Toast & Co. is a bustling breakfast spot right off Huntington Village’s main drag, New York Avenue. Once you visit, it is easy to see why it brings in such crowds. It’s got that old fashioned diner ambiance, great service, and… a separate vegan menu that is spectacular on its own. And even more so when one considers this is Long Island. IMG_4122

Chef K, host of the recent VEEDA dinner pop-up, is the reason for this wonderful menu addition. Notice the far left corner’s notation. This menu is only available when Chef K is in, typically Monday through Friday from 9am to 2pm. It’s advisable to call ahead to confirm the availability of the menu. My first visit I was disappointed to learn the vegan chef was not in. IMG_4117

But there is a no-fail vegan option that is on the regular menu the waiter recommended, his “go to” when interested vegans miss Chef K. A black bean patty on top of dressed greens–simple, flavorful and clean. I was surprised how light and tasty it was. I certainly did not leave hungry… but I wanted that vegan menu! IMG_4118

So on Black Friday, I took a second trip, scoring the sandwich I had been eyeing since my last visit: The Heirloom Carrot Grilled Cheese. This was an amazing sandwich, likely the best I’ve ever had on Long Island, hands down. With carrot top pesto, roasted heirloom carrots, a housemade (!) mozzarella cheese, pickled artichokes, tuscan kale and pressed on a perfect sourdough boule, the sandwich is inventive, oozingly pleasing and well-balanced. And the salad on the side, beautiful watermelon radish and vibrant greens, topped with a nut parmesan. I feel Chef K’s love for vegetables in her sandwich.  IMG_4447

Check out the vegan mozzarella glob: clean, creamy, delicious. PicMonkey Collage1 I also got the Peruvian Hash, shredded root veggies, spices and herbs drizzled with a creamy Hollandaise-y sauce. Spectacular. I’m ready to join the next 6-course dinner!IMG_4444

And when in Rome, I find all things vegan, including cupcake options at the gluten-free Wild Flours Bake Shop. I’ve said this before: gluten-free is difficult. These cupcakes were dense and a bit gummy. But I do appreciate vegan options wherever they are. IMG_4127



Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for a successful Thanksgiving meal created in our new kitchen. The renovated space improved work flow in a tremendous way. And the dishwasher–a game changer. Here are the food highlights:

A flavor-packed stuffed seitan roast, mashed potatoes, apple pomegranate pumpkin rice, and creamed corn.IMG_4384Check out these amazing recipes from other vegan people. They made it easy for me.

Stuffed Seitan Roast


1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
generous grinding of pepper
2 slices whole wheat bread cut into small cubes
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon whole chia seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup water (more as needed)

Sauté the onion and celery in a non-stick skillet until onion is translucent.
Add the mushrooms, thyme, sage, and a generous grating of black pepper and cover and cook 3 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients along with enough water to moisten the stuffing but not make it soaking wet.
Set aside.

Seitan Roast:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/3 cup quick oatmeal
1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 cup great northern beans, cooked or canned
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon tahini

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (vital wheat gluten through flaxseeds).
Place the 1 1/2 cups of broth, white beans, soy sauce, and garlic in blender and process until liquefied.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the bean mixture, and stir until gluten is completely moistened.
Drizzle the tahini over the top and knead it into the dough.
Keep kneading until dough holds together in a ball. Set aside while you make the broth.

Baking Broth:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil (optional)

Heat all ingredients until hot but not boiling. A microwave works well for this.

Assembly / Cooking:
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil a rectangular baking dish, 11-13 inches long and 6-8 inches wide.
Line your work surface with parchment paper.
Place the dough in the center, cover it with plastic wrap, and roll out the seitan, making sure that it is the same thickness in all places, until it’s about 9×13.
Spread the stuffing evenly, leaving a 1-inch margin on all sides.
Lift up the plastic wrap on one of the long edges and roll the seitan up like a jelly roll.
Pinch the ends sealed first and then pinch well to seal the long seam.
Lift the seitan roll carefully and place seam-side down in the prepared casserole dish.
Pour the baking broth over it, add rosemary, and cover tightly with two layers of foil.

Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, baste with broth, recover tightly, and bake for another 25 minutes.
Baste again and return to oven uncovered for about 30 minutes.
Baste 2 or 3 times as it’s cooking.
Seitan is done when top seems firm and brown and the broth has evaporated.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Transfer carefully to a cutting board or serving platter and cut into 1/2-inch slices.

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PicMonkey Collage2This was the most flavor I’ve ever experienced in a seitan. Glorious!

Pumkin Apple Harvest Rice


1 3/4 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 small Honeycrisp apple, diced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
2 tbsp Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup walnuts, unsalted
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Prepare brown rice – set aside in large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, cider vinegar, spices. Mix well.
Add this mixture to the warm brown rice. Fold until well distributed.
Prep your apples and onions by dicing.
Fold into the rice mixture: Pomegranate, apples, onions, walnuts, olive oil, parsley flakes and salt to taste.

