It’s a pumpkin cheesecake brownie cupcake, from reader Dina! She writes:
“Happy Halloween! I wanted to make a cupcake that used pumpkin but had a little more texture than a regular cupcake so the pumpkin flavor didn’t get lost. It has a black chocolate brownie on the bottom and a pumpkin cheesecake on top. It’s almost like the mullet of cupcakes—business on the top and party on the bottom! It’s not the prettiest thing but it tastes amazing.”
Dina is a genius! This little monster must taste AMAZING. Also, because Laura’s really nice and knows people will freak when they see there’s no recipe, she suggests you try these Pumpkin Cheescake Brownies. Or come up with a recipe yourself and then email it to us and we’ll publish it for the entire internet of a few hundred people to see.
Do you ever say to yourself, “Megan Rascal! Where’s the food porn been?!” OMG me too, like all the time. So today, from Spabettie, carrot-ginger quinoa pepper jacks! What Halloween fun is this? Now I have to tell you a secret; well, it’s not much of a secret because I tell everybody, but I hates the sweet peppers! “Bleh!” I say to them! But I love carrot-ginger stuff and of course quinoa. I would totally eat these, someone would just have to eat the pepper for me when I’m done and my dog doesn’t like peppers. He does like ice cream cones, which I don’t, so ice cream cones are covered. But my peppers, still up for grabs.
Vegan Etsy Halloween round-up! »
Halloween is quickly approaching! Normally I stall on this and then you don’t have time to order and of this stuff before Halloween but this year I’m getting a head start. Enjoy the ride!
This is a genius idea: black and orange fortune cookies! Guess what else is cool? You get to think up your own fortunes to put in there! You should totally do scary Halloween ones! Duh.
Halloween caramels! OK, OK, don’t die, but these are pretty rad. I always go back and forth with caramels but I’d eat the hell out of these.
A Halloween must: Oreo pops! Whoever invented the Oreo pop needs some sort of Nobel prize. There’s a Nobel Lollipop Prize, right?
What in God’s name are those? Why they’re skull lollipops! Yummy AND creepy! A perfect combo.
And of course, don’t forget your vegan zombie makeup! YOU TOO can be a zombie!
All right pals, that’s it for now! Have a fun Halloween and as my mom likes to say, be good! And if you can’t be good, be safe.
Book review: Out of Breath, by Blair Richmond »
I love books! Lucky me, Ashland Creek Press recently sent me Out of Breath, which is a novel by “Blair Richmond” about runners, vegans, and vampires living in the Pacific Northwest.
This is the second first-of-a-series novel about vegans and vampires that we’ve come across; recall Merlene Alicia Vassal’s The Vampire and the Vegan, which Jenny reviewed back in May. I think Out of Breath is the superior work; there’s no grody “love-making” and the characters are all clearly drawn.
I love a teen novel almost as much as I love a teen television dramedy, which is to say, passionately, but Out of Breath had difficulty balancing its message with its plot, so I feel like a lot of the hilarity was unintentional. Maybe I’m not the ideal audience, who I think is actually a teen-novel reader who is vegetarian and/or hasn’t considered a vegan lifestyle before. The “why veganism is really the only choice” arguments are compelling, but not very deftly incorporated into the plot. The action would be zipping along—I read the 263 pages in about an hour—and then our hero, Kat, would drop a big old paragraph of “Meat Is Murder” on us, like, way to ruin the mood, lady.
The plot is rather formulaic, but although Richmond telegraphs the twist before it comes, you won’t guess its scope until the author drops it on you, and it’s pretty good. I laughed with disbelief and appreciation for the shocking ridiculousness of it. Don’t take that the wrong away: It’s AMAZING; it’s silly and it’s weightless and soap operatic and wonderful. I mean: It’s set in a town called Lithia, and everyone’s supposed to be happy because THERE’S NATURALLY OCCURRING LITHIUM IN THE WATER. So much wtfuckery! You will probably love it.
