NuGo Slim Bars [Product Review]

Protein and vegans. Vegans and protein. We keep getting asked questions about protein and vegan sources. We don’t know about you, but the answer is always the same…”FROM PLANTS!” Then comes the retort about needing protein for fitness. With many vegan protein products on the market, we’re often looking for what not only meets our recommended daily allowance, but what also tastes good! 

We’ve been fans of NuGo Nutrition for some time. When we learned that they had a new line of high protein, low sugar bars, we were eager to try! With that, we’d like to introduce you to…NuGo Slim!

Okay, we know the name sounds like it’s geared towards feminine weight-loss. However, it’s quite the contrary. Many high protein products are high in sugar, or use a sugar alternative that’s really off-putting, like malitol, reflecting in its taste (and body reactions). What NuGo has created is a vegan bar in multiple flavors, ranging in 15 to 18 grams of protein, less than 5 grams of sugar and around 6-7 grams of fiber. This product hits low on the glycemic scale, making it an option for diabetics!

What’s also great is that this bar is certified vegan and gluten-free. It is a soy-based product, using non-GMO soy in its ingredients. It’s low in carbs, yet high on protein and fiber. 

So far, we’ve tried the Toasted Coconut and the Chocolate Mint. Here’s what we thought of them (with comments from Momma Mac too)!

Photo Credit: NuGo Nutrition

Carlo: Light with a coconut subtle flavor. It tasted like a brownie with a hint of coconut. I could taste the chocolate without chalkiness.

Carmella: No chalk. No weird aftertaste that you get with some sugar alternatives or artificial sweeteners. I also thought it was like a coconut brownie with a slight crunch from the coconut flakes,

Momma Mac: These are vegan? They’re good, but not so good for me because I’ll eat them like candy bars. I don’t even like coconut!
Photo Credit: NuGo Nutrition

Carlo: The coolness of the mint!! It was a good marriage with the chocolate. It tasted in the realm of a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie, but without the slap of sweetness.

Carmella: If you love chocolate and mint together, then you’ll love this in a bar. Again, no chalk, no weird aftertaste and you can really taste the flavors in the bar.

Momma Mac: This wasn’t bad at all. Are you getting more?

Bottom line: We liked these bars and will certainly eat them again. The low amount of sugar per serving really attracted us. 

NuGo Nutrition’s line of NuGo Slim come in other flavors too:

  • Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • Brownie Crunch
  • Raspberry Truffle
  • Roasted Peanut
  • Espresso

Bars sell in boxes of 12 for around $21.00 (depending on where you buy). Individual bars are around $1.99-2.99 per bar (depending on where you buy).

Carm’s got her eye on the Peanut Butter, and Carlo’s set on Espresso! We’re sure these will be yummy!

To learn more about NuGo Nutrition and its NuGo Slim line, please visit

Be sure to check out all of their vegan products at

Spicy Crabless Salad with Gardein Mini Crabless Cakes! [Recipe & Product Review]

When your other half has a fish & seafood allergy that is so sensitive that he cannot deal with a “fish-like” smell from vegan fish, you know you’ve struck gold with a recipe he’ll sample without him making a face! That’s what happened when I made this Spicy Crabless Salad for a couple of take-to-work meals. 


Last year at Expo West (2015), we saw the debut of Gardein’s Mini Crabless Cakes. Carlo made such a face and refused to try a sample. This was no different than when I first tried Gardein’s Fishless Filets. Carlo said “no” to a sample. However, he was cool with me making them at home, because they didn’t “smell” like fish. So, would we have such luck with the Crabless Cakes?


I told Carlo to stay out of the kitchen while I preheated the oven. It was a “safety precaution” in case of “odor.” I baked the cakes according to the package (you get about 3 servings in a bag). As they were cooking, I shouted to Carlo “Can you smell them?!?!” He said “I smell something, but they don’t smell like fish!” I jumped for joy.

As I began making my crabless salad, Carlo came into the kitchen and said “That actually smells pretty good and not like fish.” I told him what I put in the salad, especially the mayo mixture. He watched me shred the cakes and fold them into the mix. As I got a bowl of greens set, he said “I’ll try a little.” So, I gave him a teaspoon. His response “The mayo’s good and I taste the lime.”


With that friends, I can say there was “Success!” Will Carlo go out of his way to eat the cakes? No, because he really can’t get beyond the whole vegan fish and seafood thing. However, he didn’t mind me eating it in front of him and I’ll take that.


What about my take? I love the cakes. They’re flaky, full of flavor with a mild bite of spice (but we like to amp it up here) The cakes are so easy to make. They’re great for parties, but you honestly can make them whenever. If you want a no fuss meal, like my Spicy Crabless Salad, then Gardein’s Mini Crabless Cakes are the way to go.

