Daits

Inside of the Bay/Saks/Pusateri Food Hall in the Eaton Center in Toronto there’s a little counter tucked away that sells dates. They sell only dates and they’re damn good dates.

You can buy 2 dates for $6. Yes. That’s pretty expensive for TWO DATES, I agree. But these are apparently very fancy Sukkari dates, grown in the Arabian desert in Saudi Arabia and imported here to Canada. These aren’t your every day boring “meh they’re okay I guess” Medjool dates. These are their softer, gentler, “sweet without hurting your teeth” cousins that are more refined, more buttery, and I guess, judging by the lacy-lingerie-inspired looking packaging, more sexy.

I forget the rest of the prices and they aren’t listed on the website (probably so they don’t scare people away with how expensive they are). There was even a gold-leaf-topped date that costed an extra $1 compared to the others. But even if something is crazy expensive, I crave novel food experiences, and I’m willing to pay a little extra just to have a new little food anecdote to tell. So, I guess this is the story of “that time I went with some friends and bought really expensive fancy dates from a places that sells ONLY really expensive fancy, decorated dates that have punny names.” I’m living in downtown Toronto, so I might as well live up to the yuppie stereotype, right?

The flavours looked so colourful and cheerful! What really grabbed my attention was the Happy Birthdait – a date decorated like a tiny birthday cake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Not all the dates are vegan and some have honey, but they were all beautiful to look at.

Mr. Spoon and I shared a bite of each of the signature “Arabian Night” – Date stuffed with roasted almonds, coated with our signature tahini-peanut butter mix then rolled in crushed pistachios and a “Coco-Loco” – Date stuffed with walnuts, coated with our signature tahini-peanut butter mix, and rolled in coconut.

Both were really tasty! Our friends tried the “Don’t Be Chai” – Date stuffed with walnuts, coated with chai spice almond butter and rolled in crushed graham crackers and “The Royal” – Date stuffed with pecans, half dipped in dark chocolate then finished with a delicate 24k gold leaf — Add one dollar.

I didn’t hear any complaints.

Yum. Really good dates, with good ingredients, and I really enjoyed them. But that is probably the last time I pay $6 for two bites of date…… Probably….

Have any other hidden gems in the city? Let me know about them and maybe I’ll go check them out!

BlendTec Blender

Mr. Spoon and I have been squirreling away $50 a month each for the past year or so and finally had enough in our savings account to buy the blender of our dreams!!

I was getting sick of blending lumpy smoothies with our tired old $30 Wal-Mart Oster blender that pre-dates our relationship. If you’re going to blend something every day and you have any desire to make your own almond milk or nut butters, you need to get a real blender. A grown up blender. A blender with the POWER to blend your vegetable-based cashew cheese sauce into velvety soft liquid and not lumpy mush.

Just so you know I was NOT paid by BlendTec, we bought the blender full price with our own money and have no affiliation with them. There are no affiliate links here. Just my honest thoughts.

This is what I’m talking about:

It took only a few days after purchasing a refurbished BlendTec Designer 725 online for it to arrive. Opening it was like having Christmas all over again! Better believe my eyes were wide little saucers and I was breathing heavily throughout. Pretty exciting stuff, especially after waiting for sooo long to save up for it.

Buh-bye! No need for this guy anymore. See ya!

I’d rather have this saucy minx in my kitchen!

Green Smoothie | thelittleredspoon.com

You obviously know I got to work RIGHT away and blended a green smoothie to break this baby in. Ohhhh yeah. No stopping to stir. No chunks. Just a super smooth, creamy green smoothie that went right down the hatch. You don’t even know how pumped I am to make copycat Booster Juice and Orange Julius recipes at home. Not to mention uh… literally EVERYTHING else I could make…

This thing makes EVERYTHING folks. Throw in RAW vegetables and blend on the soup cycle and you can have hot COOKED soup out of your blender!

