Try It Thursday #7: Easy Bake Vegan

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Last weekend I decided to peruse the vegan selections of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods in the hopes of finding some goodies. I started with Trader Joes, and after grabbing a few things I made the decision that this week would be about vegan convenience foods and snacks. Hence the title. Don’t worry, those of you who are not vegan may find some goodies in here that you like too. Don’t run away yet, besides the good stuff is at the end.

What I mean by a convenience food is that every so often a feeling comes over us, especially when we’re constantly running around in our daily lives, where we don’t want to slave over the hot stove after coming home to cook something. Or as much as I love having homemade snacks, sometimes I just don’t have the time or admittedly the patience to mold 1000 protein balls with the love and care they deserve.

In my unsupervised child at a birthday party days, these would be the times I would reach for things like frozen pizza, or other boxed meals of the sort. Admittedly, this would also happen more often than not.

I think we can all agree on one thing, eating these often heavily processed convenience foods is not that great for us. However, let’s be realistic here, every once in awhile isn’t going to kill us. And it’s a far better option than fast food or ordering pizza.

So this week, I tried lots of things, all in the name of science of course.

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On the left we have my Trader Joe’s haul, and on the right we have my Whole Foods haul.

Important things first…

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Trader Joe’s SoyCreamy Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
If you do nothing else that I tell you to do, do this. If you enjoy cherry garcia ice cream, go to trader joes right this instant and pick this stuff up, all of you! Trust me, you won’t even know it’s soy ice cream. This stuff is amazing!

So I definitely did not take individual pictures of everything this week, oops my bad. I’ll move through some of this stuff pretty fast because they’re really more snack-y things that make eating smaller meals throughout the day easier.

Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn – I actually enjoy popping my own popcorn, but it’s hard to beat convenience and this definitely delivers in that and flavor. Also it’s vegan, so that’s a plus.

Trader Joe’s Organic Fruit Chews (Bottom right of the picture) – When I was a kid, I remember eating those fruit leather things and I loved them. That’s exactly what these are, they have quite a few different flavors and for 50 cents a piece, these are easy to stock up on for a quick snack.

Trader Joe’s Fruit Bars (Middle of the picture) – These are kind of like a fruity granola bar. I got two of the flavors which were apple-banana and apple-strawberry. The strawberry one was actually really good, the banana one I didn’t really care for. These are $1 so another easy one to have a few on hand.

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Toaster Waffles – Apparently the gluten free ones also happen to be vegan, I saw these on another vegan blog and decided to try them. They actually taste just like any other toaster waffle, pretty good quick breakfast with some peanut butter or your favorite toppings.

Trader Joe’s Edamame – Typical edamame, I’ve been a kick lately, so having some frozen fully cooked edamame on hand it always a plus for me because it’s super quick and easy to pop in the microwave.

Larabars – I actually bought a couple of these at both stores because of the different flavors each one had. If you haven’t had a larabar before they are actually pretty good depending on the flavor. I believe they are both gluten free and vegan.

Barbara’s Fig Bars – These were another vegan suggestion from the internet. I’m one of those weird people who actually like fig newtons so I was excited for these. They were delicious! Try not to eat them all in one sitting, it would be really easy to do.

So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer – Creamer is the one thing I have stuck to dairy wise for awhile now, so when I saw this at Whole Foods I decided to pick some up. If you like coconut milk, you’ll definitely enjoy this creamer. I know some people are partial to coconut milk, I enjoy it though.

Expensive Whole Foods Carrots – I really just wanted carrots and I wasn’t going to anymore stores that day so I decided to buy them at Whole Foods. Unfortunately they just taste like regular carrots, not expensive carrots.

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Trader Joe’s Brown Rice – This is the coolest thing since sliced bread, I kid you not. My mind exploded coming across this at trader joes, and it exploded again every time I made it this week. You really can have perfectly cooked brown rice in 3 minutes. Never ever again will I have to take cover in my own kitchen because rice is exploding in the microwave. Hallelujah!

