Category Archives: Product Review

Habitant Garden Style Vegetable Soup Review

In keeping with the cold-outside/winter is coming weather, I decided I’d go ahead and do a review of a classic cold weather food: soup!

If you saw my Surprising Vegan Soup collage, then you’ll hopefully have stocked up on some delicious soup to keep you going long after the holidays are over.

This is also going to be the last Product Review of 2018! (They will continue to go up on the 13th of every month)

Okay, without further ado, here’s the Habitant Garden Style Vegetable soup review.

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The first thing I want to address is how f*cking big of a can of soup this is. Seriously. They’re 796ml – that’s easily enough for two bowls of soup. (Maybe even three) Why does Habitant only make such giant cans of soup? They’re usually located on the bottom-er shelves in the soup aisle because they’re so friggin’ big. I don’t know why exactly they make cans of soup for giants, but I’m 100% here for it. I like that this can offers a lot of soup, especially because it’s pretty cheap. You get a lot of soup-per-dollar.

One thing I don’t like about this soup isn’t even related to taste – it’s that there’s no tab on the top to open it. Look, I understand that not every can needs a pull open tab, but (especially because the can is so big) having the tab on the top would make it much easier to open without taking the entire top off, so you can close the lid back down and save it for later, instead of having to pour it out into a container. It’s not that big of a deal – I remember back before those easy-open tabs weren’t even a thing – it’s just something to keep in mind.

In terms of cooking, it’s really easy. Just open, heat on a stove (or in the microwave if you do that sort of thing) and serve. Very simple process. Even people who can’t cook can do it. This also bodes well if you’re really sick and would like something easy and fast to make, so… two birds?

Now, for the actual taste, it’s… soup. If you read my Amy’s Alphabet soup review, you’ll know that I’m not really that big of a fan of soup – I don’t know what it is, I just prefer my meals to be solid.

I don’t hate soup, I just would rather eat say… a sandwich instead. Soup is weird though, you’ve gotta admit that. It’s closer to a beverage then a meal. They should start selling soups in juice containers. That would also make it easier to save some of them for later, so there you go. Take note Soup World.

I don’t want to knock this soup – especially because it’s one of the few that aren’t marketed as being vegan that we can eat – but there’s honestly not too much to it. It tastes exactly how you would expect it to: like vegetables in some broth. It’s not overly salty like I’ve had in some other soups, and it doesn’t taste too watery either. It’s well balanced in terms of it’s flavours, and it has little grains of I think rice (or really tiny pasta shapes) in it as well. That helps fill you up better then soups that don’t have pasta/rice in them, in my opinion.

Other then that, I don’t really have too much to say about this product. It has vegetables in it (so it’s good for you!), is very easy to make, and comes in one of the biggest cans of soup I’ve ever seen. It’s a triple threat!

All in all, I’d recommend you check out/try this product. It won’t exactly blow you away with how amazing it is, but it doesn’t suck. And, especially if you have a hard time finding specifically labelled vegan products where you are, this can I’ve seen pretty much in every store I’ve been in. So it should also be easy to find.


Need help finding more products to stock up with in the winter? Check out my Surviving Canadian Winters post.

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Gardein Turk’y Cutlets and Gravy Review

Apparently American Thanksgiving is coming up (Nov. 22nd – two days after First Try comes out!) so I thought this month, I might as well review a Thanksgiving related food. Enter: Gardein Turk’y Cutlets.

I’d like to start this review out with a sort of disclaimer: as I’ve said in other posts, before going vegan, I was pollotarian, which means the only meat I ate was poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.). I’ll admit, I like the taste of chicken the most out of meats. So, during these reviews, most of the products I try will most likely be faux poultry, or, if they seem skewed in that if/when I do review faux beef/pork/etc. product, I might not like that as much as some of the faux poultries, take my opinion not as gospel.

Okay? Okay. So, let’s get started.

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I’m not gonna lie, these cutlets taste like their Mandarin Orange Chick’n Nuggets and their 7 Grain Crispy Tenders – pretty plain tofu/seitan with breading. I find that – out of the Gardein faux meats I’ve tried – all the faux poultry kinda just tastes the same, with an exception to different breading. Which is fine – I like that taste, so it’s all good.

But the gravy… it tastes like turkey. Not like, ‘oh, it’s sage’ – no. This gravy tastes straight up like turkey. My meat-eater friend confirmed – this tastes like they used real turkey drippings to make the gravy. If this gravy didn’t come out of a Gardein pack, and was just sitting on the table/otherwise handed to me by somebody else, I’d assumed they made a mistake and gave me non-vegan gravy.

And, while I understand wanting to make vegan food that tastes like meat, to me, I just… I don’t know how to feel about this. It tastes a lot like meat gravy, so much so, I got that wretch in the pit of my stomach, because that smell is associated so much with the dead body of a turkey. It was a bit off-putting, to say the least.