After the blender arrived Mr. Spoon and I headed to the best Bulk Barn in the city (we prefer to go to John Vince Foods but it is far away from us and sometimes we are lazy) to stock up on nuts, nuts and MORE NUTS. Almonds, macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, coconut chips, nutritional yeast, what DIDN’T we get? Oh man that was a trip and a half. I think I’m still riding that high because I have so much delicious granola left over and I can sprinkle that all over the heckin’ tasty smoothie bowls I’ve been obsessed with.

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Bowl | thelittleredspoon.com
Like check this out! An “Oatmeal Cookie” smoothie bowl topped with “Super Seed Granola” from the Oh She Glows Every Day cook book and dark chocolate-covered quinoa. (I’ll post more on the cook book later but suffice to say it’s frickin awesome!)

YEAH. BE JELLY.

BlendTec Interface | thelittleredspoon.com
I really like the BlendTec touchscreen interface with the different pre-programmed settings.
You can learn more about this on Youtube or the BlendTec website, but basically from left to right you can choose Smoothie, Dips/Sauces, Frozen Treats, Whole Juice (this is similar to smoothie but more for stuff with fiber and peels left on), Hot Soup and Clean.

You can also just pulse it at whatever strength you want for as long as you want, you don’t have to use a setting. You can also see in the top left corner it will tell you how many times you’ve used the blender. I really like that feature because when you get to certain milestones it will give you a “trophy” and a code which you can enter into the BlendTec website after you register your blender. So far the first two codes I’ve gotten were for downloadable recipe books, but I’ve heard the more you blend, you could get a coupon code for a discount on the website for like, blender accessories if you want them. That’s kinda cool.

25 Blends Trophy | thelittleredspoon.com

Plus it’s just cute having a blender that talks to you and gives you little messages. It will say hi and bye with a little message every time you turn it on and off. It’s like a tamagotchi blender. It’s very cute and I was definitely swayed by the cuteness here. No shame. I probably would’ve preferred the white base over the stainless steel too, but we went for a refurbished model and there were only stainless available. Ah well. Worth it because we saved about $130 which was enough to buy a Twister jar as well (which we did).

I know some people are die-hard Vitamix lovers and I think that’s great! I think Vitamix is great too. In fact the base is probably a little more stable and I’m sure the tamper is helpful for some things.

What sold me personally on the BlendTec was literally just that I thought it was an equally good blender (the damn thing can blend a rake so I’m pretty sure it can handle whatever else I throw at it), but that it was a little bit cuter and that the blades would be easier to clean.

The blade on the BlendTec is a blunt flat blade that’s easier to clean and not poke yourself on anything sharp. As far as I know the blades on the Vitamix are in more of a star shape and have some parts that go up and some down. Ever so slightly more tricky to wash but barely a real problem. Also the BlendTec jars can go in the dishwasher which I wouldn’t do every time but probably will do once in a while for a good thorough wash.

Over all we are really happy with it and I’ll definitely be posting more blender recipes in the future.
Here’s a list of things I’ve already blended so far:

  • smoothies errrry day (green, oatmeal-based, fruity… all kinds)
  • hummus
  • almond butter
  • potato celery soup
  • banana “ice cream”

Here’s what’s on my to-blend list:

  • almond milk (actually all kinds of nut milks)
  • steamed nut milk (literally blend the milk until it’s hot and frothy like for cappuccinos. IN YER BLENDER) and blender hot chocolate
  • frappe/frappuccinos
  • cashew butter
  • savoury smoothies/v8 mix
  • crush ice
  • frozen cocktails

Now if only I could actually pour drinks into my Krusty Shake purse and carry them around with me..

I’ll probably stick with the adorable BMO cup my sister got me last Christmas though.

BMO Cup | thelittleredspoon.com

So Delicious Holiday Nog

so-delicious-holiday-nog-thelittleredspoon-com

Check out this tasty beverage I found at Whole Foods! So Delicious Holiday Nog made with coconut milk.

It’s actually really rich, thick and creamy-tasting. Just like the real thing – except I always found “real” eggnog vaguely nauesating. Probably because of the dairy and raw eggs which always gave me a stomach ache even before I went vegan.

