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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake and Meal Replacement

The makers of Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake and Meal Replacement contacted us recently and asked if we would try their product.*  Smoothies are a regular occurrence in my household and we go through the protein shake mixes monthly. I happily accepted as I am always on the search for affordable vegan protein powders. The containers arrived quickly and I was pleasantly surprised by the design. It is different from other commercial shake containers with a picture of a cartoon cow and a black background. It stood out to me immediately that I it was a vegan product and that always makes me smile. I would be drawn to this product in stores. For now it is sold online through Amazon, but I would love to see this product in stores soon. Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake containerProduct: Happy Cow Vegan Protein Shake and Meal Replacement, Vanilla and Chocolate flavors

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • Great packaging design with an adorable cow. I like that the company advertises boldly that it is a vegan protein shake.
  • They have an offering of two common flavors: vanilla and chocolate. Nothing too weird or fancy.
  • The products both have a delicious smell that is decedent and inciting.
  • They list a good amino acid profile on the container. Many of the other vegan shakes/meal replacements either don’t contain amino acids or haven’t taken the time to label them on the containers. This is important to some people. The more nutritional information, the better.
  • The serving amount is one scoop, whereas many other vegan shakes require two or more scoops.
  • I have not compared pricing very closely between all other protein powders, but this seems to be on par (or a little cheaper) with the price of other vegan brands. Currently, it is listed for $25 on Amazon.

Cons:

  • I wasn’t a fan of this product on its own (mixed with water only). Not many, if any, protein shakes taste good on their own. They all seem to have to be mixed with a vegan milk and other ingredients like fruits, vegetables, nuts and/or seeds.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Go Veggie Grated Parmesan Style Topping

We took a little hiatus from writing reviews. During that time, we sampled a lot of products! We have quite a few products that we would like to share with you, so stay tuned!

When I think of Italian food, I remember back to my childhood and the shaker of fresh grated Parmesan that sat on the table for every meal. My mom and grandma used to grate it in the food processor and put it out at almost every meal. It was like ketchup, we put it on everything.  Since going vegan, I have been on the search for a vegan grated Parmesan that tastes like the dairy version from my childhood. The product from Go Veggie, is not this product. I was sorely disappointed. We believe in honest reviews here, so I am not holding back in my critique of this product.Go Veggie Container

Product: Go Veggie Grated Parmesan Style Topping

Overall Grade: D

Pros:

  • It is a vegan cheese product.
  • Unlike other vegan cheese products, this has protein and calcium. While most vegans know we don’t need the extra protein and calcium, having them in products helps win over omnivores.

Cons:

  • This product tastes gross! I could barely stomach the taste. It doesn’t come close to the fresh Parmesan taste or from what I remember from the store bought shaker container.
  • This product smelled like rotten feet. One sniff made me gag. I had to plug my nose when I sprinkled it on my food. This product is getting a D for this con alone. Food should not make me gag by the smell.
  • This is not something I’d keep at my table or serve to anyone. No one in my family liked it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compassionates Products & Apparel

A local store, Compassionates Product & Apparel, opened recently with a mission to “live with compassion while raising awareness of a vegan lifestyle”. The grand opening was at a local VegFest and I had the pleasure of stopping by the booth. The booth had shirts, bags, stickers, koozies, and mugs available for purchase with words of compassion. After carefully looking through the options, I came away with a mug for my kitchen.  Check it their online shop to see the products offered, more will be added soon. Maybe they will be at your local VegFest.

mug with seal

Product: Compassion, Kindness, Vegan mug by Compassionates Products & Apparel

Overall Grade: A

Pros:

  • The mug has a simple design with effective wording.
  • I like the colors! The inside is red and the outside is black with red lettering. There were other choices as well.
  • The mug is dishwasher and microwave safe.
  • The price was very reasonably priced at $8 (they are now $7 online).
  • This is a vegan owned company.
  • All of the products support a vegan and compassionate message.
  • The products can be ordered online.
  • There is a good variety of designs and products.

Cons:

  • I usually like to have at least one con, but I cannot think of one in this instance.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Bakehouse With a Big Flavor

I feel like I have been living in a vegan, gluten free bread desert. The available options on the market have been less than desirable, unless you enjoy munching on cardboard. Some of the major gluten free bread makers refuse to make a bread that is also vegan. Besides a few specialty products, I’ve been skipping sliced bread. Then one day I was introduced to a loaf of bread that gave me hope. This bread was soft, fluffy, and tasted great even without toasting. Let me repeat EVEN WITHOUT TOASTING. Straight out of the bag. If you are doing a little happy dance, I’m right there with you. I was finally able to have a delicious slice of cinnamon toast, grilled cheeze, tempeh ruebans, the possibilities where endless. My desert was turning into a tropical oasis. Only one problem, I had a hard time finding the bread. Then slowly, it started creeping into a few markets somewhat nearby. It still needs to get into more shelves, but in the meantime I’ll keep driving to the locations so I can have bread. If you see this bread, do your little happy dance and then buy as many as you can carry!

LNB Bag
I forgot to take a picture before we devoured most of the bread.

Product: Millet and Chia Loaf by Little Northern Bakehouse

Overall Grade: A++

Pros:

  • This bread is delicious out of the bag. Even if it is frozen, when it thaws it can be eaten as is. Most GF bread has to be toasted to be semi-edible.
  • It doesn’t taste like cardboard. It is fluffy, soft, and flavorful.
  • It comes in three flavors, plus rolls. I have loved all four products.
  • All of the ingredients are things you have heard of! There isn’t anything obscure in the ingredient lists.
  • The bread is non-GMO and certified vegan.
  • They use a certified gluten free facility.
  • The facility that they use is also peanut and tree-nut free.
  • They are soy free as well!

LNB Sandwich

Cons:

  • They need to be in every grocery store! They are not in Whole Foods yet locally, but I am still able to find them.
  • They are priced like other gluten free products. You will most likely pay over $5 a loaf.