Tag Archives: the veg life

Ben and Jerry’s Netflix and Chill’d Non-Dairy Ice Cream Review

I was so happy and excited the first time I tried this flavour, that I thought it tasted similar to a marshmallow. While that actually isn’t the case, this is still one of my favourite flavours from Ben and Jerry’s. I’m so glad that they’ve continued to release new non-dairy flavours! (And, if you guys are taking suggestions, a Rocky Road pint would be awesome!)

*picture of pint*

This Netflix and Chill’d flavour has peanut butter ice cream, with sweet and salty pretzel swirls and fudge brownies. And honestly, with a description like that, how could anybody not like this flavour?

The base peanut butter ice cream is pretty good. It tastes like what I imagine Reece ice cream does. I will say though, that because there are so many other flavours going on with this ice cream, the peanut butter taste can get lost. For example, if you’re eating it and watching TV, it’s easy to forget/not taste that the peanut butter ice cream is peanut butter. At one point I had to re-read the pint because for a moment I thought it was vanilla, or some other ‘basic’ flavour.

The fudge brownie pieces are very good as well. They’re chocolate-y and cake-y, which is never not a plus when we’re talking about ice cream. Whoever was the first person to think ‘hey, y’know what would taste good in ice cream? Brownie pieces’ was a genius.

The only thing that I would say disappointed me about this flavour (other than the fact that the pint is still super small!), is the fact that the pretzel ‘swirls’ are like, little tiny pieces of pretzel – like the dust/crumbs at the end of a bag – and not actual pieces of pretzels. I think this flavour would be a better experience if there were actual chunks/pieces of pretzel in it. Need a little salty crunch to balance out all the other soft sweetness.

All in all, this is one of my favourite ice cream flavours, and I highly recommend you try it for yourself. Just make sure not to eat the whole pint at once (even though you’ll want to).


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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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Vegan Fast Food: Subway Edition

Some people don’t include Subway as a fast food place, because what they serve is more healthy then usual, but I say it’s called ‘fast food’, not ‘unhealthy food’.

Also, as vegans, we don’t really have the luxury of leaving places off our lists of acceptable places to eat.

Luckily though, Subway is pretty much a vegans’ dream because they have a lot of vegetables, and it’s pretty reasonably priced.

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In order, starting in the top left corner:

  • Ciabatta
  • Italian White Bread
  • Tortilla Wrap
  • Banana Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Green (Bell) Pepper
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Pickles
  • Lettuce
  • Green Olives
  • Black Olives
  • Red Onion
  • Tomato
  • Falafel
  • Veggie Patty*
  • Beyond Meat Meatball
  • Avocado Puree
  • Guacamole
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Lays Classic
  • Lays Oven Baked Classic
  • AquaFina Water
  • Pepsi
  • Brisk Lemon Iced Tea
  • Pure Leaf Lemon Iced Tea
  • G2 Fruit Punch (Contains Red 40)
  • Tropicana Orange Juice
  • Subway Coffee

There were also some vegan options I wasn’t able to find pictures for. The not-picture vegan options are:

  • Hearty Italian Bread
  • Roasted Garlic Bread
  • Grilled Onions and Peppers
  • House Sandwich Sauce (Zesty Italian)
  • Mustard (Deli Brown)
  • Mustard (Yellow)
  • Sweet Onion Sauce
  • Mediterranean Soup

*Some restaurants have a veggie patty that contains egg and/or milk. Please ask before ordering.

I was surprised to learn that Subway offered coffee, and that so many of their sauces are vegan! Every time I’ve gone previously, I never got any sauce, unless they had ketchup. I thought I’d be cursed with eating dry sandwiches forever, but now I’m excited to try some sauces!

I also recommend asking the store what they have, as not every location always has every option available.


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Yves Spicy Italian Veggie Sausage Review

First things first: they call these ‘sausages’ but they’re actually closer to not-dogs than sausages. I don’t know why they don’t just call them spicy not-dogs, but don’t get confused. If you want sausages do not reach for these! If you want spicy not-dogs however, feel free to stock up.

I first tried this product at the 2018 Vegandale Festival, it was the very last thing I ate before leaving, it came in a little cup on a toothpick. It was… well it tasted pretty much how I remember hot dogs tasting, but had a bit of a kick to it. (I assume that’s why they call it ‘spicy’) It was also big. They don’t call them ‘jumbo’, but these were pretty thick. Not overtly, but they’re definitely thicker than their regular not-dogs.

