Tricks & Treats: My 20 Halloween Lessons!

Happy Halloween Weekend everyone! Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine. Spooky treats, creative costumes, scary movies to snuggle by and ghoulish-fun parties on every corner. And over the years I've made a few observations about Halloween. Some modern. Some silly. Some fun. Check them out! Here are a few of my Halloween Tricks and Treats - my Halloween words of wisdom...

My Halloween Trick and Treat Lessons..

1. Trick: Do not over-do the Halloween Punch. There is nothing sadder (or funnier?) than seeing drunk nuns, fairies, ghosts, vampires, pirates, cartoon or Disney characters at your Halloween party.

2. Treat: Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish are all vegan. Yes!

3. Trick: Remember that those bags and bags of candy is for the Trick-or-Treaters - not you! So, when buying Halloween candy to distribute - it is best to buy brands that you hate. Otherwise you may find yourself nibbling all night. Even safer - try handing out stickers instead of candy! Kids will love this, and so will their parents!

4. Treat: Find a black cat this Halloween. Hug it. Kiss it. Give it a few rubs under the chin. Maybe a little fuzzy ball filled with catnip. Why? Black cats really take a lot of superstition-smack on Halloween.

5. Trick: Bobbing for apples is not a good idea when wearing a wig. Or non-waterproof face-paint. C'mon kids, lets not ruin it for everyone else now.

6. Treat: Dressing up in groups is fun! My fun group idea this year was to dress up as characters from the movie/game Clue. I'd make a great Ms.Scarlett.

7. Trick: Do not go to a Halloween Party if you are not wearing a costume. (and no, those silly "this is my costume" tees do not count. In fact, you should be fined for wearing one on Halloween.

8. Treat: When dressing up as "a couple" always, always let the girl choose the costumes. Always. And boys, really, can't you wear the Jack Dawson or Prince Charming costume for just one night a year??

9. Trick: Single boys: no matter how dumb you feel (that's the trick part) - If you want to get a lot of attention on Halloween night, dress as Edward Cullen. No, seriously. The girls will flock. Team Edward. Rah...

10. Treat: Ladies, you are never, ever too old to dress as a fairy, ballerina, genie, princess or angel. Pink, sparkles, glitter, lipstick and fluff are always gonna be in style on Halloween.

11. Trick: New York restaurant and shop owners: those plastic cockroaches that come with the fake spider webs are never a good idea to display. Throw those suckers out and replace with some big scary (fake-looking) spiders.

12. Treat: Watch a few favorite TV specials and movies. My faves Garfield's Halloween Special. Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Hocus Pocus. The Shining. Poltergeist. Blair Witch Project. Scream. And maybe even a Halloween episode of The Simpsons.

13. Trick:
No matter how much beet juice you pour into your cake batter or frosting - you will not easily achieve a blood-red color. It will be more of a blood pink color.. Maybe save the beet juice cake for Valentine's Day..

14. Trick: Some Halloween-themed party foods are actually too gross to eat. Think, really bloody finger bread sticks, slimy eyeball grapes, bug-covered baked goods. Make your scary treats edible, not nauseating.

Beet-Red "Bloody" Hands are not cute..

15. Treat: Scare-junkies, be sure to check out those massive Haunted Houses that have become so trendy.

16. Trick: Guess what vegetarians, if your candy contains gelatin or the red coloring substance Carmine, it's not veg. Read labels. Non-vegan marshmallow ghosts are out. Sorry Peeps-lovers.

17. Treat: It may seem old-fashioned, but a glowing, candlelit jack-o-lantern is always the coolest decoration on the block. Those "face-painted, uncut pumpkins" just won't cut it.

18. Trick: Kids, do not eat any candy that has been partially opened. Yes, this even applies to the King Size version of your favorite candy you found in your bag. No exceptions - if it's not sealed, trash it.

19. Treat: When choosing a costume, go with something personal and possibly homemade - don't be afraid of the phrase "what are you??" That just means you're doing a good job at being unique. If you are going to go as a cat/devil/witch etc. Add your own little twist to it. Go as a black cat in a purple wig. Go as a witch with Dorothy's ruby red slippers on. Go as a vampire from the 1950's. Have fun. Be you. And enjoy the one night of the year you can dress up and act like a kid again - and go waltzing down the street without a care.

