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TTLA Sandwich

4 May

Summer has suddenly descended on the Midwest, which means I basically want to spend zero time in the kitchen with the oven on. My Instant Pot has become my best friend for any cooking I would normally do on my stove top and while I’m still a salad-hating vegan, I’m rediscovering an old fondness for sandwiches.

Conveniently, Lightlife Foods offered me the opportunity to try their tempeh bacon on the newly popular tempeh, tomato, lettuce and avocado sandwich. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you might have noticed we spent the weekend in Indianapolis, where we stopped at Whole Foods for several meals, and some Fakin Bacon Tempeh Strips.

See my spin on the classic #TTLA recipe below! Continue reading

Review: Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg

24 Nov

Long before the ages of the new vegan cheeses, there was Follow Your Heart. Their vegan cheeses were some of the first I tried when my husband had gone vegan and I was vegetarian. I’ll be honest, as a vegetarian, I wasn’t impressed.

And then they went and revamped their cheeses.  Holy cow…Have you tried them yet? They are my new favorite cheese on the market. Seriously, put down your phone/computer/tablet and go buy some or order it online.

So naturally when I heard Follow Your Heart was coming out with a Vegan egg, I was intrigued. Anyone who has been vegan for a certain period of time has tried the tofu scramble or chickpea flour omelettes, but there’s just something intrinsically different about scrambled eggs that neither can emulate.

And that’s where VeganEgg comes in.

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Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

4 Nov Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

Once upon a time, a long time ago (read: before I had a baby) Gardein sent me a few coupons so I could review their products. Well, those coupons came and went, and I never posted a review.  At the time, I intended to do a review of the new Fish Filets, but they’re old news now. With the new Crabless Cakes and Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites, they have plenty of new offerings that there aren’t hundreds of reviews on already. (Or maybe there are, I haven’t read them!)

But, the fishless filets hold a special place in my heart and my freezer.  I grew up eating fish filets on Fridays during Lent and I loved seafood before I discovered how awful the seafood industry really is.Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

One thing I really appreciate about Gardein is that they don’t cut corners when it comes to “short on time” options. We all know that’s code for “too dang busy chasing a toddler to cook.” I usually bake these if I get a chance to, but there’s been many a day where nap time happens and I use the microwave method. True story-you can microwave them for 2 minutes and get away with eating it floppy.

Review: Gardein Fishless Filets


I obviously had to showcase my new cheddar cheese recipe and the classic veganized McDonald’s filet-o-fish was an imperative. Have I told you guys we have a view of McDonald’s from our living room window? It’s pretty classy and definitely adds to our real estate value.

Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

The filets themselves are extremely reminiscent to their omnivore counterpart. There’s a vaguely fish-y flavor to them that isn’t strong as nori, but definitely makes you think “I’m eating fish.” I’ve had a few “tofu fish” sandwiches and there’s just some things that aren’t perfectly replicated with nori and deep frying. I believe it’s the algal oil that contributes to the fish-flavor, but they probably have some other awesome secrets to the taste. The breading and texture are spot on, they even “flake” apart while you’re biting into them (assuming you don’t swallow them whole.)

I made a simple tartar sauce for the sandwich with vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo, but you can also make your own), pickle relish, dill, parsley, and a splash of vinegar.


Review: Gardein Fishless Filets


If I had a rating system, I’d give these a 9/10. The only reason they aren’t a 10/10 is due to the lack of a family-size package. We can easily polish off a bag of these in one meal and I’d love to have a package that lasts two meals instead of just one.

Review: Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Product (formerly White Alder)

15 Feb

I read about Kite Hill’s new vegan cheeses well over a year ago and have been on the lookout for them ever since. They’re made by Tal Ronnen, the renowned celebrity chef who has made vegan meals all over the world. Whole Foods has an exclusive deal with Kite Hill, so if you don’t have one nearby you’re out of luck. I’ve looked at Whole Foods in the Chicago area, but never had any luck. I realize now I probably have been looking in the wrong section every time we’ve been there. Our other closest Whole Foods is in St. Louis, Missouri. We took a Valentine’s Day trip to St Louis this weekend and I made a point of stopping before we left for home.

We found the three Kite Hill cheeses after asking an employee who originally told us they were out. They were located in the cheese case, but we also found them lumped with the vegan cheeses. I’ve missed brie since going vegan more than any cheese; I’ve honestly had dreams about eating it again. I knew I wanted to try the White Alder flavor since I first read about them.


It’s no longer called White Alder, instead it’s labeled as “Artisan Almond Milk Product.” The price tag at St. Louis Whole Foods was $9.99 for a 4 ounce wheel. I was expecting $14.99, so that was a surprise, but it’s definitely still steep when 4 ounces of dairy brie is around $5.


