Tag Archives: food

8 Simple Summer Recipes

Who doesn’t love summer? The long, cold winter is finally over, plants are in full bloom, and you generally just feel better all around now that you can actually go outside and see the sun.

But, there is one downside to summer: it gets hot.

I know, I know, when you’re coming out of a winter that got down to -40, hot weather is something of a salvation. But! When it’s hot out, you won’t want to turn on the oven and make your place even hotter. And, let’s be honest, there’s only so many days in a row you can BBQ before you get sick of it. (Especially the clean up)

So, in a bid to save your electric bill and your BBQ, here is a list of 8 simple, no-cook summer recipes to get you through the days when you just cannot eat a burger.

 

1 Nice-Cream

While technically nice-cream isn’t a ‘meal’, it is no-cook, also, who’s gonna complain about a new way to make ice cream?

This nice-cream is super simple to make. All you really need is some frozen bananas, some Silk (or other non-dairy milk), and a blender. If you don’t want it to taste like bananas, you can throw other stuff in the blender as well. (I’ve tried frozen cherries, and cocoa powder with chocolate Silk, but really pretty much any frozen berry you’d want would probably work)

Once you have all your ingredients, toss them all into the blender at the same time, and blend until its maybe Slushy consistency. Don’t worry if you over-blend it. If it gets too runny, then just call it a smoothies.

And boom! That’s it.

Told you these were simple!

 

2 Chickpea Salad Sandwich

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I know I might be late to the game with this, but I recently discovered that chickpea salad sandwiches are actually pretty good – and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really like chickpeas! (Unless they’re in roasted red pepper hummus form)

I also learned that chickpeas in a can don’t have to be cooked before eating (but you should still rinse them), which is great in the summer because then you won’t even have to turn the stove on!

Another nice thing with not only this recipe, but with a lot of summer recipes, is that since they’re all meant to be eaten cold, you can make a lot on one day, and then just eat them directly out of the fridge for a few days after. No-cook weeks are awesome not only because they won’t heat your house when it’s already hot, but they also save you a lot of time!

Most meal prep takes about an hour, but if you don’t have to cook every single day, that’s an extra hour you’re gaining back to do one of the other millions of things I’m sure you’re ‘getting around to’.

Okay, so to make chickpea salad, you can actually do pretty much whatever you like (again, it’s food, which means it’s based on your tastes), but this is the way I like it:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of Paprika (about)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1 Tbsp vegan mayo (optional)

Once you have all the ingredients, then all you have to do is smash the chickpeas with whatever masher you’d like – you can use an actual potato masher, or a fork, or a hammer, whatever way you like smashing your chickpeas – and smash them up so there are a lot of bits and halves, but also be sure to leave in some whole ones. This gives it a better texture.

Once all the chickpeas are somewhat smashed, add all the other ingredients to the bowl and mix until it’s all pretty much evenly distributed. You can then either eat it right away, or (depending on how long it took you to smash the chickpeas), throw it in the fridge until it gets cold again, then you can put it on a sandwich.

You can also add other things like lettuce or spinach to the sandwich to make it a little more filling. Or you could over-fill the sandwich so there’s a lot of chickpeas in it. When I make them, I use about 2-3 Tbsp of the chickpea mix per sandwich.

Or, you could go even simpler and just eat the chickpea mix right out of a bowl and skip the sandwich making all together.

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  1. Cucumber Noodles

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I know cucumber noodles are pretty big in the raw vegan community, and they have all kinds of inventive dressings, sauces and ways you can dress up these bad boys, but I like mine kept simple, with just a little salt and pepper.

You could try one of the thousands of sauces that are out there, but sometimes you just need something simple to hit the spot. I mostly make cucumber noodles when I want to eat cucumber slices, but want to make them ‘fancy’.

You can achieve the ‘noodle’ like strands with the cucumbers by either running it through a Spiralizer, hand-cutting them thinly, or I believe a mandolin would work, as well.

The first time I tried cucumber noodles, I actually hand-cut them. They didn’t look nearly as appetizing as the above noodles, though they still tasted good! It was still just cucumber after all.

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See? Not the prettiest, but taste was on point! (Minus the pesto)

 

  1. Salad

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You know, for as bad of a wrap salads get (no pun intended), they are actually quite a handy meal. You can basically throw together anything in a bowl and call it a salad. Fruits, vegetables, beans, pasta – there are like a million different ‘salad’ recipes possible.

