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The official Vegan Essentials reviews (to be updated).

you can keep the pumpkin spice silk. that stuff SUCKS. so much that they had to rename it just SPICE.

really? just spice? i haven't seen the odwallas or the silk around yet, have you? IT'S OCTOBER FOR CHRIST'S SAKE :(

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i swear last year the Silk was "spice," instead of "pumpkin spice"... but no evidence, alas.

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They're not at my stores yet, either, AML!  I think it's normally around Thanksgiving when they start to show up, though...?  I don't care for Silk Nog very much, but I love their Pumpkin Spice & Mint Chocolate.

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I recently saw the Silk Pumpkin Spice at Target.

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I recently saw the Silk Pumpkin Spice at Target.

haven't seen it there yet!

jess you like the silk brand peppermint milk? i think it's repulsive... i like the westsoy one (i think that's the brand)

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What's wrong with it?!  It just tastes like chocolate mint to me.

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What's wrong with it?!  It just tastes like chocolate mint to me.

it tastes like chemicals :P

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The Vegan Scoop – 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream by Wheeler del Torro
I'm enjoying using this, almost done going through all the ice creams I wanted to make. It uses the same basic formula for most of the ice cream, which is mostly soy creamer, some soy milk, and arrowroot as the thickener. I've used tapioca with similar results. I bet you could use a non-soy milk, as long as it's similar in fat content. Couple things I have to be mindful of with this book: sugar content, texture of fruit ice creams, and heavy seasoning. Some ice creams have more or less sugar, but it's not in a consistent way. For instance, with the red bean (adzuki) ice cream, I've always seen adzuki paste sweetened, never anything else. Yet the recipe involves the higher level of sugar, so the ice cream is VERY sweet. Versus the peanut butter ice creams, which have less sugar, and because of the pb content they come out not very sweet at all. ?? For the fruit, some of these recipes have you add chopped fruit near the end, but that is weird to me - having chunks of frozen fruit in the ice cream. Maybe some people like that, but I like it better blended in, especially since some frozen fruits are not too sweet. Finally, some ice creams are very heavily seasoned, like mint ones that call for tablespoons of peppermint extract, or curry ice cream that calls for 1/4 c curry powder, or saffron ice cream that calls for 1/4 cup (both unnecessary and expensive!). So... add to taste in every respect. There are some great classic-type ice creams in here, with little creative twists (like toasting marshmallows and adding them to chocolate ice cream as a "smores" ice cream). A lot of them are purposely unusual, using some atypical ingredients. I'd say it's more unusual ice creams than classically indulgent stuff. I like that, but not everyone would.

Vegan Desserts – Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season by Hannah Kaminsky
I've only made so many things from this book so far. Like MSV, it's a gorgeous book. Hannah Kaminsky does all her own photography, photographs like every recipe, and does a great job. One thing I've pleasantly noticed so far is that cooking times and temps are exactly right; that was a problem I had with many recipes in MSV, despite not having that happen with other books. It's easy enough to leave something in the oven 10 minutes longer, it's just frustrating to have to adjust all the time when you're following a recipe. But no matter here! Also, everything I've made from here so far has turned out pretty much great. I think there's a lot for anyone in this book. Again, there are a number of things that would require unusual or expensive ingredients - e.g. a chesnut torte that uses chestnut flour (and despite what she says, it is not in most health food stores) or olive oil ice cream (not unusual, but could be expensive. also weird). But there are also cheaper things to make, and it's organized by seasons, so it's easier in that sense (so it might be weird to make a cake with blood oranges, but you can get them in winter, so it's not so bad). There's a lot of cool creative stuff again, and some simpler recipe (like the Black Cat Cookies).
My gripe though.... is the index. Never have I before seen a stranger index. MSV's was great; their was an index for allergen-free recipes, for particular ingredients (so if you need to use up that sour "cream" or something), and a regular index. Here the same thing is attempted, but it's again subdivided by season (which is not labelled, and took me a while to figure out), AND a buttload of recipes are missing from the index, either altogether, or missing from allergen-free lists they should be a part of. Also, instead of having a separate ingredient index and general one, they're combined. Yet, there will be a list for things that contain (let's say) lemon juice, but not orange juice (even if there's a lot of recipes). So you try to remember the particular name to find it (so not cake ---> orange cake, it has to be Blood Orange Upside Down Cake), and then it might turn out it was accidentally omitted from the index. SIGH. It's easier to leaf through the book, because each season-chapter starts with a list of recipes, and the recipes are alphabetical within each chapter, and there are loads of photos.

Lieber's butterscotch chips
Cheapo butterscotch chips. They don't taste super great on their own, they're ok in cookies. They do have the butterscotch flavor (... i think it's artificial), but there's something pasty/waxy about them like Lieber's white chocolate chips. Oh well.

Mom's vegan kitchen vegan French toast mix
Makes good french toast. Hardly sticks to the pan, yet gets nicely browned. Chickpea flour's in here, which gives it an egginess, but is a little coarse in texture. I like this. Nice lazier way to do french toast. With a bag I can make 2 french loaves (16 oz?) worth of french toast.

