Sunday, January 22, 2012

Non-dairy conveience foods

Yesterday I made a trip to Whole Foods. It's about an hour away so a bit of a trek but definitely worth it. I love going there to get hard to find veggies and herbs, really good fish and poultry, and non-dairy convenience foods. Yes I could plausibly make everything we need from scratch, but who has the time? There are some convenience foods that I rely on day in and day out and then I love to find new things that I've never seen before but make life that much easier or fun. Here are some of the things I picked up yesterday.

My old standbys:
Daiya shredded cheese
This is the best shredded cheese style product I have found. It actually melts and it tastes good. Mix the cheddar style with unsweetened soy milk and microwave and you have a quick, pretty darn good, sauce for mac and cheese. The mozzarella is great on pizza. Patrick eats both kinds out of a bowl as well.

Vegan American Singles

This is what I got yesterday and they are good, but I prefer Tofutti single but the Whole Foods I go to does not carry them. These are great for grilled cheese or just handing them a slice to eat. Patrick goes to preschool and cheese is a pretty popular snack so he can bring these and not feel totally different.

The individual flavored type is great for eating right out of the package. The large vanilla I use in smoothies or with granola. The plain I use in cooking or if I'm out of flavored I just mix some jelly into it and my kids are none the wiser. I really couldn't live without these. I've tried the coconut milk yogurt and I think it's too sweet. Pat likes it but it should be dessert not a snack. The almond milk yogurt has a bad consistency, too think almost jello like, and the taste is iffy. Pat wouldn't eat it.

This is definitely not something I "need" on a daily basis or at all I guess, but treats are great and kids love a pudding cup. These are good. The plain chocolate is great too. The vanilla or the banana cream are not big hits at my house but if you aren't into chocolate they are still good. This stuff is so good my husband eats it up. Making pudding from a mix (most powdered pudding mixes on the market don't have dairy in them) with soy milk is extremely easy but it doesn't keep as well and is not as easily transportable. It is a good and less expensive option though.

My new finds
Hot chocolate mix
OK so this is totally unnecessary. I can make hot chocolate with baking cocoa and soy milk and it's really good. Much more time consuming than a mix of course.  Really Patrick doesn't care if I just heat up chocolate soy milk in the microwave but this is fun. It tastes more like traditional hot chocolate. And everyone loves a cup of hot cocoa when you come in from a cold day outside.

Cashew Ice cream
I was hesitant to buy this. It's not at all as flashy as the other non-dairy ice cream brands, which shouldn't be important but you know you just wonder about it. I had never had cashew ice cream. I have made a cream substitute with cashews that was great but didn't last very well. It's also sweetened with agave not sugar. I like agave when I am controlling the amount. It can really make things sweet if you're not careful. I bought it just to try something new and what an awesome surprise. This is the BEST non-dairy ice cream I've ever had, hands down. Amazing.

I live in a small town so finding these convenience foods is difficult. Luckily we are close (with in an hour) to two Whole Foods. Still, I only go about once a month. The cheese I buy about four bags of each flavor and freeze it. It keeps perfectly and you don't have to thaw it to use it. The yogurts shelf life is pretty long. I continue to use it at least a week after the date. Same with the pudding.

I love finding and trying new products and brands. If you have any you can't live with out let me know. I'd love to try them too!

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