But since this stuff is completely dairy-free I don’t get that gross heavy feeling in my stomach after drinking it. I really enjoy the taste, it’s spiced with real bits of nutmeg which you can see throughout the drink.

so-delicious-holiday-nog-and-cookies-thelittleredspoon-com

This vegan nog would be perfect for steaming up into a frothy latte with a hit of espresso or strong coffee. Or try spiking with a little brandy, rum or bourbon

It’s also perfect for drinking as-is and dipping cookies into. Lately I’ve been digging animal crackers, vanilla oreos and plain digestive biscuits. (I’m like a little kid who packs cookies with my lunch every day)

Check out this guilt-free holiday nog at your local Whole Foods or regular grocery store if you can find it. I was not paid or in any way compensated for this review – I just genuinely like this stuff and wanted to let you guys know. Have you tried it? So Delicious also makes a nice chocolate-mint flavoured seasonal coconut milk drink that’s really nice. Let me know in the comments what festive drinks you like to sip on during the holidays.

Cheers!

Nuts For Cheese

Nuts For Cheese Board Spread | thelittleredspoon.com

Nuts For Cheese! A great vegan cheese company from London, Ontario. Find these ridiculously delicious cheeses at the Western Fair Farmer’s Market in London – and luckily you can also find them here in Toronto at Urban Acorn, Yam Chops and on the V Word Market website.

Margaret Coons is the owner of Nuts for Cheese and was the former chef at Veg Out on Richmond Street in London, which has been permanently closed and replaced by Glassroots vegan restaurant at the same location. (run by Chef Yoda who is also super awesome )

Nuts For Cheese Packaging | thelittleredspoon.com

We bought these cheeses 3/$25 at the Toronto Veg Food Festival 2016 which was on at the Harbourfront Centre from September 9-11 this past weekend.

Margaret was there giving away free samples of all the tasty cheese and was definitely drawing a big crowd. It was great to sample a couple different kinds (like the super “blue” – vegan blue cheese! how cool ) but I already knew before I even got to the festival I was going to have to make a beeline for this place and get some fresh flavourful cheese to bring home.

Nuts for Cheese Packaging Sticker | thelittleredspoon.com

Vegan, gluten-free and made from organic cashews

Nuts For Cheese Nutrition Label | thelittleredspoon.com

Each box also had an ingredients list and nutrition information sticker.

Nuts For Cheese Brie Packaging | thelittleredspoon.com

I just love the cute packaging! Individually wrapped in cheese paper and closed with a sticker, then tucked in an adorable wedge-shaped box. So cute, I felt like I was unwrapping a delicious Christmas present.

Nuts For Cheese Chipotle Cheddar | thelittleredspoon.com

Ta-da! Looks so tasty I could just bite into it! Love that chipotle smell that just hits you right when you open this one.

Nuts For Cheese Board | thelittleredspoon.com

Step 1: assemble a fancy cheese plate like you used to do when you were a cheese-obsessed vegetarian.

Nuts For Cheese Brie Sliced | thelittleredspoon.com

Step 2: demolish said cheese plate like the hungry cheese-loving vegan you now are!

(This may remind you of that time I had a hella good cheeseboard at Glassroots – that’s cause it’s the same cheese! Go try a cheese board of your own there and get a vegan glass of wine to go with it. And post pics cause I want to eat that with my eyezzz )

Nuts For Cheese Brie on Cracker | thelittleredspoon.com

Oh god, so creamy….

To the people who are like “wah but I could never go vegan I’d miss cheese too much!” – seriously? You don’t think you could eat this? Now you CAN go vegan because of fucking wonderful people like Margaret who make the world a better place with their completely cruelty-free vegan cheeses. Hallelujah!

Nuts For Cheese Board Slicing Cheddar | thelittleredspoon.com

Chipotle “Cheddar” flavoured wedge – “Bold and spicy. Marbled with crushed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.”

Ohhhhh yesssss. Get that chipotle adobo goodness in my mouth…

Nuts For Cheese Cheddar Spread on Cracker | thelittleredspoon.com

Words are failing me right now. I hope these pictures are helping you to understand how fricking tasty all these cheeses were. Because I literally can’t even.

SO. GOOD.

ALL OF THEM. WERE AMAZING.

