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Review: Meatless Select’s Fishless Tuna

If you’ve visited my site for any length of time, you know that I love trying out things and sharing what I like on here, and 95% of the time it’s things i’ve purchased myself.  And while I enjoy getting free things as much as the next person, I won’t accept anything for review if it’s something that I would never buy myself (sorry, juice fast companies).  When Melisser told me that Vegan Cuts was going to set up some product reviews and listed off the choices, none of them caught my eye, so I told her to let me know if anything else was going to come down the pipes.  She replied back and said, “Well, this might happen…” and I immediately said “YES.  YES.  SEND ME THE FAKE TUNA.”  I am not a health vegan, I love faux meats and the fact that it could be totally gross actually made me want to try it more.

If you aren’t interested in reading my whole wordy review:  doesn’t taste much like tuna but the taste and texture itself are good, the value/price is pretty good, if you miss actual tuna in a way that chickpeas can’t fulfill, you will like this.  If you subscribe to the snack box, make sure you at least scroll to the bottom!

Let’s do this review Q and A style!

Q:  Does it taste like tuna, or even worse, Tuno?

A:  I haven’t eaten tuna for 20 years, but i’m pretty sure it doesn’t taste like tuna and since I didn’t spit it out, definitely not like Tuno.  When you open the can it just looks like large TVP (and it is made from soy), but the texture is a little different.  It doesn’t exactly flake like tuna, but it appears that they were going for that since the larger pieces do pull apart a bit.  It comes packed in water and has a vaguely fishy scent and taste, nothing that will scare you away if you think fish smells really gross.  And if you like fish, you will probably actually find the taste a little overwhelming.

I made three things with it:  sandwiches, tuna mac, and tuna pot pie.

For the sandwiches, I used the Nasoya whipped mayo that I recently found in my store (side note, it was my first time trying the new Nasoya and as I was opening it and getting ready to taste it with a fork I was telling Brian [who was making a disgusted face the whole time] about Bianca’s review and when I tasted it I said “OH MY GOD IT DOES TASTE LIKE MIRACLE WHIP!” and then he left the room, dry heaving).  I mixed them together (after draining the can) and added some capers because I was sans relish, loaded up a leftover hot dog bun, and shoved it into my mouth.  Now like I said, I haven’t had tuna in a long time so I can’t make claims that it was anything like a tuna fish sandwich but I liked it.  You might expect little soy chunks that have been soaking in water to be a little squishy even with pressing the liquid out, but they weren’t.  I went to the store two days later to pick up some relish, and I baked some bread to make pretty photos (massive amounts of tuna added to the sandwich for pictures, I put half of it back in the bowl before I ate it).

Tuna mac may be a midwestern thing, so if the idea makes you ill, i’m sorry.  My brother really liked it, but I would never eat it because it seemed like an unholy union.  Brian used to love it though, so we made it.  In hindsight, I should’ve picked up a bag of Daiya and tried to go for something closer to Kraft instead of making cashew mac and cheese.  I decided to cook the tuna in a pan with a little cooking spray before adding it in because it just seemed right.  In the end, we agreed that we couldn’t really taste the tuna (partly because I only used one small can and we made a lot more pasta than you would get in a box of Kraft) so in this application, it was wasted.

Onto the pot pie.  When I was a kid, Tuna Helper made a tuna pot pie.  They don’t make it anymore and there is even a facebook page about that fact.  The reason that I liked it so much is that it had this magical topping that was almost like a savory cake – it had zero to do with the fact that tuna was included.  Even though I knew I wasn’t going to be able to recreate that, I went for it anyway.  I didn’t follow a recipe for pot pie, I just took my favorite biscuits and gravy recipe, making this biscuits wetter than normal since I wanted them to spread on top of the pie.  I pulled out some emergency frozen veggies (in this case, a pepper-onion mix and peas), sauteed them to defrost, and added two of the large cans of tuna.  I made gravy and mixed the two pans together, spooned on the biscuits, and smoothed them out.  It came out super pretty and was delicious.  It definitely tasted more tuna-y than the mac because I made the tuna the bulk of the filling.  I didn’t heavily season the gravy any which way because I didn’t want it to taste too thyme-y or like sage.

 

Q:  Can’t you just use chickpeas for tuna fish sandwiches like vegans have done since the beginning of time?

A:  Yes, of course, but I think that’s true for most vegan convenience products.  We can always use cheaper, less processed ingredients if we want.  I love chickpea salad sandwiches, but we all know that they don’t actually mimic tuna in any way.  If you want something that’s closer in taste and texture to tuna, definitely give this a try.  I would also love to see this in regular supermarkets because as we all know, tuna fishes have been in danger for years, but people still reach for fish as a ‘healthier’ alternative, even though tuna is full of mercury.  If there were cans of fishless tuna right next to the regular tuna, it would give non-vegetarians an easy alternative to reach for.

