Tag Archives: the veg life

Surprising Vegan: Frozen Treats

This article was written 20.05.06, so please excuse any reference/comment made about the corona virus lock down that is no longer relevant.


Just because we’re still stuck inside, doesn’t mean you can’t buy yourself some treats. And what to treat yourself with during these hot summer days than something refreshing and on a stick?

That’s right, I’m talking about surprising vegan treats.

Now, I know over the last few years there’s been a whole whack of vegan ice creams coming out from various companies, but, sometimes you don’t want ice cream, or you may not be able to find them where you are. Then what are you supposed to do? Sit in the corner and cry?

No!

You can head on over to your local store website (since y’know, we can’t exactly peruse in person), and check them out to see if they have any of the (much easier to find) products below.

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Starting in the top left-corner, going clockwise:

  • Chapman’s Lolly Fruity
  • Chapman’s Banana Lolly*
  • Chapman’s Orange, Grape, Cherry and Fruit Punch Lolly
  • Chapman’s Soda Pop Lolly*
  • Chapman’s Triple Treat Lolly
  • Chapman’s Fruit Juice Twist Twister
  • Chapman’s Fruit Twist Twisters*
  • Chapman’s Stacked and Twisted Twister*
  • Chapman’s Mango Sorbet*
  • Chapman’s Rainbow Sorbet*
  • Kisko’s Mr. Freeze Jumbo Freezies
  • Kikso’s Welch’s Lemonade Freezies
  • Kikso’s Electro-Ice Sport Freezies
  • Kikso’s Tropics Freezies
  • Chapman’s Tropical Wave Sorbet
  • Chapman’s Triple Berry Sorbet
  • Popsicle Orange, Cherry, Grape Pops
  • Popsicle Tropical Paradise Pops*
  • Popsicle Firecracker Pops*
  • Popsicle Cyclone*
  • Maynard’s Fuzzy Peach Ice Pops*
  • Kikso’s Kids Sour Freezies*

There are also a few other treats that are vegan that I wasn’t able to find good pictures of. So, the other products I found that aren’t included in the above picture are:

  • Kisko’s Crush Giant Freezies
  • Kisko’s Welch’s Premium Juice Bars
  • Popsicle Jelly Belly

*As I said in my Surprising Vegan Candy (and a few other) posts in this series, the above items that are starred (*) are made with those food dyes that aren’t vegan.

I e-mailed Chapman’s and Popsicle to ask them about their products (Kisko actually says which select products use the food dyes on their website!), and the following is what I received as feedback:


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Chapman’s

Their website says ‘Whenever possible natural flavours and colours are used in production, and will be identified on the package label.’ (This statement was found here) So I e-mailed to ask if that meant all the other products that don’t list ‘natural colour’ use the food dyes, and they replied simply ‘that is correct‘.

Popsicle

So, I don’t want to knock any brands, but since I’ve started doing this series and have had to e-mail out multiple companies, I’ve noticed that the ones I e-mail that just so happen to be owned by Unilever either never answer me, or never give me a real answer.

I sent both companies the exact same e-mail, listing the specific products I was asking about, the food dyes I was wondering about and started both of them off with ‘I checked the FAQ and ingredients listed on the website, and I still had some questions.’

Anyway, this was Popsicle’s official answer: Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us at Popsicle.

All of the ingredients for out products are available on our website popsicle.ca. Just select the product you are interested in and click on the nutritional values, and you will scroll down and there is where you will find the ingredients. We hope this helps.

I did e-mail them back and restated I already checked the website and wasn’t able to find the answer to my question, but I have yet to receive an answer. (If I receive a real answer, I’ll update this article)

So there you go! Who says ice cream is the only frozen treat you can enjoy in the summer?


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Chao Creamy Original Cheese Slices Review

*This post was written 20.04.15, when the corona virus lock-down was in full swing. Please excuse any references/jokes that are no longer applicable.*

We’re officially into summer now, but who says quarantine means you can’t have a barbeque? You can have your very own self-isolated BBQ party, and one of the best things? You wont’ have to worry about your vegan patty sharing the grill! (Also, anytime you randomly smell BBQ on the breeze is a good time. Sooo, if not for yourself, do it for your neighbours!)

One of the best things about a BBQ-ed burger? The cheese. But just because you’re vegan (or veg-curious), doesn’t mean you need to eat a naked burger! There are tons of vegan cheese options available, and today I’m gonna be reviewing one of the best candidates for a burger topper: Chao Creamy Original.

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Now, to be fair, I haven’t actually tested this cheese on a burger, but I did try their Tomato Cayenne cheese on one, and that was pretty good, so I imagine this one would lend itself well, too.

I personally tried this cheese on a homemade naan pizza (posted on my Instagram), and cold out of the fridge. Because if it doesn’t pass the Alone Test, is it really worth it?

I’m happy to report this cheese definitely passed! My brother even tried it, and said ‘if I didn’t know this was vegan cheese, I wouldn’t be able to tell’. (He mixed it into a scrambled egg sandwich, though)

It has a very soft consistency, even to the touch. I felt I had to be gentle with it. This cheese is made out of tofu, but doesn’t have that typical ‘tofu’ taste. Straight out of the fridge, it actually doesn’t really have much of any taste, kind of like tap water. You know it has a taste, but it’s not very distinctive. Which is great, because that means it’ll blend in to whatever you make with it, instead of it overpowering the dish. Especially on a burger, the cheese should be in the supportive role to the patty, not the other way around.

This cheese also melts pretty well.

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It doesn’t stretch like cow cheese does, but it doesn’t puddle melt either, like some other vegan cheeses. The flavour also gets more intense when it’s cooked, so if you want to really taste it, I’d definitely recommend cooking/melting it.

When it’s been melted, and then cooled off, it has a slight rubbery consistency, and the whole piece of cooled-melted cheese will slide right off whatever it’s on, so it’s definitely best to eat it when it’s still warm, but not burn-your-mouth hot.

A down side to this cheese is the price. It comes in a pack of 10 slices, which is good, but it being $9+ (both at Vegan Supply and Good Rebel), it makes it one of the more expensive cheeses. Comparatively, a 10 pack of Earth Island ( that’s Follow Your Heart, to you Americans) slices is $7.95 (at Good Rebel), or even $6.99 at Loblaws! (I checked their online store, and didn’t see a result for Chao)

I know I basically complain about this every time, but it still pisses me off! We’re supposed to be wanting more people to go vegan, right? So why are the vegan substitutes so much more expensive? I understand that perhaps they’re not as big as others, and vegans shouldn’t rely on the pre-made packaged stuff as much, but damn! How can we expect people to even begin to give it a chance with such steep prices?

A pack of 22 Kraft cheese slices is $4.49 (at Loblaws), and that’s for double the amount! And yes, I realize they probably (definitely) aren’t on the same quality line, but just… you see what I mean, right?

This cheese is pretty awesome, but many people won’t know or give it a chance because of the price, and I think that sucks! Give it the due it deserves!

I’d recommend going out and trying this cheese, if you can find it. It’s pretty good, and especially if you don’t like the overwhelming taste of Daiya, or the potato-y taste of Earth Island, you’ll definitely like this one.

And, being in self isolation is probably the best time to try new foods, just in case they don’t agree with you.


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Store Crawl #2: Metro (Online Edition)

Welcome to second store crawl in my new series.

I want to start this off by saying that at the time of writing this post (20.04.07), the COVID-19 shut down of practically everything is still in full swing, so this store crawl is going to be a bit different.

Since I wasn’t actually able to go through and crawl the physical store, this will be a crawl of Metros’ online store. This means that not only may there be vegan items not listed, but that due to the virus and panic buying, they may not list items that are sold out, either.

I actually debated about scraping this post and doing a different one altogether, and to maybe back burner this series until things get back to normal, but then I figured in the midst of what’s happening, it may be more important now than before to keep the series going, as you may not be able to get groceries delivered from your favourite store, and knowing what other stores are offering without doing the research yourself (which takes hours, btw) would probably be helpful.

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Also, I want to note: Since this is an online version, instead of listing the foods by section, I’m going to be listing them by brand.

I’m also not going to list the fruit, veg, grains or most snacks that are vegan friendly because seriously, how long do you want this post to be?

