It did not taste like ranch to us, it was very vinegary and the chia taste was detectable. Since 1/3 of my family liked this product, I am giving it the seal of approval with caution.

dressing bottle with seal

Product: Hilary’s Ranch Chia Dressing

Overall Grade: B-

Pros:

  • The product is free of corn, dairy, gluten, and soy.
  • It is a vegan ranch option!
  • This product was available to me in Whole Foods and Kroger.
  • My son liked it as a dip!
  • It is an organic product.
  • It is low in fat and sugar, compared to other ranch dressings.
  • The ingredients are all recognizable.

Cons:

  • It is so thick that it does not pour out of the bottle without thinning out.
  • It was too thick to be a salad dressing. It was more suitable as a dip.
  • The taste was too vinegary for a ranch dressing.
  • The product tasted and felt too much like chia seeds. While I love chia seeds, I didn’t like it in this product. The dressing had a strange flavor.
  • The bottle was over $4 in stores. It is pricier than most bottles of dressing.

 

 

 

 

No Whey! Truffles

Those who know me well, know that I am a no presents type of gal for holidays. Every holiday, I remind my husband that I do not want anything. He loves to get me gifts, but I generally return them to the store. He usually bugs me for something that he can get me and I usually have the same answer- nothing. Before Mother’s Day, I knew he was itching to get me something so I sent him an email with information about a sale from No Whey. Sure enough, on Mother’s Day I received a big box of truffles. I rationed them to one per day and had a nice sweet treat for several weeks, until the box was gone. I even offered to share with him, but he said they were mine. I gave him one and enjoyed the rest. If he is reading this, I hope he gets from it that I would accept truffles, or any sweet treat, from No Whey for any holiday!

truffle box

Product: Signature Truffle Collection, No Whey! Foods

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • They are made using a vegan milk chocolate and are the closest to dairy milk chocolate that I have had.
  • The truffle flavors were fun. My box came with the following: “milk” fudge, coffee, grand marnier, raspberry, and salted caramel truffles.
  • The truffles were delicious! I enjoyed getting a box with a variety of flavors. I am not usually a fan of white chocolate, but I liked the grand marnier one that was covered in white chocolate.
  • The company is vegan!
  • All of the products are 100% Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Soy Free! Free of the common eight allergens.
  • No Artificial Colors and Flavors Free of the common eight allergens!
  • The company is Kosher.
  • If you sign up for the email list, you are notified of sales and holiday candy.
  • They have a great selection of candy for each holiday. This is helpful when trying to find candy for Easter and Halloween.
  • The pricing for the truffles seems in line with other high-quality truffles.

 salted caramel truffle

Cons:

  • The truffles have to be ordered online. I am able to find one product in a local store (No No’s), but all others need to be ordered online. I have a vegan son and I would like to be able to go out and buy this candy locally for holidays or for an occasional treat.
  • While the truffle price seems to be reasonable, some of the other candies are a bit pricy- especially with shipping. I don’t mind this for special occasions, but I really wish vegan candy was not so expensive. I would like to buy this for my family for all holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Vegan Mozzerella by Miyoko’s Creamery

I have been waiting to try Miyoko’s vegan buffalo mozzarella for what feels like years, but I think it really has only been a year or two since it has been sold to the public. Every time I have tried to order it online, it was out of stock. It is finally being sold in stores and I jumped at the chance to give this product a try! It lived up to all my expectations and MORE! I am having a hard time locating it where I live, but was able to find it on a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. I am hoping for it to be more widely available in my local stores that carry Miyoko’s cheeses and butter.

fresh vegan mozz package

Overall Grade: A

Product: Fresh Vegan Mozz by Miyoko’s Creamery

Pros:

  • This cheese is amazing! It had a texture and taste very close to what I remember fresh mozzarella made from cow’s milk.
  • I find this cheese to be a huge win for animals. It tastes close to the original and is made without cruelty to cows!
  • This needs another bullet point- the cheese tastes amazing and functions just like its dairy counterpart! It melts! It also tastes great straight out of the package.
  • This is amazing on pizza!
  • It is becoming more readily available in health stores across the country.
  • It does not have a lot of ingredients. The ones it does have are all pronounceable and ones that I am familiar with.
  • This product is free of cholesterol, lactose, eggs, gluten and soy!
  • This product is organic and non-GMO!
Gluten free pizza (crust review coming soon) with Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozz, Basil and tomatoes from my garden, and tomato sauce

Cons:

  • The cheese is fattening at 10g a fat per serving. The serving sizes are small.
  • The cheese has only 1g of protein and NO calcium. If we are going to get people to switch to cheeses made without the use of animals, we need it to mirror or come close to the nutrition of dairy cheese. I get my calcium mostly from greens, but new vegans or those thinking of making the switch would be more enticed by a product that had some nutrition to it.
  • This product was $9.99 for 8oz! That is outrageous! I know this cheese is cultured, but this is not affordable for the average person. This will be a once-in-a-while purchase. I feel like I say this on so many reviews, but vegan products need to be more affordable for the average person.

Banza! It’s Pasta!

I have been hearing about this new pasta craze on social media and I was curious to give it a try. Since the pasta is sold at Costco, I only had the option of a large box. I held my breath and gently tossed the box in my cart, hoping that I didn’t commit to pasta we would not like. To my delight, we really enjoyed the flavor! I was also pleased with the high fiber and protein in the nutritional values. The best part for me was that it was a gluten free pasta that did not fall apart when cooked or reheated. Many rice based pastas do not last well as leftovers. They often get crunchy and/or fall apart.

box with sealpackage of pasta

Overall Grade: A

Product: Banza Pasta, Rotini Shapped

Pros:

  • This product is becoming widely available in stores across the US.
  • The pasta has a delicious taste. The flavor and texture seem very close to wheat pasta.
  • It is certified gluten free and GMO-free.
  • It contains only four ingredients and they are all things that I was familiar with – no funky ingredients.
  • A serving has a whopping 14g of protein and 8g of fiber! Wowsa!

Cons:

  • It is over $4 a box (if you look at the smaller individual boxes). Wheat pasta can be purchased for under a dollar. It doesn’t have the same nutrition, but if we want people to switch to healthier products, we need to make them more affordable.
  • There are two serving sizes on the box, 2oz and 3.4oz. The 3.4oz serving is 340 calories!! I know this is equivalent to wheat pasta, but I wish it were lower calories. If you are not calorie-obsessed like I am right now, then please ignore this con.