NYC Birthday Weekend Vegan Eats and Being a Hot Mess

NYC Birthday Weekend Vegan Eats and Being a Hot Mess

Hello everyone! I haven’t shared a “what I’ve been eating lately” -type post in a while. I didn’t blog a ton over break because I was in serious need of some down time, and had a bunch of technical issues with getting my computer fixed. Anyways, I had a great break and an awesome final weekend to top it off. My sister and her husband flew out to celebrate my bday/just hangout (okay, they came to eat), so I thought I’d share some highlights.

This is definitely not reflective of my normal eating pattern (I rarely eat out, especially when I’m at school), but since this was a fun weekend, I thought some things were worth sharing. Enjoy!

(Pst, if you’re looking for more NYC recs, here’s my Guide to Vegan Eating in NYC. It could use an update since last January, but it’s still a solid list!)


Early Friday morning I flew into LaGuardia from Milwaukee. About 15 minutes into our uber ride home, southwest called me to tell me I left a bag there. I had a mini lack-of-sleep-induced panic, but my uber driver was super understanding and took me back to get the right bag. Not sure if it was the lack of sleep and coffee, lingering sickness, or the fact that I was traveling with my dog and disabled mom, but I was so out of it this day! Mood:

Thankfully there was no harm done, and the correct bag made its way back to me, and after that, I headed home to my apartment in jersey where I dropped off my luggage and doggo and quickly freshened up before heading to a meeting on campus.

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Vegan Tomato Pie

Vegan Tomato Pie

In case you didn’t know, I moved to Jersey City, New Jersey last October and have really enjoyed it thus far.

Vegan Tomato Pie

After so many years in Manhattan, Jersey City has been a welcomed change of pace, and a couple weeks ago, in light of #InternationalNewJerseyDay, I did some googling to learn more about Jersey’s historical background and food scene.

delicious easy vegan tomato pie

While Wikipedia-ing and googling away, I discovered that addition to diner food and blueberries and bagels, New Jersey tomato pie is a thing.

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Weekly Vegan Eats

Weekly Vegan Eats

Another week to roundup some of the nommie things I ate. I had kind of a rough week between a couple bad allergic reactions causing skin rash outbreaks and eye swelling (cute, I know), and Millie getting super sick, but regardless, here are some scrumptious vegan food highlights to help inspire your eats if you’re in a rut!

(PS: Millie is doing much better now thanks to our wonderful vet in Hoboken and a couple rounds of antibiotics!)

Pistachio Butter

Easy Homemade Pistachio Butter

Holy cow! This stuff is incredible. I have been fluctuating between inhaling and trying to slowly savor this stuff since I made it last week. You can get the recipe here. It’s lovely on bread and toast and on bread with jelly and with chocolate. Can’t get enough!

Cherries cherries cherries

Holy cow ShopRite came through with the cherry sale this week. This was a particularly juicy, plump, and flavorful batch. I mowed through a huge bag in under 36 hours. Could have done it faster, but wanted to spread the wealth over more than one day. YUM. I actually went back on Thursday for another bag, which I ate in its entirety that day.

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Candy Corn Cookie Cake [Pumpkin + Banana Chocolate Chip]

Apparently I’m really into making things that look like candy corn. First I made this roasted veggie corn pizza thing, and then on Sunday I made this giant cookie cake for a post for Spoon and frosted it so when you cut it, it looks like a piece of candy corn. When I get into something, I go all out. Hence why I posted like 5 pumpkin recipes in a row.

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Speaking of pumpkin, I went to Trader Joe’s this Saturday and got so excited and overwhelmed by all the new pumpkin products that I actually had to leave quickly without letting myself buy any otherwise I would have easily spent $50. I decided I had to go home and think about which to buy first so I don’t end up with nothing but pumpkin spice sugary things in my pantry. This recipe also has pumpkin. #cantgetenough The middle layer of the cookie is pumpkin. And the outside layer is banana. Get it? Orange/yellow. Just like a piece of candy corn.


Using pumpkin and banana also makes this cake a dairy free/vegan option as it replaces using butter + eggs that a cookie mix calls for. Yes I used another mix. When I write for Spoon my goal is to be appealing and realistic to a college student. And when I was in college (omg I feel old saying that), I rarely had a fully stocked pantry or the desire to buy many things at once, so using a mix would have appealed to me, even though I still prefer every-last-detail-from scratch. But this makes it fast, easy, and less to purchase/clean up. Go with it. You can also make this recipe by assembling and whisking all the dry ingredients of regular cookie dough. But a mix will work just fine.  A lot of cookie and cake mixes are actually dairy free if you look at them. Just check the back of the package! Or use a fancy specific dairy free one like this.

So here is a recipe for cookie cake. It would be a hit for a Halloween party. Or, if you live alone and mostly hang out with your dogs cause all your friends are far away, you can be like me and have it all to yourself. I currently have about 80% left of it in my fridge from baking it earlier today. And a giant batch of chocolate bark for an upcoming post. #foodbloggerproblems. I’m okay with these problems, btw.

