Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ category

A Nog For Your Sipping

December 19th, 2017

A few years ago I did a taste test of the various nogs available at the time. I still have bad memories regarding the rice nog. After seeing so many new varieties available this year I thought it would be time to do another test.

Now, nog, or egg nog as you know it by traditionally, is not everyone’s thing. I have always enjoyed it. As a wee kid I would drink glasses of it. The non-vegan stuff isn’t light on the fat or cholesterol, it does have egg in it, after all. My grandfather always preferred boiled custard which I felt was just the same as egg nog without the spices. I have not found a vegan boiled custard but have run across a few varieties of nog. I have chosen four for this article, one from each of the more popular bases: soy, almond, coconut and flax. OK, flax isn’t that popular and has a relatively small shelf footprint but the other choice was rice and I wasn’t going to go through that again. Rice nog is terrible. Cut the chase, there’s your answer.

So as I’m not the only opinion you’ll get on these nogs, I enlised the tastebuds of the kid. The kid is my 12 year old daughter. She’s picky.

Nogs - Nashveggie Vegan in Nashville

The nog’s are Silk’s Nog that is always a staple in the non-dairy section this time of year, So Delicious Coconut Nog, Trader Joe’s Almond Nog and Good Karma Flax Nog. Lined up, and poured into glasses, the sipping was on.

Nogs - Nashveggie Vegan in Nashville



Silk Nog

Silk Nog - Nashveggie Vegan in Nashville

A few years ago when I first did this taste test, Silk faired pretty well. I expected it to do the same again. Though, something seems to have changed with Silk’s nog. I don’t know what it is. I am sure Silk has undergone a formula change in many of their products since recently removing carageenan from their ingredients for whatever reason amid sqiubbles of ultra-purists. That might be the change I am tasting. Still, not a bad nog. It doesn’t come close to what was my favorite at one time. (I miss you, Earth Balance Nog) This one has a good flavor with a slight hint of nutmeg. It’s not too sweet though it is a little on the thin side. No nog consistency at all. It doesn’t cat the side of my glass like a good nog should.  A-

The Kid: This is good.


Good Karma Holiday Nog

Good KArma Nog -- Nashveggie Vegan in Nashville


I’m not one for flax, I don’t even like flax used as a binder in baking. There’s not much it lends to anything. It also doesn’t lend anything to nog. I don’t even think this is nog. In fact, I’m not sure this was even meant to be a drink. No flavor, none. It’s almost like Good Karma said “We need a nog. Let’s make a carton that says Holiday Nog and pour our flax milk in it. We don’t have to do anything else because it won’t matter. Flax is terrible.”  The worst part is the heavy chemical taste and the horrible aftertaste. I don’t know why something natural would have such a chemical aftertaste. It’s just so powerful. The only flavor this nog has is chemical. No spice. No sweetness. Just chemical. Not drinkable. Don’t try.   F

The Kid: I don’t like this one.


Trader Joe’s Almond Nog

Trader Joe's Almond Nog - Nashveggie Vegan in Nashville


I can generally drink almond milk if it is cold. People who use almond milk to make lattes have no scruples. I thought this one would be good. I could see where a light almond flavor would lend to nog. After one sip I knew I was off the mark with that idea. So nutty. Just nuts. This doesn’t taste like nog at all. I caught a hint of a flavor that was trying to reach out. Was it nutmeg trying to get my attention? And then it was gone, crushed by the overwhelming nuttiness. Not a total failure only because I would then have to say it’s as bad as Good Karma.  C-

The Kid: Eww. NO!


So Delicious Coconut Nog


So Delicious Nog - Nashveggie Vegan in Nashville


I have never been much a lover of coconut milk products. When it comes to these most just make me feel like I am drinking oil and So Delicious coconut milk is the same way. I can enjoy their ice cream but that’s about as far as I go. However, this was the only nog I tried that had the right consistency. A good thickness that would coat the sides of the glass is key in nog. Unfortunately, that about all this one has. I am sure the spice is there but it just so sweet I can’t taste it. There’s so much sweetness that you can’t call it much other than sugar nog. If it were not for the powerful sweetness this might be good. Otherwise ,may be good for helping with nausea.  B-

The Kid: This doesn’t taste right.



If you have found a nog that I didn’t try let me know. Next year I’ll try to add it to my drinking list. I hope your holidays are happy and full of a good nog!





Trader Joe’s Coconut Creamer

February 12th, 2015

Nashveggie - Nashville Vegan - Trader Joe's Coconut Creamer


I love coffee. Anyone who follows my Twitter knows this as I’m always rambling about the bean extract. I don’t typically drink anything in my morning french press but on occasion I’ll try a new creamer if I see one that is interesting.

While at Trader Joe’s a few days ago I saw a new item, coconut creamer. I have tried coconut milks, typically labeled as a beverage so not to get confused with actual coconut milk such as in a can, in the past and have not found one I could stand to drink. They all have an unusual plastic feel which gives me a sense I’m drinking pure fat. The taste is also something I cannot deal with. I thought the creamer would be different so I opted to try it.