I’m one of those vegans, who is okay with eating plants that taste like plants – if it’s close in taste, I’m all for it. When I get skeptical/uneasy, is when it tastes exactly the same. Give me a mushroom burger that tastes like mushrooms, I’m happy. I actually like the taste of plants, so that doesn’t matter to me. (I touched on this more in my Beyond Burger review)

Obviously, if you’re someone who enjoys vegan food tasting near identical to the real thing, I’d say go for it. I’m not going to not recommend something just because it tastes too ‘real’. Also, it’s not even that – this product is good, the chick’n itself tastes like their nuggets, so you could even just use the cutlets without the gravy packet, if that’s something that would freak you out.

I’d say, if you are going to try the gravy, do so more then once – after getting over the initial shock of how close it tastes your brain calms down and it really does start to taste like sage.

All in all, I’d recommend this product, with probably just a word of caution about the gravy. It can throw you if you’re not expecting it, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying an otherwise good product. I know I, myself will definitely buy this product again in the future, (just as I did with the Beyond Burger), but I would do so with the expectation of knowing what I’m getting. I think that would help your first taste-test go well, too.


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Go Max Go Chocolate Review

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought that it would be a perfect time to review one of the best vegan chocolate companies around – Go Max Go Foods. Also, since it’s nearly Halloween, I thought I would do a special review: the chocolate products I’ve tried of theirs in one review. This way, you can have some chocolate along with your candy.

Let’s get on to the first one:

Twilight Bar

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Twilight Bar

Said to be the closest vegan chocolate bar to a Mars, this bar has nougat and caramel and is my favourite of the  bunch! It is so rich, soft and chocolatey it’s seriously drool worthy. The caramel stretches when you bite into it like the cheese in pizza commercials, and that might just be the best thing about this bar.

Oh wait, no – the best thing about it is that the wrapper is purple. And purple’s the magic colour, which is probably why this chocolate bar tastes so good.

 

Cleo’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Cleo's White Peanut Butter Cups

Dude, it’s a white chocolate peanut butter cup. What else do you need?

Only problem? Only two in a pack.

Cleo’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Cleo's Peanut Butter Cups

Like the white chocolate ones, except dark chocolate. Same texture, size and ratio of chocolate to peanut butter goodness.

Buccaneer

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Buccaneers

This one is still good, but it’s too nougaty for my liking. Biting it is like biting into a brick of nougat. And then, the chewing. There’s so. Much. Chewing.

Who knew a brick of nougat would be so dense?

All these chocolates are great vegan alternatives, but the one downside is that they don’t sell them in those giant boxes that the mixes of Mars, Coffee Crisp, Kit-Kats, etc. Come in. I’m sure I’m not the only vegan who would be down for buying a box of these chocolate bars in ‘fun size’, or hell, full size. (Then you don’t have to eat 20.)

They have a few other products I’ve yet to try, (check them out here), but these guys should be your go-to for all your Halloween-y chocolate-y needs.


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Beyond Meat Burger Review

Update: Beyond Burger will be back in A&W’s starting Oct. 1st!


I’m so happy this is available in Canada now – and it’s all thanks to A&W! If you haven’t heard the news, A&W recently added the Beyond Burger to their menu and Canadians went crazy! The only bad part is that they sold out in a month. While I’m happy it was doing so well, I am a bit worried about the momentum it’ll lose. Beyond Meat set up a newsletter, letting people subscribe to get notified for when the product is back, but I’m worried the initial spark of interest will die and they’ll lose sales. (Not to mention all the would-be buyers they’re missing while trying to get it back in stock) On their site, they do say that this time when it comes back, it’ll be back for good. Let’s hope so.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - A&W Beyond Meat Burger - Vegan Food

The first thing I’d like to say, is that you have to order the burger without the mayo/mustard sauce, to make it actually vegan. That sucks, I know – why add a vegan burger if you have to customize it to make it vegan? Once you request that though, it’s smooth sailing.

My initial impression of this, was that it tasted exactly what I remember beef tasting like. Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve eaten meat (3 years in Feb!) and even longer since I ate ‘real’ beef, so my memory of it might not be the best, but it was definitely close – my non-vegan friend tried it and even said the same thing: it tasted so close to beef we thought they might’ve mixed up the order.

Personally, I don’t see myself getting this very often – that’s not to say it’s bad – it has good texture and is definitely filling – it’s just a little too beefy for my taste. I always find it odd when a plant-based food tastes eerily similar to an animal product. I don’t what it is, or why, but it’s just kinda… weird. Give me a mushroom burger that tastes like mushrooms: hell yeah, I’m game! It’s made of plants, I expect it to taste like it. And, yes, I know that meat usually only tastes that way because of the spices (aka plants) that are put on it, but still.