AND I NEED TO BUY THEM AGAIN.

This shit’s on another level, people. This ain’t no nasty Daiya. This is the real deal for real fancy cheese lovers. You could serve these to anyone and they would not complain.

Nuts for Cheese Board Overhead | thelittleredspoon.com

Make an incredible fancy cheese board of your own with Nuts For Cheese vegan cashew cheeses and impress your friends! Let me know what you think of these (and other) wonderful dairy-free cheeses in the comments.

Tofurky Pepp’roni Pockets

Tofurky hot pockets????? YAAAAS! That’s what I’m talking about!

Tofurky Pocket Served | thelittleredspoon.com

I love eating fresh, raw produce for a meal as much as the next vegan, but man, some times you just want to chow down on some nostalgic, processed, super-lazy junk food. Like those times when you get home from a crazy day at work and can’t even think straight. When its time to just laze on the couch in your sweatpants and have a beer and frozen dinner when you get home. That’s what these are for.

Tofurky Pocket with Box | thelittleredspoon.com

Actually I think they make a good lunch too, I eat these when I just don’t feel like making something, but want to eat something super easy when I’m writing or derping around on the internet. (Watching videos on YouTube is like my guilty pleasure when I’m home for the day, especially while I’m eating)

Tofurky Pocket | thelittleredspoon.com

I just wanted to share these with you guys to let you know – THEY ARE NOT GROSS! They are actually pretty tasty! I think they’re a wonderful alternative to regular pizza pops or whatever greasy omnivore crap you’re into. And they’re even kinda fancy for what they are. They have a nice flakey crust and the filling is actually pretty tasty. I’ve only tried the pepp’roni flavour so far, there are also “BBQ Chick’n” and “Turk’y Broccoli and Cheddar” flavours which I definitely want to try out. I love Tofurky brand so whenever I see something tasty and vegan from them in my local Whole Foods store (or anywhere) I always want to try it out. Tofurky also makes great vegan pizzas too! (WITH vegan cheese!) And they’re good!

Tofurky Pocket Bitten | thelittleredspoon.com

The filling is really good! I love keeping a box of these in the freezer. And throwing them in the microwave is as easy as it gets. (I like to microwave them according to the directions, then toast them in my toaster oven for another 2-3 minutes to get them a pretty golden-brown colour on the outside. Food tastes better when it looks better )

And just so you know, I was NOT paid for this post (I will put a disclaimer at the top for any paid content if a brand does decide to work with me), I just sincerely like these things. Check ’em out next time you see them in your grocery store or Whole Foods. They’re tasty!

Drop a comment to let me know if you like these vegan hot pockets too.

Daiya Cheezy Mac

Oh man, this is the good stuff. Yes, it is more expensive than a box of Kraft Dinner but it is so worth it when you are craving those cheesy noodles.

Cheezy noodles closeup | thelittleredspoon.com

You won’t feel like a total shitbag after indulging either cause guess what – these are made with brown rice noodles, they’re gluten free (if you’re into that), lower calorie than KD and you’ll get the same amount of calcium without any dairy. Amazing. Though let’s be honest it’s still not healthy.

Daiya Cheeze Mac Box close up | thelittleredspoon.com

Okay so Daiya isn’t for everyone but I really like this cheezy mac. I haven’t quite reached the level of making my own vegan cheese (yet) so this is perfect for me. The box comes with a bag of noodles and a squeezable package of gooey cheese mix. It can’t get any easier – you boil and drain the noodles and squeeze in the sauce and you’re good to go.

Daiya Noodles close up | thelittleredspoon.com

I threw in a spicy Mexican Chipotle flavoured Field Roast sausage and had myself a perfect lazy dinner.

Daiya Cheezy Mac with sausage | thelittleredspoon.com

I will totally be buying these Daiya Cheezy Macs again – I found these at the Sobeys in my neighbourhood, which was just revamped and now carries a lot of vegan snacks and products.