Earth Balance

  • Soy Free Traditional Spread
  • Original Traditional Spread
  • Creamy Peanut Butter & Flaxseed
  • Creamy Coconut & Peanut Spread

 

Yves

Lunch Meat:

  • Salami
  • Turkey
  • Bologna
  • Ham
  • Pepperoni (I know it’s not technically a deli meat, but the official Yves website lists it here)

Not-Dogs:

  • Jumbo Veggie Dogs
  • Meatless Veggie Dogs
  • Yves Mediterranean Harissa Sausages
  • Spicy Italian Veggie Sausages

Ground Round:

  • Original Ground Round
  • Italian Ground Round
  • Mexican Ground Round

Other:

  • Veggie Burgers
  • Souvlaki Veggie Skewers
  • Veggie Chick’N Tenders
  • Veggie Breakfast Links
  • Veggie Breakfast Patties
  • Broccoli Bites
  • Falafel Balls

 

Lightlife

  • Original Veggie Bacon
  • Veggie Chicken Tenders
  • Smoked Veggie Hot Dog Sausages
  • GF Vegan Burger
  • Beyond Meat Beyond Burger (don’t know why, but online they were listed together)

 

Tofurky

  • Italian Sausages
  • Polish Style Meatless Kielbasa Sausages
  • Marinated Roast Ham
  • Holiday Roast and Gravy

 

Daiya

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Cheese/Sauce:

  • Plain Cream Cheese
  • Chive and Onion Cream Cheese
  • Mozzarella Slices
  • Cheddar Slices
  • Smoked Gouda Block
  • Cheddar Block
  • Mozza Style Cutting Board Shreds
  • Cheddar Style Cutting Board Shreds
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Cheddar Sticks
  • Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac
  • Deluxe Alfredo Style Cheezy Mac
  • Deluxe Veggie White Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac
  • Deluxe Cheddar Style Sauce
  • Deluxe Alfredo Style Sauce
  • Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
  • Homestyle Ranch Salad Dressing
  • Blue Cheeze Salad Dressing

Frozen:

  • GF Supreme Pizza
  • GF Margherita Pizza
  • Cheeze Lovers’ Pizza
  • GF Classic Pepperoni Pizza
  • GF Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza
  • Crunchy Chocolate Fudge Ice Bar
  • New York Cheezecake
  • GF Chocolate Cheezecake
  • Key Lime Cheezecake

 

Amy’s Kitchen

Frozen:

  • California Veggie Burger
  • Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza
  • Thai Red Curry
  • Pad Thai
  • Organic Veggie Loaf While Meal (listed as Veggie Loaf and Vegetable Meal)
  • Black Bean Enchiliada Whole Meal (Enchiliada with Spanish Rice and Beans)
  • Quinoa & Black Beans with Butternut Squash & Chard
  • Dairy Free Bean & Rice Burrito
  • Black Bean Vegtable Burrito

Cans:

  • Organic Split Pea Soup
  • Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup
  • Organic Vegetable Barley Soup
  • No Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Organic Medium Chili with Vegetables
  • Organic Spicy Chili

 

Silk  (All Silk products are vegan!)

Soy:

  • Organic Unsweetened Soy Beverage
  • Organic Original Soy Beverage
  • Chocolate Flavoured Soy Beverage
  • Soy Beverage For Coffee

Almond:

  • Original Almond Fortified Beverage
  • Unsweetened Almond Fortified Beverage
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Beverage
  • Vanilla Flavoured Almond Beverage
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Fortified Beverage
  • Berries and Acai Flavoured Dairy Free Almond Yogurt
  • Peach Flavoured Dairy Free Almond Yogurt
  • Vanilla Flavoured Dairy Free Almond Yogurt
  • Strawberry Flavoured Dairy Free Almond Yogurt
  • Hazelnut Flavoured Almond Beverage For Coffee
  • Dairy Free Almond Coffee Whitener

Coconut:

  • Original Coconut Beverage
  • Unsweetened Original Coconut Beverage
  • Almond and Coconut Blend Beverage
  • Vanilla Flavoured Unsweetened Coconut Beverage
  • Original Coconut For Coffee
  • Vanilla Flavoured Coconut For Coffee
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Dairy Free Cultured Coconut Yogurt Alternative
  • Unsweetened Plain Dairy Free Cultured Coconut Yogurt Alternative
  • Berries and Acai Cultured Almond Milk Yogurt

Cashew:

