Friday, November 13, 2015

Lots & Lots of New Yummy Vegan Goodies: Product Reviews

From time to time, I get sent special vegan products and goodies that are new to the market, with the idea that I will do a review of them on my blog. Over 50% of the time, I don't really fall in love with the product, and I decide that I probably wouldn't buy it again, and I decide not to do a review. My policy is that if this is a product that I buy again with my own money, then it's worth sharing with my blog readers.

Back when I first started blogging and reading blogs, reading about vegan products was actually one of the most helpful parts of the blogging community for me. There weren't nearly as many choices back then, and often I heard about something for the first time from a fellow blogger. This is still true today, in fact. And I like knowing what's good and what's worth looking for or ordering online, and what isn't. The word of mouth and recommendations from friends mean a lot to me. Especially when specialty vegan products can be pricey or can require an online order + shipping costs. I don't usually do any negative reviews, because it doesn't really seem worth my energy. If I were really strictly a review-oriented blog, I would do that... but as you know, I tend to focus on home cooking.

So, all that is to say that the products below have passed my muster. Some of them I've actually had for quite a while, sitting in my "to be blogged about" file... while I waited to see how I really felt about them, how often I used them, etc.

Yuve asked me about sampling their protein powder and then they sent me this most adorable little package. I have to say, that mid-size shaker cup has become my #1 favorite. Also, I have to say, this Yuve protein powder is absolutely great. I have several different protein powders in my cupboards and I tend to drink them on days when I've had a strong workout or my planned meals are otherwise leaning toward the low-protein side of things. Yuve is packed with lots of good ingredients and has a great nutritional profile:
155 Calories, 16 g protein, 25% calcium, 18% B12, and lots of other good stuff too.
You can see their whole nutrition/ingredients page here

But most of all, this stuff is seriously, legitimately tasty. It has quickly become my favorite tasting of all the protein powders, and my go-to choice when I don't need my protein powder to also be packed with every nutrient ever. Since I received this trial package, I have purchased and consumed two small tubs of Yuve, so I think that is a pretty good endorsement. I really love this stuff. It looks like they even have a deal on their website right now where you can receive a trial packet for free, so you should check it out! They were also voted the favorite protein powder in the VegNews Awards, so clearly I'm not the only one who likes this stuff.

So Delicious:
CocoWhip! and Oregon Mixed Berry Coconut Milk Ice Cream
and Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum! This was pretty much one of the best packages I have ever received in my whole life. Even with all the new vegan ice creams out there in the world, I am and always have been a So Delicious fan. I usually go for chocolatey flavors, so it was fun to receive these two berry flavors that I wouldn't have necessarily picked, but both of which I really loved. Strawberry ice cream reminds me of my childhood! In this Strawberry ice cream you can definitely taste the coconut base. I don't always like that, but in this case, strawberry and coconut seem to be a nice flavor combo, so it's not a problem at all. That said, this Oregon Mixed Berry ice cream really stole my heart. It's a beautiful purpley-red color, and is laced through with ribbons of berry jam. The berry flavor is so strong that you don't taste the coconut base nearly as much. It's so delicious! My only "complaint" about these ice creams is that they got really hard in my freezer and each time I wanted some, I was forced to wait several minutes before it was scoopable. Several long, emotionally uncomfortable minutes, if you know what I mean. Ha ha. 

warning!! This might happen to you too

Now, let's talk about the So Delicious CocoWhip! This biz is GOOD. I had heard of it, but I didn't realize that it would make my life complete. It's easy to keep because you can keep it in the freezer and then just thaw it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before eating it, and then you can re-freeze it. It comes in regular and lite, but even the regular is only 30 calories for a generous 2 Tbsp dollop. It's super light and fluffy and sweet but not overwhelming. It's so fun to eat. Be warned. I am considering making myself a bonus pumpkin pie just so I can eat it with this stuff. When we were in NYC, our housesitters made some delicious sweet stewed quince halves and left us some in the fridge, each with a scoop of CocoWhip in the center. What a beautiful treat to come home to! This is a product I probably never would have selected because whipped cream / cool whip isn't something I really missed. But now that I've tried it, I am a big fan for sure! 

