Category Archives: Food In General

MoFo 7: “It’s New To You” Product Review

For those too young to remember, “It’s New To You” was a slogan NBC used to advertise repeats of its “Must See TV Lineup” back in 1997.  I was in high school at the time and my best friend and I used to crack ourselves up by using the alternate slogan, “It’s Nude To You.”  Very mature, I know.  So mature, in fact, that NBC actually used that slogan one week (because it works perfectly for that standard sitcom plot where someone walks in on someone else in the shower).  I’m still waiting for my royalty check.

So, yes, I’m using a cultural reference that’s nearly 20 years old as the title for this post.  But hear me out.   “It’s New To You” is actually a totally appropriate title for this post because I’m reviewing 3 food products that are not necessarily new — but they are new to me.  (See, it’s just like advertising sitcom reruns in the late 90’s).

Earth Balance White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

First, I decided to try the boxed macaroni and cheese that has the vegan blogosphere all atwitter.  Earth Balance mac & cheese comes in your choice of yellow or white cheese.  I went with white because of my love of Amy’s brand shells and white cheddar.  Although I’m always willing to try new things, I did not have high hopes for this mac & cheese.  I’ve tried most every store bought vegan cheese that I’ve been able to get my hands on and all of them have wound up in the trash.  The good news is that I was pleasantly surprised by this product.  Although I thought it had a sweetness to it that seemed out of place, it wasn’t bad.  The reheated leftovers tasted even better, especially when jazzed up veggies.  I still prefer homemade mac and cheese, but this stuff will do in a pinch.

Trader Joe’s Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal

Trader Joe’s Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal is the best instant oatmeal I’ve ever tried.  Flavored with dried pumpkin, pumpkin pie spices and nice chunks of pecan, it tastes like autumn in a bowl.  As a bonus, the oats stayed nice and chewy, even when I microwaved them.  I’m looking forward to enjoying this oatmeal all pumpkin season long.

Thai and True Red Curry Paste

When I order my soy curls from Food Fight Grocery, I always like to throw something extra into the cart to justify the shipping charges.  This time, I went with red curry paste by Thai and True, a Portland-based maker of vegan curry pastes.  (Click the image above to go to Food Fight’s website).  I tried the paste out by making a simple curry using a can of coconut milk, 2 tbsp. of curry paste, some lime juice, peppers, onions, green beans and soy curls.  I was happy with the finished product, which had a nice curry flavor punctuated by a good spicy kick.

Trying new things is fun.  (Unless you are a toddler.  My son would not touch any of this stuff – not even the macaroni.)

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20 Days of Happiness Part 12 – Spiked Hot Cocoa

There’s a scene in A Muppet Family Christmas where Ernie and Burt (from Sesame Street) have a conversation with Doc (from Fraggles) and Ernie and Burt can’t help pointing out what letter every word begins with.  “Bunk beds: B words!” they say as Ernie chortles.  When Doc looks at them askance they explain, “Where we come from, this is small talk.”  My sister once said that the scene reminded her of our family — except that complaining, not letters, are our family’s small talk.  It’s not that we are unhappy people.  We just like to air our grievances.  But sometimes it’s good to air positive feelings too and that’s just what I plan to do.  In this 20-part series, I focus on the many reasons I have to be happy.

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Reason to be happy #12: Relaxing with a cup of cocoa after my son goes to bed.

Reason to be happy #12.5: I spiked said cocoa with a shot of marshmallow vodka.

 

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Thanksgiving Feast – The Photos

This year, I was thankful for my little guy and even more thankful that he took a perfectly timed nap so that Veggie Husband and I could enjoy the meal I spent all morning preparing.

For an appetizer, I made the No Tell Ro*Tel Dip from Cookin’ Crunk.  (According to the can of Ro*Tel, Ro*Tel dip  involves Velvetta and Ro*Tel, which is a brand of diced tomatoes with green chiles). The recipe notes in Cookin’ Crunk say that the recipe is sure to fool omnivores at the next church potluck.  I’m not from the South and have never tried “real” Ro*Tel dip, so I can’t tell you whether that’s true.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the dip on tortilla chips and carrot and celery sticks and would gladly make it again.

No Tell Ro*Tel Dip from Cookin’ Crunk

The main event was a seitan roast with lots of sides.  Here’s the full spread:

The centerpiece of the meal was a Vegan Turkey Roast from the Everyday Dish website.  I first made this roast several years ago, and it’s one of my absolute favorite seitan recipes.  The method of boiling in cheesecloth and then baking yields a moist roast that is not the least bit spongy.  When I asked Veggie Husband what he wanted for Thanksgiving, this roast was his only request.  The recipe is available online and well worth checking out.

Everyday Dish Vegan Turkey

Of all the sides I made, my favorite was It’s Thyme for Creamy Scalloped Potatoes from Chloe’s Kitchen.  The recipe uses a cashew based cream sauce that baked up creamy and delicious.  I had to cook mine 15 minutes longer than indicated in the recipe.

Chloe’s Kitchen Scalloped Potatoes

I also made the Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Chloe’s Kitchen.  These sprouts were good, but I think I prefer a savory sprout.

Chloe’s Kitchen Sprouts

I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without stuffing.  (Growing up, my cousin and I had a special holiday tradition of feeding my uncle’s sausage stuffing to the dog.  Although many of my family members raved about that stuffing, I much preferred Stove Top.)  When I found cooked chesnuts at Trader Joes, I decided stuffing would be the perfect way to try this new-to-me food.  I prepared a vegetarian version of this Martha Stewart recipe that I found online.  I halved the recipe, reduced the butter to 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance and replaced the chicken stock with 3 cups prepared Better Than Boullion “chicken” broth.  Although I enjoyed the stuffing, I was indifferent to the chestnuts and probably wouldn’t buy them again.

Chestnut Stuffing

Here’s my plate, which is piled high with all of the above plus cranberry sauce, yams, a biscuit and my own recipe for “chicken” gravy.  (Check back for a future post with the gravy recipe).

Sadly, the Cranberry Custard Pie I made from Vegan Desserts was not photogenic enough to warrant a picture.  Although the pie tasted great, I had a problem getting the cream topping to set properly.  (I think the issue was the tub of shortening that I used.  It was difficult to scoop out the correct amount and I think that the shortening melted as I scraped away at it, resulting in a liquidy cream).

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