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

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New Obsession: Suja Juice

Recently, my studio started selling Suja Juices. I had never had one before, and I was interested in trying one. First, let me tell you a bit about the juice. According to their website:

All of Suja’s juices are certified Organic, Non-GMO & Kosher and are processed using cold pressure (also known as High Pressure Processing or HPP) to kill harmful bacteria while preserving nutrition and taste.

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering about this cold pressure process. Suja’s website explains it as such:

We cold press, hydraulically. First we grind or cut the produce into a fine pulp. Then we apply thousands of pounds of pressure to the pulp extracting every ounce of juice that the fruit or vegetable has to give. This results in you receiving the most nutritional value possible. Cold Pressure, also known as High Pressure Processing retains food quality, maintains natural freshness, and extends microbiological shelf life without heating to high temperatures. After our juice is bottled, a high level of cold pressure is applied evenly to destroy pathogens and ensure the juice is safe to drink while preserving vitamins, enzymes and nutrients.

So the question….how good is it? The answer: fabulous.

yummy green juice

yummy green juice

Seriously, it tastes like it just came out of my juicer. I couldn’t do a better job myself. If you juice, imagine what your favorite juice tastes like. That’s exactly what Suja tastes like.

They have a number of concoctions to suit your taste. I’ve only tried two – the Fuji  and the Green Supreme. This is probably because I am a green juice kind of girl. You can go here to see some of their juices and what is in them.

There is one downside to Suja, and that is the price. At my studio, I can get one 16 oz bottle for a little over 7.00. Apparently they are a couple of bucks more at Whole Foods (so I’ve been told…don’t consider me a reliable source on this since I haven’t bought one from there). However, on the Suja site, one bottle does sell for 8.99. So the question become….is it worth it?

I’m going with yes. It is totally worth it, and here’s why.

If I want to make my own juice, and have one 16 oz to drink each day for a week, it will run me about 50.00. And I’ve got this down to a science. I know where to buy the best fruits and veggies at the best prices around town. However, buying the best fruits and veggies at the best prices around town requires me to visit two stores. Then, it literally takes me all afternoon to juice.

So that’s 50.00, plus gas, plus the time it took me to shop, plus the time it took me to make all the juice, plus the time it takes to clean everything up.

If I were to buy seven juices from my studio, it would run me about 55.00. If I had to buy them elsewhere – and let’s just use the 8.99 online price – it would run me about 65.00.-70.00. Is the juice that good that paying that little extra is worth it?

Yes, yes it is. I am not joking. My days are using my juicer might be done. And nothing against the juicer. I have a fabulous Breville that I love very much, is worth every penny, and is super easy to take care of. But the idea that I don’t have to spend 50.00 and an entire afternoon – really an entire day when you factor in shopping – is too much to pass up. How much is my time worth? Is it worth that 5-10.00 more that I might pay? Yes, I believe it is. Because this stuff tastes like it just came out of my juicer.

Do you have any experience with Suja juices? What do you think? Is it worth packing in the juicer for?

If You’re Local…..I Have Something Special For You!

If you practice with me, you’ve probably already noticed the Suja juices in the fridge at the studio. Did you know they come to us from Juice Keys? Juice Keys is a locally owned company and one of the owner’s, Chris, practices at the Raleigh studio. Juice Keys has a storefront, and they sell the Suja juices there for 7.68. You can get it for a bit less at the studio but not much. Juice Keys also sells some protein powders. I haven’t tried them. Just explore their site and you can see what they have.

If you live in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, you can even get your order delivered to your home. for only 1.00 extra! All deliveries are made in the afternoon from approximately 4:00pm – 7:30pm.  The juices maintain their temperature for approx 5 hrs after delivery.  They deliver juices in coolers with ice (however, they will soon be upgrading to ice-packs).  The juices, obviously, need to be refrigerated once you get home.  All orders placed before 4pm are delivered on the same day (after 4pm, they deliver on the following day).  

And there’s more! Follow this link  to learn about the different discounts you can get simply by purchasing your juices – or other products – through Juice Keys.

