Favorite Things: Field Roast’s Vegan Cheese

I love Field Roast. I haven’t tried all their products, but I’ve always loved what I’ve eaten. This post is about their new line of vegan cheeses.

I was aware that Field Roast had released three vegan cheeses, but I hadn’t gotten around to going to Whole Foods to get them. I was on my way in to work one day and stopped off at WF to get something for lunch. I checked and saw they had the cheeses! I purchased the Tomato Cayenne with Spicy Peppers. It suits my taste.

The cheese before I ate it all.

The cheese before I ate it all.

I dragged the cheese to my office where it sat in the fridge all day. Then I dragged it to my yoga studio where the instructor very kindly put it in their fridge for me while I took class. I was serious about wanting to try this cheese! Then I ran home to see what it was all about (and I was dying at this point to get at it!!!).

First, let me say that I have had my share of vegan cheeses. I’m not new to the vegan cheese idea. Most have been horrible. There was one I found that did not taste good if I ate it straight, but it worked just fine on a sandwich. The problem is that the brands I tend to like can’t be bought locally so I have to order them. This gets expensive so I stopped doing it.

So I was excited that I could buy some vegan cheese locally, I had high hopes because I had liked previous Field Roast products, but I was also prepared for a strong dose of reality to hit. I’ve just had too many negative experiences with vegan cheeses. But I got down to it and set about making a grilled cheese.

Step One: What does this cheese look like? 

It looked like cheese. It’s sliced like cheese. I could see the peppers in it. We were off to a good start (check out this video to see what the cheese looks like).

Step 2: Hmmm….Maybe I should taste it first?

I was thinking that before I went through all the trouble of making a grilled cheese just to have it taste nasty and

Looks like cheese!

Looks like cheese!

throw it out, maybe I should take a bit of the cheese. Then I remembered the one vegan cheese I didn’t like to eat straight but I liked fine on a sandwich. Ok….I’m committed to making this sandwich no matter what. But what does it taste like straight?

It’s the closest thing to cheese that I have ever had. I ended up eating an entire slice straight (and then later a second one).  It’s pretty good.

Step 3: How does it melt?

Excellent. Works just like a dairy-based cheese.

Step 4: How is this sandwich?

I am addicted. Seriously. I am hooked. I have been eating them almost every day. I am going to be near a WF tonight, and I am buying about five more packages of the stuff. It will keep in the fridge for months (it says not to freeze it), but I am plenty confident in my ability to work through five packages without a problem. I seem to be needing a pack a week.

The cheese runs a little over 5.00 a pack for 10 slices. It is completely worth the money. I am excited to see what else I can do with the cheese in the near future (and the Field Roast site has some suggestions). For now, I am loving myself a simple vegan, grilled cheese sandwich. Toss in a Caesar side salad a’la Thug Kitchen and you’ve got yourself a quick and delicious lunch (and 100% vegan).

Three Years Ago Today on MBYL

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

Favorite Things: Wholly Guacamole

I have briefly noted my love for wholly guacamole back when I made vegan toast. My love affair with them just continues to grow. Their product is just so freaking perfect and solves all my issues with avocados. Yes, I have issues with avocados. Basically, I love them but:

  • they are expensive
  • I can never eat an entire avocado at once
  • I can’t figure out what to do to keep my leftover from going bad and I am tired of trying to figure it out.

Wholly Guacamole solves all these issues for me. Their product is not expensive. It doesn’t not matter how much I eat (or don’t eat) at once, and it saves just fine. It’s also delicious.

I first got addicted to their Avocado Verde. It’s got jalapenos in it, and it’s a little spice. You can get non-spicy items if you’re not into it. The Avocado Verde is what I was using on my toast.

Avocado Verde in action

Avocado Verde in action

But then, one day I went to the store and they were sold out! Nuts! So I picked up a mini-pack of guacamole. Also totally delicious. The great thing about the guacamole – I’m not sure if this is the case with the Avocado Verde – is that you can freeze them. So if I don’t eat all my guacamole, I don’t have to toss it out! I love this stuff. And FYI: the mini-packs save. I use about half of one on my toast, cover it back up, put it in a zip lock bag, and it keeps just fine.

