Posted in Cuisine, HomePage, Uncategorized

Mac & Cheeze, Please!

I have been in the midst of writing a post on a completely different subject, but placed that particular one on hold to give an impression on a pretty important topic. This cannot wait; it must be done immediately! What possibly could be so important, you ask? The subject: Macaroni and Cheese, or rather, Mac & Cheeze.

Prior to dedicating my entire self to Veganism, I, like a good majority of humans, was a cheese addict. I believe I have mentioned in (much) older posts my complete adoration for the creamy delicacy coagulated cow puss. I literally would crave cheese; and desired it in any form; however my very favorite was between two pieces of greasy toasted bread or covering noodles, pasta and macaroni of any kind.

The Mr. and I are about 98% Whole Food, Plant-Based vegans, however occasionally we will splurge on some “vegan junk food”,  or rather “mock” items; one being ‘cheese’. Periodically, although not as often as I once imagined, I get a craving for some of the comfort foods I used to enjoy in the past, the top one being mac and cheese.

The Mr. and I were doing our grocery shopping and in the frozen food section looking for something in particular when I stumbled upon the Heat & Eat section. I typically don’t even bother glancing around those parts since most, if not all, are highly processed, filler-substance, as opposed to real food (even at Whole Foods). But the pic on the box caught my eye:

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Amy’s makes some pretty darn tasty (real) cheese and veggie enchiladas, and I appreciate that they focus on healthy convenience, so I grabbed two boxes and tossed them in my cart. ($3.99 at 365 by Whole Foods)

I have to admit I was a bit trepidatious to try this. One, because I always hold frozen mac and cheese meals to Stouffers standards (was my absolute favorite); it is made with rice pasta, which I have had in the past and find it to be a bit too soft for my taste; and finally, Amy’s uses Daiya for the cheese sauce. The only experience I have with Daiya is having their mozarella shreds on a pizza from Pie Five, and again at home one night; neither time were The Mr. and I a fan. It melts well, but has a strange sweet/tart taste… Anyhoo. The Mr. took his box to have for lunch at work today, and I had mine at home.

I opted to make it in the microwave, although would have rather baked in the oven, but wanted to compare the end result exactly with the way The Mr. would have his, and also, honestly did not want to wait 40 mins to dig in… so, in the microwave it went. After following the instructions stated on the box, I became quite hopeful this could be a treat and wouldn’t have to opt for a back-up lunch option. It smelled exactly like real macaroni and cheese, and resembled it as well! I added a tiny bit of salt and took my first bite… I was SO pleasantly surprised! And then excited! And then satisfied! And then excited again! It was delicious!!! It absolutely could be put up against a non-vegan frozen entree in comparison and be preferred (except Stouffers… nothing can touch that stuff; nothing)!

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The pasta was not overly soft, the cheeze was creamy and had a sharp cheddar-like taste. Could this really be? My only two less-than-perfect comments are that it needed a bit more salt than I would prefer, and after cooling for a few minutes became a bit tacky or sticky; not a huge deal, because I didn’t allow it to sit thaaaat long… I scarfed it down too quickly.

Overall I was very pleased and now have an option for a quick-grab lunch if need be, and therefore give it 4 out of 5 bellyubs!

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I will be very anxious to get The Mr.’s opinion when he gets home from work later this evening. Now, back to my other post… coming soon… sit tight 😉

Posted in Cruelty-free, HomePage

Deo For My B-O

Let’s talk about pits. No, not canines this time, but rather ARM PITS! That silly lil crevice that we must keep groomed and tidy and always smelling fresh; because no one wants the aroma of Taco Bell in the morning wafting through the air as you stroll by!! Eek gads NO!!

I am very self conscience of what I smell like, and it must always be delicious! (Duh!) I am a freak for fragrance. I just love scents in general. I just love sense of smell…  Before I don the most magnificent perfume, or smell-good as I refer to it as, I address the underarm situation. I use the Deo(dorant) for my B-O (Body Odor).

I am not really one that sweats a whole lot, or “glisten” as some girls say; I suppose if I am working in the yard on a super muggy day, yeah, I will perspire, but don’t really have a pit-stain issue, if ya know what I mean!?

Since becoming fully aware of animal testing, one of the first things I replaced was my deodorant. I had stopped using anti-perspirants some time ago when the concern of cancer arose, and again, since I don’t sweat a lot, I never really missed it or even noticed at all.

I have been on a quest to find THE BEST natural deodorant stick and believe I just may have discovered THE BEST one; I also tried out some real doozies along the way.  It took me three tries; the fourth, in this case was the charm! I shall give my impression on each and every one that I have tried over the last several months, and reveal both the pros  and cons to each one. Just because one brand did not work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you! However,  I do believe the one that I have come to LOVE will work for EVERYONE!!!