20. Trick: No more tricks here! I hope you have a very very Happy Halloween. Have fun. Stay safe. Take costume pics. Go all out. (you won't regret it.)


Meet the Watermelon Radish! And a recipe..

My first purchase of a Watermelon Radish was really by accident.

Sweet Surprise. I thought I was purchasing a sort of turnip. Something I'd have to cook. But I sliced it open and was stunned by the bright fluorescent pink color and fragrant, sweet radish scent. I nibbled it a bit. hmm, yummy.

I then googled: "Are Watermelon Radishes safe to eat raw?"

Yes, I probably should've googled before biting. But lucky me, raw is perfectly safe - and scrumptious! This radish was perfect for slicing and munching raw! I was in veggie heaven. I gobbled my entire little radish in one sitting. "More, more, more!" tummy cried.

More. Yes. I needed another. I wanted to make a radish salad to post and share with all of you! But I knew there was only one place I could secure some fall Watermelon Radishes - the Union Square Greenmarket. The Windfall Farms booth. Since it was late in the week, this would mean only one thing: I'd have to go to the Market on sunny, beautiful Saturday afternoon. *shrieks of horror* Will I ever get out alive?! Find out..

My salad recipe: The sweet orange juice and tart cider vinegar soaks into the onions and radishes. When left overnight in the fridge, they become slightly pickled. Sweet and sassy with a tangy bite - these radishes are delicious eaten alone or layered on top of a green spinach or mache salad. Zingy-licious.

This salad was totally addicting, I must say.

My husband kept asking for more radishes! We were both convinced that nibbling them was an uber-zen, happy-tummy, palate-cleansing experience.

But before I could make the salad... I had to secure the radishes! Not as easy as it sounds since these radishes are actually quite rare to find in mainstream stores. I didn't even see any in Whole Foods. I hope you can find some in a store near you - or at your local Greenmarket...

I was so in love with my radishes, I completely forgot to take a few photos before I sliced them! This was the closest I got..

The watermelon colors of green 'rind' pink flesh are clear!..

Mission: Watermelon Radish.
location: Union Square NYC. date: (a Saturday)

Greenmarket Saturdays. I love the Union Square Greenmarket. But to be frank, I despise going to it on a Saturday afternoon. Let me explain..

During the week, I'll sneak away to the Greenmarket around say 11am on a Monday or Wednesday. My weekly treat to myself. The walkway will be clear. The air crisp. I'm free to roam and ponder and browse each of the yummy farmstand goodies all around me. Friendly calm workers smile and chat and look you in the eye. A peaceful place to load up on healthy foods. Come Saturday afternoon, Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr.Hyde...

But thanks to my ravenous craving for a Watermelon Radish, I marched straight into the eye of the storm.

Bags bumping, sun glaring, tourists snapping photos of the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes - blocking the slim walkway without a care. Chattering shoppers, cash flashing, kale bursting out of canvas bags, pumpkins popping up on every table. It wasn't a madhouse - but a madmarket.

Seeking: Watermelon Radishes! I found myself knee-deep in the Saturday afternoon Greenmarket abyss. All for those darn cravable radishes.

I spotted the booth and two huge bins filled with radishes. I bought three. One was huge! I then made my way back through the slow-as-molasses crawl of the crowd and headed home to get started on my salad.

Watermelon Radish Facts 101:
"A ball-shaped spring radish, 3-4 inches in diameter, with crisp, bright red flesh and a mild-sweet peppery taste. The center of the radish is sweeter, and the outer flesh is hotter. The outer skin is white with green shoulders and a pink base. The watermelon radish is related to turnips and horseradish. Unlike many other radishes, the intensity of the watermelon radish decreases as it matures."

So yea, these radishes are pretty darn special.

Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad
vegan, makes 4 cups

1 large watermelon radish, sliced into thin rounds
1 small white onion, sliced into thin rounds
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper (fresh ground)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
splash of rice wine vinegar (optional - adds an extra layer of tart-sweetness)


1. Slice your onion and radish. Place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl - toss well.

3. Place in fridge to chill overnight.

4. Serve!


Vegan Halloween Round-Up!