  • Original Creamy Cashew
  • Unsweetened Creamy Cashew Beverage
  • Vanilla Flavoured Creamy Cashew Beverage

 

Gusta:

  • Vegan Montrealaise Wheat Sausages
  • Vegan Espanola Wheat Sausages
  • Vegan Italiana Wheat Sausages
  • Pizzaroni Vegan Seitan Stick

 

Gardein

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Chicken:

  • 7 Grain Crispy Tenders
  • Crispy Chick’n Patties
  • Chick’n Sliders Mini Burgers
  • Chick’n Fajita Bowl
  • Teriyaki Chick’n Bowl

Beef:

  • Sweet and Tangy BBQ Wings
  • Beefless Ground
  • Beefless Tips

Patties:

  • Chipotle Flavoured Black Bean Patties
  • Spicy Breakfast Meat Free Saus’age Patties
  • Breakfast Meat Free Saus’age Patties

 

Sweets from the Earth

  • GF Flourless Cashew Flavoured Cookies
  • Nut Free Cupcakes
  • Blueberry Cheesecake
  • Chocolate Fudge Cake
  • GF Vegan Chocolate Cake
  • GF Vegan Espresso Cheesecake

 

Ben & Jerry’s

  • Non-Dairy Peanut Butter Half Baked
  • Non-Dairy Cherry Garcia
  • Non-Dairy Chocolate Fudge Brownie
  • Non-Dairy P.B. and Cookies
  • Non-Dairy Coffee Caramel Fudge

 

Okay, I know that seems like a lot, but considering they’re a pretty big grocery store, this actually isn’t that much. It just looks like it all listed out.

Anyways, I hope you found this helpful, should you need to do some digging around your non usual digs for vegan food, at least this way you know you’ll be able to find some pre-made stuff.

Which I know isn’t everyone’s favourite, and I’m actually trying to move away from it, myself, but it’s better than starving.


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Tofurky Italian Sausage Review

Alright, now that the terrible weather is finally gone, chances are you’ll probably find yourself at a BBQ/summer cook-out of some sort over the next few months. You’ll most likely need to either bring a faux meat with you, or tell the host which brand you’d like. I recommend telling them not to worry, and that you’re fine to bring my own, but if they’re insistent, well Tofurky is one of the easier faux meat products to find/remember the name of.

You could always make your own, but if you don’t have time for that/don’t want to turn the stove/oven on in the hot temps, well, I don’t blame you. Sometimes it’s just faster/easier to grab something from a store. That’s why having some faux options are great.

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These Italian Sausages are great. They come 4 to a pack, (which, for 5.99 [Metro] isn’t bad at all) and are a pretty good ‘average’ length. I’ve seen a few other brands where their sausages are stubbier/not as long as ‘normal’ ones, which, I don’t understand – I mean, is it really that much extra work to make them a regular size?

But anyway, they have a nice smoky, taste, especially if cooked on a BBQ, and even if you leave them a bit longer than normal in a frying pan.

They have a good bite to them, too – they don’t quite ‘explode’ like non-vegan sausages that are in a casing, but they aaalmost do. I can’t say how close to ‘real’ meat they are, since I don’t really remember, but they’re definitely good.

I think that’s a good way to go into a lot of the premade vegan foods – if you don’t think ‘this will be a perfect replica’ and think of it more as it’s own thing, I think more people would like them. The taste isn’t really comparable, but they’re definitely good. They have that kind of generic spiced tofu taste you come to be familiar with if you eat a lot of the premade foods. And they have what I believe is tomato pieces (or possibly bell pepper) pieces in them. You can see them when you bite into them. They have flecks of what I assume are basil (since, they’re ‘Italian’ flavour) in them, too, though I can’t really pick it out as a flavour.

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(The original packaging!)

They’re not too firm when they are raw – akin to a moist cake consistency – which makes cutting them sometimes a pain, as they may just squish down instead of being cut into pieces.

The sausages are also covered in a slime-y (ish) liquid. I’m not entirely sure what it is, it’s about the same consistency as oil, but it’s a red/orange-y colour. I don’t know if that has any of the flavour in it, but beware if you use them on a charcuterie board or as hors d’oeuvres. Also, if you wanted to just cut them directly on the counter, just be sure to wipe up after so it doesn’t stain.

