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.

 

 

 

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Green Juice – Vegan MoFo Day 4

This product has become a regular in my house. I like to have a little with breakfast for a little extra healthy sweetness.
 telula seal
Overall Grade: A+
Pros: 
  • Delicious! This juice tastes healthy but also just a little sweet, so you’re getting the best of both worlds
  • Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • The only ingredients are fruits, veggies, and tea… no additives
  • They have other great flavors
Cons: 
  • Slightly price, depending on where you purchase (My local Whole Foods charges $8, but Target is less than $6 which i think is reasonable)

 

 

 

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!

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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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Like I Need Another Reason to Go to Ikea

I have a problem. I’m slightly addicted to Ikea.  I’ve often said we should have one close by, but I fear if we did my slight addiction would become extreme.

Whenever I’m on the road and am going to be near an Ikea, I try to schedule a stop.  After all, there is so much you can’t through their website (I’m looking at you, cute dishes and throw pillows).

But earlier this year, as if I needed another reason to stop by, Ikea introduced GRÖNSAKSBULLAR, a vegan option in place of their traditional meatballs.  I expected, as in most places that carry faux meat products, to be disappointed by the presence of gluten and soy.  But, no, not here.  In fact, the strength of these veggie balls as that they are just that…a veggie ball.  They aren’t trying to pretend they’re meat.  Their simplicity is their strength.

 

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GRÖNSAKSBULLAR has a firm texture without being chewy, and the little chunks of vegetables allow you to taste some of the individual veggie flavors.  The seasoning is Goldilocks savory…not too bland, not too strong…just right.

And get this, they’re less expensive than the traditional meatballs.  In Woodbridge, VA* a plate of 10 with a sauce and a side is $4.49.

The sauce is like a thin sweet potato chili.  It’s good, but not my favorite.  The side is seasonal vegetables.  On this day, that was a mixture of green peas, (slightly dried out) kidney beans, yellow beats, and green beans.  Again, not my favorite, but I ate most of it.  In fact, I’m a beet hater, and these were edible to me.  I guess I should give Ikea a little credit for that. But, let’s face it, I was only there for the GRÖNSAKSBULLAR.

 

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If you go to try them out, make sure to take a thermal bag if you don’t live close by because they’re available in the food market.  A 2 lb+ bag was $7.99 (again, less expensive than the meat option).  The sauce isn’t available for sale.  I’m ok with that.  I’ve tried them at home with barbecue sauce and with yellow mustard.  So far, I like them best all by themselves. The yellow mustard is currently in 2nd place.

Photo Credit: ikea.com

Photo Credit: ikea.com

 

 

Even if you’re not a huge fan of assembling your own furniture or of those adorable little guest towels, you should swing on into Ikea for a little lunch.

Thanks, Ikea for thinking of us!

 

*The Woodbridge, VA cafe will be closed for the next 3 weeks for remodeling.

North Carolina – Indian Fusion

I am a North Carolinian through and through.  I wasn’t born here, but I’ve lived here for most of my life.  I’ve got the accent which gets worse (read: better) when I’m tired.  I’m ok with the hot summers.  I like staying home for the one good snow we might get in the relatively mild winters.  And, there’s nothing quite like southern food.

Smoky, sweet, spicy…it all works. So, for today’s post, I’ve decided to mix a little North Carolina in with a coconut milk curry.  And what’s more southern to soak up some of the liquid than a a little fresh-baked cornbread?

First off, let me tell you a little something about black-eyed peas and collards.  They are the essence of NC cooking and I never liked them growing up.  The real truth is I never ate them.  Although I grew up here, my parents didn’t, so we never had them at home, and I guess I was afraid of them at all the reunions and church potlucks.

In the last couple years, I’ve learned to love the black-eyed pea, but still had a little fear of collards. Until now.  I loved this dish so much that it, and variations of it, will be in my regular rotation from now on.

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I didn’t really measure anything to make this dish because who wants to work that hard for curry? But, I can tell you what I did to give it that NC spin.

First cook some diced red onion in a little oil in a large skillet.  When they are translucent and start to brown, add in some of your favorite mild curry powder  (I used this one) and stir to coat the onions.  It’s better to err on the side of too little curry powder as you can add more later. After about a minute, add the black eyed peas, some small florets of cauliflower and about a cup of water.  Add in a golden broth cube (I used Not Chick’n) and use a fork to break it down into the water.  Once the broth cube is dissolved, add in a can of coconut milk.  And, here’s that little bit of sweet…add in about 1/2 can of pumpkin puree and stir it in with the coconut milk.  Taste the broth to see whether it needs more curry powder or salt and add to taste.  If you need salt, I highly recommend smoked salt.  It adds a little extra something.  But, if you don’t have it, regular salt will work just fine.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and let it simmer until there’s little liquid left (it took mine about 15 minutes).  Add a bunch of collards, chiffonaded and about 1/2 cup of water to thin out the curry and cook the collards.  Use more if you like it thinner.   Serve topped with toasted pecans (more NC), and finely chopped red onions.  Sprinkle on more curry powder/smoked salt as needed.