I don’t know if it’s because I watched Earthlings (which I highly recommend, but it’s graphic) and I’m forever gonna associate meat smells/tastes with those images – so much so that during Thanksgiving when my mom cooks the turkey overnight, or my family cooks beef burgers indoors (or any other really ‘smelly’ meat), it physically makes me nauseous. I rewired my brain, I guess, with the smell/flavours association.

I will say though, that after having it a few times (I was able to try it three times before they sold out), it did start tasting less like beef and more like plants. I think perhaps after the initial shock wore off (like my first time eating seitan) my brain was able to pick up the flavours/spices better and I was able to enjoy it more.

If you’re a vegan who misses the taste of beef, I’d definitely recommend you check this out! If you’re more like me, and try to stay away from the products that taste exactly the same, I’d say you’d probably want to stick with the mushroom burgers. But I definitely think you should try it at least once, just to see what all the hype is about. (Also, it’s the only way to buy the Beyond Meat products in Canada)


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Vegandale Festival Review 2018

Vegandale Sign - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018I’m so excited I get to review this festival again. I’m hoping I’m able to go each year it’s on because I loved it even more then last year.

This year, the festival was both Saturday and Sunday, instead of just one day. A whole weekend of vegan food bliss – what could be better?

Vegandale Scenery Liza Simpson - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went in this year with a game plan: bought my tickets in March, went right when it started at 11am, mapped out the best course based on the vendor map they gave us, and brought containers so I could bring the food home. I wanted to have a fool-proof plan of attack so I could try as many different things as possible. I was able to try 17 things this year, and – when compared to the 9 I tried last year – I’d say I definitely got a lot out of the festival. I was happily surprised when I was overly prepared – I went through four vendors in the span of a few minutes – I had to remind myself I had two entire days to try everything and to slow down and enjoy it. I was also happy that I brought too many containers this year, instead of last year when I wished I’d brought more.

I was also over-the-moon happy that some of my friends wanted to go this year, and one of my best friends said they’d happily come back next year with me! I’m so glad they had fun as well.

Vegandale Humour Sign - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The worst things about this year’s festival was the fact I got a bit sunburned (despite slathering myself in sunscreen every two hours) and the fact the festival grounds felt a lot smaller this year. I’m not sure if it’s because there were less vendors, or because it seemed bigger the first time with all the excitement of it being my first festival, but that was a bit sad to me.

Alright, that’s enough of a prelude, time to get to the food!

(Unlike last year, these are listed in order of what I tried first)

Southern Fried Vegan – Soul Bowl

Southern Fried Vegan Soul Bowl - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Mac n’ cheese, corn and a big ol’ hunk of chick’n on top – what more could you want?

I have to say, I was a little bit hesitant about the corn in the mac n cheese (seriously, is that a thing?) but it turned out to be pretty good. The mac n cheese had a bit of a kick to it, and was creamy and cheesy. It wasn’t super stretchy cheese or anything, but was definitely a good sauce.

The chick’n was good too – it wasn’t chewy or squishy either. I’m not sure if it was seitan or not, but it had a good bite to it – wasn’t too hard, and definitely didn’t over-shadow the rest of the dish.

All in all, I’d definitely get this dish again if it was available. Wasn’t the best thing I had, but it definitely wasn’t bad either.

 

Island Noodles – Soba Noodles

Island Noodles Soba Noodles - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit, I’m a sucker for noodle dishes (one of my fav things ever is lo mein), so there was no way I was passing on these guys. Also, they came all the way up from friggin’ Hawaii.

Soba noodles are made from mostly buckwheat (I asked the vendor) and they closer to egg noodles then rice noodles or spaghetti. They were pretty good.

This dish was basically a vegan lo mien and I a million percent was fine with that. I like trying things that aren’t always weird/new, sometimes an old fav hits the spot the same way exotic foods never could. They also gave me the most giant-est piece of broccoli ever, which just made it even better.

If vegan restaurants here started offering this, or they came to Toronto, I would definitely grab this. If you’re ever in Hawaii, I recommend checking out this dish.

 

Compton Vegan – BBQ Jackfruit Ribz

Compton Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Ribz - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never had jackfruit before, so I knew this was something I definitely had to try, but wasn’t too sure what to expect.

The ‘ribz’ were soft-chewy. Y’know if you eat a soup with meat in it, (like chicken noodle) and the meat is really soft/falls apart as soon as you put it in your mouth? It was that soft, but you had to work to rip the piece off from the rest of it, and chew it for a bit after. It was an odd texture to me. Again though, I’d never had jackfruit so I’m not sure if that’s just the texture it is, or if they maybe overcooked it?