The ingredients are simply almond milk, salt, enzymes, and cultures. I definitely appreciate that the entire container is less than 300 calories, as I probably could polish it off in one sitting.


Upon opening the package, I was struck by how realistic the rind is. Kite Hill using the same aging process with their cheese as dairy cheese makers, which explains how they achieve such a similar product. It even had that strong brie odor.


The inside is creamy, albeit more opaque than I remember dairy brie being. I was impressed with my first bite; however it went downhill from there. The rind is very loose from the soft interior and each slice kind of falls apart into rind and inner piece. It definitely has a similar mouthfeel, but it left a tingling in my mouth that I couldn’t get past. I don’t have an allergy to almonds and I can’t imagine why the cultures would cause this, but I could only eat about two pieces before it bothered me too much. My husband also ate a bite, but he had never had aged cheese before going dairy free. He ate one bite, declared it tasted like really bad feta, and gave me the rest of his piece.

My overall impression is that it’s an interesting product and was worth the try. If I were trying to impress my omnivore friends I would include it on a cheese plate or perhaps bake it in a crust with raspberry preserves. I think it’s a good marketing move to maintain the exclusivity with Whole Foods, as they can keep the price high without competition, but I also feel the price is something only dairy free people would be willing to pay. If the price point was dropped to about $7 I feel it would be reasonable to splurge on something like this every once in a while, but I doubt I will purchase it in the future, especially with the unpleasant reaction I had.  As much as I miss brie, I think I’ll have to finally attempt Miyoko Schinner’s recipe or go without.

Review: Chao Vegan Cheese

19 Jan

Like most people in the world, one of my favorite foods preveganism was cheese. I was born just south of the Wisconsin border and grew up with 3 cheese factories within 20 minutes of my house. I can’t tell you how much cheese I’ve eaten, especially during the cheese free – for – all that was the Atkins diet.

However, I’m more informed now, and as much as I miss it, cheese is no longer a part of my diet. I’m a pretty big fan of Daiya, especially in melted applications, like macaroni and cheese, but there’s really no good cold cheese substitute.

The Chao Slices by Field Roast were supposed to be a game changer. I read multiple reviews on them months before we even had the chance to try them and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. I messaged my local health food store on Facebook asking when they would start carrying them, and I got a reply a day later informing me they’d have them in January 2015. One of the perks of talking with small local owners! They posted on Facebook today that they were finally in, so we of course made a trip there.

Field Roast is known for their amazing vegan meats and deli slices but I think they’re going to be taking a piece of the vegan cheese market. They make the Chao slices in Creamy Original, Coconut Herb, and Tomato Cayenne. I was only able to purchase the Creamy Original, but after trying it, I’d love to taste their other flavors.


There’s about 10 slices in a package, and they’re not individually wrapped like Kraft slices or separated by paper, like Daiya.  The block of slices is about the same size as a Daiya wedge (7.0 ounces as opposed to 7.8 ounces.) The ingredients are all things I can recognize, which I like.


Straight from the package they have a strong cheesy odor, like unwrapping a tube of string cheese or a block of mozzarella. The slices are firm enough to peel apart, but not so firm that they bend or crumble. The first bite was like a hint of swiss, provolone, and butter. As I continued to eat, I kept saying how buttery it tasted. I’m not sure if that’s the coconut oil or the fermented tofu, but I really enjoyed it.


I was worried that I would only like them raw, and that they wouldn’t melt well, but of course Field Roast wouldn’t let me down. I tried a piece on reheated lasagna and it melted perfectly.



It still seems like it’s slightly solid, it doesn’t turn into a runny gelatinous mess like dairy cheese does but I didn’t try it at a high temperature, so it could be much more susceptible to melting.

My only dislike about the Chao Slices so far is the price. Field Roast products tend to be a little pricier than competitors, because their quality is higher, but I felt that almost double the price of their closest competition in the vegan cheese market was a bit steep. I definitely wouldn’t be purchasing it on a regular basis at the price point it was at. I don’t think it would encourage people who are trying to eat dairy free to purchase a new product at such a high price.

Overall, we really enjoyed the Creamy Original slices and would recommend them over most other vegan cheeses.

Review: Hampton Creek Just Cookie Dough

23 Oct

We received a package on the front porch today…Ilyana was very intrigued by the labels on the side, I was quite curious to see what was inside. I’m currently waiting on another package, so it could have been either one. I won a contest on the Hampton Creek facebook page, so they were sending me a jar of cookie dough to try, but I’m also waiting on a hoodie from their “justashelfie” promotion. I’ve talked about Hampton Creek in my recent posts, so if you need to catch up, please look back to the mayonnaise cake and chipotle chickpea salad.


It’s cookie dough! It was packaged in a cold pack and I could feel how chilled it was when I opened the box.


She was just as excited as I was.


I love their simple packaging-good food doesn’t always need excessive labels.

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