I haven’t tried their other flavours of sausages yet, but even still, these are my favourites. They just taste very familiar… though that may be because I’m Italian.

If you haven’t tried these yet, what are you waiting for?


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Subways’ Beyond Meatball Marinara Sandwich Review

I got to try this sandwich back in February (it was actually during my birthday week) and I’m glad to say I loved it!

I had to do some other shopping before I was able to sit down and eat it, so the sandwich was a bit smushed when I finally got home and was ready to dig in. (This is also why I’m using the official picture)

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First thing I want to say, was while I was ordering, I wasn’t too excited to try it. The Subway I went to was pretty small and busy (I inadvertently went there around the lunch rush) so I felt very rushed.

Unlike when I tried the Beyond Burger at A&W, it was slower and I was able to ask some questions before completing the order. I had asked an employee specifically about their marinara, and while he didn’t seem sure, I was able to check the website when I got home, and am happy to report the marinara is vegan!

I told them to hold the cheese (obviously), and then for veggies, I got: lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, green peppers and tomatoes. I had some Daiya Smoked Gouda at home that I added as well.

The sandwich itself was pretty substantial. I got a footlong, and I’m happy to report they gave me 9 meatballs. (5 on one half, and 4 on the other) I’m not sure how many were ‘supposed’ to be placed in there, but the worker didn’t count them out either. He just took a scoop of the meatballs (covered in marinara sauce) and rolled them out onto the bread.

Honestly, when he did that, it looked kind of gross. Just splatted on the bread… But I’m glad my first impression was wrong because it was actually pretty good!

Aside from the mess, the taste was good. The Beyond Meatballs tasted similar to the A&W Beyond Meat Burger, (which didn’t surprise me because it’s the same company) and they weren’t too big or too small either. They’re about the size of a loonie, which I think is a good meatball size. I believe they’re the same size as the Gardein Meatballs, too. I’m glad they weren’t too small, like almost every other pre-packaged vegan food is. They had what I’m going to call the ‘typical’ Beyond Meat taste.

A friend tried one of the meatballs and they said ‘you could fool a meat-eater with that. Seriously.’ I personally can tell it’s not real meat, but maybe that’s because I don’t eat it anymore? My palate is now fine-tuned to veggies!

The marinara sauce was a little on the herb-y side, and it kind of reminded me of the Roads’ End Savoury Herb gravy. Y’know how some herb-y heavy sauces have that ‘light’ taste? It was like that. They also put way too much sauce on my sandwich, it leaked out all over the plate. But that’s the risk you take when getting a meatball marinara, I guess.

I’d definitely recommend adding your own vegan cheese to it, as the Daiya cheeses’ smoke-y flavour lent itself well to the over-all taste. I’d definitely get this again, but I wouldn’t put cucumbers on it. It’s not that it was bad, but it was definitely one of my least favourite parts.

The sandwich itself was $11-something, and the combo with drinks and chips I got it for $16. That’s actually a pretty good price for a vegan sandwich. Especially because of how filling it is – not in that I’m-so-full-I-can’t-move-and-feel-gross way, but in a highly satisfied way. It’s pretty bang for your buck, if you ask me.

If you want something non-saucy, the website and posters do say there is a non-marinara meatball version, though I didn’t see it out in the trays. (Though this might have been more because I was rushed and am too short to see over the counter)

So the Beyond Meatball Marinara, have you tried it? What’d you think? Let me know in the comments below!


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Vegan Milk Alternatives

… You’re still drinking cows’ milk?

In 2020?!

Why???

There are literally tons of non-cruel alternatives to cows’ milk. Why are you still funding such a cruel and unnecessary industry?

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I made this collage out of alternatives I thought up in about 5 seconds.

Off the top of my head, I came up with:

  • Soy
  • Almond
  • Coconut
  • Pea
  • Oat

There’s obviously way more than just 5 alternatives – since you can make milk out of just about anything – but 5 alternatives for a 5 second brain storm is pretty good.

Some other popular alternatives are:

  • Rice
  • Cashew
  • Hemp
  • Hazelnut (Walnut, Pistachio, Macadamia, and just about any other nut you can think of)
  • Sunflower

So, now you know what’s wrong with dairy, and have at least 10 alternatives to choose from, what are you gonna do with this knowledge? You can no longer claim ignorance, since I’ve just given you all the info you need to make a change.

