Tag Archives: Vegan Food

Daiya’s Meatless Pepperoni Style Pizza Review

Pepperoni pizzas are considered to be pretty basic, but just because a product isn’t overly complicated or a mash of six different flavours doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get just as much attention as the more exotic products out there!

Sometimes, you just need a simple meal to fill you, and that’s what this pizza does best.

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I’ve only tried this pizza once – for some reason it’s really hard to find in Canada – and I ended up burning it a bit, so it was a bit more crunchy then I like, but even with that, it was pretty good!

The crust and cheese tasted the same as their other frozen pizzas. The pepperoni was more interesting. Now, the only other vegan pepperoni I’ve tried is Yves and the one that PizzaPizza uses (though they might use Yves, I can’t remember right now), and I don’t really remember what meat pepperoni tastes like, but I liked this one. It was actually pretty spicy, which I wasn’t expecting. It was about the same amount of spicy as the Beyond Meat Spicy Sausages. Which might not be that much for some of you, but for me it’s a lot.

Because they were spicy, they reminded me of what Hot Rods used to taste like. I don’t know how popular those are outside of Canada, but that’s pretty much what they tasted like. They were also pretty big in size, bigger than the pepperoni PizzaPizza uses, (I bought a pizza specifically to compare their sizes). Aside from the spicy aspect, they also had quite a strong smokey flavour.

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I obviously would’ve liked them better if they weren’t spicy, and just smokey, but the smoke flavour did a good job of sort of ‘washing’ your mouth out when you swallowed so it didn’t feel like your throat was on fire.

This pizza is also the same price as the others (usually $10.99), which you could maybe argue for it being less because there’s only one thing on it. Other than that, there’s not really much to tell. It’s pretty basic, but it’s good.


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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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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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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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5th Year Veganversary

5 years, baby!

I’ve finally reached the 5 year mark, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Well, technically it won’t be a full 5 years until Saturday (Feb. 6th), but I’m still excited! Each year, I get more excited, because I’ve been vegan longer, and it’s always crazy for me to write down the actual number of years, because in my day-to-day, it’s just how I live now. It feels like it’s been a long time, and I suppose you could argue that 5 years is a long time, but relatively speaking, it’s actually not.

The majority of my life lived up until this point is still non-vegan, and I think that’s the weird part to me. 5 years vegan is amazing, but it’s not even close to half my lifetime. Since going vegan, and learning about all the bad things that happen to animals, I’ve just wanted to erase my non-vegan years, because I’m ashamed of them. I was so ignorant, and even used to make fun of my vegetarian aunt (along with my siblings), and I just look back and cringe so hard that I used to act like that.

And yes, I know that me looking back and cringing at how I used to be is actually a great sign of growth and learning, but it’s still embarrassing for me to think about. It does also help put into perspective how those close to me must see my veganism. A little while ago, one of my closest friends asked me if I was ‘ready to stop this vegan thing’ now that I had been doing it so long. They seemed to be kidding, but that really threw me through a loop. It’s been 5 years, and in the grand scheme of my over-all life, that’s still short enough to be considered a ‘phase’ by some.

It’s sad to me that something that changed my life so radically can be viewed so dismissively by those around me, but it helps me see things through their eyes. Not everyone views this 5 years as a good thing, or even as a big deal, and that’s pretty sad to think about. That someone close to me could be waiting for me to ‘snap out of it’ or something similar is just crazy. ‘Oh yeah, sorry I’ve stopped murdering for 5 years, guess I should get back to it, huh?’ Come on.

If (and this is a big ass if) I was ever going to stop being vegan, it definitely wouldn’t be so soon! I would wait at least until I saved as many animals as I’d previously eaten, so that my scale could be ‘balanced’.

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And I know that it won’t ever truly be balanced – just because I saved the same amount of animals I had a hand in killing, doesn’t make it okay. Those animals still died for a stupid reason, and there is nothing I can do that will ever truly make up for that. I’m just letting you know that would be my rationale.

That said, that won’t happen until I’ve been vegan for 20 years, and by that point, my life would be so much more changed, it’d be even more crazy to ‘stop’.