Spooky, scary, creepy, crawly fun is all around us because it's (VEGAN) Halloween Week!

So gather up your closest ghouls, goblins, ghosts, zombies, skeletons, witches, black cats, pirates and vampires and get prepared for a Halloween Weekend of fun frights and fantastic vegan treats!

Here is my Vegan Halloween Round-up of some fun vegan recipes, vegan treats (from gourmet goodies like the Cocoa V chocolates shown above to Drug Store stand-by's like Swedish Fish!) and resources to make your Halloween vegan-tastic..

Treats! You can't have a happy (vegan) Halloween without a few vegan treats. And that includes both treats to hand out at your door, and treats for an at-home Halloween party as well.

Vegan Blog Halloween Treats Bonanza..
Here are a few Halloween Treats cooking up on the vegan blogs..

Devils Food Cake Halloween Cupcakes by MeetTheShannons

Homemade Candy Corn lemon-flavored by VegSpinz

Festive Halloween Maple-Glazed Doughnuts by VeganGoodThings

Asparagus Skeletons in Puff Pastry
by VegSpinz

Halloween Gingerbread Cookies in black cat shapes by The Mommy Bowl

Fried Wonton Ghost by VegSpinz

Pumpkin S'mores Cupcake (with ghost face) by NewVeganing

Ghoulish Green Cupcakes with Purple Frosting (no artificial food dyes!) by BittersweetBlog

Instant Vegan Candy chocolate-coated by BittersweetBlog

Ghastly Tortilla Chips and Ghoul-ca-mole by ManifestVegan

Jack-o-Lantern Halloween Biscuits by WeeklyVeganMenu

JUST ADDED (10/27)

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cookies in festive jack-o-lantern and fall leaf shapes by G0lubka

Halloween Black Coffin Cake by WingItVegan

Chocolate Spider Cupcakes from GoVeganMeow

Vegan PB Cups ( recipe) made by VeganAwakening

Witch Fingers with Witches Brew (Cheezy Broccoli Soup) by WeeklyVeganMenu

Bat Pancakes by WingItVegan

Mashed Potato Ghosts by WingItVegan

A few festive fall bevies..

Almond Chai Latte by MeetTheShannons

Scary Cherry Fizz Punch by (moi) Lunchboxbunch

Fall Mocha with Whip! by Lunchboxbunch

..All the above finds were founds on #Halloween - (Finding Vegan is my new site that launched a few months back)

Trick-or-Treating Candy

Check out VegNews Guide to Halloween Candy to discover which mainstream brands are indeed vegan. That includes sweets like Pez, Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids - all vegan. Yes!

VegNews also has a nifty Halloween Craft Guide up this year.

PetaKids Guide to Candy
is also a great resource - it contains both vegan candy and vegan snack ideas (who knew Nabisco Gingersnaps, Nutter Butter Bites and Triscuits were vegan?) - this page also lists a few helpful ingredient definitions.

Ecorazzi also has a Top Ten vegan Halloween Candy List (with commentary).

And a SheKnows list of fave vegan Halloween candy. Twizzlers stuck out to me on this one!

Ready to Start Shopping for some vegan Candy??

Check out the Natural Candy Store's supply of yummy, cute, spooky Halloween candy. Those ghost and bat lollipops are adorable. And the vegan peanut butter cups - yum!

Another vegan peanut butter cup I love: Gone Pie Bakery in NYC. (mail-order available!)

Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe with a Halloween Candy 'store' has a few fab treats like marshmallow ghosts!

Also check out Vegan Essentials Vegan Candy for sale online.

GoMaxFoods Vegan Candy Bars are pretty darn awesome. I love the Mahalo Choco-Coconut flavor.

Craving a few Gourmet Treats?

Check out Blossom Restaurant's vegan chocolate-themed cafe/bar: Cocoa V for seasonal Halloween treats and festive goodies like ghost lollipops, orange-frosted cupcakes and more. In NYC.

The Cocoa V truffles and chocolates are fantastic. Some of the treats I picked up last time I was there...