Coconut Dream Yogurts

I wasn't sure about reviewing these yogurts. I am, in truth, a soy yogurt fan. I make my own unsweetened yogurt, which I am quite stoked about. Usually if I want a fruity yogurt, I just add some jam to my homemade soy yogurt, and am content. But - as you know - soy yogurt is sadly underrepresented in the market today. (*cries real tears for the loss of WholeSoy*) The two main reasons I prefer soy yogurt over other non-dairy yogurts is that 1) they have protein and 2) they seem naturally thick and seem to require fewer gums and thickeners. All that said, I think that if you are fan of coconut yogurts, you will like these new ones from Coconut Dream. I especially liked the Raspberry and Vanilla flavors (but, that's probably in part because I especially like those flavors in general). They don't have protein, and they're definitely on the sweetie side of life, but if you're looking for a sweet yogurt treat that has probiotics and is dairy-free (and soy-free, which might be a preference for some of you), I think you should give these a try. I definitely liked them more than some other coconut yogurts and almond milk yogurts I have tried.

Also, some of those European soy yogurt companies should please bring their bounty to the USA.

I love these little mints! They are sweetened with Xylitol, and are free of aspartame. Aspartame gives Mr. VE&T leg cramps (!), so we learned a while ago not to buy chewing gum or other things sweetened with it. Xylitol has a pretty good flavor in applications like this, I think - but it is also poisonous to dogs, so keep your mints away from your pups!

this is me, poppin' the pur mints on my way to class

I love the variety of flavors these mints come in: Polar Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Mojito Lime Mint (yum!) and Tangerine Tango. I like to have mints in my purse, because sometimes when I am on my way to teach yoga class, I get worried that I may have eaten too much garlic or drank too much coffee at lunch time. Ha ha. Having mints on hand is a good thing! I really like the flavor of these, and I also like the texture and feel. They're not tiny, so one is enough, and they have a pleasing oval shape that's fun to have in your mouth. Plus, they're smooth and not grainy. I have a couple packs left still, but this is definitely a product I'd buy again to keep on hand for my pre-teaching moments! I see that Pur brand also makes vegan chewing gum - so I'll look for that too.

If you're interested, they gave me code to share with my readers for $10 off an order: VEATST10  give 'em a try! They make gum too!

Have you had these? First of all, I love that name. And also, I love their packaging. It's covered in awesome cartoons of badass vegans being badasses while eating power cookies. YES. Badass cookies come out of their silvery package looking like swampy-green hockey pucks, but actually, they are really yummy! They're a moist (a little too crumbly perhaps), dense oatmeal-raisin cookie full of oatmeal flakes and raisins. I don't know what spirulina tastes like on its own - but I didn't find a distracting taste of it here. I took one of these on a big hike and had it with my sandwich for lunch, and I was super stoked at how filling and yummy and satisfying it was. These babies are not particularly low-cal, but they aren't small either. I broke my other one into two-pieces, and still felt like I got two good snacks out of it.
Here are the stats per cookie:
360 calories, 13 g sugar, 10 gr protein, 15% Iron

just saying the word "badass" kinda makes you feel like a badass

I received this quite a while ago, but am only now finally writing about them. Sorry, Marukan friends! First of all, just a nod out to them for some exemplary packaging. As someone who took Japanese art history in college and fell in love with Edo period prints, this box totally made me happy. It took me an irrationally long time to finally recycle it.

As for the products, well, they are really good! I already had purchased Marukan Rice Vinegar many times, but I hadn't ever tried Seasoned Rice Vinegar or Ponzu Sauce. The seasoned vinegar has added sugar and salt and is used in making sushi rice and in many other recipes for just a little extra kick. I've especially fallen in love with that Sudachi Ponzu though. It's a slightly sweeter and citrusy soy sauce that adds an extra touch of je n'sais quois to your cooking. I love it! I see on their website that they also have a Yuzu Ponzu (Sudachi and Yuzu are two Japanese citrus varietals), so when I run out of this bottle maybe I'll try the Yuzu one next. It's fun to have special ingredients like these in your pantry to spice up your regular culinary efforts!

