#MomsMeet: LightLife Plant-Based Burgers #Review #Sponsored

​​I received these product(s) free of charge from LightLife and MomsMeet. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

As many of us have seen an uptick on plant based meats, many companies have hit the market with their version of the burger.  Some have failed miserably in the past, rather others just keep adding more and more selections to their meatless options to broaden your weekly menu.  I am okay with a veggie burger as long as it tries not to pretend it is meat, so to me it is a veggie patty per say.  Now, when a company claims a burger substitute that is as good as the moo-ing thing, I definitely change my expectations.

In comes LightLife, with their new plant-based burger.  They start with 20 grams of protein per serving.  No fillers and it is 100% plant based.  This means no soy, gluten free, no GMOs, zero artificial flavors, and is even qualified to be a Kosher product.  You also get zero cholesterol and the saturated fat is just 2.5 grams in a 1/4 pound patty.  Lots of zeros where we want them but does that also go for taste?

LightLife was founded in 1979, so they have been part of the plant based foods before it became the “trending” thing to do.  I felt that was a good start and worth the leap to try and see for myself if LightLife burgers can actually deliver a good tasting burger that is not just okay for pretending.  We opted to treat the burgers like we would our predecessors, so we grilled it.  Let us give it the chance from the get go and I am not going to give this patty any special treatment.  The patty grilled and held up with zero issues.  Again, another zero that lands in the right category.   No sticking, did not fall apart and did not overly shrink up either.  I went with just a simple salt and pepper seasoning because I wanted to taste the patty as close to how it is.  LightLife burgers are seasoned and the pea protein gets mixed with coconut oil, sea salt, beet and garlic powder.  I went light on the salt but because I like a nice crust on my burger, I did give it a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.  Went it came to dressing up my burger, I went with a smoked cheddar, which is thinly sliced and just a smidgen of mayonnaise and some pickles.  I even had my salad on the side, so no lettuce to drown my burger flavor.

Verdict:
Smells good and “burgery”.  Nice grill marks and it looks appetizing.  When making my burger, the patty was not flimsy or like cardboard, just like a regular beef patty.  It even has a meaty smell to it that quickly makes your mind think, “grilled beef…..mmmmmmm.”  First bite has a nice chew and I do not taste peas or anything vegetable like at all.  This patty does not taste 100% beef if we are using that as the marker (makes sense right), but it tastes like a patty that is mixed with beef and pork.  I kind of like that because I add pork to meatloaf and other applications, even when beef is the majority in the mix.  I actually see myself buying LightLife and making it part of my weekly meals.  Yeah, I liked it that much.  It may not taste 100% cow but that is what drew me in the most.  They definitely hit the mark in the meat notes and if you want a plant based patty (hard to believe with how good it tastes) that does not taste or have an odd and off texture, I seriously recommend you give LightLife a try.  My only complaint is that finding the burger patty is a bit hard as it sells out and I tried two Sprout’s and a Albertsons, but call ahead and ask and most stores are kind enough to hold how many containers you want.  I did try the “ground beef” and made that into a taco salad because hey, I enjoy LightLife and wanted to see how the texture was if I was cooking it like I do ground beef.  Again, it succeeded but I recommend a nonstick surface, as it allows the plant based mince to get a crust and brown like you expect beef to do so.  I did use a stainless steel pan the first time but found I needed more oils/fats to get the desired texture.  A ceramic coated cast iron or a nonstick pan gave me the results in the same amount of time (about 6 to 8 minutes) to get the browning I was looking for.

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Bob’s Red Mill: Herby Cheese Crackers made with Rice Flour, Gluten Free #MeatlessMonday

DSCN4421 Going with my Meatless-Monday dish, I decided to pair up my soup with a nice Gluten Free option, Herby Cheese Crackers. I used a mix of Gouda and Parmesan, however I have made these with a white cheddar cheese and plain sharp cheddar varieties. The cracker’s texture will vary by the cheese you use! I make sure to stick to a good quality cheese because the recipe only requires 2 ounces and I have had unpleasant experiences when a cheap cheese (this is not always connected by what you pay) that has oozed tons of oils and fats. No one wants an oily cracker….I want flaky with a nice crumble. Let’s Begin!

Dough:

  • 2 Ounces of grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese or a cheese that has a close enough moisture content. You can use a semi-soft and pair it with a freshly grated harder cheese too. Allow the cheese to come to room temperature (after you grated).
  • 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Rice Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon of herbs (I mixed dried herbs with fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (taste your cheese to measure saltiness before adding salt)
  • *Optional- You can add Red Pepper Flakes, Smoked Paprika even a dash of Cayenne Pepper. You can also crumble pre-cooked bacon or pancetta to change the flavors.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the Rice Flour, baking soda and herbs. I used dried parsley, thyme, tarragon and oregano. My plants have been blooming well in this mild Winter we have been having in California, so I used some fresh sage and thyme to make a 1 teaspoon’s worth with the dried herbs. Add your salt and pepper. I used a smoked salt for additional flavor and a pepper medley variety. I also included (optional) a dash of smoked paprika, a dash of red pepper flakes and also a small dash of cayenne to give the crackers some kick.

