Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Follow Your Heart

Friday Night Fun Nachos featuring Follow Your Heart Vegan Shreds in Cheddar.
Also Featured, TVP taco meat, green onions, red onions, cilantro, jalapenos,
cilantro, Spicy Sushi Sauce, and black pepper.

About a month ago, I was lucky enough to have been invited to the Follow Your Heart main office and manufacturing plant to celebrate the launch of their new Vegan Shreds.   That day was one of the hottest days of the summer.  I was at work that morning, and packed my "party clothes" to change into later in the afternoon as I headed for Chatsworth to attend the event.  It was 98 degrees when I left Laguna Beach at 1:30 pm.  Once I got on the freeway, it was smooth sailing through the freeways of Orange County, but then I crossed through the orange curtain into LA county and it was if the traffic gods knew I needed to get somewhere and wanted to play a cruel trick on me, my car was now traveling at about 3 miles per hour.  It was 102 degrees.  Those not familiar with Southern California might not realize that the 80 mile drive that should take less than an hour and a half to travel, in LA traffic took me over 4 hours.

And my little 1999 Honda Accord was none too happy about the slow moving in such hot weather.  I overheated twice on the way there, and had to turn the A/C off and the heater on for the remainder of my drive.  But I made it.  Hot and sweaty, but I made it.  It was about 5:45 pm.  I changed into my clothes in the pasenger seat of my car, put on a little make up, and tried to fix up my limp mess of a hair do.  It was 105 degrees.  I checked in at the front desk, got my luau inspired name tag, and was in.  I had never been so happy to see free booze in my life!  There were big dispensers filled with a tropical conconction that was just what this girl needed to relax and enjoy the rest of the event.

The Follow Your Heart folks really put on a great party.  There were tables set up throughout the area, and booths with beer, wine, and the Rainforest Alliance was there sharing information on Palm Oil and Follow Your Heart's commitment to using only sustainably grown Palm Oil grown in non Orangutan habitats.  You can read more about Shreds for Change, here.  In addition to the booze and booths, there were tours of the factory.  It was really fun to see where some of the wonderful and delicious products like Vegenaise are developed and made.

That's me with Jackie from VeganYackAttack and Jessica
from TheVedgeApp's sweet little Goose all suited up for
our tour of the factory.  It was really cold in the warehouse,
which was a really nice change from the heat outdoors!

Well, all I can say is that I pretty much failed as a vegan blogger when it came to taking pictures of all of the wonderful food they fed us.  Luckily, The fine folks at Vegetarians In Paradise took lots of pictures of the food. And the food was great!  We were served mini appetizer sized versions of traditionally bigger foods all featuring products from Follow Your Heart!  We got mini grilled cheeses, cheese stuffed chik'n fingers with marinara for dipping, mini tacos, mini quiches, mac and cheese, enchiladas, and my absolute favorite, the mini wedge salad featuring Follow Your Heart's new Vegan Bleu Cheese dressing.  This stuff is incredible.  And I have been craving it ever since that party.  But I cannot seem to find it anywhere around here.  I think an online order is in order before I have a serious vegan bleu cheese melt down.

Now let's talk for a minute about the new Vegan Shreds, since that is what this party was all about, right?  So, I was able to get my hands on the cheddar flavor.  The store was all out of Mozzarella and Fiesta. That's a good sign, right?  So I decided to play around with it.  I didn't want to make Mac and Cheese, because I wanted to really showcase the cheese.  So, remember last Friday when I said I was gonna make some nachos?

Nachos, uncooked on the left, after 3 minutes in the microwave on the right.
Pesto pizza, uncooked on the left, after 90 seconds in the microwave on the right.
The verdict?  Well, as you can see, the meltability was only so-so.  After a ridiculously long time in the microwave, these shreds pretty much remained the same shape.  But more importantly, how did they taste?  Damn tasty!  Tasted like cheddar, and despite the fact that they seemed not to melt, when they were hot, they were indeed gooey to the bite, and creamy. Would I buy them again?  Absolutely.  I am glad there is another vegan shredded option on the market.  And I am looking forward to trying the Mozzarella and Fiesta flavors.

So for today's giveaway, I am putting together a Follow Your Heart prize pack packed up all pretty in a Follow Your Heart tote bag.  In it will be a coupon for vegan shreds and a whole bunch of other FYH yummy stuff, provided by me and the fine folks at Follow Your Heart.  Because I will be shipping perishables, this giveaway is only open to those within the US.  Sorry, international readers.  Simply follow the prompts in the widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, and remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni