Miami was so good to me! The vegan scene there is amazing, and growing. I was invited to speak at the 2016 Seed Food & Wine festival, and I’m so glad I said yes. I stayed at the beautiful Palms Hotel & Spa in comfy room overlooking Miami Beach with views of the sunrise each day. It was such a treat to soak up the Miami sunshine, walk on the beach, and go for a swim…in November!
This year my holiday mantra will be COMPASSION. I try to practice it every single day, but that doesn’t mean that it ever becomes easier. Not at least towards other people…animals are so easy to empathize with. But it is just as important to have compassion for and be opened minded towards our human brothers and sisters.
The holidays are the time of year that test my compassion the most. Sure, in dream land this time of year is all about cheery songs, cozy sweaters, and happy families. In reality though, I’m arguing politics with my mom, stressed out because of frenzied NYC crowds, and saddened by the shorter colder days. However, this year, more than ever Ever EVER, compassion must be my guiding light. I’m constantly reminding myself to love and to be opened minded…
I’m even, sort of, looking forward to trying my best to maintain love, compassion, and an open mind this holiday season. It ain’t easy, but it is 100% worth the effort. Love is the answer.
Now let’s talk about this fabulous holiday white bean and butternut squash casserole with rosemary Wasa crumble.
Oh, the perks of being a food blogger. When I was working full time as a vegan private chef, I never got invited on cool trips to local farms. Last week we took a day trip up north to the Hudson River Valley’s Black Dirt region to visit Minkus Family Farms, a family run onion farm. It was a beautiful day, the scenery on the way and at the farm was breathtaking, and most importantly, I learned so much about successful onion farming!
The reason we were invited to Minkus Family Farms is that they’re participating in this cool new New York State program that certifies new York farmers who use eco-friendly and food-safe practices. It’s called Empire State NY Grown & Certified. This is a voluntary program that New York farmers who use eco-friendly and food-safe practices can apply to. Of course I, along with the other bloggers, was invited to help spread the word about how important shopping local is. It’s great for local economies, better for the environment (shorter distances for produce to travel and greater accountability), and the produce is fresher. If you live in New York, you’ll start seeing the NY Certified label on fresh produce at grocery stores and farmer’s markets beginning in Spring 2017.
We missed harvest time, which is in August, so we didn’t get to pick any onions, but they were around us everywhere in huge numbers! They store onions in this ginormous temperature and humidity controlled warehouse. It keeps them fresh for months. I’ve never seen so many onions!
Is it Halloween yet? Not since I was a kid have I been so excited about this day. Back then, of course, it was all about dressing up to go door to door for candy. I remember coming home and categorizing the goodies from my bag––I always used an old pillow case because those pumpkin buckets were far too small. Now it’s all about making my own treats like these raw chocolate matcha cupcakes with raw ganache in the center, and the sweet potato donuts with spooky toppings that I shared last week.
Happy Halloween my friends!! This year I’m going all out with crazy face paint, wacky hair, and spooky donuts. These delicious vegan sweet potato donuts are moist, rich, and so much fun to decorate. I think my favorite part was frosting them with the green, black, red, and white icing. The black icing was made with black cocoa powder, which I had never had. It’s like the richest earthiest chocolate you’ll ever have, and so tasty on the sweet potato donuts. Certainly my favorite icing was the green matcha one. Matcha makes everything amazing. I even made googly eyes and spider webs, which were the cherry on top of my creepy Halloween treats.