You can use this stuff on just about anything. Obviously you can dip chips in it (which, oddly enough, I have not done). You can use it to make the vegan toast. You can add cucumbers onto the vegan toast by the way and that is also delicious. You can put it on a salad. I recently put some on a salad and the salad was soooo good I ate it and forgot to take a picture to show you. In case you need some inspiration, they have recipes for you. I’m already thinking the deconstructed guacamole looks like a necessary thing to eat.

I found Wholly Guacamole by accident one day in the produce section. It was hanging out in a case next to freshly prepared salsas. I’m addicted. Completely and totally addicted. Mostly I am thrilled to be able to enjoy my avocado eating without having to deal with the purchase of an actual avocado.

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

It’s Not January – It’s Veganuary!

Forgive me, for I am a little late to the game on this one. Recently, I came across this great website which challenges you to go vegan for the month of January. It’s called Veganuary.

You might recall that I did a 30-Day vegan challenge a couple of years ago. The challenge wasn’t always easy for me, but it was worth it. I did struggle with learning how to approach eating as a vegan and shedding my old dietary habits. But it was worth it because it caused me to think deeply about what I ate and why I was eating it.

hello veganWhile I wasn’t 100% vegan during my challenge (I had at least one slip up), I was pretty close – like 99% close. And when it was over, I chose to remain eating vegan. Over time, I have recognized that eating out as a vegan is difficult. In some cases – due to work reasons – I find myself in a position where there’s nothing vegan around me (or soooo very little). So I go vegetarian. It works.

I went vegetarian, and was probably vegetarian for almost a year, before I embarked on a vegan challenge. For me, it was a necessary step. I had to completely redo how I thought about food and rethink what I ate. Veganuary might sound like something you’re ready for, and it might not. But – if it’s not – consider if you can challenge yourself to rethink one thing about your daily eating habits.

For example….

  • Could you give up eating meat at breakfast? Or eggs? You could replace it with this vegan toast.
  • Could you give up butter? Try replacing it with Earth Balance.
  • Could you take part in Meatless Mondays (or just any single day of the week?)?

Of course, you might be wondering why you would want to be vegetarian, vegan, or even scale back on animal products all together. And the reasons could be numerous, but as far as your health goes, it’s going to help you with your weight, blood pressure, and even cholesterol. Well – it could. Because it’s easy to be vegetarian and eat garbage (and remember that oreos are vegan! not gonna do to well if you eat them by the bag full though, right?).

I view vegetarian/vegan eating as a way to be more mindful about what I eat and why. You can, of course, be mindful at any meal no matter what you eat. But for me, I see the idea of Veganuary as being presented with an opportunity to be more mindful even if one isn’t a full participant. It is a great way to take a step back from our daily eating habits and consider what we are eating and why we are eating it. Then, if we want to, it’s also an opportunity to consider eating in similar or different ways.

Veganuary doesn’t have to be an all of nothing event. I encourage you to use this as a way to explore your diet and the effect your diet has on your practice.

Featured Recipe: Spaghetti with Lemon & Parmesan

This is a vegetarian recipe that is Boyfriend approved. Actually, The Boyfriend is starting to catch on to the fact that my vegetarian and vegan cooking is very tasty and not at all terrifying.

I wanted to do a very simple dish that can be thrown together in a pinch. And I believe the author of today’s recipe  pretty much just invented the sauce based on things she saw lying around in her fridge. So you may already have what you need.

The thing to know about this recipe is that I read it a hundred times because I couldn’t believe I wasn’t supposed to heat the sauce. The recipe calls for you to make a sauce that includes:

1 cup (250ml) cream
3 cups finely grated Parmesan/Pecorino cheese
juice and rind of one lemon
1tsp Dijon mustard

However, nowhere does it say that the sauce is to be heated. You mix it all up and toss it onto cooked spaghetti. I had the cream, but I was too lazy to grate the parm. I just threw a block into the food processor. So this is what I got:

014

 

You can already see I’m dealing with chunks here. I think I thought the chunks would melt when I put them on the hot spaghetti. They did not, and I got a meal that looked like this:

016

 

Not bad – but chunky (and totally my fault). However, later on The Boyfriend made it again with leftover sauce. He heated the sauce and melted the cheese down. It was fabulous! So – if you are lazy like me and don’t want to grate, that’s fine. I don’t think you have to. However, I do recommend that you heat up the sauce. It was fine added directly to the spaghetti, but it was even better when it was heated up.