Daiya Cheeze Mac Box ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

I know some people are put off by the ‘mouthfeel’ of Daiya cheese. To be honest, yes it can be slightly (and I do mean slightly) stickier-feeling. Yes, it’s not the EXACT same taste as dairy cheese – but to me that’s okay. You have to try it for yourself and see if you like it before judging it! I would definitely recommend it, but a person who is really specific about the texture of their food might not like it.

Why not give it a shot and see what vegan cheeses you like and don’t like? Personally I like this one for a dead-easy lazy dinner. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Tofu Scramble Breakfast

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast | thelittleredspoon.com

There’s nothing like a delicious, nutritious breakfast to ease your way into a relaxing weekend. I wanted to try out this recipe for scrambled tofu I found in Kathy Patalsky’s Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen cookbook.
Making the tofu was surprisingly easy and tasty. As a former egg-lover I was hoping I would be able to find a good replacement for eggs that was just as easy and satisfying. It turns out scrambled tofu is an amazing substitute, and is really filling, healthy and protein-rich.

Crumbled Tofu | thelittleredspoon.com

Since going vegan I’ve been incorporating so much more tofu into my life and loving it! My first experience with tofu was quite frankly, very disgusting, bordering on scarring  so I totally understand why some people would be hesitant to eat it regularly or even try it. I tried tofu when I was about 12 or 13, I had heard that it was a popular food in Japan and wanted to try it. This was before I ever went vegan or vegetarian, I was just curious about trying new foods, and to a kid growing up in a small, boring city, tofu was pretty exotic.

I asked my mum to buy me some tofu and cook it for me. Of course, she had NO IDEA how to cook it or what to do with it, but she likes to try new foods as well and is a very adventurous eater so we did go to the grocery store and buy a package of medium-firm tofu together. Well, she tried cooking it the only way she could think of. By cutting it in huge chunks, throwing it in a frying pan and drowning it in cheap VH brand soy sauce.

OH MY GOD! I can’t even explain how disgusting it was! Of course we went out of our way to buy the tofu and make it so she forced me to at least finish my serving. I don’t think I was able to take more than two bites without gagging! It was sooooo nasty! I laugh every time I think back to this experience but at the time I was so incredibly disgusted I vowed never to eat tofu EVER AGAIN. Clearly it was one of the most disgusting foods on the planet!

Textbook Tofu Press | thelittleredspoon.com

My $150 tofu press

Many years later, after I had been vegetarian for a few years (avoiding tofu the whole time), I visited a little hole in the wall Japanese noodle shop with my mum while she visited me at University. I ordered a vegetarian noodle soup dish, and it was served with deep-fried tofu on top. I was a little hesitant to try, but when I did I realized tofu can be so delicious if you just cook it the right way! It tasted so meaty, juicy and delicious, crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth soft on the inside.

To this day my mum remembers that trip to the noodle shop very fondly, and often asks if I’m going to deep fry my tofu when I mention I’m planning on making some. Deep-fried or fried tofu tastes so good over noodles in a stir-fry, but that’s a post for another day.

Scramble Tofu Breakfast Ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

This breakfast tofu is amazing too, and I hope you’ll try it out. You may have to go out of your way to pick up some turmeric like I did. It really helps give it that appetizing, yellow, egg-like colour.

Scrambled Tofu Sauce | thelittleredspoon.com

Easiest sauce ever – just use spices, nooch and water and whisk.

I found these SoL Cuisine brand Veggie Breakfast Sausages at Whole Foods and thought I would try them out as well. They were totally overshadowed by the scrambled tofu, however.

SoL Breakfast Sasuage Packaging | thelittleredspoon.com

The breakfast sausages were honestly a little dry and not too flavourful, but they did have a beautiful, realistic golden-brown look to them once cooked. I thought they tasted pretty good with some mustard, and they would go well with ketchup, Sriracha or salsa if that’s what your into. But to be honest I probably won’t be buying them again in the near future. Next time I make a nice vegan fry-up for brekkie I plan on trying some tempeh bacon strips.