Even now at 5 years, being vegan is just part of who I am. I can’t stop being vegan any easier than I could stop being left-handed, or stop being short – it’s just part of me. I can’t force myself to start eating dead bodies any more than I can force myself to grow another foot.

It’s just not gonna happen.

I find it especially funny for me to stop being vegan, because I’ve tried so many new foods I never would’ve been able to eat had I not gone vegan. With my food allergies, it was really hard to find non-vegan food I could eat. Like I explain in my Vegandale Festival articles, it still trips me out that I’m able to go to certain places and order whatever I want, and not order the only thing on the menu that wouldn’t make me sick.

I love all the new foods I’ve been exposed to, and being vegan has made me a better chef. I’ve had to learn how ingredients interact with each other, and learn how to build flavour profiles with spices and condiments. For example, when I’m making seitan, I have to mix 12 different ingredients together, just to get the ‘base’ taste of chicken. That takes a whole day to make, and then if I want to use it in something, I have to cook it ‘normally’ on top of that.

It takes longer sometimes to cook vegan, but it’s definitely worth it.

I love being vegan, and I’m hoping I’ve been able to share some of that love and have sparked curiosity for some of you, but I feel like I’ve just been repeating the same thing each year. And while it’s all true – I do think it’s crazy and amazing that I’ve been opened up to basically a whole new world – I don’t want to sound like a broken record, so I think I may just start doing these Veganversary posts every 5 years instead of every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna celebrate it myself every year, but I don’t think I need to make a dedicated post each year, either. I think waiting to make a new post will be better, because a lot can change in 5 years, and I’ll be able to share with you all that I’ve learned. (Unless you like hearing me be amazed each year, in which case leave a comment! Lol)

I’m also still going to be posting veganism articles, so don’t worry. I just realized these Veganversary posts are kind of… I don’t know, maybe dull to read every single year, so I’m gonna cool it. If you want to keep up with what I do on my Veganversary, you can check out my Instagram, as I’m sure I’ll continue to post a picture of my celebratory food.


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Surprising Vegan Cookies

Important Note: Aside from Decembers’ product review, and the End of Year post, this is the last article for 2020!

I’m going to be taking the last half of December, and the first half of January off, so I will be back with a short story Jan. 15th, meaning the first post will go up the following Monday. (Jan. 17th)

Keep an eye on my social media for the announcement or if anything changes. (Or if you just want to say ‘hey’)


This article was written 20.06.23, when COVID-19 lock down restrictions were just beginning to ease in Toronto/Canada. Please excuse any joke, comment, etc. that is no longer applicable.


With the end of the year fast approaching, and the holidays coming up, I figured now would be the perfect time to do the next Surprising Vegan post.

Whether you’re hosting a circle-of-10 approved party, or want to eat a box while you sit alone watching holiday movies, the below list of surprising vegan cookies – along with the candy and chocolate collages – you now have the snack trifecta of perfect vegan approved stocking stuffers.

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Starting from the top left corner, and going clockwise:

  •  Original Oreo
  • Golden Oreo
  • Birthday Cake Oreo (Red 40, Yellow 5+6, Blue 1)
  • Chocolate Creme Oreo
  • Dark Chocolate Oreo
  • Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie Oreo
  • Mint Oreo (Yellow 5, Blue 1)
  • Double Stuffed Original Oreo
  • Double Stuffed Golden Oreo
  • Original Thins Oreo
  • Golden Thins Oreo
  • Oreo Mini Originals
  • Dad’s Original Oatmeal
  • Dad’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
  • Dad’s Oatmeal Raisin
  • Dad’s Chocolatey Coating Oatmeal
  • Pirate Cookies
  • Fudgee-O Original
  • Christie Maple Leaf Cookies

I was actually surprised that not more of the Oreo flavours used food dyes. This also isn’t a complete Oreo vegan-friendly list. There were some flavours I found that were only available in the US, and while they technically aren’t vegan in the US (due to bone char being used in sugar processing),  I was also (only midly) surprised that some of the more… fun flavours – like Mega Stuffed and Heads or Tails – were US only.