Which is great, because many of them only require you to chop up a few things and mix them in a bowl. You can’t get much simpler than that! And, what’s more, is once you have the salad done, you can use it in other meals, too. For example, instead of just eating a salad in a bowl, if you throw it in a tortilla, now you’ve got yourself a salad wrap!

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This will of course depend on what kind of salad you’re gonna make. While I’m not trying to limit your salad creations, I just don’t think a fruit salad wrap would work. But you do you.

For a lettuce salad, I always start with the same basics

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Pepper
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Nooch/Cheese Shreds

Then from here, you can dress it up however you want! Sometimes I’ll add black salt to give it an ‘egg-y’ taste, or you can add bacon bits (No Name Bacon Bits are vegan!), dill, vegan mayo, and lemon juice to make a ranch/Caesar style dressing.

Or if it’s not astronomically hot, and you don’t mind turning on a burner, you could cook up some chick’n nuggets/strips and add those to your salad to turn it into a chick’n salad.

Or, you could make pasta salad, instead. For pasta salad, I usually add peas, bell pepper and celery to the noodles (either macaroni or Scoobi-Doo shapes are the best for pasta salad), and then for the dressing, I add: white vinegar, yellow/French’s mustard (optional), salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion (either powder or very small cubes), nooch (optional), and vegan mayo (also optional). Then you mix it together and let it cool in the fridge, or you could be one of those freaks who eat it when it’s still a little bit warm.

I love making pasta salad in the summer, not only because it’s super easy, but because it takes just as much effort to make a little bit of it as it does to make a lot. So I can usually make a big ‘batch’ of it, and then throw it in the fridge and eat it all week!

Also, same as lettuce salad, you could get a little creative and make a pasta salad wrap, or use leftovers in a warm pasta dish (I’ve turned left over pasta salad into mac n cheese) if you make it at the tail-end of summer. And, assuming it would last long enough you need to turn it into something else.

 

  1. Avocado Toast

I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually made avocado toast all that much, since I’m not that big of a fan of how avocados taste. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just not really my bag.

That said, I have been trying to force myself to eat them more often (which isn’t hard when you’re starting at ‘never’), because I know they’re super good for you. So, with that in mind, I’ve only made avocado toast twice, but both times I didn’t feel the need to immediately vomit, so I’m taking that as a good sign.

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This is the first way I tried it. I made some VeganEgg scrambled eggs, and then put some avocado slices on top of toast with a little bit of salt and pepper on top.

This… it tasted good, but as my first time trying avocado toast, with the giant pile of egg, it was too much of a not-that-great-texture in my mouth at once. I didn’t spit it out, but it was waaay too mushy for my liking. I did however finish it.

Some time after this, I had discovered I could eat at this place called Chipotle, so I went on a bit of a Chipotle kick, and decided to always get guac ‘on the side’, so I could continue to test the avocado waters. I wouldn’t eat the whole container of the guac (partly because Chipotle is super filling, and partly because I still wasn’t too into the taste), but my friend was more than happy to help me out. (This was pre-COVID, when sharing was still a thing we were allowed to do)

After that week of basically eating Chipotle straight, I didn’t eat avocado again until this year (2021), when I tried my hand at avocado toast again.

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This time around, I figured since I liked chickpea salad, if I made it ‘taste like summer’, I’d probably enjoy it more. Which, I don’t know if that’s why I liked it, or if my body had just gotten more used to eating avocados, but this time when I ate it, it wasn’t that bad. (Which was good, because I had another avocado in the fridge)

For this avo toast, I put salt, pepper, black salt (for the ‘egg-y’ tasty), a slice of PC Vegan Swiss Slices (side note: PC has come out with a whole line of new vegan products in Canada, which is awesome!), and smushed half an avocado on top, to which I mixed in some lemon juice, garlic powder, a smidge of paprika and dill.

Again, I don’t know if I liked this one more because I’m more used to eating avocados, or if it’s because I used less of it, but the second one I definitely wouldn’t mind eating more often. (… Which I realize isn’t that great of a selling point on a recipe, but hey, you’re here for honest opinions anyway, right? If you want awesome vegan recipes, go check out HotforFood)

 

  1. Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

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This one is probably the easiest recipe in this post. You literally take a slice of cheese, and a slice of tomato (or two) and add them to bread. Boom, done.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add some vegan mayo, and/or salt and pepper.

