Monday, January 29, 2018

New: The Reformulated Daiya Cutting Board Shreds are Good!

NEW DAIYA Pepperjack Cutting Board Shreds NEW FORMULA DAIYA CUTTING BOARD SHREDS (VEGAN CHEESE) REVIEW

Daiya Farmhouse block cheddar has always tasted good to me, but their shreds left something to be desired. In a pinch they were not horrible, but definitely not my favorite. I mainly used them in quesadillas as a binder and a little ooey gooey goodness, but they had a bit of a strange flavor and got a bit gummy or sticky rather than melty.

Now the company has a new formula for their shreds, and they are really good and much more "authentic" compared to dairy cheese. They melt incredibly well, have good stretch, and great flavor. I only think they are great melted or cooked, however. They are not disgusting eaten cold, but they are worlds better when melted.

Nutritionally they really aren't what I consider a health food and only offer trace nutrients, but they are not too high in fat and contain no cholesterol since they're vegan. The sodium is a bit high, but most cheeses are high in sodium, so you'd be getting that anyway in most cases.

The price is comparable to other vegan cheese shreds. They come in an 8 ounce resealable bag. For someone like me who doesn't always go through a ton of vegan cheese shreds, the shreds can be frozen and still maintain great flavor, meltiness, and stretchiness when cooked. Sometimes if I don't freeze them they develop mold after about two weeks in the fridge, so I'd say once open in the fridge, a safe shelf life is 7-10 days.

I've tried the pepperjack, mozzarella, and cheddar varieties. I prefer the Farmhouse Cheddar block to the shreds, but I would use the shreds if I couldn't get the Farmhouse block. My favorite of the three varieties I've tried is the pepperjack flavor.




Here are a few pictures from a cheese quesadilla I made with the mozzarella and pepperjack Daiya shreds:

Daiya Shreds Pepperjack [New Formula] in Cheese Quesadilla

Daiya Shreds Pepperjack [Reformulated] in Quesadilla

Here's what the Daiya site has to say regarding the Pepperjack Cutting Board Shreds
The perfect pepperjack balances the rich, smooth depth of Monterey Jack with the vivid highlights of chile peppers and herbs. Introducing Cutting Board Pepperjack Style Shreds. Enjoy the artisan cheezy goodness anywhere you want a flavor boost, from dairy-free nachos to a lively breakfast casserole.
80 calories per serving / 0g trans fat per serving / 0mg cholesterol per serving


Ingredients for the pepperjack variety:
Filtered water, tapioca starch, coconut oil, non-GMO expeller pressed: canola and/or safflower oil, vegan natural flavors, potato protein isolate, sea salt, tricalcium phosphate, lactic acid(vegan), whole algal flour, konjac gum, xantham gum, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, yeast extract, inactive yeast. [Other varieties have similar ingredients; they are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and peanut/tree nut free according to the Daiya website.]


Daiya also makes other products from cheezcakes to salad dressings to pizzas and more - and I believe all of them are vegan. Find out more info about their products, recipes, and more at the Daiya website.



Saturday, January 27, 2018

Earth Grown Vegan Meatless Meatballs Reviews from Aldi: Classic and Zesty Italian

Aldi Vegan Meatballs

Aldi Earth Grown Vegan Meatless Meatballs

Each pack of Aldi's meatless meatballs cost less than $4, compared to other vegan meatballs which cost usually at least $1 more when they're not on sale. These bags come in a 16 ounce size versus the typical 12 ounces or so of more expensive brands.

They are a bit smaller than some brands. Gardein's vegan meatballs are pretty big, so these are about half their size if memory serves me correctly. However, Nate's are pretty small and these are right around that size.

The "zesty" variety reminds me of little meatballs my Grandmom used to get at the authentic Italian grocer when I was little. I used to love them! Of course, my memory might be a bit off since that was over 25 years ago. Compared to other vegan meatball brands I've tried, they remind me of Nate’s as far as flavor and size, and I really like Nate's.

Aldi Earth Grown Vegan Meatless Meatballs Aldi Earth Grown Vegan Meatless Meatballs


Aldi's vegan meatballs overall are a bit softer than I expected but not too soft and definitely not mushy at all. I baked mine at 400 rather than 375 and added an extra minute or two. They crisped way better that way. I haven't tried frying these yet.