In another bowl, grate your cheese. I used a semi-soft gouda and a grated hard cheese variety of mixed parmesan and romano. DSCN4382 Add the cheese to your flour mixture and then incorporate the softened unsalted butter to the mix. I do not want to smell crackers on my hands all day so I use a glove to pretty much make a ball. Want a different way? Cream the butter and cheese in your with your mixer and add the flour mixture after. If the mix seems dry, add a 1/2 teaspoon of water. You do not want a super moist dough as this dough will rest and re hydrate in the fridge, plus we are making crackers and not bread. I usually rarely add water and just keep gathering the crumbs around until they play nice 🙂 DSCN4383 DSCN4388 Using plastic wrap, create a log that is almost 11 inches long. You can decide how large you want the crackers but since I want to have mine swim in my soup, I always go small. DSCN4390 The log can be shaped and in this case I used the assistance of a wooden chopstick to make a crease, which will then help me work these into a heart shape. You can just go square or even round….or we can also have fun and create and abstract shape!

Allow the dough to rest in the fridge 20-30 minutes if you need to shape after, or 40 minutes if you will be just slicing and baking. Heat your oven 350 degrees. Take the dough out and you can I usually slice half a log and return the other half to the fridge while the first batch bakes.  I used the chop-stick to help refine the heart shape too.

Bake the crackers for about 10 minutes and then cool. DSCN4409   You then bake the other half and these go great with soup, salads, or just by themselves. Enjoy!

Find out more about Bob’s Red Mill products at:

  • On-line– http://www.bobsredmill.com/
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  • Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/bobsredmill/
  • Save with a $1.00 off coupon– http://www.bobsredmill.com/get-a-coupon.html

DSCN4154 I received the above product free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Go Beyond the Bun with MorningStar Farms

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Before you say “Where’s the meat?”,  please take a moment and give it a chance. I am a meat eater and a veggie lover, I also believe when you want a burger, you get a burger. I have tasted meatless products in the past and because they try to imitate an animal product without being one, they fail at being beefy and worse, they are not even a good tasting veggie meal. I was a little nervous and even thought, “Maybe I should have declined this campaign”. I eat vegetables daily and in huge quantities so I am picky and especially when it comes to a frozen product. To get an idea of what I like to eat so you can see where my palette lands in all this, I love Fresh & Easy’s stir fry mix to their Broccoli bags and these all come from the freezer section. I also pick up 2 heads of fresh broccoli, and other vegetables, at my local market because I know it will last me a week and the second week I go frozen. It’s my way to balance freshness and convenience without sacrificing my need and want for vegetables.

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So, I pick up what I call the “original” Garden Veggie Patties. I figure if they do the original right, I then will give their other varieties a try in the future. I have a meat-less meal once a week and it’s not planned but sometimes I just don’t want meat or fish. I know, I’m a girl with bunny rabbit habits. The patties are just 110 calories per serving, 350 mg of sodium with 10 grams of protein. Okay, a little high on the salt but I have seen much worse and I don’t consume large quantities through out the day so I am safe.

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The ingredients:
I looked and the first is Vegetables. Okay, I expected water or some tofu but it states Vegetables and the mix equates to mushrooms, water chestnuts, onion, carrots, green bell peppers, and black olives. Next comes the soy protein. You then have wheat gluten, water for hydration, egg white, cooked brown rice, rolled oats to corn oil. Then comes soy sauce and other items like jalapeno pepper powder, celery extract to garlic powder, and a touch of sugar. Mostly, things I can identify, pronounce, and my brain can retrieve an image to the name! My patty will not be glowing in the dark from chemicals so that is a good thing!

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Is it good?
I saw the ingredients and minus the jalapeno pepper powder (I thought I would just think chili flakes for that one), I thought why bun it when I can pan-fry it and add it to my stir-fry. You got water chestnuts and soy sauce so I’m already there! I fried with just 1/2 teaspoon of peanut oil and sesame oil. I added no sauce or anything else and when it was done, I used the remainder, plus a 1/4 teaspoon of oil (peanut and sesame) to fry my veggies. I added a tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce to my vegetables and I’m done. I plate it with a Jasmine rice I made two days ago, that I added Edamame (frozen) too. Then topped it with the veggies, cut up the Morning Star patty into bite size, a dash of sesame seeds and I’m done. I then go crazy with the Sriracha Sauce and chili flakes but that is another blog post.

The Verdict:
I would buy these patties again. Found myself craving them a few days later and they settled well. Very filling and flavorful. I would say this is the best tasting vegetable and soy protein I have had and not to sound like everyone, it had a chicken like texture and taste. I don’t know if that was the intention but yummy is yummy! I also liked how quick and well they fried up with very little oil. I had that whole golden brown action going that tasted great when you ate it. The product is not so overly milled that it resembles just patties made from baby food. MorningStar Farms treated me like and adult and I see the bell pepper and pieces of real food in the patty. Loved them and I can’t wait to try their other selections. They had some that were flavored more towards the Italian to Mediterranean cuisines. I even saw a breakfast sausage……do I dare? These were so good that I’m game!

I received the above product from BzzAgent and my only commitment is to provide an honest review.  I have no obligation of sharing a favorable (or unfavorable) opinion.  The above statement are my own opinion based on my experiences with the product.  Your opinion may differ from mine.

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