Vegan Food Review | Sweet Earth Breakfast Sandwich

Sweet Earth Harmless Ham and Chickpea Patty
Sweet Earth Harmless Ham and Chickpea Patty

This sandwich is smaller than most traditional breakfast sandwiches, which is okay if you’re not starving. It contains 270 calories. 8 grams of sugar and a total of 33g of carbs. 14 grams of protein are in there as well. As the vegan phenomenon picks up speed these frozen convenience foods are coming out at an incredible speed. While that’s nice for people who are converting, it’s not really all that healthy. If you want to cut out things from your diet that is not healthy, don’t start by purchasing foods that come in wrappers. Buy some vegetables and fruit and eat those. It’s cheaper and better for you.

Ingredients List

Silken Tofu(2) (Water, Soybeans(2) Calcium Sulfate, Glucono Delta Lactone), Onion, Water, Vital Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil(3), Maple Syrup(1), Chickpea Flour, Tomato Paste, Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Agar Powder, Sea Salt, Vegetable Mix (Red & Green Bell Pepper, Onions, Carrots, Celery), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nutritional Yeast(1), Natural Flavors, Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor, Spices, Cane Sugar(1), Baking Powder(2) (Corn Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Gochugaru Chili Flakes, Basil, Paprika, Dried Purple Carrot Juice Color, Allspice, Cloves, Dill, Citric Acid, Granulated Garlic, Turmeric, Roll: Water, Whole Wheat Flour, All Purpose Flour, Cane Sugar(1), Durum Wheat Flour, Oat Bran, Flax Seed, Rolled Oats, Canola Oil(3), Sea Salt, Baker’s Yeast. (1)Organic. (2)Non-GMO. (3)Non-GMO Expeller Pressed.

There is a lot of “stuff” in this for the size of it. What did it taste like? As you would imagine it was kind of bland. I was excited about this because I haven’t had a breakfast sandwich since I went vegetarian, but this didn’t taste great. I will say that I’m not hungry after eating it so at least it was filling. Everything in this seemed to have the same texture. It went from frozen to ready to eat in a really fast 1:15. the bun was really soft, kinda like a potato bun. There is dried tomato kinda sauce on it. Right in the center perfectly squirted on by some machine in a factory. The chickpea patty, taste like it, chickpeas, which are okay, but I’m not a huge fan. the chickpea patty didn’t taste like much but a pasty, dry, chickpea paste. The Harmless Ham texture was okay, a little too soft to approximate actual ham. It didn’t have that burst of flavor that you would get with real ham, that comes from fat and salt. The bottom bun got that hardness in the center that sometimes happens with food overcooked in the microwave. I have to say though it was nice to have a change in texture.

All in all, I won’t be getting this again, but as I browse the Sweet Earth website I see they have another breakfast sandwich that is sadly, not vegan. It’s called, Benevolent Bacon: Egg and Cheddar. I’ve had the benevolent bacon before and I liked it. While this has real egg it looks like the same bun as the chickpea patty, not a good sign. It also has cheese, so I don’t think I’ll give this one a go after all. Before, I leave you I will say I like a lot of the Sweet Earth foods. Especially the Big Sur Breakfast burrito, it’s vegan and it’s delicious.

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Preview

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending 6.5 hours in Galaxy’s Edge. I was invited to be part of the cast member previews. They were testing out a new way of getting into the park: virtual cues. At 10 am, we checked in using the fast pass at Haunted Mansion. There we got a website and were told to start checking it after 12 pm.

Sure enough when 12:03 pm hit they started letting groups in. The group number on our ticket was 10. Around 2:30 pm our group number came up and after putting our phones and other electronic devices (fitbits and apple watches) into small shipping bags with self-adhesive we were allowed to enter Galaxy’s Edge.

Our cast member recommended that we go straight to the cantina, since it was going to be busy. They were right as even when we were about to leave at 8 pm that evening there was still a line to get in. Outside the cantina, there was a line, made up of black tape on the ground. As people, left groups were let in. We waited in line for about 30 minutes.

The cantina is amazing. It looks like Oga’s cantina from the movies or Mos Eisley bar. It is small. Booths surround the outside wall that are large and can easily accommodate large groups. Everywhere else is standing only. You can stand at the bar or you can stand at some small but long-standing tables (big enough for four on each side) between the booths and the bar. The last choice is where we were placed.

Oga’s Cantina Coasters
Oga’s Cantina Coasters

Remember you don’t have your phone, so you can’t check Yelp or any other sites to assist in making your decision. You can only order two alcohol-containing drinks, but there are other non-alcohol drinks on the menu.

