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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

img_2757

There is a Garden in My Straws!

The snack queen here again to tell you about a favorite and addictive snack. You all have heard me before mention how I like to snack. A bit too much at times. It’s a hard habit to break. When something claims to be healthy and delicious, I feel less guilty about snacking. Sometimes that means that I eat more than I should. Oops! The snack today is a rediscovered snack. I have eaten it in the past, but haven’t bought it in years. Then I found these beauties at Costco for a reasonable price and they came back into my life.

veggie straws bag

Product: Garden Veggie Straws, Sea Salt flavor by Sensible Portions

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • The straws are crunchy and delicious! Each straw packs a powerful crunch that makes you feel like you are eating a potato chip.
  • They have less fat than a regular chip serving. They claim to have 30% less fat. So I can eat 30% more, right?
  • They are gluten free, kosher, and non-GMO.
  • The ingredients are all things that are pronounceable and familiar to the average consumer. No junk like corn syrup.
  • They contain potato, tomato, spinach, and beetroot for the flavor and coloring. It has veggies, that’s a positive- right?
  • They seem to be pretty widely available. I’ve seen them both in health food stores and regular grocery stores.

Cons:

  • These are addictive. Once I start eating them, I have a hard time stopping. I usually eat way over the recommended serving. I guess this could be a pro and con. Pro for taste, con for how I can’t control myself.
  • After a while, these are a bit salty. Maybe that is because I eat too many though.

 

 

 

 

 

Kinnikinnick Smoreables Graham Style Crackers

Graham crackers are hard to find and vegan. Now say you need a vegan, gluten free graham crackers and you might have thought that feat was impossible. Not any more! I have recently stumbled upon Kinnikinnick Graham crackers and brought them home for a taste. They used to contain a non-vegan ingredient, but changed their recipe (beware they say “may contain egg” because of the production facility). These beauties made a mean vegan s’more. They have an awesome crunch and delicious graham flavor. They have brought s’mores back into my life. All I can say is “Thank you and YUM!”

Cracker box

Product: Kinnikinnick Smoreables Graham Style Crackers

Overall Grade: A+

S'more

Pros:

  • Delicious, delicious, delicious!
  • They are crunchy, just like you’d like a graham cracker to be.
  • They are thicker than a traditional graham cracker, but bit smaller.
  • They make a wonderful vegan s’more. Just add your favorite vegan chocolate and marshmallow.
  • They are relatively easy to find. They are sold online, whole foods, and I’ve even seen them at Food Lion.
  • They are gluten free!!

Cons:

  • The box is a good size, but there are so few crackers in the box. I’m thinking you can get about 6 s’mores out of the box (around 12 crackers).
  • They aren’t cheap for having so few crackers. I think they were close to $5.

 

 

 

FRIES!!! – Vegan MoFo Day 30

As MoFo comes to a close, we’d like to bring you something really, really good. Fries, anyone? Fries that are healthy and contain veggies, but still are fries? Meet your new best friend – Veggie Fries.

 

veggie-fries-seal

 

Product: Veggie Fries

Grade: A+

Pros:

  • Crispy and fluffy!
  • They really resemble french fries
  • There are 4 different flavors. The chickpea, red pepper & potato flavor is my favorite, but the other flavors (carrot & potato, broccoli & potato, and kale, tuscan bean & potato) are also yummy
  • Non GMO
  • Gluten and soy free
  • Easy to make – just pop them in the oven for 20 mins.
  • Low in fat and sodium
  • Each 3 oz serving includes 2 servings of veggies and 3 g of protein (one bag contains 14 oz of fries)
  • Their great nutrition profile makes them guilt -free!

Cons:

  • These could be considered pricey at $4.99 per bag (Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Harris Teeter). Considering the quality and convenience that you’re getting, I don’t think this is unreasonable. I am sometimes able to find them on sale, which gives me a good reason to stock my freezer.

