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Category: Vegan/ Veggie Review

Raw Revolution Glo Bars

globarI’ve been a big fan of Raw Revolution bars for a bit now, and I recently got the opportunity to try out the new line of “Glo Bars” they’ve put on the market.

One of the things I miss most about going plant based/ vegan is some of the great tasting protein bars I used to have. My favorites were Quest Bars. There were so many flavors, sooo many flavors. The lemon pie one killed me! But, they are loaded with dairy and whey protein and that’s not conducive to this lifestyle. So, what to do?

Where can I still get that sweetness in bar form?

When I need a little boost, or I am rushing out the door without breakfast; what then?

globarfactsI can finally say, that bar has appeared!

The Raw Rev Glo Mixed Nuts, Caramel & Sea Salt bar has a creamy, delicious taste with rich dark chocolate and smooth caramel flavor. Includes organic ingredients with omega-rich superfoods to keep you GLOing from the inside out. Each bar contains easily digestible plant based proteins, amino acids and trace minerals to keep your body lean and active. Also contains omega rich organic chia, almonds, organic flax seeds and mineral rich sea salt for GLOing health. Raw Rev has raised the bar on our commitment to taste, nutrition, and affordability. Always free from GMOs and artificial ingredients. – from raw rev’s site

globar2I intentionally cut and pasted the snippet above because it describes the Mixed Nuts & Caramel bar, which is my favorite of the three flavors they have. They are so good, I could easily have a couple of them at a time. That’s my only big complaint, the size. Although they are packed with fiber, and are filling, I feel like they could have been a tad bigger. Another minor quip is the amount of saturated fat in such a small size. The saturated fat per bar is 2.5g compared to 0g when comparing it to some others. Maybe I’m just nitpicking, as long as it’s good fat I’m good with it!

The texture is extremely close to that of a Quest bar. I love the addition of chia in the bar as I love the little snap the seeds have to em. Overall, these are hands down my new go to snack/ protein bar. The price point is right, the flavor is right and most importantly; the ingredients are right!

Raw Revolutions site: rawrev.com

 

Tofurky Beer Brats and Spinach Pesto Sausage

SpinachPestoBlackSleeve-300It’s been a while since I’ve had Tofurky, but I remember I’ve always enjoyed it. I’ve been interested in going back to purchasing vegan options for meat replacement products, and Tofurky has always been at the top of the list as far as pushing their product further.

As I’ve made the transition to a plant based diet, and my family has tried to as well, it’s been tough on my youngest son. For whatever reason, he still feels like he needs to have a “meat” like item on his plate, especially at dinner. We started using quinoa for tacos, but he didn’t like that. We tried Morningstar crumbles instead and he was sold. Hmm, we thought, how bout Tofurky? We had liked it before and now they had a lot of the flavor profiles we had been eating in the past.

brats1I had the opportunity to try the Spinach Pesto Sausage and the Beer Brats. I sliced up the sausage and pan fried it like I normally would and served it with rice and a veggie. Both my boys and I agree, this sausage was fantastic. Not only did it have the texture and “snap” of a sausage, it also had the flavor profile. Best part about it? My little guy agreed it was great and he annihilated what I had served to him. Kid-friendly? Heck yes! Bonus points to the fact it was not meat!

I made the Beer Brats as close to how I would have made brats years ago. My boys requested orange peppers, so I sliced some up, tossed them and some onions in a pan and cooked them down a bit. Before they were completely mushy, I added the brats on top, covered the pan and let it cook up for a bit.

After they steamed up a bit, I pulled em out & sliced em up. I then added them back to the pan and turned the heat up a bit to get some nice color. All the while I had cooked up some plain white quinoa.

brats2This was another hit. My older son and I agreed that when we are out at cook outs this summer, these brats will certainly be coming with us. And my little guy? Yeah he ate every bite again. I’ve been up front with him and let him know it’s faux meat. He was apprehensive at first, so honestly, I was non-descript with him when we  made the initial transition. Now that he knows these products taste good, I have been able to get him to open up to new things.

Thank you Tofurky not only for great products that are healthy and ethically viable, but for making it easier on families to make the transition to a lifestyle many of us are proud of living.

Website: http://www.tofurky.com/

Food Review: Parma!

