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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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 😉

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn, MoFo Day 3

This past summer, Trader Joe’s launched a new flavored popcorn. In my opinion the world can’t have enough vegan, flavored popcorns.  I was reading TJ’s product description and they say:  “You might not know you’ve been craving Indian-spiced popcorn, but once you taste Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn, you’ll wonder how you managed to make it this far without it.”  I wholeheartedly agree.  This has quickly become one of my favorite snacks.

Product: Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn

Overall Grade: A+

bollywoodpopcornseal

Pros:

  • It’s like eating a hearty Indian dinner and a movie snack all at once.
  • It’s spicy.
  • It’s perfectly crunchy.
  • It smells really good.
  • It’s only $1.99 (at least in NC)
  • The spice haters leave more for me.
20160903_134552
Look at all that spicy goodness

What?  You’re still here instead of  rushing out to get a couple bags?  Ok.  I’ll make up a con.

Cons:

  • When you tell someone who is hesitant of spice that it’s spicy, they won’t believe you because it looks so cheesy.  They will find out you are telling the truth and possibly knock you down on the way to the water.

 

 

 

 

Imitation S’mores

I have fond memories as a kid sitting in front of campfires eating s’mores as a girlscout, even despite the threat of bugs. Yeah, I’m terrified of bugs. Eating s’mores helped me not think about bugs. I was the kid who put blankets down on logs. Why? Because logs hide bugs.  Moving on….I still dream of s’mores. I recently found the Gramwich made by Van’s. It’s not exactly like a s’more as there is no marshmallow, but the chocolate is gooey in the center so I’ll consider it a contender.

Product: Gramwich Snack Bar by Van’s

Gramwich box

Overall Grade: B+. I probably would give this item an A if I wasn’t thinking of s’mores when I first tried the bar. The graham part was soft and chewy and the chocolate center was gooey. It is really delicious, but please don’t expect it to taste like a s’more because it is different. I’ve enjoyed throwing these in my bag for a snack.

gramwich

Pros:

  • They are individually wrapped so you are not tempted to eat more than one.
  • The chocolate in the center is delicious. It is in a melted state and is what I want on the taste of a graham-like cookie.
  • The cookie part of the gramwich isn’t like a graham cracker, but has a nice grainy and soft texture. Don’t expect a crunch.
  • it is exciting that there is a graham-like cookie with chocolate on the market that is vegan (and gluten free!).

Cons:

  • The bars are small, only a couple of inches long. While delicious, they are not filling. I recommend this for a very light snack.
  • There are only five bars per box. I sort of expect six bars per box.
  • They aren’t like a s’more. They are missing a vegan marshmallow and a crunchy cookie….oh and a campfire.

 

 

 

 

It’s Always Sunny With This Butter

I’m a fan of nut butters. I like peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter and so on. If you can make a butter out of it and it is vegan, I will give it a try. The first time I had sunflower butter was on the plane to the Pacific Northwest for my honeymoon in 2015. The plane we were on had a vegan snack pack on the airplane and we splurged and bought it. We really enjoyed the small jar, but didn’t see it again until years later. We have bought it once or twice, but not with any regularity.

SunButter jarRecently, we saw SunButter at a local grocery store chain. I was amazed because it wasn’t at a specialty organic store and there was a store coupon, making the jar affordable.  I bought the regular kind, but after trying it wish I would have gotten the kind that didn’t contain added sugar. We regularly buy the fresh ground or the peanut butter that just contains peanuts and sometimes salt. I am no longer used to sugar in my butters.

Even with the added sugar, this had a nice taste. It was delicious spread on crackers, apples, toast and bananas. It was even good right out of the jar! The texture was very smooth and creamy. This is a great alternative to those looking to for peanut free butters. The one thing that I forgot to do was make a SunButter and jelly sandwich. I will have to go out and buy another jar so that I can try this soon!

Not Quite A Kitchen Tour (and a protein powder) – Day 13

I’m not going to do a full kitchen tour today for two reasons: 1. I don’t live alone so the kitchen isn’t fully vegan and 2. my cabinets are a mess.  I’m in the middle of reorganizing the ones that are specifically mine, but it’s a work in progress.

Instead, what I’m going to do is share with you a new kitchen addition since last year’s Vegan MoFo.  My nephew gifted my sister and me a Nutribullet last Christmas.

The one we got is red, has two small and one large blender cups, two lids, an extra screw-top handle for the handle-free cups, a blender blade and a mill blade.

My nutribullet is like this one.

This thing is a little powerhouse.  We use it for small batches of hummus, for smoothies, to grind chia seeds, to make flour out of whole grain buckwheat, to make nut meal and for various other things.  It’s easy to clean – all dishwasher safe, except the base obviously.  It’s also easy to take the cups on the go…take off the blade, flip the cup, and screw on the lid. The only real issue we have with it, is it takes just the right hand to get the cup/blade to connect with the base.  I’ve found that if you turn it so it fits into the base and makes a slight “drop” into to then you can the push the cup down to blend.  It was hard to get this down at first, but I think I have it now.

The other day, I made a smoothie in it using Vega Choc-a-lot protein smoothie.  As a recall, this was 1 scoop of the protein powder, 1 small banana, a couple handfuls of kale, coconut milk (beverage, not the canned kind), and a small spoonful of peanut butter.

 

Vega Protein Smoothie

 

 

Made with pea protein, hemp protein and other proteins (no gluten or soy), there’s 15 grams in a single scoop.  It also advertises two servings of veggies per 90 calorie serving.

I like using the variety of protein and getting so much nutrition in a small serving.  But, there’s one caveat.  The stevia taste is strong.  If you dislike stevia, you won’t like this protein powder.  I’m ok with stevia most of the time and it’s even a little strong for me.  I find that using a banana as the fruit helps temper it as does adding a little agave or maple syrup.

I realized as I was writing this post, that I’ve never used it in just a glass of non-dairy milk like it suggests on the package.  It didn’t really change my view on the powder.  It doesn’t fully stir in so it wasn’t smooth like a chocolate flavored milk and the taste is still stevia-like with a mild chocolate flavor.

So, it’s a mixed review from me…it’s something I buy because I like the nutrition, but I have to mask the taste a bit to really enjoy it.