Don’t Adjust Your Eyes, Another Mac n Cheese Review

Yep, you read the title correctly. I bring to you another vegan mac n cheese review. I think we could start our own blog about vegan mac n cheeses. The market is starting to get a little saturated with vegan mac n cheeses. I’d like to say this is a good thing. I’d like to jump for joy and say that you could go into any grocery store in anytown, U.S.A. and get a good box. However, that isn’t the case. Daiya, one of the best, is making its way into mainstream stores like Kroger. That just isn’t good enough. When Food Lion starts carrying mac n cheese that is vegan, I’ll officially jump for joy.

Namaste mac n cheese box

The other issue is the quality of the mac n cheeses. So far the good ones are Daiya, Earth Balance and Pastariso. Then, there are the ones that I’d rather not eat like So Delicious, Annie’s and now Namaste. I found the Namaste Say Cheez box at a small specialty store and I was excited because I had remembered liking the products that I’ve tried in the past. We decided to make it one day for lunch on a weekend and as I was making it, I gave it a taste. The product didn’t taste all that edible, so we added cut up tomato, spinach and hot sauce to help it “go down”. It did not taste cheesy at all. It looks like mac n cheese, but it didn’t taste anything like I was hoping. I noticed the product was made with rice milk and if you have a lot of allergies, this might be the mac n cheese for you. However, in terms of vegan and gluten free mac n cheeses, I’d save my money and try another brand.

 

Advertisements

Mac N Cheezey, Oh! So Pleasey

In the past year there has been a welcome influx of vegan mac n cheese options. That’s a-okay by me, I am always up for pasta with vegan cheese sauce. My last post about mac n cheese was a negative one. Today, I have one that is delicious to share with you. Say hello to Gluten Free Cheddar Mac & Cheese made by Earth Balance.

Earth Balance Mac N Cheese boxOne of the things many things that I enjoyed about this product was the shape and taste of the pasta. The shape reminded me of the non-vegan popular counterpart from my childhood. It might be silly, but it is what I’m looking for in a vegan mac n cheese. I want to be drawn back to summer days of my childhood eating mac n cheese at my best friends house. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the sauce. It had a cheesy taste and a nice orange color, just like you would expect from a boxed mac n cheese. I can envision kids enjoying this product just as much as the popular non-vegan brand. The bonus with the Earth Balance one is no cruelty or chemicals!

The only drawback is that I had to order this online because I couldn’t find the gluten free one in stores near me. Hooray for Amazon Prime!

 

Totally Grossed Out, A Mac N Cheese Adventure

If you have been following our blog, you probably think we like just about everything since we have provided all positive reviews so far. To keep it real, I am posting a review today about two products that are sub-par in my opinion. Let me preface this blog by saying that I am not a picky person. I like just about everything. Even the things that I don’t love, I eat. I am not the biggest fan of watermelon, sweet potatoes, pudding textures, or yogurts- but I eat them all (vegan of course!). We actually eat sweet potatoes quite a bit in the fall and I have started to like them in savory form. Maybe I should take them off my “not the biggest fan of” list then! Even with this list, I can usually choke something down if I don’t like it. I can even do this with a smile! I also married someone who likes just about everything. His only real dislike is asparagus, but we eat it often because he is like me in that regard.

Even as I post this review, I have to note that I ate all of each of the products in this review (not in one sitting, of course) because I hate wasting food. I always hear in my head “there are starving kids in X who would appreciate your food” spoken in a mothers voice. I clean my plate always and save leftovers for later. We don’t like to throw food away. It seems like a sin to me! To save you from having the need to throw away food, I must tell you about two products that are better left on the shelf.

Enter Annie’s vegan and gluten free elbows and creamy sauce and So Delicious cheddar mac n cheese. I was extremely excited to try both products and had high hopes. Those expectations were quickly brought down when I hate the first few bites of each. I really wanted to like them. I wanted more choices when I went to the grocery store. I wanted to be able to recommend these products, but I can’t.

Let’s start with Annie’s. The recipe has pumpkin in it so I thought it would be a creamy pumpkin goodness. Boy! I was wrong! It tasted like a cross between chemicals and wasabi. I must note that John tasted wasabi, I don’t know what I tasted after the chemicals. I even tried my hot sauce test where pour a bunch of hot sauce on something to make it edible. Fail! I tasted the chemicals above the hot sauce.

Annie's elbows and creamy sauce GFThen a few weeks later after I had recovered from the Annie’s mess, I tried So Delicious cheddar. It was so weird! It didn’t tasted like cheddar at all. It actually had a metallic taste to it and it left a horrible taste on the sides of my tongue. I also tried the hot sauce test and it failed. The metallic taste came through hot sauce. I put the remainder in the fridge and decided to try it the next day to see if the flavor would improve. You have probably already guessed that it didn’t.