IMG_4199The pomegranates were from a bulk club store. 6 for 9.99. Now, what to do with the others???

Mashed Potatoes


3 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk at room temp
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more for the water)
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Cut potatoes into about 1 1/2 inch chunks.
Place in a pot and cover with cold water.
Spinkle about a teaspoon of salt into the water. Cover and bring to a boil.
Once boiling lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 12 minutes, until fork tender.
Drain potatoes, then place back in the pot.
Do a preliminary mash with a potato masher, just to get them broken up.
Add milk, oil, salt and pepper and mash until fluffy.
Taste for salt and pepper.

Creamed Corn


1 1/2 pounds organic sweet corn, frozen
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste
freshly ground black pepper, adjust to taste

In a medium hot skillet, saute sweet onion and garlic in coconut oil until translucent.
Add sweet corn and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the corn starts to caramelize with the onions and garlic- add coconut milk here.
Add remaining seasonings and adjust to taste.
Transfer 1/2 of the corn into a food processor and puree.
Pour this pureed mixture into the leftover whole corn kernels.

IMG_4361This creamed corn recipe took the prize for “thee best.” Coconut milk makes a perfect ‘creamed’ for this creamed corn.


And a marble banana bundt for good measure… now I was ready to go. PicMonkey Collage4

A selfie with my new glassesIMG_4332

And some giddy fun with Ebenezer. Can’t believe it’s that time already…IMG_4436

It isn’t a coincidence that there are a tons of vegan vendors in Bryant Park’s Winter Village. The owner of the company that organizes this annual set up of holiday shops around Bryant Park’s ice rink is a vegan. I found my way nearby and decided to binge eat as many of the available options as I could, after-school special style. Here is my report on 8 of the all-vegan eateries.

Vegushi is an all-vegan sushi vendor offering 5 specialty rolls. I tried the Bryant Park Roll, an avocado, eggplant, and pickle roll topped with sweet potato. A wonderful appetizer in this tour of vegetable appreciation. PicMonkey Collage1

After, a trip to Super Mac + Cheez. Want some creamy mac & cheez without any packaged garbage in it? Head over to this spot for cup runneth over of cheesy elbows. PicMonkey Collage2

Next, I walked by Vedge, not the Philly Vedge but an all-vegan Asian soy science meat-type spot. I did not sample anything from them, but wanted to share their menu in case you’re into that thing.IMG_4271

Time for some sweets! This Pie is Nuts, as the name implies, sells nut-based all-vegan versions of classic pies. I bought the Sweet Potato and Coconut Creme pies and decided to not eat them immediately. I promise I’ll get back to you on this after they are devoured on Thanksgiving!PicMonkey Collage4

Next, I had to get some goodies at Kaleidoscope, which is really Lagusta’s Luscious and Sweet Maresa’s beautiful chocolates, macarons, and other delicious pleasures. All-vegan heavenly bliss…PicMonkey Collage5

There are some all-vegan stops I did not stop by… The Lucky Sailor sells French fries.  Pickle Me Pete sells pickles, including fried ones, and is based out of Long Island. Saj Mahal sells Lebanese cuisine.

By the time I saw Marty’s (this Marty’s), I was stuffed. Plus, Marty’s burger is in the brackets of my next burger showdown, so I wanted to relish in the anticipation of that battle a bit.  IMG_4280

Plus, I had more sweets on the mind. I wanted to try the all-vegan Chimney Cake, flaky Hungarian cakes smeared with delicious chocolate spread. PicMonkey Collage6

I’m not the most girly-girl woman. I don’t know how to do my hair or my make-up; I don’t pamper myself regularly… partly because these practices were not rooted in my youth. I went from playing with Barbies to rejecting the patriarchy, the objectification of women and all practices that aligned with related gender roles. Sooo now, as I age, I have occasional fits of realizing I need to take care of myself. …Then I buy magical potions, creams, and salves that I use for a few weeks… which then finally become Tetris pieces to organize in various toiletry spaces.

Here are the products in my most recent fit: an exfoliating face scrub, coconut ginger lime body scrub, and lavender and clary sage body oil from the Brooklyn-based skinnyskinny. I’ll start with the coconut ginger lime body scrub. This was just what my itchy, I take way too hot showers and I eat no animals’ fat skin needed. The scrub is solid, like coconut oil in the cold weather. But after applying in the circular motion, coconut shreds, under a pleasantly oily base, go a long way. I enjoyed the coconut flakes more than a grainy sugar scrub. And I used less. Onto the oil. This oil was just what my skin needed. It absorbs easily and leaves behind silkiness that lasts.