I have to admit, this was probably one of my least favourite things at the festival. That said, I don’t like BBQ sauce (or chips) so my opinion might be a bit biased. But based on the texture alone, I don’t think I’d get this again.

 

Pochiche – Poutine w/ Chicken

Pochiche Poutine - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Fries + gravy + cheese = heaven

As you may or may not know, I have a dairy allergy, so I had my first poutine I believe two years ago now. This is a dish I loved as soon as I tasted it, and in my eyes it’s hard to screw up/make a bad version.

Needless to say, I liked this one. The chicken on top, I can’t remember what the lady at the booth said it was made of, but it had a bit of an off consistency. Not sure if it was because of the extreme heat or what, but it had a bit of an odd mouth feel.

It didn’t exactly add to the dish, but it didn’t really take away either. It was just a bit distracting from the cheesy, gravy-ness of the rest of it.

 

Lightlife – Smart Dog

Lightlife Hot Dog - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This was nothing special, it tasted like a hot-dog. It didn’t have that distinctive ‘this taste like plants’ taste that the Yves ones do (not to throw them under the bus, I love their pepperonis and bologne deli slices!), but I mean, it’s a hot-dog. There’s not really anything exciting about it to say.

I feel bad about that though, the fact I don’t have much to say – I don’t want that to come off as me not liking the product. It’s good for what it is, definitely better tasting then the Yves not-dog I tried.

I’d buy this, and I’d recommend you buy/try them too.

 

Nanashake – Loaded Nana Pop

Nanashake Loaded Pop - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This f*cking thing is probably the fanciest ice-cream I’ve ever had.

It was a chocolate peanut butter ice-cream bar that had coconut whip, caramel drizzle and almond and chocolate biscotti on top. It was awesome. I loved the chocolate and peanut butter, and the caramel swirls running through the middle of it. All that awesome-ness plus the cold-ness was definitely welcomed after walking around in the heat.

They’re in North York and it’s sad yet good that they’re so far away from me because if they were closer I would go there literally all the time. I still plan on going there, just less so then if they were say, five minutes away.

If you live in Toronto or are planning a trip down, I highly recommend you stop by and get this.

 

Ben and Jerry – Almond Chocolate Chunk Ice-cream

Ben and Jerrys Almond Chocolate Chunk Icecream - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, yes, Ben and Jerry’s… while they don’t have too many vegan flavours, the ones they do offer are pretty awesome. This was a pretty simple one – plain vanilla with chocolate chunks mixed in. Not better then their PB and Cookie one, but still good. The chocolate chunks are pretty hard (assuming because they’re frozen) so be careful when biting into them.

I have to hand it to B&J’s, they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to making ice-cream. Especially now that they’ve jumped on the dairy-free band-wagon.

If you haven’t tried their non-dairy flavours yet, what have you even been doing?

 

Fairly Frosted – Chocolate Brownie Ice-cream

Fairly Frosted Chocolate Icecream - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another treat great at cooling you off on a hot summer’s day.

This chocolate brownie ice-cream is just about as great as chocolate ice-cream can get. Again, this is one of those things that’s hard to get wrong.

The worst thing about this was they only gave out two scoops.

 

Globally Local – Crispy Chick’N Burger

Globally Local Crispy Chickn Burger - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

If you read my review of last year’s festival, you’ll know how much I loved their Famous Burger.

While I was excited to get my hands back on their Famous Burger, since I learned how to make Mac Sauce at home, I decided I should try something else on their menu. Lucky for me, they made the choice easy by only having the Famous Burger or this one.

I have to say, a breaded chicken burger with Miracle Whip and lettuce is one of those things you don’t realize you missed until you eat it again. And boy did I miss eating them! I’ve always liked them better then regular beef burgers, and it saddens me that there don’t really seem to be any vegan breaded chick’n burger options out there.

The worst thing about this burger was they put what tasted like Veganaise on it (or their home-made equivalent). I still bought one both days and got them to cut it in half so I could take half home.

When are these guys coming to Toronto???

While all the food at the festival this year was pretty close in terms of me liking it, this was still my favourite of the ‘real food’ things.

 

Mythology Diner – Funnel Cake Bites

Mythology Diner Funnel Cake Bites - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This was by far the most disappointing dish I tried at the festival.

I’ve never had funnel cake before, so I was super hyped to try these, and when I did, well… They tasted like a soggy Tim Bit. When I bit into one, it just squished oil out into my mouth. Not very tasty. Also the strawberry sauce they put on top of them was a bit odd, I think because they were hot? Hot strawberries is taste I don’t like, apparently. I was definitely sad these sucked, probably because before my non-vegan friend had hyped up how great funnel cakes were before going, so I was that much more excited to try them.

I haven’t written funnel cakes off totally though, I’d still be willing to try them if there’s a vegan version somewhere else.

The powdered sugar was good though.