As always, the following are based on the Canadian ingredients I could find. I was also quite disappointed to learn that Mondelez International owned the Dad’s and Oreo brands, which made finding the ingredients much harder than it needed to be. I ended up having to e-mail them, only to get a generic ‘check the package’ answer.

The way their websites are set up is just not user friendly. Every time I do one of these collages and I see that they’re the parent company of a brand, I just know it’s going to be a headache to deal with. You’d think if they didn’t want to take the time to answer e-mails with ingredient questions, they would put it in part of their FAQ or make it readily available on their website, but alas…

Anyway, due to their less-than-helpful response, I had to rely on grocery store ingredients for the above, instead of the actual companies ingredients. This means that the ingredients I found may be wrong, or may change, and I recommend checking the ingredients each time you buy a product, along with checking for your specific country.


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Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders Review

These are some of the very first things from Gardein I ever tried.

I’m not gonna lie, like most of the other chick’n Gardein products, you probably already know what these taste like, so if you like those, you’ll like these.

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One thing I actually don’t like about these, is the fact they only come 10 to a bag. I know from personal experience you can fit 20 into the bag. And, while 20 did slightly overfill the bag, you could definitely put more than 10. Even 15 would be better. I really don’t understand the obsession with vegan companies not making foods in family sizes.

I don’t know about other people, but I don’t want to go shopping every week, and like to buy the biggest quantity of something I can, so I’m not constantly running out to the store for supplies. (And, in light of COVID happening, I think it’s more important than ever to buy things in bulk to limit your amount of outings)

Aside from the lack of food, these are as I said above, not very spectacular. But that’s okay! I actually really enjoy these, they’re pretty fast to make in a pan, and can be eaten by themselves as nuggets, or you can add them to other dishes, like pastas or rice.

The 7 grain breading on them is pretty good, too. While I can’t really describe it – I don’t actually taste 7 different grains, for example – but I can say it’s definitely different than the breading on the Mandarin Orange Nuggets. One thing I can tell you though, is that this breading is way more crumby than the other. It’s not really a big deal, but even after washing my hands I still feel like the crumbs are on me, so be wary of that.

As for the innerds – as I said, it tastes the same as their other faux chicken products. The texture is a bit tougher than the nuggets, though. It’s closer to the texture of the faux chick’n burgers.

Another thing I’d like to mention, I recently noticed that the Gardein bags have changed texture, they don’t feel quite so ‘plastic-y’ anymore. So I did some recon, and discovered they changed their bags to be made out of ____ which is awesome, because this means that while they still come in packaging, they’re more recyclable, and – as someone who recently started getting into the zero waste lifestyle – this is awesome! So while I try to move away from pre-packaged foods, I will still continue to support Gardein.

I feel like the Beyond Burger (and Impossible Burger and the like) are more of the flashy/Instagram-y side of veganism, trying to seem interesting and enticing – while Gardein is more like an old friend who’s always there.

If you haven’t tried their products yet, please go out and support them!


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Vegan Fast Food: A&W Edition

Just like with the other additions of this series, I’m beginning to notice that while there are more offerings than before, there’s still pretty pitiful amounts of vegan food available at non-vegan fast food places.

Seriously, didn’t these guys get the memo?

Luckily though, it makes it easier to do these types of posts because it takes way less time to research the ingredients than it does for the Surprising Vegan series.

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Starting in the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Beyond Meat Burger*
  • Beyond Sausage and Egger*
  • Russet Thick Cut Fries
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Root Beer Lollipops**
  • Root Beer**
  • Coca-Cola**
  • Iced Tea
  • Sprite
  • Apple Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Lemonade***

*In case you missed it when it was announced, the Beyond Meat burger is not vegan upon ordering. You need to clarify that you would like it with out the mayo or mustard.