Cocoa V PB Chocolate:

Cocoa V Caramel Chocolate:

Cocoa V Halloween Cupcakes:

Check out OneLuckyDuck's Halloween Macaroons! Orange and black colored. Raw. Vegan.

Vegan Bakery in both LA and NYC also has a wide range of festive vegan treats.

Or try a vegan cinnamon roll with Pumpkin Spice frosting from Cinnaholic. In Berkeley, CA.

Not into edible treats?..
Try Stickers! This article has a great idea to hand out stickers instead of candy. Because really, what kid doesn't love stickers??

Peta has some cute vegan stickers if you want to spread a message.

Or you can find a huge variety of stickers (Halloween Themed!) at Oriental Trading or Zazzle. Here's my Ghosty Tomato Trick-or-Treat Sticker.

More Vegan Halloween Fun from the Web:

These spooky skeleton hand Vegan Halloween Cupcakes are amazing! Made by MegaTom via Etsy.

has a fabulous Vegan Halloween Guide with a recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter Cups!

Cute and Delicious's vegan Ghost Cookies are just that: cute and delicious-looking!

A Vegan Halloween Party Menu from VegParadise

SpookyVegan's blog is a great site to find Vegan Halloween Sugar Cookies decorated as tombstones, scary pumpkins and more. Lots of spooky fun on her site.

And the NoTrickTreats website is genius! Find homes in your neighborhood that are giving out candy that fits your child's needs! Vegan, organic, kosher, raw and more! You can even add your home's goodies to the growing database.

Epicurvegan has a great list of Vegan Halloween Recipes!

Lots of creepy, gross, spooky Vegan Halloween Party Food ideas at Very Vegan Holiday's blog.

Here are a few vegan Halloween EVENTS!

NYC - 10/29 If you are craving a vegan Halloween Party and live in/near NYC I'd check out Veggie Conquest's Halloween Bash! Tickets on sale now. Candy-making contest, vegan goodies, music, fun and party emcee Michael Parrish Dudell (of, and Live a Dam). The VC folks throw great events!

Berkley, CA - 10/30 Go Vegan Week's Costume Party.

Need a Trick-or-Treat Bag? Try these designed by me:

"Trick or (VEGAN) Treat" Halloween Bag

Halloween Lunchbox Bunch Bags

And lastly costumes! For veg*n's who like to dress-up like their food...

Have a safe and Happy Vegan Halloween!!

*if you want your link featured on this page - all you have to do is email me! Or post link in the comments section.

Cocoa V Ghost Pop:


Farm Sanctuary's NYC Walk for the Farm Animals! 2010

Yesterday I attended my first ever Farm Sanctuary Walk for the Farm Animals. Check out my photos and impressions from the day!..

The Scene: (waiting to walk.)

Boy: Wait, is this a protest?
Girl: No. It's a Walk.
Boy: What's a Walk?
Girl: People gathering. To walk.
Boy: What kind of Walk?
Girl: A peaceful Walk.
Boy: What are we walking for?
Girl: Farm animals.
Boy: Why don't we just stand?
Girl: Walking is empowering and we will reach more people with our message.
Boy: What's the message?
(long pause)
Girl: (deep breath) We are walking for animals everywhere - especially those in horrific factory farms doomed to die a horrible death after a life left forgotten about. We are walking to voice our cause to the world and show our passion, strength and commitment towards change. We are walking to promote compassion. We are walking to remind people that the factory farming industry should not be ignored - it should be exposed. We are walking with pride in being vegan. We are walking for the animals - we are giving them a voice. We are walking because as humans we say we love animals - but really, we need to live our lives in a way that shows it."
Boy: Ahh. I see. Yay animals.
Girl: Exactly. replay of an exaggerated conversation - my response to "Why we Walk"...

Veggie Gathering.
My favorite type of gathering is the type where lots of people show up with a common passion spread a positive message of change to the world. The Walk for Farm Animals NYC 2010 was just that!

I arrived with my walk entourage - (hubby and friend). I was so glad that they decided to come along with me. Honestly, none of us knew what to expect since this was our first year attending. Would the Walk be loud? Would the public around us start booing at us? Cheering? Would we have fun? Would we be bored?