 

While Gold Sweets – Veg Puff

White Gold Sweets Veg Puff - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Pastry was super flaky, I think it might of been layers of phyllo pastry. The vegetables inside had that spice that I can’t name but is similar in taste to samosas or Indian stews.

It also had a bit of a spicy kick to it. It was good, my only criticism would be either more of the vegetable stuffing, or less of the pastry. There were a few bites were all I had was the dry pastry in my mouth.

 

Sorelle – Chocolate Mocha Cupcake

Sorelle Mocha Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and mocha, what more could you want? It was as good as I assumed it’d be – the chocolate cupcake tasted like a chocolate cupcake, it was really soft and didn’t dry out even after I brought it home. The only thing I didn’t like about this was that there were these little silver balls sprinkled on top of the icing. They were very hard to bite through, like a rocket. Not that they were bad, they pretty much just tasted like sugar, but the rest of the cupcake was so soft, I think they took more away from the soft chocolaty cupcake then added, with the exception of making it look prettier. Especially since the cupcake got smushed in my bag, so it wasn’t like I could see where they were, either. I had to be careful when I was eating it.

 

Sorelle –  Chocolate Doughtnut

Sorelle Chocolate Doughnut - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This doughnut, while it didn’t have a hole, it did have a small chocolate cookie held on top by a small (but delicious!) squoosh of vanilla icing. It was soft and moist, and super chocolaty, even one day after I bought it. The vanilla icing was awesome too. Maybe I haven’t had ‘real’ icing in a while, but it reminds me of the vanilla icing that’s used at Sobey’s. It’s hard to describe, but it wasn’t ‘light’ like the Betty Crocker Whipped Vanilla icing (yep, that’s vegan!) is, it was more ‘heavy’ but not in an unsettling way. It was good, that’s all you need to really know.

The cookie on top was hard on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. Everything a good chocolate cookie should be. And, it also wasn’t very ‘dark’ tasting, which was nice, since it wasn’t very bitter.

Sorelle has a location in Toronto, and I highly recommend you check them out. (As I know I will be)

Glory Hole – Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnut

Gloryhole Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnut - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

…. Sensing a theme? I subconsciously tried pretty much everything with chocolate in it I could get my hands on.

This tasted like the Nana Pop – chocolaty, peanut buttery and all full of goodness. It did get a little melty in the sun, but I was more then happy to lick the chocolate off my fingers.

These guys are in Toronto too, so I’ll definitely be stopping by to try some of their other creations. Keep an eye on my Instagram to keep up with my food trying adventures!

 

Kelly’s Bakeshop – Salted Caramel Cupcake

Kellys Bakeshop Salted Caramel Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down my favourite dessert. Which is saying something because all the desserts I tried were pretty bomb. (With the exception of the funnel cake bites) I knew as soon as I saw it this was gonna be my favourite one. I love caramel and chocolate, if you couldn’t tell.

Although the icing got smushed in my bag (I tried to be careful too!), it was the same kind of ‘heavy’ as the Mocha cupcake icing. I’d use the word ‘deep’ to describe it, but that’s not the right word. It was just good, even licking it off the plastic container didn’t dampen the flavour.

I highly, highly recommend you try this cupcake because it’s so delicious.

The display they had of their other treats looked awesome too, like their Chocolate Coconut cupcake. I unfortunately got to their booth on the second day when my money was running low, otherwise I definitely would’ve got another cupcake.

I’m so happy these guys deliver to Toronto because I am definitely ordering these again. (I may even get them for the upcoming holidays)

If you’re able to, you definitely have to try these – they’re amazing. Definitely my new favourite cupcake flavour.

 

Julie’s Joyful Kitchen – Chocolate Cookie

Julia's Joyful Kitchen Chocolate Cookie - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

My all time favourite types of cookies are the soft/melt in your mouth ones, and this cookie was one of them.

I ate this the Monday after the festival, and it was still super soft, you couldn’t even tell it was one day old. Soft and chocolaty is personally a weakness of mine. It was a bit bitter, but other then that, it was a chocolate cookie – pretty hard to not nail.

 

Yves – Spicy Italian Sausage

(I didn’t get a picture of this, because it was the last thing I tried before leaving, and it wasn’t really much of a picture – it was a piece of the dog in a little paper cup with a toothpick in the top.)

It tasted like a hot-dog, with a bit of a kick. It wasn’t anything special, like the Lightlife dog – they’re hard to review because it’s a spicy hot-dog. Not too much can be said.

I will say though, that I didn’t know they had these, or that they were vegan, so I’ll definitely be adding them to my shopping list. I like that I discovered these and the Lightlife dogs, it’ll be nice to switch it up from the Tofurky sausages.

Vegandale Scenery - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I had a lot of fun at the festival, not only trying all the amazing food, but I was also lucky enough to meet Lauren Toyota from HotforFood. She was there signing cookbooks, so of course I had to get one.