 

  1. Snack Plates

Like salads, snack plates are awesome, because you can basically make them whatever you want to eat.

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In summer especially, snack plates are great, because you can cut up a bunch of fruit and/or veggies, and then just mix and match them onto 1 plate, whip up a quick dip, and boom lunch is done.

I eat snack plates all the time and love them. Mine usually consist of: cucumber, green pepper, broccoli (or cauliflower), carrots and dip. But you can add whatever you want to them, really. It all depends on what you like to eat, and what you have. Sometimes, I’ll swap out one of the veggies for crackers and cheese, or some frozen nuggets or something. Or you could do a fruit mix with watermelon, strawberries, grapes, golden berries, etc.

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Or, you could do little lunch meat + cheese sliders and cut up veggies. Or meatballs, mozzarella sticks, and crackers, or… pretty much you want to center your snack plate around whatever your dip is. As long as all the foods you choose pair well with the dip, they can go on the same plate.

The possibilities are literally endless!

And there you have it! Hopefully this small list of summer recipes has inspired you to create your own no-cook recipes. It’s really not that hard! Most veggies are great to eat cold, and all it takes is (usually) a little bit of creative thinking, and usually a tortilla to make a kick-ass, cold meal.

Do you have any favourite no-cook summer meals? Are you going to try any from this list? Let me know in the comments!


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Daiya Deluxe Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac Review

*IMPORTANT*

This is the last product review of 2019! (It’s also the last post)

Right now, my plan is to come back on January 17th (with the first Throw Away Fic of 2020) in which case the next product review won’t be until Feb. 13th and then continue on the pattern of the 13th of every month.

I hope you all have an awesome holiday season, get presents you actually want, and I’ll see you all in the New Year.

AI


Ah, Daiya. You’ve yet to disappoint me (with the exception of yogurt, but that isn’t your fault, I hate the consistency) and I’m so happy I get to finally review the mac n cheese you have!

Nothing was really stopping me before, I just try to pick the products I review so they go somewhat with the seasons – hence the burgers in the summer, and the soups and heartier foods in the winter. This particular product was hard to decide on though, since you can eat it any time. It’s kind of like Kraft Dinner, you can eat it at any time.

Technically, mac n cheese is a hearty food, so that’s why I decided to do the review in the winter.

Aaand that’s enough babbling – onto the review!

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I can’t say taste-wise if it tastes like real cheese, but I can say it tastes like Daiya cheese. Which many people find to be… a bit strong. (To put it mildly) Let’s just say: if you like how powerful Daiya tastes, you’ll like this.

The box claims it makes 3 servings, but who are we kidding? 1 box = 1 bowl. It is very filling, the way mac n cheese should be. You know after you eat a bunch of food and then you’re ‘gross full’? It’s on the cusp of that and when you eat a bunch of vegetables where you feel full but not like you could vomit. (Maybe that’s why they say to eat it in multiple sittings?)

It also says on the box to just dump the cheese packet over the cooked pasta and mix. That is the gist of mac n cheese making, but if you follow those directions, it comes out very thick. What I like to do, is cook the pasta, drain it and then add it back into the pot/sauce pan and melt some butter and a bit of dairy-free milk and then add the sauce packet. I find this helps thin it out a bit and lessens the Daiya taste a smidge, too.

Overall, the dish is pretty basic – noodles + cheese pack – but I’m a fan of not over-complicated foods. It’s mac n cheese in a box, what do you expect?

If you want to jazz it up, you can add some salt and pepper, and (if you’re feeling even more adventurous) you can add some No Name Bacon Bits. Or, they have other versions of the mac n cheese, one I think comes with bacon bits, and the other comes with vegetable bits. (I don’t like the vegetable piece one as much as the others)

1 box is usually around $6, and in keeping with the vegan food prices? That’s not that bad at all. I definitely try to keep some of these on hand for a lazy meal – they’re super easy to throw together too! Maybe 10 minutes to cook and mix everything, and they’re filling.

This is one of the best vegan ‘convenience’ foods I’ve tried. I definitely recommend trying it out, especially for the long winter ahead. Time to stock up now!


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Surprising Vegan Chips

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I’d put out the next Surprising Vegan article. I know that you can eat chips all year round, but since I already did a Halloween candy post, and chocolate one, with the addition of chips, you can have the most rockin’ Halloween party snacks around.