Bespin Fizz
Bespin Fizz

The Bespin Fizz was the first drink I ordered. There is dry ice at the bottom of the glass, separated by a plastic disk with holes in it. This was an alcohol-containing drink, and it tasted fruity. All members of our group and the group across the table from us enjoyed it.

Blue Bantha
Blue Bantha

The Blue Bantha is a non-alcohol-containing drink. It comes with a sugar cookie, topped with something similar to small rice crispy’s then finally topped with bantha horns made out of a hard sugar frosting. The milk is sweet and would be a big hit with the kids. This was my favorite drink. I mean it comes with a cookie!

Oga’s Obsession provision
Oga’s Obsession provision

Oga’s Obsession provision is not a drink, its a dessert and it is also non-alcoholic. It has pearls filled with a raspberry fluid, suspended in a jello substance. On the top are dried berries (I think) and pop rocks. This comes with sporks (which are the only utensil in the whole land. I really enjoyed this as did our whole party, they gave us enough sporks for everyone to have one. I think this is another one that will be a big hit for the kids.

Fuzzy Tauntaun
Fuzzy Tauntaun

Ah, the Fuzzy Tauntaun. This is a drink you will not forget. It has various peachy alcoholic in it. It made everyone’s lips tingle for a while. They do give you a menu at the table that has all the ingredients on it, but without a phone and fearing reprisals for writing anything down I did not. The taste of this wasn’t really anything that any of us cared for.

The Outer Rim
The Outer Rim

I tried the Outer Rim from another at our table and really enjoyed it. It does contain alcohol. It had black salt on one section of the glass and some kind of yellow slimy stuff in it, but it didn’t taste bad, it just looked strange.

One of our party also got the Jet Fuel, which comes in a small glass, about the size of two shots. I’m told it had bourbon in it and was delicious, I didn’t get to try that one. It is also the most alcohol containing drink on the menu.

A drink I haven’t seen posted anywhere was the Jedi Mind Trick. It was blue and looked like a light blue Gatorade. It was alcoholic but had an off-putting flavor that my group didn’t care for.

The Ithorian Garden Loaf
The Ithorian Garden Loaf

Being a vegetarian, I opted for the Ithorian Garden Loaf at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. It was the only thing vegetarian on the menu at the time of our visit. While the sides do look like the picture above, the meat does not. It looked to be a mix of Impossible meat bricks. I got two. It comes with a kind of gravy over the meat, mashed potatoes and everything else. I really enjoyed it even though the meat doesn’t look as good as what is pictured here.

Galaxy Edge Desserts
raspberry crème puff with passion fruit mousse (left) or chocolate cake with white chocolate mouse and coffee custard (right)

The plates for the desserts in Docking Bay 7 are more grey than the blue depicted above. The raspberry creme puff was everyone’s favorite. It also helps that it is larger. Both desserts are very small. The raspberry one has a pink cream in the center with very soft light cake on the outside.

The chocolate cake is dense and has a white custard on the top of this ball shaped cake. The little puffs of green in the picture are bits of soft, light fluffy cake, that is colored green.

The Black Spire area is amazing. It is easy to forget that you are in Disneyland. You can’t see much of the other lands in Disneyland. While in the queue for the Millennium Falcon ride, you can see the spire of Big Thunder though.

The Millennium Falcon ride itself was a lot of fun. The ride is short, but it is amazingly interactive. Spoilers ahead!

There are 6 people in each simulator. I believe there are 6 simulators in all, but it’s hard to tell as I got turned around in the underground tunnels leading to the simulators. Each simulator will consist of 2 pilots, 2 gunners, and 2 engineers. One pilot steers the ship left and right. This was not clear to me, but I think this person can also boost and brake. The right side pilot steers the ship up and down, however up is down and down is up.

The gunners. This was not my favorite position (I rode the ride 4 times, getting to do almost every position), during the ride you will shoot at the bad guys, but you can’t point any guns, not really. There are two options for the gunners when they sit down. You can play manual or automatic. With automatic, you can just mash a button shooting over and over and the computer aims for you. With manual, there are three buttons you get. The top one shoots up at an angle, the middle shoots straight and the lower button shoots down at an angle.

The gunner is the least interactive, although you do get to shoot missiles. The buttons for each position in the simulator flash when you need to mash them. The last 2 positions are engineers. This one is very interactive like the pilots. As the ship hits things, and it will, you hit the flashing buttons. You also fire the harpoons.

I don’t want to say too much more about the story of the ride, but it is fun. I did it four times. The only position I didn’t get a chance to do was the up and down pilot (or right side).