HotforFood Cookbook - Lauren Toyota Youtuber - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

HotforFood Cookbook - Lauren Toyota Youtuber - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I also got a free water bottle with the purchase of the cookbook, but for some reason every time I tried inserting the picture of it it kept crashing the web-page.)

She’s my favourite vegan Youtuber, and it was amazing to get to see her in person. She was so kind, and seemed genuinely interested in the small convo we had, instead of other famous people who you can tell don’t really want to be there. I’m so grateful I didn’t miss her like I did last year.

This festival so far has gotten better with age, and I can’t wait for next year’s!


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Ben and Jerry’s PB and Cookies Ice-cream Review

Alright, now that it’s summer, I figured it’s time to start getting into some summer-y products. First up, this amazing ice-cream.

AterImbercom - Ben and Jerry's Icecream PB and Cookie Pint - Vegan - Food Review

This is one of those products I love a lot and it’s hard to tell if I love it just because it’s amazing, or because (of my allergies) I had to go years without it. (Or eating sh*tty versions) This ice-cream though is like heaven in your mouth, I swear. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you even doing with your life?

If you’ve ever seen my Instagram page, you know how much I love this stuff. I buy it more then I probably should. It’s amazing.

It’s got peanut butter, and cookie bits in it. What’s not to love? It’s also versatile. While I often just eat it straight out of the tub with a spoon, it’s also great for banana splits, in a cone, this thing:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Ben and Jerry's PB and Cookies Icecream w/ Fudgee-O's and Icing - Vegan - Food Review

And pretty much anything else you’d need/want ice-cream for.

The only downside to this ice-cream is that it’s so rich you can’t eat the whole tub. (… Well, you can but you won’t feel so hot after) It’s the perfect example of how too much of a good thing can go bad. You’ll love every second of it, until about an hour after you’ve polished off the tub, then, well, you might regret it a little. (But you’ll probably do it again anyway).

There’s not too much else to say about this ice-cream, it’s smooth and crunchy, and hits the spot after a long day in the heat. Or, after any day, really. Also, if you’re still not convinced, just look at it:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Ben and Jerry's PB and Cookies Icecream Close Up - Vegan - Food Review

How could you look at that and think, ‘nah’.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank the Ice Cream Gods that Ben and Jerry’s decided to make some vegan ice-cream. I’m one very happy consumer knowing this product exists.

It’s hands down the best ice-cream I’ve ever had. So, y’know… go try it for yourself.


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Chao Tomato and Cayenne Review

It’s April, and although good weather has yet to happen, I’m gonna go ahead and pretend it’s getting warmer, and closer to BBQ season, and hope Mother Nature will get the hint.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Field Roasts Chao Tomato and Cayenne Cheese Slices - vegan food, product review, BBQ

I have seen this cheese a lot in vegan shops, but I never wanted to give it a chance, I always stayed with the familiar. (Daiya) I finally took a chance and bought it, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s not as… strong as Daiya. You know when you have Daiya in your mouth, and you know you have Daiya in your mouth, because it’s so overpowering? (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Daiya cheese! But when you’re making a dish, like, say, a quesadilla, you want to taste the other foods you put in there, not just the cheese) This cheese doesn’t give you that distinctive taste, it blends better into the background.

While milder in that respect, the cayenne gives it a nice little kick of heat. It’s not overly hot (I can’t handle spicy food very well at all) at all. I have to say though, one ‘con’, would be that I didn’t distinctly taste tomato. It was more of just cheese and spice. I don’t know if I would’ve liked it very much if it had tasted like tomato (I’m more of a fan of them if they’re in something, I don’t like them by themselves), but, if you’re gonna call the flavour tomato and cayenne, I expect a bit of that. Or, maybe it did taste like tomato and I just didn’t notice/realize? This was the first flavoured cheese I’d had, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I actually thought I wasn’t gonna like it at all (the concept of flavoured cheese still seems a bit odd to me), so it fared better then I thought.

If you do decide to try this cheese, (which, I recommend) you should definitely melt it on something. I tried a piece cold so I could get a taste of it alone, straight from the pack (it’s harder to decide whether or not you truly like a product without doing so, I think) and it wasn’t that good, I have to say. I definitely wouldn’t want to eat the slices of it as a snack, like I do with Daiya Monterey-Jack blocks. (Which I also recommend you try, if you haven’t already. I’ve started having to buy them in fours just so I have enough for a week. I can eat a whole one in a day)

After trying it cold, and finding it ‘meh’, I melted it in a quesadilla and it was amazing! Even though it did that classic vegan cheese ‘puddle-melt’ thing, it was still good. It gave the quesadilla a nice flavour, and it faded into the background well, not over-powering the other flavours (like Daiya would have).