No more sitting in the corner crying because there’s ‘no vegan food’ – with this series, carnists have zero excuses.

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In order starting from the top left corner, clockwise:

  • Neal Brothers Easy Rounders
  • Neal Brothers New Classics
  • Neal Brothers Pure Pink
  • Neal Brothers Pure Pink and Vinegar
  • Neal Brothers Sweet and Smoky BBQ
  • Neal Brothers Maple Bacon Forever
  • Neal Brothers Srirachup
  • Neal Brothers Deep Blue
  • Neal Brothers Deep Blue Flax
  • Sun Chips Original
  • Late July Resturant Sea Salt
  • Late July Resturant Lime
  • Late July Purple Corn
  • Late July Chia and Quinoa
  • Late July Cantina Dippers Blue Corn
  • Late July Cantina Dippers White Corn
  • Late July Sweet Potato
  • Late July Sea Salt
  • Late July Red Hot Mojo
  • Late July Sublime
  • Late July Bacon Habenero
  • Late July Jalapeno Lime
  • Late July Sriracha Fresca
  • Late July Blues
  • Late July Crispy Yellow Corn
  • Lays Oven Baked Original
  • Lays Salt and Vinegar (Blue Bag)
  • Lays Classic*
  • Doritos Ketchup
  • Doritos Sweet Chili Heat
  • Old Dutch Ketchup
  • Old Dutch Original
  • Ruffles All Dressed
  • Ruffles Original
  • Tostitos Multigrain
  • Tostitos Restaurant Style
  • Tostitos Scoops
  • Tostitos Rounds
  • Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Veggie Chips
  • Pringles Ketchup
  • Pringles Original

*Lays Classic is made with pork enzymes in the US, making them not vegan. However, in Canada they don’t, so they’re safe to consume. Check out the US list here (at the time of writing, I’ve only been able to find a Canadian and US list, I’d suggest contacting the company for other specific countries)

This list (as well as this series) is always for Canadian ingredients – ingredients may differ (and therefore products may or may not be vegan) in differing countries. Please do your own research and look up the ingredients for specified foods for your own country.

This list also doesn’t mention all the marketed-as-vegan chips (like the Que Pasa Nacho chips – I recommend these btw, they’re so good!) as this is the Surprising Vegan series. If you Google ‘vegan ____’ tons of different options come up, but the point of this series is to find non-vegan-marketed foods that are safe for vegans to eat.

There are many instances where known vegan food might not be available, so it’s always great to have a list of foods that you know you can eat that may be easier/cheaper to find.


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Yves Veggie Dog Review

Alright, now that the terrible weather is finally close to being 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 I’m fine to bring my own, but if they’re insistent, well Yves is one of the easier faux meat products to find/remember the name of.

I don’t know how, but these things have got a pretty classic ‘hot-dog’ taste. I honestly don’t know what gives real hot-dogs that classic taste – from the recipe’s I’ve seen, most of them say ketchup – but it’s a distinctive flavour nonetheless.

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These taste like hot-dogs, not sausages. You may be wondering if it makes a difference, but trust me, it does. If someone asks you to pick them up sausages, and you grab these, they won’t be thrilled.

I’m not saying these not-dogs (yes I call them not-dogs, cause they’re not dogs! You’re welcome community) are bad, they’re in fact really good – but just know that there’s a difference in taste between sausages and not-dogs. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never had a hot-dog, but they have a universally defined flavour.

I will say, though, I’m thrilled to find a company that makes not-dogs, and not just sausages. I don’t know what it is – maybe they figure hot-dogs are too gross/unhealthy to try to replicate? – but most of the vegan companies I’m aware of only make sausage substitutes. (Or as I like to call them, not-sages)

Not all Yves products are vegan though, so be sure to read the ingredients before buying. So far, I know their Bologne, these not-dogs, their veggie nuggets and faux chick’n burgers are safe. All the ones that are vegan that I’ve tried say ‘vegan’ right on the front. (I’d double check the ingredients anyway, just in case)

So, aside from the classic hot-dog taste, these not-dogs are also really good if you dry-fry them. That is, in a pan with no oil/water. Just plop that sucker on there and roll it around every few minutes. When heated up, they get that classic smoky, BBQ-ed flavour. What I’m assuming is liquid smoke comes out when heated and gives them that awesome flavour.

