Well here it is, Vegan MoFo 2010! I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year (plus a month!) since we did this last! Unfortunately I am not terribly prepared (and, ahem, a day late) so this first post isn’t a very exciting one but here goes…

I just got back from a trip out East to visit some of my relatives from my moms side of the family and while we spent some time staying with relatives there was also some hotel dwelling that happened. I find it difficult being vegan in a new city (although HappyCow is pretty much the best invention ever!) particularly when trying to eat on a budget (most vegan/vegetarian restaurants aren’t the most economical). Fortunately we got a hotel room with a kitchenette (and it also had a free breakfast buffet-more on that later, and a dinner spread tuesday through thursday) so we could just get groceries and make our own food. Anyways, for convenience sake we picked up a few premade products that I wouldn’t normally purchase, so here is a review of #1: Gardein Santa Fe Good Stuff

(source: http://www.gardein.com/products.php?t=fresh&p=7)

Of all the products investigated, Gardein was my pick. The ingredient list is surprisingly short and all familiar, just a medly of vegetable products and grains as well as various vitamins. The nutritional stats also impressed me, with each serving providing you with good portion of iron (although a couple of their other products had a better nutritional profile, this was purchased with the idea that it was pretty much a meal in itself).

Sorry for the lousy picture, hotel lighting wasn’t great. Anyways, these ended up being microwaved and while the flavour of the filling was good, (and not too spicy for this wimp!) the outside left a bit to be desired. A bit of a scary meaty texture for me (although my meat-eating mom assured me that it didn’t in fact taste like chicken) as well, but I think to give these a truly fair chance, I would need to give them a go baking them in the oven.

So overall I would say the pros of this particular product are: convenience and ingredients/nutritional profile 

and the cons are: texture (although for some the authenticity might be a pro, for me, notsomuch), and cost.

I did get another garden product that I will review later, but overall I would suggest at least giving them a look next time you are eyeing up the faux meat products, and based on their website, they have a fair selection of products to choose from. In the interest of full disclosure, these products were purchased and Gardein has had no contact with me whatsoever, so these reviews are my complete and unbiased opinion.

Until tomorrow,