Also, I don’t know why, but this cheese reminds me of summer. I don’t know if it’s the colour or the flavour or what, but it just kinda… does. Maybe it’s because I think it’d go good on a Field Roast burger (I haven’t tried them together yet, but I know it’s gonna be good) or, maybe I’m just getting impatient and want BBQ season to start. Either way, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I definitely recommend trying this cheese (melted) if you haven’t tried it already, and, if you get a chance, put it on a burger, or in a quesadilla, etc. I also think it might make a good nacho topping. (Keep your eye on my Instagram so you don’t miss when I try that!)


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Sudsatorium Jumbo Gumbo Shampoo Review

So far, I’ve just done food reviews, so I wasn’t too sure if I should do non-food items as well, but, since being vegan is more then just what you eat, I figured I should probably do some non-food items. Also, I realized that the non-food items might be things that trip more people up. Also, with warm weather around the corner, you’ll want to know some products to help keep your hair looking its best in the sun. (Since it’s no longer covered by a hat)

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Sudsatorium Jumbo Gumbo Shampoo - Vegan Toiletries

This was the first vegan shampoo I’ve ever tried (I only really started switching over the non-food products in my life this past year), so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I mean, aside from not being tested on animals, how different could it be? I read a few articles online that said that vegan shampoo wasn’t supposed to lather, since the lathering didn’t actually clean your hair, then I read another article (and talked to a rep at LUSH) who said that lathering was important – basically, there was a lot of different, conflicting ideas on what exactly a vegan shampoo was supposed to be. My main two concerns before going out to buy a shampoo: if it was vegan/tested on animals, and the smell.

So, I went to one of the few grocers I actually trust: Good Rebel. They’re a fantastic (albeit small) grocer here in Toronto, that’s run by two of the most well-intentioned people I’ve met. I wish I could visit more often then I do. (I live on the other side of the city) I knew 1) that if I went there I’d for sure get a vegan shampoo and 2) if I had a question, I could ask one of the owner’s without feeling uncomfortable.

They had a few different shampoos on display, but I picked this one because it honest-to-God smelled like gummy bears. Seriously, who doesn’t want their hair to smell like gummy bears? I had one sniff and it was a done deal. Sudsatorium has a few different scents, but this was the only one Good Rebel sold by this brand. And man, am I glad they picked this one.

I used it once, and was a bit confused – I knew going in, after reading a few articles that some of the vegan shampoos wouldn’t lather, but the company was called Sudsatorium – so maybe I was using it wrong? Did I need to use more of it to get the lather? Was it actually still cleaning my hair? I reached out to Good Rebel to ask them about it, but while I waited for my answer, I continued using my non-vegan shampoo. (I know, I know, but I wasn’t gonna not wash my hair, and instead of throwing out the rest of the bottle, I might as well finish it) I wasn’t able to tell if it had really cleaned my hair, so I was a bit skeptical to use it until I got an answer.

They answered me in a few days, letting me know this is what the company said: Their shampoos do lather a little, but not nearly as much as conventional shampoos, because they don’t contain sulfates. They also explained that the foam in shampoo doesn’t actually have any impact on cleaning capabilities and that it’s actually a clever marketing tactic.

How’s that for some facts, huh? Straight from the company, I was glad to hear that I wasn’t somehow misusing shampoo, and was glad that the lathering didn’t actually make a difference. (At least in their products)

After getting that confirmation, although still a bit skeptical, I decided to give it another shot. And, I have to say, I’m not sure if it was a placebo effect, or if my hair was just dirtier the first time I tried it, but this time around, it did seem to clean my hair just as well as the other shampoo.

Also, the bottle lasted a while. I bought the bottle in September and it lasted until around the end of February. (I actually still have the smallest bit left in the bottle.) Which is amazing, especially because the bottle wasn’t that big, it was only 250ml. Another bonus, the product was only about ten bucks at Good Rebel. What other shampoo lasts 5 months for ten dollars?* Exactly.

The only real issue I had with this product was that it took some getting used to not having my hair lather. Once you get over that though, it’s smooth sailing.

I definitely recommend this product if you haven’t tried it yet. If you’re still unsure, it’s not that expensive, do yourself a favour and just go try it. The smell alone should be enough of a hook.

*I’m saying this as someone who washes their hair every other day. I do have pretty long/thick hair, though.


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Dandies All Natural Marshmallows Review

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Dandies All Natural Marshmallows - vegan, vegan food

These are on the harder side, in terms of mellow texture. They’re not like, rocks or anything, it’s just enough that if you eat regular mellows and then switch, you’ll definitely notice the difference. If you’ve ever had gummies from Squish, they’re like that – hard gummy consistency. But, if you throw them in a mug of hot chocolate, (perhaps, my favourite hot chocolate?) they’re just as squishy and gooey as you’d expect.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t made s’mores or baked with them, so I’m not sure on how they hold up in an oven, but the way they melt in a hot chocolate, I’d guess you wouldn’t have a problem with them.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Review - Castle Kitchen Hot Chocolate

Also, have you seen the minis? So cute! And the mascot? He looks like a Qbee!

