Upstate Vegan Eats, Round 2 — Woodstock & Rosendale

Mountains & Daytime Moon

This past weekend we took a drive upstate for a little Mother’s Day getaway. Our plans had included a visit to Catskill Animal Sanctuary, but we unfortunately weren’t able to get there this time. We were, however, able to revisit some of our favorite places from our last visit to the area and also try some of the restaurants that we missed.

I won’t spend too much time rehashing the places I’ve already posted about, except to say the following: We definitely made a detour to Lagusta’s Luscious for chocolate bars and truffles. I also snatched up a jar of their chocolate hazelnut butter, which made its way onto a sort of sundae when we got home along with some Van Leeuwen’s vegan banana nut ice cream and a pile of sliced strawberries. While in New Paltz, we also swung by Karma Road so that Chris could pick up a handful of their sweet potato biscuits, which he and Roman polished off in less than 24 hours. The biscuits aren’t GF so I got a smoothie, much of which became Roman’s.

Smoothies & Sundaes

We returned to Garden Cafe on the Green for brunch on Mother’s Day, enjoying a feast similar to the one we had on our first visit. We even sat at the same table and, while waiting for our food, I discovered a drawer that I hadn’t noticed before. Upon pulling it out I found the sweet little note pictured below.

Garden on the Green

Now onto the new stuff!

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Banana Oat Snack Cookies

Banana Oat Snack Cookies

These scrumptious little snack cookies are the result of a handful of overripe bananas and a simple google search for “banana cookies”. (Heads up: I have a few banana-based recipes in the works right now, so get to ripening! Apologies, banana-loathers.) The recipe below is a complete bastardization of the original, but definitely found its inspiration there.

I obviously adapted them to be gluten-free, but also skipped the oil, added a bit of flax for binding/fiber/omega-3 goodness, and swapped the refined sugar out for pureed dates. That’s right, these cookies are made without refined sugar! Excepting the chocolate chips, of course, but you could easily use grain-sweetened chocolate chips or something else entirely if you wanted them to be totally refined sugar-free.

Snack cookie ingredients2

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Weekend Recap + Link Love

McGolrick

I meant to get this post out on Monday or Tuesday, which would have made the following gush-fest seem more appropriate, but, hey, better later than never. And just because we’re now winding down this week into another weekend, it doesn’t change a thing about last weekend. So, let’s take a minute to talk about last weekend. The weather: sunny! warm!  The walking: roughly 15 miles of straight up strolling around the ‘hood. The food: Bliss Grand for brunch, bacon cheddar ranch beet burgers from Chickpea & Olive, a sampling of Juice Generation‘s new vegan/GF pastries, and crepes (and a nap 😉 ) at Little Choc Apothecary. I can’t even handle all the goodness that was last weekend. As we were walking along, drenched in sun, I realized aloud to Chris, “This is what our days are going to look like again.” Sorrynotsorry, Winter, but I am oh so glad you’re gone.

Apr 11 & 12 Wknd

• Sunshine in McGolrick • Matcha, chocolate, and cinnamon sugar doughnuts and an acai pastry from Juice Generation • Daffodils everywhere! • Basking in McCarren • Peanut butter banana crepe at Little Choc •

Just a heads-up to this weekend: I am totally ready for another beet burger…or two.

And if the sunshine and abundance of awesome vegan eats weren’t enough, lots of good things have been making their way out into the world over the last couple weeks via various media platforms. Here are a handful of my favorites. Enjoy!… 

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Vegan & Animal-Friendly Options for Decorating Easter Eggs

Craft Kit & Paint Brushes

Well folks, spring has sprung and that means Easter is right around the corner! We’re decidedly not religious here at casa di LoSacco, but we do enjoy celebrating the spring holiday for its all its vernal (and, ahem, original) virtues. That means bunnies, and chicks, and chocolate, and eggs—fertility symbols FTW! Okay so maybe chocolate isn’t exactly a fertility symbol, but who am I to turn down a shiny, foil-wrapped nugget of goodness?