To balance out all the savoury flavours in this breakfast I added a piece of The Big 16 Bread by Silver Hills Bakery, topped with some almond butter and raspberry jam. I am obsessed with Silver Hills products and find I can’t go back to basic white breads and bagels made with processed flour anymore. This brand is the bomb; their products are organic, vegan, GMO-free, and made from sprouted grains. With 16 types of sprouted seeds and grains in this bread, you are getting 6g of protein and 4g fiber with every slice. Amazing! And it tastes good, too. Check them out!

Vegan breakfast doesn’t have to just be plain fruit or granola and hemp milk. You can give up eggs and dairy and still have a luxurious, savoury, filling breakfast like this one. See for yourself – make this tasty tofu scramble and let me know what you think!

Scrambled Tofu | thelittleredspoon.com

 

Tofu Scramble Vegan Breakfast
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces firm or extra firm tofu (drained and crumbled)
  • Light tasting cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegan buttery spread
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • Other veggies (mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, etc.) optional – I added cherry tomatoes and frozen corn
  • 1 cup chopped greens, such as fresh baby spinach, kale or chard
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Other spices as desired (chili powder, cumin, white pepper, sea salt, cayenne)
  • Optional add-ins: vegan cheese shreds, Tempeh bacon bits, few pinches freshly grated orange zest, grade B maple syrup, tamari/soy sauce, black salt or truffle salt, ume vinegar)
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu of excess water by wrapping with a kitchen towel or paper towel and covering with cutting board with something heavy on top. I used a heavy textbook and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add light tasting or flavoured cooking oil to a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet. Heat the pan over medium high heat. Add the vegan buttery spread. When the butter has melted and coats the pan, add the onion and any additional chopped veggies (if using). If the greens you’re using are hearty (like kale or chard) add them now. Cook the veggies until caramelized.
  3. Using your hands or a fork, crumble the tofu and add into the pan. Break apart any big pieces with a spatula. Flip and toss the tofu, continuing to cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts letting off steam, firming up and developing some colour.
  4. Drizzle with tamari and maple syrup if using.
  5. Add spices together in a small bowl with nutritional yeast and whisk with just enough water to form a thick sauce.
  6. Pour sauce over scrambled tofu, coating evenly. Cook until sauce thickens and evaporates.
  7. Fold in delicate greens like spinach in now, allowing hot pan and tofu to gently wilt. I added the cherry tomatoes and corn now as well.
  8. Taste tofu scramble and adjust seasoning as needed, may need more salt, nutritional yeast or white pepper. Top with vegan cheese like Daiya shreds if desired. Serve warm.

 

 

Preachy vegan moment: Did you know ONE single egg has more cholesterol than a double down sandwich from KFC? Check out Bite Size Vegan’s video for WAY more information about the lies and misinformation spread by the egg industry. It’s not even legal to call eggs “safe,” “healthy” or “nutritious” according to the UDSA! That’s because they aren’t! And that’s not even getting into the moral/ethical problems of eggs. Check out Erin Janus’s video for more information about the cruelty of factory-farmed eggs – and yes, even “free-range,” “organic,” “cage-free” eggs can be extremely cruel! Not to mention gross. Both videos are on the slightly longer side (about 20 minutes each) but entirely worth watching. If you have no idea where your eggs come from or what it takes to get them on your plate – do you really think you have a right to eat them?

Vegan Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Okay I admit it – I’m a Gardein-a-holic… No shame. Any kind of stuffed, tasty vegan “turkey” breast is going to get a thumbs up from me.

These “Crispy Pocket Meals” by Gardein are so easy to add to a meal and actually taste good. Pop them in the toaster oven, whip up a side dish or two and you’re good to go.

Easter Sunday Turkey Breast

Fake meat might not be the healthiest thing you could have for dinner but it’s definitely one of the easiest. Gardein makes really approachable fake meats that taste really good (even my carnivore boyfriend approves). This is the kind of thing you could bring to a family gathering (of non-vegans) and nobody would really bat an eye. Sure, they’ll probably ask you if it tastes like cardboard (it doesn’t) but they’ll get it. It’s a piece of turkey just like the one they’re eating. Only you feel happy that no turkeys were harmed in the making of your dinner.