Wanna know what else I’ve given you?

Zero excuses.


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Que Pasa Nacho Chips Review

I first discovered these chips in April last year, thanks to Eamon and Bec and HotforFoods’ Youtube channels. (I recommend checking out these guys, btw, they’re both awesome!) They each had videos that were only a few days apart featuring this snack, so I took it as a sign that I should try them.

And boy, am I glad that I did. They are awesome!

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They’re like vegan nacho Doritos. Or at least, they’re what I imagine nacho Doritos taste like, as I’ve never had them myself. The only kinds of Doritos I’ve had are the Sweet Chili Heat and Ketchup ones. Those two are great flavours as well, but I’m always down for discovering a new vegan snack.

They’re smaller in size to Doritos, though they’re still the classic tortilla chip shape. They’re pretty cheese-y as well, and not in a nooch-y way. I’m not sure what they use for the vegan nacho flavour, but it’s really good. It actually tastes a bit similar to the Skinny Pop White Cheddar popcorn. (Which I also recommend)

Now, these chips do have a bit of a kick to them, so if you’re sensitive to spicy food, or can’t handle spicy food, I recommend not eating the whole bag at once. (Trust me, it does not make for a happy stomach) The fact that they’re spicy is one of the only bad things about them. If they were not spicy cheese-y chips I’d definitely get them more often.

Another bad thing about them? I can barely find them anywhere!

I was able to find them at No Frills when I posted the pic to Instagram, but since then? I haven’t been able to find them.

Seriously, I don’t know if they’re getting discontinued, or if other vegans are just beating me to the punch, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on them since.

The size of the bag is another thing I don’t really like. They are similar in size to Vegan Rob’s Cheddar Puffs. That kind of bigger-than-single-size-but-not-big-enough-for-family-size bag that I hate. Either make them small enough for one person, or as big as regular chip bags! (Preferably the latter)

It sucks that they’re so hard to find though, because they’re one of the best vegan snacks I’ve tried.

…. Maybe they’re just hating on Canadians?

I don’t know, but one thing is for sure: You find them in a store? You buy 3 bags.

Do you know of a store that has a secret stash of these chips? Let me know in the comments below!


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Vegan Fast Food: PizzaPizza Edition

Here’s the next installment of the Vegan Fast Food series.

I know, I know, another vegan series? Well yes, because apparently there is still surprisingly little information out there that’s quick access to help vegans, so I’ve taken it upon myself to put in the work for future generations. (You’re welcome)

I honestly don’t know why, but I’ve heard a lot of people bag on PizzaPizza. Personally, they’re my favourite pizza place! They actually allow you to have thick crust, have quality ingredients, their squishy fries are amazing and have some of the best vegan options! (For a non-vegan place)

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Starting in the top left corner, going across:

  • Classic Crust
  • Whole Grain Crust
  • Cauliflower Crust
  • Home-style Tomato Sauce (This is the same as the Italian Marinara dipping sauce)
  • Dairy-Free Cheeze (Violife)
  • Artichokes
  • Cilantro
  • Caramelized Onion
  • Hot Banana Peppers
  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Sundried Tomato
  • Fire Roasted Red Peppers
  • Pineapple
  • Red Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Black Olives
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Green Pepper
  • Green Olives
  • Broccoli
  • Plant Based Pepperoni
  • Plant Based Chorizo
  • Hot Sauce
  • Sweet Chili
  • Bruschetta
  • Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
  • Balsamic Vinegrette
  • Potato Wedges
  • Regular Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Sweet Potato Fries

Lays Classic, Ruffle’s All Dressed and most of their drinks are some other vegan offerings that aren’t listed in the picture.

The Veggie Quesadilla unfortunately won’t let you switch to dairy-free cheeze, but both the Calzones and Panzerottis can be customized to be vegan. The Italiano Blend, Sweet Garlic and Pepper and Chili Flakes are also vegan, if you wish to add those to your pizzas as well. (They’re listed under ‘free toppings’)

The Garden Salad is also vegan, but beware the croutons: they have whey in them.

The Honey Garlic dipping sauce is also fine, if you’re a vegan who eats honey, but the Honey Mustard dip contains eggs.

And, as always: These ingredients are for Canada only. I recommend you look up the ingredients for your own country.