Here’s my salad recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Spicy Crabless Salad
You don't have to wait for a party to have Gardein's Mini Crabless Cakes. Making this salad to spoon over greens or stuffed in a pita is perfect!
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  1. 1pkg Gardein Crabless Cakes
  2. 1/2 c. Vegan Mayo
  3. Juice of 1 lime
  4. 2 green onions (white & light green parts)
  5. 5-6 pickle chips, chopped
  6. 2T pickle juice
  7. 1/4 t garlic powder
  8. 1/4 t paprika or chipotle powder
  9. 1/4 t cracked black pepper
  10. 1/4c shredded carrots
  11. Salt to taste
  1. Make the Gardein Mini Crabless Cakes according to the package instructions
  2. While the cakes bake in the oven, prepare your spicy mayo sauce in a large bowl by mixing the mayo, green onions, pickles, pickle juice, lime juice and spices together. Set aside in the fridge.
  3. When the cakes are ready and cooled slightly, shred them with a fork or roughly chop. Remove mayo mixture from the refrigerator
  4. Fold in the crabless cake pieces and shredded carrots. Season with salt to taste
The Food Duo

A Vegan Recap of The Food Duo’s Life

Ever have those times when “life just gets away from you?” Can life really “get away” like it’s in fear of US? NOPE! With that typed, let me, Carmella, share what Carlo and I have been  up to outside of being The Macaroon and The Artichoke. 

BUSINESS OWNERS: Yes, we’ve been the owners of V Marks the Shop for a few months now. Our teeny tiny business has been chugging right along. We’re learning and growing along the way! 

WHAT WOULD CARLO EAT: It’s coming back! That’s for sure! We recently shared a mini episode on YouTube.

The next “season” will kick off in the summer, because…you know…LIFE. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get the latest updates!

REVIEWS: We’ve got a STACK of cookbooks to review and share with you all. From Leilani Two-Moons’ Baconish to the Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, we’ve got A LOT to read and cook! 

TRAVEL: Many of you know that V Marks the Shop will be based out of Philadelphia, PA. In addition to our weekly visits, we also are racking up miles for events for the rest of the year for us as The Food Duo and for V Marks the Shop.

EVENTS: Typing about events, did you hear/see us in action as HOSTS of The Philly MAC-Down on May 1st. It was our first-ever hosted event AND our first-ever vegan mac & cheese competition. We’re gearing up for the next food competition we’re hosting this summer AND a vegan pop-up market we’re starting in June! 


#VEGANFOODCHAT: The chat’s going strong. We’re over 2 years old with a great Twitter community of over 10,000. We’ve got a couple of great guests lined up, starting with Ravi and Natalie from iheartkeenwah.comih, and followed by Taylor from YoDish! We’re also back with Nurph. We’re updating our schedule with upcoming topics every Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 8pm ET/5pm PT

NEW FEATURE: We kicked off MVP FRIDAYS last month, and are bringing that back starting Friday, May 13th! Stay tuned on who we’ll introduce you to next!

RECIPES: We’re getting back into the kitchen hardcore! Carlo’s been playing around the idea of “vegan steaks” for dishes. I’ve been coming up with sides (like our Pineapple Fried Rice) and desserts. Who knows what will be posted and what won’t be. We’re testing away!


We thank you all for following our journey as we post away on social media and get back into the groove here at 

Until our next post,
Carmella, aka The Macaroon and Vegan Girl Nerd


#TacoMonday: Taco Soup?


We’re going to be completely honest here. Tonight’s dish was an unplanned surprise. We originally set out to make yummy salad taco, BUT…that didn’t happen. Instead, we ended up making a taco soup, sort of. What made us change gears was the fact that the intended dressing, was too watery to use atop the salad filling. So, instead of wasting the dressing, we used our faithful Vitamix and blended it for several minutes until it yielded a pretty good take on a fresh soup.


So what was in the dressing-turned-soup-base? It had a block of silken tofu, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, cilantro, tomato paste, chipotle spice, black pepper and agave nectar. To add a little cheesiness, nutritional yeast made for a nice touch. All the ingredients were whipped up in 6 minutes in our Vitamix!


Plopping refried beans, tomatoes, salsa, shredded carrot, lettuce with a garnish of hot sauce and cilantro made the dish easy on the eyes and pleasant in our tummies. This isn’t the first time, and certainly won’t be the last time that a recipe went awry and needed saving. But, as other with other ad-hoc dinners, we were pretty happy with the results.  If you’re interested in the recipe, we don’t have one, as this was a true whip-up.