The main purpose of this blog is to feature food that I make at home, as evidenced by the name Vegan Homemade. And for the most part I do eat homemade food. I am human though, and I don’t always have the time or energy to make absolutely everything from scratch. Especially now that I live close to both a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, I’ve been buying quite a few packaged vegan products, and I’d like to share my thoughts on some that I have had in the past months.
I tried these GoodBelly probiotic drinks because they were on sale and I was intrigued. I eat soy yogurt with probiotics pretty regularly and don’t have digestive issues, so I normally wouldn’t have bought them. I also take a multivitamin every day and eat a balanced diet, so I’m not worried about getting my vitamins.
But, if you’re in the market for an easy source of probiotics or vitamins, GoodBelly might be worth a try. I try not to drink my calories, and these little guys didn’t do much to fill me up so I felt like I was adding calories to my day, which to me is not a good thing. They taste quite nice though. Fruity, not too sweet, and tangy, the drink is made from mostly fruit juices and purees and some oat flour. So in addition to being vegan they’re soy-free and wheat-free, great for people with intolerances or allergies. I probably won’t buy them again, but I would tell anyone who might be interested to give it a try. It comes in four flavors, and I’d be willing to bet that they’re all good.
Speaking of probiotics, I gave this fairly new brand of dairy free yogurt a try. It was just…okay. Good, not great. Silk soy yogurt is the standard by which I judge other yogurts, and I really love the Silk yogurt so it’s a tough competition.
I also tried one of the So Delicious coconut milk yogurts, and for me it was much too coconutty. For those who like coconut flavor it might be alright, but not for me. I also thought it was too thick.
I dont’ dislike all Turtle Mountain products though – far, far from it. Let’s talk about their ice cream.
A few days ago at work we were talking about sweets. (I work with three other women, so we have certain things in common.) We were discussing what our favorite types of dessert are, like cookies or cake or what have you, and I couldn’t really name a sweet that I can’t resist. Sure, I have a cookie here or there with my lunch, and I’ll eat a vegan cupcake if it’s in the same room as me, but I don’t eat dessert very often. Most of the time if I want something sweet after a meal I’ll have fruit, dried fruit or non-caffeinated, sweetened tea. But I digress…
It occurred to me a few days after this discussion that my weakness is ice cream, which I don’t keep in the house very often for this exact reason, which is why I couldn’t put my finger on it. If I open a pint of ice cream I’m probably going to eat half of it straight out of the container, so I just don’t buy it very often. But geez Louise there are about a billion kinds of vegan ice cream available at Whole Foods and sometimes a girl can’t resist.
I love peanut butter and I love chocolate, so I don’t really have to tell you how much I like this Peanut Butter Zig Zag ice cream. I like to have a lot of stuff in my ice creams, like chunks and swirls and whatnot, and the pb in this ice cream is fantastic.
I went back to the Purely Decadent but wanted to try something different, so I went with Chocolate Brownie Almond, because I like all those things. I like them all together for sure. In fact, I’m eating this right now as I type. My singular complaint, and it’s a small one, would be that the almond pieces are soft and there aren’t enough brownie pieces, but I’m not really complaining. This ice cream is so rich that I can open the container, eat just a little bit, and put it back in the freezer.
Another sweet and salty treat is these Peanut Butter Granola Bars by Nature’s Path. I take two snacks with me to work every day, and some mornings I don’t have time to put anything together. These are perfect for grabbing, and also perfect for those times you want to tuck something into your purse in case you find yourself ravenous with no other options available. They’re tasty and chewy and chunky and all around good. I also tried the Peanut Choco’ version and while they were just as good, the chocolate flavor wasn’t that prominent, so I’ll probably stick with plain ol’ pb.
UNLESS I find their Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, which I know exist but I have yet to find. When I was younger I ate about a ton of those Quaker chocolate chip granola bars, and I think I would go nuts for the Nature’s Path version.
Speaking of Nature’s Path, I would like to give them a special mention, as I have enjoyed every product of theirs that I have ever tried. It’s just good stuff all around. I pretty much always have a box of their cereal in the pantry, my favorite being Optimum Slim. Their Raisin Bran is great too.
Crackers to me are like ice cream in the way that if I open a box I could easily eat half of it if I’m not careful. I usually have a box of crackers on hand, but try to reserve them for rounding out lunches and an occasional snack. These crackers are like my crack. They have much the same effect on me that Tings do, meaning that I just want to eat them all, all the time. I can’t NOT buy them though, because they’re so flipping good. Eco-Planet also apparently makes cookies and pretzel crackers, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always only buy these cheddar crackers. If you can’t find them, I would say they’re worth ordering online and paying shipping for. But beware, you will want them again. And again.
Another brand of crackers I really like is Mary’s Gone Crackers. They’re gluten free and super crunchy, and I love eating them with faux-egg salad or “cheese” slices, or just by themselves. I’ve had the original flavor as well as this black pepper flavor and they’re both great.
I’ve been looking for a way to add some protein to my breakfasts, so I picked up these sausage patties last time I went to Whole Foods. I’ve tried many kinds of frozen veggie sausage links and patties, some good and most not-so-good. These fall somewhere in the middle.
I like that each patty is only 80 calories, and the flavor is pretty good. The texture is odd though, I would describe it as spongy. And the patty is hard to cut with just a fork. These are okay, but I’ll probably try a different brand next time I’m in the market for sausage. If anyone shops at Publix, I seem to remember that they had a Greenwise brand veggie sausage patty that was good.
Every time I run out of tea I seem to buy a new kind. I like almost every tea I’ve tried from Tazo. (I think Tazo used to have an apricot white tea that was absolutely AMAZING, and they don’t seem to carry it anymore.) I happened to be shopping in TJ’s when I was out of green tea, so I decided to try this Blueberry Green Tea. It’s very good, and I think it was only $1.99 for the box which is probably what drew me to it in the first place. It smells like a blueberry donut!
Whew, that’s it for now. I think that I’ll document new products as I try them in order to share my ever-important opinions with you all. Although you can still expect the majority of my posts to be homemade food, I think product reviews can be fun!