Ahhh, traditions. What kind of civilization would we be if we didn't maintain the traditions that define who we are, how we celebrate, and what we cherish?
For the past few years, our Halloween tradition has been Sushi & Saw Night.
What better way to celebrate the eve of All Saints Day than watching people get brutally, graphically massacred in imaginative ways with a delightful ironic twist to keep things interesting, while at the same time gorging ourselves on sushi and Halloween goodies? I am having flashbacks of packages of individually wrapped mini chocolates and gummies that I would buy to hand out to kiddies even though I'd only ever get like 8 trick-or-treaters in my area every year, leaving all that leftover titty-milk and gelatin infused candy for me to consume. Which I would do gladly :)
This year things were a bit different, as over the past few months everyone in my Sushi & Saw Circle has gone through a lifestyle evolution of their own (an evolution that has involved moving away from fueling their bodies with animal products), and it was clear that the Halloween-y snacks that play such an integral part in our Sushi & Saw Celebration would have to evolve as well.
As my friend J so eloquently put it,
Vegan Saw night. Not eating cut up flesh while watching flesh get cut up...
This year's gathering was hosted by the ridiculously good looking Aquafolk.
Because our group consisted of both vegans and pescetarians, there were a couple of seafood sushi options (I think I accidentally consumed a scallop roll...oops), but everything else was vegan.
Replacing the individually wrapped mini titty milk chocolates and animal bone gummies might be a dilemma for the mere mortal, but for someone with an arsenal of kickass vegan recipes at her disposal (and a couple of donut pans), the solution was simple.
More specifically, Babycakes Vegan, Gluten-Free Plain Cake Donuts from Babycakes Covers the Classics.
I LOVE, nay, ADORE, nay, WORSHIP....nay, let's scale it back to ADORE these donuts. So does everyone else who's ever tried them. They are super moist, incredibly tasty, and crazy versatile. They are especially perfect for the lover of all things vanilla, because a recipe for a dozen calls for 1/4 cup vanilla. Ohhh yeah, that's a lot of vanilla.
These are also stupid easy to make and bake up beautifully. The Babycakes cookbook provides you with recipe suggestions for toppings, and I made two different ones...cinnamon sugar and sugar sweetened chocolate dipping sauce.
Yes indeed, these went over brilliantly.
Babycakes Plain Cake Donuts - 4.5 Happy Tongues
And no movie night would be complete without popcorn, so my very vegan buddy Mags busted out the kernels, which we found pretty fascinating for whatever reason.
Back in the days before I was tampering with impressionable minds in my classroom, I worked at a movie theatre (yeahhhhhh Colossus Langley), and in addition to seeing a crapload of free movies, I was able to enjoy (on my breaks only, of course) craploads of free popcorn (one refillable mini bag at a time...the theatre management powers-that-be didn't want us taking advantage of their generosity with the popcorn...garbage bags of which would be thrown away every night...just sayin'). I had always enjoyed popcorn, but it was during my employment at the theatre that I was introduced to popcorn seasoning. Just thinking about those little containers of powdery flavours makes me feel all fuzzy and smiley...ketchup, dill pickle, all dressed, sour cream & onion, salt & vinegar, and my personal favourite, white cheddar.
When these little containers of powdery popcorn seasoning sent from the gods became available for retail purchase, I was in heaven, and always made sure I had a healthy stock of white cheddar powder around for my home popcorn binges. When they stopped providing the seasoning at the theatres (cheap bastards), I would bring my own seasoning from home, just so I wouldn't have to endure popcorn without it.
I knew it wasn't the best stuff for me. I mean, it was pretty much artificial crap, but for years and years I didn't really care....until I went vegan and saw the milk ingredients on the package.
Not gonna lie...the white cheddar popcorn seasoning was something that I actually considered not giving up...I toyed with the idea of keeping it around as an exception to my vegan life. I thought the two could coexist together...the white cheddar would just be the mistress that I'd have to hide from my vegan lifestyle. But then I remembered that I'm not a cheating douchebag, and there was no room in my pantry of wholesome Plant-Strong awesomeness for white cheddar seasoning. As appealing as I thought she was at the time, I quickly realized that she's just an artificial, shallow, classless tramp. I mean, you'd have to be a pretty selfish, desperate, pathetic food item to willingly compromise a person's relationship with their Plant-Strong lifestyle. No...I respected this vegan commitment and realized I had to purge the white cheddar seasoning. I didn't even keep her as a facebook friend, because honestly, what person with a shred of decency would?
Yahhh...that falls into the category of "Things Classy People Don't Do."
Which brings me to my current relationship with popcorn. After purging the white cheddar seasoning out of my life, I discovered nutritional yeast. This stuff is AMAYYYYZING. It has a cheesy, nutty flavour and is absolute perfection sprinkled on popcorn with some Earth Balance butter and sea salt. Normally, I wouldn't expect any of my friends to have this stuff in their pantry, but because Mags of The Aquafolk is vegan and awesome, we were all able to indulge in what is probably my absolute favourite snack ever.
Popcorn with Earth Balance Butter, nutritional yeast and sea salt: 5 Happy Tongues, easy
So full of sushi and well armed with donuts and popcorn, we proceeded to watch Saw 7...at least, some of us did. Some of us stayed safe behind the pillows.
Indeed, it was a swell night of good eatin', great company, and decent entertainment. And no animals were harmed in the making of this lovely All Hallows Eve celebration (with the exception of a few scallops).
It was sad to see our Sushi & Saw tradition come to an end with the final Saw movie, but that just means that we have to start a new tradition next year with a new series of creepy movies...but nothing involving possession or choppy walking ghosts. Hell no.
Perhaps Hannibal & Hummus?
For those of you who aren't down with baking stuff up for a Halloween party and would rather go the pre-packaged candy route, there is some pretty awesome dairy-free chocolate and gelatin-free candy out there. It's definitely more pricey than your traditional Mars bar, but the more people buy and the more popular it becomes, the more they will produce and the cheaper it will be as it moves away from the status of "specialty item."
I found these chocolate bars at Nice Shoes in Vancouver:
Those would be the vegan equivalents of Mars, Reese, Snickers, and Three Muskateers. They are made with rice milk chocolate and are DELICIOUS! The Cleos peanut butter cups are especially divine. The peanut butter is so much creamier than Reese, and when I don't have time to bust out Alicia's pb cup recipe, this is a very worthy pre-packaged alternative.
And at almost $4 per bar you're much more careful with your calorie consumption :)
But at the end of the day, I'd rather consume a $4 rice-milk chocolate bar than a $1 cow-titty milk chocolate bar. And I'm sure the cows would rather you did too :)