Ok, so here goes –

First I tried out Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant – Lavendar + Sage ($8.99 from schmidtsnaturals.com)

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Now, the scent is nice. It is a bit heavy, as I could smell it all day over my perfume, but not gaggy. The thing about this stick is it is very hard and dry. Before applying, you must place the stick under your arm (in your pit) to warm it up before swiping. Not really a HUGE issue, but the texture is different. Not… soft or smooth. My biggest issue with this brand, (and the same held true for The Mr.) is that over time it burned our skin! Like, badly. It created a rash, and then felt as though we had constant razor burn under our arms, which is so highly unpleasant and made it so we had to discontinue use of not just this product, but deodorant in general until our pits healed! No bueno.

I rate it highly on the fact that it is Certified Vegan & Cruelty-Free, and also the scent of both mine and The Mr.’s was nice, but have to be honest on how it worked for ME, so, I give it :

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2 Biscuits

Next one I tried, and was hopeful about, was Jason Pure Natural Deodorant Stick – Nourishing Apricot ($5.99 from H-E-B)

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I have used Jason products in the past, in fact they were my favorite go-to when I had my first job at Vitamin Cottage back in the 90’s, as the apricot smell is heavenly! This product… well, it not only disappointed me (other than the smell, which is still heavenly!) it was horrible! No good, terrible, awful!!! I could have put nothing under my arms, gone into a sauna, ate a bushel of garlic and come out smelling better than when using this!! I am not sure if it is my body’s chemistry and this product didn’t mesh or what, but it was BAD!! The texture was better than Schmidt’s, and it did not cause a burn, but overall, no thank you! I will give it a single biscuit, ONLY because the stick smells good. Perhaps it could be used solely as aromatherapy…

I actually contacted Jason and inquired about this individual product, thinking perhaps it was a bad batch(?!) and that I had nothing but great things to say about their other body products and I got, and still have not, received a single response! So, buh-bye Jason! I love that you are a Cruelty-Free, animal-loving company, but I will spend my money elsewhere.

Bone

1 Biscuit (because I can’t cut one in half)

 

After that less than stellar experience, I was still on a mission to find a good deodorant stick. Another natural brand I am big fan of is Tom’s of Maine. I love, love, LOVE their toothpaste, and so thought I would give their deodorant a go. I was super thrilled that Tom’s has a powder scent. I love the smell of baby powder; it’s so fresh and so clean! So, I was hopeful about Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant – Natural Powder ($4.27 from H-E-B)

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I liked this deodorant. I do believe it works, and I adore the scent, however, the texture of this one is far too ‘wet’. It feels like a liquid while applying, and I find it messy. Since it is so wet, it easily rubs off on your shirt or bra. It would be tolerable if it dried after application, but the biggest problem is, is that it does not. It still feels wet all day long. It’s really unfortunate especially because the price is totally reasonable! Again, I liked it, but that was a huge drawback for me, because while wearing a tight sleeve, the deodorant, not sweat, seeped through my top causing the wet pit effect – YUCK!

 

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3 Biscuits

I am beginning to feel like this is a Goldilocks and the Three Bears kind of scenario. Could there be an ‘Ah, just right!!!’ natural deodorant?!? Well, I was not about to give up!

I did what I do best – extensive research into the situation; which, by the way is what I thought I did initially. That is how I learned about Schmidt’s, so I dug even further and found:

Native Deodorant – Coconut & Vanilla AND Apricot & White Peach (seasonal) ($12.00 from nativecos.com)

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This, my friends is IT! The holy grail of delicious-smelling, dry and SOFT pits!!! This deodorant makes me dance a happy jig!! It is glorious, and so worth the price!! Yippee!!!

I first ordered (a couple months ago) the Coconut & Vanilla scent. That just screamed summer to me; and it was the top-rated scent for women. After I placed my order, directly from their website, I got the most clever and creative confirmation email message. It made my day! I won’t give deets, because you’ll see for yourself when you order! At the time I received my special package in the mail, I was not writing my blog, so I did not capture images of the box opening… Fast-Forward to usage. I knew right outta the gate this was going to be the one for me. The scent was incredible, the application was smooth; moisturizing even. Less is more, so it lasts a good amount of time and best of all, No sweat! No stink! No staining! No need for re-application throughout the day! It’s fantastic! Every day I have happy (and healthy!) armpits! I used up my entire stick and needed more! So, I thought I would give another scent a whirl and see if it was as good experience as the first (Native offers Free Shipping AND Free Returns), so I opted for one of their seasonal offerings, Apricot & White Peach, which, is just as good as the first!! The Apricot & White Peach scent is ever so slightly lighter than the Coconut & Vanilla. Enough that you can still get a whiff of it periodically, but not so overpowering that it is the only fragrance you can smell. I suggest you get it before it is gone!! Also, if you think $12.00 is a lot to spend on perfect pits, I have a money-saving tip! Native offers a subscription program that will reduce the cost to $10.00/stick if you sign-up for a subscription! It’s good all the way around!!

5 Biscuits

**End of blog post disclaimer: None of these companies/brands know of, or have ever heard of lil ol’ me. I get paid nothing for my honest impressions; monetary or otherwise.