And here’s the best part…. Head on over to Juice Keys and tell them you learned about them on my blog. They will give you one free Suja juice to try. You have to go to the actual Juice Keys store. Don’t try to get your free juice at the studio – it will not work! 🙂 Of course once you try your juice you will be hooked, like me, but I say the more the merrier!

 

 

 

*this was not a sponsored post. i spent my own money on my Suja Juice and reviewed it because I loved it

VC Day 9: Adventures in Alternative Milks

Today’s big adventure was my first attempt at vegan mac and cheese. But before I get to that, let me tell you about class this morning. Class did not suck (as you read, you will see this is a theme). It was still not fantastic, but it did not suck. It was just medicore. But medicore makes me think things are on the up and up! Maybe I am coming up out of this slump.

This afternoon I took a hard core 90-minute nap. I’m blaming my vegan diet on this and the possibility that I am detoxing. I’m not upset about it. I just let myself have a happy little sleep. It was very nice.

So -this vegan mac and cheese thing, let me tell you about it. First, I love mac and cheese that has, you know, actual cheese in it. I really wanted to start figuring out if I could pull off a vegan version. There are a lot of recipes out there, but I had two requirements coming out of the gate: (a) nothing overly complicated and (b) nothing with a lot of soy. That took some searching, but Mark eventually found the recipe.

Getting the ingredients, which are not that unusual, turned out to be an adventure in and of itself. First, I needed macaroni. That’s easy enough, right? Well gees, at Whole Foods I managed to find one box of macaroni hidden away on a shelf. I honestly thought they didn’t have any. And then, the macaroni was a gluten/wheat free brown rice pasta. I was a bit iffy on it. I mean, I’m already pushing myself enough as it is. But I am also too lazy to go on a hunt for macaroni elsewhere. So I bought the rice pasta.

Bringing rice smiles to the masses.

Bringing rice smiles to the masses.

The rice pasta turned out to be an excellent purchase. The brand is Tinkyada. Tinkyada makes many bold claims includng that they deliver “rice smiles” and fill a void. Turns out, they really do all that and more! This pasta is perfect in every way and likely better than the last pasta you ate. You can get it at Whole Foods or through Amazon. I very well may just eat this brand from here on out.Once I realized I had nothing to worry about with the pasta, my concern then turned to my cheeze sauce. This was my first time making a vegan cheeze sauce. You can see from the recipe linked about that the ingredients are not that difficult.

There were two things on the list that were new to me: miso paste and plant-based milk. I went with almond milk, and I bought sweetened almond milk. I have no idea if that mattered or not in terms of taste (I don’t think it did). All I know is when I hit the alternative milk aisle I was faced with SO! MANY! CHOICES! It was a bit overwhelming, but I made a decision and moved on.

I knew Whole Foods had miso paste (I had seen it once), but it took about five people to locate it.  Turns out, it lives with the butter. You can buy nutritional yeast in the bulk section at Whole Foods. This is nice because you can give it a whirl and see what you think without spending a lot of money. My take on nutritional yeast – whatever. It’s not horrible, but I am not yet in love with it.

So I got all my cheeze sauce ingredients assembled:

Totally not complicated.

Totally not complicated.

I tossed them in a pot, whisked them around, and let it heat up. It sorta looked like a cheeze sauce:

That kinda looks like it might be ok, right?

That kinda looks like it might be ok, right?

I tasted the sauce before I put it on the macaroni. I proclaimed, “It doesn’t suck.” This didn’t help make Mark super excited about dinner or even ramp up his curiousity. Who could blame him?

Eventually it all came together. The verdict on this? Well, it didn’t suck. We agreed that the pasta itself was fantastic, but the sauce didn’t taste very cheezy. It was just like sauce on macaroni. Kinda uneventful. However, Tinkyada was full of amazing awesomeness. I did experience some rice smiles.