Despite its heavy-handed deployment, the vegan message is refreshing to read. Better “Don’t eat animal products” than “alcohol/drugs/premarital sex KILLS,” by a million; at least the information is truthful and useful, and might positively influence the young readers of Out of Breath. Presumably. I wouldn’t argue that any one YA novel would have measurable impact on even the most impressionable readers, but as part of a series of pro-vegan novels, it could make a positive difference. I realize this is the same sort of thing that evangelists of all beliefs say about their niche literature, but unlike the Left Behind people, vegans are actually right, and I know that begs the question but shut up it’s true and you know it.
If you want to read the book—and believe me, you do—the Kindle version of Out of Breath is on sale for $2.99 throughout the month of October. That is cheap! Ashland Press will also hold an online book-release party on Oct. 31, which will involve an author Q&A, giveaways, and tips and tricks for vegan trick-or-treating. Because “Blair Richmond” is a pseudonym, the author won’t make any physical appearances to promote the book, so this internet party will be your sole chance to interact with this person. I recommend you drop the three bucks, read Out of Breath, and visit the Halloween party to ask the questions you will doubtless have about it afterward. Actually, read it while eating some vegan Halloween candy. It’s like a vegan marshmallow in literary form, anyway: you love it while you’ve got it, though the enjoyment is fleeting, but it’s better for you (and the animals!) than the standard fare.
Thanks so much to Ashland Press for sending me a review copy of Out of Breath. I really enjoyed it!
The East Bay Vegan Bakesale is finally here! This Saturday, Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Issues in Oakland, and the organizers want to emphasize that the bakesale will go on rain or shine. They have a rain plan! They would also like to let everyone know that any and all vegan baked goods are still welcome—no need to be a fancy professional, just a lovely kind person who wants to help raise money for Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and the East Bay Children’s Book Project. Speaking of which, bring a child’s book to donate and get a free treat!
Issues is located at 20 Glen Ave. at Piedmont Avenue, and do bear in mind that Piedmont will be closed from 10:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the Halloween parade. Anyone interested in helping with the Bakesale in whatever capacity—setup, breakdown, cashiering, or bringing baked goods to sell—should please contact the organizers! Everyone else: Show up and buy, for the birds and the children (and also your stomach, hooray).
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. This is a dilemma! Do I go out Saturday night and spend it drunk out of my mind screaming “BUON GIORNO! OLIVE GARDEN!” at strangers, or do I do the same thing on Sunday? Except sober. Because I have to work on Monday. I hate being an adult. Remember how awesome we thought being an adult would be? Staying up late! Candy for breakfast! All the TV and hookers we wanted! What a rip-off. It’s all work and crying and begging your parents to help pay your rent because no one will pay you $1 million an hour while your boyfriend checks himself for bedbugs with a flashlight. And NOW THEY MAKE HALLOWEEN FALL ON A SUNDAY! It’s a conspiracy! Well, I’ll show you, world! You think I won’t show up to work two hours late on Monday, hung over and still dressed like a low-rent Super Mario? Well then you’ve got another think coming.
Which reminds me, I am totally going to be Super Mario for Halloween this year. Allen and I went as Mario and Luigi last year, but then I got frustrated with all the spirit gum on my face (just thinking about it makes me shudder) and demanded we go home and order pizza (as I had accidentally splattered the slice I had bought earlier all over a friend I was drunkenly hugging in the street). We were going to go as the Bananas in Pajamas this year, but Allen refuses to admit that I came up with the idea for the costume, and I refuse to give Allen credit for anything (because I am the brains here, goddammit!) so we are going as the Mario Brothers again. Complete with white gloves that Allen’s father got from a pair of funeral directors who left them at his church. After a funeral. Because they were free. This is how we roll.
Speaking of dressing up, though, I want to warn you of a couple of things so you have a safe and happy halloween.
Think carefully before dressing your dog/cat/three-toed sloth up to show your friends and impress your neighbors. I’m not judging—I once tried to dress my hamster as an Oreo cookie, and I was always forcing my rabbit into ugly holiday sweaters—but it can actually have psychological consequences. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s pretty plausible. I mean, if we feel humiliated AT HOME wearing those awful sweaters our great-aunts knit us, then imagine how a dog feels being paraded around dressed like a fucking sunflower. Some dogs, of course love to dress up and show off, but some don’t. According to some animal behavior experts, dogs don’t like to stand out due to their wolf heritage because wolves who stand out in a pack are more prone to being attacked. Who knew there was an evolutionary aversion to being dressed up like a magical fairy princess?
