Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween and My Autumn Bucket List Completion


It's the best day of the year! Happy Halloween, spookies!

I can't believe Halloween is already here, and I have to tell you with the elation of my favorite holiday being here also comes a melancholy feeling that another Halloween season is nearly over.

Today, though, is all about celebration, and I plan on eating pumpkin-flavored everything, putting on a costume, carving some pumpkins, and handing out candy to trick or treaters while marathoning Halloween movies all day and night long!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Spooky Songs for Your Halloween Playlist


I have been listening to Halloween music pretty much non-stop since, oh, about May or June! It's really a year-round thing for me, and when it comes to Halloween music I have pretty eclectic taste - I listen to everything from Halloween jingles of yesteryear to old-timey blues songs to Halloween classics to freak folk to indie to goth to industrial and beyond. This year I listened to more dark indie stuff, coupled with some old favorites mainly from goth or alternative subgenres.

I always love checking out other people's recommendations for Halloween songs or songs that invoke a spooky spirit, so I thought I would share some of my own picks for my Halloween playlist this year. The songs below have been on heavy rotation this year, and there are some new ones mixed in with some old favorites! I also have curated several Halloween playlists over at 8tracks if you are looking for more!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Product Review: District Vegan Tees


Ok, I seriously must have been living under a rock, because I just recently discovered the utterly fabulous District Vegan line, run by none other than my very good Instagram/Facebook friend, Toni! I can't believe it took me this long to clue into her fantastic designs, ranging from t-shirts to stickers to sweaters to pins and more!

District Vegan is a one-woman operation, and on top of designing the tees, Toni also handles all packaging, shipping, etc. Speaking of packaging, she uses upcycled materials like re-purposed grocery bags or boxes whenever possible. If all that isn't awesome enough, 10% of proceeds are donated to animal rights rescue and advocacy groups! When I ordered my goodies in October, a portion went to Bat World Sanctuary, which made me so happy!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Candy Corn Pizza


Ahhhhh how I miss candy corn! The candy corn you find in stores isn't vegan, and I woefully miss it around this time of year (hey vegan companies, how about someone makes a vegan version pretty please??).

I gotta get my candy corn fix somewhere, so that's where this pizza comes in. No, it doesn't taste like candy corn, but its triangular slices sure do look like the sweet stuff! I was inspired to make a vegan version after seeing a recipe in the Ghoulish Goodies cookbook

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Restaurant Review: Amy's Drive Thru in Rohnert Park, CA

Vegan milkshake, burger and fries at Amy's Drive Thru!

I was recently up north in Napa Valley for my little sister's wedding, and was absolutely delighted that I had time to pop over the hill to check out Amy's Drive Thru in Rohnert Park in Sonoma County. You may recognize the Amy's Kitchen brand from the frozen/convenience meals they make, of which many are vegan. I love Amy's vegan meals (two of my faves are their Vegan Margherita Pizza and their Dairy Free Rice Mac and Cheeze), and was so excited about their new restaurant, even if it is about 500 miles away from me. I missed the opening by about a month the last time I was up north (they opened in July 2015, I was there in June), so I was SO HAPPY that I finally got to go this October.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Food Review: Peanut Butter and Co.'s Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter


You read that right - Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter is here during the most wonderful time of the year! I finally got my hands on some Peanut Butter and Co.'s Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter - I grabbed mine at Sprouts, but I assume you can find it elsewhere, too. Last year I settled for the very unhealthy Jif version (review), so I was overjoyed at finally getting my hands on the good stuff!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

50 Horror Movies to Watch on Netflix this Halloween


I know everyone has been bitching about Netflix not adding many new horror titles to their lineup this October, but the truth is that they have a lot of decent to excellent horror flicks streaming for you to get your scare on this Halloween! And the good news is that they have something for everyone, from spooky, subdued stories to goofy crowd pleasers to horror classics! I've scoured through the current Netflix catalog for the U.S. and picked 50 horror movies (plus a few extras) that should keep you busy from now to Halloween. I've mentioned old favorites that can be rewatched again and again, but I hope you will find something new to watch, too!