On a side note, there are two things I didn’t get to try and that was the Trader Joe’s Melodious Veggie Blend and the Gardein Crispy Tenders.

Now to the good of the bad or the bad of the good, however you choose to look at it…

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I totally forgot to put this in my trader joe haul photo, but this is the other thing I got there. According to the vegans of the internet this is THE BEST soy chorizo that exists out there. So I mean of course I had to try it right?

And by try it I mean bribe your chef friend to come cook it for you because you actually find chorizo really gross and creepy and the idea of soy chorizo somehow freaks you out more. As dear, sweet Kyle put it “At least I know what parts are in actual Chorizo.”

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Ok ok so maybe I bribed him with wine, you just have to know what speaks to people. We ended up making breakfast tacos, so that’s pretty much where the vegan ended because we used eggs and cheese. The chorizo was weird and crumbly while we were cooking it, so Kyle added the eggs to it to hold it together a little more.

Another Important (obviously) Side Note: The wine was vegan! If you’re curious to see if your favorite booze, wines, and beers are vegan, or if you would like to try some you can use barnivore.com to look it up. It was actually very useful for finding a vegan wine.

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In case you’re wondering what the tortilla is, Trader Joe’s sells these amazing whole wheat corn tortillas that I have been using since forever. They have a slightly nutty taste and I love using them for everything that needs a tortilla.

Final Verdict: Not bad, but weird. I don’t know if the eggs took down the spice of it but it really could have used more flavor, it had a taste that reminded me of regular chorizo but it was pretty faint. The consistency of it also kind of took down the enjoyability of it for me. I’m not a huge chorizo fan in general so that all could just be me, I would say it’s worth trying for anyone that’s curious. It’s only like $2 at Trader Joes too, so it won’t break the bank if you don’t like it.

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So this…..

I have been struggling with how to even put into words what *this* experience was.

First off I observed that they look like McDonald’s chicken nuggets which I think made the whole situation even more weird, more on that in a minute.

I saw these at Trader Joe’s and got excited. General Tso’s chicken is probably my number one chinese food choice, but Orange Chicken is a really close second. Decided to even make some of that nifty brown rice to go with it so it was Chinese Takeout-esque.

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This is as pretty as it gets y’all.

As I think about the whole experience, only one question comes to mind…What in the actual fuck!?

I was growing a little more weary as I cooked these because the smell was odd, but I continued on anyway and figured I was just being silly.

I should have heeded the warning sign when I tried to stir the sauce with a fork and it was like stirring half melted gummy bears, but I didn’t.

Something should have stopped me when I had to send a search and rescue team with the jaws of life to remove the nuggets from the sauce…

And yet I put it in my mouth anyway…

This…this is the point where words fail me…

sup

I’m just as confused by this picture as you are, I think it accurately describes the traumatic situation I just experienced.

The Smell? Horrifying. The Consistency? Horrifying. The Taste? Horrifying!

The fact that my teeth were practically sealed onto the faux piece of meat thanks to the gummy consistency of the sauce? PURE TERROR.

There’s no cute way to say this, so here we go. I have a really strong stomach, but it was truly no match for this. The entire time I am trying to pry my teeth from their gummy prison, I can’t stop the taste from infiltrating my mouth and I am gagging. My panic set in even more when I thought about what would happen if I did end up losing the contents of my stomach while my teeth were still stuck together.

Finally I get free and I am trying to remove all traces of the abomination from my mouth with a paper towel, only now I have tiny bits of paper towel stuck to my teeth. After my initial panic I was able to pry that off too with a clean fork and intermittent dousing of tea.

Needless to say I ended up eating rice and carrots for dinner after my stomach settled, and of course had a little bit of soy ice cream for dessert. What?! I needed it after I escaped my certain orange-y doom.

Also I tried Goji Berries today because my trainer gave me some and said I should try them. Of course he could have been trying to poison me, always a possibility.

Oh well, I’m not dead… yet.

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