Of course the potential for humiliation didn’t stop these people at Tompkins Square Park in New York City! They dressed their dogs up in all sorts of amazing get-ups and if you believe by the pictures, everyone is having a pretty awesome time. Especially the dogs dressed as bed bugs. Topical AND terrifying: exactly what halloween should be. I’m sorry, stop the presses: there was an Antoine DOGson?
Here’s another don’t: Don’t give your trick-or-treaters beef jerky. I know none of us were going to do it, but apparently some beef jerky isn’t just hazardous to your health because you are eating the dead flesh of a suffering animal, but because they are filled with chunks of plastic and glass! Surprise! Target had to recall over 3,000 pounds of the beef jerky! No injuries have been reported, but I was hoping Target would have learned their lesson when the same company, Market Pantry, was part of that pesky egg recall a couple of months back. I don’t know why Target is taking Aaliyah’s advice so enthusiastically, but I wish they would stop.
Two more important notes about costumes:
1. Don’t dress up as Elmo and swear at people, because there is already a dude doing this in Times Square. Apparently he is harassing people, and making tourists faint with outrage because he is asking them to pay for pictures with him. Why do people from the Midwest (that is correct: I went there) assume that these people dress up in hot smelly costumes just for fun? It is a job. This reminds me of the one time I was at Fisherman’s Wharf and was waiting for the bus when a tourist tapped me on the shoulder and said “Hi honey, I don’t think you noticed…but there’s a line.”
“I don’t think that we have lines here.” I said, because I have been body-checked by tiny grandmothers on the 38 long enough to know that MUNI is an insane free-for-all where an elderly woman with 15 pink shopping bags will kick you for being “too fat to sit here, BOY!”
“We have lines in Ohio!” She said. “So it would be real nice if you respected that. You think you can do that?” I decided not to fight her and got behind her and she still talked about how rude I was the entire time and about how “we need to educate these San Francisco people to be more civilized.” I am obviously still not over it.
2. Don’t dress your child up as a “Vegetarian Noodle Bowl.” I’m not hating on the idea. A vegetarian bowl of noodles? DELICIOUS! A vegetarian costume? AWESOME! I hope the execution is just as awesome as the inspiration…oh, what a disappointment.
HOLD THAT THOUGHT! Here is an awesome vegan costume! That’s right! Vegan Police T-shirts! Well-made, attractive, and hilarious. Send me 20. I’ll put them on with my Lt. Dangle short-shorts and paint this town BLEACH BLONDE! (Sun-In really, but I didn’t think it would scan.)
Have an awesome Wednesday and an even more awesome halloween! Please send me ideas for next week!
Top Chef: Just Desserts, episode six airs tonight, and our sixth chef is revealed! »
The fifth episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts airs on Bravo tonight (10 Eastern/Pacific), which means that we’re ready to unveil our sixth guest chef (see the first five here! Chocolate mousse! Margarita bombes! Toffee brownies! Panna cotta! Rice Krispy bars coated with chocolate and hazelnut butter! Mini cinnamon almond cakes! DO IT) who will veganize the episode’s winning dessert! Well, we’ve got our next fabulous chef and there’s no reason not to tell you RIGHTNOW who it is I just like a little suspense OK fine:
Please welcome Melisser, The Urban Housewife! The crew at Vegansaurus and Melisser go waaaaaay back. In fact, when Meave started the Vegan Brunch Cartel in 2007, Melisser, Megan Allison, Maria, and I were some of the first to join! Soon we were meeting monthly to create amazing vegan brunches from scratch (or if you’re me, amazing vegan mimosas from scratch!). My how we’ve grown (I’m not just talking physically! Vegan food is really good!) and I mean that especially for Melisser; not only is she busy running her awesome blog, moving to Vienna, and perfecting vegan candy corn (MAKE IT! It’s almost Halloween!); she’s now a published author, with The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life hitting the shelves in November! So exciting! We’re thrilled to see what Melisser does with the crazy challenges that Top Chef: Just Desserts throws her way tonight. Hopefully her time in the kitchen won’t include an elbow to the face, as it did for Heather here. Drama rama!