Well all those silly questions were answered when the day turned out to be inspiring, energizing and full of fun.

We gathered at Merchants Gate Central Park where a large crowd of folks was already hanging out in the crisp autumn air and basking in the warm glow of this sunny day. It felt awesome to be surrounded by so many people who share my intense love of animals and desire for change in the world.

We grabbed our T-shirts (so cute!) and prepped to walk.

NBA star (and former Celebrity Apprentice contestant) John Salley was the "leader" of the Walk. He sure was tall enough to spot!

John Salley:

John Salley & Gene Baur:

Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, was also there and swamped by friendly walkers wanting to say hi, say thank You and grab a photo with him. From me: Thank you Gene Baur for all you do.

Then the walk began. We started at west 59th street, walked along Central Park up to about 81st street, then walked back through the park to our starting location.

The fall leaves were beautiful and it was a truly enjoyable journey...

I was thrilled to see many random onlookers asking about our cause and asking for brochures from the friendly Farm Sanctuary volunteers.

There was a wide variety of walkers. Including groups of adults, young kids with their families, teens, college students, puppies and even a few seniors - loved that!

The birds were happy to see us..

So overall I had fun and really enjoyed the event. Congrats to Farm Sanctuary for pulling off such a seamless, classy, feel-good show for all the walkers and the public on-lookers who hopefully heard our message of compassion...

"A compassionate World begins with YOU."

Gene Baur's website
John Salley's website
Farm Sanctuary's website
Walk for Farm Animals website

A few more pics below..

Merchant's Gate Central Park Statue:

happy vegans:

Park trees:

..rounding Central Park, waving 'hi' to Donald Trump (or his hotel really):

the chicken shot..


Blossom Du Jour Opens in NYC! Vegan Fast Food. Pics!

Buzz Alert! The hottest new vegan spot in NYC right now: Blossom Du Jour.

Blossom Du Jour (tagline: Shrewd FastFood) is the casual dining spin-off of the highly acclaimed, ultra-yummy, vegan NYC restaurant: Blossom.

If you have ever been to the original Blossom Restaurant, you know how ah-mazing the food quality, taste and restaurant atmosphere is. Yes, I have spent many evenings dining and swooning at Blossom.

-> But how will Blossom (vegan foodie mecca) do fast food??

My Blossom Du Jour taste test ahead..

Tastings UPDATE (11/11): I am determined to try everything on the menu. ha! More taste tests:
Chocolate Coconut Pie: amazing! rich chocolate flavor. melts in your mouth.
Vegan Stuffing: like homemade. cozy.
Onion Rings: kinda small but the intense crisp-savory flavor makes up for it!
Mac/Cheese: yummy smoky 'facon' flavor. It's rich and decadent. Super moist.
Skyscraper: MrHHL loved this big veg burger.
Midtown Melt: seitan wasn't as crispy as I'd hoped, but still really delicious flavors.
Corn Edamame Salad: love the dressing! refreshing.
Little Caesar Saldd: MrHHL loved this as well, creamy dressing, capers, perfect size for a small salad.

...see why everyone's buzzing?!.. VegNews, Ecorazzi, Village Voice and even NY Mag's GrubStreet has been chattering about fast food, gone vegan. Or as Blossom Du Jour calls it: "Shrewd FastFood".

So instead of read about it, I decided to get up early this Saturday morning and rush over to taste what all the fuss is about!..

A lovely fall day in the city!

A perfect stroll to venture to Blossom Du Jour..

My Trip to Blossom Du Jour. Let's go..
Around noon, my husband and I stumbled into Blossom Du Jour, which is located in Chelsea around 9th Avenue and 20th street. We were told we were the first customers of the day, which made me feel quite special since I love being the early bird.

Interior: sleek polished white counters and slate gray accents. White and gray walls. Gray stone floor. A colorful, modern pastel clock graced the minimalist sidewall. It was casual-modern-chic. I felt like there might be a white spaceship out back. But in a good way. Kinda like The Jetsons.

The cool green plants lining the bar were a refreshing outside-meets-inside touch.