Onto your the face, I mixed their exfoliating face scrub with the same cleanser they packed with my order. Though the combination of the two products’ smells was a bit medicinal, the scrub was heavenly. It was like my face was a crumbly, sloughy clay and this polished its surface, smoothing and invigorating. The grain was fine and natural, like sand that has been pulverized. This ain’t no bead exfoliator. I kept feeling my face afterwards, impressed. It’s no wonder it is one of their most popular items. IMG_4023

I guess that in my fit, I bought two facial scrubs. The next one is from “beauty purists” Thesis, another organic and vegan skincare line. It is wonderful to have a selection of companies who hold my compassionate values to mix and match from. From I tried the Poppy Seed Face Scrub. This blend of fine clays purifies and exfoliates delightfully–a bit milder than skinnyskinny’s. My skin felt so clean and new afterwards, like it was buffed by expert hands who understand the delicateness and sensitivity of my face. PicMonkey Collage

Every year I take home the pumpkins in my classroom and turn them into cupcakes, highlighting the delicious circle of life. PicMonkey Collage1

After baking the different pumpkin varieties until tender, I scoop out the flesh…IMG_4149

…and blend away in the food processor. Ok, so I processed one of the pumpkins from the porch too, ensuring a hefty amount of pumpkin puree to be utilized for the holiday season. PicMonkey Collage

I bake the pumpkin pieces face down in a casserole pan with an inch of water and cover with foil. This way the pumpkin needs no additional water to blend into a smooth, tasty puree that is ready for scooping. IMG_4201

I use Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s VCTOTW recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes because it’s perfect. IMG_4203

Beautiful cooling cupcakes waiting for their icing.IMG_4246

Time for scratch-made vanilla buttercream. For best results, use real vanilla scraped from a pod. IMG_4209

After piping, I sprinkled them with vanilla sugar.

All done and ready for 5th graders!IMG_4245

Flashback to summer & the butterfly bush.IMG_2226


“And the one big eye just blinked…”IMG_2267

Oreo pancakes were a bit of a fail…IMG_2252

Morning pink.IMG_4084

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Though science-food isn’t my thing, I needed to try Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg for you, dear blog. I preordered them from Food Fight a few weeks ago. I have never had a craving for a plate of eggs since going vegan and have evolved to not even consider them food, but I was thoroughly intrigued by the product since reading about it. Admittedly, it was the packaging that piqued my interest. The package was much like the egg carton. What the heck was in there that made scrambled eggs?! Let’s find out…IMG_4048

Inside, a bag of a light, airy powder and a sleek insert with factoids on the VeganEgg. Did I really expect egg-shaped containers… I guess kind of. IMG_4051


Inside, a slightly sulphuric smelling yellow powder. 2 leveled TBs to a half cup of cold water starts this chemical reaction. IMG_4100

For best results, they say to blend. After a few seconds this thick but pourable liquid farted a few times. With my oiled skillet preheating, I was ready to get scrambling.IMG_4102

I poured the mixture into the skillet and started scrambling immediately. Now, I was never great at making scrambled eggs in my young, non-vegan days. It always felt weird to me. “How can I eat something that could have grown to be a baby chick?” Well, that feeling came back to be. That’s how much this was like scrambling real eggs. The little dry ends that I overcooked, the scramble and flip, the cut, cut–all the patterns of the spatula–the process. I got to say it was strange to within this faintly familiar process. IMG_4104

When I finished and loaded my plate with my two scramble VeganEggs, I felt that I was about to eat an exciting advancement in food science. I worried about my how my stomach would feel later. I worried about feeling sick eating what looked, smelled, and felt like real eggs. But it was… fine. I may even season them with more black salt next time… and more nutritional yeast! They’re really a blank canvas, taste-wise. The real breakthrough is the texture. IMG_4113

Here are my fluffy scrambled VeganEggs. What to do with the rest of my carton?? I’d have to experiment with this further. Vegan scrambled “eggs”… done.

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Falling back, the glorious autumn sunset coincides with my drive home from the train station. This sky had me snapping pictures towards my neighbor’s house in creepy fashion. It made me think of Ponyboy Curtis. {Then I thought about how lucky I was to come of age in a time where there were actually poignant films made with young male actors (hunks?) with talent. How times have changed. And they were greasers, no less. Misunderstood juvenile delinquents were my weakness.}IMG_3749


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Sunrise on the train station.IMG_3986

Vegetable Mofongo and yucca fries from Mi Casa Restaurant, unlikely vegan options are my favorite.IMG_3998

Stripes and dots. IMG_4044

Pumpkin Dandies really taste like pumpkin. IMG_4046

Kitchen color. IMG_4018

Quickly go the days.IMG_4062

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