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Only 4 come in a pack, which again, is one of the downsides to buying these premade vegan foods – though their regular sized not-dogs come in a pack of 5, so I suppose it makes sense that these thicker ones have less. They’re also $5.99 at Loblaws, which isn’t that expensive when talking about vegan substitutes.

One thing I like about both these spicy not-dogs and their non-spicy ones, are that you can eat them cold or cooked, and their taste doesn’t change all that much. Also, again, like the non-spicy not-dogs, you can freeze these ones as well without a noticeable texture/flavour change. This is a great option, because that means you can buy them on sale, and then keep a few ‘extra’ packs in your freezer. Their FAQ even says their products can last 1-3 months in the freezer!

Another good thing about these? They have a recyclable packaging program! This is something I actually didn’t know about, but am so glad I found! The cardboard sleeve can be regular recycled, but then they also have a TerraCycle program for the plastic part.

Unfortunately, the link provided on their website to TerraCycle brought me to a 404 Error page, but once I hear back from the company, I’ll be sure to update this post with the specifics of the recycling program.

All in all, these spicy not-dogs are just that: spicy not-dogs. They’re nothing fancy, but you should definitely make space for them in your summer recipes!


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Omega-3’s?

Now, I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t really paid attention to my Omega-3 intake as much as say, my B12 or protein. Which is actually really bad, because it turns out that Omega-3’s are really good for our bodies – getting enough Omega-3’s can help prevent plaque build-up in arteries, and can help reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke – and our bodies can’t produce Omega-3’s by themselves, which means we have to get them from an external source.

Like most other things I don’t have knowledge of, I blame school. Honestly, school teaches you a lot of stuff, but as I keep getting older, I keep finding it didn’t teach me very many practical things. (Such as how to do taxes, or how to budget – even though I took both a business and ‘family studies’ class)

In school, I learned Omega-3’s were in fish, but there wasn’t really a big emphasis on them being important – we focused more on The 4 Food Groups (Grains, Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables, and Meat + Alternatives). Now, don’t get me wrong, teaching little kids that eating from all those food groups everyday is good for your health is a great starting point, I just think that as I got older (read: in high school) we could’ve went a little more in depth to the why eating the food groups are important.

Luckily though, we live in a world where I can find an answer to almost anything I desire right from the comfort of my own home, so I’ve also done my own research into all the things I’ve always wondered about.

Also luckily, I wasn’t raised on processed sugar, so I didn’t have too many bad eating habits to unlearn. (For example, I am perfectly happy eating raw broccoli [or cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, etc.] as a snack)

Also, doing this nutrient series has opened my eyes to the (apparently) minimal info I was given growing up about nutrition. This is also a big reason of why I’m so happy to share what I’ve learned – there’s no way I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t know this stuff, and I want to make things easier for others to find. I think knowledge should be shared.

And on that note, time to share what you came for:

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Starting in the top-left corner, going clockwise:

  • Hemp Hearts (1oz = 6g)
  • Chia Seeds (1oz = 5g)
  • Flax Seeds (1Tbsp = 6.7g)
  • Cauliflower (1C = 37mg)
  • Edamame (1/2C = .28g)
  • Blueberries (1oz = 12.6g)
  • Walnuts (1oz = 2.5g)
  • Spinach (3.5oz = .37g)
  • Avocado Oil (1 Tbsp = 136mg)
  • Kidney Beans (1/2C = 10g)
  • Spirulina (1C = 922mg)
  • Nori/Seaweed (1/2C = 79mg)
  • Canola Oil (1Tbsp = 1.28g)
  • Perilla Oil (1Tbsp = 9g)

Thankfully for us non-meat eaters, Omega-3’s aren’t just in fish, and the foods that do contain them aren’t that hard to find. Another good thing? We only need 1.1g-1.6g a day, so fitting Omega-3 rich foods into our routines shouldn’t be that hard.