The restaurant is small, but has two long bar areas and probably seats around 10-12 people. But really, this place is take-out friendly with it's wall of grab-n-go refrigerators featuring fresh, raw-friendly salads, juices and more.

I loved the bright HD TV screen atop the ordering counter that flashed photos of Farm Sanctuary animals. Sweet pigs, fluffy ducks, happy cows, cheerful chickens. I definitely got a few warm fuzzies inside - that's never happened to me at a fast food joint before.

I loved being reminded about all the animals I was saving by living/eating vegan. I hope veg-curious folks will have the same feeling.

Customer service: five stars. Friendly and welcoming. We were even given 10% off since we were the first customers and might have to wait a tad longer than normal for our food. Nice. But really, the wait wasn't even bad at all.

I didn't mind waiting for my food at all because I was not in a hurry to leave. BDJ is a friendly spot - I was impressed, to say the least.

There was a very steady flow of curious people walking by BDJ who popped their heads inside to check it out. New Yorkers are such a curious bunch. Folks would step inside, do a 360 spin to check out the interior, grab a menu and leave.

I'm guessing they will be back after reading the menu...

So enough about my delicious day - lets get to the food! And my taste test review.

The Blossom Du Jour Menu.

The menu sections: sandwiches, wraps, comforts, raw, salads, taco Tuesdays, soup du jour, sides, sweets and TRu Life Juices.

Taste Test. We ordered:
- Smoky Avocado Wrap
- BLT Caesar Sandwich
- Buffalo Bites (comes with sauce)
- Hell's Kitchen Jalapeno Corn muffin
- Sweet & Breezy Juice

Smoky Avocado Wrap: A soft fresh green tortilla wrap surrounded fresh crunchy lettuce, juicy tomato, avocado, tender bits of smoked tempeh and a bold chipotle aioli sauce. I loved it! Moist, flavorful and fresh. I wish there had been a tad more tempeh, but overall it was awesome.

Now, That's a Wrap!...

BLT Caesar Sandwich: A soft, fresh ciabata-style bun hugged creamy caesar-dressed layers of crispy un-chicken, soy bacon, lettuce and tomato. Moist, fresh and a zesty.

..side note:
they really shouldn't call this fast food - because it is soooo much better than fast food.

Buffalo Bites: Loved these! These were probably the most flavorful spicy vegan "un-chicken" tenders I have ever tasted. Moist to bite and spicy to perfection. The side dipping sauce was out of this world.

..Bring a plate of these to your fave mainstream bar or weekend sports/beer-fest and I promise you the non-vegans will be clamoring for these babies. Hmm, maybe Blossom's next venture should be a sports bar featuring these buffalo bites.

Jalapeno Corn Muffin: Simple, clean, tasty. I was expecting a bit more heat from this muffin, but it was a sweet little nubbin of yumminess anyways. This muffin would go great with a bowl of hot Soup Du Jour.

Corn Muffins..

TRu Life Juice: Delicious juice. Clean, light, fresh. I chugged my green juice as we awaited out order..

I chugged my green juice...

Now let's check in with what nelly thinks..

Conclusion: So excited about this new spot! Both my husband and I loved our food. We chatted about how we are hoping we are within delivery range! I could eat Blossom Du Jour's food for lunch or dinner. And compared to other vegan casual style restaurants in NYC - Blossom Du Jour's prices are pretty spot on. $7.50 for a giant delicious vegan wrap, made with love, is a deal I will be snagging.

shrewd (shrood) adj. shrewd·er, shrewd·est - 1. Characterized by keen awareness, sharp intelligence, and often a sense of the practical. 2. Disposed to artful and cunning practices.

The Big Question: Does Blossom Du Jour live up to it's tagline?.. "Shrewd Fast Food"

My answer: no.
It doesn't merely live up to it. It exceeds it.

Blossom Du Jour
Facebook Page
174 Ninth Avenue NYC

And just next door to BDJ is Cocoa-V for your sweet tooth..

Craving more NYC vegan dining ideas: NYC vegan dining spots - Top 20, ranked by me.

MORE Blossom Du Jour photos below...