Up front, as most of you know, I am not a vegan. It’s something I may strive for eventually, but right now a vegetarian diet suits my lifestyle. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat, and or try, vegan products. I try to eat them as often as I can, so the transition will eventually be easier. Anyway…

When a couple samples of Parma! showed up in the mailbox I was really excited to try it out. Both the original flavor and the chipotle flavor were included, loving spicy stuff I was extremely impatient to try out the chipotle flavor.

I read the ingredients and was unsure how well they would gel but was amazed at the similarity with real parmesan cheese. To me, this tasted better, waaay better. To be perfectly honest, I hate parmesan cheese. Anytime we are having some sort of pasta dinner my kids look at me like I have three heads because I’m the only one who doesn’t really use the parmesan.

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Food Review: Quorn Cheese Burgers

Quorn has introduced two new meat alternative products, both of them being burgers. So far I’ve only tried the Quorn Cheese Burgers (was going to add the usual link to the product on the companies site but they don’t have this listed yet, so this goes to their main site). If I were to guess, the regular burger doesn’t taste that much different, but I will review that in another post.

Until now, I’ve loved, lived and sworn by the MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers, sorry my friends, you’ve been dethroned. Quorn’s new product are so similar to a regular burger it’s crazy. It’s not like a hand pattied beef burger, more like a frozen burger (that’s the idea right?).

The patty had a good smoky flavor, even when I pan fried it. In a bun with some catsup, mustard and relish even the most discriminating meat eater would be fooled. I didn’t notice a very cheesy flavor to the patty, again maybe that’ll change once I try the non-cheese patty.

I just want to add this bit, because I’ve been e-mailed by a few people about it. I’ve read the “controversy” about people getting sick, or better yet, having allergic reactions to some Quorn products. I even got into a disagreement with a co-worker about it. I understand how the product is made, I know all of it. I’ve read both sides of the argument.

I’d love to say this though, what are you allergic too? Are you allergic to peanuts? What do you do about it? You avoid them correct? Seems simple enough but some people don’t get it. If you are allergic to something, and have a reaction because of it, stay away from it. My son is allergic to shellfish and guess what? We don’t feed it to him.

Food Review: Lightlife Smart Dogs

I’ve cooked these a couple different ways, and while one way was better than the other, I was not impressed by either.

I had to check the date on the package once I opened these up, there was an odd scent in the air. The date was good, still not sure what the smell was…

I cooked them in the microwave the first go round. Popped em in a bun, added the usual catsup, mustard and relish. First bite… the flavor and texture were quite a bit “off”. The Smart Dog was a bit chewy and the flavor tasted like it went bad. This way was not the right way to cook it, the results proved that.

This afternoon I meant to put them in some mac and cheese, but put the kids hot dogs into the mac while it was cooking. So I had to eat these on a bun again. This go round I browned em up a bit in a skillet with a little butter. The flavor this time was better, but the texture was way off again. The browning seemed to create a crust of sorts, which made it very difficult to bite through.

I know the directions say to boil them, but I could never eat boiled hot dogs, so I’ve avoided cooking them that way. Maybe the next time I try them I will boil them to give them a fair enough shot.

Food Review: Dominex Eggplant Burgers

With all the choices out there, it’s hard to find a decent vegetarian/ vegan burger alternative. Dominex has broken the mold a bit with their Dominex Eggplant Burgers.

Combining textured soy proteins, flavorings and most importantly, fresh eggplant, these burgers are a nice flavor change. Dominex claims to use the skins and seeds of the eggplant, which is evident upon inspection of the patty. The eggplant is a strong flavor, but not so much here. You can taste it, there is no doubt about it, but it is not overpowering.

There is a nice smoky flavor to the patty as well, which after grilling it, made it taste a bit more like a real burger. But don’t be fooled, it really doesn’t taste like a real burger, it tastes like an eggplant burger.

If you are an eggplant aficionado  these burgers will be right up your alley. If not, and your taste for eggplant is iffy, it’s still worth trying. Like previously mentioned, I was never a big eggplant fan, but recently I have reintroduced it into my diet and have been pleasantly surprised at it’s likeability.

Food Review: MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers

There are a plethora of veggie burgers out there. It can be quite overwhelming actually. Years ago I tried to go vegetarian, before this current “try”, and I bought a lot of MorningStar products as they seemed to be the most readily available.

These MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers burgers are awesome, and the closest so far to real meat that I’ve tried. That may or may not be your goal, but sometimes I have the craving for something as close as possible.

The texture is great, and being a veggie burger, has none of the gristle of meat. One of the reasons I went vegetarian is because of all that gristle, it got to the point I would get sick whenever that stuff found it’s way into my mouth while eating a burger.

The flavor is good too, there’s a nice smoky flavor and no weird manufactured aftertaste I’ve found in a few veggie burgers. If you are looking for the closest to the real thing as possible, or just an overall tasty veggie burger, the Grillers Prime from MorningStar ought to satisfy the toughest palates.

Food Review: Lightlife Smart Bacon

One of the things I miss the most about not eating meat anymore is bacon. To be blunt, I f$#kin’ loved to eat bacon. I know it’s gross but I could eat nearly a whole package. I put it on everything too, from burgers to salads and everything in between. I even ate it in sandwich form with bread, mayo and bacon. No BLT’s here, just bacon!

So I was really looking forward to finding an alternative. Lightlife has been very consistent so I was excited to try Lightlife Smart Bacon. I tried it in a variety of ways and have to say, some of the experiences were better than others.

Alone, I’m not 100% digging it. I cooked it two ways, in the microwave and in a pan. The pan way was definitely better, but both ways reminded me of jerky. The pan way was a little less jerky-like as it had more of a crunch. The crunch though was not the same, bacon has a crispness to it, crunchiness is way different and was a bit unpleasant.

I added a few strips to a sandwich, a BLT. When put together with other ingredients, the Smart Bacon was very enjoyable. I cooked it in the microwave for the sandwich, and it had a bit more chewiness to it which worked great for the sandwich.

I also crumbled up some strips from the pan and added it to a salad. It was great and works fantastically as a bacon crumble.

I would definitely buy and eat this again, but will be keeping my eye out for other bacon-like products to see if one is a little closer to the real thing.

Food Review: Quorn Meatless Meatball

This was my first encounter with a Quorn beef-like product. I used to love meatballs in my pasta, and loved meatball sandwiches. So I tried these out in both meals.

My mother-in-law had made me some awesome veggie lasagna the other day so I warmed some of that up and added a few Quorn Meatless Meatballs. They fit in perfectly and had a nice Italian like flavor to them. They were somewhat typical of what any freezer meatball might have tasted like, but I was comforted by the fact I could eat these knowing they fit into my vegetarian diet.

Yesterday, for some stupid reason, I hadn’t eaten anything all day. It was about 4pm that I decided I needed something to eat. I grabbed some “everything” Italian Bread, a few meatless meatballs, a couple slices of mozzarella and some red sauce.

The bread went into the toaster for a bit, to add some crunch and to help melt the cheese. I microwaved the meatless meatballs and the sauce together. I sliced the meatballs in half and laid the halves on the bread with the cheese placed over top.

The sandwich was fantastic and was exactly what I needed. It was filling, but not heavy. To be honest, I hadn’t eaten till 4pm because my stomach wasn’t feeling so hot. This sandwich worked out perfectly and tamed the grumbly beast, better known as my stomach.

All in all, I give the Quorn Meatless Meatballs a huge thumbs up.

Food Review: Qourn Chik’n Patties

I’ve always loved fake chicken patties, for some reason they always tasted better than the “real” thing. Quorn’s Chicken Patty was a bit different though than the usual fake chicken patty, as they do not contain any soy. The texture was not as spongy, and didn’t seem like it was some sort of processed chicken, or fake chicken for that matter. Between the mico-proteins and the wheat proteins there is plenty of texture to sink your teeth into.

The nicely breaded patty had more of breast of chicken feel. Again, rather than it being a spongy like processed patty, it felt, and tasted, like a breast of chicken was breaded and served up. The patty was larger than the standard fake patty, so was more fulfilling. It made the patty that more enjoyable.

As for taste, I was surprised at how close in taste it was to real chicken. I know just about anything can be made to taste like chicken, you hear folks joke about it all the time, but this patty truly tasted, and felt, like chicken.

So far, Quorn has hit the mark every time for me.