Although both varieties were really good, I definitely prefer the zesty. It has a bit more flavor and I've become almost obsessed with them. They're really good and you should try them! I can't say for sure if they would "fool" a meat eater, but I do think many people, no matter what their diet or lifestyle choice, would enjoy these. I would say these are a great option for any vegan or vegetarian or those who love Meatless Mondays or are trying to decrease their meat consumption.

It's definitely nice to see more vegan items on the market these days, especially from a discount grocer. Aldi has lots of vegan items now, which is exciting! Check out their page: aldi.us/en/grocery-home/aldi-brands/earth-grown.

(Note: I haven't typed out the ingredients yet but may add that soon.)




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tofurky Ham & Cheese Style Pocket Review


I recently tried the Tofurky Ham & Cheese Pocket which is, of course, vegan. When I was younger I used to be obsessed with Hot Pockets, so I’m very glad to see a similar type product that is vegan. How does this one measure up?

THE CRUST

The crust looks really hearty and flavorful but isn’t anything magnificent, in my opinion. It’s actually a bit dry and bland, unfortunately. Perhaps Tofurky is trying to make a healthier “pocket” but it could use a little grease or something!

Also, it’s a bit too much of the bread and not enough filling. Now, I love love love bread, but for something like this there needs to be the proper balance of bread to filling. It’s not overwhelming, but I just feel the breading is a bit too much; maybe they need to add a tiny amount more of the filling inside for a better balance.

THE FILLING

The filling inside the pocket is really good! It’s perfectly juicy and flavorful enough that I don’t mind too much the lackluster outside bread part.

The cheese is really savory and good, no strange flavor and no aftertaste. Just the rich, cheesy flavor of comfort food! It’s not a strange sticky mess or the texture of glue, and it’s not runny liquid as some vegan cheese I’ve experienced. The “ham” bits are little slices that have a nice springy, meaty texture but not tough or hard to chew. They have a great flavor that the cheese complements well.

THE PRICE

At upwards of $4 for one pocket, the price is quite high. For a non-GMO vegan frozen convenience food that’s a healthier alternative to the more popular frozen pocket food, it is fairly reasonable but still a bit pricey.

OVERALL

While the vegan Tofurky Ham & Cheese Pocket is really tasty and satisfying, it could use a few improvements. I will definitely purchase this item again. It has 230 calories in one pocket and is high in protein and calcium with other nutrients. It’s a bit high in sodium as with most frozen convenience foods. There is no cholesterol in this item.

Because of the price and highly processed list of ingredients (ingredients provided under the pictures below), it is nice to have only as an occasional treat. I think even non-vegans would enjoy this item.

Tofurky also make pockets in a Pepperoni Pizza Style and a Turk’y, Broccoli & Cheddar version.




Last Minute Flight Deals!

INGREDIENTS

Ham & Cheese: Crust: (Whole wheat flour, water, wheat flour enriched unbleached (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), organic cane sugar, non-GMO canola oil, dough conditioner (wheat starch, garlic powder), salt, yeast, ascorbic acid)

Filling: Water, Tofurky Ham (water, vital wheat gluten, organic tofu [filtered water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride], expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil, vegan natural flavors, potassium chloride, oat fiber, sea salt, carrageenan, wheat starch, granulated garlic, organic cane sugar, konjac, lycopene [from tomatoes], dextrose, purple carrot juice, vegetable glycerin, maltodextrin, spices, xanthan gum, natural smoke flavor), Vegan Cheddar Cheese (water, arrowroot flour, expeller pressed non-GMO canola oil, non-GMO coconut oil, pea protein, sea salt, vegan natural flavors, potassium chloride, gum arabic, nutritional yeast, lactic acid, konjac, vegetable glycerin, titanium dioxide [a naturally occurring mineral], xanthan gum, lycopene [from tomatoes], purple carrot juice, citric acid, riboflavin), rice starch, vegan natural flavors, citric acid, black pepper, natural smoke flavor, xanthan gum, maltodextrin)

Topping: Yellow cornmeal, paprika


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ab Roller Wheel by B-Max Sports (Review)

I’ve been wanting to get an ab roller for a number of years but never got around to it. I received this one at a discounted price to try it out. I like that it comes with a small foam matt for your knees. It’s also very easy to assemble, durable, and built well. It’s a heavy plastic with thick, padded handles.

The New Year, New You 5 Piece Set at Plant Therapy! Available Through 1/31 Only! Shop Now!