I think "Ponzu" would be a good name for a dog.

Upton's Naturals Jackfruit: Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas

YUM! Last, but definitely not least, in this line-up of vegan products are the new Jackfruit offerings from Upton's Naturals. Have you had a chance to try them yet? I first tried these at the VidaVeganConIII down in Austin TX, where Dan & Nicole from Uptons had samples at the Vegan Fair, and then were also selling tacos and sandwiches at one of the evening events. They use young jackfruits, which they have very carefully and conscientiously and ethically sourced from Thailand. The young jackfruits haven't yet developed a fruity flavor, but they do have an excellent chewy and "meaty" texture. Like tofu, they are happy to impart whatever flavors you bless them with - and these two mixes from Uptons are both really great: super high flavor, ready to heat-and-eat, great taste and great texture. You can pretty much open the package, heat it up, and eat it. 

I used my Chili-Lime Carnitas for some homemade tacos with a pickled carrot-jalepeno-cabbage slaw, and an avocado-lime-cilantro sauce. SUCH a great combo. And dinner was ready in minutes! I used my BBQ jackfruit to make simple and delicious little sandwiches (I accidentally deleted my photo) - with some sauteed red cabbage on fresh bread. I really love these and will definitely have them on hand. They have a nice long shelf life and don't need to be refrigerated either, which is nice. Just a note, as far as "meat substitutes" go - these have great taste and great texture, but pretty much no protein, so you'll need to meet your daily protein needs in other ways. However, they're also super low-cal (180 calories in a whole box), so they make for a nice light dinner component. They're also soy-free, oil-free, and gluten-free... but deffers not flavor-free! So, you can enjoy these with pretty much all your various dietary-needs friends and family. 

The Upton's Guy and Me... groovin' on each other.
I wonder what he sees in me??

p.s.! We have a winner!
Congratulations to Dana
Dana, you've won a copy of DIY Vegan
Thanks for reading my blog!


  1. Oh my god you with a mustache!! <3 <3 <3

  2. I've had the Badass Cookie and it's pretty good for a healthy treat! I also agree that soy yogurt tends to be the best although have you tried Kite Hill's yet? So so good!

  3. Great product information, thanks! I got one of the Badass Cookies awhile back, but hubby ate it before I could get to it! Must find another! :-)

  4. I have been dying to try the Upton's jackfruit, but so far it's nowhere to be seen in Seattle! I didn't even realize that brand of coconut yogurt existed! And i agree, I am so in love with Coco whip!

  5. I also can't wait to try Upton's jackfruit. I did hear it is in Buffalo and I am headed there today. I tried to sign up for the Yuve sample, it costs $5 for the "free sample" after shipping and handling. Hopefully it will eventually show up in my vegan cuts box. :)

  6. Yay!! I think I got all of these same packages, except no Pur mints. :-( But I do love those! The Upton's was probably my fave of them all. And the rice vinegar! I'm on the very last of the seasoned rice vinegar and quite sad about it. That will definitely be my new go-to rice vinegar.

  7. Nick fell in love with Yuve at VVC, I wonder if I can get some shipped to Japan for him?! I'm also crazy in love with Marukan's packaging and would love to try their ponzu sauce.

  8. "My policy is that if this is a product that I buy again with my own money, then it's worth sharing with my blog readers."
    A good policy!
    These all sound so good! I have the jackfruit in my cupboard right now, wasn't sure what to do with it, but I should totally make a taco or "taco bowl" out of it. Yum!
    I'm with 'ya on So Delicious. There is no other vegan ice cream in my mind ;p
    I want a Badass cookie!!!!


I love comments, they really make my day!