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Daiya Monterey Jack Style Block Review

Since I did a chocolate review last year, I thought cheese would be a perfect pairing for this years’ Valentine’s Day.

Because let’s face it: everyone wants to try fondue at least once in their life, because it just seems pretty darn romantic! And what better day than to show off your romantic side than Valentine’s? (Daiya even has a dairy-free fondue recipe on their website!)

I want to start by saying this is my absolute favourite cheese, vegan or otherwise.

I honestly don’t know why Daiya gets such a bad wrap in the vegan community, yes it can be a little…. stronger than other cheeses, but that doesn’t make it bad!

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This was the first vegan cheese I ever tried, and – after years of eating nothing but goat cheese – this was a very welcome break from that game-y taste. (If you’ve ever had goat cheese, you know what I’m talking about)

I also like the texture of the block – they’re perfect for cutting up into slices and eating cold! You could of course still shred them up and use them on pasta, hot sandwiches, or whatever else you put melted cheese on. My favourite way to eat any of the blocks though is by itself in cold sliced form. (Sometimes with crackers)

Speaking of the texture, I have noticed it’s changed. It’s almost the same, but I’ve noticed the last few times I’ve bought them, when I went to cut slices off the block, they’ve been sticking more to the knife, and seem more almost-melty. Like they used to get if you carried them home from the store in the summer and they got a bit melted but were still firm. I’m not sure if they changed the recipe, or if there was just a less stable batch or something that went out, but I have to say, I don’t like the new texture as much. I don’t want to have to peel off pieces of broken slices from my knife.

Now, I don’t know what ‘real’ Monterey Jack cheese tastes like, but this one has a pretty mild taste. I used to think Mozzarella was the ‘plainest’ cheese taste, but this beats it by a landslide. Mozzarella has a bit of a like, twang-y taste to it (yes I know ‘twang isn’t a flavour), that I don’t like too much. This one is the plainest of cheeses I’ve tasted – it’s a pretty neutral taste, which is why I think it’s the perfect flavour.

I don’t know all those typical cheese descriptions – nutty, earthy, etc. I don’t know what any of those mean, so the best description I can give it would be it’s like the water of cheese flavours: you can pair it with anything and it won’t be weird. (Unless you pair it with like, mints or something)

One thing I can say I definitely don’t like about this, and all the other blocks: They’re $5.99 each! With how small the blocks are, (I can usually finish a whole block in one day and a half [or less]) you’d think they wouldn’t be so expensive.

At one point, I was buying them in 4’s just so I’d have enough for 1 week – that’s $20 on cheese alone! Who has that kind of money?

I complain about this in a lot of my reviews of vegan products, but I’m gonna continue to complain until something changes. Either lower the price (even 4.99 would be better), or make the products bigger. How can we expect more people to go vegan when the ‘transition’ products are so anti-family sized and expensive? (Like the Beyond Burgers – 2 in a giant plastic container that could easily fit 4-6 for $20 – and that’s the raw ones!)

And I know, I know, I don’t know how much it takes to produce the blocks, and that may be as low of a price as they can make them for the company to make a profit, but guess what? If you drop the price, more people will buy them, because they’ll be actually affordable and it will (most likely) even out. I know I’d definitely buy way more of them if the price was lower (or they were bigger). Especially because you can put them in the freezer! You could go on a stock up trip and throw them in the freezer to keep on hand.

If you do put the blocks in the freezer though, I recommend you only use them to be melted or in a hot dish. Once they go in the freezer, the texture gets ‘snowy’ and they don’t work as well as cold slices for a snack. Once heated, they retain the flavour and melt-y/stretchy texture.

That’s pretty much all I think I can say about this block. It’s my favourite, even though it’s a bit on the expensive side and small. (But all the blocks are the same size/price)

If you haven’t tried it yet, I definitely recommend it, and I recommend trying it cold first before you throw it into a dish. Just so you get an untainted flavour of the cheese. If you don’t know what it tastes like by itself, how will you know what to put it in?


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4th Year Veganversary

I don’t want to start each of these with ‘isn’t it crazy’ but…

It is crazy! Being 4 years vegan feels awesome to say!