I did have to look at a few videos on YouTube to see proper form and usage.

Works not only abs and core, but also arms, legs, and other areas depending on how you use it. Not too much time needs to be devoted to this so it’s nice to have such a thorough workout in such a short time. It does take some time to get the hang of it and use properly, at least in my experience.

It’s not the easiest exercise equipment I’ve used. I’d say it’s not for the very weak or novice users. It does take some time to get used to it, so be prepared for a slight learning curve and adjustment. My advice is to watch lots of videos and practice daily in front of a mirror. If it’s not used correctly it can be almost a wasted workout and you can even risk injury. As with any exercise equipment or routine, use common sense and discuss with a professional if necessary.


Friday, December 29, 2017

Vegan Lip Balm Reviews


Okay, so nevermind my tattered photos and lip balms - I'm not the best photographer obviously and I have been using these lip balms for awhile, so they're not fresh tubes and are a little worn. Don't judge!

I tend to be partial to hemp balms, not sure if you can tell or not! LOL

I've been using Merry Hempster's Vegan Hemp Balm for years and was very happy with it. I was so happy with it, I bought it on Amazon without a care in the world. However, it's become increasingly difficult for me to get and the prices seem to be steadily increasing, which prompted me to try some other lip balms. I'm pretty picky with lip balms, too, so I was irritated to have to begin a new search, but I have been very happy so far with most that I've tried. I have a couple more to try, too, and will review them at a later date.

MERRY HEMPSTER'S VEGAN HEMP LIP BALM: 7.5 out of 10

The price used to be fair for high quality vegan lip balm, but, as I stated earlier, it keeps increasing from what I've seen. For someone who loves great prices (I mean, who doesn't, though?!) this is a bummer, and has caused me to rate it a little lower than I would have.
As far as quality, I really like the vegan hemp mint balms; Merry Hempsters has spearmint and peppermint varieties as well as vanilla and others. My husband says the hemp is too strong as far as scent and flavor, but I really like it. It has a smooth consistency where it is smooth but not too waxy. My lips don’t feel dry and it lasts long without needing to frequently reapply; however, if you’re anything like me and a lip balm addict, I apply WAY more frequently than necessary! It makes my lips feel amazing, which is why I loved using it so long.

HURRAW MINT LIP BALM: 8 out of 10

Okay, as I mentioned, I’m partial to hemp but this one doesn’t have hemp. It’s still a great lip balm. It comes in an oval shaped tube rather than the typical cylinder. I find this helps keep the balm from accidentally exposing too much while in a purse or pocket.
Glides on very smoothly and doesn’t feel waxy at all. I prefer this for warmer months because I personally need something just a little heavier in the winter for the cold weather and usually more chapped lips and this one is good but a little light. It does seem to need to be reapplied more often than other balms I’ve used.
Price is comparable to other quality vegan brands I’ve tried (about $6 to $8 a tube on Amazon) and is available in a variety of flavors. Although I really like it, the higher price will probably keep me from buying it regularly.

J & K HEMPWORKS LIP BALM: 8.5 out of 10

I bet you can’t guess by the name - but this one DOES contain hemp. Sorry, I crack myself up!
I wasn’t sure I’d like this one because it wasn’t mint, although I see there is a Hemp-a-Mint flavor available which I must have overlooked when I ordered. Reviewers state the taste is very much a mix of cocoa butter plus hemp. I am okay with natural hemp taste but wasn’t sure how it would be mixed with a cocoa butter flavor. For the price I had to try it. It was less than $6 for a two-pack on Amazon.
It’s a bit softer than the other two lip balms and reminiscent of a coconut oil yet not greasy.
I’m really glad I tried it because it’s excellent! The first few times I just thought it was okay but after a few more uses it really grew on me! It’s heavier without being waxy or sticky. Great for nighttime use, winter use, and really all seasons.
My favorite lip balm so far. I will absolutely get this again and want to try the mint version, but I really like this one.

I have tried a few other lip balms but the J & K Hempworks remains my favorite. Maybe I’ll update this at some point to include reviews for the others as well.