I've broken down my recommendations in categories so it's easier to find what you are in the mood for, like what to watch when you want to be scared or what to watch when you want a fun crowd-pleaser. I think it's easier to recommend movies by what you feel like watching rather that give a big ol' list.

Now, without further ado, here are 50 horror movies to watch on Netflix this Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2015

First Ever SoCal VegFest Spooks Up Fun and Food November 1st in Costa Mesa, CA


SoCal VegFest is Orange County's first ever vegan festival and will showcase delicious vegan food and beautiful vegan products on Sunday, November 1st, 2015 at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa! The event will also feature special guest speakers, cooking demos, live music, and much more! Entry is FREE and I hear they may have some Halloween and/or Dia de los Muertos activities planned as well.

Come out and cure your Halloween hangovers with some delicious vegan food and hang with some fun, friendly veg peeps! More details below...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ghost with the Most Pizza


Last year I started making spooky-shaped pizzas and everyone went nuts for them! One of the most popular was this Ghost with the Most pizza, which is simply vegan pizza dough (I use the Trader Joe's one) rolled out and shaped into a ghost, then topped with pizza sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya, but I also like Follow Your Heart's shreds). Finish it off by adding some eyes and a mouth - I used sliced olives, but you could also use sliced jalapeƱos, maybe some sliced tomatoes, or anything similar.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Curse of the Mummy's Tomb Bagels


In keeping with the Goosebumps theme, I was inspired by R.L. Stein's The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb to make these creepy cute bagels! I made these with the last of my Violife stash (sadly, this Greek-made vegan cheese is only available in Europe - I wish we had it in the U.S., though the makers of this cheese also make the Field Roast Chao and Follow Your Heart sliced cheeses)! Anyway, these mummy bagels are so easy to make and so cute!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Ghost in You Pays Tribute to Halloween with "Ten Thirty One" Song


I discovered The Ghost in You, otherwise known as musician Billy Polard, through Instagram, and his dreamy acoustic songs in the vein of Sunny Day Real Estate, The Promise Ring, Iron and Wine, etc., are just jaw-droppingly beautiful. I couldn't be more excited that he is a fellow Halloweenie and honors the best holiday through his music.

His song "Ten Thirty One" is by far my favorite, as it is his love letter to Halloween season, and captures the wistful nostalgia of autumn. The accompanying video is just as gorgeous as the song, and really evokes the spirit of Halloween through visuals of fall leaves, old photos of Billy and his family dressed in Halloween costumes, Halloween decorations, cemeteries, jack-o-lanterns, and a skeleton trick or treater really pay tribute to the best holiday and best time of year! It even has a nice nod to John Carpenter's Halloween! It's such a haunting, sweet song and I could watch the video over and over again.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Food Review: Terra Sweets and Pumpkin Chips

Frankie enjoying some Terra Sweets and Pumpkin Chips!

These were an impulse buy at some big box grocery store - or maybe it was Whole Foods, I can't remember - I have a tendency to wildly grab anything that has the word "pumpkin" on it or whose packaging is autumn or Halloween colors, and I don't always remember where I bought things! Anyways, I saw Terra's Real Vegetable Chips  in Sweets and Pumpkin SOMEWHERE and had to try them!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch


Per October tradition, I visited the Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch in early October. It was a relatively warm Saturday morning when I arrived, and all the pumpkins were still covered in dew from the night before. Pumpkin patches are my favorite, and this is the only "real" pumpkin patch in the area where they grow their own pumpkins (well, this year they had a bunch of pumpkins trucked in as well - the drought no doubt affected this year's crop) and other veggies/fruits. Here are some pics I took at the pumpkin patch:

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight Bean Dip


Do you remember R.L. Stine's Goosebumps book The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight? And, later, the episode from the TV show? I was obsessed with that story as a kid, and still think it was one of the best Goosebumps stories! Anyhow, that is how I came up with the name for this fun and easy dip!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Creepy Crawly Bug Bite Appetizers

Bug Bites plus Spiderweb Dipping Sauce


These plump little critters are perfect for your next Halloween get-together! They are so easy to make, require few ingredients, and even the kiddos (and kids-at-heart) find them fun to assemble!

