Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Amy's Tamale Verde - Plant Based Product Review! (Gluten Free!)

Hello everyone! It's time for another plant based product review. I had no idea there were so many options out there. As I have mentioned before I am new to this diet and one of my struggles has been meal planning. I am getting better at it but still struggle a bit. One of my problems is that I just get bored eating the same thing twice in a week. I am always in a time crunch it seems, like the majority of us. It is nice to know that there are healthier fast choices we can make. My fear was that they would be bland and tasteless. Come to find out this is far from the truth!

We have all been there. Getting home from a long day at work and not having the energy or at times the pantry is running bare. As I was talking to a friend at work they mentioned Amy's frozen dinners had some good plant based dinners I should try. So one Saturday night after working a double shift I went to a local market and picked one up.

I chose to try the Tamale Verde. When I got home I poured a glass of wine and popped it in the microwave. It does not look like the meal on the package which is typical. I instantly almost thought I made the wrong choice. As it cooked I began to change my mind. It smelled wonderful. I sat down to eat it and boy was I surprised!

This little meas was actually wonderful! The texture of the masa was perfect. It looked soggy but was not as water logged as it appeared. The chili verde was zesty and had a hint of spice. The problem I have had in the past with frozen meals and rice being dried out was not the case here. The rice cooked perfectly and had a punch of flavor that left me wanting more. As you can see in the picture the filling was not as plentiful as the on the box, but it was just the right amount. One of the issues with even homemade tamales is to much masa. That was not a problem here. I really enjoyed this meal for what it was. My only complaint is the price. These meals while a bit smaller than other frozen meals are about a dollar more. This confuses me. I have been saving money on my grocery bill and these meals cost more? It must be that it is considered a specialty item and maybe they don't sell as many so they need to charge more. If you have an insight as to why they cost more please leave a comment below.

In summary I would recommend Amy's Tamale Verde if your felling lazy or just don't have the time to cook. While slightly better for you than the typical frozen dinner it is of course packed with sodium and other preservatives. The flavor is amazing and the texture of the meal over all was very pleasant. Again I would not make it a habit to eat like this for your health. But I have to admit I have two more in my freezer along with a couple more dinners I want to try.

Remember cooking is only as complicated as you make it! That is if you have the time to cook!

Love food, live life!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Shan's Aloo Bhaji - Plant Based Product Review! (Spicy Curry Potato Soup)

I love trying new foods. One of my problems is that I can get bored rather quickly eating the same thing even a couple times a month. I am sure I am not the only one right? That is one of the reasons I enjoy doing the blog so much. It gives me a reason to cook and try new recipes on a regular basis. I can rotate my favorites in and out and along the way I can swap in new favorites and allow more time before going back to an older one. 

One of my favorite cuisines is Indian, unfortunately there are not many options here in Wichita Falls. I could only find two, and I have tried them both. They are really good actually and now that I am plant based I will have to go back and see what options they offer. Indian food is known for its use of veggies so it should not be unthinkable these restaurants would have a few menu items I will not have to change to fit my new dietary needs.
Okay so enough of all that it is time to get to the point of this post. We have a very cool International Grocers here in Wichita Falls. It is on the corner of Southwest Parkway and Fairway right next to the Little Caesar's. It has tons of raw grains, legumes, beans, spices, and meal mixes. This place is great if you're looking for something different or a decent price on bulk beans, rice, and legumes. It had been some time since I last visited this little shop so I headed back there to see what I could find. This was only my second week of being plant based so I was on the hunt for new flavors.

I browsed the store for a while and decided I would buy some of the Shan Recipe Mixes. This would save me some time since I was still struggling with cooking two to three meals a day and let me try some new and exciting flavors. The first one I decided to try was the Aloo Bhaji, a spicy potato curry soup. I decided to add some more veggies to the recipe which called for tomato, cilantro and chillie peppers. I grabbed some corn, carrots, and chick peas and got to cooking. This recipe was so easy and fast!

All you do is use 8 cups of water and add the veggies with the spice mix and bring to a boil. I was not really in the mood for a soup. I had some leftover rice so I poured some of the Aloo Bahji on top of the rice and garnished with some green onion. Over all I loved this meal. The only complaint I have is that there were Fengu Greek Seeds, these seeds are bitter and I had never had them before. It almost ruined the dish for me. Keep in mind this is just my personal take on these seeds. They really do balance out the rich flavor of the sauce, they are just not my thing.

I would recommend trying trying some of these mixes. If you are in a time crunch these are perfect. If you have always wanted to try new flavors but lack confidence in your cooking skills these recipe mixes are perfect. From what I can tell they are all minimal in the other ingredients you need and have very easy to follow instructions. If you try one let me know about it in the comments below. Let me know your favorite if you have tried them before as well. Remember cooking is only as difficult as you make it! 

(Note that this recipe says it does have traces of Gluten, but if you are not celiac you should have no problem)
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Love food, live life!