Tah-Dah! Vegan Mac and Cheeze

Tah-Dah! Vegan Mac and Cheeze

Mark thinks we will have better luck with a baked version, but I am committed to making a good vegan stove top version. Any suggestions? I am open to more complicated versions now having pulled this one off ok. At the end of the day, Mark took the pasta that did not have sauce on it and froze it. We are going to toss some homemade pasta sauce on it Friday night and bake it. Should be good!

Vegan Challenge: Day 2 – Welcome to my Fantasy

So far, eating vegan is not terribly difficult. I am kinda wanting cheese today, but I’ll get over myself. Not eating cheese is not as bad as not drinking coke was when I first started cutting back on it. Speaking of coke, I’ve had 8 this week. Making progress! Not really worried about the speed of things at this point.

This morning I was still to lazy to juice. I promised myself I would do it on Monday (and I will). But today, I had a sugar bar for breakfast. Excuse me. I mean protein bar.

I got hooked on these NuGo mint chocolate chip bars about a month ago. They are vegan, and the wrapper touts that it has 10 grams of protein in it. Guess how many grams of sugar it has? Fourteen. Yep. More sugar than protein. How healthy can that be? After I figured out the sugar to protein ratio in my bar, I made the decision to review “protein” bars at Whole Foods. They have a lot of protein bars at Whole Foods. However, I cannot find one that has more protein than sugar, and yes, I even picked up ones I wasn’t interested in eating just for the sake of looking at the label.

But I do have some of these bars laying around the house, and this morning I had one for breakfast. Then it was off to class!

Class was fine. I am really trying to work on leg breaking posture from the advanced series. I have to stay after class to do it because you have to be super warmed up to get into it. My left side is much farther along than my right (no surprise there). I can get my left toes almost hooked under my ribs. I am thisclose. You ever been so close to something that it’s annoying you can’t do it? That’s me with my left leg in leg breaking.

But, the good news is that I’ve only practiced this about three times in the last week. So If I’m that close right out of the gate then what do I have to complain about? Pretty much nothing.

Later on, things got tough. I realized, as I was eating carrots and hummus, that I did not want to eat carrots and hummus for a snack for the next 30 days. So I sey out to Whole Foods to find a suitable snack. It didn’t work out well. I got grumpy.

First, I got more hummus anyways so I could finish off the carrots I had already bought. I went ahead and picked up more sugar/protein bars just in case. I also found a bar that has more protein than sugar (Think Thin), but the ones I looked at were not vegan. AGH! I did later look at their site and see that the Crunch, Fruit, and Nut versions are vegan.

I then wandered down the snack aisle only to find a bunch of stuff I didn’t want to eat. I am not interested in eating chips. Things that looked relatively interesting were not vegan. I ran into a neighbor who declared she could not go vegan at all for any amount of time. She tried to help me find a vegan snack, and nothing panned out. Then I remembered how much I used to enjoy one of the Kashi cereals. Guess what? Not vegan. Maybe they have products that are vegan, but at this point I was tired of coming up with ideas and discovering they were not vegan. I was tired of reading labels and getting shot down left and right.

At some point an employee offered his assistance and I wailed, “I have no idea what I want!” He noted that would make it hard to help me. He was smart to walk away.

Totally fed up, and desparately wanting chocolate, I bought some vegan chocolate chip cookies from the Whole Foods bakery and called it a day.

But wait – there’s more!

For dinner tonight we had a sweet potato burger with a side salad. Mark made them.

Sweet Potato Burger. Needs cheese.

Sweet Potato Burger. Needs cheese.

When I got my grumpy self home, my response to the burgers was that they smelled delicious. I was very hopeful. They looked very pretty too. As you can see from the picture, I did not use a bun. Buns are pretty just a waste of space in my stomach. Well, the burger was fine, but hardly worth the effort. Mark thought it needed a little something, and he was right. I am convinced this burger could be greatly enhanced by adding some blue cheese crumbles on top OR a lovely homemade blue cheese dressing. Mark suggested goat cheese which I think would also liven up the meal.

We were having cheese fantasies. My fantasies are so boring.

Today’s Vegan Verdict: Needs Cheese

Resource to Get You Going: http://punchfork.com/