Who doesn’t love the fall? The leaves begin to turn deep orange and red colors. Sweaters make their way out of the bottom drawer and onto our shoulders to keep us warm during nippy evening strolls with our dogs (also wearing sweaters) through Central Park — wait — this is not the New York of When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail. This is Austin, and our Zilker Park is still recovering from the throngs of people treading all over it for the Austin City Limits music festival. Yes, this is Austin, where pretty falls days are scattered between “unseasonably” warm days. What do we do in Austin to remind ourselves (and our dogs) that it is indeed Fall? We go to vegan bake sales, buy pumpkin-laced goods, and raise money for SARA Animal Sanctuary in Seguin!
Austin blogger Lazy Smurf recently reported that SARA Animal Sanctuary has fallen on hard times and particularly needs help paying their electric bill. Ms. Smurf has organized a vegan bake sale to benefit SARA Animal Sanctuary this Sunday October 21 at Counter Culture. If you can not attend the actual sale on Sunday then you can still sign up to donate baked goods and make plans with Ms. Smurf for a Friday or Saturday drop off. Alternatively, you can simply make a direct donation to SARA Animal Sanctuary. However you decide to help, please join the facebook event and invite all of your friends. Volunteers from the sanctuary will be present to answer questions, and Counter Culture will feature live music from Ken Atkins and the Honky Tonk Kind to entertain you during their popular weekend brunch. All in all, Lazy Smurf and Counter Culture have put together a pretty neat event for an awesome cause. And just to remind myself that is indeed fall, I plan to contribute something made with delicious pumpkin.
Obviously, I have been in a pumpkin mood tonight, so I took action and made the tempting cake you see pictured at the top of the page. To read about my experience making a vegan version of the pumpkin poke cake from the Something Swanky blog, click through to the next page.
Every once in a while a product comes along that just blows me away. A friend pointed out Chocolate Zico in the grocery store the other day, and compared it to Yoo-hoo. I never liked Yoo-hoo, so I was skeptical at first, but Chocolate Zico proved to be amazing. It’s chocolatey, coconuty, salty, sweet – even my husband who doesn’t eat chocolate went back for extra sips. It’s magic in a bottle!
I’d been hearing about a couple of vegan honey alternatives for a while now, but hadn’t found any in Austin. That was until last week, when I found honey flavored agave from Sohgave at Wheatsville. It seems like this product has been out for a while, but maybe other people have missed its release like I did – or maybe it’s new at Wheatsville. Whatever the case may be, I’m glad I found it, and I’m sure you will be too. It’s perfect for adding to tea, making baklava, or drizzling over anything! Update:Rabbit Food Grocery now carries Bee Free Honee. I went from having no vegan honey, to having two vegan honeys – this must be my week!
Magic melting vegan cheese maker Daiya introduced a new line of cheese wedges at Expo West, including a jack, cheddar and jalepeño garlic havarti style wedge. The line will launch April 1st – but at least one online grocery already has it in stock. I checked with Rabbit Food Grocery, Wheatsville and the downtown Whole Foods to see if they had any early shipments, but none of them currently stock it. Be sure to let me know if you see them around town - I can’t wait to get my hands on these babies and make vegan fried cheese sticks! Update: Wheatsville and the downtown Whole Foods have both started carrying the new Daiya wedges – yay!!
- Spring has sprung! It’s my favorite time of the year to stuff my face with chocolates made into all sorts of adorable (though not particularly vegan) shapes – like eggs and bunnies! I always feel a little guilty when my chocolate bunny no longer has ears, and then even worse when he no longer has a head, but that only lasts so long, as he soon completely disappears into my belly. Vegansaurus has a roundup of some vegan-friendly candy companies to complete your Easter basket (or for whatever secular reason you have for devouring pounds of chocolate).
- Jews are in the house! We blogged about HEB’s local kosher section. Allison’s Gourmet has a great post up about a compassionate passover. Mayim Bialik (better know as the star of the TV show Blossom) launched a new center for Jewish vegans, The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute. The LA Times had an interesting article about how you should honor Queen Esther by going vegan for Purim – I think that sounds like a great idea!
- The most exciting news to come out of Natural Products Expo West – awesome Austin vegan company Food for Lovers launched 3 new products! The new products include a mild version of their already amazing queso (targeted at big wimps like myself), a chipotle mayo, and a country gravy. I’m going to get a head start on my spring cleaning, and make some room in my kitchen cupboards for all these amazing new products!
I often joke that having access to so many vegan dessert options in Austin is the best/worst thing ever. The best part is that I can purchase vegan donuts, soft serve, and cupcakes whenever I want. The worst part is that I can purchase vegan donuts, soft serve, and cupcakes whenever I want.
Lucky for you, today I’m leaning towards best thing ever and therefore I share with you…