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Category Archives: Vegan Products

Exciting News

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It has been well over a month since I have posted anything and there’s a good reason.  I am three months pregnant!  Eric and I decided we were ready and succeeded on the first try!  This is our first baby and the first grandchild on both sides, so it’s a very exciting event for everyone.  My first trimester was a little rough.  I had a lot of fatigue, nausea, and heartburn, but I’m starting to feel much better.  I was coming home from work every day, throwing together some kind of meal, then laying down on the couch and staying there pretty much all evening.  I hadn’t felt the drive to write at all, so the blog has been quiet.  I plan to step it up now while I still can, before the third trimester and the arrival of our little munchkin, when I’ll have no time whatsoever.

Oh, and an important note.  When talking with my Certified Nurse Midwife about eating healthy during the pregnancy, I told her I was vegan and she was very pleased to hear it.  She kept saying that I was eating a very healthy diet, so all should be well.  I did admit I had been eating a lot of bread lately, because it helps settle my stomach.  She told me that the first trimester is pretty much a free pass because you eat what you can.  All blood tests so far have come out great – further confirmation that a vegan diet is nothing but healthy.

Anyway, that’s my news!  I’ll report back on being vegan while pregnant!

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Tofurky Italian Sausage vs. Field Roast Italian Sausage

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Tofurky and Field Roast are big names in meat alternatives, both offering a variety of flavors of vegan sausages.  I have always been a fan of Tofurky’s Italian sausages, but on a recent trip to the Follow Your Heart market, I wondered if that was only because Tofurky was available at most grocery stores.  I decided to test the theory and pick up a package of Field Roast Italian Sausages.

Italian Sausages comparison2

One weekend morning, I cooked up a bowl of both, along with some red bell pepper.

Italian Sausages comparison

All of the Field Roast Italian Sausages were individually wrapped and I could immediately see why.  They were pretty delicate and came apart a bit as you can see in the photo above.

Italian Sausages

Here’s a photo of the sausages cooked and looking quite tasty.  My opinion was that the Field Roast sausages were heartier and more meaty and would probably be great crumbled up and used in a dish.  I still favor the Tofurky sausages, though.  They were easier to keep together when cooking and had more of an Italian flavoring.  Don’t go by my opinion, though… give them a try because everyone’s tastes are different.

Follow Your Heart, Canoga Park

I’m very lucky to live near one of the best vegetarian health food markets in LA.  Follow Your Heart is a vegetarian market with a restaurant as well as a yoga studio.  The company is responsible for the many popular Follow Your Heart products including as Vegenaise, Vegan Gourmet Shreds, and various vegan salad dressings.

FYH Exterior | A Vegan in Progress

The first time I visited Follow Your Heart, I wasn’t vegan.  I went with my younger, longtime vegan sister and I had a hard time finding anything I wanted to order.  I was a little less than willing to try new things.  I don’t know if I ordered something that just wasn’t all that good (I don’t remember what it was) or if it was because I went in with a bit of a closed mind, but I was not a fan.

However, my sister very graciously invited me to dinner after staying over at our place and she loves Follow Your Heart, but doesn’t live close enough to dine there regularly.  So, I was looking forward to trying it again, this time with an open, vegan mind.

Be warned if you happen to visit, when you walk in to Follow Your Heart, you will feel confused and lost.  You enter in the market, near the registers… just walk past them and all the way to the back.  In the back corner is the entrance to the restaurant.  It is even tinier than the market.  Don’t let that discourage you, it’s perfectly fine that way.  In fact, this just means that you will be in closer proximity to the celebrities who dine there.  Seriously, one time Allison and I saw Travis Barker and his son there.  We were led to the patio out front, which was nice.

I ordered the Nutburger, vegan.  It’s described as “A Nut and Vegetable Patty on a Toasted Whole Wheat Bun, Baked with Raw Rennetless Cheddar Cheese, and Topped with Sprouts, Tomato, Pickles, Vegenaise, and our Special Sauce.”  It tasted great, especially with the Wizard Sauce (request it – that stuff is tasty).  The nut and vegetable patty was not very firm.  It wasn’t sloppy, but it did fall apart just a little bit.  I’m not usually a fan of big piles of sprouts, but they went really well with the burger.

Allison always wants us to look like we are insane diners for blog photos.  Don’t mind our insanity.

Allison ordered the Organic Tempeh Tacos, vegan.  They are decribed as “Two Organically Grown, Stone Ground Corn Tortilla Shells, Filled with Seasoned, Grilled Organic Tempeh, Jack and Raw Rennetless Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes and Fresh Cilantro. Served with Organic Spanish Rice, Organic Black Beans Guacamole, Sour Cream and Lime Wedges.”  She loved it, especially with some added Wizard Sauce.