Also, while heating up, their ‘skin’ begins to blister, and get crispy, which is just like the cherry on top of the smoke-flavoured cake. I don’t know what it is, but I’m a sucker for that blistery, smoky flavour.

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(See those blister-bubbles?)

Another good thing about them is they won’t stand out too much from the rest of the food. They’re a little more rectangular in shape to regular hot-dogs, so you’ll be able to tell them apart, but they’re not so different that people will gawk at them and make fun of you. (If they see the package says ‘vegan’ or question why you’re bringing your own, all bets are off) Also, they look ‘normal’ enough, that some of the other guests may even want to try them.

These are also pretty versatile, just like regular hot-dogs. You can BBQ them plain in a bun like ‘normal’, or cut them up and add them to a pasta salad, or kebabs! (Or mac n cheese, but that’s less summer-y)

Also, you can store them in the freezer without changing their texture, which is always a bonus! You could buy a few packs at a time and keep them in the freezer for when you need them.

All in all, these are a pretty great not-dog option and I definitely recommend you try the plain, and spicy flavoured ones. With these by your side, you won’t have to worry about missing a good old cookout or worry about having to bring your own ‘rabbit food’.


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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.


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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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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Dandies All Natural Marshmallows Review

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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.

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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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Amy’s Kitchen Organic Alphabet Soup Review

I’d like to start this review off by saying that I’m not really that big of a soup fan. It’s weird to me: it’s a food, right? So why do we drink it? Who wants to drink their food? I can do that when I’m a hundred and my teeth are all gone. I want to chew my food. Stew is better, it’s chunky and chewable.

That being said, this soup is one of the few I actually like. Before going vegan, the only soup I’d eat was that Hearty Chicken can. And, while I don’t want to tell you to go out and try it, if you’re not vegan and are pondering soup choices…

Okay, anyway, on to Amy’s.

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Amy’s Kitchen is not a fully vegan brand, so if you check them out, keep that in mind. I recommend checking out their website, they have these little sticker things that tell you if it’s vegan, gluten-free, low fat, etc. This soup is luckily vegan and is very good. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about food looking like non-food shapes (letters, animals, smiley fries, little triangle-shaped sandwiches, etc.) that makes it taste better. I don’t know, maybe it’s the kid in me, but I love food that looks like non-food. Who doesn’t love spelling things in their soup?

I will say, it’s not all that remarkable, it’s tomato soup with some pasta. Honestly, if you’ve ever had Alphaghetti you know what this tastes like. I recommend this product though because it’s vegan alphaghetti! I love finding vegan foods that are similar to the foods I used to eat before going vegan. I’m not trying to diss this soup or anything – it’s good, albeit having a smidge of an acidic taste (but given that it’s tomato soup, that shouldn’t be surprising)

The only two ‘problems’ with this product?

  1. It comes in a can, which means if they go on sale/you want to stock up for winter, it’ll be heavy to carry back to your house.
  2. There’s no real earth-shattering ‘holy sh*t’ moment when eating it. It won’t blow you away and make you double check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan, it’s just kinda… soup.

It’s not really on par with VeganEgg or Field Roast Burgers, because it’s just soup in a can, y’know? It’s kinda hard to give that kind of product a glowing review. I mean, chances are if you like any soup in a can and/or tomatoes, you’ll like this. Not exactly one of those super-star vegan products that’s out now, but just because it’s not getting hyped to the moon doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I can’t just review all the hyped products – you need some staple-y foods too, right?

Bottom line, I like this. It’s great to have in the winter, is ridiculously easy to make, and it might just bring back some of those simpler childhood memories.

So, Amy’s Alphabet Soup, have you tried it? What did you think? Like it? Hate it? Let me know! And, if you have any suggestions for future vegan products you’d like to see me review, leave it in a comment!


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Surviving Canadian Winters

I decided to write this article because in my first year of going vegan, I Googled this very topic and guess what came up? Nothing. Well, not nothing nothing – there were some articles that were about ‘surviving winter’ but they didn’t do anything. Apparently, no vegans in Canada wanted to pass this oh-so-important wisdom down so I was basically on my own.

You may be wondering: why such worry about making it to the store? That’s a good question. Having to rely on public transit is not always the easiest during winter. Between the closures/detours due to weather and some routes not being driven altogether, you don’t really want to go through that on top of the freezing weather.