Like nearly every holiday, Easter presents some challenges for those approaching it from a vegan perspective. And now as parents raising a vegan child (parents who didn’t have vegan childhoods themselves) we find ourselves looking for creative ways to reinvent some of the holiday traditions that we enjoyed and that other children his age are currently enjoying in compassionate, animal-friendly ways. Some holidays pose larger questions than others, but we’re finding our way through. Last year we began our tradition of sponsoring a rescued turkey and using a photo of that individual as our Thanksgiving centerpiece, and this year we took a new approach to the tradition of dying chicken eggs for Easter…. 

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How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies

Frozen bananas for smoothies

Freezing bananas for smoothies is nothing new. It’s something that many people already do on a regular basis and I’m sure my method isn’t especially innovative. It has definitely improved my smoothie routine, though, and wasn’t something that I actually thought to do until fairly recently, sometime within the last year. So I’m going to share it with you in case it hasn’t occurred to you yet either, or in case you just need a little inspiration to get your freeze on.

I first started doing this in response to a minor mommy problem. Roman loves bananas and asks for them often. I never know, however, whether he’s going to eat a small chunk and be done with it, or if he’ll polish off three of them and ask for another. So there are times when I’m left with a partially eaten banana, and I’m not always up for finishing it myself. Instead of counting it as a loss and composting the remains, I began freezing them and tossing them into smoothies later.

After seeing how awesome it was to have a stash of frozen bananas on hand, I decided it was something that I needed to have available at all times. And thus, the freezing of the bananas began.

So let’s talk for a quick second about why you might want a stash of bananas in your freezer:… 

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NYC Veg Food Fest + Sunday Links

Roman & Cow

First things first—who else has been enjoying the warm weather these past couple weeks? There were a couple chilly/rainy days just recently, but it’s been so uplifting to have some sun and to be rid of the snow (at least for now…hopefully until next winter). We’ve been getting out, taking long walks, going to the playground again. Spring is right around the corner, and, after this beast of a winter we’ve had, the change of seasons honestly feels like optimism.

Despite yesterday being one of those aforementioned rainy ones, we got ourselves out of the house and headed over to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. It was packed and there were epic lines for many of the local favorites that we were hoping to hit, namely Yeah Dawg and Marty’s. We were a little bummed to have to skip them, but also thrilled to see that there was such demand for their awesome food. Luckily, we were able to snag some tofu taquitos, carrot cake, and a brownie from GustOrganics without a wait. GustOrganics is the only 100% organic certified restaurant in the city, and they’ve been slowly moving their menu in the plant-based direction over the last couple years with intentions to go fully vegan. Their desserts are all gluten-free and the two we tried were fantastic.

As we made our way through, we sampled some of Gardein’s gluten-free beefless crumbles—a gamble because neither one of us is crazy about meat analogues, Chris especially—and we were surprised to find that we both enjoyed them. Follow Your Heart was there as well, sampling some of their new block cheeses, and I have to say I was really impressed. The texture seemed spot-on to me from what I can remember and the flavors were great. They come in American, mozzarella, provolone, and garden herb varieties–all of which are gluten- and soy-free and will be offered in slices as well. This is one vegan cheese that I would dare to say might even fool an omni!

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Love All Life

love all life

After almost a year in our “new” place, we’ve finally gotten around to doing Roman’s room. The first piece of art that we added was this adorable print from Lisa Revelli, a local artist who also happens to be vegan. It features more than two dozen critters and creatures along with a beautiful reminder to love all life.

The print is available through Minted.com and can be purchased with or without a frame. We took the lazy approach and let them frame if for us.  When we decorated Roman’s nursery in our previous apartment, we had decided on a navy/gray/white color scheme, which we really liked. So we decided to stick with that here as well and chose the “distressed indigo stain” frame. It arrived ready-to-hang and looks great…. 

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Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

Since December, maybe even November, we’ve been getting emails from our CSA letting us know that sign up is open for the 2015 season. Normally, a second after that first email hits my inbox, I’m forwarding the message to Chris and asking him what method of payment we should use. But this time, I paused.

I love being part of a CSA so much. I love the community feel and supporting a local, organic farm run by chill, down-to-earth people. I love getting a ton of produce every week and being surprised by things that I wouldn’t have thought to grab from the market stand otherwise. I love the challenge of coming up with recipes based off of those wildcard items.

Except that, well, that’s not all entirely true—at least not anymore…. 

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