Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creepmas 2012 is Coming!

Hi Boils and Ghouls!

Just a heads up that this Saturday, December 1st is the kick-off to Creepmas season! I will be joining a group of amazing bloggers in injecting some much-needed spooky spirit into the holidays with posts on scary Santas, Krampus, creepy cookies, gothic holiday trimmings and much more!

Check back daily for 13 Days of Creepmas and don't miss a thing by following me on Twitter and Facebook!

And don't forget to check out the list of other blogs participating in Creepmas celebrations on the official Creepmas site!

Happy Hallowdays!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Food Review: Three Vegan Holiday Roasts

If you read my previous post, you probably already know I was a glutton this Thanksgiving and was blessed enough to enjoy several vegan holiday roasts (Tofurky and Field Roast). Well, on Black Friday we got to enjoy another roast, this time from Trader Joe's! They were all delicious, but each was a little different and I wanted to give my quick opinion on all three of these vegan roasts.

First up is the Field Roast Celebration Roast. The description from the Field Roast site reads: and savory sausage-style stuffing made from Field Roast grain meat, fresh cut butternut squash, mushrooms and granny smith apples seasoned with a blend of rosemary, thyme and sage. We then surround the stuffing with our most luxuriant grain meat seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic and lemon juice. I really loved this roast....Field Roast always makes quality, artisan products and this roast was no different! It had a slight sweet taste and a really hearty texture. It also looks quite nice as a centerpiece. I would choose this roast for a slightly fancier feast or to impress any carnivores you might entertain. The size that I bought (shown above) runs for about $6-$8, but I got mine on sale for about $5 and some change.

Next is my traditional holiday standby, Tofurky Roast! Tofurky has been around since 1995 and is the go-to product for most veggies the during holiday seasons. The description of the roast from the Turtle Island Foods i.e. Tofurky site is as follows: Made from a revolutionary tofu-wheat protein blend, our famous Tofurky® Roast is known for its incredible, turkey-like texture and flavor. Stuffed with wild rice and whole wheat bread crumb stuffing. I love Tofurky and of all the meatless roasts I have tried, it is probably still my favorite. Its taste and texture are probably the most pleasing of any roast I've tried and I think its wild rice stuffing is delicious! I've had a lot of success with feeding this to meat-eaters as well (it just doesn't have the visual impact of the Field Roast). This roast (with just the roast, no extras and no gravy) typically runs about $10, and you can also buy the complete vegetarian feast or a roast with gravy included. I definitely recommend picking up some Tofurky gravy as well (either sold separately or with the roast).

Lastly is Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast. Trader Joe's is an independent grocery store that carries many vegan products and many times makes their own. According to their site, the roast is: Made with protein from soy, peas, wheat and ancient grains, the roast boasts remarkable texture and flavor, and the stuffing and gravy set it up beautifully. The roast was larger than either the Field Roast or the Tofurky and also came with gravy. As for the taste, I felt the roast was a bit more under-seasoned than either the Field Roast or Tofurky. It was still good and I think the texture and look of it was closer to actual turkey than the other two roasts. The gravy it came with was delicious and really helped to amp up the flavor of the roast. For more bang for your buck, I would recommend the Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast.

All in all, all three roasts were tasty and were long gone by the end of Thanksgiving vacation (that's just between Mister Spooky and I!). I would recommend all three of these roasts, but my favorite is still the Tofurky Roast. I also highly recommend Tofurky's Gravy for whatever roast you use!

NOTE: Check out my updated Guide to Vegan Holiday Roasts!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts and This Year's Feasts

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, boils and ghouls!

I have to be honest, I have very conflicting emotions on Thanksgiving. I love getting together with family, cooking up a big vegan feast and giving thanks for all I have (though I try to be thankful every day of my life). However, Thanksgiving also sends me on an emotional turmoil since I think it is a BS holiday (the first Thanksgiving story is a lie) and I get so frustrated by the whole traditional "let's give thanks by slaughtering a sentient being and devouring its dead flesh" crap.

My Thanksgiving is usually a weird mix of bitterness and happiness, but luckily my happiness usually wins out at the end of the day. This usually happens after I am stuffed with delicious vegan food and after connecting with other vegans.

Thanksgiving Feast #1

This year it was just Mister Spooky and I celebrating together, so I cooked up two yummy feasts for us. The first one I cooked on Thanksgiving Eve and consisted of Field Roast Celebration Roast, smashed sweet potatoes, stuffing, Tofurky gravy and mixed veggies. We even had leftovers to eat for lunch on Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving Feast #2

We had the second feast for dinner, and I cooked up a Tofurky Roast, acorn squash filled with walnut-apple stuffing, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. YUM! We both soon slipped into a food coma and spent the rest of the evening digesting our food while re-watching American Horror Story season one (tip: it is on Netflix Instant now!).

I had a cuddle buddy on the couch

Of course, I am never too full for pie, so I finished off the evening with a delicious slice of vegan pumpkin pie (it wasn't from scratch...I was too lazy this year). 

Vegan pumpkin pie YUM!

All in all, it was a pleasant Thanksgiving with tons of delicious food! It made me realize how thankful I am for other vegans and how lucky I am to be able to connect with them online (sadly, I don't have any vegan friends in real life). I don't know what I would do without their support. 

I hope you enjoyed a compassionate Thanksgiving (if not, you can always start now!) and I hope you are participating in the worldwide Fur Free Friday (and everyday) as well!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Join the Creepmas Celebration this December

It's almost that time of year again, fiends! It is nearly time for another Creepmas celebration!