The Beyond Sausage and Egger is also (unfortunately) not vegan upon ordering. For the Sausage and Egger, you actually have to ask them to hold the egg and cheese. The margarine they use is actually vegan-friendly! And, you can also always get the Beyond Meat Sausage and Veggie instead. (That one the whole thing is vegan, but it’s listed on the website under the Beyond Sausage and Egger)

**Okay, so this is a bit of a weird thing I discovered. For the Root Beer, it listed ‘Colour (Caramel IV)’ and me being the curious person I am, decided to Google what that was. In my Googling (it was actually pretty much the first thing that popped up) I discovered that this colouring wasn’t vegan, either. (If you don’t feel like clicking through, it was tested on rats and mice to see if it was toxic)

Some of the other names this Caramel IV goes by include:

  • Caramel Colour
  • Ammonia sulfite process caramel
  • Sulfite ammonia caramel
  • Sulfite ammonia process caramel
  • Acid-proof caramel
  • Beverage caramel
  • Soft-drink caramel

I’ll sadly be adding this to the list of other food dyes that are tested on animals and doing my best to avoid it. (Thank God I don’t drink pop!)

*** The Lemonade is vegan, but there was no picture available.

Well there you go!

There’s juuuust enough vegan food available so that you won’t starve if there’s nothing else around. And hey, at least they’ve got a burger option now!


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Breyers Non-Dairy Vanilla Peanut Butter Ice Cream Review

I am very saddened to be posting this review in lieu of the annual Vegandale Festival review. Unfortunately, this year the corona virus caused all kinds of havoc and due to safety concerns, the festival was cancelled/postponed until next year.

This is the first year pretty much since I went vegan where I wasn’t able to attend the festival. Yes, I’m bummed but the show must go on, so please accept this still summer-y review of Breyers Non-Dairy Vanilla Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

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This is actually the second Breyers non-dairy ice cream I’ve tried, but I apparently didn’t post the Cookies and Crème review I did, so I’m gonna be doing this backwards. That review will come some time next year, (most likely in the summer).

This ice cream is hard for me to describe, because most of the ice creams I’ve had in my life are ‘hard’. Like, the Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy line – how you have to chip away at them to get them out of the container? Like that. This ice cream however, is a lot softer, and doesn’t ‘chip’ – you can actually scoop it right out of the freezer without breaking your wrist. I would say maybe the best word to describe the consistency is ‘smooth’ and ‘softer’ than the others. (Or, dare I say… creamier?)

Another thing I like about this ice cream is how big the container is.

Seriously.

This ice cream comes in a 1,660ml container, which is over 3x the size of the Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy ice creams (500ml). Also, the Breyers was $5.98 at the Real Canadian Superstore, while Ben and Jerry’s is $7.28. At other stores though, (Loblaws, Metro and Shopper’s), the Ben and Jerry’s is usually around $9.98.

So not only is it 3x the size, but it’s also cheaper.

The size alone makes this ice cream a must try for me, but the flavour itself is great, too. The ice cream is basic ‘smooth’ vanilla, and it has bits of peanut butter throughout. The peanut butter is in these sort-of-weird drizzled lines. They’re not in chunked pieces like they are in the Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter ice cream. It’s actually kind of hard to explain. It looked like they drizzled liquid peanut butter and layered it in with the ice cream, allowing the ice cream to freeze it. I’m not sure if that’s actually how they get it in there, but that’s what it looks like. The peanut butter parts of the ice cream were ‘hard’. I’m tempted to akin it to peanut brittle, but they’re not that hard. And when I say ‘hard’ I don’t mean ‘crunchy’, I mean like how ice is hard – it’s like that.

Because of this, you have to be careful when excavating the peanut butter parts out of the ice cream. Too much strength, and you risk flinging ice cream all over yourself. (I totally don’t know this from first-hand experience) Not that the hardness of the peanut butter is jarring (… no pun intended?) – it melts as soon as it hits your tongue – but it is something to watch out for. I feel like, not that they need a warning on the label, but if people were at least aware of that going in, it might up their experience.

All in all, this ice cream is definitely decent for the price and size that it is, and if you haven’t tried it yet, I’d definitely recommend that you do, if for no other reason than to laugh at the comparison of size.


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Surprising Vegan: Frozen Treats

This article was written 20.05.06, 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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