Darifree soy-free vegan milk alternative
- chocolate
Huh, I thought I reviewed this elsewhere. OH WAIT I DID:

Quote:
DariFree Soy-Free Vegan Milk Alternative
Chocolate; Trial Size
More watery than soymilk, more on par with rice milk or hemp milk. It makes a better chocolate milk than just plain soymilk + chocolate syrup, pretty chocolatey and everything. It kind of has a significant amount of salt though (5% or something), so I'd prefer it without that. Now I'm curious to try the original... not bad for "potato milk". It also has a lot more fortification than standard milk alternatives, which doesn't seem to affect the flavor. The trial size makes 8 oz, but it looks like the full size containers call a "serving" 1.5 cups, just a note. You can get 6 trial size things with free shipping from the manufacturer's website, though the full sized container would probably be cheaper from VE with an order.

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Allison’s Gourmet Organic Vegan Fudge
So, I never get the "Allison's" stuff because it's always relatively expensive. I figured it's a larger amount than most of these things, hence the price. So I got this one, which was like the cheapest option. It's like better quality dark chocolate made into sugary fudge. It's nothing to write home about... maybe I just don't like fudge that much, but it's sorta like, why not just have chocolate? Anyway, it was fine, but maybe just not my thing.

Cocomels coconut milk caramels (HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE THESE LISTED)
- vanilla
Each caramel is larger than a typical caramel (maybe 1.5-2x larger). They do have a distinct coconut flavor. I keep them in the fridge (just 'cause), and they do soften up as you chew. They're pretty good and satisfying, but not for someone who hates coconut. I got a pretty similar result without coconut flavor from the caramels recipe on vegweb. I'm curious to try the chai variety, but unfortunately it only comes chocolate-covered =/

Whizzers chocolate speckled eggs
Fun stuff; just like the non-vegan version, except the chocolate inside is probably better quality.

Eco Planet Vanilla Organic Cookies
Very vanilla, nice crispy cookies.

Liz Lovely artisan cookies
Chocolate Moosedragons
So so good. Big, soft-ish brownie-like cookies with delicious chocolate chips. I always figured cocoa nibs would be delicious, but they're always kind of plain, as they are here. But no matter! The cookie is delicious. This one >> ABC double chocolate. Very rich... can't eat a whole cookie in one sitting.

Lotus Bakeries Biscoff spread
OMG. SO. I discovered the cookie version 'cause it was the snack on a plane (huh? they're like biscotti, aren't they? whatever). Anyway. The cookies are caramlized crispy-but-softens deliciousness. Then I saw there was a spread, sold on Amazon, but for like $10 a jar! THEN veganessentials got it. WHAT. So now I have the spread. It does taste like the cookie, and is super smoothe in texture, but as AC said, it's hard to pair it with something. The problem is that the flavor is really good, but easily overpowered. For instance, I had it on toast (where I'd usually use nutella-type stuff), but the flavor of the bread took over. So I'd say it goes best on something very plain, like plain crackers. It's a shame to use a ton of this sugary stuff on bread, because it's not too cheap and it seems decadent without even being able to taste it. Clearly, the answer is to eat it off the spoon, which I can do without compunction, but others may have a problem with. Also, FYI, they have the cookies on Amazon in a 5-pack for fairly cheap. THEY ARE GREAT IN COFFEE/TEA, GET THEM

Sweet & Sara pumpkin marshmallows
haHA I got these. Even though I had recently ordered. NO MATTER
They're lightly spiced and have a light pumpkin flavor (but it's actually there! Suck it, Silk Pumpkin Spice soymilk!). Anyway, I didn't expect strong flavors anyway, because marshmallows are tricky work. I think these are great on their own, and I'm afraid to use them elsewhere (smores? rice crispy treats?) because their mild flavor might be overshadowed. Maybe toasted, by themselves? On another note, it's awesome that these people are flavoring marshmallows, going places no omni has gone before! I mean, it's just nice that it's not always about imitating an omni product, and creating/improving by itself. YES SWEET & SARA, YOU HAVE MY VOTE. FOR WHAT I DON'T KNOW.

Crazy Rumors A La Mode Lip Balm
Banana split
This is all right. All their flavors are pretty pleasant, but I like the mocha version so much, that this is just kinda there. Without knowing mocha, I'd probably think it was great. Mostly banana, not much of a chocolate/vanilla thing going on.

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yo AC did some reviews get deleted or something? 'cause again:

Quote:
Tartex Organic Pate
Herb Meadow
I need more pate in my life. Herby, savory, delicious. I don’t know if it’s really supposed to be mimicking some animal product here or is just something in its own right, but it’s good enough to try at least once. This stuff is cheaper in the UK, but… I don’t live there.

but Tartex isn't on the list, and is still sold by them =/
but to add on this review:
I got this again. Still as good as I remember. Now it reminds me of the NZ bark nooch, hah! I guess that's how unfortified nooch tastes. It's very rich, so though it's tiny and expensive, maybe it's worth it? I dunno, but it's delicious enough that I'd get it again.