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Tim Horton’s Beyond Meat, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwich Review

I finally got my hands on this ‘new’ Tim Horton’s sandwich Dec. 2nd, 2019. I was going to post this review last year, but I figured it would be kind of mean/unfair of me to post a review of a food you couldn’t go immediately try. Now though, that doesn’t really matter, since Tim Horton’s (apparently) stopped selling the sandwich in early 2020. So I figure it’s fair game now. Also, I’m glad I was able to try this sandwich before they stopped selling them.

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The first thing I want to let you know about this sandwich (and what you can tell from the above picture) is the fact that the English muffin it came on was a hexagon. I wasn’t expecting that, and was mildly surprised when I unwrapped it and saw the shape. For a minute, I actually thought they gave me the wrong sandwich. (I mean, c’mon, how often do non-vegan restaurants make vegan options cool shapes?)

After I got over the shape, the second thing I noticed was how much shredded lettuce they put on it. I know it’s called a Beyond Meat, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich, but seriously? There was so much lettuce! Half of it fell out when I picked it up, and the rest of it almost fell out after each bite.

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(Also, look at the difference between the one I got, and the promo pic – that’s bordering on ridiculous!)

Another thing about this sandwich I wish I knew/they said on the website before I bought it, was the fact it was spicy Beyond Meat. It tasted like the type of sausage you get on pizza – it was a very similar heat to the Chorizo sausage crumble that’s on PizzaPizza pizza. Aside from being blindsided, it actually tasted pretty good. I mean, it still mildly freaks me out how close to non-vegan meat Beyond Meat tastes, but it was still good. And even better I imagine for meat eaters who are looking for a close substitute.

While we’re talking about taste, the English muffin was also very bland, and was oddly enough pretty hard, as well. It was a lot more ‘tasteless’ than the English muffins I usually buy. Which sucked, because I thought the hexagon shape would make it taste better than usual. The sandwich was also quite small. My mom got a bagel something-or-other sandwich, and this one was half the size! Very disappointing.

Overall, the sandwich was pretty ‘meh’, and I hate to say it, but I’m actually kind of glad it got discontinued. Don’t get me wrong, I was over the moon to discover Tim Horton’s wanted to try getting on the vegan bandwagon – I just think they missed the mark with this one. Hopefully though, they won’t give up! Get back to the drawing board and see if you can come up with something better! Which I’m sure you can, because my mom was pretty happy with her (non-vegan) sandwich, so I know you guys don’t totally suck in that department.

And hey, if you ever need suggestions, I’ll be right here.


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Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavoured Squares Review

Cheesy crackers…

What can I say about cheesy crackers? They’re amazing? I wish I didn’t put off trying them for so long? I wish I could order a case and just always have them in my house?

I could say all that, but that doesn’t really make for a good review. Doesn’t really tell you much other than that I like them. And while I’m sure there’s some of you out there who value my opinion, I don’t think I’m quite popular/famous enough to have you flock to stores to go buy something just because I said so.

So, until that day comes (and mark my words, it will come!) I guess I’m stuck writing an entire article. But that’s also okay, because I talk a lot, sooo, let’s get started, shall we?

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These Earth Balance were actually hard to find. I had spotted them for the first time a few years ago at Good Rebel but at the time, I was on a mission looking for one of the other foods I’ve done for a different review, so I had to pass them by, but I made a mental note to go back and try them.

Well as we all know, life likes to get in the way of things, and by the time I remembered I wanted to try them (and was back at Good Rebel), they weren’t available anymore. So I started doing some online digging, and I came across something that said Earth Balance was actually discontinuing the crackers. I basically gave up hope after that, until I finally found VeganSupply. They’re a Canada-wide vegan only online grocer, and I was super excited to find them! Until I saw the shipping price.

I understand they’re in B.C., and I’m in Toronto, but there’s a reason ‘starving artist’ is a phrase. So I perused the site, and built up a list of what I’d get once I saved up enough to actually place an order.

