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.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Love Bar

Recently, we were contacted by the owner of Love Bar to ask us to provide an honest review of their bars.* I was excited about this review as I have enjoyed their bars for years. I eagerly said yes! They sent me one of each of the flavors to try. I am a creature of habit and have usually purchased the same two flavors, so this was a real treat to get to try the third flavor. They quickly arrived and I got to work sampling. The kiddo tried them as well and was also a huge fan. I will remember this for when we are out and need a quick and healthy snack.

Love Bars

ProductLove Bar- Ginger Spice, Cashew Brownie, and Goji Cocao

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • The bars are absolutely delicious! I cannot even pick a favorite between the three. They managed to use the tastiest combination of ingredients in each bar. I am a sucker for brownies, ginger, and goji berries!
  • Each bar only has a handful of ingredients that work well together and are common ingredients. You won’t find anything processed or fake in these bars. They are real food. They do not contain any processed fillers or additives.
  • Their nutritional content is important to me. It offers protein, fiber, healthy fat, and iron.
  • They are certified vegan and gluten free!
  • They are organic!
  • They are made in North Carolina. I live in NC, so I can feel confident in supporting a local, vegan business.
  • I can easily find these bars locally. Do not worry if you are not located in North Carolina, you can check out their store locator and online shop.
  • They have free shipping, if you buy online. That is a great deal!

open barCons:

  • They are about $3.49 a bar, online. That is a bit on the pricey side, but they are worth it because of the pure, unprocessed ingredients.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1c97

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.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_1c93

*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.

 

 

 

 

 

Melty So Delicious Mozzarella

It still feels peculiar as a vegan to exclaim “I like cheese!”, but I do!  When I learn of a new vegan cheese, or new to me, I jump at the chance to give it a try. On Instagram, I started to see buzzing that So Delicious created a line of vegan shreds. Being a fan of their ice cream treats, I knew I wanted to give these shreds a try. After a couple of months of waiting for them to appear in my local stores, I finally found them at an area Whole Foods and grabbed one of the last two on the shelf. I am now able to get all three flavors regularly in my area.

 

Mozzarella PackageProduct: Mozzarella Flavored Shreds, by So Delicious

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • The shreds are gluten free, vegan, soy free and non-gmo verified.
  • The shreds melt well. They melted instantly in my microwave testing and quickly in the oven. I have tried them in mac n cheese, nachos, and a sandwich.
  • This cheese tastes good out straight of the package. Hold the presses! Yes, you read that right. I have tried the Mozzarella and Cheddar and they taste reminiscent of their dairy counterparts, as is. Watch yourself as you might eat the whole bag before it heads to food!
  • They are perfect for pizza! I haven’t yet tried them on pizza, but seeing how they worked on other foods convinced me that I have to buy another bag and make pizza.
  • This product would be a great one to share with your dairy eating friends to show them how delicious veganism alternatives can be!
  • They have three flavors: Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Cheddar Jack. I hope to try Cheddar Jack soon!mac n cheese

Cons:

  • If you are a reader of the blog, you can probably already anticipate the first con. Price. Like all other vegan brand name cheese options, the bag was pricey. I am pretty sure it was priced the same as Daiya at over $5 a bag! Vegans aren’t made of money!
  • An area where I feel that vegan cheese makers are failing is in the nutritional content. Many people who eat dairy cheese do so because it has calcium and protein. Yet very few, if any, of the vegan brands have protein and calcium. This brand has zero for both. While I don’t need to get these from vegan cheeses in my diet, I know this could be a impediment to others switching to vegan cheese.
  • It is fattening! It is made from coconut and has 7g of fat per serving. I looked up a brand of dairy mozzarella and it was only 3g of fat per serving.
  • It is not available as widely as other vegan brands. I hope it will be soon!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Banza! It’s Pasta!

I have been hearing about this new pasta craze on social media and I was curious to give it a try. Since the pasta is sold at Costco, I only had the option of a large box. I held my breath and gently tossed the box in my cart, hoping that I didn’t commit to pasta we would not like. To my delight, we really enjoyed the flavor! I was also pleased with the high fiber and protein in the nutritional values. The best part for me was that it was a gluten free pasta that did not fall apart when cooked or reheated. Many rice based pastas do not last well as leftovers. They often get crunchy and/or fall apart.

box with sealpackage of pasta

Overall Grade: A

Product: Banza Pasta, Rotini Shapped

Pros:

  • This product is becoming widely available in stores across the US.
  • The pasta has a delicious taste. The flavor and texture seem very close to wheat pasta.
  • It is certified gluten free and GMO-free.
  • It contains only four ingredients and they are all things that I was familiar with – no funky ingredients.
  • A serving has a whopping 14g of protein and 8g of fiber! Wowsa!