My top two suggestions for making these stock-up trips:

  1. Stretch multiple trips out over the fall months (Sept.-Nov.) and try to remember this has to last you until you’re able to walk outside again (around/after Feb.)
  2. Get these before it’s too cold to leave your house. Trust me, you really don’t want to go out in the middle of December when it’s -40C because you forgot bread.

So, for my fellow Canadian-vegans, when the snow banks are 4ft. tall and your door locks are frozen shut, fear not! I’m here to make those last trips to the store easier for you.

Obviously, you don’t need to get everything on this list. This is just a list of foods you may want to stock up on for the colder months. If nothing else, these should (hopefully) lessen your worry about getting through winter, even if they’re not exactly ‘essentials’. Also, who wants to get a hot chocolate craving only to find they’re out?

I recommend checking out my Vegan Staples list first, since that lists all the food essentials*, then come back here to see what else from this list you might want to stock up on.

Pantry

  • Hot Chocolate (I like Castle Kitchen’s Classic Caramel)
  • Marshmallows (Dandies)
  • Mr. Noodles (Mushroom and Vegetable)
  • Daiya Mac N Cheese (Alfredo Style, Cheddar, White Cheddar with Veggies)
  • Gravy (I like Road’s End Savoury Herb)
  • Mashed Potato Flakes (if you don’t/can’t lug a whole bag of potatoes home)
  • Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate (yes, it’s vegan, and it’s amazing)
  • Hummus/Salad Dressing/Some type of spread so you don’t eat dry sandwiches all winter
  • Shake N Bake/Bread Crumbs
  • VeganEgg
  • Winter Holiday baking supplies (cocoa powder, flour, sugar, egg replacer/applesauce, etc.)

Cans: (Check out my Surprising Vegan Soup post for more!)

  • Amy’s Alphabet Soup (my favourite!)
  • Amy’s Organic Vegetable Barley
  • Amy’s Fire Roasted Southerwestern Vegetable
  • Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable
  • Habitant Garden Style Vegetable Soup
  • Hunt’s Manwich Original Sloppy Joe

Snacks:

  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers (Triscuits, Vegetable Thins, Ritz, Premium Plus)
  • Cookies
  • Popcorn Kernels (and ketchup powder!) or Skinny Pop
  • Chocolate (chips, bars)
  • Licorice (Twizzlers as a stir-stick in hot chocolate = amazing)

Freezer

  • Butter/Margrine 6 months
  • Seitan 1yr
  • Tofu** (can give it a ‘chewier’ texture, drain and place in Ziplock) 3-5 months
  • Daiya Products (cheese blocks/pizza) 6 months
  • Tofurky Products (sausages/deli slices/pizza/pizza pockets) 1yr
  • Gardein Products (7 Grain Crispy Tenders, Mandarin Orange Chick’N, Pizza Pockets, etc.) 6 months
  • Field Roast Products (burgers, sausages, deli slices, etc.) 1yr
  • Yves Products (pepperoni, deli slices, ground round) 1-3 months
  • Fries (smiley/crinkle/straight-cut)
  • Hash Browns
  • Taquitos (Starlight Beef are good)
  • Burritos (Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable and Bean and Rice are good)
  • Perogies
  • Tortillas (place parchment in between to prevent tearing) 6-8 months
  • Ice-cream (I know it’s gonna be cold, but some days…)

*I don’t yet have a non-food essentials list, but I’m working on it! I’ll be posting it hopefully sometime next year, but I’m hoping you don’t really need me to tell you to stock up on non-food essentials (toilet paper).

**Tofu may change from white to a yellow or amber colour. Don’t freak out, it’s still perfectly safe to eat. Let it thaw and cook as usual.

Keep in mind, that some of these items are heavy, so you might want to buy one of those shopping carts on wheels, or bring a luggage that has wheels on it with you and fill that up – instead of making eighty-seven little trips to the store. (But hey, if that’s your thing, you go right ahead).

As stated above, this isn’t really an essentials list, so don’t feel like you have to buy everything on here. This list isn’t a be-all, end-all of winter stock up foods. These are just (hopefully) enough to get you thinking in terms of, ‘What will I be craving three months from now when I’ve been stuck inside all day?’

Also, keep in mind that winter not only brings cold, but also holidays. So, you may need to add some holiday specific items to your list as well. Usually, I try to plan in advanced what I’ll be making, but I know that’s not always plausible.

If all else fails, you can always get groceries delivered.


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