Ok – simple vegetarian spaghetti meal. What more could you ask for? Perfect for the winter.

Featured Recipe: Vegetarian Mexican Salad

I’ve gotten back into eating salads again. After about a week or so I turned to Pinterest to get some inspiration and jazz things up a bit. I did a search for Vegetarian Mexican Salads and found a great recipe for a burrito bowl. I wasn’t interested in putting rice as the bottom layer of my dish, but I used the rest of the recipe to create a great salad.

001I did make a few modifications to the recipe (besides omitting the rice):

1. No corn. I refuse to eat corn that isn’t organic. If it’s not organic you can bet it’s GMO corn. There was no organic corn available in cans. I told myself that this was ok as I had a bag of frozen organic corn at home. But it turns out that I am too lazy to heat up frozen corn after class. Plus, the rest of my salad was room temperature. I didn’t want warm corn in it. I am not sure I care enough to defrost it in advance and let it cool.

2. No avocado. Didn’t feel like it.

3. No cilantro. Hate cleaning it.

I am kinda lazy, right?

That said, corn, avocado, and cilantro would all be great in the salad! I did add red onions. While we’re at it, let me tell you a trick for making salads more enjoyable during the week….

When I’m on a Mexican salad kick I buy black beans and a red onion. I chop up the onion and mix it in a container with the beans. Add some salt and paper and then give it a good shake. Toss it in the fridge. This saves you the trouble of cutting up onions every time you want a salad. You just scoop out what you need.

I did add fresh salsa to the salad, and I included a bit of cheese and some sort of crispy/crunchy onion product I found next to the tomatoes at the grocery store. Do add cherry tomatoes. They are the bomb.

But you know what the real bomb is? The Chipotle Cream Sauce that is included in the link. It calls for chipotle paste, but I followed the directions using the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which is listed as an acceptable substitute. This sauce is divine! I made enough for several salads, and it holds just fine. Give is a stir before you put it on.

So much potential

So much potential

The Boyfriend wasn’t interested in this the first time he saw me eating it, but he tasted it and thought it was good. The next day he asked me to make him one for lunch. He declared it to be amazing (and he ate most of my cream sauce). The Boyfriend also noted that the Chipotle Cream Sauce would make a good potato chip dip. He’s right.

I think the salad is filling without adding the rice, but that’s just me. As the author notes, there are plenty of ways to customize the salad. Have fun!

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

Featured Recipe: Goat Cheese Pizza

Last week I shared my newest couscous salad recipe. I also talked about how The Boyfriend had expressed interest/willingness to let me cook some new things for him. This time around he got a pizza, but not just any pizza. I delivered a Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza with Toasted Pine Nuts.

I don’t know what you think of that, but he made a face. And it’s wasn’t a happy smiling one either.

You're making a what?

You’re making a what?

This pizza takes about an hour to make, but that’s only because of the time it takes to caramelize the onions. It’s really very simple to do. I don’t know where I got this idea from, but I am happy to share it with you all today. Here it is in a few basic steps:

1. Get your dough. I don’t make my own. You can, and if you do this will take longer. I buy mine at the grocery store for 2.00. So get your dough and give it time to rise.

2. Caramelize your onion. I used one red onion of about medium size.

3. While the onion caramelizes, read a book or whatever, I pulled a stool up next to the stove so I could keep an eye on everything. Go ahead and heat your oven to 450.

4. Get your dough rolled out and put it on your pan. Did you know that if you sprinkle the pan with corn meal the dough won’t stick after it’s been baked? ’tis true. It can make a bit of a mess, but I find it worth the little extra clean up.

5. Distribute your onions over the dough. Note that this a white pizza – no sauce!

6. Crumble goat cheese on. Best place to buy goat cheese? Whole Foods. You can get a large, plain log for 5,99.

7. Put the pizza in the oven. It’ll need 10-15 minutes.

8. While your pizza bakes, toast the pine nuts. I just heat up some olive oil in a small pan and throw in what looks like a good amount to me. Pine nuts toast fast and can burn very quickly. Keep an eye on them. I drain them on a paper towel. When the pizza comes out I sprinkle them around on top.

