Such a fun weekend filled with great food and great friends! On Saturday, Cori and I went to the 2nd annual Vegetarian Food Festival, which takes place in Manhattan. The New York Vegetarian Food Festival is a celebration of healthy and 100% cruelty-free foods and living. The festival was packed with free samples, giveaways, speakers, entertainment, and did we mention free samples?
Tumeric Alive: An organic drink with a blend of nine natural ingredients, which utilizes the turmeric root. Stephy became quite obsessed with this beverage.
Bagel Spice: A blend of premium spices inspired by the Everything Bagel. Sprinkle a little bit on some hummus and you’ve got a party in your mouth!
|Just like an Everything Bagel|
V Spot: Delicious Latin, vegan cuisine, located in Park Slope (Brooklyn, NY).
|The V Spot's Empanadas|
Sweet & Sara: Gelatin-free marshmallows… need we say more?
The Regal Vegan: Delicious vegan spreads! We fell in love with their newest item, Basilicaux.
|Yummy Basil, Cashew, and Vegan Cheese Spread|
Kathie's Kitchen SuperSeedz: Pumpkin seeds coated with goodness, creating “junk food” that are healthy. Our favorite was the chocolate-covered pumpkin seeds!
|Animal-Friendly Junk Food|
Vegucated: A documentary featuring three meat and cheese loving individuals who agree to adopt on a vegan diet for six weeks.
Juno Rescued Beagle: Juno is a beagle who was rescued from a laboratory where she was being used as a testing subject for cosmetics and household items, along with 119 other beagles. The mission of Juno’s cause is to educate others about animal testing, as well as alternatives to animal testing, and to advocate for those animals who cannot speak for themselves.
Vaute Couture: High fashion created by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart. This company developed the first and only winter coat, which is warm enough for a frigid winter and made with zero animal ingredient, as well as recycled materials.
|Stephy's new coat from Vaute|
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: Their mission is to defend, conserve, and protect the oceans and its species. Ever seen Whale Wars on Animal Planet?
|Sea Shepherd Conservation Society|
Rescue Chocolate: Vegan chocolate, in which all net proceeds are given to animal shelters and rescue organizations around the country.
|Eat Chocolate and Help Animals|
Compassion Over Killing: A great organization, which aims to bring positive changes for animals. One of their campaigns is to end Dunkin’Cruelty by asking Dunkin’ Donuts to cease the use of egg and dairy products from animals forced to endure miserable conditions on factory farms. Some of the organization's successes include working with Morningstar Farms, BOCA, and Quorn to begin removing eggs from their products and add more vegan options.
|Compassion For Animlas|
NYCLASS: The mission of this organization is to end the existence of horse carriages and replaced them with cruelty-free alternatives. This is something that we hold very dear to our hearts. We love NYC, but the horse carriages need to go. There are other ways to maintain the culture of the city without forcing horses to work long hours on the city streets.
|Horses don't belong in traffic|
Woodstock Animal Sanctuary (Willow, NY) and Catskill Animal Sanctuary (Saugerties, NY): Are amazing farms that rescues abandoned or abuse farm animals, advocates for their rights, and educates the public about the suffering of many farm animals. The Catskill Animal Sanctuary also offers some great vegan cooking classes! We took a vegan dessert cooking class last year.
Mr. Ellie Pooh: Founded by Karl, eco-friendly and fair trade paper products made from the poo of the elephants of Sri Lanka. The mission of this company is to involve local villagers in the making of the paper, helping them to view the elephants as less of a threat, which would hopefully prevent the killing of these animals.
|Cori with Karl|
Our Stories and Wedding Menu Planning
I consider myself to be a strict vegetarian (no meat, gelatin, or fish) and a flexible vegan. If I can opt for no milk or eggs, then I will. Cori, on the other hand, is a vegetarian, but she still eats fish on occasion. I’ve been a vegetarian for nine years and Cori has been a vegetarian for one full year! I became a vegetarian because of my love for animals. I was in the 11th grade when a good friend introduced me to the vegetarian lifestyle, showing me exactly what happens on farm factories. Cori became a vegetarian after we visited the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York for my 25th birthday and she made it her New Year’s resolution, in 2011, to stop eating meat.
|Woodstock Animal Sanctuary|
When it came to planning our wedding menu, we decided that we wanted to serve vegetarian/vegan food. Initially, our families gave us a hard time about our decision, but we learned that we aren’t going to make everyone happy and we just need to focus on making ourselves happy. An animal-friendly wedding was something that we were not willing to compromise. In July of 2011, we met with Chef Rossi of the Raging Skillet for a tasting and decided to book her immediately. She is widely known for catering non-traditional weddings and she was able to create a menu, featuring vegan/vegetarian options, which are not limited to salad, pasta, and tofu. Not to mention, we received an awesome discount for being a same-sex couple marrying in New York!
Our Menu: First Draft
Passed hors d’oeuvres
- Pumpkin ravioli with sage aioli (no pine nuts, no dairy)
- Vegan nori rolls with avocado
- Butternut squash soup shots
- Mini-tempeh- BLT”s
- Vegan empanadas with chimichurri sauce
- Grilled artichoke and goat cheese on crostini
The Buffet Supper
- Lentil salad with charred vegetables in sherry dressing (vegan)
- Oven barbecue root vegetables to include; turnips, baby carrots, fennel, golden beets, and sweet potato (vegan)
- Penne primavera with oven dried tomatoes (vegan)
- Portobello steak in molasses glaze
- Kale salad with currants in lemon and virgin olive oil
- Baby rolls and biscuits
- Coffee and tea station with cookies, French macaroons, baby pies, and strawberries with chocolate fondue
As for a wedding cake, Cori and I opted to serve cupcakes, rather than a traditional wedding cake. Chef Rossi recommended Baby Cakes, located on the lower East side of New York, and we became obsessed! Baby Cakes creates organic, vegan cupcakes and they use agave nectar, rather than refine sugar. They are also free of gluten, casein, and wheat. After the Vegetarian Food Festival, Cori and I took a subway to the bakery to sample our wedding cupcakes.
|Wedding Vegan Cupcakes|
- Chocolate with chocolate frosting
- Banana chocolate chip with cinnamon frosting
- Brownie with mint frosting
- Carrot with vanilla frosting
It is possible to have delicious food and quality items without harming animals or the environment. Moreover, in addition to the It Gets Better Campaign, we will also be donating the money for wedding favors to the Woodstock Animal Sanctuary.
|Having an Animal-Friendly Wedding and Proud!|