What’s your favorite vegan lip balm? Let me know in the comments! Thanks so much for reading and have a happy new year! See you in 2018!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lucky Me, Lucky You: Read All about my SWEAT! (Natural Deodorant Review)


I actually hear that many vegans have tried switching to natural deodorants or brands that are not tested on animals or containing animal ingredients and most have had horrible experiences. Many vegans confess to using conventional deodorants just because they don't want to smell sweaty and gross... I was the same: I tried vegan-friendly deodorants and was disappointed, so I gave up and switched back to a "traditional" deodorant. The crystal rock type things did nothing for me. The essential oil type stuff did very little, not enough. I tried about four different vegan brands and had failure after failure. That was actually a few years ago. Good news - just as vegan cheeses have improved greatly over the last few years, so have vegan deodorants!

These conventional deodorants that are also antiperspirants, have come under much scrutiny lately because of all the chemicals they contain and the aluminum as well. Not only that, but sweating is normal and healthy, so clogging up the sweat glands is very detrimental, but you can do your own research on that. I never knew about ARMPIT DETOX until I tried natural deodorants again a few months ago. Armpit detoxes sound funny/weird/gross, but they are necessary and healthy, so do some research on that and try it if you haven't. There are tons of blogs with tips, usually using bentonite clay and ACV (apple cider vinegar).

Now, the first natural deodorant I tried was from Lemongrass Spa. I was hesitant to buy it because it contains beeswax, which isn't vegan; but it's not tested on animals and I figured it was far better than the conventional products I had been using. I got the grapefruit lily scent and it smelled pretty good, but I still smelled sweaty after using this product. (I did not detox before using this one, so it might work better after a detox.) Also, I wasn't too fond of feeling so sticky under my arms.

I tried Piper Wai and it actually works pretty good, almost as good as my favorite which I will fully review in a moment. The Piper Wai absorbs sweat fairly well (although with natural deodorants you WILL SWEAT as they are not antiperspirants and not clogging your sweat glands the way traditional products do). The scent of the Piper Wai is very earthy to me and a strong essential oil variety scent. I don't know how else to describe it. I got the bar to apply rather than the jar. It uses charcoal to absorb sweat so it does appear gray, but the company claims rubbing it in well will eliminate the gray color, which it basically did. It worked well enough that I would use it again, but I still wanted to find a product I liked more and I knew there were lots of natural deodorants on the market these days.

I checked out Amazon and found this one: Organic Island Deodorant. I scoured the reviews and decided to give it a try. I loved it! I used it for maybe a week then started getting a bit itchy under my arms and a few days later I noticed a very red rash. Uh oh! I contacted the company and they said it was probably from the baking soda in the product. I told them I already did an armpit detox and they said they still suspect the baking soda. They immediately sent me the sensitive formula to try without any cost to me since they really want their customers to be satisfied. I was a bit hesitant to use it, so I just laid off all products for a couple days. Once my rash was almost fully gone I did another underarm detox (which apparently some people must do quite a few to fully detox their pits), then gave it a try.


Sensitive (left) | Original (right)

Both versions of the product (the original and the sensitive) are unscented. They are both organic and made from natural oils, waxes, and vegan probiotics to help control odor and some of the wetness by absorption rather than clogging the glands. The original version is a bit harder consistency but can be heated very briefly to make application easier. The sensitive version is a bit soft and has a bit of a clay-like feel to me. It does work well, although not as good as the original version. I have detoxed my underarms a few more times and alternating between using the original when I need a little more better performance and the sensitive versions. I have not developed any more rashes even when I use the baking soda original version a few days in a row.

As expected I get some wetness, but there is no smell! I like that the product is unscented. Customer service has been excellent in my experience. The products are available directly on their website at www.IslandDeodorant.com and at Amazon. The price is fair and the product seems to last quite some time, even with daily use. I have had my two containers I alternate since the end of September (it's now a week into December) and still have over half of each left. Overall, so far this is my favorite deodorant, but I still need to try Primal Pit that I've heard so many people rave about!

If you've been searching for a great safer, natural deodorant that works and doesn't have that strong essential oils fragrance, give this one a try. I don't sell it or receive any incentive for sharing this with you in any way, by the way - this is just my honest review with no compensation whatsoever.

Please leave a comment to let me know how you came across my blog if you remember. On Google+ I shared "Natural Deodorant Review for Organic Island (with a few other mini reviews of other brands I've tried)". This blog was created using the following tags: sweat, natural, natural deodorant, deodorant, vegan, armpit detox, chemical, aluminum, organic, island deodorant, Lemongrass Spa, Piper Wai, review, wet, clay, acv, apple cider vinegar, essential oil, probiotics. THANKS FOR READING and have a great day!