Seriously, what’s not to love? The only two problems I’d say I have with this product is 1. They make a pumpkin flavoured one (gross!) and 2. Finding somewhere close to my house that sells them. They’re amazing, but if I had to go half-way across the city in -40 weather just to get some mellows? Sorry, Dandies, I’m not that addicted. (Now, if we were talking about Daiya blocks…)

Once you get used to the slight texture change (seriously, by your third one, you won’t even notice/remember), you’ll be glad you tried them. While I wouldn’t go so far to say they should be a Staple, they are definitely nice to have in the winter with some hot chocolate. One of those little pleasures that make winter less blah, y’know?

If you’re gonna use mellows for something, I definitely recommend getting these ones.

They’re little vanilla (slightly hard) pillows of heaven, in my book.

So, Dandies mellows: have you tried them? Do you like them? Do you have a different favourite brand of mellows? Let me know in the comments below!


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Castle Kitchen Classic Caramel Dark Hot Chocolate Review

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Castle Kitchen Classic Caramel Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate – it’s a prime winter staple. Who doesn’t have fond memories of spooning too much powdered chocolate into a cup with not enough water? Sure, it wasn’t the most perfect drink you ever concocted, but hey – at least your parents’ let you make it yourself, right? That alone made it taste ten times better, ‘Look what I made! Look what I made!’

You’ve probably gotten better at it over the years, but maybe you’ve found that the same mixes you had as a kid really aren’t all that exciting. These days with people catching Pokemon ‘IRL’ and talking to robots, well… powdered chocolate doesn’t quite cut it like it used to.

Luckily for us hot chocolate has come a long way since then, and one of the greatest improvements that’s been made? Adding shit to the powder. Plain old hot chocolate is good, but caramel hot chocolate? That’s great.

I don’t know what it is, but since going vegan, I’ve discovered countless cool products that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to (or have ever tasted) before. One such thing, would be one of the first times I went to Starbucks and got a Caramel Soy Latte. That was beyond good. (I’ll be doing another post about cool Starbucks Canada offerings [yes they can be different than the US] later)

Turns out, I really like caramel flavoured stuff – who knew? So last year as the weather began getting colder, and I was just discovering the wonderful world of faux foods that wouldn’t kill me (or that I never tried because growing up I wasn’t allowed) I knew that I just had to try the Castle Kitchen Caramel Hot Chocolate. And boy was I sure glad I did! It’s so… indescribably amazing!

Maybe it seemed better than it is because I had spent years before that just using cocoa powder (the baking kind) and hot water, or maybe it was the excitement of trying a new product – rationalize my excitement however you need to, but I’m telling you this? You won’t go wrong if you buy a can of this stuff.

It comes in a pretty big can too, and only needing one spoonful for each cup, it lasts a while. I didn’t drink it everyday (I wanted to preserve it so I could have it as long as I could) but even if I did, I’m sure it’d still last a while. I bought it in early December (it’s somewhere on my Instagram), and I still had it at New Years. Even just peeling the foil back and smelling it… I’ll admit, I was salivating a bit. If they had a perfume out there that smells like that (or a body wash!) I would definitely be first in line to buy it. (The closest one I could think of would be the I Love… Cosmetics Yummy Caramel, but I’ve yet to get my hands on it). But, that’s a whole other post.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Review -  Castle Kitchen Hot Chocolate

This stuff is definitely, hands-down my favourite hot chocolate I’ve ever had. And, with the addition of mini Dandies on top? It’s like a cup right out of a winter fairy tale. Now, the can says to add 3Tbsp. to 6oz. of water, but let me tell you – I use 1 Tbsp and just fill up a regular-sized mug and it tastes great. Not watery at all, and, there is even some leftover powder at the bottom of the cup. So the fact it wants you to add 3 Tbsps? Crazy. The only thing you’ll achieve by doing that is running out of this delicious stuff sooner than you want. Trust me, you can get buy with great-tasting hot chocolate on 1 Tbsp.

This powder man… what more can I say to convince you? It’s chocolate with caramel – what more of an explanation do you need?

Don’t just take my word for it though – go out and get yourself a can so you can be your own judge. I’ve already got mine. With this by my side, I’m definitely ready to take on the cold. Also, it’s an amazing drink to come back to after all the shopping, cooking and parties. It’s the perfect cup to unwind while you tear off your party clothes in favour of pj’s and curl up on the couch to Netflix the night away.