No Whey Fear Not Candy Bag

It is almost Halloween and that means C-A-N-D-Y! Even vegans need candy. Each year I search for vegan candy that will allow my son to participate in the fun of Halloween. This often includes a purchase from No Whey Chocolate. They sell candy online and in select retailers across the country.  Their products are vegan and free of most common allergens. This year, I was excited to see the new Fear Not Candy bags. I ordered one for us, along with a few other treats. This bag did not disappoint.

Fear Not Candy Bag

Product: Fear Not- Spook Free Treats by No Whey Chocolate

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • Vegan milk chocolate! There are not too many companies that make, or make well, milk chocolate that is vegan.
  • They have imitations of Reeses, Snickers, and Hershey’s without the cruelty. It has been a decade since I have had any of these brand names, but I think this chocolate tastes better! And I don’t feel any guilt.
  • They taste delicious! I felt like I was a kid again tasting these with my son.
  • They are vegan, gluten free, tree nut free, soy free, and peanut free.  They are also Kosher.
  • They are small and individually wrapped like other popular candies.
  • This company does a good job creating candy for each season. Halloween, Easter, Christmas, etc. They are a regular stop for me before any major holiday.

Cons:

  • I can only find these online making them less environmentally friendly.
  • They are $8.95 for a pack of 10, which is not bad, but when you calculate the shipping, it is much more. I also had to buy a cold pack as I was concerned that the chocolate would melt.
  • They are not ideal to hand out for Halloween as they only come in packs of 10. I wish there was an option for a larger pack.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

Skinnypop White Cheddar Popcorn Cakes

If you live in the United States, Happy 4th of July! Today I wanted to highlight a snack that might be good to serve at your holiday picnic or travels. I came across Skinnypop White Cheddar Popcorn cakes and when I see a vegan white cheddar product, I scoop it up! This was one of my favorite flavors as a vegetarian. As a vegan, I am excited to see more products popping up that are cheddar flavor.

Skinnypop box

Overall Grade: A

Product: Skinnypop White Cheddar Popcorn Cakes

Pros:

  • The white cheddar flavor is spot on, it was the cheesy flavor that I remember from my vegetarian days.
  • Vegan cheddar flavor! I’m always looking for this flavor in a vegan snack!
  • They are 45 calories per cake, making for a light snack.
  • The cakes are made of popcorn, not rice. There is nothing wrong with a ricecake, but this is a bit more exciting!
  • Skinnypop brand products are available in both health food stores and non-health food stores such as Food Lion, Walgreens, Harris Teeter, Walmart, CVS, Lowes Foods, and Kroger.

Cons:

  • The cakes were a little on the firm side, almost stale tasting. I enjoyed it, but my husband was not a fan.
  • There are 12 cakes to a package and two to a plastic sleeve. They don’t last long!

 

 

 

 

Coconut Jerky, An Interesting Concept

I was very excited when I found coconut jerky on a vegan website. I am a huge vegan jerky fan and had to give it a try. I miss jerky as a vegan, but especially as a gluten freer. There is a brand on the market that I can find in local grocery stores, and I like them, but I am always looking for something new to try.

Product: Cocoburg Vegan Coconut Jerky, Original Flavor

Overall Grade: C

Pros:

  • It is a new vegan jerky.
  • The jerky is soy free and gluten free.
  • There are a few flavors to choose from.
  • They have a good chewy texture.

Cons:

  • They come in 1.5 oz bags. The bag did not have many pieces of jerky.
  • The bag is about 5.99 for 1.5 oz. That is a bit pricey! Especially if you have to pay shipping as well.
  • The flavor is odd. I expected them to be chewy, but I didn’t expect such a strong coconut oil flavor. I know the product is made from coconut meat, but I expected them to have more of a jerky flavor.
  • If you are looking for a jerky flavor, this is not your product. It was like eating chewy coconut. That might be your thing, but it was not mine–especially for 5.99 a pop.

 

 

 

 

 

A Chocolate Holiday Treat!

Do you remember those popular chocolate hazelnut truffles? They aren’t vegan. Pretty disappointing, I know. I’ve been longing for a vegan version and finally Sjaak’s has come through.

truffles-seal

Product: Sjaak’s Melk Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • These are incredible. They have a smooth milky-chocolate hazelnut taste just like I remember.
  • Organic
  • Gluten free
  • Soy free

Cons:

  • I don’t know if this is a true con, but they don’t have the delicate crunchy shell that I remember the non-vegan version had.
  • Slightly pricey ay 11.99 for a box of 9, but you get what you pay for. These are definitely worth it for a gourmet, nostalgic holiday treat!
  • I wish they were more widely available. I purchased from VeganEssentials.com but I would love to see them in Whole Foods some day!

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