One of our party also did the lightsaber experience. This cost around $200 to make a lightsaber out of four or five different selection of parts. This takes some time. There was about a 20-minute wait for a time to go in, then once we got our colored card, there was another 45-minute wait where in the queue they show you how to assemble the lightsaber, being careful not to let the stormtroopers see what you are doing in this open area. Then once inside its about a 20-minute experience building the real lightsaber you will keep and listen to the story, which is pretty cool. The finished lightsabers do look very cool and are heavier than I would have expected.

You can also build a droid for about $120. It is remote control and looks cool, but also looks like it is more plastic than metal, which is disappointing. There was a shorter line for this, but no one in my group did that.

I spent 6.5 hours there and I was exhausted. There are very few places to sit down in the land, I think they did this on purpose to make it easier to move around. There are lots of things to look at but it is difficult to get inside the shops as they are small and everyone wants to see what is being sold.

Book Review |Salt: A World History

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

I got what I asked for in, Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. This book is exactly what it says it is. A World History. Much of it bland and boring, but it had its moments.

I downloaded this audio book from my local library. My wife fractured her wrist and she is my usual carpool buddy. We have an hour commute each way. This book was downloaded to fill some of that time. It was on my list of books to read.

I added this book to my to read list, because salt is such an everyday mundane object/food for us, that it is often overlooked. This book embodies the difficulties of being a modern reader of history. If it is not written in an exciting way, then the book is kinda boring. Salt, has some pieces of it’s history that is fascinating, but it is not enough to make the book a page turner.

If I had been reading a paperback of this book, I would not have finished. The fact that I listened to this book on my commutes is the only thing that saved it. However, it did take me a month to listen to this 3.5 hour book.

GoodReads Ratings

My GoodReads peers disagreed with me on this book. On the whole they really liked it. 4 stars is what most people gave this book. It just wasn’t from me. I only gave this book 2 stars.

Seed Libraries

San José Public Library - Seed Library
San José Public Library – Seed Library

Read a great article today on seed libraries and why they are so popular at libraries today.  The article is from the great folks at Atlas Obscura.  They also have a book!  The article points out the fact that all our vegetables are coming from factory farms now.  Because of this, there are no local varieties available anymore.  They want to do what they can to help make these rarer varieties more available.

As plant species reproduce, new generations develop unique adaptations to different environmental conditions, resulting in diverse heirloom varieties. But when large companies control most food production and seed distribution, and work to hybridize and streamline agriculture, those regional differences can disappear.

“I don’t see us as competing against large industrial seed producers, we just want to make sure that biodiversity is still available to people,” Hought says. She also notes that, as climate change alters the environment, she hopes access to more varieties of seeds will prepare food growers to cope with extreme conditions.

I’m sharing this for a couple of reasons.  I think it is very sad and in the long term detrimental the human race that we are depending on so few varieties of vegetables.  Those that are chosen by the factory farms because they are the most resistant to disease and easiest to grow on a huge scale.  Also, I share this because there are very few people out there that really understand that libraries are not just about books.  Libraries are changing.  Much more is available there than you think.  ebooks, emagazines, audiobooks (even available on your smartphone), educational resources like Lynda for free.  There is so much more about your local library than books.  Not that books are not amazing after all that is the purpose of this blog!

“[Seeds are] cultural documents of what we have saved and found valuable in terms of taste and community,” Newburn says. “When we take the seeds home and plant them and return them we’re actually adding another chapter.”

Book Review | Wheat Belly

Wheat Belly
Wheat Belly

My first audiobook of 2018.  And I read/listened to this book mostly while at the gym!  What a great way to get through your TBR!  In Wheat Belly Dr. Davis convinces us all that wheat is not what it used to be and the new altered commercially created wheat is not good for a waistband.  I enjoyed reading this book.  I have been very focused on my fitness lately.  I’ve gone vegetarian, since September of last year.  I tried vegan, but I missed breakfast with eggs.  So I compromised and I am eating egg whites.

Dr. Davis succeeded in convincing me that I need to reduce the amount of wheat that I am eating.  I have eaten far too much.  He argues that in fact, it can be addictive.  This I very much agree with.  I find myself craving a muffin, English muffin or just a slice of bread.  Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be very nice.  Bread is “ingrained” in us!  It is in every meal we have.

My family loves eggs in a basket, many people love to have a bagel or just some toast.  Lunch is often a sandwich or a burger with a big fat yummy bun!  Dinner always comes with a dinner roll.  Its everywhere!

This book and Grain Brain have taught me about the glycemic index and many other ways that wheat negatively impacts our health.  Grain Brains extends what I learned in Wheat Belly and speaks about how wheat negatively impacts our cognitive ability.

I liked Wheat Belly and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about eating healthy and being healthy.  It is a great listen.