Follow Your Heart Shredded Vegan Parmesan, MoFo Day 15

I was raised in an Italian family and one thing that was always available was Parmesan cheese. Not that kind that came in the green plastic jar, but the kind that came from the deli that my mom (or grandmother) shredded or ground to put into a glass shaker. At every meal someone said “did you put the parm on the table?” When I went vegan, I would sometimes longingly look at the cheese and remember it’s tangy taste and salty flavor. Since then I have tasted some sprinkle jar vegan kinds and had not been all that impressed. I was so excited when I saw this product at our local co-op as I had been waiting to give it a try. As soon as I got home, I ripped open the package and threw a pinch in my mouth. It’s been about 7 or 8 years since I’ve had fresh grated parm, but this made me do a double-take thinking I was eating the dairy version. The taste seemed to be spot on. A little nutty, salty, and tangy.

Product: Shredded Parmesan by Follow Your Heart

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • Tastes like the dairy product it imitates! It is spot on for flavor and texture.
  • It melts!
  • It adds that touch you need to Italian food.
  • The price is in line with other vegan cheese products. It isn’t cheap, but won’t break the bank.
  • Since you don’t have to use a lot, it lasted quite a while for me. I did sneak a few pinches from the container every now and then.
  • It is soy and gluten free.

    parm on vegan gf pizza
    Vegan and Gluten Free pizza with the Parmesan sprinkled on top

Cons:

  • It isn’t easy to find here. I’ve only been able to find it at our local co-op. It isn’t at my Whole Foods yet.
  • It is a little on the salty side. So is dairy Parmesan, but I was kind of hoping the vegan version would be a little less salty.

 

parm container on the shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Kite Hill Mushroom Ricotta Ravioli is a Pirate’s Treasure – MoFo Day 2

Happy Vegan MoFo Day 2! Today we have a special guest blog post for you! Enjoy mates!

Overall Grade: A

 

Ahoy there you landlubbers, Veganswashbuckler here, back for another Vegan cuisine review.  I’ve been out to sea, and it’s good to be back on dry land; while seaweed is delicious and nutritious, and staves away the Scurvy, your captain was getting pretty sick of it.

While sailing the seven seas and plundering the shores of the carcass eaters and fighting the trawlers and whalers, your first mate made a stop by Italy to try out a new, glutiny delight from the almond cheese experts at Kite Hill: their mushroom ricotta ravioli.  A fine meal it was, and it reminded me of what it was like to be a miserable baby cow milk munching scalawag, without all of the feelings of guilt and complicity.

kite-hill-rav-seal

These ravioli are jumbo sized, though 10 in the pack may have left a hungry pirate like me a little unsatisfied.  These are a gourmet treat, mateys, and make sure you bring along a nice side of veggies if you’re planning to share.

As far as taste, I’d say these nuggets were mighty authentic, with a delicate, cheesy filling that was mighty pleasing to me palate.  And for all of my gluten-free first mates, I beseech the good gentlemen and gentlewomen at Kite Hill to try out a version without the wheat.  And if you could do it without raising the price, I won’t make ye walk the plank.  These pockets of pasta bliss will please any Vegan or non-Vegan you may know, and for all the non-Vegans out there, stop lining the pockets of the animal torturers, or I’ll make ye swim with the fishes!  With fine options such as this, no need for you to bellyache about not being able to live without meat.  If your friend the Veganswashbuckler can do it, then shut yer mouth unless yer filling her with cruelty free sustenance.

If you’re wondering how your favorite Vegan pirate had his ravioli, my chef prepared it with an Earth Balance margarine sauce that included mixed mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes, with a sprinkle of salt, nutritional yeast, dried oregano, and dried sage.  It was enough to make Mario Batali, Giada de Laurentiis, and Chef Boyardee reformed Vegans!  Believe me when I tell you, Chef Boyardee would be pleased to know he’d never have to eat beefaroni again.

Arr!

kitehillplatedravioli

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Snacking and Relaxing with Daiya Supreme Pizza

We at Veggie Product Reviews have had a lot going on and hope you will excuse our absence from posting. We have been enjoying many new products and hope to get back to regular posting soon. When things get busy, sometimes you need a little help in the kitchen with something quick. I don’t like to include processed food on a regular basis, but sometimes feel like it is called for. When we eat a processed item, we try and have something healthy with it. This post is about pizza and if we do a frozen pizza, we generally make a fresh salad with spinach, greens and fresh veggies.

Daiya Supreme Pizza

On this particular occasion we had the Daiya Supreme Pizza purchased from the frozen section of the grocery store. I like all of the Daiya pizzas that I’ve tried, but this is my favorite so far. I really like the combination of ingredients. The pizza has Beyond Meat sausage crumbles, peppers and onions. As a gluten free vegan, I don’t often get to have meat substitutes on my pizza.  This is a nice treat and change from the norm. I enjoy how Daiya isn’t skimpy on vegan cheese or toppings. I’ve tried other vegan brands where there is barely coverage of the vegan cheese. Maybe it is just me, but I like a lot of vegan cheese on my pizza. I like it to be covered. If I’m going to have junk food, why not go all out?

This pizza is a true winner for me and next time we buy a frozen pizza, I plan on it being this one. I like the other flavors as well and need to make sure that I’ve tried them all. I am sure you will see more pizza posts in the future. Happy snacking and relaxing!

Shiver Me Timbers! Gardein Golden Fishless Filets

In the days of my youth, my parents would occasionally treat me to the only places that turned fish into a highly unhealthy meal choice, either Long John Silver’s or Captain D’s.  I wonder what the D stood for?  Anyway, I remember how delicious the batter was, as it sweated grease that turned whatever paper container it was in translucent, and if I was really lucky, the smiling food server would dump a pile of “crispies” in my bag for good measure, just in case the fish itself weren’t enough to ensure a heart attack by age forty.  Nevertheless, I remember the fish being really good, and if you have a hankering for a much healthier but still very tasty version of this Long John’s or Captain’s fare, well Veganswashbuckler has a remedy for you, matey: Gardein Golden Fishless Filets!

gardein_frz_FishlessFilet_US_Sm1-225x238

Now, these are frozen and very authentic tasting, and the package may say something about baking being an optional cooking method.  If you want to go down that path, I’m sure you’ll have a fine tasting result, but I’ve never done anything other than pan saute mine.  When pan sauteing this and similar frozen items, I recommend using a tablespoon at least of oil and cooking over medium heat.  To prevent getting oil all over your range top, I would put the oil in the pan, then your filet, then turn the burner on.  This way the iciness thaws and splashing is much less than if you were to just stick a frozen filet in hot oil.

A great way to enjoy these beauties is in faux fish tacos.  Here is how I recommend you go about doing this.

What you’ll need:

  • Gardein Golden Fishless Filets, sauteed then sliced into strips (if you’re gluten-free, Sophie’s Kitchen makes a similar product that’s available in the freezer at Whole Foods)
  • Soft tortillas, either corn or flour
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Cheddar or pepperjack Daiya
  • Salsa, your favorite store bought brand or homemade
  • Cilantro

These are a breeze to make.  If you want your Daiya to melt, you’ll want to throw your filet strips into the tortillas while still hot and add the Daiya right away.  To assemble, simply cover your tortilla in a damp paper towel then nuke it for about 20 seconds to make it soft and easier to work with.  Take it out of the microwave then pour some salsa down the center, top that with filet strips then Daiya, but don’t get too overzealous, as it will be impossible to eat if it’s overstuffed.  Top that with shredded cabbage and cilantro then fold it over, and voila!  Faux fish tacos that will satisfy any landlubber!

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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”.

 

 

 

A Snowy Day in North Carolina – Day 26

Let me start out by reminding you what the MoFo theme for today is: It’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have?

I’ve lived in North Carolina for 4 years. It’s only snowed here a handful of times during that period, but it definitely has happened. And when it does happen here, it’s best to stay home. Most people that live around here aren’t used to driving in the snow, and there aren’t very many snow plows, so it can be dangerous. I’ve never seen an actual snow drift here in NC, but during the previous thirty some years that I spent in Buffalo, NY, I’ve seen more than my share of snow and drifts. Large drifts. Like 8 foot tall drifts.

Here’s what it looked like in December 2001. Several records were set during this storm, including 3 feet of snow within a 24 hour period, and 82 inches within a week.

snow

Luckily, I have a frozen Daiya pizza in my kitchen. I can pop it in the oven, relax, and enjoy the pretty white view outside.

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Daiya has several different varieties of pizza, including supreme (which includes beyond meat crumbles!), mushroom and roasted garlic, fire-roasted veggie, cheese lover’s, and margherita (my personal favorite). The margherita has 2 different types of cheeze – the mozzarella shreds AND round blobs of mozzarella. The crust on these pizzas has improved quite a bit. When the pizzas first came out, the crusts were very thin and easy to burn. They’ve improved their recipe and now they’re thicker and don’t burn so quickly around the edges. If you tried them a while ago, consider giving them another try. Overall, the pizzas are pretty good. If you want to get creative with your toppings, get the cheese pizza and you can add whatever you’d like. Pineapple and jalapeno, anyone? 🙂

Happy MoFo’ing!