I must note that I also tried the So Delicious pizza mac n cheese and it wasn’t as bad. I plan to buy it again and do a separate review once I recover from this fiasco. I also plan to review the delicious vegan mac n cheeses on the market. Until then, please go forth and eat good mac n cheese!

Please check out Jennifer’s blog- My Blissful Journey. We are loosely participating in an off season link up where we pick three topics to blog about. I picked a topic not on her list- “New vegan products that I have tried and NOT enjoyed”.

 

 

 

Veganized Family Recipe -or- Beyond Beef Mac – Day 20

When I was growing up, my dad was a student and then a pastor.  With 5 kids in the family, that meant mom had to work and dinner was often a little later than any of us would have liked.  When I was around 10 she started to teach me how to cook.  I liked it right off the bat.  Each weekend I’d learn a dish as  she cooked it.  Then, over time, I knew how to make enough basic meals that I could work into the weeknight rotations and have dinner on the table when she got home.

I don’t remember her ever teaching me this particular dish and I’m hoping I served a vegetable with it (probably green beans), but it was one of my favorites.  We called it beef mac, but you might know it better as beefaroni or chili mac.  Basically,  our version was just a combo of boxed mac and cheese with our sloppy joes.

It’s one of those comfort food dishes that I still want and my sister still asks for every now and again.  I’ve never gotten it “quite right” until the new Daiya Deluxe Style Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac came along.  It’s creamy and cheddary and quite a lot like I remember the famous blue box mac n cheese.  Daiya does have a “taste” in all their products that makes you know it’s Daiya.  It’s in here, so if that taste isn’t something you’re fond of, you may not want to eat it straight like this, but I don’t think you’d notice it mixed with the other things in the Beyond Beef Mac.  I like Daiya’s taste, so this was a hands down winner for me.  It reminds me a lot of the cheddar wedge before they changed the recipe, which was my favorite Daiya ever. By the way, the alfredo is good too, but I like this a little better.

 

Daiya's Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac
Daiya’s Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac

 

Using the Cheezy Mac, combined with one of my favorite products, the Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, I was able to recreate this old favorite, even to my sister’s satisfaction.

 

beyond Beef Mac
Beyond Beef Mac made with Beyond Meat Crumbles and Daiya Cheddar Cheezy Mac

 

 

Dawn’s Beyond Beef Mac

1. Make a box of Daiya Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac according to the package directions.
2. While the macaroni is cooking, brown a bag of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles in a separate pan with a little olive oil (or canola, or sunflower, or whatever you like)

3. When the Cheezy Mac and the Beefy crumbles are cooked completely, mix the crumbles into the Cheezy Mac (still in the pan you cooked the mac in)

4. Add the following and stir:

  • 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • Several drops liquid smoke
  • 2 Tbsp dried, minced onions
  • 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic

Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy.  It’s good at room temperature later too.  Or cold from the refrigerator.

 

Just a few notes: My tastes on the onions and mustard change a bit from day to day.  So start with that and add however much seems right to you.  You can substitute 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire in place of the aminos and liquid smoke.

 

Thanks for letting me share this little part of my family with you!

 

 

Quick, Easy and Delicious Mac & Cheese Day 3

Today’s Vegan Mofo theme has me thinking of mac & cheese. I’ve made many vegan ones in my day, both my own recipe and recipes from friends and other bloggers. While I don’t necessarily have a favorite food, mac & cheese would be among the top. When we want a go to meal we make greens and my tried and true recipe. Bonus- it lasts us several meals. I could make the recipe with my eyes closed.

Sometimes, though, you just want something easy. Our world is one of conveniences these days and vegans aren’t left out. Even vegan gluten freers! I’ve seen several options on the shelves and in online stores. A top contender for these choices is Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Mac & Cheese. There are several mac & cheese products by Earth Balance, but I’ve only tried the gluten free one. I had to order it online and it turned out to be a great purchase.

Earth Balance Mac & CheeseThis treat was delicious and also quick and easy. Score! The cooking instructions reminded me of the popular non-vegan brand that I ate as a kid. Even though it has been many years since I’ve had the popular non-vegan brand, I can say the Earth Balance version was better. It was creamy and didn’t have a chemical aftertaste like the brand of my childhood. Best of all, it’s cruelty free! I think it might be a good thing that I haven’t seen it on the shelves of our grocery stores because I fear I’d buy it too much!

Happy MoFo’ing!