So this is what I whipped up for a dinner for one this long weekend. I was craving a nice big salad and some “cheesey” quinoa mac and cheese so that is exactly what I had, along with a “turkey” breast stuffed with kale, barley and sun dried tomatoes. And of course a glass of Chardonnay could never go amiss.

Easter Sunday Dinner

For the quinoa “mac and cheese” I used NONA cheesy-style sauce with Daiya shreds on top. I added frozen corn and diced tomato because I was in the mood for some extra veggies. It turned out pretty good!

This was my first time trying the NONA cheesy-style sauce and I liked it. I’ll have to buy more and try it in a couple of different recipes. The “cheese” is made with raw cashews. Does it taste EXACTLY the same? No, but I can tell you it’s still really good. In fact, since starting to go vegan I’ve been surprised at how little I miss cheese. I was a die-hard cheesivore and as far as I was concerned you’d have to snatch my brie (or my chevre, or aged gouda or stilton…) out of my cold, dead fingers before I’d give it up. But once I started listening to that little voice in my heart saying “I know you can do better, I know you can go totally vegan”, I was amazed to find that it wasn’t that hard to give up after all. And learning more about the dairy industry and factory farming will really help curb those cravings. (Yep, this one should about do the trick… Be warned that the link contains some graphic content, but if you can’t stomach a 5 minute youtube video maybe you shouldn’t be stomaching the industry..)

Gardein Crispy Pocket Meal Inside | thelittleredspoon.com

I’m ready for my close-up…

Check out Gardein’s Crispy Pocket Meals some time and let me know what you think. I found these at Whole Foods but Gardein products are available at a lot of different grocery stores and online (from retailers like V Word Market )

Gardein Crispy Pocket Meal | thelittleredspoon.com

Here I tried a Crispy Pocket Meal with some pasta smothered in PinchOfYum’s 5 Minute Magic Green Sauce

(Addictive vegan Green Sauce recipe here)

I hope to follow up soon with some more reviews about different delicious, dairy-free cheeses in the near future too, so stay tuned!

 

Vegan Quinoa "Mac and Cheese"
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 250 mL jar NONA cheesy style sauce
  • handful Daiya mozzarella style shreds
  • ¼ cup fresh diced tomatoes (optional)
  • ¼ cup frozen corn kernels (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring veggie broth or water to a boil and add quinoa.
  2. Cover and let simmer 18-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Toss in corn and tomato and stir.
  4. Add jar of NONA cheesy style sauce, stir, let sit on low heat 5 minutes.
  5. If desired, top with Daiya cheese shreds and let melt (or broil in oven or toaster oven).

 

Gardein Crispy Chick’n Sliders

Gardein Crispy Chicken Sliders | thelittleredspoon.com

 

I found these Gardein Crispy Chick’n Sliders at Yam Chops vegetarian butcher here in Toronto. I really liked the little shop there and picked up a few vegan cheese options to try out as well.

I was excited to try these because when I was a kid I used to really like crispy chicken fingers and hoped these would remind me of those. And they do! So good. They actually are crispy and remind me of chicken (although tbh it’s been so long I actually don’t remember what chicken tastes like).

The box comes with 4 sliders, 2 packages of 2. The suggested cooking method is to keep them frozen and defrost them separated in the microwave for 1 minute, then pan fry the burgers in some oil for 2-3 minutes, and toast the buns in the pan during the last 30 seconds or so. I followed the directions but toasted the buns in my toaster oven instead of in the pan.

Obviously I slathered some vegan cheese on the buns – I used some Buchie & Sash herb and garlic “cream cheese” made from cashews that was really tasty and added some mustard, Sriracha sauce and baby spinach. I really enjoyed these chick’n sliders, they were a great, easy and quick to make dinner. They are 100% vegan including the buns.

Gardein Chickn Sliders close up | thelittleredspoon.com

Add some fresh raw veggies on the side and you have yourself an easy dinner you can feel good about. And I feel pretty confident that even a meat eater would enjoy these cute, crispy little sliders.

I would rate this product a 10/10 and would absolutely buy it again. Gardein has never disappointed me so far and I’m looking forward to trying even more products of theirs in the future.

I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review.