[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! »
Goats, man. Why you gotta fuck with ‘em? ‘Cause you think they’re all docile and shit? You think a goat can’t get gangsta? No, a goat can get gangsta. And unfortunately a goat got medieval on a hiker who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. You don’t hear about something like that every day, do you? But that’s probably because you don’t hear about park rangers encouraging visitors to hurl rocks at aggressive goats, either.
Let me be clear with you: Never taunt, harass, or torture anyone who has been called “aggressive.” Now, maybe that’s clear to me because I have years of psychological training, but I thought that was pretty much common sense in general. You don’t stand within throwing distance of (or even approach) Naomi Campbell, you don’t welcome Bjork to Bangkok, and you certainly, CERTAINLY do not toss rocks at a wild animal who is known to get riled up. No matter who tells you to do it. QUICK STORY ABOUT THE DANGERS OF THROWING ROCKS: When I was seven I had to wear an eye patch to deal with my Paris Hilton eye (later corrected) with surgery. Patches don’t do shit except make you look like an awesome pirate! (Thanks, mom!). My brother and his friend thought it was hilarious that I couldn’t see anything and as I was wandering around the playground looking like a lonely pirate, they decided to throw a rock at me because it would surprise/stun/kill me. Luckily for me, they had bad aim. They hit a nursing mother instead. Everyone was fine, but the moral of the story is DON’T FUCKING THROW ROCKS!
Here’s the thing: The man-killing goat was known to be aggressive, but things could have been done differently. Instead of “hazing” the goat to be frightened of humans by chucking things at it, they could have airlifted it to another area—like they did in the 1980s when the high goat population endangered the environment—where people aren’t as likely to happen upon it. There could have been a protocol of something other than “throw rocks at it to make it go away” when people encountered the goat. I’m sure the rangers could have held a town hall meeting or something. Instead, a gentleman who was enjoying his lunch was gored to death and the goat was found and killed. That sucks.
God, you know what’s depressing? Besides having to write a 100-page paper in the next nine months? Being a caged animal at the zoo. You know what’s worse than that? When holidays come around and the zoo decides that the best way to celebrate Halloween is to let people feed you pumpkin snacks. Apparently this is part of the Oklahoma City Zoo enrichment program that is supposed to be beneficial to the animals’ mental and physical well-being, but I don’t see how this is going to make the rhinos and beavers feel any better about having to live in a cage their entire lives. Maybe the enrichment program could focus on not bringing any more animals to the zoo? And maybe not feeding them holiday-themed snacks? Apparently, most of the animals consider pumpkins to be a super-special treat, but as someone who is somewhat pumpkin-phobic, I’m pretty skeptical.
That’s all for today. Please join me next week when we will be preparing for Halloween with awesome/awful costumes. SPOILER: Butchers are saying that people should refrain from making meat dresses of their own. That’s a small relief at least. I was getting pretty worried that the meat dress was going to be this year’s Borat.
Send me costume pictures and ideas! Or comment below! I’m basically begging for your help here!
No Trick Treats, for a happy vegan Halloween! »
This has got me pretty excited! I love the holidays and especially the ones when people give me stuff and especially when that stuff is CANDY. What am I talking about? Halloween, adoy! But what about the vegan kiddies? How do they celebrate Halloween when all those dang houses give away non-vegan candy? Enter NoTrickTreats.com! It’s a site dedicated to listing houses giving away candy that meets special dietary needs, including veganism! It can create a map of your area that shows only the houses giving away vegan candy. Huzzah!
However, at the moment it’s kind of sparse. Like, super-sparse. As in, no houses in San Francisco. That’s spooky! And that’s why you gotta list your house! Are you giving away vegan goodies? Goody! Tell the world! Get your friends on board! You can also print flyers from the site to spread the word and post them on telephone poles and at Rainbow or Whole Foods or wherever (side note: if you’re feeling creative, the flyers need some design help).
Did you all get your vegan candy to give away yet? OMG GET YOURSELF TOGETHER! Luckily for you, VegNews has a handy list of vegan candy for you. Did you know Airheads are vegan? And PEZ! Pez are vegan! Pez are still the best ticket in town, if you ask me.