Q:  It’s probably expensive though, right?

A:  A single 5 oz can of Fishless Tuna, the smaller size, retails for $2.  I looked up tuna prices and from what I can tell, a can of actual Tuna normally sells for $1-$2.50, based on the brand and where you buy it.  So in comparison to real fish, it can cost twice as much or about the same.  For a vegan item however, I think it’s a decent price.  I actually guessed a small can would be $2-3 before I looked up the price, but that was because I assumed that regular tuna is much cheaper than it is.  When Vegan Cuts puts it up on their deal (this week, I assume), it will be $39 + $5.95 SH for a 12-pack of the 13 oz cans.  I was able to get two sandwiches out of the 5 oz cans.

Q:  So would you buy it?

A:  Yes!  Like with all specialty items I wouldn’t buy it regularly because i’m on a tight budget, but if I got a craving for another tuna pot pie or wanted to make sandwiches for a tuna-loving skeptic, I would.  Included in my box was a form that you can fill out and give to your local grocery store to request that they carry Meatless Select items, which I will.  There aren’t any health food stores around, but there is a Kroger with a great natural foods section and I think I have a good chance of getting them to carry this stuff.  I also want to try their man of taco meat because I love tacos and things that come in cans.

Do you subscribe to the Vegan Cuts snack box?  The September box, which is shipping early this week, will have a can of Fishless Tuna for you to try!  So if your curiosity has been piqued, you won’t have to wait long to satisfy it.

 

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links to Vegan Cuts, meaning if you click through and purchase something, I will get a small referral fee.  The product in this post was sent to me for review purposes, but my opinions are always totally honest and if I thought it was gross, i’d say so.

posted: September 22, 2013
under: food, pictures, products, review

Vitacost: big haul for Whole Grain Vegan Baking!

If you follow Celine or Tami‘s blogs, you’re probably aware that there’s a blog tour for their new book, and i’m part of it.  A big complaint about vegan cookbooks is if they use any ‘weird’ or hard-to-find ingredients, so if you’re interested in getting the book and aren’t sure if you’re going to be able to find everything you need locally, read on.

When Celine sent out the email asking for participants, we were literally in the middle of moving.  I wanted to participate, but being in a new town that’s small and trying to unpack all of my stuff, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get all of the stuff I needed and I didn’t really have the time to drive around looking for things like barley flour.  I knew i’d be able to find some stuff at Kroger, but I decided it would just be easier to order everything off of the internet.  I had some referral credits saved from Vitacost, and they were having a 15% off sale on some of the stuff I needed.  I didn’t order everything one would need to make every recipe in the book, but I did get a lot of flour and sweeteners.  A LOT.  Two very heavy boxes worth.

 

Yeah, that’s a lot of flour and sweeteners and some other stuff (plus I got some hand cream and a few other things), but I was really stoked to stock up my new pantry!  I waited for the book to arrive, then went through and marked a bunch of recipes to try.  Then I went through and wrote down the flours I would need that I didn’t know for sure I could get.  I ordered doubles of some flours, like spelt, that I knew for sure I would easily use up.

Vitacost is a neat discount site that sells lots of stuff for vegans:  they have a section just for Leaping Bunny certified items, and a vegan section which is then divided into the normal store categories.  If you get the Healthy Surprise Box, they carry a lot of the snacks that go into that.  There’s also makeup (even Beauty Without Cruelty), vitamins, protein powders, cleaning items, and obviously, pantry items.

I will say that not everything that is vegan in the Leaping Bunny section is marked as such – if you click the ‘vegan’ link under the ‘narrow your search’ bar on the left, sometimes it omits items that I know for sure are vegan, so it helps to already know your brands (i’ve never seen anything listed as vegan that wasn’t, though).  Like amazon, prices are discounted in varying amounts, but if you’re trying to score vegan items for cheap, I think Vitacost is better, mostly because of the sections mentioned above.  It’s just easier to navigate.  They often discount items – like their top sellers – for an extra percentage.  Sometimes they even do sales on Leaping Bunny products!  And right now, they have Bob’s Red Mill products marked down an extra 15% (through 5/29), so if you do want to get some stuff for WGVB, now is the time!

I mentioned referral credits above, so here’s the deal on that:  they have a program where if someone uses your referral code, you both get $10 off (but only for your first purchase).  I’m not really into trying to push affiliate links on people so I can get free things, but this one is two sided.  I actually tried Vitacost because a vlogger I like did haul videos for them and I wanted to help her out so I used her code. This program is featured on their front page so it’s open to everyone, if you ever sign up for a Vitacost account you can get referral credits without signing your first born over to the dark prince.

So if you would like to try out Vitacost, and save $10 (or if you hate me, go to youtube and search for ‘vitacost haul’ and I guarantee you will quickly find a referral link in someone’s video): click here for the referral link, the only catch is that you have to spend $30 to use the $10 (but you get free shipping if you spend $50).  If you’re already a vitacost fan, let people know what your favorite things are to order so they can get some ideas!

posted: May 25, 2013
under: books, elsewhere on the internet, food, products

Boxes, boxes, everywhere.

Hey, 2013! [insert non-blogging excuse here] Actually, I purposely waited to write about it until I had positive things to write. So let’s start with the happy things that are happening!

Last summer, my husband had a great internship that ended with a full-time job offer when he graduates, which he will this spring. If you don’t know, Brian got out of the army three years ago and has been going to school on the GI Bill since then. It’s been three years of limbo and waiting, and that’s finally about to end. We’re not moving out-of-state or to a bigger city (it’s actually smaller than where we live now), but a well-paying, steady job is more important than moving to a place that’s more vegan-friendly. I plan on focusing on the positives of small town living, like having room for a decent garden and trying to make more of my own foods like jam and shit. Our new house has a large pantry basement so I can finally live out my dreams of becoming a vegan extreeeeeeeeeeeme couponer!

Like the title implies, I am surrounded by half-packed boxes. But this is more about subscription boxes, which are all the rage right now, and me procrastinating. Since i’m moving to a smaller town, AND I really like getting mail, I decided to try out a few. I really wanted to find an all-vegan beauty box, but that hasn’t happened yet, but here’s what i’ve tried so far (apologies for the lack of pictures):

Conscious Box: Let’s get the big diss out of the way first. Conscious Box is not an all-vegan service and they’ve made it clear that they don’t really care much about their vegan customers. I ordered the box that was put together by The Vegan Zombie, and it came with a brand of eyeliner I wasn’t familiar with, so I checked the ingredients and it had beeswax (The Vegan Zombie did not actually pick that product out so it’s not their fault at all). When I mentioned it and asked them to announce it so other people could be aware, they didn’t. I canceled my box, but next month they had a lotion that also had beeswax in it, and when someone complained they replied on facebook that it was from ‘magic bees’ and therefore vegan (and then someone smarter than them removed the comment). They also did not feel the need to let their customers know about this mix-up. That same month, a lot of people got their standard box instead of the vegan one.

I know some people don’t have a problem with bee products, but I do and most people I know do, so I don’t trust Conscious Box. I also think their customer service is shit, and that’s the bottom line for two big thumbs down. It’s okay for companies to make mistakes, it’s how they handle their mistakes that make me decide if I want to continue buying from them or not.

Healthy Surprise: I actually got this for my father-in-law as a Christmas present, because I knew it’d be right up his alley (and that he’d share it with me). If you like to try new snacks all the time and don’t have any interest in household or beauty products, this one is for you! Healthy Surprise is always vegan (no honey here!), gluten-free, soy-free, and corn-free. There are sometimes nuts and grains, and there is always something chocolate, apple chips, and either a kale snack or a seaweed snack. We don’t like every single thing we get, but that’s the beauty of a snack box: you only get one so if you don’t like it, no big. Please note the Healthy part of the name, there aren’t any Tings or Go Max Go bars in here, but they are still snack foods. The price seems kind of high, but as long as you don’t get the smallest box you get free shipping, and these are full-sized products that aren’t cheap.

Vegan Cuts (affiliate link): Some people were disappointed in the Vegan Cuts box when it first came out, so I held off getting one. But after a few boxes, they said they were going to make it better and put more things in it, and at $20 shipped I couldn’t really argue against one box.  Vegan Cuts boxes aren’t all full-sized products, which is fine with me because if I really like something, i’m going to order the full-sized version anyway, and i’d rather get to sample 10 items than get 5 full-sized products.  I actually have pictures of these from instagram:

So far, i’m pretty pleased.  The only thing that i’ve either not totally loved (Eli’s Earth bar, zomg) or at least liked was that Barre…bar.  No one is going to make me like spirulina, sorry!  If you live in a big city you probably won’t find the Vegan Cuts box super exciting.  But if you’re like me and you’re always jealous of your internet buddies who get to try all of the new vegan products right away or live within an hour of a Whole Foods, I think the Vegan Cuts box is a good choice.  It’s a little bit smaller than the smallest Healthy Surprise box, but they’ll send you junk food and it seems like one or two non-food products to try.  It’s also very affordable.

Final thoughts:  I can’t recommend Conscious Box to anyone, but if you don’t care about beeswax, a lot of people seem to like it.  Healthy Surprise is fun, but I wouldn’t get it if I wasn’t splitting it with someone, they repeat a lot of items which is good or bad depending on how much you like kale and apple chips.  So far Vegan Cuts is my favorite, but i’d still like to find a beauty themed one, since vegan/organic beauty products can be expensive and it sucks to commit to a $30 bottle of moisturizer only to find out you hate the smell or it breaks you out.

(All boxes were paid for by me, no freebies here.)

posted: April 10, 2013
under: food, review

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