Flash forward to last October (Oct. 2020), the stars had somewhat aligned, and I decided the time was right to finally place the order. And boy am I glad I did! Most of the stuff in that order (which can be seen here) I’m actually using as product reviews for this and next year, which is how I justified spending so much money on non-essential foods. (My order total for those 7 items was $59.74)

After all that, I finally had my hands on the box of crackers! (Although it was a slightly wet from me washing it. Important tip: don’t wash things that come in cardboard) Now, I haven’t had cheesy crackers since… well I don’t actually remember, but I do remember I was little, like, early-grade-school-little. (Before we learned of my dairy allergy)

That said, I loved these! They taste like what I remember Goldfish crackers tasting like, but they are firmer than I remember. (I remember Goldfish being not very ‘cracker-y’ and being more ‘stiff bread-y’) They were quite ‘cheesy’ – not in the way nooch is cheesy, but in a similar way to how Skinny Pop White Cheddar is cheesy – and they were actually crunchy as well. (Unlike my distant memory of Goldfish crackers)

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They also got a little too salty after eating a bunch of them, though that was probably my bad. If you plan on eating half the box in one go, you’re definitely gonna need water! After the initial hype wore off and I was more in control of how many I was shoving in my face (for some reason my brain came up with ’10 is a good snack amount’) the saltiness was no longer an issue.

Another kind of downside to these crackers is that they get stuck in your teeth. Similar to what happens when you eat Vegetable Thins, there is some soft-like cracker residue that you need to pick out of your teeth when you’re done. (Oh don’t give me that look, I know it’s a universal human thing) So depending on how gross that sounds, you may want to try one to start, and then see how it goes.

And of course, my always complaint to most vegan foods: there could’ve been more crackers in the box! The crackers were in what looked like a foil bag inside the box, and there was a good amount of air space in them. Now, I’m no expert, but I know certain chip brands need the air in the bag to prevent the contents from breaking, so maybe that’s what’s going on here, but to that I say: make a bigger box! Or have a special or something where you sell them in a three pack or something, because seriously, trying to make that one box last longer than a week was a struggle.

All in all, these crackers are a great snack and I wish I could order them more often, and I highly recommend you try them, too. If you like cheesy things, and you like crackers, there’s really no downside.


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Vegan Meat Alternatives

This article was written 20.11.12, when COVID was still running rampant/wasn’t under control. (At least in Toronto) Please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer applicable.


Disclaimer: This article contains links to graphic videos of animal slaughter. If you have issues with watching, I recommend not clicking the video links, but I implore you to ask yourself: if you can’t watch, should you really continue to fund it?


I’m gonna be honest, when I started doing this series, I didn’t really have a plan other than making pretty-ish collages of vegan alternatives. However, after giving it some thought, I realized that I should be taking this time to educate the non-vegan, and new vegans, to show them what options there are, so they don’t have to freak out and go through that ‘wait… what am I gonna eat?’ phase.

Hopefully if you’ve stumbled upon this article on the vegan section of a website, you already know what’s wrong with eating meat, but just in case, here’s a quick refresher:

  1. As you hopefully already know, you have to kill an animal to be able to eat it’s dead body. Sooo, not to be ‘that’ vegan, but yes meat is murder! (There’s a reason why it’s a popular chant!) And, as we (hopefully) all know, murder is wrong.

Slaughterhouses are giant murder factories. Animals go in alive, and come out chopped into pieces wrapped in plastic. As if murdering them wasn’t enough, the animals are also often traumatized, by either being abused, or by hearing their friends and family (yes, animals have friends and family!) being killed in the next room, or both. ‘Oh, Ater’ you say, ‘but animals don’t know what’s happening! They’re not that self-aware.

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Well, how about you look at this picture, and I mean really look at it. Are you still gonna try to tell me that’s not fear and sadness in that animal’s eyes? Does that expression look like the expression of someone who doesn’t know what’s going on? What if I told you this is a picture from a video that was shot in 2015, and this animal has been dead for 5 years. Now do you care? What if this was a picture of a dog, instead of a pig – would you care then? Why?

If you believe dogs have souls and deserve to live, so should other animals. Not all animals are as smart as dogs, but does that mean they deserve to die? What if we did that with people? Dogs on average are about as smart as 2 year olds, so what if we just killed everyone not as smart as that. Does that sound even remotely like an okay thing to do?

And, while we’re on the subject of intelligence, pigs have actually been shown to be more intelligent than dogs. So… why is it okay to eat one, but not the other? Tell me, truly, what’s the difference?

 

2. Humans as a whole are so overly murdering animals, it’s crazy. Seriously, the shear number of animals that are being killed every minute is insane to think about. In fact, why don’t you check out this site, and watch the numbers go up. That is a lot of lives that are being lost. On average, humans kill 3 billion animals every day. Yes, you read that correctly 3 billion animals die every day!

