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Product Review: Amy’s Veggie Sausage

When I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, I had no problem with letting go of most of the non-vegan things in my house. Some things I finished, some things I gave away. But the three boxes of Boca sausages in my freezer, I had trouble letting go of. Ever since I ate the last one, i’ve been waiting for an eggless version to hit the market. Homemade seitan sausages are great, but they’re not the same thing.

I saw this box of Amy’s sausages in the cold case of a health food store and squealed. Was this it? The product I had been waiting for? No, not really. They’re good, if you’ve had their Sonoma burger they’re kind of like that because they’re made out of quinoa, but with sausage-y spices. They’re also smaller than I expected, even for breakfast links. When I opened the package I thought they looked pretty sad and health-foody. They cooked up well, but the ones that were touching had separation anxiety and the ‘skins’ had stuck together.

We definitely enjoyed them, but as you can see from the price tag they are pretty pricey. I don’t remember how many sausages there were, but we had them with tofu scramble and had no problems eating the box between the two of us in one meal. If they were a few bucks less i’d be inclined to eat them again, but not at six dollars a box. They might be cheaper in a regular grocery store, but the health food store I bought them from has pretty decent prices so I don’t think they had them exorbitantly marked up.

Sometime in the next week I will have a review/giveaway for Kelly’s new book, Cheers To Vegan Sweets, so check back for that!

posted: November 5, 2013
under: food, pictures, products, review

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

VeganMoFo, Vegan Cuts box, and other vegan things.

Happy almost VeganMoFo, guys! As always, I am super excited to be involved, and yes, I am doing Vegan Dinner & A Movie this year, with a slight twist. Not an exciting twist, mind you, but a theme within my theme. People ask me where I get this, I don’t know, it’s… maybe a gift from God or somethin’.

Before a month of movies and menus and my horrible, horrible writing and joke skills start I wanted to post a short review of the second Vegan Cuts beauty box and just mention some of my other favorites from the last few months. Also, I changed my comments over to Disqus to try and avoid getting 300+ spam comments during MoFo, but that means that all of my previous comments got wiped out. :(

If you got the box, you’ll notice my lip tint is missing but I already squared up with customer service and they got back to me promptly and I will get an extra item in my next box.

So mostly what people want to know is, is the box still worth $20? I think so! Even missing the lip tint, the nail wraps are normally $16. There were two kinds of nail wraps you could get (I LOVE THE NAVY STRIPES, MELISSER) and the lotion and deodorant samples came in a few different scents. I’m very happy with the scents I got, the pear lotion smells like something from Bath & Body Works but without the overpowering perfume and actually drying out my skin (eczema = overly-scented lotions are worthless). The deodorant makes my armpits smell like a mojito! Sunscreen samples are always welcome as it’s something we all need (or you should use if you don’t think you need it). I haven’t used the sample soap yet but I am down for anything pepperminty. I haven’t tried the nail wraps yet because I want my nails to at least be semi-uniform in length. So of course I broke a nail yesterday.

If I had to get rid of one thing, it would be the zit stick. I do have acne problems, but that’s why I already have a daily routine that involves zit cream so a spot stick will just result in my drying my zits out to the point of flaking. However, Brian rarely gets zits and complains when I try to put things in his face, so I will save it for chasing him around the house.

Above all, I like to try new things so even if I get something and it isn’t totally my jam, I still think it’s fun to try.  If you want to order your own beauty box, and you should, do it!  [affiliate link]

And here are some other things that i’ve tried out and enjoyed these past few months, either to put on my person or in my mouth.

Wet n Wild MegaEyes Crème Eyeliner, Black
: I finally found a type of eye-liner that I can’t totally mess up! I don’t know what’s wrong with my hands or my eyelids, but I cannot get a clean line with pencils, sticks, and certainly not liquid eyeliners. My hand isn’t steady and maybe my eyelids are coated in satan. It’s easy to get a pigmented line and put this on in short strokes instead of trying to be swift about it. I’m sure I could upgrade to a fancier brand, but I have no complaints so far about WnW and i’m on a budget. (P.S. Wet n’ Wild has a vegan list, I recommend copying it into wordpad so you can take a print out and peer back and forth between the list and the numbers. I found trying to scroll up and down on my phone to be even more annoying.)

Wet n Wild Fergie Eyeshadow Primer: Okay, I have oily lids and I have tried all kinds of eye primers and they’ve all done dick for me. Not only are my eyelids oily, but they’re hooded and droopy and I basically stopped wearing eyeshadow because it got to the point where nothing would stay. And then I decided to take a chance on being embarrassed by owning a Fergie product, and omgzzzzzzzzz. I have tried this with tarte eyeshadows, ELF (cheap-o and mineral) eyeshadows, super natural cream eyeshadows, every level of quality basically and shit stays put. It’s a god damned miracle product.

Everything I found at TJ Maxx! Your mileage will certainly vary, the first time I went into the TJ Maxx here they had no makeup of any kind, but I lucked out big time and found Spa Ritual for the first time ever, some ORLY duos and mini sets (I love mini polishes, I got more colors and will still get multiple applications out of each bottle, for the same price as one full-price bottle of ORLY), and two food items that i’ve only gotten in previous Vegan Cuts snack boxes. Shitty instagram photo:

If you aren’t wise to TJ Maxx outside of their stupid Maxxinista commercials, they have marked down items that rotate in and out. Mostly they push the ‘designer brands for less’ angle, but you can really score in the beauty aisle and what food they do carry is usually supposed to be ‘fancy’ so it’s actually pretty easy to find vegan things there. In addition to the brands above i’ve found derma-e, Pacifica, DermOrganic, and I think Avalon Organics. They also had ELF makeup, but it cost the same amount as it does on the website and people were being gross and opening all of it and then leaving the palettes on the table. GROSS.

And finally, the best thing I have put in my face all summer are these peanut butter brownies with Dandies. I can no longer buy Dandies because I moved, but I picked up a bag on a whim while visiting my father-in-law and tried out this recipe and they are. The best. I think this was from before they changed the marshmallow sized, so be sure to chop your dandies in 1/4ths or at least half if you try it.

posted: August 31, 2013
under: lists, pictures, products

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