Product Review: Amy’s Daiya Cheese Pizza

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

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Shane and I decided to extend our Halloween junk food/horror movie marathon tradition to Valentine’s Day, since once a year is not enough. We got a later start than usual, and only managed to fit five movies in, instead of our usual six or seven: Citadel, The Returned, State of Emergency, The Awakening, and Fido. Thanks to a spring roll and lo mien-fueled carb overload, I started nodding off during Citadel, which actually wasn’t half bad (Aneurin Barnard, meow!); but of the five, The Returned proved my favorite by a long shot. But I digress.

In honor of the occasion, we finally broke out those Amy’s brand Daiya cheese pizzas that we scored from Natural Grocers waaaay back in November. You know what that means: frozen pizza review time!

When I first cracked it open, I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed. More cheese, please!

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And then Shane gently and somewhat bemusedly reminded me that we tend to load up our pizzas with a ridic amount of cheese, and maybe this frozen pizza is being more reasonable than me? I begrudgingly agreed, and then proceeded to load it up with more cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), along with a heaping helping of veggies: onions, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, and red peppers.

I baked it as directed, and then five or ten minutes longer. I forget, because Bridesmaids was on and commanding my attention. Basically I let it go until the crust got nice and crispy and the cheese was bubbling like a Jacuzzi.

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Amy’s crust has always been my favorite – that is, up until I tried the Vegan Harvest pizza from American Flatbread. Now it’s first runner up, but with a very honorable mention. (I mean, flatbread. There’s just no beating that.)

So it’s tricky to accurately rate a pizza after altering it so drastically, but I’ll try. The crust, as we’ve already established, is aces. I would have liked to have seen more cheese, but it’s more or less (okay, slightly less) in line with other frozen pizzas. The pizza itself has a very strong basil taste – so much so that at first I thought they’d hidden a layer of pesto in there somewhere. But nope, it’s just basil. Potent like whoah. Not bad, but a little obtrusive maybe? Especially if you aren’t in the mood for it.

Size: 4/5. As per usual, the pizza is slightly smaller than the box. Still large enough that I was only able to finish 3/4 in one sitting.

Crust: 5/5. Like it, love it, gotta have it, wanna be it.

Sauce: 4/5. Enough to get the job done.

Cheese: 4/5. It’s a Daiya Cheese Pizza, y’all! Emphasis on Daiya. Load ‘er up!

Toppings: 3/5. Ease up on the basil, mkay?

Overall: 4/5. Daiya cheese + Amy’s crust = my OTP. Replace the basil with more cheese and you’ve got yourself a perfect 5-star rating.

And now, because we were talking movies earlier, this is usually how movie night goes down at the Garbato-Brady house:

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One bowl of popcorn for me, one bowl for the dogs. (They don’t really care for my salt and vinegar seasoning.) Shane? He’s on his own.

Product Review: Hot Air Popper By Great Northern Popcorn

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

It gets the job done!

two out of five stars

We bought this as a replacement for our old hot air popcorn popper – an ugly, yellow and white relic from the ‘70s that my parents handed down to me when I moved out on my own some 15 years ago. My husband has been hounding me to upgrade for years, but I only caved when it became apparent that the wiring was shot on our old model, making a house fire more a matter of when than if. From the first time we used the new model, I cursed myself for not listening to him sooner.

We’ve had the Great Northern popper for about six weeks now, and it works wonderfully. It pops a batch of popcorn in less than one fourth the time it took our old machine (though with roughly the same amount of noise; I guess some things never change). It can pop one half a cup of kernels (about 16 cups of popcorn) in under three minutes, with minimal duds. To echo other reviewers, quality matters: if you put small, cheap kernels in, you’ll small, lesser popcorn out (and end up with kernels scattered all over the counter and floor to boot). While the chute is far from perfect, most of the popcorn ends up in the bowl, even without constant supervision.

On the downside, I really wish the popper was equipped with an on/off button. (To be fair, few air poppers have them, so this is par for the course.) Additionally, the scooper provided is perfectly round, without a spout to direct the flow of the kernels; if you’re not extremely careful, you’re apt to spill the kernels everywhere. It’s also cut into the top “cover” of the popper, and must remain in place during use, lest kernels rocket out of the resulting hole; as a result, the scoop can get quite warm and dangerous to handle after just one batch. Again, just because this design is common to so many poppers, doesn’t mean that it’s without flaw.

Updated on 7/12/14: after six months of use, the motor died. We emailed the manufacturer immediately, and had a new popcorn machine (free of charge, of course!) within a week. Hopefully this one will prove more durable.

Updated on 8/4/16: The replacement machine died after about two years of use. Like before, the motor simply gave out. Because it still falls within the manufacturer’s warranty they were great about replacing it, BUT. The item has been discontinued, so the next time it dies, we’re out of luck.

Either way, I’m really sick of sending this stuff to the landfill. The popcorn machine I owned before this was a hand-me-down from my mom; built in the ’70s, it lasted upwards of two decades before it started having mechanical issues. Ugly as it was, it sure was built to last.

Downgraded from four stars to two. I’d give it one star if not for the company’s responsiveness and willingness to work with us.

(This review is also available on Amazon. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

Cheesy Popcorn & Angel:

Friday, September 14th, 2012

this is the life!

 

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Y’all, this popcorn was SO GOOD!

The recipe – popped on the stovetop and topped with a mix of nutritional yeast, mustard powder, and salt – is from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food. (Shocking, right?) Simple, easy, delicious.

So freaking delicious I polished off an entire bowl by myself before the third commercial break!

In fact, Shane even commented that this was a less tedious process than breaking out the popcorn machine, since the element takes so long to heat up. This after hemming and hawing when I asked him to make me a batch.

Nope, I didn’t even have to pop it myself. Like I said, EASY.