 

 

 

Planet Protein Bars, Vegan MoFo Day 28

Today we bring to you a review of a product that won’t even be fully launched until sometime next year.  But, Planet Protein was kind enough to offer us a bar each of their two flavors in exchange for an honest review.  You can purchase them in pre-launch from the Planet Protein Facebook Page.

The texture reminded me a lot of the old school Power Bars: chewy, a little gritty/chalky.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I really liked the texture of Power Bars and have missed them.  So, if you’ve been missing them too, here’s your vegan replacement!

Product: Planet Protein Plant Power Bar (Cherry Almond Fudge / Cocoa PB Crunch)
Overall Grade: A-  (cherry) / A (peanut butter)

 

planetprotein

 

Pros:

  • 20g of plant based protein
  • Chewy, lightly gritty – a la the old Power Bars
  • Non GMO
  • Gluten and soy free
  • No sugar alcohols, added flavors, no preservatives
  • No stevia so no funky aftertaste like some vegan bars
  • Cherry & Peanut Butter varieties?  Yes, please.  They’re both lightly sweet.  You wouldn’t confuse them with candy, but that’s not what Planet Protein sets out to be.

Cons:

  • They’re a little spendy.  From what I can tell MSRP is $3.50 per bar when purchased individually.  But, that’s the tradeoff for supporting small business and healthful products so I didn’t ding it in the grade for this.
  • The cherry got an A- instead of an A because I’d like just a little more cherry flavor. The texture was also just a tiny bit harder than the PB which I thought was perfect.
  • I can’t go pick one up on my lunch break tomorrow 😉

 

Dandies Marshmallows, Vegan MoFo Day 24

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving to those of you who live in the United States. I’m thankful for many things today, one of them being all of you! I really only love this holiday for one reason, it means that I can start decorating for Christmas at the end of day! I love Christmas decorations, carols, music, lights, and holiday inspired food. When it gets chilly, I start craving a nightly cup of homemade hot chocolate. You are in for a treat today because I’ll be sharing a recipe of mine along with a product review. It’s a holiday gift from me to you! As I decorate the tree tonight with my husband as my son is nestled in bed (no one wants a toddler’s help decorating), I’ll have a mug of piping hot chocolate in my hand adorned with a white fluffy vegan marshmallow or two….or three!

marshmallow bag with seal

Please enjoy this recipe that I’ve adapted from my mostly abandoned personal blog from a Vegan MoFo post from 2012.

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

  • 1 cup of almond, soy, rice or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter (my tablespoons were not rounded, so feel free to go over this amount)
  • 2 or more of Dandies vegan marshmallows

Place all of the ingredients into aVitamix, or high powered blender and blend for 4 minutes or until steam comes out of the top of the lid. Check for desired heat level and blend more or pour into a mug and enjoy! You can also make this on the stove, but you will need to whisk like crazy to break up the peanut butter and incorporate into the hot chocolate.

Product: Dandies all natural vegan vanilla marshmallows

Overall Grade: A+

Pros:

  • This tastes exactly like I remember marshmallows tasting. I want to make a bonfire and make s’mores and sing camp songs!
  • They are fluffy and delicious.
  • They can be eaten straight out of the bag or in your favorite warm beverage.
  • They are made will all natural ingredients. All things that you can pronounce and no corn sryup: Tapioca Syrup, Cane Sugar, Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Soy Protein, Natural Vanilla Flavor. (See cons regarding one of the ingredients).
  • They are gelatin free!
  • They are gluten free!
  • They are free from most of the common allergens: peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, wheat, fish, shellfish, and corn.
  • They are sold as large and small marshmallows.

Cons:

  • They contain carrageenan. This doesn’t bother me, but some people wish to avoid this ingredient.
  • They are not soy free, for those of you who wish to avoid soy.
  • I’ve only seen them at Whole Foods and our Co-op locally. I hope they become more widely available. If you can’t find them in stores, you can buy them online.
  • They seem to range from $4.50-$5.50. This is a lot more than gelatin containing marshmallows.