Dynise Balcavage of VanillaAndZag.com: Vegan, Master’s Athlete, Coconut Ice Cream Lover

Photo by Stephanie Catt (http://www.cattandco.com/)

Dynise Balcavage talks about her inspiration, experiences, and favorite foods.

At Starlite Cuisine we love our customers. We had the opportunity to interview one our of favorite vegan athletes and a StarLite Cuisine fan, Dynise Balcavage, know as @vanillaandzag on Instagram and Twitter. Dynise inspires us by combining her loves of the vegan lifestyle, food, and running! Besides being a USATF-certified track and running coach, she is also the author of Pies and Tarts with Heart, Celebrate Vegan, and The Urban Vegan.

Dynise has done cooking demos from New York to Paris and has been interviewed for the New York Times. She is an avid runner who has run All-American racing standards in the marathon, half-mara-thon, 10 mile, 15K, 10K, 5K, 4 mile and mile. She has qualified for the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon in each marathon she’s run. Dynise currently races with the Philadelphia Runner Track Club. Explore her blog here!

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Independent of the Month: Mission Square Market

Mission Square Market, located at 6171 Mission Gorge Road #111-112, San Diego, CA, is the place to go for all your local vegan and plant based needs and our Independent of the Month. One of the many reasons we love this market is the impressive variety of plant based products they carry including gluten free and non-GMO items, and if you are hungry they have a Grab N Go vegan deli with a large selection of vegan meats and cheeses, where you can order up all different types of vegan yumminess. They even have a soft serve coconut based frozen dessert machine where you can swirl away and cover with toppings!

Other products include: beer, wine, kombucha, household products, and lottery tickets. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask Sunny, the owner, and he will do his best to accommodate your request.

And if you mention PlantDiego when you shop, 5% of your sale will go to this local nonprofit, dedicated to raising awareness on better living through a plant based lifestyle.

Mission Square Market is open seven days a week so be sure to stop by and grab a box, or two, of your favorite StarLite Cuisine vegan products, located in the freezer!

How Do You Plan Your Plant Based Meals on the Go?

Click here for a must read article about meal planning for busy plant based families! Share your advice with us about how you plan your meals on the go whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian. We want to hear from you!


National Superhero Day

National Superhero Day

Happy National Superhero Day! We had a couple superheroes in the office today who were kind enough to take a photo with our vegan Taquitos. Who is your favorite superhero? More importantly, are you Team Cap or Team Iron Man?

Celebrating National Cheese Lover’s Day with the Story of our “Cheese”

StarLite Cuisine Vegan Enchiladas


Celebrating National Cheese Lover’s Day with the Story of our “Cheese”

by Charles Quinto

Did you know that today is National Cheese Lover’s Day?! So pick up some cheese and enjoy it by itself, with some grapes, on a cracker, or the way we eat cheese here at StarLite Cuisine – with our vegan enchiladas!

Here at StarLite Cuisine we often get asked “Who’s cheese are you using?” and the answer is…it’s our own secret recipe! June Lim, owner of StarLite Cuisine, says 80% of the time spent developing the vegan enchiladas was spent on creating our vegan cheese. June herself spent time in the kitchen alongside a vegan with a PhD in food science to make a cheese that was ideal for our enchiladas.

Long days were spent adjusting the recipe to alter the texture, appearance and taste of the cheese. One of the biggest hurdles was producing a cheese without the milk protein, casein. Casein, also known as curds, plays an important role in most cheeses to provide elasticity and keep the cheese cohesive. After months of sensory tests in the lunch room, the pair had nailed down the silky mou
thfeel and elasticity!

But the hard part wasn’t over! They still had to develop a cheese flavor profile, another challenge with creating vegan cheese. Usually, the different flavors of cheese are formed through the addition of bacteria or fungi which act upon the curd. Since vegan cheese is not made from the curd of milk, the flavor had to be developed through other means. Iteration after iteration passed until they finally succeeded in making their very own, in-house cheese! It is through this development process that June is proud to say “our product ideas sprout from the lunchroom, not the boardroom!” Fast forward to today, as a small company we still make our own handcrafted cheese in small batches as a reminder that even the small guys can do it too!


Deschenes S. 2014. Eat the year. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press.

McGee H. 2004. Milk and dairy products. On food and cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen. New York: Scribner. P 7-67.


Happy Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We love to celebrate this day with some of our favorite Mexican dishes. StarLite Cuisine’s vegan Taquitos paired with guacamole make for the perfect snack or appetizer for today. Check out our guacamole recipe below:

Simply Great Guacamole


1 avocado, mashed

1 small onion, diced

1 small tomato, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 lime, juiced

salt to taste


In a large bowl, mix all guacamole ingredients together.



Vegan, vegan tacos, vegan taquitos, vegan enchiladas, gmo free, gluten free
Vegan Taquitos, Vegan Tacos and Vegan Enchiladas from Starlite Cuisine

Hosting a party this Sunday for the big game? Our hard working R&D guys have constructed an amazing Snackadium in our test kitchen. Not only did we use our Taquitos but we also used AY Chiwawa! Fresh salsa and guacamole and on the field we used COMFY HOUSE FOODS – AY CHIWAWA!! puddings. What snack foods are you going to be serving?

Old Black Bean Salsa Dip Recipe

This recipe is dedicated to discovering the good foods in life that are also good for us. Like this sensational southwestern black bean salsa/dip. Authentically spiced for a robust flavor, this delicious dip is also a good source of fiber and protein with no cholesterol. Makes a marvelous match with our Chorizo & Black Bean Style Taquitos.


2 medium tomatoes, diced

2 cups cooked black beans, drained and coarsely mashed

1 small red onion, diced

1 large fresh jalapeno, seed and diced

½ cup cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Salt and black pepper, to taste

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Combine the first 6 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add lime juice and olive oil. Mix well. Heat Taquitos using oven method and serve with black bean salsa dip.

Pea Protein and It’s Benefits


Currently pea protein is mostly used in protein powders, protein bars and as a powder but few company’s like StarLite Cuisine use this valuable source of protein in their vegan products.

Our Enchiladas offer a unique meat analog that is not utilized by any other frozen entree currently on the market.

In recent years the use of pea protein in products has been on the rise. According to an article from foodnavigator-usa.com, Roquette states that there has been an annual average growth of 5% in volume terms over the last three years. Click here for full article.

Unlike other proteins like whey and soy, pea protein is allergen free. It is a great source of protein especially for those following a vegan diet because it is plant based protein.

Pea protein differs from other proteins in some of its health benefits. The protein is rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). The amount of BCAAs is close to those found in milk and eggs.

A 2009 study at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada found that pea protein “may provide a natural remedy against high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease (CKD).” Click here for full article.

Many people in the fitness and weight loss community attribute pea protein to giving the stomach a feeling of fullness therefore promoting weight loss. Click here of a video from The Dr. Oz Show about pea protein and curbing cravings

You can find pea protein in 3 of our products: Vegan Enchiladas Verdes, Vegan Enchiladas Rojas and Vegan Enchiladas Suizas