Creepmas is a blogging event where bloggers unite to put a spooky spin on the Christmas season for the first 13 days in December. Much like Christmas encroaches upon our precious Halloween season with red and green decorations showing up on shelves in October (or earlier!), Creepmas is all about injecting some much needed creepiness onto the winter holidays and putting a scary spin on them!

Think Krampus-inspired posts, zombie Santas, holiday horror movies, Halloween trees, spider-web snowflakes, gothic poems, spooky sugar cookies and anything else your dark little heart can imagine!

I am going to be participating in the fearsome festivities for the second year in a row (check out last year's posts here!) and invite you to do the same! It is such a fun celebration, with everyone offering up unique posts and adding some much needed spooky flair into the Christmas holiday season!

You can find more info on Creepmas and how to participate on the official Creepmas site!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Food Review: Barre Bar - Ballerina Spirulina

In my vegan Conscious Box last month I received a rather intriguing-looking food bar called Barre, which is marketed as “a real food bar developed by two professional dancers (made with whole foods for real athletes)”. To be honest, I was sold on the cute name of the particular bar I received, which was “Ballerina Spirulina”!

I have always wanted to try spirulina, a superfood packed with awesome nutrients, so I figured this bar was a good start! I had it for breakfast during a hectic work morning in hopes that the natural and good for you ingredients would power me through ‘til lunch.

I was struck by the purity of the ingredients, which included dates, walnuts, agave, hemp seed, rolled oats, hemp protein, ground flax seed, coconut flakes, brown rice protein, spirulina, vanilla, sea salt and peanuts! No weird unpronounceable ingredients here and it contains all whole food ingredients, no refined sugars and is high in omega-3s.

The initial taste of the bar was pretty good, and it had a nutty, slightly coconut-like taste. However, the spirulina aftertaste was a little too strong for my liking, especially since I had never had spirulina before and wasn't quite sure what to expect! Although the aftertaste was a bit off-putting, I finished the whole bar and it actually filled me up and kept me full until lunch (about 3 – 3.5 hours). I usually have Luna or Larabars, and while I love them both, they usually don’t keep me full all morning. I gotta give props to the Barre bar for keeping me going through a busy morning!

The nutritional value of the bar is pretty impressive. One bar contains 210 calories, 11 grams of total fat (1 gram saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) and 25 grams of carbohydrates, with 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. I also liked how the bar incorporates hemp, flax, oats, brown rice protein and spirulina along with the nuts and coconut, making it nutritious and wholesome.

If spirulina isn't your bag (and I’m not sure it is mine), there are other flavors to try, like Black Swan Chocolate Berry and Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan (dying to try that one!). I would definitely buy the Barre Bar again (just maybe not in the Ballerina Spirulina flavor) and recommend it for its whole food ingredients and how long it keeps you full and satisfied.

Find more info at!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloweentime 2012 at Disneyland

Hiya boils and ghouls! Apologies for the absence after Halloween, but my family was in town so I was busy hanging out with them and taking some well-deserved vacation time to boot! And what do you do when your family visits SoCal during Halloween? Take them to the Happiest Place on Earth, of course!

It has become an annual tradition to visit Disneyland around Halloween with my family and it is my favorite time of year to visit the park (obviously!)! All their Halloween decorations are so cute, they really showcase their villains and both Disneyland and California Adventure are made to look spooky for the holiday. This year we went on Halloween Eve (October 30th), so it felt even more special to go on the day before Halloween. The park was surprisingly empty, the weather was gorgeous and we took our time enjoying both Disneyland and California Adventure.

Below you'll find photos from my day at Disneyland featuring lots of their Halloween decorations!

Yay! Halloweentime!

The Great Mickey Pumpkin welcomes everyone on 
Main Street

 Festive display on Main Street

Scream Team sweatshirt

So many amazing-looking treats! (of course none
of them were vegan,!)

Walt, Mickey, the Castle and Pumpkins!

 The Halloween Tree in Frontierland

The Halloween Tree plaque honoring Ray Bradbury

More Halloween Tree!

Halloween carriage in Frontierland

More spooky cute (but non-vegan) noms!

 Frontierland was set up with all kinds of cute Halloween
decor and activities, like this pumpkinhead

Just look at those adorable Halloween banners!

 Vinylmation Halloween 2012 Mickey

 Maleficent (my fave Disney villain) in 
Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Ghost Micky lanterns, gummi candy corn, pumpkin ears!

California Adventure had a great Frankenweenie 
exhibit up...hopefully I'll do a separate post on it soon!

 Trick or Treat Minnie

 A pumpkin carver in Frontierland

Festive signs leading the way to Halloween goodies

 Favorite place! Haunted Mansion, all decked out
for The Nightmare Before Christmas

 More Mansion madness


Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

Such adorable hats, all featuring a Disney villain!

 Halloweentime at night

 Love the Haunted Mansion at night! We were the
last ones they let on for the final ride at closing time!
It was so cool to ride without a crowd!

 The Halloween Tree at night

 Jack Skellington pumpkin

 Love, love, love the Disney balloons! They had a 
spiderweb design on them, too!

This store had ravens in the chandeliers and tons
of Halloween decorations along their top shelves

Witchy Minnie

Another display in Frontierland

 Sleeping Beauty's Castle all lit up at night

Until next time, pumpkin Mickey!

It was a great day and even though I didn't take pics of their vegan offerings, their veggie gumbo in New Orleans Square is vegan and there are tons of other noms you can find throughout the park that are vegan too! Mainly, though, I wanted to feature all the cool Halloween decorations the parks had out. 

Hope you enjoyed and I certainly can't wait to go back next October!
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