It will look something like this:

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Despite The Boyfriend’s lack of a happy smiling face (initially), he declared the pizza to be amazing and asked that I make them more often. When we had the pizza again the following week he suggested that the next time I made it I add some Field Roast Sausages to it (the Italian kind). He kinda likes Field Roast Sausages.

Final note: This pizza is best eaten on the day you cook it. You can eat leftovers the next day, and it will be ok. It is best straight from the oven.

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

Giveaway: You Need Snacks

*sponsored post*

You know what you need after class? Snacks. And, if you’re like me, you probably need a snack before class too. Recently, I had the opportunity to try a popcorn snack – G.H. Cretors popped corn to be exact. They were looking for people who would be interested in trying out their popped corn and reviewing it (and giving one of you some for free!). I raised my hand and volunteered. Of course I volunteered. I am hungry all the time.

I didn’t know exactly what I would be getting until a fairly large box – fairly large for popcorn – showed up at my doorstep. I opened it up and found twenty-four 1.5 ounce bags of their Chicago Mix. The Chicago Mix is a blend of caramel corn and cheese corn. Now, I love me some cheese popcorn, but caramel? Uh….not so much. Caramel corn has never been my thing. It’s a personal preference.

But there sat 24 bags of Chicago Mix so might as well try it out.

Turns out I love, love, love, their caramel corn. I was amazed because, while I tried to enter into eating it with a good attitude, I still had the assumption that the caramel corn would be tolerated at best.

This is what 21 bags looks like (we had already eaten three).

This is what 21 bags looks like (we had already eaten three).

Nope. I will actually dig around in a bag to root out the caramel corn. It is that delicious. It melts in your mouth. I immediately ate one bag. I could have downed a second, but I decided to pace myself.

Later on, the Boyfriend, who had made a face at the idea of eating caramel corn, tried a bag. He declared it to be delicious and said the same thing I had about the caramel corn – not usually his sort of thing but in this case? Yummy. He did not pace himself and immediately went straight to a second bag after finishing the first (I may or may not have helped with the consuming of two additional bags).

What’s in This Stuff?

Ok, so the popped corn tastes good, but what’s in it?  It’s got only stuff you know. I won’t list it all out because you can access it online. I do though want to highlight a few things:

  • While the Chicago Mix isn’t vegan. They do have some vegan options. Organic Simply Salted and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil are vegan.
  • They use sunflower, olive oil, and/or safflower oil to pop their corn. No hydrogenated oils are used.
  • They use only non-GMO ingredients
  • It’s all popped and packaged in a facility in Illinois
  • Finally, they use brown rice syrup in their caramel corn. This might explain why I enjoy it so much. Here’s their explanation about brown rice syrup taken from their website:

GH Cretors has chosen to use brown rice syrup (instead of corn syrup) for many reasons. Besides the fact that brown rice syrup has a wonderful crisp sweetness, unlike refined sugars it has a low glycemic value. This means that it doesn’t cause a sudden spike in blood pressure or a sugar “high” after it is consumed. Its composition is 50% soluble carbohydrates, 45% maltose and 3% glucose. The glucose is immediately absorbed and metabolized, maltose takes from an hour to an hour and a half, and soluble carbohydrates take 2-3 hours to be metabolized and energy released. This results in constant supply of energy spread over a long time rather than a sudden rush.

Brown Rice also has many benefits.  It’s a good source of minerals, which are carried over to its byproducts like brown rice syrup. It’s also a good source of magnesium, potassium and manganese.

Want to Try it?

G.H. Cretors is giving away a twenty-four, 1.5 ounce package of Chicago Mix to one of YOU! You have to reside in the U.S. to win (sorry my international readers!). And while there are no nuts in their corn, it is produced in a facility that processes tree nuts. So if you have a nut allergy, best to pass on this one.

The last time I tried to use Rafflecopter for a giveaway it failed, and now I have become fearful of using it again and having to go through a do-over. So if you want this, just type enter into the comments section. Deadline to enter will be noon on Sunday, September 21st. I will announce the winner on Monday, September 22nd in my post. So make sure you come back and read MBYL on Monday! Good luck.

 

 

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