And as cliché as it is, it really feels like I’ve been vegan forever. For almost two decades of my life, I was contributing to such atrocities and I didn’t realize what I was doing. How someone could see the proof of what’s happening and remain uncaring is such a foreign concept to me, my brain seriously doesn’t compute it. Why would anyone willingly choose to be cruel?

I’ll admit, I was taught in school that beef comes from cows, pork from pigs, etc., but for some reason, as a child, it didn’t click to me that those meats were the flesh from the animals. It’s not exactly like they tell a bunch of kids that in health class. It’s not an excuse by any means – the info was always there to be learned, and I am ashamed it took me so long to begin to look into things – but as soon as I started to research I was so sickened by what was happening, I vowed to stop contributing to that right then and there.

While on the subject of the horrors that happen, if you haven’t checked out Earthlings yet, I highly recommend it. It’s pretty graphic, but if you can’t stomach what’s happening to the animals, maybe you shouldn’t be paying other people to do that on your behalf.

I also think it’s kind of funny that the year I went vegan was the same year I put out my first three novellas. I’m not saying it’s at all related, but well… three in 1 year is a lot.

Last year, I focused more on the food aspect of being vegan, so this year I think I’m gonna focus on all the good you can do for the planet.

 

Exhibit A:

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Look at those stats! I’ve saved 1.6 million gallons of water, 43,800 square footage of forest, reduced my CO2 emissions and saved 1,460 animals lives – all by just changing my diet!

Now, veganism is much more than just a diet, but even just by changing what you eat, look at all the good you can do!

To put these into perspective for you:

The average 8 min shower takes 17.2G of water. Saving 1.6 million gallons is the equivalent of 93,023 showers – this is about triple the amount the average person will take in their lifetime! (The average person will take 28,000 showers)

For baths – which use 70G of water per bath – this is the equivalent of 22,857 baths.

The average person eats 300lbs of grain per year. 58,400 lbs of grain is enough to feed 1 person for 194.6 years. (or 2 people for an entire lifetime [provided they die at 80])

Would you rather not shower/bath or eat for literally your entire life (and then some), or just give up animal products for 4 years???

Exactly.

If you’re interested in learning how to go vegan, to save not only animals, but the planet you live on, I recommend checking out my Vegan Tips page. I have everything from where to start to the answers to some of the most common misconceptions.

Before I went vegan, I consumed roughly 7,300 animals. That means I still have 5,840 animals to save – or 4 more years being vegan until my scale is balanced. While it’s sad for me to think about all the animals I carelessly consumed before I knew better, it helps to know that I’ve since stopped that and am working hard to not continue the cycle of horror.

Since going vegan, it’s made me much more cautious of not only what I put in my body, but to also be wary of what others tell me. I try not to take anything at face value, and I recommend you do the same. Don’t just trust some stranger-on-the-internets’ opinion – do your own research and come to your own conclusions. You may learn something about yourself, like I did.

I learned that while I liked to think of myself as a good, compassion person, I really wasn’t living that way. So I decided to do something about it. That’s the great thing about life! If you don’t like something about yourself, you can take steps to change it!

One of the biggest values I have is being self-sufficient. Should shit hit the fan, and a global disaster happens (let’s face it, we’re not very far from something happening), I think it’s important to be able to rely on yourself, and know that you have the skills to survive without relying on ‘society’ – especially because ‘society’ as a whole isn’t the best.

Let’s be honest, living in a way ‘society’ deems ‘unworthy’ or ‘weird’ usually just means you think for yourself. Why would you want to be part of a culture, city, etc. that frowns upon making your own opinions?

I hope to one day be able to live in a way where I’m doing the least amount of harm as I can. This means using less single-use plastics, growing most (if not all) of my own food, finding reusable resources for everything I can, and using renewable energy.

And, (not that I planned that), that actually brings me into a great segway into introducing my new article series: No. Mad.

It’s a new section of the website I’ll be making to chronicle my upcoming adventures of travelling around the world, learning about solar panels, and living as naturally as I can. You guys will come along with the ride and will get articles and a great inside look into the world I’ve been slowly working toward.

The No. Mad. Intro will be published March 3rd, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!

Aaand I think that is the perfect place to wrap up this article.

I can’t wait until next year when I get to say I’ve been vegan for 5 years, 10 years, etc.!

Oh, and, I still haven’t died from nutrient deficiency. 😉


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