We both ordered the vegan chocolate shake, after confirming that it doesn’t contain bananas (I’m allergic); Allison ordered extra chocolate.  I found them really bland, not all that creamy.  I’ve made better vegan chocolate shakes myself (check out the post on that), so I don’t think I’ll order that again.

Vegan chocolate shake, Follow Your Heart | A Vegan in Progress

I’m will definitely be dining at Follow Your Heart again if Allison has anything to say about it!  I’m also likely to stop by to pick up hard to find vegan products since the market is on my way home from work.  Definitely worth stopping in if you’re in the area!

Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza

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Contrary to how it appears, the Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza is in fact, vegan.  The frozen pizza is topped with Tofurky meats and Daiya cheese.  I picked this one up at Viva La Vegan market in Santa Monica on our recent visit.  Viva La Vegan is pretty darn awesome – the have an entire vegan pizza section for goodness’ sake.  Without knowing where to begin, I chose a familiar brand and picked out the Tofurky Italian Sausage & Fire-Roasted Veggie Pizza.  It’s got three servings, so it’s about enough for three not too hungry people.

Tofurky Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

I never paid a whole lot of attention to Tofurky packaging before, but I happened to notice that the box says “if you reduce your meat consumption by only 20% (six meatless days a month) the energy saved will be equivalent to switching from driving a sedan car to a hybrid vehicle.”  I love that they include that information for veg-curious buyers.

Tofurky Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

Here’s the bad news: it tasted like any other mediocre frozen pizza.  It was also pretty small for the price.

The good news: it is really nice to have a convenient frozen pizza for when everyone else is chowing down on the cheesy kind.  It’s also great that you don’t have to go meatless and cheeseless or made from scratch to get a vegan pizza at home.

I’m likely to try a different brand next time, though because this tasted utterly machine made and boxed (especially with the very evenly diced vegetables topping it.

Tofurky Pizza | A Vegan in Progress

 

 

So Good Miso Mayo Spicy Red Pepper Spread

While at the Viva La Vegan market in Santa Monica, I picked up a bottle of So Good Spicy Red Pepper Miso Mayo “Drizzle/Spread/Dip.”  It ended up being one of my favorite purchases from the trip.

So Good Spicy Red Pepper Miso Mayo | A Vegan in Progress

It’s great on burgers, wraps, and salads.  My favorite use so far was as a spread on a wrap with Tofurky slices, tomato, lettuce, and avocado.  I was never a fan of mayonnaise in my pre-vegan days, which is why I don’t buy Vegenaise.  However, this doesn’t taste like a mayo at all.  The spicy red pepper is a great, interesting addition to something that can otherwise get boring lunch after lunch.

I will definitely be buying it again, probably from Whole Foods since their website says that it’s available in their stores nationwide.  I go into Whole Foods about once a month because they are way overpriced, so a spread is the perfect product for me to buy there.  I understand that they carry items that you can’t really get elsewhere, but I don’t like having to stop at three or four different stores on one shopping trip, so when I go to Whole Foods, I am usually tricked into buying things that I could get elsewhere to avoid additional stops.  Their specialty items I am willing to pay more for, but produce and other basics, no way.

The good news is, for those of you who live in a veritable food desert, Miso Mayo can be ordered on their website.  It’s $4.95 per bottle plus shipping at a whopping $8.95, but it’s worth having on hand.

Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce

I really liked the Victoria Vegan Roasted Pepper Alfredo Sauce, so I picked up a jar of the Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce while at Viva La Vegan Grocery in Santa Monica.

Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce | A Vegan in Progress

I thought it was pretty plain when I first tried it (seen in the photo below), but I think that’s because all of the artichoke had settled at the bottom.  It surprised the heck out of me when I poured some more out onto leftover pasta for lunch and saw artichoke chunks fall into the bowl.  I thought it had gone bad at first!  It’s a pretty tasty alfredo sauce, although I prefer the Roasted Red Pepper version.  Just make sure you shake the jar first!

Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce | A Vegan in Progress

Artisan Tofurky Andouille Cajun-Style Sausage

The new flavors of Artisan Tofurky sausages were at the top of my list when I walked into Viva La Vegan Grocery in Santa Monica.  I love their classic Tofurky Italian sausages, but they have a strong tomatoey Italian flavor.  I often think that I could add them to so many more recipes if they were less specifically Italian.  Enter the Artisan Tofurky Andouille Cajun-Style Sausage!

Artisan Tofurky Andouille Cajun-Style Sausage | A Vegan in Progress

This sausage has a more versatile flavor and is just slightly spicy.  I browned some and had it with some accidentally vegan apple cinnamon pull apart bread that Eric found in the bakery section at Sprouts as well as some sliced apples.  Yum!  I’ll be buying these again.

Artisan Tofurky Andouille Cajun-Style Sausage | A Vegan in Progress