Cons:

  • It is over $4 a box (if you look at the smaller individual boxes). Wheat pasta can be purchased for under a dollar. It doesn’t have the same nutrition, but if we want people to switch to healthier products, we need to make them more affordable.
  • There are two serving sizes on the box, 2oz and 3.4oz. The 3.4oz serving is 340 calories!! I know this is equivalent to wheat pasta, but I wish it were lower calories. If you are not calorie-obsessed like I am right now, then please ignore this con.

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!

 

 

 

 

I’ll Have My Salad with Daiya Ranch

Since going vegan, I have been on a quest to find the best creamy vegan dressings on the market. I have been mostly unimpressed. I recently stumbled upon Daiya Ranch. I decided to buy it after having tried the Cesar dressing and not liking it. The ranch dressing came home with me, without any expectations. One evening, I cracked it open and decided to put some on my salad. I was not sure if I would like it, so I took a little taste. I was pleasantly surprised, loved the dressing! It reminded me of the bottled ranch dressings that I had at my the homes of friends as a kid (my mom always made the homemade version).

bottle with seal of approval

Product: Homestyle Ranch Dairy-Free Dressing, Daiya

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • The dressing is very creamy and tastes very close to the dairy based ranch that I grew up on.
  • It is readily available in my area. I have been able to find it in the natural sections of several area grocery stores.
  • I served it to meat and dairy eating family and they didn’t even know it was vegan!
  • It is free of the major allergens.
  • The ingredients are all recognizable items.

Cons:

  • Like the dairy ranches, it is high in fat. 13 grams for one serving!
  • It isn’t easy to pour because it is so thick. I had to water it down a bit with some vinegar.
  • Like many processed vegan foods, this product is pricey at over $4 a bottle. Sometimes, even $5.

Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Almond Milk Creamer

I have a confession to make, I have a bit of an attachment to coffee. I have a hard time starting my day without it. There was a few years where I swapped a cup of coffee for a green smoothie, but sweet aroma of coffee called me back. When I see a vegan creamer, I try it out because I love knowing my options. I would prefer not to just have a vegan milk, but an actual creamer because it is thicker and creamier than a milk. When I saw that Coffee-mate was coming out with a line of non-dairy creamers, I was intrigued. I prefer my coffee without sugar or sweet creamers, but it is nice for a treat every so often. I have fond memories of drinking coffee-mate flavored creamers when visiting my sister-in-law. It was always a treat for me since we bought unsweetened creamers. Up until recently, the world of vegan creamers was mostly limited to unflavored soy. I was ok staying in that world, but so many options have been popping up that I have been venturing out.

coffee-mate bottle with seal

 

ProductNatural Bliss Almond Milk Creamer by Coffee-Mate

Overall Grade: B+/A-*

Pros:

  • This tastes very similar to coffee-mate dairy creamers, from what I can remember.
  • There are several flavor choices in non dairy: caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, sweet creme
  • They are easy for me to find locally at Target and Kroger.
  • They were comparable in price to other flavored vegan creamers.
  • No gluten, soy, or GMOs.
  • I did not taste an overwhelming almond flavor that I do in almond milk and creamers. I do not prefer an almond milk flavor in coffee, so this was a nice change.
  • Usually almond creamer takes quite a bit of product to lighten my coffee. This creamer lightened it with about the size of a listed serving on the bottle.
  • The creamers were $2.37 on sale at Target. They seemed in line with, if not a little cheaper than other vegan creamers.

coffee-mate and coffee

Cons:

  • I tried the caramel one and it is very sweet. This could only make an appearance in my coffee on occasion. This could be a pro if you like your coffee extra sweet.
  • I didn’t see a plain or unsweetened flavor in stores or on the website. I really wish they come out with that option as I would be more likely to buy it.

 

*I struggled with grading this creamer. If you are looking for it to taste like a sweet creamer, then this gets an A. The sweetness in this creamer was a bit much for me, but I enjoyed the flavor. My grade leans more toward a B for this reason.