There’s also The Natural Candy Store if you want to do your vegan candy shopping online. They’ve got some sweet Halloween candy (like the jack-o-lantern lolli at the top!). They also sell Go Max Go bars and you can’t forget those, otherwise it’s basically child abuse.
Let’s take a moment to get into the real nitty gritty: what are your thoughts on vegan trick-or-treating? Some of Vegansaurus think you should let your kid go to whichever house and make their own decision about whether or not to keep it vegan. I mean not the little ones, but the older kids who go off with their friends. Another faction suggested letting the kids go out with their friends and make up their own minds about the candy, hoping she had “armed them with enough knowledge and Go Max Go bars to make the right choice!” See, Go Max Go bars are crucial.
What about you all? If you don’t give them free choice, will your kids be all resentful and dump the vegan lifestyle as soon as they can buy their own food (hey there, Zac Young of TC:JD)? Of course if your kids have a bunch of other vegan kiddie friends, maybe you don’t have to worry about this. Thoughts?
A Vegan Etsy Halloween! »
Hey people, Halloween is coming up! Ever heard of it? Well I want you all to be prepared AND I want you all to support some of the craftspeople on Etsy! So here are my picks for the perfect vegan Etsy Halloween.
Check out these super-cute cupcakes from vegan baker SweetFritsy! These would make anybody happy. Especially if you know some lil’ kids you are trying to get stoked on veganism, which is my new favorite thing to do.
For some more sweets, vegan mallocreme pumpkins from PandaWithCookieBakes. These are very festive, my pals. And you got to have candies for halloween, you’ve just got to.
For something to really get you in the spirit, try some vegan caramel corn, also by SweetFritsy (with whom I think I’m in love)! Hot damn I hate caramel corn, but it’s just so classically Halloween I’ll probably buy it anyway and force children to eat it.
Last in the sweets category, pumpkin whoopie pies by shortbreadnyc (who also does custom logo cupcakes; we need some pink t-rex ones, am I right? Hint: ALWAYS)! Picture these with some hot apple cider—so Americana!
To pull things out of your mouth for a brief moment, what are you going to be for Halloween? Maybe you could use some vegan makeup to help you out! Moiminerals has created a limited edition haunted house collection for all your ghoulish makeup needs. I like “bark at the moon” because that’s a funny name and I look lovely in sparkles (pro tip: I look lovely in everything).
Now this next item isn’t really a costume, but maybe you don’t have to be one of those people that wears your costume to work on Halloween because you freak me out. It’s a shirt for the bros in the crowd by JamesAnthony. I find this shirt motherloving scary for some reason. It’s freaking me out! It’s like you’re bleeding from the neck! Bleh!
For the ladies, yous guys could wear this scary dress by ompantyom to work and then later you put your costume on for the party I’m sure you’re invited to. They are calling this a “dress,” which it very well may be—if you’re a hoebag. Put on some damn pants!
For your costume-costume, I’m hoping you don’t wear a skanky costume and go with something super-scary instead! Scary costumes rule! But now you may be asking, “Megan Rascal, how can I get laid on Halloween when I have an eyeball falling out of my head and bloody skin peeling off my arms?” Do I have an answer for you! Well, I have an answer for those of you out there looking to bang someone with a penis. There are a few scents that are known to “increase penile blood-flow,” one of those scents being pumpkin pie,* and guess what: Etsy store LittleBatch makes a roll-on vegan pumpkin pie fragrance! Congratulations!
Now I know at this point you are like, “but Megan Rascal! What will my dog wear! No Halloween costume for my dog? EMBARRASSING!” Well pals, I found this adorbs big bad wolf costume from Down Under Dog Designs. The Fig doesn’t like wearing hats or hoods, but I find these hooded costumes are still cute when the hood is down, so this should be fairly comfortable. See, I love dogs in clothes as much as the next Megan Rascal, but you’ve got to make sure your dog is comfortable!
There you have it! Happy Halloween, yall!
*Read all about it here. It’s hilarious because the others are licorice, vanilla and lavender. So that is food, food, and soap like your mom used to use. Boys! It’s OK though, baby powder increases women’s arousal. Duh, women are baby factories!