To properly cream a 10 ounce cup of coffee required about 3 tablespoons of creamer. When I do use a creamer I don’t like a heavy amount so I felt to attain the light creaminess this was a bit much to have to use. The flavor was exactly as I expected, an acidic aftertaste as I find in all coconut milk products.

I’m sure I can find another use for this little carton so I’m not completely wasting it. Maybe I can use it in our next batch of vegan ice cream. I’m quite certain it is just relabeled  So Delicious coconut creamer. If you have tried So Delicious creamer and like the results then you may save yourself a dollar by buying this version. In the end it’s just not for me. I’ll keep my coffee dark and vibrant.


Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Dip

October 6th, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Cream Cheese Dip

Fewer ingredients hit a popularity during a certain season like pumpkin does in fall. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin spice lattes all hit a high during this time of year. One of our favorite snacks to make involves a generous taste of sweet pumpkin. Pumpkin Pecan Dip is a quick munchie that can be made on a whim and will have even the meat eaters asking for more.

As with all of the recipes I post don’t skimp on the ingredients with a cheaper version of something thinking you’ll get the same flavor. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried this with different brands of pumpkin spread and vegan cream cheese and the flavors just aren’t there. You’ll find the Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter at Williams-Sonoma and Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Plain Cream Cheese is available at most Whole Foods stores. Again, don’t skimp if you want the best flavor. You’ve been warned.


Williams-Sonoma Pecan Pumpkin Butter and Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Plain Cream Cheese

Two of the main ingredients: Williams-Sonoma's Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter, Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Plain Cream Cheese and Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Strips (not pictured) are important ingredients in this recipe. Don't skimp on these as they lend the perfect flavor to this dip. I've tried others and they're just not as good.

Also, as with most of my recipes, they’re not really hardline recipes. For the most part, I don’t use recipes in my cooking and food preparation. I’m a little of this and little of that food creator. I have developed some of my “this and that creations” into traditional recipes to share and I plan on doing more of that in the future.  People keep asking me for recipes of the things I post pictures of on Twitter and I tell them there’s no recipe.  Some have said that I’m just not willing to share. No, I say that because I don’t have a recipe for the vegan cornbread that will destroy the milk and egg cornbread your grandmother makes, the vegan biscuits that make those from “that local joint, you know the one” seem like flavorless hockey pucks (they are) or the barbecue tempeh that’s full of perfect flavor all the way through that I like to have once a week. I say that because it’s true. I could write down general guidelines but it wouldn’t be in recipe form.  Some of the best things you’ll ever eat will come from a little of this/little of that approach. Damn the recipe!


With that said, here’s the….recipe.


Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Dip

1/2 tub (4 oz) Galaxy Nutritional Vegan Plain Cream Cheese

1/3 cup Williams-Sonoma Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter

2 strips Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Strips

1/2 cup Pecans

2 tbs chives or green onions, chopped fine

Toast the pecans until lightly and fry the tempeh strips until crisp. Finely chop both the toasted pecans and tempeh strips, set aside.  Spread the Vegan Cream Cheese evenly on a small plate about 1/2 inch thick. Spread the Pecan Pumpkin Butter evenly on top of the vegan cream cheese.  Sprinkle the toasted pecans and tempeh strips on top of the pecan pumpkin butter.  Top with chopped chives or green onions.

Serve with crackers such as wheat thins. I prefer Trader Joe’s Everything Crackers.



Trader Joe’s Bagels No Longer Vegan*

July 22nd, 2010

A bagel in the morning toasted, dry. Tomato sandwich on a bagel with Vegenaise. Those were two of my favorite snacks up until a couple weeks ago. When I noticed Trader Joe’s bagels had gotten a little fatter I was a bit happy, they even felt softer than before. Picking up the two packs, one sesame and one everything, for the week I noticed something about the label that was different but thought nothing of it.

A day or two later my wife is opening the bag and she says, “These bagels have honey in them.”  My first though was no way, they have a vegan logo on the label. Looking at the package the V logo on the front label is missing and honey is listed in the ingredients.

Trader Joe's Bagels Ingredients

With this change bagels may be unavailable to the vegan, at least in the Nashville area. Panera bagels contain L-Cysteine from an animal source and now Trader Joe’s, the once lone vegan holdout, has jumped ship. I’ve only checked the sesame and everything varieties of Trader Joe’s bagels but there seems to be a supplier change and possibly all varieties now contain honey. This  may only apply to the Southeast Trader Joe’s supply as Trader Joe’s uses a different baker for each area of the country to keep their supplies fresh.

You can comment on the change Trader Joe’s has made at this link.

If anyone knows of a vegan bagel please let me know.

UPDATE: After checking, Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Bagels are still vegan.  I asked a Trader Joe’s employee who is familiar with them and said a new supplier was chosen about a month prior for all bagels except the whole wheat.  The new supplier uses honey in all recipes.  The supplier for the whole wheat variety is the same from two changes ago.

*Possibly only in the Southeast/Atlanta region.

UPDATE: As of June 1, 2011, Panera Bread has changed bagel providers and now serves a tasty vegan bagel without animal sourced L-Cysteine. Go get ’em!