To put this into perspective, on 9/11, roughly 2,900 people died. That was enough to change basically the world as a whole, and there were many changes enacted to make sure something like that never happened again.

That is only 0.0000966% of 3 billion. But for animals, nobody cares? What if we killed that many people everyday? At the time of writing this article (20.11.12), there are 7.8 billion humans on Earth. If we were to kill humans at the same rate we killed animals, the human race would be extinct in 17 days.

17 days!

And this isn’t even mentioning all the terrible environmental factors that slaughterhouses, and needless breeding of animals has on the planet.

But, in the interest of keeping this short, let’s move on.

So, now you know meat is terrible, and you’ve agreed to stop funding murder – awesome! But, now you may be wondering, what else is there to eat?

Well, thankfully, there have been amazing strides in the vegan movement in the past couple of years, and it’s easier than ever to stop eating meat!

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Starting from the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Beyond Meat Beyond Burgers
  • Gardein Beefless Strips
  • Gardein Beefless Ground
  • Gardein Chick’N Patties
  • Gardein Chick’N Scallopini
  • Gardein Turk’y Cutlets
  • Gardein Stuffed Turk’y
  • Tofurky Veggie Roast
  • Gardein Porkless Bites
  • Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage
  • Tofurky Italian Sausage
  • Yves Veggie Dogs
  • Yves Veggie Ham
  • Yves Veggie Bologna
  • Gardein Fishless Filets
  • Gardein Crabless Cakes
  • Seitan

This collage show only a small sample of all the different vegan friendly ‘replacement’ meats currently available. Basically any meat you want to eat has a substitute. And, these are just some of the convenience foods available. There’s also tofu, tempeh, or heck, even vegetables, such as mushrooms or jackfruit can be used as a meat substitute. (Depending on the dish, of course)

All it takes is a little know-how to make kick-ass faux meat dishes. Or, instead of trying to replace meat directly with substitutes, you could also try making different dishes. Expand your meals from being meat-centric, to include ones that put veggies in the spotlight.

Instead of trying to replicate steak and potatoes, why don’t you try making stuffed bell peppers? You can replace the ground beef or chicken (or whatever meat you’d usually put in the rice) with lentils, or mushrooms. Add in some of the usual suspects (corn, broccoli, carrot, etc.) and BAM! You’ll have one seriously hearty dish on your hands. I guarantee you that you won’t even notice the lack of meat in the dish.

There are tons of veg-centric meals just waiting for you to try them. So why not give it a whirl? And if you need some help? No worries! There are tons of vegan cookbooks, blogs, Youtube channels and even Instagram accounts out there for you to draw inspiration from. One of my all time favourite Youtube channels is HotforFood. Lauren is a master in the kitchen, and makes all kinds of breaking-vegan-stereotype dishes. She has recipes for burgers, mac n cheese, gravy, and even a vegan ranch dip! In a lot of her videos, she also explains why she uses certain ingredients, instead of keeping you guessing.

When I first went vegan, I watched a lot of her videos, and learned a lot from her videos about combining certain ingredients to get certain flavours. So go ahead and give it a try! There’s never been a better time to test out new recipes. (Not like you’re leaving the house, anyway)


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Sources:

Extinct in 17 Days

Scared Pig Picture (still from video)

3 Billion Animals Killed Per Day

Gardein Original Breakfast Saus’ge Patty Review

I don’t think there has been a product from Gardein I’ve tried that I haven’t liked. I don’t know how, but they keep coming up with awesome new foods to try, and I’m always game!

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So, Gardein actually has 2 kinds of these breakfast sausage patties, they have these plain/original ones, and they have maple ones. They taste exactly the same, but the maple one has maple syrup on it, so this is going to be like a combined 2-in-1 review.

These sausage patties are pretty small, which I like, because they fit perfectly on an English muffin. They have what I believe would be a ‘classic’ sausage taste, and have a good consistency, as well. They aren’t too squishy, and have a good bite to them. Pan frying them with some oil gives them a nice ‘crust’ on the outside, so they get a bit more crunch to them. I don’t know if you’d be able to tell by the consistency if they weren’t meat, but from what I remember, they’re pretty close. (Though I’m at 5 years vegan now, so my memory may be fading)

The only problem with these – as with most vegan products – is the amount that comes in the bag. 1 pack only comes with 5, which leads to disappointment when you open it, because they’re so small, so it makes the bag look even emptier. You could easily fit at least 2 more patties in the bag. Or, if you don’t want to add more patties to the bag, you could use a smaller bag! The bag is the same size as all the other products, and honestly I think that’s just a waste of packaging. Either add more product, or make a smaller bag.