To keep the NC flavors going, I tested out the Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix.

cornbreadMix

The mix calls for eggs, but I tested it out using “chia-eggs”  (1 Tbsp ground chia to 3 Tbsp water)   I used white chia to affect the color as little as possible.  It has a mild, slightly sweet corn taste, but I like the corn to “jump” out at me a little more.  The flavor was better against the curry (seemed sweeter and more corn flavor) than it was on its own.  It’s a little on the dense side (a lot on the dense side if you like the muffin-y almost cake-like cornbread that you get from some mixes).  Although I typically like room temperature baked goods, this is better warmed up.

Noting that it may be different using actual eggs (which we don’t do here at Veggie Product Reviews), my review is that it’s decent, but nothing to write home about.  I’d rather have my homemade, but it will work when I’m in a hurry.

Until next time, Julie, Amanda and I would like to thank you for spending time with us this Vegan MoFo. We look forward to hearing from you as we review products  throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

A Capitol Idea – Day 27

Who can believe we have less than a week left in Vegan MoFo?  September has flown by!

Today’s MoFo prompt encourages us to tell you about our favorite herb or spice.  This was a super easy decision for me.  Mine is actually an spice/herb mixture called Capitol Hill Seasoning from Savory Spice Shop.

It’s a perfectly savory mixture of dried shallots, salt, pepper, dill, parsley and chives.  As you can see from the photo below, my bottle is well-loved.

 

capitolHill

 

My first use of it was on a cashew and asparagus dish, that Savory Spice Shop adapted and shared on their website.

A couple years later, I’m still finding good ways to use it. I like it stirred into Earth Balance for an herbed “butter.”  It’s good cold for spreading and good  melted for pouring on popcorn.  It’s a good mixture to encrust on tofu (for me, it’s the original variety of Living Harvest’s Hemp Tofu).

 

tofu

 

One of my newest and favorite ways to use it is to make a quick ranch dressing/dip.  I realized that is everything in it that I added to my homemade ranch except for garlic.  So now, I make up an individual serving of dressing by taking a spoonful of soy-free Vegenaise, adding Capitol Hill Seasoning and a little garlic powder to taste, then thin it with water or non-dairy milk.  Quick and easy.

In my spice cabinet, aside from the salt and pepper, this has the most accessible spot.  I don’t foresee it being kicked out anytime soon.  If you haven’t got it in your spice cabinet yet, you might need to remedy that.

 

Prep It Up (with Seasonal Produce) – Day 22

Our focus on Veggie Product Reviews is generally on name brand products, but I’m going to switch it up a bit today.  Today, our product is pre-prepped fruit and vegetables.  I’ve seen them in pretty much every grocery store and discount store with a grocery section.  Some of them come to the grocery store preprepped, but the kind I really like is where the grocery store preps and packages it for you right there.

Ok, I hear some of you sighing and thinking “how lazy can one person be that they can’t chop their own onion?”  I hear you because I used to be you.  Then at the end of May, I messed up my wrist trying to perfect my tennis forehand.  Fast forward nearly four months and I’m still in the stupid wrist brace.  Needless to say, my knife skills, which were minimal anyway, were completely destroyed.

At first, we thought I might only be in the brace for about a week or two, so I did what most of us would do.  I went for the prepackaged food.  While I’m not disparaging prepackaged products, because I like them as much as the next person, I can’t live on them exclusively.  So, I swallowed my superior attitude and started buying some pre-prepped veggies for making meals.

Once you learn your grocery stores, you’ll know which ones have which fruits and vegetables at the ready for you.

We’ve recently had a Lowe’s Foods open near my work that has this beautiful spread.

 

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The only thing in that whole refrigerator that isn’t vegan is some cheese on the mushroom caps and some ranch dressing in a veggie tray.  Everything else is ours!

In fact, this particular Lowe’s Foods has a booth where you can walk up to them with anything from their produce department, tell them how you want it prepped and they’ll do it while you’re shopping.  One day, I even had one of the employees track me down in the store and deliver it to me. You’ll pay extra, of course, but we always pay extra for convenience.

The only thing I’m not a huge fan of is the plastic containers.  I’ve been meaning to ask if I can take my own containers.  I’m doubtful, but maybe.  If nothing else, at least maybe I can reuse the ones I get a few times before recycling them.

In honor of local produce day for Vegan MoFo, I found a recipe online for a Caramelized Onion, Sweet Potato and Cabbage Chowder with Rosemary and headed to my local grocery.

I had to get the savoy cabbage chopped to order, but the rest was waiting for me in the refrigerator section.

 

chowderIngredients

 

While I’m usually more of a fan of spicy soups, this chowder had a delicate sweet flavor that reminded me of a Moroccan tagine.  I had to cook longer because my sweet potato cubes were bigger than diced and I reduced the fat to just a tsp or so of oil in the cabbage (used all called for to caramelize the onions though).  In order to make it a little more chowder-like, I actually mashed my sweet potatoes at the end of cooking.  Definitely a good choice for an early fall meal on a cloudy day like yesterday.

 

chowder

 

So the next time you’re injured, super busy, or just feeling a little lazy, but you don’t want a packaged meal, check out the pre-prepped produce at your local market.  I don’t think I’ll be giving it up even when my wrist is healed.