Stopover Atlanta

April 24th, 2008

Coming back from our vacation in St. Augustine we stayed the weekend in Atlanta.  Atlanta is a semi-regular trip for us as my mother-in-law and brother-in-law live there  so we know the places to eat well.   Saturday we had lunch at Veggieland, a small restaurant in Buckhead that has quite an extensive menu.  I usually get a sandwich but decided to get a salad of some type since when I am usually there some at a nearby table orders one and I tell myself to get a salad next time.    I got Jennifer’s Salad (some salads are named after customers who have created and ordered them regularly), a mix of spinach, brown rice, steamed broccoli, steamed sweet potatoes, tofu, tempeh bacon, tomoatoes and cucumbers with a vegan ranch dressing.  My wife had the Tostada Salad, I am not sure what all was on it but it was tasty as I swipped a bite.  My brother-in-law had a pasta dish with steamed vegetable which smelled great and my mother-in-law, who never branches out in her vegan eating when she eats with us, got her usual veggie burger which was served with sweet potato fries.   Veggieland also serves a few vegan cakes and we had a slice of a peanut butter-chocolate cake and a strawberry cake.  I am never impressed by their cakes, they are good but noting compared to what my wife can whip up.   They are served directly from being refrigerated and are far too moist, their cake supplier has a few things to learn in the art of vegan baking.


Salad From Veggieland

Saturday night my wife and I had planned a dinner out and we considered Cafe Sunflower, of which I am not the biggest fan (see pretty food rant).  After looking at the menu we quickly decided against it as their prices have increased considerably over the already overpriced amounts.   We called to check on the hours of Soul Vegetarian, a restaurant operated by African Hebrews,  but were told they would be closing early for Passover.  They informed us they would be open the next moring for brunch, not a big deal to me but my mother-in-law has some kind of infatuation with it so she said we should go then.  After thinking and not finding anything that we really wanted to bother driving to and burning expensive gas for we decided to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant where they prepare guacamole at tableside.  After a bowl of guacamole and a margarita we called it a night.

Sunday morning started with Soul Vegetarian.  After looking at their menu I found there was too much to choose from to waste time on a brunch selection.  I ordered a plate of collard greens (one of my favorites) and barbecued kalebone, described as made in house using soy protein and wheat gluten.  It is seitan with some spices added but is quite good.  I was served two large pieces and my collards and was quite happy.  My wife had a battered-fried “steak” and macaroni-and-cheese made form raw cashews.  The steak was also seitan but not flavored the same as what I had and covered in gravy, also quite good.  My mother-in-law went out on a wild tangent and ordered…no wait, she had a veggie burger.  I had a bite of the patty and it was different than any other veggie burger I have had but since I didn’t eat the entire thing I am not sure what tey used to make it.  My daughter had two huge pancakes from the brunch menu, she is a pancake lover.  They were very moist and again, huge.  I almost forgot, onion rings!  We had onion rings for an appetizer, battered, fried, crispy and delicious.

The night before whicle searching for a dinner place we found Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe’s website and noticed the address was near Soul Vegetarian so decided a stop there should be next.  It is in a small storefront and they have a good selection of vegan items usually only found online.   Asmall corner near the front of the store has clothing items including vegan shoes and belts.  There are two aisles of vegan foods and a cooler with vegan cheeses and other items, including my wifes much sought after vegan marshmallows.  There was only one package left and we would have bought more if they had them.  I also got a container of vegan rice marshmallow cremewich I have been craving on a saltine.  Both are great, there a re a few marshmallows left as we have been rationing them to ourselves.  My wife also found an apron which is perfect for her that she got which says “Vegan Master Baker”.


Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe


Next would be a trip to Ikea that I have been looking forward to.  I have been needing a new stand for my 60″ Sony television and the only reasonably priced stand I could find that was long enough was at Ikea.   Once I saw the stand in person I noticed the shelves for components looked a bit small on width.   Not wanting to buy the stand I really wanted only to get it home and find nothing I had would fit I decided to make some calls for measurement of components.  Sure enough, the width was 1/2″ shorter than the standard 17″ component size.  Why make something a standard component won’t fit in?  After being a a little disgruntled I found another stand that looked like what I needed which had the shelving and length required.   We also picked up some lighting to replace various ceiling fans in the game room on living room at a much better price than can be found at Home Depot or even the Ikea website.

After loading two oversized boxes into a small car as well as bags from Ikea we headed to Trader Joe’s to stock up.  As the Nashville store is not scheduled to open for a few months trips to Atlanta will include Trader Joe’s for the time.

Next stop, Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market.  This is a stop where we typically fill the car with produce as the prices are hard to beat as well is the selection.  With not much room to spare in the car we cut it short and opted for some basics as well as replinishing our spices with their large bulk selection.

Our last restaurant stop would be Sweet Tomatoes.  This is one place we always look forward to and would really like to see one open in the Nashville area, Coolsprings would be a great location.

Afterward we packed up for the trip back home.   As Atlanta is a regular trip for us  we will probably be going back soon and I will try more at Soul Vegetarian,  get back to Eat’s which we didn’t include this time and maybe Harmony Chinese.