I found the recipe in the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook, though it obviously wasn't vegan-friendly. Well, a few quick swaps of ingredients and it was easily veganized! You can find the cruelty-free, dairy-free, veganized recipe below:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Ghoulish Gourmet: A Bewitching Collection of Vegan Halloween Recipes

The Ghoulish Gourmet e-book is now available!

Eeeeeek the cookbook that I have been waiting for my whole spooky life is here!

I always have a blast veganizing Halloween recipes from non-vegan cookbooks, but I've always wished there was a Halloween cookbook that was ALL vegan. Well, it finally looks like my wishes have come true, because The Ghoulish Gourmet, a completely vegan Halloween e-book, was released today! It is by vegan cookbook author Kathy Hester, who has written vegan cookbooks like The Vegan Slow Cooker, The Easy Vegan Cookbook, and many more.

The Ghoulish Gourmet features 25 vegan Halloween recipes for all kinds of creepy cookery, including Swamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo, Deviled Purple Potatoes, Creepy Bats and Cats Chocolate Graham Crackers, Cackling Caramel Pecan Bourbon Liqueur, and many more!

You can buy this e-book over at veganhalloweencookbook.com!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The 10 Best Vegan Pumpkin Products to Try Now


Pumpkin season is in full swing, and if you're an autumn lover like me you've no doubt been stocking up on pumpkin flavored everything! I've been busy scouring grocery stores and stocking my home with pumpkin products, just so I can report back to you the very best vegan pumpkin products of 2015. Yes, I've been enjoying delicious pumpkin items all for you, dearest readers! Ok, and maybe a bit for me, but all on behalf of science to bring you the very best vegan pumpkin products! I present you the fruits of my labor with my list for the top 10 best vegan pumpkin products you must try now!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Food Review: Nature's Bakery Pumpkin Spice Fig Bars


These delightful limited-edition pumpkin spice snacks by Nature's Bakery are like a healthier version of Fig Newtons! They come individually wrapped in convenient twin packs that are perfect for grabbing on the go. Each pack contains two bars that are slightly bigger than Fig Newton size. These would also make great treats to hand out on Halloween night!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Crispy Treats featuring Dandies Pumpkin Marshmallows


I had the absolute delight of receiving the NEW Dandies Pumpkin Marshmallows from Chicago Vegan Foods, and I was soooooo excited to get them (FYI, they can be purchased online at the moment and will soon be available in stores!). It's like they made a product specifically for my pumpkin-loving heart!

It has been a crazy month, so I hadn't had a chance to try them until recently. I decided to make some Rice Crispy Treat-inspired dessert with them, but add my own twist and and shape them into little pumpkins. I got a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Crispy Treats from Dandies, which calls for just a few ingredients - a bag of their Pumpkin Marshmallows, vegan butter, cereal, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice blend. Instead of using Rice Krispies, I decided to use Nature's Path Envirokidz's Jungle Munch cereal! It is dusted with cinnamon, which I thought would make a great addition to the flavor of the treats!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumn 2015 Bucket List


Wow, I can't believe October is already here! Autumn is just flying by, though it STILL doesn't feel like autumn since Southern California is perpetually stuck in summer temperatures. Nevertheless, I've been trying to enjoy the autumn season as much as I can, and one of those ways is participating in the Countdown to Halloween (along with a bunch of other Halloween fiends). And today kicks off my 31 Days of Halloween, where I try to blog as much as possible during the month of October. I don't think I'll attain my goal of a post a day this year, but I'll still be sharing lots of ghoulish goodies with you!
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