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yo AC did some reviews get deleted or something?

Yeah, a long time ago. I had to redo the whole freaking list at one point!! I don't think I added every single thing, but will add as they come up.

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i see. yeah, i was wondering if they never got added or were deleted or what.

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i see. yeah, i was wondering if they never got added or were deleted or what.

HOWEVER, I did go back through all these pages to add reviews again (when I remade it), so I don't know what happened there. I thought maybe I had added the darifree one to the nondairy review (which I will), but it wasn't there either.

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Cocomels coconut milk caramels (HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE THESE LISTED)

I do/did (it was already there when you posted)! You're driving me insane, here!!

eta: I added the tartex pates to the meatless review, because they fit a bit better there, and there are actually a ton of flavors!

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meatless? but they're like, cheesy. are they supposed to be a meat sub? i never noticed.

the cocomels you have listed were the chocolate-covered ones that come in a chocolates box. i'm talking about the individual caramels that wrapped in plastic and come in a bag. YOU NEED A SEPARATE LIST

also: i live to drive you crazy with review thread logistics. i thought i made that clear.

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meatless? but they're like, cheesy. are they supposed to be a meat sub? i never noticed.

the cocomels you have listed were the chocolate-covered ones that come in a chocolates box. i'm talking about the individual caramels that wrapped in plastic and come in a bag. YOU NEED A SEPARATE LIST

also: i live to drive you crazy with review thread logistics. i thought i made that clear.

omg.

They are cheesy??! Pate is not cheese..it's..liver. Gross! but vegan pate should be more "meaty" than cheesy..if it's like regular pate. I'll move them if you think.

FINE.

also, I would totally buy that "limited time" pie kit thing if I didn't already have VPITS and..most of those other items.

alsoalso, I actually just had quite a bit of that biscoff spread today, and it was really good on apple..I think my favorite use.

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I'm bummed that it was not great on banana. I was hoping for that one.

At least, the herb one is cheesy. I just got the mushroom one, so maybe that'll be different. But I believe that the main ingredients are palm oil (yum!) and nooch, so I'm pretty sure they're cheesy. I think that maybe by being "vegetarian pate," they're just different, not meaty. Idk. Didn't someone else try them or somethin? NEED A SECOND OPINION

alsoalso.... you know you can get the kit without the book? it's true.
looking at the kit, the only thing in there that i can't get locally are the graham crumbs and healthy top.

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Dark Angell Organic Vegan Candy Bar
It's fair trade! Yummy. Very chocolaty. It's chewy, and it has almonds and I could have sworn there was coconut in there too, but I looked at the ingredients and there isn't. (Maybe it's oats that give it that texture?)

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Lieber's butterscotch chips
to add on: these also do not melt well; they form a mostly solid paste. Too bad - I was hoping to use them for decorating or candies.

YO AC YOU DOUBLE-LISTED MOM'S VEGAN KITCHEN STUFF FOR SHAME

Goody Good Stuff Imported Gummy Candies
Summer Peaches
I am sad to report that these were gross. Yes, they are both candy AND peach-flavored, yet they were gross to me. They didn't have much flavor, and the texture/taste was like really thick corn syrup or something. Sad.

Surf Sweets Vegan Gummy Candies
Sour Worms
GREAT. Noticeably tart, distinctive real-tasting flavors (it doesn't list such on the bag), kinda like Yummy Earth lolipops (but not quite as strong).

Organic VegeBears by Just Wholefoods
These are all right. There are different flavors, not SUPER noticeable. One kinda has a bit of gingeriness to it? (i think it's the blackcurrant one). These are like fruit snacks.

ALSO AC YOU LISTED MY REVIEWS FOR THE 'almond orange' 'peanut butter cloud' and 'white cashew cardamom' boardwalk chocolates UNDER THE BOOJA STUFF AS WELL. WHAT IS GOING ON.

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Liz Lovely Artisan Cookies
Ginger Snapdragons
Great. Gingery, but not spicy, and has molasses. Soft cookie, lil bit chewy.

Macaroonies Sock It To Me
Soft cookies, coconut is mostly on the outside, tastes of lemon. I thought this was weird, but there it is in the ingredients. Hm. Anyway, tasty.

Peanut Butter Classics
How was this not good. These people make good cookies, and peanut butter is delicious, but...? It wasn't too flavorful, the texture wasn't as good as the other cookies. Idk what happened here.

Tartex Pates
Shiitake
Quite good too, but I prefer the herb one on account of the herbs. Otherwise, there's pretty much no difference, which is weird considering there's like a high % of mushrooms in here apparently.

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Moo free Vegan Organic Chocolate Advent Calendar
I wonder if the 'milk' chocolate here is a different formula than what they typically use, 'cause these are pretty solid, almost waxy :/ they're all right though. each chocolate is fairly small, but that's an advent calendar for you.

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