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You can view the Spoon version right here, or you can simply look at the recipe below. Happy eating!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Total Time: 30-35 minutes

Level: easy 


1 bag chocolate chip cookie mix

½ cup canned pumpkin

1 large overripe banana

½ cup white chocolate chips, divided

1 ½ cup white frosting of your choice (vanilla, cream cheese, etc) —> I recommend making buttercream with 1 1/2 sticks butter or Earth balance non-dairy butter substitute + 4 cups powdered sugar + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Divide cookie mix in half in two separate bowls.

3. Peel and mash banana. In one bowl, add mashed banana. In another bowl, add canned pumpkin. If desired, add yellow food coloring to banana portion, and orange to canned pumpkin portion.

4. Mix each bowl of cookie mix and pumpkin or banana until a dough forms.

5. Grease a pizza pan or 9 inch cake pan. First, make an outer ring with the banana cookie dough mix. Fill the center with the pumpkin cookie dough mix. Add half white chocolate chips to center to form a small circle.

6. Place in the oven and bake until the cookie is browned and fragrant and a toothpick releases upon insertion in the center, 15-25 minutes.

7. Allow to cool. Add remaining half white chocolate chips to center on top of the melted/baked white chocolate chips.

8. If frosting, dye half frosting yellow and half frosting orange by mixing food coloring or food dye into frosting. Frost with yellow frosting around the outer banana ring and orange frosting around the middle pumpkin ring.

9.Slice into triangles originating from the center and serve.

Candy Corn Inspired Veggie Tart: Corn Crust, Roasted Pepper Sauce, with Roasted Onions, Sweet Potatoes & Peppers

When I browsing the most important part of the Sunday paper [read: I dug through the paper for the Target weekly] I saw an ad about candy corn. Candy corn! I guess it is nearly mid-October, after all, so although I’m not that into candy corn, I am into being festive for holidays. Halloween is fast approaching, and so why not plan a fun dish to serve at my imaginary Halloween party with my dogs and all my imaginary friends.

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I thought that candy corn kind of looked like an awkward piece of pizza. And then I decided that I should make a candy-corn inspired pizza! And then I was like OMG BEST IDEA EVER! And declared myself a genius before I spent roughly 40 seconds trying to use a spoon to cut my veggie burger.

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I next spent an entire hour long walk with Millie dreaming up all the different ways I could make this candy corn themed pizza. My imagination was literally running wild. Sure, I could do something boring like use different artificially colored yellow and orange and white cheeses, but that just isn’t my style now is it? I wanted to make something new, different, and delicious. So that’s just what I did.

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Then I went to make the pizza and realized we have no pizza pan in this house. That’s awkward. I guess it got lost or thrown out when my mom moved. I got a lil sad and then decided that life would move on, and I made it a tart instead. Next time, pizza.

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The sauce is sweet-spicy and definitely different from your classic red [in a good way].  The roasted onions take on that sweet roasted oniony flavor which tempers the spicy pepper nicely. Potatoes on pizza are ALWAYS a life choice, and as sweet potatoes are my favorite kind of potatoes and also happen to be orange, they made their way on the pizza. The white tip is roasted onions. If I had cauliflower on hand, it would have gone on too. Yums.

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If you want to add cheese, add it under the toppings. This is totally allowed and actually makes for a more interesting taste/flavor combo. In fact, I believe once you start baking your cheese under your toppings on pizza you will never look back. Bless u.

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The key to this pizza is a little forethought: just throw all the stuff in the oven and let it roast. Meanwhile make the polenta crust, assemble it all together, and slice so it has yellow-orange-white from crust-to-tip so each slice sort of resembles a piece of candy corn. Right? Right. Cheers to festive food that isn’t full of crap! Because enough candy will come on Halloween :-).

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Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 90 minutes total

Level: Easy

Ingredients – Pizza Crust:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flaxseed, or an egg

Ingredients – Sauce:

  • 1 cup red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 cup orange or yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder or cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients – Toppings:

  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 large sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 validena onions
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • feta crumbles or nutritional yeast for sprinkling (optional)
  • balsamic glaze (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farhenheit. Chop red bell peppers, onions, orange bell peppers, and validena onions. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and place in the oven until vegetables are roasted and slightly browned, 20-30 minutes.

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2. Meanwhile, make crust by combing water, cornmeal, and salt in a medium saucepan on the stove at medium heat. Whisk constantly until thickens, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 4-8 minutes until thick and dough-like.

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3. Remove vegetables from oven. Place orange bell pepper, onions (reserve several validena onions for garnish), red bell pepper, tomato, garlic clove, olive oil, curry powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until a sauce is formed.

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4. Peel sweet potato and slice into thin coins, or slice on a madeline.  Dice yellow bell pepper.

5. Grease a pizza dish or pie dish and thinly and evenly spread a thin layer of cornmeal crust.

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6. Top crust with a layer of sauce.

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7. Garnish with a layer of sweet potatoes.

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8. Top with more sweet potatoes in the center layer, yellow bell peppers on the outside, and onions or cauliflower in the middle.

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9. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt.

10. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crust is crispy and vegetables are roasted, 25-30 minutes.

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11. Remove from oven and sprinkle with goat cheese, feta cheese, or nutritional yeas, and/or balsamic glaze (to make balsamic glaze, simply slowly cook balsamic on the stovetop until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup, while stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. it creates a delightful, sweet, sticky version of balsamic vinegar!)

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