I wish they had these, or the maple ones, as actual breakfast sausages (the round kind), that would be even more perfect. Because while these patties are great, if you don’t have English muffins on hand, they look so sad in a regular bread sandwich, or even on a bagel. If they made ‘real’ sausages, then you could have them on the side, instead of turning them into a sandwich, and that would lend itself well to not feeling like you need to make a sandwich for breakfast. And yes, I know you could have these patties on the side, but I feel like they look weird being ‘on the side’ instead of in a sandwich.

If you’ve been looking for something to elevate your breakfast sandwiches, you definitely have to try these. Either the plain or maple ones. They make great breakfast sandwiches, especially with some black salt and nooch on a toasted English muffin. Which is funny, because that’s one of those things I didn’t realize I missed until I had it again, and then I was like, ‘oh, yeah….’

I don’t often eat breakfast type foods, but these are definitely going on my regular shopping list.


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Culcherd Herb and Garlic Cheese Review

In keeping with my theme of last year, I decided for this years’ Valentines’ review, that I’d do another cheese. Because even though I’ve yet to try it, fondue just seems very romantic. And you can’t do fondue without cheese, right?

This cheese is by a company called Culcherd, and honestly I’d never heard of them before. Credit to this review goes to my friend Blair, he got his hands on some and was kind enough to share it with me. (This was back before COVID broke the world)

I was slightly hesitant to try it, as I am with most companies I’m unfamiliar with, but I’m glad I did. Also, it came in a hexagon box, so how bad could it have been? I was mildly disappointed that the block wasn’t also a hexagon, but I guess some things are still out of reach.

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Aside from my disappointment that the block wasn’t a hexagon, it was also actually quite small, even for a vegan cheese. The base was just smaller than my palm. (The widest part is just under 3in, or about 7.5cm – and yes, I just measure that for you. You’re welcome) So, it didn’t come with very much cheese.

Up until now, I’ve tried to steer away from reviewing products I didn’t really like, because I don’t want to be shit talking what I’m sure is a great company. However, this cheese just wasn’t my jam. (No pun intended)

I tried it first by itself – as I think you should with any new food – and I have to say, I didn’t really like it. It was quite tangy. Like, over-powering-ly so, and was definitely not the taste I was expecting when I think of ‘cheese’. (Though, to be fair, I mostly ate goat cheese before being vegan, which is quite game-y, so maybe I just don’t know what ‘real’ cheese tastes like?)

It reminded me more of pasta salad sauce than cheese. It had that very tangy/vinegar-y taste. The consistency was soft, making it very spreadable. It was a little firmer than hummus, actually. It’s also one of the very few cashew based cheeses I’ve tried, so I’m not sure if that’s just a thing with turning cashews into cheese, I did notice the other cashew based cheeses I tried had a slight tang to them as well. (Definitely not as strong as this one does, though)

It didn’t go to waste though! I ended up using it as a spread in a wrap, and that made it way better. I used maybe a teaspoons worth, and it was just the right amount for one of those big (12 inch) wraps. My non-vegan brother had some of it on a burger he made, and although he didn’t outright complain about the taste, I could tell it wasn’t his favourite. (Though he’s usually just happy if there’s any cheese he’s ‘allowed’ to eat)

Another thing that surprised me was the price. Even though my block was free, I took the liberty of price comparing it at Good Rebel. (If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should, they’re an awesome vegan grocer here in Toronto) There, the block was $11.99, and on the official Culcherd website, it was about the same ($11.47, but that was marked as the ‘on sale’ price). For reference, on Good Rebel, the Daiya blocks are 6.75, and bigger. So, while I’m glad mine was free, this cheese definitely counts as expensive.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll be buying this cheese again anytime soon, definitely not unless it’s on sale. I do want to try the other blocks and products from this company, because I don’t want to write them off after just trying one product.


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